Arc Thoughts: Infestation

(Mid-Arc Thoughts)

So! That’s all the members of the Slaughterhouse Nine accounted for!

Let’s take a look at the second half of Infestation, as well as Infestation as a whole!

A jumble of recap (part 2) and predictions, whoops

Part 2 of Infestation has been significantly less continuous than part 1, consisting of eight largely separate chapters following roughly the same format – a POV character is approached by a member of the Slaughterhouse Nine, the Fellowship member in most cases wanting the POV character to join the team.

Besides the introductions of upcoming antagonists, the most important chapters for the main perspective of the story outside the Interludes are definitely 11a and 11g. Because of the events of these chapters – or rather, the nominations leading to them – Rachel and Alec will both be targeted by the Slaughterhouse Nine in upcoming chapters, something that will likely cause all of the Undersiders to get involved even though they’ve been divided into their own territories. Notably, Rachel is willing to “see what this test is all about”, and is probably the Undersider most fit to actually succeed without help, so there is genuinely a risk that she might end up joining the enemy.

The only other nominees we saw who accepted the offer of becoming Slaughterhouse members were Oni Lee and Hookwolf. Oni didn’t work out, but I could see Hookwolf actually successfully becoming a member and then backstabbing the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, however, the Slaughterhouse Nine apparently don’t give a shit about whether you want to join them, even though they have a habit of showing enough courtesy to ask/warn the nominees. If you’ve been nominated, they’ll test you, no matter what, so Colin, Amy and Noelle (and by extension Coil) need to watch out as well.


I think I was right to do Mid-Arc Thoughts. Part 2 of Infestation, the Interludes, could very easily have been a separate Arc. Sentinel and Parasite are more interconnected than Infestation proper and its Interludes. As a result, Arc 11 as a whole feels quite bisected, and it’s hard for me to think of it as a whole at all.

Part 1 was a pretty decent Taylor story about bystanderism and dealing with the infestation that was the Merchants, with the looming threat of the Slaughterhouse Nine being very much in the background. It had solid throughlines, bookends (Taylor waking up from a nightmare at the beginning, feeling optimistic about the same things at the end), and worldbuilding re: the Dandelions and Cauldron, and generally works excellently as a standalone Arc.

Part 2 was more formulaic, in a sense, but in a good way. It let me loosely know what to expect but still left room for each Interlude to do its own thing, and what they did was usually pretty good. There were some fantastic chapters in there, most notably Interlude 11h.

And while the Interludes were largely separate from each other, the formula and the minor pieces of continuity connecting the chapters – from small details like Coil acknowledging Leah’s death to bigger things like 11a and 11h taking place at the same time, or the mystery of the Newbie and what happened to Hatchet Face, or Oni Lee being taken in 11b and showing up again as part of Hack Job in 11h – made the sequence of Interludes feel like a whole rather than just… a set of events.

Overall, Arc 11 is very good, but I do feel it works better seen as two stories, two Arcs.

The Arc title

I don’t think this has changed much since the Mid-Arc Thoughts. Infestation still refers primarily to the Merchants. You could argue that it also covers the Slaughterhouse Nine, but I don’t think that fits anywhere near as well.

Prediction review

From Arc Thoughts: Parasite:

So what do we have coming up?

As mentioned earlier in the post, this Arc ended with Dragon finding out Taylor’s identity and starting a search for her. I don’t think that’s a plot that’s going to be left dormant for too long, so there’s a good chance Dragon will play a role in Arc 11, or maybe Arc 12.

She did appear, but not for this particular plotline.

Meanwhile, the Undersiders will need to try to stay away from the Slaughterhouse Nine. They will fail, that much I’m certain of, but whether they’ll fail in the next Arc or later remains to be seen.

Two of them were specifically sought out by Slaughterhouse Nine members, and the rest are coming after those Undersiders to test them.

So yeah. They absolutely failed to stay away from the Slaughterhouse Nine, and it’s gonna get worse. 😛

When it happens, though… well, there’s little reason to hold back against Jack Slash in particular. But even if someone does try to kill him, I think they’ll fail. I could see the story’s climax happening in two years, but I highly doubt we’ll be skipping ahead enough for it to happen in fifteen.

We didn’t quite get to this point yet. This prediction’s gonna have to carry over to Arc 12.

We might also learn more about Imp/Aisha (though with the reveal that Imp was Aisha, that’s become less of pressing matter since we’ve had a chapter getting to know Aisha as a civilian before) and how she ended up on the team… I wish I could see Brian’s face the moment Aisha probably told him straight that she has powers now and she knows about the Undersiders. 😛

No luck there. Aisha is the one Undersider we didn’t see in this Arc at some point or other – almost like Wildbow forgot to include her… 😉

And now, predictions from the Mid-Arc Thoughts:

Given the number of Interludes, my main prediction is that these Interludes are for the Slaughterhouse Nine, starting or more likely ending with Jack Slash. Eight members, eight Interludes.

