"You know Symm, I saw you watching me," informed Deluxe.
     "Huh?"
     "In the Hive.  And it got you all hot."
     "What?" commented Tracer.
     "AND THERE WILL COME A NEW AGE.  A NEW AGE OF PURITY AND STRENGTH," continued Gabriel to all those in attendance.  "I WILL USHER IN THIS NEW AGE.  THOSE OF MY TRIBE WHO ARE WARY OF MY CONVICTIONS SHALL SEE THE THREAT I POSE TO THE SCUM WE HAVE LIVED ALONGSIDE FOR TOO LONG....."
     "So when exactly did you create a vaccine for the Chocolate Virus?" wondered Onyx.
     "During the Play.  Right after you and Tracer left.  I went down on Venus and it just happened."
     "Did you know it would work?"
     "Well no, but I had to take the chance."
     "Like father like son," commented Tracer.  "Yer both fucked."
     Poking her clutch, Tracer revved the speeder's engine.  Foul violet rings emanated from its belly, mixing a corrosive cinnamon exhaust with the River's icy cold breeze.  The machine begged to charge forward, but continued to obey Tracer's subtle commands.
     "Whenever you're ready," informed the speeder.
     "....MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS.  IT IS TIME TO FORGET THE PAST.  IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON TO THE GLORIES OF THE FUTURE.  I DECLARE MYSELF D'VER CITY'S NEW RULER, AND SHALL PROVE MYSELF BY DEFEATING THE VERMIN TRACER.  SHE AND THOSE OF HER INFERIOR KIND SHALL BE CLEANSED FROM THIS LAND."
     "You know Symm," continued Deluxe slyly.  "I've got some personal tapes at home.  I could lend them to you when you're bored."
     "Oh, fuck off you perv."
     "Do you remember if there were cameras in the Hive?"
     "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
     "...MY MOTHER WAS WEAK.  SHE ALLOWED THE RODENTS TO MULTIPLY AGAINST HER.  SHE ALLOWED THEM TO STEAL OUR TECHNOLOGIES AND LIVELIHOODS...."
     "Well I'm just glad he did it," replied Alchemy.  "Otherwise I would have been an addict for life.  The minute Venus came in and told me what had happened, I couldn't believe it.  I had to sick him on the Queen Host herself."
     "So sailor, what made you think he could subvert the Queen?" asked Deluxe.
     "When Venus gave me the details I knew he could.  The funny thing now hahahaha, is that he's gotta bed the others to free them as well.... starting with Trifle I hope."
     "NOOOOOO WAAAAAAY!!!!" blasted Tracer.
     "That's just not fair," grumbled Deluxe jealously.
     "Yeah, that's all I need."
     "...AND ONCE I HAVE ELIMINATED TRACER, WE SHALL ALL ATTACK HER FATHER AND REDUCE THE GUILD TO THE GARBAGE THEY TRULY ARE.  THESE ARE WORDS OF WAR MY COUSINS.  THESE ARE WORDS THAT WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY!"
     "What the fuck is this guy talking about?"
     "He says he's gonna beat you and lead the city to some glory of his own designs," informed Dream.
     Tracer shook her head.  "HEY ASSHOLE!  YOU GONNA FIGHT OR YOU GONNA RUN THAT FUCKEN MOUTH OF YOURS ALL DAY?  NO ONE BELIEVES THIS SHIT YER SPEWING.  I'M GONNA REVERT YOU TO CARBON MOTHERFUCKER, SO LET'S SAY YOU REV UP THAT SHITBOX YER PREACHING FROM AND GET THIS OVER WITH!"
     Gabriel starred out towards the previously quiet crew.
     "Haha, look at 'im.  What a fucken clown," mocked Deluxe.  "HEY PUNK!  How's bout you just walk back on home, before we make a fucken EXAMPLE outta YOU!"
     Gabriel's face flushed in anger.  Revving the engine loudly, he blew sand into the air.  "You are dead vermin!"
     Tracer sped forward.  Her plan was to attack hard and not let up.  No fun and games.  The crowd roared like a lion as the two intersected.
     Seconds before impact Tracer's speeder strobed and bewildered Gabriel's.  Trying to regain control his machine went wild and veered wide.  The crowd applauded.  Tracer arced right and began circling for another rush at her opponent.  Her speeder sheered forward gaining an incredible momentum.
     "Target is disoriented."
     Still fooling with the controls, Gabriel panicked.  The machine skipped and jumped forward and backward, pounding the sandy beach around him.  Standing his ground, he fired a barrage of shells in Tracer's direction.  Even with the sandstorm around him, his aim was true.
     Tracer spun her machine, easily deflecting each round into the grains below, but losing her attack's initiative.
     "Fucken little shit," she cursed under her breath.  Calling for weaponry, three mini cannons revealed themselves from their alloy compartments.  Twirling and whining, they took aim.  As the speeder released its own volley, Gabriel regained control and sped away. 
     Tracer's shells however followed closely behind, gaining inch by atmospheric inch.  Changing his course, Gabriel sped out over the River's calm waves, inciting a turbulent wake.  Hoping to lose some of the bullets, he swerved towards last week's motor boat wreckage.  Diving downwards, he plunged his machine deep into the shimmering water, losing the majority of the shells as they pelted the junkboat.  The remainder of the bullets failed to keep up in the denser medium.
     "Zero damage inflicted."
