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Chapter 3: All the Passengers Dance in a Garden of Bullets
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Interlude 2 You Are Here Interlude 3

Summary to be rewritten.

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Czeslaw spends the night in Illness's room watching over Tall, Humpty, and Troy, while Illness looks for Bobby and Carnea. Czeslaw asked Illness who she was and worked for, but she coyly refused to reveal her affiliation, saying she'd get in trouble for telling. Bobby's gang initially refused to talk; Illness responds by raising her skirt and showing them her body. Czeslaw didn't see it himself, but the sight is terrifying enough that the gang spilled everything. Hearing the plan, Czeslaw marvels at how Firo's baby face makes even children think of him as someone they can beat. The boys frequently criticize Bobby's planning and leadership; Czeslaw wonders why they follow him, but notes that Bobby's ancestor Jacuzzi was similarly capable of inspiring loyalty despite his seeming foolishness. Troy states that Bobby is likely motivated by his crush on Carnea, saying that she resembles his favorite models in magazines. Czeslaw wonders if Firo and Ennis have made any progress in their relationship overnight.

In the shopping mall, Firo and Ennis are refreshed after a comfortable night of sleep. Angelo arrives at their table, and is introduced to Ennis. Angelo apologizes for shooting Firo asks if it's okay getting Ennis involved. Firo assures him she won't be in danger and is willing to help. He adds that he can't go around starting fights with other organizations, but he and Ennis can give reconnaissance, and if the ship is threatened, they will intervene. Ennis, watching them speak, reflects on the situation. Firo didn't disclose exactly what caused Angelo to shoot him, and asked her for permission to help without giving specifics. The fact that Firo wasn't angry at Angelo and wanted to help is justification enough for Ennis, who understands and respects Firo's impulsive tendency to take burdens on himself; indeed, this is what draws her to him. She resolves to do whatever she can to help him. She notes Firo's ability to convince people to work with him without giving details, possibly without him consciously realizing he is doing it. She remembers expressing these thoughts to Czeslaw, who replied that Firo probably thinks the same about her, and that it's "like husband, like wife." Ennis recalls when Firo asked her to get married, and blushes heavily, reversing the situation from last night.

In the storage facility of the ship, Bobby and Carnea are hiding. Bobby is holding Carnea's hand too tightly; she asks him to let go, which he does quickly as they apologize to each other for the awkwardness. Bobby tries to look cool by telling her he may have to leave her behind; her remorseful acceptance leaves him kicking himself mentally. The two had running for hours, chased not by Illness or the ship's crew but a third party. They thought they had evaded Illness when they found an accessible ventilation shaft in a linens room. While crawling inside the shaft, Bobby finds a wired device with a flickering red light, containing a plastic bottle with a liquid inside. It is one of the gas bombs the Mask Makers had planted. When Bobby moves it, a Mask Maker gets a notification on his laptop. He calls Life and tells him of the issue; Life promises to check it. Bobby and Carnea are still inspecting the device when Life shows up in the ventilation shaft in front of Bobby, promising to punish them. Bobby, frantically retreating, shoves the device at Life, who stops pursuing to make sure the device doesn't impact the ground.


Life, seeing the children fleeing, wonders if the children are heroes or mere victims before he messages the Mask Makers about the escape. The Mask Makers have their men search throughout the ship for the two. Bobby and Carnea had to spend hours evading passengers who were dressed normally but seemed dangerous, ultimately leading them to the storage room. Looking around, they find the Gear costume and the ten meter-long animatronic shark from the movie. They wonder why these items are there, to which a voice says that an event is coming up. It is Charon, who tells them they are not authorized to be there. Bobby draws a switchblade and threatens Charon, who easily disarms him. While Bobby is reeling in pain, two people approach, whose voices indicate they are Mask Makers. Bobby and Carnea's reaction tells Charon that they need to hide, so he puts Carnea inside the shark and Bobby in the costume. The Mask Makers recognize Charon and are thrilled at the sight of the movie star. They ask where two kids went; Charon directs them the wrong way, and gives the two his autograph. Bobby and Carnea thank Charon for his help, and he checks outside the room for other intruders.