Correct, besides the part about Jack Slash. Though he did show up in the first one to start after the gimmick of the Interludes had been confirmed.

Knowing that the Interludes were done for the purpose of celebrating the anniversary of Gestation 1.1, the number might just be the result of 1 regular Interlude plus 7 bonus Interludes for the week of celebration, but that seems too perfect for Wildbow not to use that for the Fellowship even if that was the case. (If this is how it shook out, I do feel like that slightly increases the chances of Jack Slash going first, though that depends on when Wildbow got the idea for the week-long marathon of Interludes.)

I don’t know if this was the case – though the lack of “(Anniversary Bonus)” on Interlude 11a suggests it might’ve been, that tag was also missing from 11d and 11h. (I don’t know if that was by accident or to indicate that he would’ve done them even if he hadn’t decided to do an Interlude marathon to celebrate the anniversary. If it’s the latter, then why 11h rather than 11g?)

But if it was that way, it still makes a lot of sense that Siberian went first, with 11a being one of the two most important Interludes in the Arc. The parenthetical comment was caused by the assumption that Jack Slash’s Interlude would be most important, so while I was wrong about which one it’d be, I was correct about the underlying idea – that one of the most important Interludes would come first.

That said, I could still be wrong. If the Interludes aren’t for the Slaughterhouse Nine, I don’t have a clue who they’d be for. Maybe some of the other villains in town? Maybe one of the Wards or Protectorate members as they learn of the Merchants’ collapse? Perhaps even a short check-in on Dragon’s progress in finding Taylor?


Also, given the marathon, I suspect these Interludes might each be a bit shorter than the average recent chapter.

I don’t know. They didn’t feel any shorter, at least. Maybe he wrote them in advance?

So yeah, whatever Wildbow has in store for me, I’m sure it’ll be good. If perhaps brutal. 🙂

That it was!

Predictions for Arc 12

I’ve kind of accidentally covered just about everything already, but let’s summarize:

We know that Bitch, Armmaster, Hookwolf, Noelle, Regent and Panacea are all now targets for Slaughterhouse testing. This might be lethal for some of them, as I doubt the Slaughterhouse members will hold back. However, I doubt we’re losing Bitch, Hookwolf or Regent – Bitch and Regent because plot armor and Hookwolf because he’s probably the most competent fighter out of all of them, besides maybe Armmaster, and better equipped defensively than anyone except maybe Noelle. Besides plot armor, it would be more interesting to have Bitch actually join the Slaughterhouse Nine and become an antagonist – at least temporarily – than to have her just die.

Other than that, a couple predictions from the end of Arc 10 remain active:

Dragon’s attempts to locate Taylor and communicate with her may come back in Arc 12. However, it might end up being a bit much to have that on top of the Slaughterhouse plot (though that didn’t stop us from learning about Dandelions in the middle of a Merchant brawl), so it’s possible that gets pushed back to Arc 13.

And, if someone attempts to kill Jack Slash, they will either fail, or do it too late.

But yeah, if I were to describe what I think Arc 12 will be like in one word, it’d have to be intense.

am pretty curious to see how the Arc deals with the fact that there are other characters we care about who are going through the same thing as two of the Undersiders. Maybe we’ll have some Interludes to help out with that? Though it is worth noting that Wildbow seems to have a rule against using the same POV character for two Interludes (which is probably part of why Alec wasn’t the POV in 11g, besides Cherish’s power and personality being better illustrated from within her own head), so he’d have to show us the perspective of someone else close to the action. Perhaps even one of the attacking Slaughterhouse members, though that might be a tad redundant.

Primarily, though, I think we’ll be focusing on Taylor and the other Undersiders doing what they can to protect Alec, and maybe Rachel if she does eventually decide to tell the others anything.

So yeah. See you soon, as I dive into Arc 12!

Hey, would you mind ordering the S9 from your favourite to least favourite member so far? Also, i believe the anniversary bonus lacking from some of the chapters is because these were posted on regular update days.


So, now that you’ve seen the Slaughterhouse 9 in action, which one is your favorite?

Ah, whoops – I was planning on doing a favorites ranking for the Arc Thoughts, but I forgot. Here:

  1. Bonesaw
  2. Cherish
  3. Jack Slash
  4. Burnscar
  5. Shatterbird
  6. Siberian
  7. Mannequin
  8. Crawler

6 thoughts on “Arc Thoughts: Infestation

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