Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Deciding Vote

In an effort to get secure the one vote that Cerebus needs to become the Prime Minister, Cerebus, Astoria and the Roach travel to the far flung,snowy province of Lord Storm’send. In keeping with the wintry environs the Roach has invented a new alter ego, this one is the fearless Sgt Preston (based on the old matinee idol Sgt Preston of the Mounties).

Lord Storm’send proves to be a crusty old farmer type, although given that he and Cerebus are about the same height he’s either a midget or old age shrunk him dramatically. If the movie ever gets made I’m putting in a vote for Warwick Davis right here and now, provided that they haven't put him in the Cerebus costume. The straight talking Lord locks Astoria and the Roach in his shed and takes Cerebus cross country for a ‘chat’.

Storm’send and Cerebus do not get along well. This is odd because they’re both very practical and no nonsense, although Stom’send has a moral compass, which is something the aardvark lost a long time ago. It is possibly because the two are so alike that they strike sparks off one another. Surprisingly Storm’send knows something about the albatross. The one that Cerebus has been looking for that formed his ransom, is worthless, it’s a painted lead decoy. The real one is priceless, exactly how a back water ruler knows this is not explained.

The farming lord also tells Cerebus about how elections run up in his province of Northbell, you get the impression he’s not a fan of democracy, too much fuss and bother for him. He had to distribute 78 leaflets to people who mostly could care less and waste a day when he could have been mending fences on his property. When he gathered the leaflets up only 4 had been properly filled in. Two for Cerebus and two for the goat. Storm’send has the deciding vote. Lord Julius has already visited him, but he gives no indication which way he’s likely to vote. I discovered one thing; the voting system wasn’t based on the Australian version. Down here voting is compulsory, you exercise your democratic right to vote or you get fined. Rather interesting way to do it; force people to vote. Then again we’re all so apathetic that if they didn’t do it this way so few people would bother that any result would be largely meaningless.

Eventually Storm’send and Cerebus reach a hill top with two beacons. Storm’send lights one to indicate who he’s voting for. His brother will see it and relay the message back to the city. He refuses to tell Cerebus who he voted for. Once Cerebus has made certain that the vote cannot be changed and nothing can be done about it he punches Storm’send out and then treks back to the farm to liberate Astoria and the Roach.

The shed is full of home made liquor. As Storm’send had told Cerebus, Astoria and the Roach have started to drink it. The alcohol affects the Roach’s addled mind to the effect that he believes he is the Roach version of the Hulk and Professor X. An inebriated Astoria goes along with the fantasy and thinks she’s got spider powers. By the time Cerebus gets them out they are both drunk to the point of almost losing consciousness.

Cerebus loads them both into the sled and with the Roach’s slurred commentary (Kevitch is still awake) ringing in his ears he heads off for Iest. Cerebus is forced to stuff one of the Roach’s gloves in his mouth to shut him up or at the very least muffle him partway through the trip. He gets lost, winds up going in the wrong direction and is eventually pointed the right way by a local. He arrives at the main bridge to be told that it’s out and won’t be passable for at least a week. After finding out that there’s no other option but to wait he agrees to check in at the inn on the bridge. As he’s giving the clerk his details the man comments that it’s odd his name is the same as the new Prime Minister. After letting this sink in, realising that he’s won and doing a very unCerebuslike celebration he goes to his room to think on his victory.

The Roach is becoming more and more unhinged by the issue, considering that he’s always been crazy this shouldn’t be surprising, but it is funny. The prospect of Cerebus as Prime Minister is a scary one. On the one hand he may try and turn his power into absolute power, on the other he may find out that working as a bureaucrat is not the same as being a military commander and he’ll plunge Iest into chaos. Going to be a fun ride either way.

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