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  1.  (11251.1)
    It's Thursday! It's mid-afternoon in London! It's another wrongheaded morning in Mericky! Everyone in Australia is dead from spiders and snakes and poisonous accents, apparently. And it's time for more Crossed hideosity!

    Episode 74, live and free-to-air.

    Remember: Not safe for work, not safe for minors, not safe for people of a nervous disposition, not safe for the Wire-Pipe-Power detector.
    • CommentAuthorHawk
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    Well goodness.
    They have to go BACK??
    Crazy thought - what if the Nun wants to protect Shaky - and couldn't do it whilst there were a thousand roaming crossed around Cava?
    But after the driftfleet battle, and cava assault - only the 'trusted' remain?

    Is the nun going to protect Cava and have it turn into a new 'Eden' - repopulate Britain kinda plan ?

    Nice episode - nice.
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014 edited
    Definitely didn't see that coming...yet another new face to help lead the pack of raping and psychotically murderous lunatics. I never would have thought down this 'avenue' when I first started reading Crossed & WYWH.

    You REALLY are quite good at this, Si. Holy shit what an excellent issue.
  2.  (11251.4)
    I second the Holy shit. Every page here made my eyes bug out more and more.

    RIP Mr. Masoud. In the Crossed-verse there are certainly far worse ways to go. This is the one example of a heroic Muslim suicide bombing that I can think of. Although now Roshan is left all alone, which isn't so good. Then again, after first losing his son and then his wife, he must have thought that they were already doomed and just wanted to take as many Crossed with him as possible.

    So now we finally have met the true leader of Aoileann's horde, and he turns out to be a former priest. By my reckoning this is the third priest character introduced in Crossed, after Father Dennis in Garth's "Fatal Englishman" and the crazy priest in Si's excellent "American Quitters" arc. Judging by the flashback, he was very much like Father Dennis in that he also was looking after a group of orphaned children, with Carmel being one of them. Makes his eventual fate all the more horrific. And the behavior of the Crossed soldiers was very chilling, as apart from the one knucklehead who dived straight into the Scapa Flow they were all extremely disciplined, with none of them making any noises or even any lewd gestures. Even their uniforms were by and large in pristine shape. That they still have enough presence of mind to take care of their uniforms is evidence enough that they could make short work of the Cavaites any time they'd want to. Really, if it weren't for the rashes and scars, they'd look no different from normal military. They certainly are no different from the likes of the Waffen SS.

    The priest Crossed's motive is very much a mystery. He's now effectively keeping the Cavaites confined to their island. For what purpose? In order to weed out the weak and eventually make the strongest ones his "children" or "disciples"? Only time (and Si) will tell.
    • CommentAuthorBigSven
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    Does the priest work for the Nun or vice versa? I always thought she was the ring leader based on her long history of self-discipline, but now I am not so sure...
    • CommentAuthorgragh46
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    RIP Mr. Massoud, he definitely had the best way to go in this story so far, especially considering that he's the one who chose it. Poor Roshan, though. I think she's the character who has lost the most loved ones in this story (little brother, "lover", and now both parents).

    For any of the remaining skeptical cavaites, there you go, perfectly organized, planning group of Crossed. The shock and fear in the faces of the panels with Shaky and Rab realizing they have to go back, awesome art. It's pretty damn bad that most of the "inner circle" consists of military men, because the chances of winning them in an open battle are pretty slim, if you ask me.

    I expected the hooded man in Teresa's crew to be the same man that handed her the bone back in her first appearance, but I didn't think he'd be anyone from Shaky's backstory. I didn't expect him to be the "true leader" of the crew, either. But then again, maybe he's not, and even if Seline's opinion is that Teresa is not leading but restraining them, the Crossed consider her the leader because, X mark instead of the normal cross, makes her awesome by default. Or something.

    @Hawk: Teresa might indeed want Cava to be some kind of Garden of Eden, especially since Shaky is there. But I'm not sure the rest of the Crossed like that idea. That "wait for us" line is certainly not a good omen
    • CommentAuthorDilo
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    Aw fuck you mate we ain't dead down ere yet cobber! Crikey! Drier than a dead dingo's donger tho. I chucked a prawn on the barrrbie and started a bushfire.

    Holllllllleeeeeeeeee shit that's good! Saw none of that coming and now I'm hanging to find out what in the name of all that's holy is going on. Damn you're good Si.
  3.  (11251.8)
    Damn Si.... Been a long time lurker and after that last episode I had to sign up.... That shit was awesome!!!!!! Wow it just keeps getting better and better.... And the Gameskeeper is going to play into all this?!!? I'm hooked!!!! Well done!
  4.  (11251.9)
    Didn't Shaky say at one point that he has killed two people in cold blood? Or did I make that up? I can't possibly remember in what chapter Shay said that, if he even did say it. Anyways... Jasper and the Cheese Maker would fill that quota, if so. So I guess his murderin' days are over for now.

