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21st Jul 2011, 12:00 AM
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Worry while you wait
Average Rating: 4.8 (5 votes) Rate this comic
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Author Notes:
Magravan edit delete
Initially, I had Beth more concerned about John's sake, but then I realized that while his fate was more of a concern for my sake as a reader, Beth is going to be more concerned about R.Z... If John was Enlightened (He's not, in case people are still confused...), then he's already screwed so not really much point in worrying about him. R.Z. on the other hand, is still at risk, especially now that there would be no calvary waiting to save him...

I wanted to point out that if I had more guts as a writer, I would have done this portion of the arc before revealing that John was still alive. I think that Beth lamenting about him now makes sense given her knowledge, but it sort of feels like the readers are all in on an in-joke that isn't really that funny..

I dunno, hopefully you guys enjoyed it, and we'll see you Monday, have a great weekend :)

User comments:
Martian Samurai edit delete reply
We really need a forum again.

Unfortunately, it looks like Robert decided to have a relatively smart/serious three as a guard.

Course, in humans, muscle building comes about as a result of healing trauma. As apparently zombies do not regenerate naturally, I would assume that muscle rebuilding would have to be artificially stimulated or they would have to graft muscle tissue in place of damaged parts.

Sher fake out depends on how much the guard knows, he might just have orders to report anything that seems suspicious or different from the status quo.
Lawelite edit delete reply
im still confused. let me get this straight. John was kept in a lab by robert and he escaped, found his way to the desert and was enlightened while thomos lost his memory, met beth, had all these wacky adventures and is still alive.

or did thomos escape and become enightened while john is still alive and just looks like thomos or is his twin or something.

... what?
model S edit delete reply
model S
@law: tom escaped and became enlightened, john is fine and has no memory.

@comic: beth, stop with the breast augmentation or you might beat chelsea charms record for biggest fake boobs!

but seriously, good comic. keep up the great work.
Onyx Tanuki (Guest) edit delete reply
Hmm... I'm actually a bit confused by the last frame. Is she trying to make stronger arms for herself to muscle her way out and is making an excuse when the guard caught her doing so, or did she see the guard outside while talking to herself and just grabbed a random arm and started stitching so she could look busy?
Stephen Walker (Guest) edit delete reply
John looks just like Thomas? It'd be weird if they were twins.
Muchacho NL edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
@Onyx Tanuki:
Those were my thoughts exactly.
I didn't get that last panel at all...

@Magravan: yes, you're right, this part would heighten the suspense on the question if John is OK or not.
And we could go both ways with Beth: She could naturally only care for R.Z. or she could show some care for John, which'll make it a bit romantic.
Kyo edit delete reply
Man it never really clicked until now that being turned into a one is still called being "enlightened"
Martian Samurai edit delete reply
@ Lawelite
Ok, this is how it stands.

John is the protagonist who we have been following since day one. He has amnesia so we do not know much about his past. Based on his dialog we have been able to infer that he is pretty intelligent. Again, we do not know much about his past because he does not know much about his past.

Thomas is a human who has been kept by Robert. He called the Phantom to be evacuated but was enlightened by a hungry one who was buried in sand. Based on a DNA analyzer for a survival shelter, we know that Thomas has the same DNA as John, because it identified him as Thomas when he cut his hand by it. Now, we do not know precisely what this implies yet. It could mean they are twins or something else we have not considered. Also, apparently Thomas did not have amnesia since he was heading towards the Phantom's headquarters alone without being prompted by a rescue mission.
Martian Samurai edit delete reply
@Onyx Tanuki

I think Beth is trying the old "quick, act busy" that has been used by many employees and P.O.W.s throughout history to avoid getting in trouble with their bosses.

My screen name in the forum was Romero84.
Will we be getting a forum again or has that been permanently discontinued?
Magravan edit delete reply
@Martian Samurai - I agree.. I kind of miss the forum... Shame I had to host it on a lousy host though... I'm trying to debate whether I should get another host, put up a forum on a free forum like Wake the Sleepers has, or what... But I liked having the forum.

She's in research and development... Obviously if Robert had the time / availability to do things himself, he wouldn't have needed to put her there, so the fact that she is trying something atypical is not out of the realm of explanation.

@Lawelite - The second one. They look the same, John is the main protagonist, Thomas is a foil.

@model S - Well, you know, she had some spare time and some materials... Whatever helps her escape, right? :P

@Onyx Tanuki - This might be because you haven't re-read it for a long while, or it might just be poor execution on my part...

In one of the earliest comics, Beth is shown to have been knitting for the entire night. So the implication is that she's doing what she's used to doing in order to help her think, and then making an excuse for it when the guard catches her.

@Stephen Walker - Any particular reason it would be weird?

@Muchacho NL - She does care about John, because she did like him, and if she had more time to think about it, she'd probably want to go try to track him down and keep him safe, once R.Z. is found safe...

But at this point, it didn't make sense for her to be more concerned with John's fate, who is basically screwed so far as she knew, vs R.Z. who is definitely not.

