December 1934. Chicago, Illinois—Nebula Headquarters.
An overexcited Carol stands in awe of the Nebula building, which she considers a work of art. The Vice President comments that the decision to have multiple architects design the building was met with mixed reactions, and advises Carol to not waste her film taking photos of the building—the Daily Days had taken pictures only three months ago.
Carol resolves to take a more professional attitude to her journalism, but freaks out when she spots Senator Manfred Beriam walking out of the building, surrounded by bodyguards. The Vice President scolds her for getting so worked up about a Senator.
They enter the building and take the elevators to the rooftop gardens.
30 minutes later, first floor lobby.
Carol is still reeling from the surprise of having personally met Chairman Karl Muybridge of Nebula. The Vice President advises her to take a more professional attitude, and leaves to get Carol something to drink.
Carol sits alone in the lobby, when a woman in a white labcoat suddenly appears in front of her. She thinks the lady might be a doctor that the Vice President brought along because she was still so shaken, and apologizes loudly for the confusion, claiming that she's all right. The lady is surprised and begins apologizing as well, claiming that Carol didn't look so well, so she thought to check and see if she was okay. Carol apologizes again, and the lady also apologizes.
Sharing a quick laugh about the endless chain of apologies, Carol introduces herself and asks the lady if she's a doctor. The lady says that she's more of a pharmacist than a doctor, when the Vice President returns with a bottle of cola. He addresses the lady as Renée and asks her what she's doing with his assistant.
Renée denies planning on kidnapping the girl to use as a research subject
. Carol takes this as a joke and wonders how the Vice President knows the nice lady. He explains that Renée is an acquaintance of the President of the Daily Days, and asks her how her experiments are coming along.
Renée explains that the 1200 subjects in New York can't be deemed successes or failures quite yet, there's a lot going on, and that she's involved with the Russo Family... but the Vice President interrupts her, asking if it's really all right for her to be blabbing so much. Renée covers her own mouth and laughs sheepishly, admitting that if she'd said any more, she would have had to silence them. Carol laughs, again taking it as a joke.
After a quick conversation, Carol and the Vice Prseident say goodbye to Renée, who trips on a bench as she walks away. Carol thinks it's funny that such a professional-looking woman could be so clumsy.
Once they exit the building, the Vice President asks Carol if Renée didn't do anything to her, and advises her to try to avoid being alone with Renée until she's learned how to properly deal with her. Carol is confused.
The Vice President adds that Renée was likely very serious about having to silence them.
Several minutes earlier at the Chicago River, in front of the Wrigley Building.
Rail and Frank stand on the bridge spanning the Chicago River, looking up at the clock tower. Rail discusses his love of chewing gum, and announces that even if Huey ordered them to burn Chicago to the ground, he would defend the Wrigley building to the end because it's a gum company.
Frank is uneasy that everyone is staring at them, and worries that they might be going against Huey's order to keep a low profile. Rail eases his fears and tells him that they're acting as bait to draw out the guys that are after them. Besides, the police can't arrest them for just standing around.
Rail then starts talking about a Count St. Germain, a man who was in Europe long ago and is said to be still alive, via Time Travel
or some sort of Immortality
Rail and Frank suddenly hear a girl laughing nearby. It's Carol, walking in their direction. She has a camera around her neck. Rail doesn't care for curious passerbys despite being covered with surgical scars, but Frank is uneasy that his large size stands out too much. However, Rail realizes that Carol's not intentionally walking towards them, but is just keeping pace with an older man—the Vice President.
Carol bumps right into Frank's leg. They apologize to each other, but Carol looks up and notices Frank's size, and screams. Rail pops out from behind Frank and scolds him for scaring her. Seeing Rail's scars, Carol screams again. An amused Rail snickers.
The Vice President interrupts, scolding Carol for being so rude. He apologizes to Rail and Frank in her place. Rail is curious that the Vice President doesn't seem to be at all fazed by their strange appearances, to which the Vice President responds that he is acquainted with a doctor with far worse scars than Rail and knows of a young man named Robert in southern Illinois who is about eight feet tall, and is still growing at a rate of about four inches every year.
