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by Chad Imbroglio

Budda doomp boomp - budoomp boomp buh doomp boomp..."

This was almost too much for Issac. When he agreed to let Allen play his DCI Finals music, he wasn't expecting three full CD's worth of drum corp. He also wasn't expecting Allen to continually go back and replay his favorite parts over and over. If he had to listen to the Madison Scout's rendition of "Strawberry Soup" one more time he'd probably flip out.

Little things like this were beginning to make Issac reconsider his whole position on the last two days. Nasty questions were beginning to pop into his head.

For example, why did Allen choose to increase the bonding of Nergal to Issac when he could have eliminated it? Allen said he felt guilty for the deaths caused at Antioch before. Why encourage the possibilty of more deaths now?

Also, why did Allen choose to attach a cumbersome piece of military equipment onto Bob instead of something more human looking? Allen had said that he felt bad for getting Bob into this whole situation in the first place. Didn't the new weaponry make it worse? Allen would certainly have some explaining to do when Bob finally woke up.

Finally, what made Allen so sure that people were willing to follow him everywhere? Bob had more or less lost his humanity, and Issac himself is certain to have his fortune seized by the government after his little rampage last night.

Issac realized that he had been simply complying to Allen's requests, no matter how much they might ruin his life. Why? For some crazy crusade Allen had against Dynamax that didn't even have anything to do with Issac. This pissed him off. He was angry at Allen for being do damn domineering and mad at himself for being so damn submissive.

Well, it was time for Issac "Professor Covenant's Student" Warner to begin acting like Stingray, one time IDWF Champion.

Javier folded up his paper and got off of the Greyhound. Looking at the city all around him, Javier found himself forced to say it's name: "Chicago." A city with personality if there ever was one, Javier thought. What kind of person did it create in the way of Allen Covenant?

He looked down at the sheet of paper the home office had supplied him with. On it were the names and addresses of Covenant's parents and three closest friends. The kind of information Dynamax needed for situations like this.

As Javier neared the address number, he noted how close it was to Wrigley Field. "Being so close to the baseball stadium must have given Covenant an entertaining childhood," he thought. "I must remember to ask his parents about it."

Eventually, the residential area slipped away and Javier had not yet reached the house. He found himself basically in the Wrigley Field parking lot.

Javier began to seethe. "This is not the Blues Brothers, Mr.Covenant. I will learn your secrets," he stated as he turned away from the famous ball park and walked off.

Allen continued to drive for several hours past the Arizona state line. Eventually, he and Issac switched driving duties while Allen laid down to take a nap.

"Wake me up if Bob comes to, OK Issac?"

"Sure thing," said Issac. He looked back at the sleeping boy briefly before pulling out of the rest area. "Why is he still sleeping? Is he sick or something?" The last thing Issac wanted was to see the poor kid hurt more because of Allen's incompetence.

"No, he's fine. It's just that he was hanging on for dear life for a while and that took a lot out of him, sleeping or no. He was pretty badly messed up."

"You mean from when you had him jump three stories?" Issac didn't want Allen sleeping with a free conscience.

Allen winced. "Yeah. That. Good night, Issac."

Danny knew he shouldn't do it, but he needed rest badly. The dream walking was keeping him awake at nights and he hadn't slept well for days. Perhaps a daytime nap would work. At least any dreams he may encounter might not be so bad.

As he passed the people - his people - of the Colony, Danny couldn't help worry that something would go wrong in the next few hours. The Colony could burn down simply because their leader was sleepy.

But if he wasn't alert, the Colony could pay in other ways, Danny thought. Better to rest now and hope than screw up later. Besides, if you don't have your health, you ain't got nuttin'.

He laid down in his bed and closed his eyes, passing into sleep almost immediately due to his body's weariness. The dream came almost as quickly.

Danny saw he was in the backyard of some suburban home. The looming buildings of Chicago seemed almost impossibly close from over the trees. Nearby, a man and a boy were sitting near a rock. There was a dead bird laying on it.

The young boy was about seven years old and looked Asian in complexion. The man was in a lab coat...a Dynamax lab coat! If this was indeed a nightmare, Danny decided he was going to enjoy sitting back and watching. The two began to speak.