@Kyo - Old habits are hard to break :D

@Martian Samurai - One of the things I love about having you as a reader is that it reassures me that my storytelling isn't completely opaque :)

I do recognize the name from your email when you were reporting posts :) I do plan to have a forum again at some point, just not sure which route to take at the moment, as I mentioned in my previous comment to you ;)
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
ISTR that she said if John got his brains eaten, she'd keep him on a lead (leash to those across the pond) and if anyone asked where he came from, she'd say, "Stupidsville"... she might have done that to Thomas by the time John meets up with her. (Don't forget Karl is staking out John's bunker, thinking it's the Phantom's lair - John will get a nasty surprise when he comes home with R.Z.!)
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
Beth's threats which I mentioned above are here:
This particular one is called "A sign of things to come"!
Stephen Walker (Guest) edit delete reply
Well, not so much weird as it would be...an interesting twist.

"Weird" for me describes lots of things in many different ways. I use it much too often.
rantzilla (Guest) edit delete reply
Uhm question is John actually Thomas? Because the bunker he found when his blood fell on it referred to him as Thomas so he has to be the real Thomas or John and Thomas are twins.
Magravan edit delete reply
@aok666 - I guess that's going to depend on who Beth sees first, Thomas or John :D

@Stephen Walker - John and Thomas are close enough dna-wise that the scanner mistook John for Thomas. One of the main thrusts of book 2 was the idea of John not knowing who he was, and letting the reader wonder if this life that he was reading about was really his...

So there are definitely hints, and facts that have been given out in various ways to suggest the nature between the two.

@rantzilla - Absolutely not. John and Thomas are two entirely separate people.
T.Gatto edit delete reply
Where do they get all the fresh body parts, to work with? Robert must have a serious cloning facility; this would explain the John/Thomas similarities. No Deep freeze would hold enough, and no secret city of Humans would last forever either, so cloning is my official theory.

That or he's found a way to process Zombies into food ("Soylent Green" in reverse), but that doesn't explain everything as well.
jordanch68 edit delete reply
Doh! Just realized there's two 172's I think one should be 173. :)
Magravan edit delete reply
@T.Gatto - Well, we ARE in the TOGM factory... So maybe we'll see that... :D

@jordanch68 - Yeah, another thing I have to fix :)
model S edit delete reply
model S
i guess whatever helps her escape. but if she gets too big john won't love her anymore O.o

this is a really engaging story, i feel bad for beth cause she doesn't know the man she loves is alive.
ThornsInOurSide edit delete reply
She should have said, "Uh, I just need a hand."
jordanch68 edit delete reply
The reunion with John (whenever that happens) is going to be very interesting! :)
Magravan edit delete reply
@model S - How little you think of John and his shallow regard for the super hot nurse :P

@ThornsInOurSide - Damn Beth and not being more clever!

@jordanch68 - A part of me wants to hurry them back together, just because I enjoy their dynamic... But unfortunately, I think that the characters need to find some time to develop in different situations, so it will probably be a while...
model S edit delete reply
model S
it's not that i think little of it, i'm just saying there's a point where boobs just get unattractive. i'm fine up to E cups. but after that they're just too big. assuming john isn't just looking for a pair of cans to stare at and actually likes beth, there's a point she'd become unattractive to him if her's got too big.
Muchacho NL edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
@Magravan: what Model S does, that's called portraying yourself onto another :)
neon5162 (Guest) edit delete reply
im betting clones on the whole john/thomas thing which would also explain the amnesia
idd (Guest) edit delete reply
@Magravan @Lawelite - The second one. They look the same, John is the main protagonist, Thomas is a foil.
After that last comic, Alexander is a foil as well.

My guess is Thomas prime was cloned, that clone is John (explains the amnesia). John was kidnapped at the beginning of the story, or was sent out without tracking to get Robert off balance and to cause general FUD while Thomas' was escaping and trying to get to the Phantom.

What I don't understand is that the One who enlightened Thomas Prime acquired the Thomas Prime smarts, yet Beth, Stylene, Chad and all the other zombies retained their sense of self. Does this imply that if the enlightened Thomas Prime was fed enough real brain matter that he would revert to Thomas Prime state even though the brains that led to that state are no longer there? It could be I'm over thinking this, it is late/early here.
Muchacho NL edit delete reply
Muchacho NL

I think it's this:
The more brains you devour, the smarter you get.
The fours and threes we know have had the most brains next to Robert.

I start doubting that Robert is a zombie as well... I think he just classifies himself as a Five so he won't have to run from the zombies, but that aside: I think the One that did Thomas in was on the verge of becoming a Two and with Thomas's brains he did become a Two... just like little R.Z.
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
Few questions here.
1) Do TOGM "coffee", "burgers", "chips" etc get flavourings added for verisimilitude, or could zombie stomachs not cope with that?
2) Following on from first question, what would happen if a zombie ate human food? E.g. the apples off the old tree/some of those tinned peas John had to abandon.
3) How long was Ol' Corpsey dead for? He didn't look especially rotten (face still all there), and brains rot very fast so their deliquescence (did I spell that right?) is not much of a clue...
model S edit delete reply
model S
i can feild that one aok

1) no. togm "food" is just colored, and shaped, it tastes like brains.

