In order to force Stark to experience his own desperation, Killian had Pepper Potts kidnapped and injected with the Extremis serum. Later, using stolen Iron Patriot armor, Killian engineered the successful abduction of President Ellis, who had been delivered to the Norco in the remotely-piloted Iron Patriot suit.
Killian revealed his intention of killing the President and allowing the Mandarin to take credit for the assassination, thereby ensuring defense contracts from Ellis's successor, Vice President Rodriguez, for Killian's company.
Stark and Rhodes reached the Norco shortly before the execution and engaged several of Killian's soldiers before being surrounded by enhanciles. Moments later, Stark's entire fleet of forty-two armored suits arrived to provide air support, and Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to "target Extremis heat signature" and "disable with extreme prejudice." Stark's suits then attacked Killian's soldiers, setting off a chain of massive explosions as it killed several of the enhanciles.
Rhodes rushed to release President Ellis, fighting off a pair of Extremis soldiers before freeing the President, recovering the Iron Patriot armor, and evacuating Ellis from the scene. Stark also suited up in one of his own armors and located Potts aboard the Norco, moving in to rescue her before being interrupted by Killian. Stark severed Killian's left arm just before the floor of the platform collapsed, dropping Potts onto a moving scaffold. Stark gave chase and reached her in time, but failed to catch her as she fell two-hundred feet into a roiling fireball.
Enraged, Stark found Killian, summoned a suit, and battled the enhancile. When Killian pinned Stark and attempted to deal a death-blow, Stark ejected from the suit and summoned another, battering Killian with repulsor blasts even as Killian recovered from the blows. Stark ejected again as Killian severed the suit in half, and Killian prepared to kill the unarmored Stark when the Mark 42 arrived; Stark directed the Mark 42 to encase Killian, and ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to destroy the suit, leaping from the scaffolding as the detonation collapsed the platform.
On the ground, Killian emerged from the fiery wreckage and accepted the mantle of the Mandarin moments before he was attacked by Potts, who had survived her own fall due to the enhancements of the Extremis serum. One of Stark's suits proceeded to target Potts because of her heat signature, but Potts disabled the suit, ripping out its chest repulsor core and hurling it at Killian. She then used the suit's palm-repulsor to detonate the core, disintegrating Killian on the spot.
Following the skirmish, Stark ordered J.A.R.V.I.S. to execute the Clean Slate protocol, self-destructing all of his remaining suits of armor.
Vice President Rodriguez was arrested for his complicity in the abduction and attempted assassination of President Ellis, and Trevor Slattery was taken into custody for his role in Killian's ruse. Potts later had the Extremis serum cleansed from her body, and Stark underwent surgery to remove the shrapnel near his heart, thereby eliminating his need to wear a chest-mounted Arc Reactor. Stark proceeded to hurl the device into the Pacific Ocean below the wreckage of his former mansion.