Aging (エイジング Eijingu) is one of the Four Agonies (also known as the Four Great Weapons) of The Mask Makers, and in August 2002 is in charge of escorting Luchino B. Campanella aboard the cruise liner Exit. Her name was a codename assigned to her.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Aging is a woman in her late twenties to early thirties, and over two meters tall. She wears a cropped T-shirt and shorts which expose her muscular arms, torso, and legs. Her physique has been compared to that of Michelangelo's David.
In her colorized appearance (see Trivia) she appears to have purple-hued hair.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Aging is loud and full of presence, prone to teasing and always ready with a distinctive hearty laugh whenever she is amused or entertained (which is often). She lives for the reckless and for fun, and has no moral qualms about killing children or compunctions about battle.
Though she might come across as flaky, she is observant and often full of good advice. In fact, she is almost a maternal figure to Luchino.
Like the rest of the Mask Makers, she is a big movie buff.
Chronology[edit | edit source]
Aging is first seen waiting outside a washroom as her boss Luchino vomits repeatedly into a toilet within. When he emerges through the door, Aging asks if he is feeling a little better and if the job is still too tough for him—although, Illness also vomits after killing people as well. Luchino retorts that she might as well go home to relax, and she lets out a hearty laugh. She clarifies that she's not talking down to him; some people can tough out hard lives, and others can't. Besides, it's probably not a good thing for one to get use to killing people. In fact, it's normal for someone his age to find it difficult.
Aging wonders if Luchino is sure about boarding the ship (Exit) along with everyone else, and warns him not to be too rash. Luchino counters that he has to take care of this personally, Aging chuckles that if he says so she can't do anything about it, and then asks if they're going to take revenge on the guy who killed Death. Luchino is not particularly interested in doing so.
The rest of the conversation reveals that Aging is preparing for the possibility of her own death aboard the ship and that their mission will be to capture the 1711 immortals aboard the Exit. During the talk, Aging comments that she is surprised that Luchino can hate someone (Huey Laforet) so much without having met them. At the end of the conversation, Luchino coldly states that the Four Agonies are nothing but tools, and that Aging has no right to talk back to him. Aging replies that his lies are the 'cutest', and points out that if he really considered them tools he wouldn't take the time to talk to them individually.
She proceeds to see right through his little act: she asks why he acts so cold—out of responsibility to his bloodline, out of revenge against a stranger? Perhaps he is scared that if he shows weakness his position as leader will be stripped from him. Maybe he thinks he will be killed. "Or is it self-loathing? Lack of self-confidence?" Luchino spits at her to stop seeing right through him, and he runs off. Aging chuckles to herself that it is all plain as day, and silently wonders if he just wants someone to stop him and to tell him that he doesn't need to try so hard.
Aging laughs out loud, and hopes that "these guys'll" keep her as entertained as her boss does. She is referring to the immortals, and as she laughs she takes out several photos from her shirt. The photos have been taken covertly, and display: Elmer C. Albatross; Nile; Sylvie Lumiere; Denkurō Tōgō—and the last one is a photo of Huey Laforet, with a red line drawn over his throat. This last photo has not been distributed amongst the Mask Makers—Aging had fished it out of their meeting room herself. She sighs and says that Luchino still acts like a child. Staring at Huey's photo, she mumbles, "Hm...He's not really my type, but...I'd have to say... he does kind of resemble the boss. So I guess it's not completely unreasonable--that thing about this guy being the boss' ancestor."
In August 2002, Aging and Luchino head to a lobby where people are lining up at the immigration gates that one must enter in order to board the Exit in Yokohama Harbor, Japan. The group of immortals are there too, and Aging approaches them confidently. She stops in front of Nile, and asks him in English what the deal is with the mask he wears. He replies that it is a "personal preference," and she lets out her typical masculine laugh at how simple the reason was. She apologizes, and returns to Luchino in a less crowded area of the lobby.