2)zombies cannot digest "human" food.

3) awhile. he was probably kept fresh by the fact that he was in a well ventalated, cool temperature room.
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
@model S:
1) Apart from "how do you know", TOGM does NOT taste like brains. Examples: "Seeing this is like looking at chocolate-covered icecream after years of... cardboard sprinkled with shoe leather." "That was bad, even for TOGM." And at least one author comment saying that TOGM is not yummy, even for zombies (except RZ, who is weird).
2) How do you know?
3) Well-ventilated = lots of bacteria coming in. And if it's a bunker for people, it's not low-temperature. It's not just a cold-store, it's for living in.
model S edit delete reply
model S
well on 2 mag said it in a previous comment page.

and mag said they're just colored and shaped on a previous coment page. i just assumed they taste like brains.

i guess togm tastes like tofu then. i dunno.

as for your last, that was just wild mass guessing™
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
Well done re: human food and re: coloured and shaped. Guess I need to read the comments pages more closely. I had to archive-trawl; that took time so I didn't read all the comments...

TOGM is actually compared to tofu at one point (when Beth first explains it to John) - and the creators (can't remember which one) added in their authornote that the creators don't like tofu. At all. (Neither do I.)

Wild mass guessing [TM] where bacteria are concerned will not wash with a biomedical science student! :-) Bad luck. Ol' Corpsey has some explaining to do as to how he sort of mummified instead of rotting properly.
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
The authornote on this one confirms "TOGM is yuck":
model S edit delete reply
model S
it's been a bit since an archive trawl, i have a few memorized for when particular subjects come up, but i don't remember every detail off the top of my head. i don't think corpsey's been particularly touched upon, my assumption is that he had held out as long as he could and probably killed himself only a few days before john found the vault. but that's just my guess.
Magravan edit delete reply
@model S - That's good then ;D John'll like her regardless though ;)

@Muchacho NL - Projection? :)

@neon5162 - Would it?

@idd - Well, technically, to some degree, everyone who interacts is a foil to some degree...

The One who Enlightened Tom didn't get his intelligence... He regained some of his own. If Thomas had a source of brains, he could become more capable as well.

@Muchacho NL - I'm still not sure why everyone doubts about Robert...

Also, every One is on the verge of becoming a Two... A single brain increases any One into a Two :)

@aok666 - Okay, I'll answer in the same fashoin :D

1) It's a different experience. I wont call it taste, but the modification of the appearance allows it to be more palatable. Some things are added which might enhance the flavour, but very little of it, because too much would very likely disrupt their systems.

2) They probably would just sit in their systems and rot, or they would have to try to throw them back up, I guess... They lack the means to digest them.

3) He was dead for quite a while... The bunker's atmosphere preserved him in there. John disturbed that by reopening it.
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
I accept most of this, but...
Just because a bunker hermetically seals doesn't mean that the bacteria aren't sealed IN... :-) I've sealed the things into containers several times before now, and it takes them a while to use up the oxygen! In that big a room, they'd have plenty of time before they suffocated - and many putrifying etc bacteria are anaerobic anyway and wouldn't be affected. Sorry to be pedantic, but I DID spend a large amount of the past year dealing with them in practical classes, i.e. trying not to spill bacteria-laden stuff on my labcoat (and failing at least twice, there's still a huge green stain on there)... :-)
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
And Beth said that she Enlightened Chad AND Sylene before becoming a Two and realising what she was doing. So surely it took two brains to make her a Two? I've always assumed the number required to make each transition increases as you go up the scale - only a couple to get to Two, four or five (judging by RZ here) to become a Three, loads to become a Four, thousands/millions to be a Five...
Magravan edit delete reply
@aok666 - Admittedly, you probably know the science better than I do... I was just using "The vault's system destroyed all the decomposition bacteria... WITH SCIENCE!" excuse :)

And Beth basically took the two of them out pretty quickly, so her appreciation of the situation is not the same as an outside observer. One brain gets them to a Two, it takes quite a few to get to a Three, and a large number to become a Four, and to become a Five is basically being on top of the pyramid of everyone remaining on Earth...
aok666 (Guest) edit delete reply
Actually, to be fair, maybe the bunker had an air-filtration system to sterilise the internal atmosphere? If you're going to live in there for years, you don't want to get sick too often (medicines don't keep well)... and you don't want the air stinking up either. So maybe the air-conditioning did take out most of the bacteria in the air (though not all, since some would be inside Ol' Corpsey, hence the rotten brains).
Magravan edit delete reply
Is that an excuse you would buy? Because if so, definitely. That's EXACTLY how it works :D