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This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Steelheart. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book. Similar summaries will be completed about future books in The Reckoners series.
- Plot Summary
David Charleston (who is eight years old at the time) and his father visit First Union Bank. The bank is an extremely large building fashioned with revolving glass doors and a multitude of cubicles and hallways. During their visit, David's father is speaking with a mortgage man and negotiating payments. In the midst of their conversation, David notices an epic dressed in a black business suit stroll casually through the bank's entrance. Initially, no one pays the man much attention. Then, the newcomer raises a finger, and with a nonchalant tapping motion, causes a nearby woman and her clothes to vaporize instantaneously into dust. Then screams begin to sound and the epic, who eventually introduces himself as "Deathpoint", continues to massacre people at random within the bank chamber. During his slaughter, Deathpoint remarks to the victims how he decided to rob a bank that morning and came to the realization that money is worthless to him, as he can take anything he pleases. And since killing humans is "extremely inconvenient", he decided to strike fear in the people instead, so that no one would dare challenge him from any future requests or favors. While Deathpoint continues to kill the people one-by-one, Steelheart bursts onto the bank's floor and asks Deathpoint, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?". Deathpoint is dumbfounded and fearful at Steelheart's arrival and begins to stammer. Deathpoint then tries to harm Steelheart by pointing a finger at him, but his attempted attack appears to be futile. Steelheart tells Deathpoint that he has claimed dominance over the people of Chicago and that Deathpoint may be a subservient epic to him. Then, enforcement and police officers arrive on the scene and begin shooting at the two epics. Deathpoint hides behind Steelheart in the midst of the fire-fight and prepares to try and kill Steelheart again, from behind. Before the officers entered, David's father managed to scramble into a nearby cubicle and obtain a pistol from one of the fallen bank guards. When all of the enforcement had been killed, Deathpoint raised a finger to Steelheart, directly behind him. David's father reacted instinctively, and shot Deathpoint cleanly through the forehead. He dropped and Steelheart turned to see where the shot had come from. In that moment, a huge realization came over David, his father, and Steelheart. The bullet had grazed Steelheart's cheek while passing by and blood was seeping from the small cut. Steelheart stared at his own blood in horror, and then proceeded to break David's father's ribs with an energy blast and shot him in the chest with the same pistol that had killed Deathpoint. Wild with rage, and in an effort to make sure no one would be able to speak of seeing the blood, Steelheart transfused every inanimate object in the entire building into steel. David, after seeing the transfusion, hid within the steel vault of the bank. The vault provided ample protection during the collapse, and a rescue worker was able to get him out later that day. So as to keep himself safe from Steelheart's knowledge, David fakes his own death while being removed from the remains. David leaves the scene when the rescue worker goes to search for more bodies, just in time, as Steelheart returns with Faultline to bring the building crashing down and bury it in a massive pile of dust and rubble. David then runs away from the site and vows to gain vengeance in the name of his father and to do all in his power to see Steelheart bleed again. Later that day, Steelheart performs the Great Transfersion, transforming most of Chicago, and part of Lake Michigan into steel. Steelheart later builds his palace on the lake.
- Plot Summary
10 years later, David hurries through the understreets of Newcago, which is in perpetual darkness thanks to Nightwielder. He climbs up some stairs to the overstreets, coming out near the Reeve Playhouse. Quickly ducking into an alleyway, he starts to watch the Playhouse. He's relieved when people start pouring out, indicating he was on time, with a play having just finished. Fortuity, a High Epic with precognition powers, walks out of the building, dressed in a red suit with a cape and with a woman on each arm. David waits impatiently, based on intelligence from an informant named Bilko, expecting the Reckoners, a resistance group dedicated to killing Epics, to attempt to kill Fortuity. David's musings are interrupted when a woman in a red dress approaches Fortuity, distracting him from his present company and seemingly encouraging him to join her at a nearby dance club. The woman leads him towards a dark, empty alley which would serve as a shortcut to the dance clubs, when Curveball, an epic whose guns never run out of ammo, interrupts them. As he keeps on gesturing back to the Playhouse, David guesses that Curveball is summoning Fortuity, and that if Fortuity went with Curveball, it would ruin the Reckoners plans. Not wanting to miss the opportunity of meeting the Reckoners, he decides to help out.
