Prog116(9Jun,’79)introduces us to,as creator John Wagner is quoted as saying,“Dredd’s impossible niece”,Vienna. We learn that despite having served twenty years on penal colony,Titan,Judge Dredd’s clone-brother,Rico has sired a daughter,Vienna.
Although not explained at the time,whilst on Titan,Rico was visited by a female journalist,Fabienne Brown who was doing a series on the penal colony.
Brown alleges in her sensational tell-all series that she and Rico had made love on the floor of his prison cell and subsequently gave birth to his love-child.
Unwilling to believe his clone-brother could have stooped further than his already numerous transgressions,Dredd is nevertheless proved wrong again,after DNA tests proved positive.
As always Dredd plays things buy the book and promptly arrests Ms. Brown,sentencing her to two years in the iso-cubes,where she is later attacked and killed by a fellow inmate.The orphaned baby is taken into care.
Vienna is sent to live with a tough but loving guardian, Mrs. Pasternak,where she gets infrequent visits from her “Uncle Joe”,whom she adores but is still unaware of his involvement in the death of her father.
Meanwhile,Vienna’s existence comes to the attention of a bitter white-collar criminal,Harry Carmen. Carmen was a computer genius who Dredd had imprisoned for six years on computer fraud charges,so he decides to take revenge by snatching the girl.
Whilst holding Vienna captive,Carmen spitefully informs the little girl that Uncle Joe was the man responsible for killing her father(see previous post).Unwilling to believe her captor,Vienna knows if it was true then her hero uncle must have had a good reason.
After rescuing Vienna and sending Carmen to the cubes for a second time,Judge Dredd,rather than risk putting his niece in any more danger decides it’s better if he plays no further part in her life.So Dredd sends Vienna,along with the disapproving Mrs. Pasternak away to live in Brit-Cit and true to his word does not visit his niece again.
Twenty three years later Vienna Pasternak,as she’s now known,on an assignment in her new career as an actress,is in Mega-City One and decides to look up her estranged uncle.
Conversation is stilted to say the least but Vienna is determined to learn some more about her background.
Vienna knows how Dredd had to kill Rico when he turned bad yet she had never discovered the fate of her mother.He informs her and explains he was just doing his duty.
Called back to duty,Dredd has to leave but before he does Vienna gives him a ticket for her show and determined to make amends for the past,he agrees to turn up for her performance.
Having promised Vienna he would make it to her show Dredd logs out for some personal time.
Meanwhile,the leading lady in Vienna’s play has pulled out due to illness and as understudy she has been called on to act in her first starring role
Vienna’s re-appearance has disturbed Dredd,unbeknownst to his niece,he has followed her development in Brit-Cit,from afar.Thinking what he did was for the best,he can’t pretend her words at their meeting didn’t make him feel a little uncomfortable,almost guilty.He is determined to attend her performance.
Dredd arrives at the theatre,just about to walk the steps into the auditorium when the obligatory call comes over the radio pulling him back onto the streets.
Inside Vienna cannot help but notice her uncle’s absence.
Utterly dejected,Vienna leaves as soon as her performance ends.So when Dredd eventually makes it to the theatre,three and a half hours late and makes his way to her dressing room the only thing he finds is a torn photograph that his niece used to treasure,showing himself and Rico at the Academy.The discarded half shows his picture,making Vienna’s intentions clear.
Having left for Texas City and now probably back in Brit-Cit,Judge Dredd is unsure whether he will see his niece again,however events are about to take a sinister turn…