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By Mark Bell | April 29, 2005

At 5:30am we found out why we were still outside: the Hyatt had locked their doors. They didn’t like all the fans coming in to access the skywalk earlier, and had shut us out. Meanwhile, we could still see fans on the skywalk, nice and warm, sitting down and relaxing. We were miserable. I called Gore to let him know that coming down to join the line at 6am was pointless, as there were so many people ahead of me I had no idea if I was going to see Lucas after all and all Chris would be doing was hanging out in the rain with me. I told him that I was in it for the duration, win or lose, but there was no sense in he getting soaked for no reason.

The line was unruly now. Though we tried to keep our spirits up and continued to joke, we were also prone to Tourette’s-like outbursts of profanities at any moment. Every person we saw who walked near the convention center MUST be getting in before us, our flawed reasoning was surmising. We were suffering because THEY hated us. They being unknown, probably GenCon, but they indeed. And at 6:30am, they decided to move the line again, this time promising to bring us into the convention center.

In order to ensure that this went smoothly, the 501st was enlisted to corral us. That was the most out there moment of the morning, seeing 50+ Stormtroopers in full gear show up and start pressing us into a straight line against the wall. I thought we were being lined up so that they could gun us down. I imagined us all prisoners of the Empire, Rebels who had been caught and were going to be marched to our doom. The Stormtroopers led, and we followed… all the way back to the side door that they had lined my group up in front of back at 12:30. Yes, that’s right, I ended up right back where I had been, only this time with a crushed spirit and with 400 folks in front of me.

Once inside the convention center, they marched us into a room on the lower floor with red stanchions outlining a queue. We were marched up the queue and down the queue, up and down, up and down before, oddly enough, being counted and then led right back out of the room. They then brought us upstairs where we saw the folks who had gotten in before us, some sleeping, all looking comfortable and happy. Some of those lucky bastards even yelled out stuff like “cold enough for you” and other such sensitive statements that I bet they thought were funny, but were really, in our minds, reason enough to kill. Seeing all those people who weren’t in front of me before but were now so comfortable and no doubt going to be in the front during the show while I was in the back filled me with such a rage I thought I was going to pummel the next person that talked to me. Luckily, no one talked to me as we were led into our final queue room, familiar red stanchions and everything, where we would be kept until we could enter the ballroom at 8am.

A few volunteers then walked the line and gave us our yellow bracelets, informing us that we were, indeed, going to get into the first show of the morning. A sad cheer went up from the crowd, and then I and everyone around me did what we wanted to do outside: took a nap. Some chatted about Star Wars minutia, the rest of us slept. I dreamt that Chewie was in trouble, and that a Slave Leia had shot him with what looked like a slinkie. I am not making that up.


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