- Plot Summary
David runs up to the two epics and the woman and pretends to have been sent by Spritzer, the man who runs the playhouse. He tells Curveball that Spritzer said to call him back, to not bother Fortuity. They believe David and so David starts walking to the Playhouse with Curveball. Curveball asks David which team he's in, and David gives him a name of a known team leader, Eddie Macano, unaware that Curveball had witnessed his death two days before.
- Plot Summary
David flees as Curveball draws a handgun and starts shooting at him, until Fortuity tells him to stop. Fortuity is in handcuffs, as part of the Reckoner's trap. Megan Tarash, the woman in the red dress, shoots Curveball and draws her weapon on David, but he convinces her that he is not with the Epics. Megan radios Tia to blow up the Reeve Playhouse, and she does, then tells David to stay where he is. The Reckoners set off a series of bombs to lead Fortuity into their trap. As Megan chases Fortuity, some thugs with machine guns appear, aiming at Megan. David draws his rifle and aims at them.
- Plot Summary
David kills three of the thugs with three shots, but the fourth thug escapes. David then catches up with Megan, who is pursuing Fortuity, and takes a shot but misses, and tries to have Megan help him lead Fortuity into a checkmate scenario which would nullify his Epic power. David steals a car and tries to stop Fortuity from escaping Megan but he shows superhuman reflexes by leaping onto the windshield then off the back of the moving car. David stops the car, and Fortuity returns to go after David, but he is shot in the chest.
- Plot Summary
Fortuity falls dead from a bullet wound. David realizes that Megan fired both his rifle and her pistol at the same time, cutting off Fortuity's path of escape somehow and nullifying his power. A dozen thugs show up, firing Uzis and forcing Megan and David to take cover in the car. Megan throws a grenade disguised as a tube of lipstick at them, injuring some, and giving them time to escape. They encounter a garbage truck driven by a Reckoner, Prof, and Megan and David get onboard. There are three other Reckoners beside the driver: Abraham, Cody, and Tia. As they ride along, the Reckoners debrief Megan. They abandon the garbage truck since it is now compromised. They enter the understreets and weave along a circuitous route for an hour to make sure they are not being followed, then stop to confront David.
- Plot Summary
The Reckoners submit David to scan and blood tests to verify that he is not an Epic. They then interrogate David about how he learned how they were going to take down Fortuity, and he explains that he used rumors and logic. David then tells them that he was there to join the Reckoners, but they tell him that they aren't recruiting and that they don't want to see him again, and Prof says they are just killing Epics, not changing the world.
- Plot Summary
As the Reckoners walk away, David shouts at them that they are negligent and cowards for not going after the upper echelon Epics like Steelheart, but they ignore him. He then says that he saw Steelheart bleed, and this gives them pause. David tells the story of the day he met Steelheart in full detail, which he had never revealed before due to the deadly secret that it contained. The Reckoners discuss his story and decide that it fits with what they know of events from that day. They interrogate David further and he deduces their next target, which impresses and alarms them. Prof changes plans and tells his team that they will instead remain in Newcago, in a safehouse known as Hole Fourteen. During the discussion, David realizes Prof's identity: Jonathan Phaedrus, the founder of the Reckoners.
- Plot Summary
As they walk to the safehouse, Prof tired of David's constant questions, and tells Megan to keep an eye on him while the others walk ahead of them.
David tries unsuccessfully to flirt with her, and she refuses to reveal any top secret information about the Reckoners, but she does ask questions about his life and background and about the Newcago area. David mentions that he left notebooks filled with his research on Epics and the Reckoners in his flat, and Megan realizes that the woman whose car he stole could identify him to Enforcement, which could compromise all of them.
