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[Author's note: This takes place before the end of the Tazakles Gambit.]

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"Plenty of ways that you can hurt him bad,
and bring him to the ground.
You can beat him, you can cheat him,
you can treat him bad, and leave him
where you started.
Are we ready, it's ready for you,
I'm standing on my own two feet.
Out of the doorway, the bullets rip,
repeating to the sound of the beat."
Queen—Another One Bites The Dust

Tracy and Kierthos looked over the wreckage. They had arrived in Detriot only a few hours ago, and already it looked as though they would be leaving soon. The Colony, which they had hoped to hook up with, had been destroyed. Kierthos had led Tracy to what was left of a base, and they had both assumed it was the Colony. A few dead guys in Dynamax armor proved it.

"Christ, these bastards are everywhere." Tracy stood up. "Great, they trash the Colony before we can get here, and I can't even tell if anyone got away." Tracy looked over the rubble. Whatever had happened here was real bad. It also should have had the Detroit police swarming over the area, but there wasn't a cop car in sight.

Tracy turned to Kierthos. "Come on. Let's get out of here before any of the Dynamax goons come back."

"Too late." a voice from behind them said.

[New York City]

He entered the board room. In other times, business deals that would shake the economy of nations would happen here on a regular basis. A handful of people would trade amongst themselves the power that they believed let them rule the world. How utterly laughable.

He walked across the room, to a woman at the head of the table. She sat staring out the window, looking over the city. He briefly recalled the first time they had entered New York, or New Amsterdam as it was then known. They had thought themselves safe then. He had thought they were safe until mere hours ago.

"Yes?" she turned to look at him. "Why do you disturb me?"

"He is remembering. Soon he will remember everything."

She turned to gaze back at the city. "He must die before that ever happens. See to it."

"Of course, my lady. Your... former consort will cease to be a problem." He left the room as quickly as he had entered.

"He always has been... This time I fear nothing will stop him."

Although the tracking device had mysteriously failed in Chicago, it began to work again almost as mysteriously once Ausford left the city. Upon learning of his quarry's destination, he had called in a Dynamax power squad to assist him.

And now he had them. He had found among some ruins on the outskirts of Detroit. Once his team was in position, he revealed himself to them. In less then five minutes in would be all over, Ausford smirked.

The big one who had broken Ausford's hand off was the first to react. With sheer hatred in his eyes, he walked towards Ausford. Just he he reached Ausford, one of the hidden psi-suppresors activated, hitting Kierthos. The rest of the power squad came out of hiding and surrounded Kierthos and Tracy as more of the psi-suppresors came on line.

"You can make this even worse on yourself and resist," Ausford taunted. "Please resist."

Kierthos was bent over in pain for some reason, and Tracy realized that her Omega abilities were being neutralized. She looked around, trying to find a way to escape, when Kierthos straightened up. With a look of intense pain on his face, he started walking towards Ausford again.

"Stop him!" Ausford screamed as Kierthos approached. Two members of the squad moved in to intercept him. They each grabbed one of Kierthos' arms and tried to hold him back. As one of the psi-suppresors shorted out, they realized their mistake. Kierthos swung them into each other, and then threw them away.

Ausford realized that this unknown Omega was shorting out the psi- suppresors as it started happening. Impossible, he thought, he would have to have as much power as Tempest... Oh my god...

One of the power squad soldiers had tried to grab Tracy to use her as a hostage. Unfortunately, the last suppresor had just gone off line, and her Omega power froze him and his armor solid.

The remaining members of the power squad had reformed, and were trying to outflank Kierthos. They launched micro-missiles at him with little effect. Although the blast would knock him down, or send him flying, it had no effect on him at all. He just got up and kept coming at them. Ausford pointed his right arm at Kierthos and mentally activated the psi-mites. Designed to scramble the thought processes of the victim, they should easily drop the big one. Of course, Ausford though, the psi-suppresors should have taken care of him as well. He fired the psi-mites.

At first it seemed they had had no effect, other than getting Kierthos to notice Ausford again. While the power squad futilely battled the giant Omega, he walked towards Ausford. However, a few yards away from his target, Kierthos stumbled, the psi-mite nanotechs finally affecting him. As the Dynamax troopers moved in with catch nets, he collapsed to the ground.

As the big Omega was being tied up, Ausford looked around. The female had escaped during the confusion. No matter. She still had the micro-tracker implanted in her. It would be a simple matter to collect her later.