     Tracer watched as Gabriel surfaced.  He wasn't a very good rider.  A seasoned fighter would have met the bullets head on without running from them.  Or maybe he had another plan?  Tracer flipped the clutch and belted forwards, maintaining her preference for the sandy shore.  Speeding beneath the overpass' silver bridgework revealed an assembly of media crews apparently filming the event.  They must have just arrived.
     Affected by the sudden realization that millions could be watching, she slowed her speeder to a halt and turned to watch Gabriel collecting himself.  Battling before even the largest live crowd never bothered her, but for some reason the presence of cameras was unnerving her.  This was being recorded.  Her father was probably watching it somewhere.  Maybe Halogen had notified him.  Maybe he noticed the yellow feathers fixed in her hair.
     Charging forward onto the River, she pushed the thoughts from her mind.  Take down Gabriel.  He was an error.  Correct the error.
     "Get ready to take control," she informed the speeder.
     "Affirmative."
     Adjusting positions, the opponents rushed eachother at incredible speeds on an almost suicidal collision course.  Two optically guided missiles dislodged from Gabriel's machine, hovering menacingly at each side.  Blasting forward they fixated on Tracer, billowing smoke from their tails.  Tracer stood calm, maintaining her approach.
     At the instant of contact, her speeder's mini-cannon's assaulted the missiles with countermeasures.  Audiosonic frequency generators overloaded the fallout and protected her from the concussive debris.  As Gabriel's own mini cannons unsheathed to deliver a secondary assault, Tracer trustingly released her grip on her vehicle's controls.  His mini cannon's shells tore open the left side of Tracer's speeder as she herself unloaded a hellfire inferno from her yearning fists.  Gabriel screamed in agony as he fell backwards off his flaming bike and into the cold water.
     "Defence systems still functional.  Repair systems damaged.  Target defence systems reconfiguring.  Target down."
     Grinding her teeth and blocking the pain in her now wounded leg, she spun back towards the cameras.  Summoning her feathers, they sailed to her palms, igniting on contact.  They dove into the murky water, disappearing from sight. 
     As she reached the media crew she revved down.  Rings shuttered outwards as the speeder blew exhaust down into the water.  Motioning for the cameras, the surprised crew quickly took this honoured opportunity to capture Tracer's comments.  Hovering down from the bridge they met her at water level.
     "Do you have anything to say?" asked the jittery reporter.
     Tracer remained calm, fingering the controls on her speeder.  The speeder descended slightly into the water.  "You shouldn't be filming this.  You're endangering yourselves."
     The reporter turned to his friends and laughed.  "Sometimes the risks are worth the rewards."
     "Opponent has remounted."
     "Excellent."  Checking Gabriel's position once again, Tracer revved the engine and jumped forward.  "You'll be getting some comments from Gabriel now.  I guarantee it," she finished with a smile and sped for shore.
     Tracer lowered her bike into the sand and propped her injured leg onto the seat.  Pulling some archaic medical supplies from the first aid kit, she pumped a local aesthetic into her leg.  Returning the syringe, she removed a wad of material and wound her leg tightly.
     "I'll rewire yer repair programs in a bit kiddo."
     "No problem," replied the speeder.  "Damage is acceptable."
     "So what was it like living in the Palace."
     "Interesting."
     "Betcha they had a lot of nice toys huh?"
     "Affirmative."
     "Yeah, well when this is all over, we'll see about getting you modified.  How's that sound?"
     "Solid."
     Tracer laughed and watched onward, knowing her little media trick would buy some time, if not change the entire course of the joust entirely.  She knew Gabriel wouldn't resist gloating and preaching to the cameras.  That kind of weakness was going to cost him.
     Gabriel sped up to the crew in seconds, eager to promote himself.  Setting the speeder in standby, he took Tracer's former position before the cameras.
     "Kiss it goodbye," smirked Tracer.  A second later, plumes of water burst upward as the feathers gutted the speeder's hull.  Having switched his bike's defences forward to compensate for the hellfire's damage, he weakened that of the vehicle's underbelly.  Burrowing their way to the speeder's core, it finally exploded, sending both the reporter and Gabriel reeling.
     "Target destroyed."
     The reporter was dead.  Gabriel had suffered multiple lacerations, but his thousand medical drones were already working on the mechanical damage.  Kicking her speeder into high gear, she belted out across the water, tunnelling straight towards him.  Her mini cannons glared at their downed opponent as she spun the machine alongside Gabriel.  His protective magnetic field woozily appeared around him. Tracer opened fire, assaulting the defence mechanism.  Within seconds the three gun barrage had diminished the barrier and exposed the cybernetic cripple inside.
     The lemon feathers returned, whirling protectively around her.  She grabbed Gabriel's bobbing body and dragged him towards the junkboat wreckage, prepared for a possible attack.  Heaving him onto the twisted metal, Gabriel withdrew his revolver.  Aiming at her injured leg, the feathers attacked both weapon and bullets.
     "You know you still haven't won," he spat from his wounded face.  "You still don't know why the Artifact overloaded.  Hahahahaha."
     "It doesn't matter anymore, cuz yer dead."
     Extending her arm, hellfire blazed from her fists.  The putrid smell itself blasted Gabriel and he cringed.  He closed his eyes in defeat.  Firing a steady stream, she unleashed the program on the drones, killing all but one.  Reaching back she released an small blade from its shoulder sheath.  Fastening the weapon to the back of her wrist she secured its lethal position.
     "It's not over."
     "Look in the mirror."
     Repeatedly stabbing the weapon into his head, she cracked through his skullcap and destroyed the cortex inside.  Consumed by fire, the exposed wound billowed sparks.  The magnesium bursts induced a violent light show.
     No more errors.