Frank is awed, but Rail is not too impressed. Carol collects herself and apologizes properly, introducing herself. She suggests that they go have lunch together so so she can make amends for what happened. Rail is surprised. Frank points out that most restaurants don't have seats big enough for him, but Carol is undaunted. She suggests that they could buy some sandwiches and eat at a park together. Rail takes her up on the offer, and Frank warns her that he's a Big Eater
. Carol tells them not to worry, as the Vice President will be picking up the tab.
Lua has been kept at the Russo Manor for a week now, with Ricardo waiting on her when she needed him. After one such incidence, Chris and Ricardo discuss the fact that Lua's practically a prisoner in this place.
Ricardo admits to Chris that he has no interest in inheriting the Russo Family. Chris recalls that Ricardo's said something like this before. Ricardo stoically tells Chris that his parents were blown to smithereens by a car bomb. Chris laughs at Ricardo's stony retelling, and wonders why Ricardo doesn't act even the least bit upset about his parents' deaths. Ricardo simply replies that getting sad or angry won't bring his parents back.
Then Ricardo turns it around: what about Chris's family? Chris replies that he has no "blood relatives", so to speak, but Lamia is pretty close to a family for him. He then claims that he wants the entire earth to be his family, which Ricardo thinks is strange. Chris recalls that Chi always used to call him crazy, and wonders about what Lamia could be up to now.
Ricardo decides to get some air and go shopping to buy Lua something to read. Chris likes the sound of that.
Chris wonders if the reason the twins haven't contacted him is because he hasn't gone outside very much. However, he also gets the suspicion that it's because he lost to an ordinary human and Huey has no use for him anymore. This doesn't bother him too much, though. Chris is having enough fun watching Ricardo progress, and contemplates helping him become a great mafia boss.
Just as Ricardo and Chris are about to leave, Placido stops them to ask where they're off to. Chris tells him that they're going to the bookstore, and Placido warns them that Ladd is due to be released soon, so Ricardo may be in danger. He threatens unholy pain upon Chris if he lets Ricardo get hurt.
After Ricardo and Chris leave, Placido mumbles that now he considers his own life much more valuable than his grandson's, thanks to the elixir of immortality.
After buying an armful of hot dogs, Carol, the Vice President, Rail, and Frank walk around to find a place to sit. The Vice President lectures Carol for not watching where she walks, especially while carrying a camera. He also tells her that the cost of the hot dogs will be coming out of her pay.
Walking behind them are Rail and Frank. Frank wonders if he could one day be friends with that Robert person the Vice President spoke of, but Rail tells him that Huey would never let him. Speaking of friends, Rail believes that Chris is still alive somewhere.
Frank wonders if it's okay for them to eat so many hot dogs, but Rail doesn't worry about it too much. He and Frank both agree that Carol and the Vice President are very good people. Frank worries that Carol and the Vice President will end up getting caught in the crossfire if they stick around too long, but Rail doesn't think any sane person would try to capture them at such a busy location.
Graham Specter, a decidedly not-so-sane person, crosses a bridge spanning the Chicago River, along with his gang. He starts ranting about the beauty of the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, and the way that the two buildings, despite their different architectural styles, go together so well. Then he decides that he really wants to take those buildings apart with a 30-foot wrench, but realizes how insane that is and babbles on about his sad story.
Rail tells Carol that he and Frank are from the circus, having been sold off by their parents because of their appearances. Carol is concerned, but Rail continues to lie and says that he really enjoys being in the circus, despite the fact that the ringmaster is a grade-A Jerkass
with no concern for people's feelings.
Rail continues to mix in the truth and lies, and tells Carol that he was in charge of pyrotechnics at the circus. Carol is impressed. Rail continues, adding that he likes how the anonymous components come together to create eye-catching explosions that no one will ever forget.