- Plot Summary
Prof orders Cody and Abraham to blow up David's flat before Enforcement can get their hands on the notebooks, but David argues successfully that there is valuable intelligence that will help their own mission. Prof orders Megan and Cody to accompany David to retrieve the notebooks if it is safe, or destroy them otherwise.
They arrive near his flat, and Megan suspects a trap, which David confirms when he spies a shimmering garbage bin that is an illusion created by an Epic named Refractionary. David convinces them to ignore Prof's orders and retrieve the notebooks despite the trap. David tells them he has a smoke grenade in his flat that he can use to neutralize Refractionary's powers, and that he will spring the trap.
- Plot Summary
David enters his flat, which he intentionally leaves messy to make himself appear as a lazy teenager, and retrieves an emergency backpack and his notebooks. He wonders if he should have brought these items along when he went to meet the Reckoners. Three Enforcement officers, of a standard core of five including a sniper and epic, run into the flat to arrest David. David explains that he was just following Fortuity out of curiousity but is told that he is in trouble due to the death of the Epic. The officers rifle through David's possessions and find his notebooks. David recognizes the voice of Roy, one of the officers who worked in the same munitions factory as David, and Roy vouches for David's "hobby" of following the exploits of Epics. Cody shoots two of the officers, fatally wounding one, and David shoots Roy in the legs to incapacitate but not kill. David deduces that the sniper is already dead. David sets off his smoke grenade but it doesn't have any effect since Refractionary isn't inside the flat. He takes Roy's cell phone and dials Refractionary's phone number from the contacts list, and this enables Megan to locate and kill the invisible Epic.
- Plot Summary
David checks on the Enforcement officers, then retrieves his notebooks, and his folders on Steelheart, Nightwielder, Firefight and Conflux. Roy says that David is working for the Reckoners, but David makes up a cover story about working for an Epic named Limelight who is coming to take over Newcago from Steelheart, and that Roy should leave his job while it is safe to do so. David sets his bed on fire and leaves to escape with Cody and Megan as Enforcement helicopters arrive on the scene. Megan berates David for leaving the two officers alive but he explains that they will throw their superiors off their trail with his cover story, and Cody agrees that they aren't the real enemy.
David removes the battery from his cell phone as a precaution at the advice of Cody, who doesn't trust the Knighthawk Foundry. As they return to the safehouse, Cody and David speculate about Prof's background prior to the rise of Calamity. Cody tells David about their protective jackets and the tensors that Prof developed after experimenting on Epics that allows them to disintegrate non-organic materials. They arrive at the safehouse and Prof seizes David's notebooks to assess their value.
- Plot Summary
Cody and Tia express admiration for David's research notes, and Tia inquires about his methods of classification, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of his system. Cody comments that David needs to have a life outside of killing Epics, but Prof disagrees with this sentiment. They debate about whether attacking low-level Epics like Fortuity really achieves anything. Tia inquires about a unique photograph of Nightwielder appearing corporeal while in daylight standing next to Steelheart on the Day of Annexation.
David claims they can defeat Steelheart but Megan argues that it would be impossible. Prof interjects and tells them to go with him, and leads them to a room where a device called an imager shows a projected view of Newcago on the wall, and tells David that if he wants them to execute his plan, that he would have to persuade Megan that it is doable.
- Plot Summary
Megan and Cody raise several important obstacles to defeating Steelheart, including the difficulty in locating him, and his array of abilities. David says that one part of his plan is luring Steelheart into a duel, which would resolve the issue of finding him. He then states that he would take out Enforcement by going after their leader, Conflux, who is a gifter that uses his abilities to power the officers' power suits and weapons. They pause their meeting to watch Reinforcement, a pre-recorded daily broadcast by Steelheart. They watch as a video plays showing Steelheart blowing up several inhabited buildings with energy blasts. The video motivates Prof to agree to David's plan.
