Immediately upon the disappearance of Monopoly Guy and Phoenix (see last issue), Arsenal calls in F.I.R.E. Team agents to lock down the amusement park. He orders a background check into the owner, Jack Johanson, and the lawyer who set up the deal.
Bob Sanders (the former Blue Saturn/Wraith) calls just then, requesting that Arsenal and Prince Paradigm meet him at FBI Headquarters.
BACKGROUND: Champions signal devices operate on Wraithtech™, devised by Sanders to tap into the Blue Dimension, a universe of pure energy. He’s devised a range of applications, one of which is instantaneous communication without regard to physical range.
Sanders reports that whomever kidnapped Phoenix and Monopoly Guy is able to block Blue Dimension radiation, and thus their ability to track the signal devices. Their last known location was somewhere in the Catskill Mountains. Sanders can teleport the team there (another application of Wraithtech). He’s also invented a lash-like device that can home in on BD radiation and retrieve whatever’s using it.
So far background checks are coming up empty, although a name appears in connection with both Johanson and his lawyer: Milos Hero, a wealthy nanotech developer who dropped out of sight about the same time Johanson had.
When Sanders’ BD radiation detector goes off, he opens a portal through the Blue Dimension. The heroes step through and appear in the center of a huge atrium, enclosed by transparent walls and surrounded by grass and the occasional tree. The atrium is attached to the face of a mountain. Sanders, though their comm link, explains that the site is an abandoned insane asylum. The FBI believes it is owned by Mr. Hero.
At the mountain side of the atrium are two large doors. Flanking the doors are two gigantic cyclops. The heroes also notice, perched in two trees inside the atrium and to their right, what appear to be harpies, except instead of hideously ugly they’re extraordinarily beautiful. Also off to the right, on a pile of rocks, stands a centaur.
The sirens begin to sing and cause Arsenal to go catatonic. Slugger, unaffected, steps toward the centaur who fires an arrow, which explodes in a tangle of wire, ensnaring her. Prince Paradigm aism and fires at the centaur, blowing it through the wall and outside into the rain.
The Wraithtech lash held by Prince suddenly activates itself. A glowing blue line whips through the stone wall at the end of the atrium and pulls Phoenix and Monopoly Guy into the atrium. (Seconds before, Monopoly Guy had managed to free himself from his bonds and teleported to Phoenix’ side, where he freed her and she blasted a villain who had been standing over her). Unfortunately, as soon as they appeared, Monopoly Guy fell under the sirens’ spell. Phoenix slaps him to snap him out of it.
Suddenly a hulking griffin flies through a hole in the atrium roof and sets upon Prince Paradigm, who has taken to the air. The griffin sails past the Prince, its claws just brushing past him. He sends electricity shooting through the air and blasts the creature into the far wall.
Slugger snaps the wires around her, looks around for a target, and spies the two cyclops guarding the doors. She leaps to them, and they both swing at her. One lands his blow, the other misses and instead hits his fellow guard, who goes flying. Slugger is knocked back also; her body slams into one of the trees supporting a siren. The tree snaps in two, the siren flaps her impressive wings and stays in the air, but she stops singing.
Phoenix notices, on the mountain side of the atrium but set away from the doors, the mouth of a cavern or tunnel into the rock. Heralded by a loud hissing noise, a medusa crawls from the opening. Instead of eyes, she boasts twin snakes from her eye sockets. These serpents stretch out and wrap themselves around Phoenix and she falls to the ground.
Monopoly Guy conjures a cruise ship which appears blowing its fog horn, in an attempt to nullify the sirens’ song. It works, but it also deafens Slugger.
Prince Paradigm flies toward Phoenix and blasts the medusa.
Monopoly Guy next summons a freight train and the standing cyclops, sending him through the wall.
The griffin struggles upright and attacks Slugger, who lands a mighty punch as it reaches her.
As the battle rages, Phoenix transmits through the team’s psychic link a description of the man who brought them here: Dr. Hephaestus. He’s a large man who’s been deformed, dressed in a toga.
Prince fires at the remaining, airborne siren, who reflects his shot with a sonic blast. His own electrical bolt slams him across the atrium and through the wall. Barely phased, he gets up and flies back into the atrium.
Monopoly Guy moves to the prone cyclops and punches him, which has little effect. The cyclops gets up and pounds MG into the ground. MG teleports himself out of (further) harm’s way.
The freight-trained cyclops emerges from the hole through which he’d been knocked, looking for revenge. Slugger steps to it and throws a punch but misses.
Arsenal, recovered from the siren-induced stupor, blows the flying siren through the wall. He locates the other siren and unleashes a chest beam on it. The siren screams, a sonic wail which causes Arsenal’s body to vibrate, sapping his dexterity. He aims carefully and still manages to hit the siren, knocking yet another hole in the atrium wall.
The medusa fully emerges from the cavern mouth. Phoenix’ glowing aura forms giant talons which reach out to grab the monster. Medusa retaliates with her eye snakes again; this time they strike at Phoenix and stun her with a psychic blast.
Slugger performs a takedown on the cyclops, slamming it into the floor. The griffin moves toward her and lashes out with its massive beak, stunning her.
Prince Paradigm, missing the griffin with another electrical blast, decides to take all chance out of the equation. He flies right up to the beast and sets off an explosive blast of such power that it shatters the wall behind the griffin and mostly buries it in debris. He shoots what he can see of it again, just to be sure it stays down.
Monopoly guy teleports behind the medusa and wraps her in a choke hold. After a moment the medusa wriggles free of his grasp, but by then Phoenix is right in front of it and smacks it with a roundhouse. The snake-headed monster spins around with the impact and Monopoly Guy punches it, knocking it out.
The initial gauntlet of monsters defeated, the team moves to the nearly destroyed inner wall, behind which they see the two cyclops standing in a large room lined with huge vats. It appears to be Dr. Hephaestus’ laboratory where he’s growing new cyclops and centaurs.