The Champions

The Champions Issue 3 - For Your Amusement

The E-ticket ride to death

Play Date: 6/29/2013
Game Date: First day of Spring

SETUP

The Champions have returned from Antarctica as heroes, having stopped an attack on the outside world by the Antarcticans and an invasion from another planet, which had been connected to Antarctica by a huge portal that the team destroyed. Arsenal and Spitfire are debriefed and told that the official story does not mention the other planet or aliens, just that there’s a long-lost civilization, an off-shoot of humanity, that has been revealed to the world. They also discover that while only a few days passed for them, three months passed in the outside world.

In New York, work continues to clean up the damage wrought by the attack. The Chrysler Building is a total loss and has been demolished. The Statue of Liberty was also taken down, having been crushed by a giant Ice Spider. Authorities have yet to determine how to replace it.

Arthur Morning (a.k.a. Sea Crab, benefactor of the team) summons Arsenal for a meeting. He announces salary hikes for everyone, then asks a favor. It seems that an acquaintence of his, Jack Johanson, runs a robotics company called Animatronics Independent Development (AID). He’s been working on civilian and military applications for his robot prototypes. But recently Johanson has begun acting strangely. He had built an amusement park on the Jersey Shore in which he used his inventions. A few weeks ago he contacted Morning about working together, and for the second time he was rebuffed; Morning doesn’t want to share his force field technology with anyone. Johanson reacted poorly.

Concerned, Morning sent several private investigators to find out what was going on. They discovered that he had moved himself into his park and ceased contact with his company and the outside world.

Just the day before the Vice-President of AID, Mason Marsden, contacted Morning with an invitation for the Champions to visit the amusement park, as a gesture of thanks for saving the world (and more likely as a way to win over Morning’s trust in the robot tech). Morning asks that the team attend as a favor to him, so that Arsenal can talk to Johanson and gain more information on his current mental state.

WEAPONIZED WORLD

The team agrees and three days hence arrive at the Jersey Shore in a C-Jet. A crowd is already enjoying the park. They’re met at the gate by a friendly robot who welcomes them and leads them through the gates.

Moments later a low hum fills the air and a gigantic force field emerges from the outskirts of the park, rising and curving upwards to form a dome. Giant screens appear against the surface of the dome, one appearing to be a scoreboard with each of the heroes listed. Loudspeakers come to life as a smarmy announcer’s voice fills the air: “Welcome one and all, park patrons and viewers around the world! Tonight you are privileged to watch as the world-saving Champions face their greatest threat ever: Weaponized World!”

The announcer goes on to set up the scene: there are 1,227 civilians currently inside the park, which is divided into several themed sections. The Champions will be challenged to save as many people as possible, and as they struggle, America will be voting for which hero is truly deserving of the name Champion.

And then the game begins: the park begins to come alive and malevolent. Four incidents are highlighted on pop-up screens projected against the dome for everyone to see:

In Future World, alien plants come alive and stretch from their beds to entangle several hapless people. Arsenal dispatches Prince Paradigm.

In Western World, robot gunslingers at two gunfight stunt shows go crazy, turning on the spectators. Monopoly Guy summons a horse token and takes off with Freeze behind him.

In Fantasy World, two animatronic knights at a sword fighting show turn toward the crowd. Arsenal dispatches Phoenix to deal with that while he flies high above the Fantasy Castle, which is rumbling and crumbling violently.

As Monopoly Guy and Freeze race through the arch dividing the main park from Western World, they both feel a slight tug as if they’ve passed through some kind of barely-perceptible barrier. Very quickly the two heroes get to work: Freeze looks to the right and erects an Ice Wall between the spectators and the two gunslingers there, while MG summons a Thimble to drop onto one on the left.

Above the park the floating scoreboard pings and “Saves” counts are updated for Freeze and MG.

Prince Paradigm arrives in Future World. He notices the plants that have entangled the civilians appear to be rubbery and fibrous, rather than the robots he expected. A photon phaser blast destroys one of the planters, spewing fibers everywhere. Before he can take aim at another planter he hears wrenching metal. Down the walkway at the Laser Car Bumper Ride, two cars have broken free of the ride and sail into the air, heading right for him. Laser weapons on the front of the cars begin to fire.

In Fantasy World, Arsenal watches from the air as the castle crumbles to the ground, revealing a huge coiled dragon within. The dragon roars and belches a column of flame that bathes Arsenal in tremendous heat. He responds with Unibeam blasts. Below, Phoenix arrives at the Champions Tournament Stunt Show as the knights are turning on civilians. Her flaming avian aura’s talons rip up the ground around one, surrounding it with dirt. She notices that beneath a couple of inches of topsoil is what appears to be a power grid and relays that to the rest of the team as her aura’s talons crush the other animatatronic knight.

The Royal Seamstress Shop just down the street from Phoenix then explodes, and miles of threads fly out, entangling several civilians.

