In the ninth chapter of Feed, the team is ordered to attend a meeting by Ryman, and shit gets real. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
Well, things are certainly extremely fucked up already, aren’t they?
I have no problem stating that Peter Ryman is most certainly not an antagonist in this story. He’s just not, and after the disaster the previous night, I figured that if there was any chance for him to show his true colors, this was it. His campaign just suffered a brutal setback, losing four guards and three supporters, and there’s not really a good chance this can be spun positively. While I do get to see Ryman in a different state than what I’ve seen from him before, I still like him a lot.
I get the sense that what Buffy, Georgia, and Shaun have gotten involved with is going to get extremely overwhelming quickly. It’s significant enough that they’re now a part of Ryman’s campaign, even as outsiders, but given what happens in chapter nine, this is going to be out of control. How are they going to cope with it? Will their routines have to change? We see the effects of the previous night’s excursion on Shaun and Georgia here. They’re hard to wake, deep in an exhaustive sleep, and then they’re forced to get ready in ten minutes. Will there be more nights like this?
I’m glad that Georgia and Shaun have each other, though, and I think that’s what’s going to prove to be their advantage. Georgia mentions that she and Shaun “shared the same room until puberty hit,” and ever beyond that, they’ve “never been more than a closed door away from another.” This closeness is an integral part of the narrative. It’s there when the two use black humor to cope. They’re both dependent on one another, but this is never portrayed negatively. Which… you know, I really like that. These siblings are best friends. That’s how I am with my twin brother. He’s always been the best friend I’ve ever had. I think it’s what will get these two through this shitstorm.
Can I just assume that Grant got the term “betas” from fanfiction? Yes? It’s a great idea, and I’m not surprised that the team has to outsource some of what they do. AS SOMEONE WHO CURRENTLY PRODUCES A LOT OF STUFF FOR THE INTERNET, I UNDERSTAND THIS NEED QUITE INTIMATELY. I’m not sure I have a complete grasp on the network of logistics the team uses to get their content published, especially when Georgia and Shaun start talking about Becks moving to Shaun’s side, but I appreciate how complex it is. Grant really thought all of this through, didn’t she? I’M SO IMPRESSED.
So let’s just get to the debriefing. I just love the image of Ryman sitting at the head of the table, still in thought as the rest of his team rushes about. The man commands an air of respect that I can sense through the pages, and that’s a damn amazing feat. This is also the very first time Peter Ryman is furious. Understandably so: his campaign was just threatened in more ways than just a zombie attack. He goes for the details first, sending Buffy and an aide, Chuck Wong, to go find out why the screamer – the motion sensor that detects heat – didn’t work. While they’re off doing this (WAY TO GO VOLUNTEERING, BUFFY, YOU ARE AWESOME), I was just as transfixed by Ryman’s reaction as Georgia was. He very quickly refuses to kick the bloggers out or blame them for the problem, which earns my respect INSTANTLY. Plus, he’s just such a good speaker.
So when Buffy demanded to be patched through on a speakerphone, I knew it couldn’t be good. She wouldn’t dare ask Georgia to interrupt this dude. Even I was scared of interrupting him and he’s a fictional character.
“The wires were cut.”
The senator froze. “Cut?”
“The screamer shows detection of zombies we saw last night, sir. The connection that should have set off the perimeter alarms wasn’t made because those wires had been cut before the alarms was sounded.”
“Whoever did it did a pretty good job,” Buffy said. “All the damage is inside the boxes. Nothing visible until you crack the case, and even then you have to dig around before you find the breaks.”
SABOTAGE ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. Oh, fuck. So, someone clearly doesn’t want Ryman to be president. But who? Why? Oh god, I ALREADY LOVE THIS CONFLICT. Can we also talk about this incredible moment?
The senator looked like a man who’d been hit, hard and unexpectedly, from behind. He met my gaze, despite the alien appearance of my contacts, and gave a small, tightly controlled shake of his head. Please, that gesture said, not right now.
OH MY GOD, I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ALREADY. Just, I enjoy this dynamic so much. Ryman respect the bloggers and they respect him back. They have boundaries. Does this count as a ship? I ship Ryman/Bloggers SHUT UP I WILL DO THIS. I’m just so happy that Georgia is able to read this gesture correctly, and she respects it without a second thought. It’s not like they don’t have work to do anyway.
The final moments of this chapter are both frightening and disturbing. Grant brilliantly juxtaposes Shaun’s recital of Becks’s qualifications with the brutal death of Tyrone and Tracy, which Georgia is reviewing at the same time. Shaun notices that Georgia is distracted, and it’s when he looks closer at the footage that he notices something strange right where the film jumps from one moment in time to another. SOMEONE SHOT TRACY IN THE LEG. While things were already fucked up enough, now Shaun discovered another discrepancy, one that is only barely caught on video. Not only was the screamer sabotaged, but someone else had to have been in the area, close enough to shoot Tracy in the leg so that she couldn’t run away. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?
I don’t even know, y’all. Buffy’s poem is nice.
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