Alia’s feeling more like her old self now that she’s back. They sneak up to where her brother Jason’s car is parked and Alia explains that being a control freak, he keeps a bug-out duffle bag in the trunk- they just need to get to it. And this is where Diana comes in.
Diana opens the trunk like the lid of a jar and they’re good. Alia grabs the wad of cash and a small backpack from inside the duffle bag. After Di does her best with uncrumpling the trunk, they leave.
Alia’s still not sure about all this Warbringer stuff, but then they did just travel halfway across the world in the blink of an eye. And Diana did just rip open the trunk of a car.
Back on the street there soldiers all over the place- looks like 9/11 all over again. They stroll into a Duane Reade and after glorifying the wonders of air conditioning head to the chotchkie section. Diana looking like a fetish model and Alia a grubby black girl with no shoes on. Nothing to see here.
Diana marvels at everything- the glossy brightness of it all, the different shampoos, deodorants, etc. Alia gets what they need, including an I LOVE NY t-shirt and few other things to make Di stand out less, while Alia tries to explain why they’re standing out so much- which includes her skin color. Diana’s academically aware of the problem but can’t quite grasp it.
They make their way to a ratty hotel in Alphabet City, near a place where her mother used to take Alia to get her hair done. After the accident, she almost couldn’t bear to go back but her hair got to a point she needed to do something. The moment Alia walked in, she broke down and the ladies took care of her without hesitation.
Desk clerk charges them an arm and a leg, but it’ll do for now. They take turns in the shower; while Diana’s in, Alia tries to slip out but Diana did a number on the doorknob. So much for trust.
Alia finally crashes, only to be awakened by Diana- someone’s at the door! 108 pages.