- Plot Summary
Cody and Tia verbally spar as David trains with a tensor. Cody says that he was a police officer in Nashville, but left his job after the Epics took over and corrupted the police department. Tia says that she is researching what happened when Steelheart was shot so that she can determine what Steelheart's weakness is. Prof shows up and tells David to accompany Abraham and Megan to a weapons dealer.
- Plot Summary
David, Megan and Abraham are accosted by a gang as they traverse the steel catacombs. Abraham challenges one of the gang members to a duel, and he accepts, then shoots Abraham three times, though the bullets are deflected by his jacket. Abraham shoots his opponent in the leg, dropping him, then bandages the man's wound and advises the thugs that they would be better off as allies.
After they walk away, Abraham reveals that he was slightly injured by a bullet fragment, since the jackets are not completely bullet-proof. He adds that this incident will probably lead to rumors of them being Epics, which would augment their plot against Steelheart. As they walk, they theorize on what Steelheart's weakness may be. They arrive at Diamond's shop which is guarded only by a young girl.
- Plot Summary
David, Abraham and Megan are the first customers to Diamond's shop since his recent arrival. They browse the arsenal, looking for weapons that can mimic the powers of an Epic. Diamond shows David a video of the detonation of a stealth explosive disguised as a bottle of water. David tells Megan that he doesn't like being called a nerd because all the smart kids in his factory ended up working as Steelheart's corporate employees. Abraham purchases a gauss gun which fires charged explosive projectiles and a pen activated stealth explosive, in exchange for four DNA data samples from harvested Epics and a data chip. David smells an odor similar to garlic and realizes that Nightwielder is there.
Abraham says that Nightwielder knows him by sight, so that they must avoid encountering him if possible, and he goes to try to use a tensor to dig an escape tunnel in a remote part of the corridor from the "entrance" to the store. David wields Abraham's gun as Nightwielder and several Enforcement officers appear. They are disappointed in what Diamond shows them, and Nightwielder notices a blank space on the wall where the gauss gun was, and inquires about it. Diamond tries to claim customer confidentiality but then Nightwielder is distracted by a noise Megan makes. David tells them to continue and that he was going to improvise to create a distraction.
David leaves his hidden location with Abraham's gun, alarming Nightwielder and his companions, and plays the part of a store employee, telling Diamond that he fixed a non-existent defect on the gun, and replacing it on the wall in the empty spot where the gauss gun was. Nightwielder asks David to explain the specifications on Abraham's gun and another one, which he does easily.
Nightwielder buys Abraham's gun and orders more like it, and asks for forensics tools which Diamond stocks just for him. David reads the specifications for one of the forensics kits to figure out if it has an ultraviolet scanner since he thinks that Nightwielder is vulnerable to UV radiation, and finds that it does, then contrives to test this hypothesis by turning on the scanner and pointing it at Nightwielder, knowing that this could mean his death.
Nightwielder immediately turns to face David, but David pretends that he is focused on making the device work and not aware of the Epic. David had activated the recording function of the device and conceals and removes the data chip containing the recording. David then pretends to notice Nightwielder watching him for the first time. Nightwielder destroys the scanner but leaves David unscathed, and David says he will return to the back of the store to continue inventory. He finds the newly dug tunnel, joining Abraham and Megan, and explains about selling Abraham's gun. They travel through the tunnels before stopping to verify they aren't being followed. David plays the video from the recording chip, showing Nightwielder become corporeal from exposure to the UV light, which impresses Abraham greatly but angers Megan due to the risk.
David meets with Prof and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of David's plan to kill Steelheart. The plan is modified to attack the infrastructure of Newcago rather than minor Epics, as a psychological ploy to deceive Steelheart. David suggests they attack the power grid so that they can also steal a power cell for their gauss gun, and Prof agrees. Prof is impressed by David's discovery about Nightwielder but also warns him not to get any Reckoners killed out of recklessness.
