The Champions

The Champions Issue 5 - Freudian Slip

You're never alone with a schizophrenic

Scott Branson (Arsenal) has been taking classes at Empire Statue University in Criminology and Forensics, hoping to become a private detective. His recently-married daughter Mandy works as an ER trauma surgeon at ESU Hospital.

Ice Prince has been busy dealing with helping his home government establish ties with the United Nations and the United States.

Slugger has gone back to movie stunt work in NYC between missions with FIRE Team. Due to her extreme weight she stays at Champions Mansion while she’s in the city. This evening she’s scheduled to train with the team, part of a cross-training agreement between the Champions and F.I.R.E. Team.

Slugger is in the kitchen waiting for her lunch when she sees a flash and it seems the whole world is bathed in red light. As quickly as it strikes, it passes.

Scott is lunching with his daughter Mandy at a cafe close to the university. As their meal is delivered, Arsenal sees the same red effect.

Prince Paradigm is in Dr. Danquitti’s office, she’s once again grilling him about life in ancient Egypt.

As Morgan serves lunch to Slugger, she is suddenly no longer in the kitchen. She’s in an office, in a chair opposite a large desk. Behind the desk is a middle-aged woman who says, “What do you remember about the goddess Bas?”

That’s when Slugger notices that she’s a man, wearing a suit and sunglasses. She flips out. She gets up and heads for the door. As she grips the knob, suddenly she’s sitting at a table in a cafe. A young woman sits across from her and says, “Dad, we’ve got to get to the ER, you’re not yourself!” She’s also holding a phone, a person on the other end is telling her calm down.

Meanwhile, Scott Branson finds himself suddenly sitting at the kitchen table at Champions Mansion, being served lunch. He seems to be seeing things from Slugger’s perspective. Just as quickly he’s seated in the chair opposite a woman at her desk, hanging up her phone. She says, "What’s going on? He looks for some means of identifying whose body he’s in, but the man has no wallet.

Back to Slugger, she’s in a cafe across from Mandy Montgomery. Mandy reveals who she is and Slugger explains (as well as she can) what she’s been experiencing. They head to the Mansion to find Branson.

Branson, in the chair behind the desk, learns that he’s currently at the Manhattan Museum of Natural History. He deduces that he’s in the body of Prince Paradigm. He borrows a phone and calls Mandy and they agree to meet at the Mansion, figuring Prince Paradigm now occupies Slugger’s body.

They meet up at HQ. Branson (in PP’s body) triangulates the locations of each hero at the time of the mind-switch, and decides to head to the center of the area to investigate. Slugger (in Branson’s body) insists that she put on Arsenal’s armor, being the only one without inherent paranormal powers. After an initial refusal she talks Branson into it, and they head downstairs to his private lab.

Slugger (in Branson’s body) dons the armor. Branson (in PP’s body) stands in front of her urging her not to turn on anything without prior approval. Before she can agree, the chest beam activates. Branson (in PP’s body) is blasted across the lab, through the double doors they’d entered, and into the corridor.

It’s then that all three share a brief vision: they see three people, two men and a boy of about 10. Both men wear business suits; one has added a cape and a bright necktie with an embroidered “S” on it. The first man stands between the child and the caped man, trying to keep them from fighting. Then the vision is gone.

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s armor blasts Branson (in PP’s body) through the double doors into the corridor. “I didn’t do that!” she says, confused. Branson tells Slugger to take the armor off RIGHT NOW. But she finds she can’t move it. Prince (in Slugger’s body) moves over and tries to pull the helmet off. The armor reaches out and grabs him. Somebody or something else has taken control of it.

Suddenly the far wall explodes. Flying into the room are four old Arsenal suits.

It’s then that the heroes notice that a mind link has developed between them, perhaps as a side-effect of the mind transfer. Slugger tells Prince how to do a reversal maneuver and he twists out of the armor’s grasp. Now behind it, he takes the armor in a headlock. Slugger finds herself facing the incoming suits of armor. She thinks, “Shoot! Blast! Fire!” and the chest beam activates. The beam of solar energy strikes the so-called Brick Suit. Despite its design to resist knockback it is slammed through the wall.

Two suits fly over and land on either side of Prince (in Slugger’s body). One grabs an arm but Prince maintains his headlock on Slugger (in Arsenal’s body).

The fourth remaining suit, the Energy Suit, flies toward Branson (in PP’s body). Prince tells Branson to use his Photon Push power, which he does to devastating effect. The Energy Suit is thrown across the lab to embed, sparking, in the far wall. Branson rushes over to the downed armor.

Prince (in Slugger’s body) wrenches free of the grasping armor and swings the Arsenal suit ino the armor on his other side. His elbow smashes one of the energy cells on the armor, causing a massive explosion that fills the lab.

When the smoke clears, Prince (in Slugger’s body) is the only one still conscious. Suddenly the Arsenal suit (containing Slugger in Branson’s body…whew…) stands up, and the recovered Brick Suit re-enters the room.

Inside the armor, Slugger (in Branson’s body) sees another vision of the three strange people. The child is screaming with rage, incomprehensibly shrieking. The man with the “S” pushes aside the man in the middle and reaches for the child. The middle man slaps “S”, who crumples to the ground and is immediately bound in gold chains. The child stops shrieking and instead laughs. The middle man hangs his head.