While Bobby and Carnea are wondering what to do, the storage area lights up. John Drox and many crew members enter the room. Mistaking Bobby for Charon, they take him outside the room to the event, a promotion of the movie. At the shopping mall, Firo, Ennis, and Angelo are planning their course of action when Claudia appears. She is there start the event by exciting the crowd. Moments later, the film crew arrives, with Bobby waving at the crowd in the Gear costume. Ennis notices something is wrong about his movement; Firo attributes to anxiety, smiling that even Charon is human. On the upper deck, Illness remembers that Claudia's event is starting and hurries to the mall.


Claudia approaches Bobby and says that she knows he isn't Charon, and John probably does as well. She says that it's questionable for John to allow it, given that Bobby could be a crazy stalker or assassin, but she agrees to play along, as long as Bobby will "play the part of a hero" while in the suit. Angelo tells Firo that two Mask Makers have taken seats next to them. Firo, Ennis and Angelo are preparing to follow them when Illness arrives and recognizes Angelo. She loudly announces his presence and asks if he's here to kill anyone. Angelo and the Mask Makers draw their guns and shoot. Firo throws himself in front of Angelo and takes two bullets, while Angelo hits the shoulders of the men. Ennis kicks the table at the Mask Makers to knock them away. While looking around, the trio see more Mask Makers coming, and take cover in a nearby cafe while the Mask Makers fire at them. Illness doesn't join in the shooting, angering the two Mask Makers who were shot. They yell that the situation is her fault, to which she angrily points out they wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for her. They tell her to get her equipment and join in, but she yells like a child that she doesn't care and leaves. On the bridge, the leader of the Mask Makers hears that Angelo is on the ship. He sends Life to the shootout and tells the communications office to cut off passenger signals.

In the cafe, Angelo apologizes for getting Firo and Ennis involved in a shootout. He asks how Firo's shoulder feels, and Firo jokes that he soon won't have clothes without bullet holes. Angelo peeks around the wall and shoots the arm of a Mask Maker, saying the man will die if he isn't treated soon. Firo is amazed at how easily Angelo is pulling off such a feat. Angelo says he can't let them die instantly. Firo mumbles that he's tempted to hire Angelo as a bodyguard, to which Angelo swears that he's sworn his loyalty to his boss. Several minutes of shooting later, more Mask Makers keep coming to replenish the ranks of those shot by Angelo. Firo is wondering whether the enemy or Angelo's bullets will run out first when an explosion rings through the mall. On the fourth floor of the shopping mall, an individual is holding an assault rifle. He is wearing a black combat suit, silicone goggles, and goggles. Angelo recognizes the outfit from the restaurant, and realizes that Illness is likely present in addition to this individual. Firo is surprised that the girl in the goth-loli dress is in the same group as this individual. Angelo's cell phone vibrates, with the name 'Demolisher' on the screen. The Demolisher casually asks how Angelo is doing and why "Mr. Casino" is with him. Angelo acerbically replies that it's obvious how he's doing and that he'll hang up if the Demolisher isn't ready to provide support.

The Demolisher offers to stop the goggled man on the fourth floor, "since civvies aren't around right now." Angelo has a sinking feeling as the Demolisher tells him to enjoy the show and hangs up. A powerful explosion rings out, causing remaining passengers to run away. Firo sees that the area on the fourth floor where the goggled man was standing has been blocked off by debris. Firo asks what the man on the phone had done; Angelo, angrily gripping the phone, says that the Demolisher had set up explosives like that all over the ship. Suddenly, they see "Charon" running towards the animatronic shark. Firo runs out and grabs the person in the Gear costume, who quietly yells in a voice Firo recognizes as not belonging to Charon. He then sees a young girl in the shark's mouth. He carefully pulls her out, and both he and the boy in the Gear costume ask how she is. She stares blankly at them, shocked by the blast. Firo carries her to the cafe. Angelo's eyes go wide, recognizing the girl. Carnea, waking up, recognizes Angelo and embraces him. Bobby remembers what Carnea said about how she was stowing away to find someone like a father. As Angelo and Carnea embrace, he says something that shocks everyone: "How did you get here, Boss?!"