David partners with Megan on the mission to destroy Newcago's power plant. David uses a tensor to break through the outer wall. They plan to tunnel through the offices to stay out of the hallways to avoid the guards and security cameras, then leave explosives to cover up the tensor holes. They improvise their plan to steal energy cells by taking a different path to avoid civilian casualties. As they wait for an opportune moment to ride on top of an elevator, David confronts Megan about her constant criticism of his tendency to improvise since it seems to be a standard practice for the Reckoners and about her general negative attitude toward him, but she doesn't answer his questions. Cody tells them to scrap the plan after no elevator shows up, but David decides to improvise by using the tensors to make handholds so they can climb up the elevator shaft. As they climb, Megan reveals that she doesn't like how David changed the team dynamics of the Reckoners and that she wants to kill some Epics but not Steelheart due to the stability he brought to Newcago. Megan tells of how her home city, Portland, was turned into a wasteland and how she doesn't want that to happen in Newcago. As they climb, Cody alerts them to trouble, and one of the elevator doors opens above them, and two guards look inside the elevator shaft.
The guards look down and shine a flashlight into the shaft but though they hear some noises, they don't see David and Megan. David accidentally blasts a hole in the wall and discovers a room which the two of them enter. David discovers it is not on the building schematic and Megan says it is locked with a code secured door. They remove some data chips and documents then proceed on their original mission, though they have to rush now since Prof and Abraham had to kill some guards. They grab some power cells, and take lab coats to use as disguises for their escape. Their explosives start blowing up, and David and Megan enter the corridor wearing the lab coats and fake security badges, hoping to escape in the chaos. Megan tells a guard that an Epic was using energy blasts. The Reckoners also detonate explosives that distributed leaflets proclaiming their invented Epic, Limelight, was calling out Steelheart. After the building is evacuated, the Reckoners set off the remaining explosives, but the building doesn't collapse until David detonates his pen activated bomb.
Prof informs the crew that they were successful in their disinformation campaign about Limelight since there are rumors spreading throughout Newcago about the imaginary Epic. He also says that the data chips they obtained at the Power Plant contained information about a propaganda campaign that Steelheart is apparently running to make himself seem evil. The Reckoners debate about the potential negative effects of killing Steelheart on the city of Newcago. Abraham tells David that he is one of the Faithful, a group of people who believe that good Epics will appear.
David seeks out Megan to continue their discussion about the ethics and realities of their plan to kill Steelheart. Megan says that Epics are a test on humanity to see how they would react to being given powers. Cody shows up and gives David a flashlight with a UV bulb in case Nightwielder discovers their hideout. David tells Megan and Cody that their assumptions about Firefight are incorrect, and that Firefight is really an illusion Epic, not a fire Epic, and shows them evidence to support this theory. Tia appears and says that the bank vault that David hid in has been located.
The Reckoner crew travel to where the surprisingly intact bank vault had sunk down to, via tunnels that they created with the tensors. David has flashbacks about that day, and finds his father's remains, turned to steel. David becomes convinced that it was his father, and not anything else contained in the vault, that was related to Steelheart's weakness. Despite this, they decide to search all the safety deposit boxes to look for clues about Steelheart.
The crew looks over the contents of the safety deposit boxes to try to determine if anything could have been the cause of Steelheart's weakness. They decide to keep the gold to fund their future activities. Abraham retrieves the gun that was used to shoot Steelheart, since it may still be in working order, and gives it to David. Prof feels that Steelheart is not reacting the way they want him to regarding Limelight, so he decides their next step is to take out Conflux.
Tia uses their city surveillance to find a convoy that might be transporting Conflux, and the rest of the crew goes to intercept it. Megan is nervous but relaxes after David says that he feels like a brick made of porridge. They intercept the convoy at a red light and determine with a dowser that there is a powerful Epic present. David makes eye contact with a woman who he had seen before, Nightwielder's assistant, but she didn't seem to recognize him. David states it might be a trap, and then Nightwielder himself flies out of the top of the limousine.