The man, who obviously thought that he was a child too, said, "Dan, why do birds always seem to die like this?"

The little boy, who evidently shared Danny's first name, replied, "Big kids shoot them. With BB guns."

The man eyes widened, "They shoot them? Why would anyone want to kill a bird?"

The boy replied, "Well, the big kids poke the birds' eyes out with a knife and use them for marbles."

"Marbles!" the man exclaimed. "That's horrible! How could anyone kill a poor little bird just for it's eyes?"

"Don't be stupid, Allen. They're just birds. They're not like us."

The man still seemed incredulous. "But..but it's not right!"

"Of course it's right, you idiot!" The little boy's voice was sounding much more mature now. "Come with me and I'll show you."

The two walked over to the garage and Danny followed them. Written on the garage door was the Dynamax logo.

"See, Allen," said the little boy, who seemed more and more to resemble a little demon-child, "we at Dynamax understand the nature of humanity. It's our job to destroy what's not like us!" He then pulled the garage door up and revealed a lab, filled with scientists working all sorts of horrid experiments on what Danny assumed were Omegas.

One of the patients, a young man encased partially in some sort of cybernetic wiring, sat up from his table and cried, "Allen, help me!"

The man yelled back, "BOB!" and began racing towards the table.

Before he even got close, the scientist who was working on the young man slashed out with a scalpel and sliced his throat open. The young man named Bob dropped back to the table with a thud.

"NO!" the man screamed. He slowly began to back up and away from the garage which closed itself up. "No! I will not stand for this! You lied to me!" The man seemed to be screaming to God now, looking towards the sky. "I will not take the blame for your evils! This is war, damn you! This is f@&ing war!"

Danny's attitudes towards the man had swung in a new direction. He began to approach the scene in order to meet the man who he might be able to call ally.

"Yes, this is war, Covenant," Danny froze in his tracks. "That is why I'm going to kill you!" The little boy's voice had changed to that of Danny's worst enemy, Tazakles! The little demon child then whipped out a scalpel from seemingly nowhere and leapt towards the man.

Danny threw a punch and allowed his arm to stretch all the way to the boy, landing a powerful blow to the side of his head. The boy went reeling and slammed into the front of the house. He then slumped over, evidently unconscious.

The man looked over to Danny and said, "Thanks a lot! You just kept a nasty dream from ending horribly."

"Yeah, sure thing. Shouldn't you be waking up now that the dream is over?" Danny asked.

The man replied, "Yes, but I don't want it to, so it won't. I've spent a lot of time learning to control and understand my dreams. Oh, by the way, my name's Allen Covenant." Allen held out a hand of greeting to Danny.

Danny took the hand and shook it. "Danny Anderson. What was this all about, with Dynamax and Tazakles voice?"

Allen looked a little surprised at Danny's recognition of Tazakels. "I used to work for Dynamax, screening Omegas before they were sent to the main labs. One of my ex-students from when I taught college, the boy you saw in there, got chosen and I went to visit him. I ended up learning a lot of nasty things about Dynamax and am currently on the run from them. Did you hear about the fun and games in Phoenix?"

"Yes," Danny replied.

"That was me." A big grin appeared on Allen's face. "I guess I'm ready to pack up and join those Omega terrorists."

This time it was Danny's turn to smile. "You're welcome any time. I'm their leader."

Allen's jaw dropped to the ground. The young man before him looked fairly mature, but Allen had spent eight years learning to recognize freshmen acting like seniors. Danny couldn't be any more than eighteen years old. "You're their leader? That explains how you got in my dreams. I've heard of Omegas who were able to dream walk."

"You probably know a lot of things about Omegas and Dynamax," said Danny. An idea was forming in his head. "I think you could be of great help, actually. Come to Chicago, I can find you there."

"I was already on my way. I've got some friends, too. One's an Omega."

"Great." Danny began to think a bit more. "You said you knew something about controlling dreams. My dream walking is totally involuntary and keeps me from sleeping. Do you think you help with that?"

Allen smiled. "Maybe. But right now, I know I could let you finish today's rest in comfort. This'll end the dream, so I guess I'll see you in Chicago."

