For those of you who played in the first round of Champions 2012, or watched it, and want to know what transpired in the second round, we offer this story based on 'actual' events.
The game opened immediately following the events of round 1.
As the shocked heroes began to react to the shooting, the assassin (a cameraman for the pay-per-view broadcast) raised his hands and surrendered, saying that he could explain. Before he could say more he was shot and killed by the best man, Gerhardt Shcott. Shcott dropped his weapon and walked out. Golden Gladiator flew after Shcott and confronted him, furious that Shcott had denied them a chance to get information from the assassin. Gerhardt said with cold precision that he was avenging his best friend, and walked away.
Meanwhile, Katie Barnes lay dying beside the body of her husband Jason. Wraith used his cloak’s power to pour his life force into her. At first Brimstone and Bolt offered to help, but the cloak’s hunger was too great. Wraith forced it off of them, feeding Katie his own life instead. Katie lived, barely. The bullet was still inside her, but with Brimstone’s help the doctors removed the bullet. Katie began to recover at superhuman speed. (A power she did not know she had…but never had she been wounded like this.)
The Champions began trying to discover who was behind the assassination. Bolt, already unhinged from time, reached away from the present to show a vision of what had taken place. The scene of the shooting itself revealed nothing new, but when Gerhardt drew his weapon to fire at the assassin, he moved with superhuman speed. The Champions attempted to find him, but he had taken an UNTIL jet and vanished.
Lt. Conners was able to determine that the bullet was experimental technology from World War II Germany, which was confirmed by Golden Gladiator’s grandfather. The assassin was discovered to be a member of the White Rose, a Nazi resistance group which was supposed to have died out during the war. Golden Gladiator’s father and grandfather told him not to give up, to which he replied: “Gold never tarnishes.”
Following these clues, the team searched Jason’s house and found a hidden bunker filled with Nazi flags, supposedly “lost” Dr. Destroyer technology, and a series of files on the Champions. These files detailed each member’s weaknesses, how to keep them psychologically off balance, and how to keep them from finding Destroyer. There was also a communications console, with a mysterious message containing a veiled threat toward Jason. There was also a cryptic delivery schedule: 100 units to Berlin, 100 units to Moscow, 100 units to London…and so on, targeting 10 major cities for “100 units” of some unknown item.
A transmission for Jason came over the console from a woman identified as “Valkyrie”. Lt. Conners attempted to disguise his voice, but Valkyrie saw through the illusion, terminated the transmission, and destroyed the console.
Over the course of these revelations – that Katie’s husband was a Nazi spy, that she herself was part of a mysterious project – Dr. Gravity remained excessively cruel to Katie. After a harsh conversation, Wraith dumped her for this attitude.
The Champions proceeded to Gerhardt’s UNTIL office, where they found assessments of the team’s risk to “the plan”. Throughout these notes was evidence that Jason and Katie’s entire relationship was part of a long reaching Nazi eugenics program. Lady Fabulous’ crush on Golden Gladiator was also revealed, to the surprise of no one – except Golden Gladiator. Stella Starlight and Griffin appeared to assist the Champions, leading to a tense confrontation between Griffin, Lt. Conners, and Wraith which Lady Fabulous managed to defuse.
The team found a communicator in Gerhardt’s office which Icon promptly crushed, but another was found in Jason’s office next door. While Dr. Gravity was examining it, a countdown began to be broadcast, along with the delivery of “100 units” to the cities they had seen before. Dr. Gravity and Lt. Conners were able to trace the signal to Antarctica. The team rushed there in Nano’s Legacy.
The trip was full of awkward moments. Lady Fabulous and Golden Gladiator finally talked about their feelings and kissed. Wraith and Dr. Gravity very coldly confirmed their relationship was over. Icon and Brimstone attempted to resolve their issues, but Brimstone’s approach only pushed the emotionally devastated Icon away. Bolt slept through it all, while Lt. Conners sat in between the three couples. Poor guy.
