Mark feels airsick. He is also very physically drained from all of the fighting he has just gone through, and hasn’t been eating much. Alec lets him rest, and Mark drifts in and out, never quite fully unconscious. Alec also slowly gives Mark things to eat and drink. Alec says that he is taking them east, near the city of Asheville. He says he has also seen some of the crazy people from Deedee’s village. He can tell Mark is troubled, and asks him about it. Mark tells Alec about his sadism when killing the pilot, and Alec comforts Mark. Alec’s face, however, is unreadable, and this troubles Mark. Finally, Mark passes out from exhaustion, and dreams again.
Mark remembers how he and his friends were holed up in the Lincoln Building for weeks on end. At least there was junk food from vending machines to eat. In the flashback, there are many floors on the Lincoln Building from which to scavenge. New York City is flooded, and the streets are filled with water like canals. Mark is hiding from the sun under a table when Baxter comes to get him. They have spotted a boat coming down Broadway; the friends all go down to meet it. There are two people on the boat, a man and a woman. The woman refers to the man as “Boss,” and is subservient and meek towards him. The man is a huge bully, and he demands all of their food and fuel. As a display of force, he shoots Baxter to death for no reason. Mark and his friends comply with Boss’s demands. Alec seems to have a plan. They stock up the boat, and then Alec suddenly attacks the Boss, throwing him through the window of the Lincoln Building. Boss falls into the water many floors below. Mark barely helps Alec get back out of the broken window frame. The woman, although also armed, escapes into the building. Mark and his friends are now able to take over the boat. Boss emerges from the water suddenly, and Mark has to violently kick him back away. As they steer away, Mark sees the woman standing at the window of the Lincoln Building; she shoots herself.
Mark wakes up. His head hurts all the time now. Alec tells Mark that he has seen their friends. Lana, Trina, and Deedee were being herded like sheep by the crazed villagers. Alec and Mark prepare to go rescue them. They first search the weapons stash in the Berg; they come across a unique and expensive set of weapons. Alec says that they are Transvices, which make people dissolve into thin air. They land briefly and walk into a suburban area, with Alec hoping to show Mark how the weapon works. An insane man, completely naked and visibly decaying, rushes out of a house screaming at them. Alec shoots the man, whose molecules split apart and dissolve, just as Alec had said. Alec and Mark reboard the Berg to get closer to their friends. As they fly over the outskirts of Asheville, they see horrible sights of the Flare’s effects. The neighborhoods are madhouses. Mark suddenly envisions Trina being torn apart by the insane, and angrily demands that Alec lands so that they can go down there. Alec refuses, and Mark wonders how quickly the Flare is progressing in him. Alec and Mark finally land close to where they need to be. Walking through the neighborhood, Alec compares the crazy people they’ve seen to people who used to use a drug called 'crank'. Crank druggies were called crankheads, and they became psychotic. Mark knows that using crank means one can never go back. Suddenly, he and Alec are attacked by a woman who jumps off a roof onto Mark. Alec does not shoot her, wanting to save ammo for bigger game. He that Mark can shoot the woman if he wants to do so. Mark shoots the woman, and he and Alec keep going.
Mark and Alec have to search every house in order to find Trina, Lana, and Deedee. Alec saw them being brought into a house and into a basement, but the first few houses prove unfruitful. Eventually, they reach the heart of the violence and mayhem. In the process they see utterly terrible things. Just as they are about to reach the center of the insanity, they hear Lana’s scream. She has been beaten and bloodied, and is being dragged out along the concrete by three armed thugs. Alec aims the Transvice at them, but is afraid he will shoot Lana by mistake. When one of the men proceeds to stab Lana anyways, Mark leaps into action. Mark and Alec kill the men one by one.
However, Lana is so beaten and has suffered so much that Alec shoots her with the Transvice as well, putting her out of her misery. Alec and Mark kill over a dozen crazy people with their Transvices as they finally make their way to the basement of the house. They find Trina and Deedee in a corner. Trina does not seem to recognize Mark; Deedee says that Trina is sick.
Trina and Deedee agree to go with Mark and Alec, although Trina still shows no signs of recognizing Mark. Mark and his friends have to fight through an intense violent mob of insane people in order to get out of the house. At some point, Trina is able to tell the insane to stop what they are doing, before everything descends into chaos again. At another point, Mark loses his Transvice. One of the crazies uses it randomly. With this added craziness, Mark, Alec, Trina, and Deedee are able to escape from the house and to the Berg. Trina carries Deedee the whole time.
During Mark and his friends’ stay in the Lincoln Building during the solar radiation, they truly come to know the arbitrary nature of the world and of their lives. This really comes to a head when a scavenger, nicknamed only as Boss, comes in to take their food and supplies, and shoots their friend Baxter down for no reason except intimidation (223). Mark now knows how easily death can come–especially in this world, where lawlessness is now the real law.
After he and his friends overcome and kill the scavenger, and before they completely drive away in the scavenger’s boat, Mark sees that the scavenger’s accomplice is still alive. The woman, who was subservient to the mean Boss, is standing in a window on the Lincoln Building, about to shoot herself. Mark wants to tell her not to do it (230), but it is too late. Mark’s kind-heartedness shows in this moment: he feels bad for the woman, and believes in the value of her human life, even though moments earlier she had been trying to kill them with her Boss. Every human life is important to Mark.
Alec has seen where Lana, Trina, and Deedee are, and he and Mark finally prepare to land and go rescue them. While looking for weapons, they find Transvices, which vaporize people. These Transvices seem to be rare, old, and not used very often. Alec says that they “make people dissolve into thin air” (235). Later, both men have opportunities to practice this. People just turn gray and truly do dissolve into the air. Their molecules are broken up and blown away. In some ways, the Transvice’s actual action is reflective of the way the sun flares and the Flare virus work. They simply killed—and continue to kill—and nothing can be done about it. The gray mist that comes with dissolving could also possibly be a reference to the gray of someone’s complexion in death.
Alec is still flying the Berg to where they need to land when Mark sees the terrible, savage scenes going on beneath them. He demands that Alec let them down right now (243). Mark was caught up in seeing the remains of a dead person being ripped up by the crazy, infected people, and thinks only of Trina. Although Mark’s care for Trina is understandable, this moment is also indicative of his progressive Flare symptoms. Mark is irritable and not completely rational in the way he just wants Alec to let them down onto the ground, and finally recognizes this.