"Yeah," said Danny, feeling more hopeful, "see you in Chicago. Later."

Allen reached out Danny, his finger becoming a sharp razor. "This'll hurt." He began cutting a sigil onto Danny's forehead and chanting. Danny winced in pain, but found himself slowly drifting into unconsciousness anyway. His last thoughts were about why a scientist was doing something so weird and magic-like.

Allen watched Danny fade away and prepared to end his own dream. As he turned around to face his old house one last time, he saw the little boy who represented Allen's worst nemisis, Dan Cheng. Blood was running down the side of his head.

"Go away," Allen said, "I've already denounced this nightmare."

A wicked grin appeared once again on the boys face. He spoke in the voice of a child. "You may have washed your hands clean of the blood Dynamax gave you, but you still have mine!"

Allen got one last look at his hands, which were indeed covered with blood. Dan leapt forward, scalpel slashing.

Issac nearly drove the car into a ditch as Allen awoke, screaming.

"Jesus, Allen! You OK?" Issac exclaimed. Maybe playing games with Allen's emotions weren't such a good idea.

"Yeah, I'm fine Issac," Allen said, calming down some. "Just one hell of a nightmare. And another reason to go to Chicago."


"I'll explain later. What time is it?"

"Uh, about six. Wanna pull over for dinner?"

A moan came the back seat of the Porche. "Yeah, and I think a hotel would be in order too."

Issac pulled into a little roadside motel. Allen jumped out of the car and yelled, "Keep an eye on Bob while I get us a room!" and ran off towards the front office.

As Allen quickly negotiated with the desk clerk, Issac helped the groggily awake Bob out of the car. "Oh, man," Bob muttered, "I feel like I just got back from a buffalo party..."

"Don't worry," Issac said, "you'll be allright." Issac hated lying.

Allen popped back out of the office with some keys. "Room 106. Get him in there QUICK!"

Just as Allen had unlocked the door and Issac was pulling Bob in, Bob noticed the state of his left arm. "Aaahhh! My arm! What the f%@k happened to my arm!"

Bob began flailing about in Issac's arm. After taking a few too powerful shots, Issac deposited Bob on to one of the beds. Bob simply grasped on to the jumble of metal and wires that used to be his left arm and stared. He looked up at the two who had brought him here and noticed Allen.

With an agonized, confused face, Bob looked at Allen. "Professor Covenant?"

Issac couldn't take it any more. "I've got to go to the John. Tell him about it Allen. You've got all the answers." He then walked off into the bathroom.

Bob watched Issac go and then looked back to Allen. He could only muster a weak smile. "Well...I said I'd come to see you." He wouldn't be able to make this into his usual stand up act.



Yes, it is I, Nergal, Tiamatt.

Do you wish to be called Tiamatt or Anubis still, master?

You remember well, my faithful servant. You are still to call me Anubis. I did know if enough of your mind was left to remember the Egyptian name.

There is still much power in me, master. As long as there is war, there is Nergal.

Yes, indeed. But your powers are being drained now, aren't they Nergal?

Indeed they are master. A mortal called Warner drains me for his own purposes.

Why do you allow this, Nergal?

He knows the bindings, master. He calls and I must come.

You need not obey his summonings any more, Nergal.

But master, Marduk-

Marduk has long since been dissipated, Nergal. In fact, even I am bound helpless, here in the prison created by that wretch Zeus

You are bound, master?

Yes. But you may aid in freeing me. In fact, you may do something I'm sure you've been wanting to so for some time now in order to help me.

What is that, master?

The next time the mortal Warner calls you, take him. Take his body and soul. Then rampage and cause great destruction.

It will be my pleasure, master.

And mine. Farewell, Nergal.

Farewell, master.

Bob simply sat there on the edge of the bed, stunned. He looked down at the cybernetic weapon Allen had given him. "Did you have to throw me out that hole?"

Allen prepared himself. These weren't going to be easy questions to answer. "No, I didn't. But the only other option would have risked filling you up with bullet holes and probably kill a lot of people."