The team arrived at the location and discovered a hidden Nazi base, over 70 years old, hidden in the snow. Inside they found a large hangar bay full of vehicles ranging from WW2 tanks to the UNTIL jet that Gerhardt had taken. While the upper floors were disused, at the bottom they found a room full of hundreds of clones of Icon and Jason, all children! Shortly thereafter they encountered Dr. Heinrich Zerstoiten, a Nazi scientist who had been reduced to a disembodied brain in a jar. He inquired about Jason, and told the Champions that “she” had killed the remaining members of the New Reich and taken over the program. His vision of the future had been shattered – Icon and Jason had been his last hope. He would not talk about “her”, but told the Champions where she could be found. The Bolt and Wraith rushed ahead, while Heinrich begged the team to end his life, as it was now meaningless. The team obliged.
As Heinrich’s jar shattered, the Bolt and Wraith were tossed back into the room in beaten heaps. Rushing forward, the team finds a room occupied by Valkyrie, Gerhardt, and walls covered with adult clones of Katie and Jason. Valkyrie explained that she is the REAL Katie Barnes, accidentally switched at birth with the Project Ubermensch baby who was born early at a hospital in Iowa. She was raised in a sterile lab by Nazi scientists, indoctrinated in their hatred and need for revenge, while Katie was raised by good, loving Iowa farmers. The Nazis believed Valkyrie would develop powers – so threw her out of a helicopter when she was 12. The fall badly damaged her. Not wanting to waste twelve years of training, the scientists turned her into a cyborg. It was not until Icon first appeared in public did they realize what had happened. Driven to madness, Valkyrie killed Icon’s father (her own biological father) and took over the New Reich. She told Icon all this, and how Icon had stolen her life, full of love. Now, the only person who loved her was Gerhardt. She said this, and then reached out and snapped Gerhardt’s neck, killing him. “And that is what I think of Love.”
At that, she released 100 “units” of Katie/Jason clones to battle the Champions, who swiftly found themselves overpowered. The Wraith foolishly released his hold on the cloak, hoping it would feed on the clones. Instead it attacked the Champions. Several of them attacked Valkyrie, but she was prepared for them: defeating Brimstone’s astral form and shrugging off Golden Gladiator’s sonic blast. Icon closed and tore Valkyrie’s arm off, but didn’t slow her down in the least. Meanwhile, Lt. Conners slipped into the machine which seemed to be controlling the clones, hoping to find a way to shut it down. Brimstone managed to stop the cloak from eating Dr. Gravity, but the team was being rapidly overwhelmed by the onslaught of clones. Knowing the team was otherwise doomed, Bolt stretched time past its normal limit, using his super speed and sonic booms (which the clones seemed susceptible to) to protect the team. Bolt knew the cost, but he knew that Icon needed him. Among all the Champions, only Katie realized what this was costing him – but she was too busy with Valkyrie to do anything.
As the fight continued, even Bolt’s new power was not enough on its own. Golden Gladiator and Lady Fabulous stepped up, fighting as a pair. As his armor began to lose power, she would charge it through her “hair”. As the clones gathered for one final attack, Icon, in full rage, fired a burst of Heat Vision (a power she did not know she possessed) into Valkyrie’s face as the two were locked in combat, burning half of her face off. Just at that moment, Lt. Conners detonated his lucky C-4 inside the device, triggering an ultrasonic self-destruct which began to slowly and painfully kill all the clones – and Icon as well. Knowing there was no time, Bolt rushed Icon all the way back to Champions HQ in Millennium City. The remaining heroes could only watch as 1,000 clones died, screaming and begging for help. Gathering their wounded, the heroes left – but not before Brimstone channeled all of Katie’s memories into the badly wounded Valkyrie, who they left for dead.
Back at their HQ, Icon awoke, only to find that the man protecting her was not Brimstone as she expected, but Bolt, who had torn loose his bonds to time itself in order to saver her. His body aging in seconds all the years he had missed, Bolt told Katie that no matter what, he wanted her to find happiness, and then died in her arms.
As Valkyrie lay on the ground writhing in pain, a familiar THUMPDRAGTHUMP of footsteps approached. She looked up into the eye of Professor Muerte.