Branson (in PP’s body) sees a slightly different version of the same vision. In his, the two men are unconscious. The child looks at him, panting, and says, “That wasn’t easy! Now. I can devote my attention to YOU.”

Slugger (in Branson’s body) and Branson (in PP’s body) both come to. Slugger begins yelling out commands for a central computer. “Computer, off! Computer, shut down!” Suddenly a display screen appears across her vision, inside the Arsenal armor. She hears a voice inside the helmet yells, “Shut up!” The armor’s arm lifts up and punches the helmet.

Prince (in Slugger’s body) body slams the Brick Suit. It promptly gets back up and punches him.

Branson (in PP’s body) is still next to the downed Energy Suit. He kneels and begins to cobble pieces of it together into a bio-electric amplifier which should augment Prince’s already considerable electrical powers.

The Arsenal suit punches itself again, knocking out Slugger (in Branson’s body). The armor remains standing.

Prince (in Slugger’s body) body slams the Brick Suit again, sending its helmet flying. The body, however, gets up and attempts to engage its strength booster, but instead, explodes.

Branson (in Prince’s body) moves his materials to the center of the room and puts together an amplifying gauntlet, to modulate Prince’s Photon Blast into an electro-magnetic pulse.

Slugger (in Branson’s body), unconscious again, sees the vision continue. The child is gone in this one, the two adult men conscious. The suited man is tied up, and says, “I can help them if they call come see me together!”

She awakes as the Arsenal armor’s boot jets activate. She flies up and bursts through the ceiling into the sky.

Branson (in PP’s body) sets off the E-M pulse. The animated suits all shut down. Arsenal’s armor is caught as well and it falls. Prince (in Slugger’s body) tries to catch the falling armor but it slams into him, knocking them both out.

This time they share a vision. They appear together in a misty fog, the two adult men there as well. The child emerges from the fog and says, “Stay in your place! You know, Prince, I know your nightmares!” And then they both awaken.

Branson (in PP’s body) calls Morgan and asks him to monitor their vital signs. His plan is for all three of them to be rendered unconcious so they share the vision to confront the child.

Morgan reports, just as they’re going under, that zombies are attacking the museum. They decide it’s a distraction, to stop their plan. Morgan then reports that a giant monster is rampaging through the city. Another distraction, they decide, and carry on with the plan.

When they’re all three unconscious, they appear in the familiar fog. The child now has a sword, and as he moves to attack “S” when the middle man moves between them, intercepting the blow. He’s decapitated with one stroke.

Elsewhere, Black Spider is swinging through Manhattan when his spider-sense tingles. He sees a vision of his own, but this is from his spider-sight: the ability to see through the eyes of a distant spider. He sees a square room, in the center of which is a circle drawn with chalk, and within it a triangle has been sketched. At the points of the triangle lie Slugger, Scott Branson, and Prince Paragidm.

Above the center of the floor floats a man in the lotus position. Along the walls of the room stand twelve men, armed with machine guns.

Back in the shared vision, the child is raving, and he begins to grow. Arsenal (everyone in their own bodies within the vision) blasts him, but the child deflects the blast with this sword. “What is all of this about?” Arsenal demands. The child screams, “I’ll show you!” and inflicts upon them a vision-within-a-vision:

Edgar Gordon Olmstead is the man’s name. They see him receive a suitcase full of money from a shadowy figure. Next they seem him developing a formula to augment the human brain. The serum perfected, he used it on himself. The results increased his brain power by a phenomenal amount. However, the sheer power caused his psyche to split into its Freudian parts: Id, Ego, and Super-Ego. Still, his mind grew and expanded. Quickly his absorption of input and knowledge threatened to outstrip his new-found brain capacity and overwhelm his fractured personality.

So he concocted a plan to capture paranormal brains to use to expand his own psyche.

The vision-within-a-vision disspates, and the heroes launch a new attack. The child (Kid Id) has continued to grow and now towers over them. Arsenal and Prince coordinate their blasts, but Kid Id reflects them with ease, sending both heroes flying into the mist. Slugger slugs him in the kneecap which only triggers a growth spurt. He stomps down on her, stunning her.

Prince and Arsenal, shaking off the last blast, both have the same thought: rescue Super-Ego so he can help against Kid Id. Prince flies over to free Super-Ego while Arsenal flies in to distract Kid Id.

Kid Id spies Prince heading for his captives and uses his “nightmare” against him: a gigantic hippopotamus appears in front of Prince.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Black Spider has reached the building where he saw the heroes being held. He sneaks in and from near the ceiling beings webbing the armed me. He leaps and twists as they open fire, one bullet (out of dozens) just grazing a foot. He considers waking one of the unconscious heroes, but he hears a voice in his head whisper, “They must be brought out of it at the same time or they’ll die.”

Back in Olmstead’s mind, his Super-Ego is now free. “S” attacks Kid Id, forcing him to shrink to normal size. They then start choking each other while the heroes just stand and watch. As they struggle their bodies begin to twist and grow, and out of them both emerges Ego. He shoves them apart and says, “Id was the first to wake up, he shouldn’t be in control.”

“But I’ll stay that way!” Kid Id screams, and disappears.

In the real world, as Spider mops up the guards, Olmstead’s body that once floated in the air above the circle/triangle is now encased in webbing. He gasps as his consciousness returns, then goes silent.

Back in his mind, the heroes are startled when Id reappears, shreiking.

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