Rail also notes that there are rumours of a famous bomb freak in Chicago—urban legends of how this person demolished a building without causing any damage to the surroundings, and how this person's explosive experiments changed the shape of the lakeshore. Rail wants to meet this person, but doesn't know where to start.
From behind Rail and Carol, a voice rings out, talking about a sad, sad story.
Graham informs Rail that if the bomb freak he talked about is a woman with an eyepatch and glasses, she's currently in New York. He takes out his monkey wrench, informing Rail that he needs them to come with him. Carol screams when she realizes that Graham is the robber she and the Vice President encountered on the train. Graham realizes that he's met these people before.
Off to the side, Graham's gang does nothing but watch. Shaft notices the Vice President and explains to those who weren't on the train that they had tried to rob the Vice President, but he took them all down in an instant—all of them but Graham, with whom the Vice President started some sort of Odd Friendship
Graham puts two and two together, concluding that since the Vice President and Carol are with Rail and Frank, they must actually be The Poet and Sickle, who are supposed to be Huey's flunkies. He takes out the Wanted Poster
—only Rail and Frank's appearances are recorded in detail, and it merely describes The Poet as a Large Ham
and Sickle as a young lady skilled in Capoeira. He asks Carol to show him Capoeira, but the flustered Carol has no idea what that is.
Rail glares at Graham, and wonders why a common robber would have a Wanted Poster
of Lamia. He decides to kidnap and torture this wrench-wielding weirdo to find out where he got the poster.
First, he decides to play along and follow Graham, and fight back at a more secluded location. He smiles and agrees to go with Graham. Rail and Frank say goodbye to Carol, thank her for the hot dogs, and advise her to leave Chicago as soon as possible, lest she get caught in an explosion.
After Rail and Frank leave with Graham, Carol worries about her new friends. The Vice President assures her that they don't seem to be the types to go down so easily, and changes their plans—instead of leaving for New York tomorrow, they will be staying in Chicago for the time being to observe events from amidst the fray. Carol wonders why he's not telling her to stay out of the danger zone, as he usually does—but the Vice President explains that right now, she's much safer by his side.
Suddenly, Klik quietly sits down beside Carol and opens a newspaper—and quietly shows Carol and the Vice President the gun he's carrying in his jacket. He asks them to come along quietly, and if they really don't have anything to do with Rail and Frank, they should just count themselves unlucky.
The moment they enter a deserted alleyway, Rail asks Graham where he's taking them. Other members of Graham's gang had begun to join them after leaving the Wrigley Building, and Rail and Frank were surrounded by five or six men.
Graham answers that he's not allowed to say, but introduces himself because he's not forbidden from doing so. Rail doesn't care, but Graham felt the need to tell them because of what he's going to do to them. Frank is worried.
Graham confirms that the duo is really Rail and Frank, and is relieved that it wasn't a case of Mistaken Identity
. Rail asks Graham who he's working for, but Graham doesn't tell him. So Rail decides to use force.
Frank immediately kicks Graham into the air, giving him no time to react. Graham feels another hit as he flies into a wall several yards away. The gang is about to counterattack, but Frank hands Rail the backpack he was carrying. Rail takes out a strange top and puts it on very quickly. One of the men lunges with a knife, but Frank easily knocks him away with his hand. However, the others have them surrounded in a circle. Frank takes hold of Rail and jumps about 60 feet away.
The gang takes proper notice of the top Rail put on—it covers his arms entirely and descends down to his knees. It's also silvery and extremely shiny, almost like chain mail. Rail makes fun of the gang for thinking Frank was just a fat, slow guy—Frank's closer to a Lightning Bruiser
than a Mighty Glacier
Then the gang realizes that in the center of the circle they are standing in is something resembling an egg-sized pocket watch with a strange design. The watch ticks away, as Rail tells them that Graham's the only person they need. Frank nervously covers his ears.
The second hand reaches zero, and the alleyway is rocked by an explosion.