All is not as it seems at Dr. Basel’s Stress Clinic- especially when Rumiko witnesses Tony being brainwashed in his sleep!
Happy takes Tony to the Basel Stress clinic for recuperating for his injuries. Dr Foster had earlier explained that Tony’s armor was generating harmful energy fields that were actually damaging his tissues and worsening his injuries, and that wearing the armor would harm him further. So, Tony has been sent to the Basel clinic to recuperate from his injuries. But unbeknownst to him, Dr. Basel sees Tony from above the building, and laughs to himself, changing momentarily to the Controller.
The next day, Tony tests his armor. As Happy stands near him, Tony explains that he is remote-testing his armor, so as to examine the energy fields being generated, that will later help develop a safer armor. But for some reason, Happy is not pleased with Tony putting his life on the line. Their conversation is suddenly interrupted by a gleeful Rumiko Fujikawa. She has heard news of Tony being sent here and has come here herself on the pretense of rehabilitating. Tony is glad to have her near him.
Later that evening, as a charming party goes on inside the clinic, Rumiko and Tony talk over trivial matters. They are greeted by Dr. Xander Basel, who asks them to join him. Tony excuses himself and Basel goes away. Rumiko has a bad feeling about him. It occurs to her that all people like Basel too much. Tony can’t find a reason either and he tables the topic.
A few days later, Dr. Basel welcomes tony to take his stress relieving therapy. He explains that the process employs energy waves to calm the brain. As Tony lies down, Dr. Basel starts the machine. Tony sinks into sleep, whereas, Dr. Basel feels energized. He recounts bygone days, how he had wanted to prove himself as a scientist, only to have his equipments sabotaged and himself crippled. Later, he designed an exoskeleton to help himself walk, and then designed the machines to absorb others’ life energies. But not before long, had Iron Man interfered and destroyed his plans. In the later years, he was reduced to a thug, eventually serving more powerful villains like Thanos and Master of the World. But none ever truly saw his real power. Later, Basel absorbed enough energy to release himself from jail and restore his normal body of Xander Basel. As Tony wakes up, he thanks Basel, saying that the therapy is truly helpful. As he walks away, Basel thinks that he might earn money by playing Tony into Sunset Bain’s or Morgan Stark’s hands.
Over the next few days, Tony goes sight-seeing with Rumiko, handles some of the financial matters with Happy and runs tests on his armor. But the Controller thinks that Iron Man might be suspecting him. So he hatches a plan. As Tony goes to sleep, he switches on his therapy machine, and implants a post-hypnotic suggestion into Tony’s mind, asking him to fire Iron Man. Tony wakes up the next day, thinking that he should fire Iron Man. But immediately, he treats it as trash, because he is Iron Man. He goes out with Rumiko for sight-seeing, while Dr. Basel wonders why his orders didn’t work on Tony. He plans to capture Rumiko.
Later that night, as he tests his armor, he reads a sudden rise in the proximity sensors on the armor. In reality, the Controller is attacking the armor during flight. Tony takes over the manual controls and attacks his opponent via the laptop. It doesn’t have much effect however, as the remote-controls are sluggish. Tony orders the armor to flee from the battle. That night, the Controller plants post-hypnotic suggestions into Rumiko’s mind that Tony should prove his love by firing Iron Man.
The next day, as Tony goes out to check the sight of previous night’s battle, Rumiko comes up beside him and tells him that Iron Man might be attracting danger to them, and that Tony should fire him. Immediately, it occurs to her that the thought just came from nowhere. Tony thinks that something is very wrong about the place. Still, Rumiko tells him to be careful, because doesn’t like him overstressing himself.
That night, Rumiko feels sorry for treating Tony badly. She goes to his room to make up for it, but finds him asleep. She shakes him, but he doesn’t wake up. Rumiko feels something wrong, and starts walking around the clinic. She reaches the off-limits areas, and gets nabbed by the Controller.
Tony is having nightmares about Iron Man, and that wakes him up. He feels that something is very wrong, and starts walking around the clinic. As he approaches the off-limits area, he hears a woman’s cry and strange humming noises. He opens a door to see Dr. Basel binding Rumiko to a mind-absorption machine. The Controller orders him to forget the incident and go away. Tony obeys, while Rumiko pleas to him to help her. Unbeknownst to Controller, Tony’s wristwatch protects him from the orders. Tony goes to a room and orders his armor to come. It flies in. Tony remembers Dr. Foster’s warning about the armor’s energy fields, and puts it on.
Iron Man flies into the Controller’s room and asks him to surrender. But the Controller hurls him out of the building. Iron Man sees him flying and attacks him with repulsors. But the Controller draws immense strength from his patients’ minds and clobbers Iron Man. Rumiko sees him fighting and struggles to free herself. Finally, she manages to do it and starts destroying the Controller’s machinery. The Absorbatron goes off-line and Controller feels his energy levels going down. He tries a last attack on Iron Man ,but Iron Man delivers a crushing blow, that sends him flying into his own machines. The battle ends.
The next day, police take the Controller into custody. Rumiko comes, and asks Tony out for vacation with her. But Tony hesitates. Rumiko asks him to take care of himself and goes away, while Tony can’t help feeling helpless.