    I'm very intrigued by the introduction of the priest. I too am wondering who is the actual leader now -- priest or nun? I feel like the general absence of the priest and the fact that he has been secretly shrouded and laying mostly low this whole time is a decent indicator that he might have been calling the shots this whole time. Perhaps he uses the femur to keep Teresa in line and well-behaved?

    Also, RE: Cava as the "new Garden of Eden" topic -- The crossed that have a higher level of thought (planning, plotting, patience, etc.) might realize that fresh, new, uncrossed victims are hard to come by anymore. Maybe the new "Garden of Eden" is going to be more like a "Pasteur of Eden" where the uninfected are bred and raised as livestock. Cava would the perfect place to breed and harvest human victims... which is just such an evil, spine-chilling idea. ((shudder))

    ANYWAYS.... speculate, speculate, speculate. Fuck. It's hard not to!!

    Stellar chapter, as per usual, Si and co.
  5.  (11251.10)
    • CommentAuthorgragh46
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014 edited
    Shaky said that "today he had murdered his second man in cold blood" when killing Jasper. The first man he had killed, as far as he knew, was the Gamekeeper ("if the wounds don't kill you, the plusfaced will"). At least I think the narration in the diary relates to events going on around the chapter where they are shown (like when he hoped that Tabitha understood why he had done what he had in order to get her to be in the driftfleet, "or at least will some day").

    Also, Mark the cheese maker wasn't really murdered in cold blood, it was more like a spontaneous braindead reaction to seeing Tabitha being shot, (braindead = "Having temporally forgotten that Tab is now a crossed that probably wants to rape-kill you and that the guy you're shooting has probably just saved your life"). Nothing like the planning involved in what he did with the GK or Jasper.

    That "Pasture of Eden" thing sounds much closer to the priest's "wait for us... or you want it now?" line. Very scary, as well
  6.  (11251.12)
    The kind of chapter that couldn't have hit as hard without all this hinting and buildup.

    We have, however, had all this hinting and buildup. And, well... Pow.
    • CommentAuthorShan
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    @Si (but everyone feel free to chime in).

    I've really enjoyed a lot of the Crossed Universe. I did hear the interview with Si on Soundcloud and how he sometimes hears from people about how one of the things they like the most is the many different ways the characters meet their ends. For me, personally, I actually find the actual depictions of gruesome deaths the least interesting part. What I like the most is thinking about the whole global implications and how, with humanity being so varied, how different parts of the world and the different people in it would cope and what the end result will be in the long run. Us tightly packed modern city dwellers and suburbanites wouldn't cope so well but we often forget there's so many other different types of people and places than that out there, some of whom would do much better than us from the outset.

    Now for the good news:

    Despite the tag lines and all the claims to the contrary, there is hope for humanity. Maybe the intrepid crew on Cava we are following are inevitably all doomed in the end but the human race as a whole has a chance to pull through (in admittedly drastically reduced numbers).

    Having done some thinking about the world building of the Crossed Universe (and bear with me, I am using the page on TV Tropes for information, so sorry for any mistakes), I think there's going to be pockets of humanity all over the world that have a good chance of making it. They were remote and inaccessible before the sudden outbreak (what I think of as the original subclinical infection that enabled seemingly normal people to board aircraft, trains and so on and only suddenly change en masse well into flight) so probably never came into contact with the original silently spread form of the infection that suddenly erupted and now, they're equally remote from the roaming packs of infective lunatics.

    So, if even only 1% of the world's population survived the initial C-Day (let's say 60 million) and after the 5 years since, only 1% of those survived the resulting murder and mayhem uninfected, that still leaves at least 500,000 to 600,000 people left. They'll already be used to surviving in some of the harshest and most inaccessible places on Earth which didn't get much in the way of visitors beforehand, so if anything life may well go on almost as usual for them.

    If mankind could survive the Toba supervolcano that possibly reduced the whole of humanity to a few thousand at most, it's certainly possible the human race could keep on going in the most remote corners of the Earth like it always has. (Unless of course I've now given ideas to the writers to do something about that).
    • CommentAuthorBabu Dhakal
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014 edited

    There was that Aboriginal tribe in Si's Australia special who seemed to be doing well after fleeing Uluru/Ayer's Rock. And it seems to be hinted that there are other small settlements scattered around the Australian Outback, as Todd's road train was shown trading with one isolated homestead in a flashback. Which makes sense, as the sparsely populated Outback would have a far better chance of weathering the storm than Australia's heavily populated coasts.