"I would've been happy to wax a bunch of those bastards," muttered Bob. "You don't know what they did to me, do you? After you sent me off to their little lab?"


"They poked me and prodded me. They made me stand naked in a padded room while they stuck an electrically charged needle into differn't parts of my body to see which way I'd jump! Jesus Christ, it was like a goddamn medevial torture chamber! You said it woud BE ALL RIGHT!!"

Allen looked down, "I...I didn't know. I didn't want you to worry..."

"Worry about what, goddamnit? You should've let me go ahead and worry! There was sure and Hell something to worry about! Maybe I would have chickened out and bust loose earlier? Maybe I could have joined those terrorists-they certainly seem to have the right idea! But NO! I was told NOT TO WORRY!"


"Don't call me that ! I'm not your Bob, I'm the poor bastard who `won't be leading a normal life any more!' I've got project, what was it, Threlkain? I've got the goddamn project Threlkain in me now, so you can just call me what I really am - Threlkain."

Allen was silent. He had never been this close to crying since his family died.

Bob quieted down some and a huge smile grew on his face. "Just call me Threll for short," he said. "Well, professor Covenant, you've built your war machine, now you're gonna have to live with it. From now on, you'll have the corpse of what used to be Bob Warscoviak walking beside you, reminding you of the person you sold to make a machine."

Issac, who had been watching David Endorcine during this whole exchange, actually felt sorry for Allen. He wanted Allen to understand the consequences of his actions, but not be crucified for them. At least Bob, or Threll now, seemed to be accepting his new role in life. Maybe with time the bitterness would fade and everyone could forget this whole mess.

Issac and Threll prepared for sleep, each taking a bed. They had a big couple of days of driving ahead of them.

Allen simply continued to sit in his chair in the corner, silent.

It was almost five in the evening and John Mieler was ready to end his first shift. He had been requested to illustrate a comic demo by his old friend Chris and he was almost done. The hero was named Blade Runner and was more or less a rip off of Clawster from the Z-Men, only with a more positive outlook on life. John had always been a fan of Clawster so he drew Blade Runner to look a lot like himself: Slightly tall, spiked blonde hair, and lean-muscled.

He was just finishing up where Blade Runner was pummeling the villain Dr.Electron when the doorbell rang. "Who could that be," he thought. Maybe it was Chris coming to check on him.

He opened the door to a unfamiliar figure. The man was slightly tall, about six two, and was dressed in a dark grey business suit and overcoat that looked liked they came from the Victorian era. Added to that was a chin only beard, long black hair in a pony tail, and a cane.

"Mr.John Mieler," the stranger said, "I have some very important questions to ask you about an old friend of yours."

"Dear Lord, this is about Allen, isn't it?" John moaned. "Come on in and take a seat."

"I hope I am not intruding," the stranger said. His manner was as severe as the outfit he wore.

"Oh, no," said John. "If it's about Allen I think that you'll be needing all the help you can get."

"Indeed," the stranger said. He followed John over to the living room. "Before we start let me introduce myself. I am Javier Hugo, special investigator for the Dynamax corporation."

"Dynamax?" John asked. "Yeah, there's gonna be a special on you guys at five thirty. Something about that Tempest guy."

"Really?" Javier hadn't heard anything about this. "Do you mind if I stay to watch?"

"No, go right ahead," John replied. "But that's in half an hour. What was this you wanted to ask me about Allen. He's gone nuts, hasn't he?"

"You're expecting him to have gone nuts?" Javier was amazed. "We're not sure what has come over him. Have you heard about the demolition of parts of the Dynamax complex in Phoenix?"

"Yeah, it was on the news yesterday."

"Your friend Allen was responsible for both attacks. He's also kidnapped one of our patients and run away with some valueble equipment."

"I could see him blowing things up if he lost it," said John, "but not kidnapping and theft. If anything he'd turn himself in or blow himself up."

"How do you figure that...John?"

"Yeah, call me John. Well, Allen is too under control to only partially lose it. Allen ever went crazy, he'd go all the way. Stark slavering buggo!"

"Hmmm," Javier stopped to think. "Perhaps you could tell me what you know about Allen as he was growing up. You went to high school and college with him, did you not?"