Nightwielder pursues their van, but David shines his UV flashlight at the Epic, who then flees in fear. The motorcyclists in the convoy start firing at the van, and an Enforcement helicopter shows up, but is shot down by Prof. Four more choppers show up, and the first one crashes down causing their van to collide with a building and stop moving. They determine that Conflux is still in the limousine. They abandon the van, and ride off on motorcycles that were in the cargo compartment. Cody and Abraham take their own cycles, and David rides shotgun with Megan. Abraham is hit by a bullet and Megan creates a diversion so that he can escape. Prof keeps shooting down helicopters and Enforcement reacts as if there is a major insurrection occurring. Megan ends up in a dead end alley but David uses the gauss gun to blow a hole in the wall in front of them.
Megan and David escape through the now demolished wall. Tia directs them to a building that leads to a tunnel in a flood gully. They encounter a helicopter en route and David shoots it down but falls off the cycle, but is protected from serious harm by his jacket. The gauss gun is shattered however. Cody is able to capture Conflux, who was tied up in the trunk of the limousine, and told to bring him to bolt-hole seven. Megan and David almost escape, but their cycle is blasted by gunfire and crashes.
David is ripped free of the cycle as his leg hits the ground, while Megan gets pinned under it as it hits the wall of the tunnel. David is surprised to still be alive. David sees two Enforcement men exit an alcove they'd driven past. He gets angry when he hears one of them chuckle, knowing they assumed David and Megan were dead or no longer had any fight in them. He uses his pistol to shoot four shots into the pair of them. Not thinking to check to make sure he had killed them, he gets up, though he is in pain. He checks on Megan, who is badly injured with a broken arm, and had blood the length of her side. He checks to see if she's breathing still, and then checks for a pulse, which he finds. Tia warns him that Enforcement know where he is and are converging on him. He decides he has to move Megan. He wraps his jacket around his injured leg, finding the pen detonator and blasting caps as he does so. Setting one of the caps on the fuel cell of the cycle, he picks Megan up, and starts to walk down the tunnel. Prof tells him that help is coming. David reaches the end of the tunnel, coming to an intersection, and can hear Enforcement coming. He uses the detonator, and hears shouts as the cycle explodes. He heads left at the crossroads, and walks for around five minutes before reaching a dead end. He finds some cover, and lays Megan down. Tia contacts him, but is interrupted when her position is threatened. Enforcement realizes David's down the end of the tunnel when Prof then tells David to try and use the tensor, even though it has been broken. He tries it as Enforcement calls out for him to surrender, and while he feels something, it doesn't work. Prof tells him to hold out. David tells Prof to go to Tia. Prof tells him Tia will be fine, and that David has to hold out a bit longer. David sees the officers slowly advancing towards him. He uses Megan's gun to make them scatter, though they then return fire at him. As he fires back at the officers, when he can, he talks to Megan. He apologizes for letting her down, saying she deserved to live, even if he didn't. He continues that he thinks he fell in love with her on the first day. He comments that a month ago, he would have just left her by the cycle, but he thanks her for making him care about something other than Steelheart. He prepares to go out firing his gun, beginning to stand as one of the soldiers yells 'fire', when the ceiling melts. Prof drops through, with Tensors on each hand. As the soldiers start firing, Prof uses the tensors to destroy the bullets as approach him. He runs at the soldiers, using the Tensors to disintegrate their armor as he attacks, cutting a sword out of steel in the middle of the fight. The fight is soon over, with the soldiers surrendering. Prof tells them that he is Limelight, and gives them a challenge to convey to Steelheart - he threatens to dismantle the city bit by bit unless Steelheart comes out and fights him. Prof turns to David, telling him forcefully to get Megan. David complies and follows Prof through a tunnel he makes in the ground.