Luchino cannot believe that she really just went up and casually talked to one of their targets, but as Aging sees it she might as well satisfy her curiosity now since she can't very well ask the immortal about it when they're fighting. She asks where the other Mask Makers are, and Luchino says they're already on board. The two make it through immigrations without incident, and board the ship.
Later, Aging and the other Mask Makers stand in her suite room and prepare to retrieve the cargo that their comrades have dropped off for them. Aging urges them to get to work now while the passengers are off at the reception, and she grabs hold of the hook hanging from the balcony rail. Pulling on the hook and wire, she hoists up several large boxes from the water below. With one hand holding the wire, she uses her free hand to hand over the first fifty-centimetre box to one of the men. He nearly collapses under its weight, and she laughs and says it is only about "eighty kilograms."
Aging continues to hoist up the cargo crates, which the Mask Makers open. Inside are uniforms, firearms, grenades, and other equipment that the Mask Makers piece together quickly and expertly. Aging cracks jokes as they work, and muses that their group is the most amateur of amateurs before heading over to the third and longest box. From it she takes out her personal equipment - first her infrared night-vision goggles, which she tosses onto her bed (someone tells her to be careful with them, and she nonchalantly replies she doesn't use them anyway). She then pulls out her black infiltration suit, and afterwards her personal weapon of choice: a gigantic Kukri knife (also known as a Gurkha knife) about as long as a man's arm. Its blade is curved inwards, and it weights four kilograms and is eighty centimeters long.
She sheathes the knife into her leather sheath, and as she hums she takes out the object taking up the largest amount of space in the container: a Minigun - the sort of heavy machine gun that is mounted on helicopters. Aging places it, the ammunitions belt and other parts onto her bed. At her companions' looks, she assures them that it was custom made just for her - and she made sure that it was customized so that she can use it single-handedly.
As the Mask Makers whisper behind her back, Aging fits the Minigun parts together and twirls it in one hand while holding her knife in the other. "Gahaha! It's every lady's dream to shoot a machine gun single-handedly!"
On the third day of the cruise, the Mask Makers infiltrate and take over Exit's communications office, the control room, and the bridge. Aging - who is completely unfit for cover operations - spends the operation preparing to buy the group time in case things go south, and catches up on sleep in her room. The situation inevitably does go south later on; in the middle of a massage at the beauty salon (where Sylvie is also getting treatment), Aging suddenly hears the faint sound of gunshots in the air. She tells the aesthetician to hurry it up, and the employee dutifully completes the massage as quickly as she can. Aging gets dressed, and smiles at the sense of fate she's had in meeting one of their targets (Sylvie) at the salon.
Aging is contacted by Luchino over walkie-talkie. He says that he's in the storage area, and static brings an abrupt halt to their dialogue.
Aging hurries out of the salon and heads for the storage hold, taking down SAMPLE members in her way. She arrives just in time to smash her feet into the neck of a SAMPLE member brandishing a submachine gun at Luchino. Luchino thanks her, and asks what is going on. With a bitter laugh, she says that it looks like the Mask Makers have been completely wiped out. Pointing at the SAMPLE member's submachine gun, she states that it's one of the guns Luchino ordered they bring on board for the mission. The only weapons they have left are her knife and Minigun back in her cabin.
With a laugh, Aging says that they really can't get away with underestimating the world. She'd thought it was weird they didn't have some "paragon of justice" on board, and now they have hundreds of 'zombies' running around. "This kind of stuff is why I'm still in this business!" Stunned, Luchino lets him fall into Aging's arms. She cheerfully advises him to stop worrying since they can always rebuild the company - and then realizes that she completely forgot about all the Mask Makers on Entrance. Things really are getting interesting.
Once Luchino gets a hold of himself (and Aging checks to see that he's unhurt), she remarks that she never expected that "they" would come after him because they recognized his face. She speculates that they might have tortured or used truth serum against one of the other Mask Makers. Luchino wonders who those "bastards" are (they're SAMPLE - and they're clad in red and black uniforms), and Aging asks if she should just kill them all.