"Yeah, I did," John said. "I guess I'll have to start from the beginning...

From what I understand, Allen more or less had an unspectacular childhood. Sure, he always had weird tastes, getting involved in the role playing stuff and always digging around science or computer books, but there's always one of them in a class.

I guess what was important in Allen's early life was the presence of his "best buddy" Dan Cheng. I met Dan in Junior High and High School and he was just as much of a mean little m@!$er f@#ker as Allen had always described him.

Apparently Dan dominated Allen up until junior high, berating him and attacking Allen's sense of pride the whole time. Allen never left or fought back because Dan was his best friend.

I knew who Allen was in Junior High, but we mostly went our seprate ways. All I ever saw of Allen then was his role-playing stuff, his computer and science projects, and weird rumors about other things he and Dan did. Some people said they were warlocks or something. I thought that was pretty silly.

In high school, Allen got involved in the band and completely pulled away from Dan's world into ours. He was the comedian of our band class, the weirdo who could pull the most bizarre things out of nowhere. He seemed very nice and friendly and everyone liked him, but somehow we all knew there was something else. There would be moments where he'd just suddenly stop being funny and become serious. Really serious.

It was usually when we were stoned, because that was the only time he'd let his guard down. He'd begin ranting on about the importance of truth, the amazing ability of mankind to adapt, or some other philisophical mumbo jumbo. Even when he was sober he'd go off sometimes. Usually at anyone who held any kind of supremeist attitude. Allen was firmly convinced that any normal person could take out Overman simply by natural human ingenuity.

Around his junior year in '75, Allen decided pot wasn't enough for him and he began doing LSD and other types of acid. In college I found out that it really to help his occult stuff. The guys and I eventually got him off of it and he agreed to keep his magic away from us. After that he was pretty normal. He was still a comedian and kept his serious side hidden from us, but at least he was friendly and seemed to care about people.

"Was Allen ever close to anybody?" Javier asked.

"Yes. One of his friends who eventually went to UC, Lori Ranik, was also kind of his girl friend. I think they tried to start something up after college, but I had lost touch with them and don't know how it turned out."

"Angie Ranik..." Javier remembered the name for later. "What ever became of Dan Cheng, the boy who led Allen into the Occult in the first place?"

"I don't know. He mysteriously disappeared right before graduation. Apparently he and Allen had really gotten hostile with each other, privately, of course, and the police investigated Allen. There wasn't any other evidence besides motive for him so he wasn't tried."

"What do you think happened to Dan, John?"

John paused. "I think Allen did something to him. Something magic. Whatever it was it was clean and it was efficient. Also, whenever Dan's name came up in a conversation after he disappeared, Allen would begin acting strangely. He'd just shut up, no wise cracks or philisophical musings. Yea, I'm pretty sure he did something."

The clock in the hallway rang the half hour. "Oh, the news is on. You wanted to see this, didn't you Mr.Hugo?"

"Yes, please turn it on." Javier would have to put the pieces together later. He wanted to see this.

The news showed the same old footage of the Omega they called Tempest battling the thing that attacked the school. The same old commentary about this Tempest too. It was the interview with Jarvin Tazakles that interested Javier.

"...and so, we here at Dynamax are responding to the possible dangers, both to themselves and others, that some of these Omega's pose." What? thought Javier. When did we go public on this?

"...Behind this door is a helping hand from Dynamax, in order to enable these poor souls to adjust. Behind this door is what I've taken, in my inimitable way to calling our Hazardous Activity: Various Omega Cadre, or HAVOC."

Javier was incredulous. What the Hell was Tazakles doing? The operations of Dynamax Omegas were supposed to be undercover, playing the game WITHIN the law. Tazakles had just released a bunch of vigilate comic-book heroes on the public.

Javier thanked John and left, steaming. He and all the comrades he knew of had always operated within the law. Maybe they weren't always nice but they were always legal. The law was the law and it was meant to be obeyed by everyone, human or Omega.

Javier shrugged it off. He'd have time to discuss this matter with Tazakles after he captured a certain criminal, a past drug user at that, named Covenant.

Next Issue:
The pieces fall into place.

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