Tia asks Abraham for more blood as she works to try and save Megan. While she had bandaged and stitched wounds, Megan had internal injuries that worried Tia. Abraham retrieves the blood and hooks it up to the equipment at Tia's request. Abraham and Tia wonder why the Harmsway doesn't work, commenting it was just like the tensors, which never worked for Megan either. David hears beeps of from the equipment monitoring Megan's pulse start to fade, and gets up to go get Prof. Tia tells him Prof can't help here. David sits again, closing Megan's eyes, before she then flatlines. Tia tells him that she's gone, that there was nothing more she could have done, and that even if she'd been able to work on her immediately after the crash, it still might not even have been enough. Prof appears, asking if Megan's gone. Tia nods, and so Prof tells them to pack up - they are abandoning the base, as it has been compromised. David covers Megan with a blanket, leaving her face exposed, and goes to pick up the body, determined to make sure her body is cared for, but Prof tells him to leave it. Prof tells David to focus on getting vengeance on Steelheart. He instructs David to gather his notes, and pack up the imager, that they're leaving in ten minutes, and destroying everything left behind.
They exit through a tunnel Prof cuts into the hideout, setting off a blast in the hideout, burning everything inside. An hour later, Tia drops back to talk to David about how he's doing. Not wanting to talk about Megan, he asks about Prof, why he seems different. Tia tells him that Prof has bad memories attached to the tensors, that he hates them and is mad with himself, not David. Eventually they reach the new bolt-hole, which is a lot smaller than the previous one. Cody meets them there, helping to carry the equipment up into the main chamber. As David sets up his bedroll to get some sleep, Tia suggests hooking him up to the Harmsway, but David tells her "I'll live", lies down, and begins to cry.
Steelheart broadcasts a challenge to Limelight to pick and time and place for them to battle. The Reckoners crew are in their new bolt-hole. Conflux wakes up. They interrogate him, and he reveals his name is Edmund Sense , and states that he is a captive who did not work willingly for Steelheart, and he demonstrates his powers to prove his identity. Prof orders Conflux to withdraw all the power that he has gifted, or be executed, and Conflux complies.
Conflux speaks of his past and how he was unable to gift his power to his first master, Bastion, or to any other Epic that he has tried with. David thinks that Edmund is far from the typical arrogant Epic. David rejoins the crew, and watches on as Tia powers up a databad from a stolen fuel cell, since the rest of the city is undergoing a total power outage due to Conflux. David suggests they choose Soldier Field, a football stadium, to fight Steelheart at, since it would reduce the chance of civilian casualties. They decide to go ahead with their plan even without knowing Steelheart's weakness, though they discuss the likely possibilities and plan to increase their chances as much as possible. Prof reveals that they have Diamond in custody for his own protection. Prof tells Tia to send a message to Steelheart to prepare for battle in three days.
The Reckoners use tensors to dig tunnels around Soldier Field, and they also setup explosives beneath the playing surface as well. Prof apologizes for snapping at David, saying that usage of the tensors affects him mentally. Prof reveals that he was a fifth-grade school teacher before Calamity, and that he was not the inventor of the tensors and the harmsway like everyone assumes. The team works until their preparations are complete, then they summon Steelheart.
David moves into position in the third deck of the stadium stands. Abraham sets off a series of green fireworks to signal Steelheart. An Enforcement convoy appears at the stadium. David says that he thinks he sees someone in the upper stands but no one else can locate anyone. Steelheart finally arrives, landing in the center of the stadium with Nightwielder and Firefight. Cody fires at Steelheart from a sniper position.
Cody's shot hits Steelheart in the side of the head but causes no harm. Enforcement starts firing at the UV floodlights and Nightwielder goes after David. David flees down a rope into a restroom. He then moves around inside the stadium, and encounters Megan.
