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Digression: Can't Miss
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Linking Chapter: Misperceptions and Information You Are Here Afterword

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

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As Vino and Chané Laforet walk to the Genoard manor on Millionaires' Row, on their way back from Madison Square Park, Vino observes that Chané appears worried over what Spike is up to. He says he doubts Spike's new group has anything to gain by going after Jacuzzi's Gang, and supposes that her father's people might meddle with Spike's group before they can even start something.

Chané thinks it is possible her father designated the gang as test subjects following their involvement in the Mist Wall incident, but Vino is sure her father will understand and confirms she still loves him. Upon reaching the Genoards' front entrance, Vino flings open the door and is surprised to find the entrance hall deserted; with Chané growing anxious, he ducks back outside and rings the doorbell.

Jon Panel and Fang Lin-Shan appear from within, neither acting out of the ordinary. When Vino asks where Jacuzzi Splot and the others are, however, they share a complicated glance and explain that Isaac Dian has been released from prison but does not have enough money for a train all the way back to New York City. Miria Harvent has already left for Chicago to meet him there and give him his wallet.

Chané is visibly happy to hear the news; on her behalf, Vino asks why Jacuzzi went too—and for that matter, if Jon and Fang are the only people who stayed behind.

The atmosphere on the train that pulls into Chicago's Union Station the next day is grim, with its occupants aware of the serial bombings and two hundred mission-person cases currently gripping the city. Heedless of the tense mood, Miria bounds off the train calling Isaac's name; behind her, Nice Holystone steps off the train and points out Isaac will not arrive in Chicago until tomorrow or even the day after.

Miria admits she already knew but could not help herself, and the two women are soon joined by the rest of the gang as they disembark the train. Those who are native Chicagoans—most of them—are full of nostalgia for their hometown, none of them particularly anxious being back; Jacuzzi is a different story, cowering in the train door's shadows for fear of the Russo Family discovering him.

The Russos' bounty on his head has up until now made it impossible for Jacuzzi and his friends to return to Chicago, and it is only due to exceptional circumstances that they have returned: Isaac had called Miria just after they heard about the bombings, and Jacuzzi could not stand by and watch Miria return to Chicago on her own; with Graham already in Chicago, he was also worried for Graham Specter's safety. With Nice curious about the explosives, and the others having their own varying reasons for wanting to come along, Jacuzzi was swept along with the tide.

One of Jacuzzi's friends says that the police supposedly have it in for Placido Russo, so in all likelihood Placido no longer has time to bother with jacuzzi or the gang. Jacuzzi is not convinced but finally steps off the train, at which point Krieck sprints up, shoves him out of the way and scrambles on board.

Jacuzzi apologies repeatedly from where he is sprawled on the ground, only for Nice to belatedly recognize the man as a Russo Family executive.

Once on the train, Krieck catches his breath in the corridor leading to the passenger compartments and reviews his situation: the night before, he had witnessed Renee Parmedes Branvillier devour his friends and fled for his life. After a day of being on the lam, he bought a transcontinental ticket and boarded this train with the intention of fleeing Chicago altogether.

Krieck shudders at the memory of his friends being eaten, assuming that was murder, and turns toward the passenger car—and into Renee's right hand, whereupon he is immediately devoured.

Jacuzzi, having gathered his courage, peers into the car and sees no sign of Krieck. He makes eye contact with Renee as he looks around and wonders what a doctor is doing here, only for Renee to shriek an apology and beg forgiveness. Assuming his tattoo intimidates her, Jacuzzi apologizes and says he is looking for a scarred man who just boarded the train. Renee says the man "went somewhere else," and Jacuzzi returns to the platform.

Miria and company arrive.

Renee contemplates where absorbed bodies go and sifts through Krieck's memories in search of an answer. Upon tentatively considers Hell, she dismisses the idea as ridiculous and wonders if absorbing Krieck has made her dumber. After pondering the matter a little longer, she exits onto the station platform. Huey might have some idea where the bodies go, and speaking of Huey—she simply cannot wait until she has her hands on Huey's eye.

Just as Renee looks forward to the arrival of Huey's eye, Miria looks forward to the arrival of Isaac. As if mocking that hope, a new explosion rocks Chicago's streets.

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