On the bridge, more crew members keep arriving and getting taken as additional hostages. The captain disdainfully asks about the promise not to harm the passengers; a Mask Maker says that they haven't shot any of them, and are just trying to get rid of a dangerous element. The other masked men chat amongst themselves, admitting things are getting out of control, wondering how Angelo got on the ship, and drifting into movie references. A mask Maker orders them to call in Illness with her weapons to stop the Angelo, knowing that he won't shoot women or children. A few minutes later, one of the Mask Makers enters her cabin to find Czes and Bobby's gang on the bed. The man demands why they are there. Czeslaw, pretending to be his physical age, says that the "nice lady I met at the pool brought me here because she was going to play with me," that the other kids are there for the same purpose, and "she said she was going to give me a really cool present if I did!" The man spits that he knew that Illness was a "sick bitch", but not that she was a sex-crazed whore too. He tells the kids to go back to their mothers, untying the ropes. He angrily notes that Illness left her radio on the cabin, and it isn't even on. Czeslaw tells the boys to get away, offering to let them in his cabin. Czeslaw thinks in frustration how his bad feeling is coming true, and that "nothing's been working out since the 21st century began." He is again struck by a premonition, but he dismisses it as his imagination.

A coarse voice suddenly plays from every speaker on ship. A Mask Maker, describing his group as "mysterious seajackers," announces that they have taken control of the ship. To prove that it isn't a prank, they tell everyone to look at the windows. The passengers see the lifeboats, which have been loaded onto the cranes and are being lowered into the sea without anyone on board. The announcer says that its time for fireworks, and one lifeboat on each side explodes into fire and flame, while the rest drift away. The announcer tells the passengers and crew to stay in their quarters or workstations. He adds that terrorists are planted among the spectators, to encourage paranoia among them. After a few seconds of silence, the passengers begin screaming in terror.

The Mask Makers know that this is an unprofessional method, but it is expected to be sufficient for their purpose, which is to hold the ship hostage for the negotiation on Exit. A Mask Maker again tells the captain that they aren't planning on massacring the passengers, though he is looking forward to the company being bankrupted by the lawsuits. He says that the Mask Makers have an escape plan, and that if a rebellion occurs, they'll use the poison gas. He radios the communications office to connect him with Exit. After a moment, he is able to call Aging on his cell phone. He tells her they've managed to take the ship, and asks how things are going there. Aging laughs that she's having the time of her life. The Mask Maker assumes they've finished the job and are relaxing, and is shocked when she says that only the boss is alive and that everyone else is dead. He asks if Aging betrayed them and killed everyone, which she denies, saying it wouldn't be "half as fun as this." He demands to know if Steven Segal or Jet Li is aboard the ship; she says that they don't know about the group, and wouldn't take initiative to kill them off. She cheerfully describes the situation with a movie metaphor of her own: "We've got about two hundred zombies, and a bunch of Jasons and Freddies."

LN12 Ch3 IllnessScream.png

In a corridor, Illness is running without a destination or purpose. Angry about being called useless when it wasn't her job, she says out loud that she may never help them again and she hopes they get shot by the gunman. She is indignant about how the "smooth seajacking" turned out, and wonders how Claudia is supposed to escape without the lifeboats. She wonders what to do next, whether to stop the gunman, see Claudia, or check on Czeslaw and the kids, when her cell phone vibrates. The caller isn't named, but she assumes it must be a Mask Maker. She is preparing to give them a piece of her mind when she is rendered mute and aghast by the sound of SAMPLE's chanting. She begins hyperventilating, and throws her cell phone into a wall. She starts screaming, and when she stops she vomits on the floor. She staggers, falls to her knees, and begins sobbing like "a lost little child crying in fear."

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