Nightwielder tries to capture David with his shadow tendrils but David dodges them. The other Reckoners fight off their foes, and an explosion goes off. David says he saw Megan, but the others think that it was an illusion and that means that Firefight is also going after David. They discover that crossfire is not Steelheart's weakness, and tell David to execute phase four, which is for him to shoot Steelheart personally. David sees an image of Megan, but it is able to mimic her very well and when he grabs it, it turns out to be real. Then the hallway explodes.
David realizes that Steelheart might have taken Megan's mobile phone and is listening to their discussions. He tells Cody that he is going to a restroom, but instead hides nearby outside of it in a tunnel dug out by his tensor. He sees Megan nearby, trapped by fallen debris and calling for help. Nightwielder leaves the bathroom, searching for David, and tries to call David out. David leaves his hiding spot, hitting Nightwielder with bullets and UV light, killing him. Megan appears behind David, with a gun, and says that she never liked Nightwielder. David realizes that she was Firefight all along. Megan seems to be having memory problems. She tells David that she is on her own side, not Steelheart's, though she doesn't deny when David accuses her of betraying the Reckoners to Steelheart. Megan runs off, and David goes to the field to join the battle against Steelheart.
David reports that Nightwielder is down and Firefight is out of action. Tia wants them to abort the mission but Prof, who has been growing more irrational over the course of the battle, refuses. David reaches the field and sees Prof dodging constant energy blasts from Steelheart, and returning ineffective fire. David sees a soldier get the drop on Cody and tries to stop him but is too late as Cody is badly injured with several bullet wounds. Abraham carries Cody to their escape chopper, and tells David to leave but he still wants to try shooting Steelheart. David eludes several officers who were chasing him, and tracks down Steelheart and fires three bullets from his father's gun from close range at the Epic.
The bullets bounce off Steelheart, who sends a blast at David but misses. Steelheart walks up to David and recognizes him from the bank. Prof tackles Steelheart from behind, but Steelheart fights him off, and crushes his skull with two punches, leaving him apparently dead. David tells Tia to flee and that Prof was dead and that he cannot escape. Steelheart tells Enforcement to leave David for him. The sun starts to rise, without Nightwielder to keep it at bay with darkness. Steelheart approaches David, who has a sudden revelation, and raises his gun and points it at Steelheart, but Steelheart crushes his hand and takes the gun away to point it at David. David whispers to Steelheart that his father didn't fear him, and that is his weakness. Steelheart pulls the trigger, and the gun sets off the explosives because David jammed his pen detonator into the barrel. Steelheart is consumed by the ensuing explosion, since it was caused by himself, someone who didn't fear him.
David survives the explosion, and so does Prof, somehow. Prof says that he was able to stop the explosion from hitting David, and as David watches, Prof's injuries heal. David realizes that Prof is really a Gifter Epic, and Prof confirms this, growing angry and saying that using his Epic powers makes him lose control unless he gifts them. David tells Prof that Megan is Firefight, and Prof thinks he should have realized that she was an Epic. Prof picks up Steelheart's skull, which turned into steel. David leaves and returns to where he fought Nightwielder, and finds Megan listening to a recording from a camera she keeps embedded in her skin, that stores data in various caches, so that she can reorient herself after she reincarnates. After her recent reincarnation and the changes in her mental state caused by her powers, Megan is wrestling with her own sense of identity. David advises her to avoid using her powers for a while in order to clear her head. Megan says that she needs time to herself. David leaves with the rest of the Reckoners.
Prof heals Cody, as they evacuate in their helicopter. David realizes that they have to fill in the power vacuum left by Steelheart's death, and help the people of Newcago.
Steelheart · (Mitosis) · Firefight · Calamity
|Characters||David Charleston · Megan Tarash · Jonathan Phaedrus|
|Places||Newcago · Babilar · Ildithia|
|Reckoners||Abraham · Cody · Exel · Mizzy · Tia · Valentine · Sam|
|Epics||Calamity · Conflux · Faultline · Firefight · Fortuity · Nightwielder · Obliteration · Regalia · Steelheart · Loophole|
|Other||Faithful · Coven · Great Transfersion|