    I think places like the Falklands or Tristan da Cunha would also have a chance. I'd like to see a Crossed story take place in China, though, just so I could see those smug bastards of the CCP finally encounter a foe they cannot defeat by shooting and running them over with tanks...
    • CommentAuthorShan
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014
    I was thinking of the Falklands as well. If the Black Watch could initially survive the sudden outbreak without presumably too many of its member succumbing to the initial sudden change (such that the others could stop them before they were all either killed or contaminated), the Falklands garrison would have a good chance, as there's more than a thousand of them and the total number of Falkland Islanders in about 3000 at most.

    It does depend on how the initial outbreak was spread (like we saw in this series, people went from going about their normal day to homicidal and infective literally in the time it took to walk through a doorway) but I think it's quite possible the Falklands could have made it through, cleared the infected (if any) and now be surviving if not relatively thriving. As it is, I would imagine they're fairly self sufficient given how far away (and presumably relatively expensive) it is to supply.

    The thing about our Outback is that it's extremely harsh and you need to know how to survive out there, however some people could definitely make it, those with the requisite skills.

    On the subject of garrisons, even though the fort fell, lets not forget a few people made it out in some vehicles (possibly). I wonder (assuming they did) if they'll show up again? ...
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014 edited
    Praise! So I suppose it's not worth mentioning that a priest having many children in his custody in a world with no more rules or consequences is pretty scary in itself.
  7.  (11251.17)

    As for the spread of the outbreak, we'll find out in a couple of months when Garth's "Thin Red Line/Patient Zero" comes on sale. The Ashcan certainly gives out some interesting details...

    The Outback: I looked up on wikipedia (yes, I know, wikipedia...) and it says that its population was close to 700,000 in 2006. Since Thin Red Line (and also the latest Badlands arc) confirm that C-Day was in 2008, that would have been the population at the time. Even if the remaining population were just one per cent of that, that would still leave enough small settlements spread out throughout the Outback for people like Todd to be able to ply their trade.

    I also remember that there were some (the civilians and a few soldiers) who managed to flee Fort George. Perhaps we'll see them again at the very end.

    I also am more interested in the global implications of the infection rather than just the gory stuff. Garth, Si and a few other writers do that well, while others (like Latham) just wallow in the shock and gore.
    • CommentAuthorShan
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2014 edited
    When they say 700,000, that includes towns and cities and the like. The true remote middle of nowhere places and people would be a fraction of that. It'd still be a significant number of people in the thousands though. I think places which are extremely hot and extremely cold are where people would survive, as they'd keep on doing what they've always been doing to live in the centre of Australia, the Gobi desert and so on while your standard Crossed would dehydrate and die in short order. Then there's Siberia and the like. I was just in Hokkaido, with the weather there, the standard Crossed would be lucky to last ten minutes.

    Something that could be interesting could be the Antarctic. The researchers there often spend extended periods of time there, so maybe they all missed catching the initial subclinical infection that went active on C-Day. It could be potentially even darkly entertaining to do a reverse Thing scenario (everyone else is infected!).

    As for the gore, have you noticed that it's very sneakily all but disappeared some time back? We've all been so engrossed in the story, we probably mostly haven't noticed.

    (Edited just to add one question mark)
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2014 edited
    I think the question about who works for who, still has our friendly neighborhood, X'd Teresa, sitting at the helm. The priest had an 'X' carved into his chest/torso when he opens his robe; and since she already had the X, I'm assuming he did that as "tribute" (?? for lack of a better word) or 'branding' - something like that. I still believe she's running the show.

    Praise! So I suppose it's not worth mentioning that a priest having many children in his custody in a world with no more rules or consequences is pretty scary in itself.

    kzootron - I shit you not when I saw that page of the priest and all those kids, while previously reading to myself in my office, I spoke out loud "yeah, THAT'S got good news written all over it". (Not sure if I want a complete flashback to that room, lol)
    • CommentAuthorShan
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2014 edited
    Clever bit of artwork, before the end Shaky thinks "She must've been watching" and then right near the end, on the land behind the boats with the soldiers is a figure you can just make out that wasn't there before.

    Another point to ponder, if Shaky ever gets crossed, does that mean he'll start writing in his diary in red pen?

    Edit: as for a priest being responsible for children, from what I know of the Fatal Englishman, there was a chance it turned out better than expected. Here, more than likely not so much.

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