Prince Paradigm turns his attention away from the entangled civilians (who don’t appear to be suffering any ill effects, except the not-being-able-to-move thing) to the power grid, blasting a large hole in the ground in front of him. As he looks up he sees two giant Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots (an attraction that allows fair-goers to control the robots within a huge ring) break free of their ring and wheel down the pathway towards him. He blasts the ground again, showering sparks from the disrupted grid, and the robots coast to a halt, powerless.

In West World, Monopoly Guy takes the cue as well and summons a freight train in mid-air, sending it slamming straight into the ground. A large hole in the turf is left behind, revealing a sparking, mangled grid beneath. “Everyone, you can disrupt the grid by hitting it with a train!” Phoenix immediately does likewise in Fantasy World, pummeling the ground with her talons. Nearby rides and robots power down as a result.

As he stops two cars on a runaway coaster, Arsenal turns back in time to see the dragon spew fire on 3 civilians. He flies back and blasts a smoking crater in the ground near the dragon, rending a hole in the grid and shutting it down. Phoenix flies over to attend to the burn victims. While tending them she psychically scans for the Announcer but comes up empty.

Two civilians are also hit in Future World, by the flying laser-tag cars.

In Jungle Land, the riverboat ride capsizes sending riders into the shallow water. As they realize they’re not going to drown, from the end of the river appear robot alligators, heading right for them.

Freeze, preparing to head toward Jungle Land, sees two coaster on either side of the walkway nearby suddenly uncoil and merge tracks. A car on each of them, full of people, are on a collision course. She quickly encases each in a block of ice.

Monopoly Guy also intending to head to Jungle Land, passes by the Lava Ride in Jungle Land. The fake lava suddenly bursts into flames. Several riders begin screaming for help. He quickly teleports onto one of the boats and teleports its two occupants to safety, then repeats the process for the other car.

The screens projected on the inside of the enclosing dome flicker, but stay on. One now shows the Snake Charmer’s cobras in Arabian Land slither away from him toward a group of fair-goers. All the while, the floating scoreboard dings with updated counts.

Arsenal is the first hero to reach Jungle Land. He lands in the water of the River Ride, between the robot ‘gators and the people. He opens up a wide-area Unibeam blast, wiping out all of the robots. Just as they’re destroyed, however, more enter the river. These appear to be real, and they also appear to be generating extreme heat, as clouds of steam hiss into existence as they slither into the water.

As he’s about to fire on them, a nearby Mushroom ride spins out of control, causing the cables on the cars to snap and send them flying. The cars crash into the river, dumping their riders between Arsenal and the approaching gators. He quickly moves ahead of the people and lets lose another blast.

The people from the River Ride, meanwhile, have reached the banks of the ‘river’, where the plants come alive and entangle them.

Turning his attention back to the Laser Tag cars, Prince Paradigm flies up to the nearest one and wrenches the occupant free and settles him to the ground. The other car banks around and slams into Prince head-on. He sails through the air and crashes into the Gadget Shop. Inside he notices the ‘gadgets’ are very real-looking laser weapons, shoulder cannons, and assorted nastiness. He immediately starts destroying the inventory before something puts them to use.

Freeze finally reaches Arabian Land (noticing the same feeling of bursting through a thin membrane when she crosses beneath the archway) to find several fair-goers wrapped up and floating in mid-air, entangled in Flying Carpets. She also sees the cobras approaching them; the nearest stetches its body and strikes one of the helpless people. She erects an Ice Wall between the people and the snakes, but it’s only a matter of time before they slither around it.

Two more screens flicker into existence, projected against the dome. One shows the Fighter Ace ride at the front of the park, another the Griffin Ride in Fantasy Land. Simultaneously the rides speed up, spinning their occupants faster and faster. Suddenly the four planes and the four griffins break free of the ride. They fly under their own power, helpless riders screaming, and take off in formation, on a course that will bring them into a collision above the center of the park. The planes begin strafing people still on the pathway below, hitting 14.

Arsenal flies out of the ‘river’ and sees the griffins heading his way. He flies up and grabs two of them, lowering them to the ground. The other two appear to be on a collision course with the strafing jets.

Not far away, the Fantasy Land Candle Shop explodes and catches fire, spewing burning wax onto the people still wrapped up in string from the explosion of the Seamstress’ Shop.

Also in Fantasy Land, the Princess’ Tower ride suddenly rockets straight up into the air, carrying six people. Phoenix considers letting them go for now and instead trying to disrupt the entire power grid, but she decides against it. She streaks into the air, passing the tower, and from above it begins flapping her great phoenix wings. She manages to generate enough wind force to slow the out-of-control ride. Its rockets burn out and it begins to fall.

At the archway between Western Land and Fantasy Land, Monopoly Guy prepares to ram a train into it, thinking that they might be the key to shutting the place down. He shouts out his theory, advising everyone to target the various archways. But before he can trash the archway he notices the Piranha Kebob restaurant is full of water, and people are trapped inside. He quickly smashes the front glass, saving 30 people. Freeze, heeding his advice, destroys the archway into Arabian Land, to no apparent effect.