Luchino says that's completely inefficient, and also not their mission objective. He asks Aging to help him capture the immortals and escape the ship - as well as round up any surviving Mask Makers while taking care of the "creeps" running around. She cackles that this is awfully low of Luchino - he knows there is no way she'll pass up something this reckless and entertaining.
At some point, Aging manages to contact their brethren on Entrance and inform them as to the situation on Exit.
The two realize from the shaking that the ship is speeding up, and they carefully exit the storage area after searching the area for anything useful. Before they leave, Luchino tries to get Aging to take his attacker's submachine gun. She refuses, and picks up a wire-and-hook normally used for moving cargo. It easily weighs over twenty kilograms. As the pair run through the halls, Luchino asks Aging about her personal gear in the cabin. She snickers over the idea of him using her Gurkha knife, and says that the gun should suit him fine.
Luchino wonders again as to what the people in red and black are up to, and Aging comments that she "breezed through" a bunch of them on her way to save him - and that some of them got back up even after she broke their necks. She'd been fighting bare-handed, and since she didn't have the time to face a bunch of "zombies" she didn't bother to linger. Luchino asks why she is so lightly dressed, and she informs him that she'd been at the beauty salon - and that one of their targets was there too.
They stop at the sight of five or six SAMPLE members at the end of the hallway leading to Aging's cabin. Luchino screams and fires off the submachine gun, plugging them with bullets. Almost immediately, the people get back to their feet and advance forward with smiles on their faces. Luchino aims his gun at them again, and Aging casually compliments him on his firing stance before grabbing his arm. She warns him that he's going to have to prepare for a "roller coaster ride" before tossing him up into the air and catching him in one arm.
She cuts him off before he can protest (if he doesn't keep his mouth shut he'll bite his tongue) and takes a deep breath - and then she runs. She bursts through a nearby door, runs straight towards the outside - and as soon as she sees the sea through a window she hitches the hook to the window sill and launches herself through it, kicking off the hull of the ship.
Luchino screams as they fly out and over the sea. Aging swings over to the stern of the ship, and then uses her momentum to propel her movements as she runs alongside the hull towards the bow. When she spots her cabin, she clambers onto the ship and hauls the balcony door of her cabin open. Luchino breathlessly demands that she put him down, and she laughs that she forgot he was even there. As Luchino protests everything about the last few minutes, the television flickers on to a blue screen and displays a hijacking announcement from the self-proclaimed "Mask Makers" (who are actually SAMPLE, using the Mask Makers' name).
As her boss watches in confusion, Aging's cell phone vibrates at her waist. She picks it up and talks to a Mask Maker who's over on Entrance, and cheerfully says that only herself and the boss are still alive. Once she hangs up, she informs Luchino that it sounds like the gunman who shot Death (one of the Four Agonies) showed up on the Entrance and they had a fun little shootout.
Luchino mumbles on about how the Mask Makers have been defiled, furious that these "no-name crazies" are using the Mask Maker name. At Aging's answer ("Oh. I get it. Can't say I don't agree.") Luchino glares at her and shouts that she's just a belligerent fighter - how would she know? His fate was decided from the moment he was born - what would she know about the "formless vow" of the Mask Maker?
Aging drops her smile, and asks if he can even explain what he knows about the Mask Makers. Smiling once more, she tells him he ought not to be so stubborn, and that he shouldn't reject himself when he doesn't even know what he wants to do in the first place. Ruffling Luchino's hair, she assures him that things are going to work out. All he has to do is find a way. Luchino apologizes, and says that they should decide what to do next.
Before that, though, he searches Aging's cabin, looking for a weapon (he wouldn't be able to handle the knife or the Minigun). Aging remembers her case, and pulls out Luchino's favored special stiletto from it. She remarks that she had a feeling they might need it.