Ausford walked up to the captured Omega. "Well, my large friend, it can truly be said that payback is a bitch." Ausford stared into the Omega's befuddled eyes. "Because of you, I am no longer completely human. But then, you never were human..." A beep from the tracker module in his arm made him look up. The girl was returning. As the power squad scurried to repair at least one of the psi-suppresors, Ausford watched the screen, monitoring her movement.

Motioning to the squad, they aimed the jury-rigged suppresor in the direction Ausford indicated, and waited. After a few minutes had passed, Ausford became irritated. What was going on? Checking the monitor, it showed that the girl should be practically in the middle of the squad, but they couldn't see a thing. Ausford slammed the monitor to the ground and began to turn, when he felt a numbing cold run up his arm.

"Remember me, Doc?" Tracy had crept up on the bastard while they were trying to track a rat with a tracker on it. As the power squad moved towards her, weapons drawn, she grabbed Ausford's throat. "You move, he dies." She pointed at Kierthos. "Free him."

He grabbed her hands and shoved her away. "I don't think so, freak. Because of you, I'm a cyborg now. Lucky me, I had an psi-inhibitor installed in me. Your powers won't work against me." As she backed away, one of the Dynamax troopers aimed at her, and fired.

"NOOOO!!!!!!" Kierthos had looked up just to see Tracy fall to the ground. Feeling a surge of power, he ripped apart the net covering him and sprang at the nearest trooper. He punched through the armor and into the man inside. Using the dead trooper as a shield, he moved towards the other troopers. Suddenly, the air was filled with shrapnel as the dead trooper's armor exploded from within. Two more of the troopers went down under the barrage. As the smoke cleared, the remaining troopers saw Kierthos' hands glowing as he approached them. From then on it was a slaughter. Nothing the Dynamax troopers did even phased Kierthos. Ignoring the hail of gunfire that just bounced off of him, he grabbed another trooper by his gun arm, and ripped it off.

As Ausford turned and ran he heard the screams of the troopers continue. Behind him, Kierthos picked up one of them, and flung him at the retreating Ausford. They collided, both falling into one of the craters left by the death of the Colony.

As the remaining troopers started to fall back to the copters, Kierthos picked up speed and ran straight at them. In desperation, the troopers fired their incindiery grenades, which were joined by the copters Air to Ground missiles. For a minute there was nothing but the sound of several explosions and an intense wave of heat. Then, Kierthos walked out of the flames unscathed. Ripping the armor shell of one of the four remaining troopers, he flung the body back into the flames. The other three ran to the helicopter, which started taking off.

Kierthos sneered, and stared at the armor he still held in his hand. Thrusting it back into the fire, he molded it, with his bare hands, into a sword. Still glowing hot from the fire, he threw it at the moving copter. It pierced the fuel tank, and the copter exploded, the sword falling back to the ground. Kierthos retrieved it and walked back to where Tracy lay. He picked her up and walked out of the ruins.

Behind him, amidst all of the carnage, one figure pulled itself up. Ausford slowly stood up. "It's not over yet..."

[New York City]

He entered her private chambers for the second time that day. He had not wanted to enter the first time, and now he was even more nervous. "My lady, our contacts with Dynamax say that he has defeated the entire force sent out against him. And with the dissolution of Dynamax..."

"Yes. I know. that bumbling 'chessmaster' thought he had prepared for everything. No matter. Our own forces shall be able to take care of Kierthos. He may be recalling his former life, but he shall not have time to enjoy his memories. Summon my Elite Guard."

He paled momentarily, but nodded and left. The Elite Guard. The last time they had been summoned to battle for her, whole armies had fallen. But against their former general, what could even they do?

Kierthos walked towards the car and put Tracy inside. He had seen her drive it enough to pick up the basics of it. Placing the sword in the back seat . o (The sword of blood... reforged..). Holding his head in his hands, he mumbled, "Who am I?" Not finding an answer made it all the worse. Starting the car, he drove off, with one thought cycling through his mind, and without an answer for why that thought should be there.

New York City.

Ausfrod stared at the ruins of the Dynamax Detroit facility. "Well, looks like no help here." He pulled the tattered coat and hat closer to him, hiding his cybernetics. Without the tracking device he had no way to find them. And without the Detroit facility, he had no immediate help. "The Phoenix lab... have to get back there...."

Next Issue: Kierthos in New York City, and yet another almost pointless battle. This time, with the Elite Guard.

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