Prince Paradigm, in Future Land, destroys the gigantic Globe of Tomorrow, the area’s centerpiece. The light spiralling from the top of the globe goes out as the structure shatters, and this causes the force field around the park to shut down.

In Western Land a rumbling is heard, then felt. Ten cattle stampede out of the Petting Zoo attraction, eight real cows and two robot steers bringing up the rear. At the same time the water tower looming above the saloon suddenly bends and gushes its contents, sweeping saloon patrons into the street and into the path of the rampaging bovines.

Freeze moves to cast an ice sheet in front of the stampede; on her way she notices a group of people dancing happily around a fiddler.

In Future Land, Prince Paradigm turns to see the flying saucer ride, filled with people of course, begin to spin madly as energy crackles around it. Prince times his blast carefully and, as the cars dip toward the ground, blasts the central hub of the ride. The explodes and the cars drop to the ground, skidding across the walkway into an adjacent building. Some of the resulting debris slams into the laser cannon atop the Future Toy store, knocking it out.

In the air, Arsenal and Phoenix deal with the last of the griffins.

Monopoly Guy was carried by the water tower deluge into Jungle Land, just in front of the Animal Show, where he sees two jaguars advancing on a screaming child. He jumps up and punches one, then the other. Just as the second falls unconscious, a toucan flies down from the trees and steals his top hat. He watches it for a second then summons a locomotive. It appears directly above the bird and slams it into the ground. Monopoly Guy retrieves his hat, pops it out and dusts it off, and looks around. He sees the large ziggauratt towering over Jungle Land and figures since nothing bad had happened there yet, it’s about to.

In Future World, Prince Paradigm continues his reign of destruction. This time the target is the Comedy Robot building. When he blasts it, the animated robot atop the building begins sparking and screaming. Just then the Rocket Diner (boasting a rotating restaurant at the top) begins to lift off just like a rocket. Prince turns and blasts it just below the restaurant level. The rocket wobbles and falls over, smashing into the Lobster Shack.

In Western World, Freeze has turned toward the fiddler when civilians in a nearby spinning ride are catapulted straight up into the air. She quickly creates ice slides just beneath them and the slide safely to the ground. Turning back toward the Pied Fiddler, she sees the line of dancers stretches into a building in neighboring Fantasy Land.

In Fantasy Land, the Candle Shop continues to burn, and now starts to shoot flames like a fountain, setting fire to some of the thread-entangled fair-goers scattered about the area. Phoenix flies above the shop and releases a torrential downpour, drenching the fires.

Freeze enters Fantasy land, following the line of people into the building. It’s the head of a roller coaster; she sees people strapping themselves into the coaster, but no fiddler. She erects an ice wall in front of the coaster so it can’t move.

In the air, Arsenal now turns and flies toward the River Ride in Jungle Land with the strafing planes and their terrified passengers hot on his tail; his hope is that they’ll ‘softly’ crash into the water when their engines die. They do.

In Future Land, Prince Paradigm’s attention is drawn to another neighboring area, Beach Land, where he spies a line of people marching themselves into the sea, accompanied by a fiddler. Prince flies over the beach and fires at the fiddler, but misses.

This draws Phoenix’ attention. She looks toward the beach and sees a disturbance in the water several hundred yards from shore. She alerts the others and flies toward it.

Prince fires at the beach fiddler again, this time sending him flying across the sand. When the music stops, the fair-goers suddenly awaken from their trances.

Freeze makes her way to Beach Land, stopping to ice up the Unicorn ride, which hasn’t gone crazy yet but still holds stranded civilians.

At sea, a gigantic humanoid shape emerges from water and begins trudging towards the beach. At the same time, the ferris wheel on the Boardwalk begins spinning, shooting cars out as they reach the top. They hurtle toward the giant.

Prince flies up to the creature’s face and goes Nova, doing tremendous damage. Arsenal and Freeze coordinate their attacks, hitting the beast with a solar blast and an ice ram at the same time, which blows the humanoid apart.

Phoenix manages to catch the first ferris wheel car; the rest, now that the giant is down, continue their arc and plunge into the sea, where they’re quickly rescued.

When the giant drops, the park craziness seems to cease. The team spreads out to canvas the park and locate the control center. Prince finds it in the ruins of the Globe of Tomorrow that he’d destroyed. The team converges there after a search, descend into a subterranean complex.

As they enter they see a laser light from the ceiling that paints a target on both Phoenix and Monopoly Guy. A hologram appears on the wall showing the final stats:

PRINCE PARADIGM — 70 saved
FREEZE — 63 saved
ARSENAL - 49 saved
Monopoly Guy -
46 saved
Phoenix — 32 saved

FOUR DEAD
FORTY-SIX INJURED

The announcer’s voice sounds off again. “America, you have voted! Phoenix and Monopoly Guy have been found wanting! Their sentence to be determined at a later date!”

Monopoly Guy and Phoenix then disappear.

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