The pair make their way to a freight hold, and Aging listens to the echoing sounds as she tries to plan out a counterattack. In the distance, she hears the faint sounds of Nile fighting the SAMPLE people, and whispers to Luchino that it sounds like there's someone out there who can match their enemies in a fight. Two hours later, they navigate through the amusement park aboard the ship, having spotted a group of children standing frozen at the park entrance.
Aging stops Luchino when he moves to go investigate, and draws his attention to the fact that they're wearing the red and black garments of their enemies - and that they're holding weapons. The two take cover behind one of the rides, and Aging asks Luchino if she has permission to kill the children if they attack. She yawns, and adds that real battlefields have child soldiers everywhere. If Death were here, he'd have already taken them out. But she's not a pro like he was, and she doesn't care either way.
Luchino asks if she means that a pro can kill people without a second thought, and Aging responds that it depends on the person. Pretty obvious answer, right? The problem is what Luchino wants to do. The next person who speaks is neither Luchino or Aging - the voice comes from behind. "Then don't kill them." Aging turns and is surprised to see their ultimate target—Elmer C. Albatross—in the flesh.
Elmer says that he's been looking for Luchino, and asks if Luchino is the current leader of the Mask Makers. Aging asks what makes him think that, and Elmer explains that the seajackers (the SAMPLE people) remind him of what the drugged people used to look like in "that city" - and that here's Luchino, a Lotto Valentinian boy who resembles Monica. Not too hard to guess. He sheepishly says that he was going to surrender peacefully and suggest that the Mask Makers throw a big happy party and forgo the collision plan, but it looks like things are more complicated than that.
Grinning, Elmer states that he'll do whatever he can to make Luchino smile like he did when he was hosting the magic show at the reception, so Luchino should give him orders now. After all - he's still technically a member of the Mask Makers, so he's Luchino's subordinate!
During the encounter, Aging receives a phone call from a Mask Maker aboard the Entrance. Aging and her compatriot exchange information on what has happened on both ships, and come to the conclusion that their first priority is to take care of the people in red and black. Over the next several hours, Aging takes part in the battle against the SAMPLE cult members. Eventually, she reaches the bridge, and waits outside the window as Bride chats with Elmer and a bound Sylvie, surrounded by twenty or so SAMPLE people and several children.
Finally, she bursts through the windows of the bridge and cackles, "Gahaha! You finished your little chat?" With a toothy grin, she fires off her Minigun at the SAMPLE crowd, and then lunges into the fray with her Kuhkri knife.
In the aftermath, the surviving Mask Makers from Entrance come over and join Luchino and Aging on deck. Aging watches silently as Luchino handcuffs the hands of "Life" (one of the Four Agonies) behind the chair that the man is sitting in. A gunman steps into the room and identifies Life as "Demolisher" - someone he's worked with in the past. Life cackles, swears, and guesses that the jig is up thanks to "that Charon bastard."
Aging witnesses the rest of the confrontation play out, the departure of the gunman, and Luchino kicking "Life" in the gut.
Weapons and Abilities[edit | edit source]
Aging is monstrously strong. How much she is able to carry is unknown, but she is seen handing over a box weighing around eighty kilograms (176.37 lbs) with one hand with ease - while she was holding up several equally heavy boxes (with a wire) with the other. Her speed can easily match that of an Olympic runner's as well.
Aging's weapon of choice is a Kuhkri knife (also known as a Gurkha knife) with a blade as long as a man's arm and curved inwards. Aboard the Exit, she also wields a Minigun that was specially customized for her : it has an ultra-light battery, its recoil has been reduced and its speed has been lowered to conserve ammo. It's also lighter than normal. The most important bit is that it has been modified so that she can use it single-handedly, which is extraordinary considering its weight.
She is equally fearsome bare-handed, and is able to snap grown men's necks with ease.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Ryohgo Narita originally planned for Nile and Aging to duel against each other, but publication restrictions meant that he could not write a 2002-C like he had planned. It is possible that the two might fight each other in future volumes, as he has hinted in the author's notes at the end of 2002-B.