The acronym "C.R.U.D.E." has been used to depict two distinct yet related organizations within the comic, each in a separate universe.
The Commune of Really Unscrupulous and Diabolical Evildoers
First Appearance: Rude, CRUDE, and Socially Unacceptable (May 24, 2001)
The Commune of Really Unscrupulous and Diabolical Evildoers, or C.R.U.D.E., is a secret cabal of mad scientists, evil masterminds, and diabolical strategists. It was founded years ago to fix a fatal flaw most super-villains have in their diabolical plans: covering all possible scenarios. By combining their resources, they could more efficiently achieve their common goal: world domination. (As Doctor Nefarious once said, "This is always the hardest step; all following steps are merely administrative.") Once their goal is achieved, they then plan to "duke it out amongst [themselves] to see who finally reigns supreme".
C.R.U.D.E. is believed to have been founded by the trio of Doctor Nefarious, Doctor Not, and Moldfinger. A distinct hierarchy exists between members and employees. "Members" are limited to a small handful of evil geniuses who have apparently equal say in how the organization is run, while employees perhaps number in the thousands and include all sorts of support staff, including paramilitary stormtroopers, scientists, covert agents, and clerical and janitorial staff. The last reported count of full members was eleven before Trudy was invited to join, and only the code-names of the other members have been recently revealed.
Up until Surreptitious Machinations, C.R.U.D.E. held annual auditions at their "grande initiate ball". The exact time and location of this ball was a closely guarded secret, and perhaps the first test initiates faced was learning of its very existence. During the course of a few days, initiates would face a number of sinister challenges to test their ingenuity. Each potential application must pass certain strict criteria and present detailed credentials before being allowed to participate. Past tests have included slaughtering fluffy bunnies, background checks, and reportedly even swimsuit competitions. Only when all the potential candidates have been whittled down to one will the competition be complete, and then the sole remaining initiate will be voted upon by the existing membership. If the initiate is offered membership, he or she will become an associate (non-voting) member until their dues are paid and one of three extremely difficult tasks are completed:
- The initiate must murder a prominent public figure;
- The initiate must break the speed of light;
- Or the initiate must overthrow a small country.
Once within the organization, the member remains a member for life... or at least until they outlive their usefulness. Being an organization founded on the principles of evil, there are ample opportunities for backstabbing and double-crossing, with alliances amongst members constantly being formed and broken behind closed doors. Revealing any information about the organization to outsiders is grounds for immediate termination, typically of the offender's life.
C.R.U.D.E. was an essential cog in the Surreptitious Machinations of Trudy in her eventual rise to power to become empress of the world in the future. Using Nick's Velociraptor power source, Trudy and C.R.U.D.E. were able to conquer the world and begin sharing power. Naturally, past alliances broke quickly and Trudy was eventually able to defeat and disband the organization and obtain sole leadership. However, thanks to the intervention of a certain time-traveling teen, the Empress' cyclic paradox was broken and the Undisclosed Government Agency was able to defeat C.R.U.D.E. during the Battle of Manhattan. The organization quickly went back underground, dogged by the U.G.A. ever since.
The current status of C.R.U.D.E. as an organization is unknown, but believed to be largely defunct. Several prominent members have been captured and incarcerated, including Dr. Nefarious, Dr. Not., and Mister Inertia. These three, along with various members of support staff including Jenkins, "And", and "Or", are currently being held in a top-secret U.G.A. prison hidden in the mountains near Big Stick, West Virginia, USA. Moldfinger has formally retired from evil-doing, and Trudy's association has been permanently severed. Several lesser known members have been killed over the years evading capture by the U.G.A. It is generally believed that the organization has mostly disintegrated, a shadow of its once grand self. As usual, though, rumors are only rumors, and no one truly knows for certain what the organization's true state may currently be.
Known C.R.U.D.E. Members
- Doctor Nefarious
- Doctor Not
- Mister Inertia
- Trudy Trueheart, aka "Stratego"
- Captain Calamity
- Lady Ruin
- The Damnation Trio
- Lord Kamatayan
- Duchess Lebeti
Known C.R.U.D.E. Employees
Crusaders Ready to Unseat the Despotic Emperor
First Appearance: To Thine Own Self...: Chapter Three (February 16, 2006)
In To Thine Own Self..., Ki, Fooker, and their friends travel to an alternate universe to rescue Nick from his sinister alter ego, Emperor Nicholas the Puissant. While there, Trudy's counterpart revealed the existence of another C.R.U.D.E.: Crusaders Ready to Unseat the Despotic Emperor. The mirror of our universe's criminal organization, this version was instead a decentralized group of resistance cells working underground to overthrow Emperor Nicholas and restore the previous world order. When our heroes first encounter this cell, its current base of operations was in the sewers directly beneath the Emperor's palace, an ironic but highly effective hiding place. Unfortunately, it was later revealed that the Emperor already knew of their whereabouts for quite some time but did not act on that information as to "lull them into a false sense of security".
Several of the members of this version of C.R.U.D.E. appear to be mirrors of their GPF universe counterparts:
- Doctor Nefu is clearly the analog of Doctor Nefarious;
- Alex Nicht, Nefu's shy yet brilliant assistant, is most likely Doctor Not's counterpart (Not once used the alias "Alexis Nicht");
- Far less certain is Wong Li. Several clues in the March 1, 2006 strip (the Asian name, Dexter's reaction, Trudy's emphasis on the word "inertia", his apparent small stature) hint that he may be the analog of Mister Inertia.
In addition, several other prominent counterparts of known GPF universe denizens appear to have been members of this resistance, although no apparent association exists between their GPF versions and the GPF universe's C.R.U.D.E.:
- Trent Terrell, the analog of GPF Software's former marketing director;
- Chuck Walker, the counterpart of Fooker's deceased former neighbor;
- Yoshi Oshiro, the analog of Ki's younger brother
- And Butch Kilgore, the counterpart of Fooker's former bully.
When our heroes raided the Emperor's palace to rescue Nick, the Emperor sent his stormtroopers into the sewers to wipe the resistance out. Trent and Nefu were confirmed dead and it is assumed that all other members of the cell not in the raiding party were killed as well. Kilgore was later revealed to have been taken over by the Grey Aliens' enemies and killed by the raiding party in their escape. Of the resistance members, only Trudy and Chuck are assumed to have survived, escaping the palace in the Emperor's shuttle before the palace was destroyed.
As a result, it is assumed that the "Negaverse" version of C.R.U.D.E. is likewise defunct, or at least the individual cell featured within the story. Assuming that the empire has collapsed, its original purpose is no longer valid... but without knowing the outcome of the interstellar battle between the Greys and their adversaries, it may still exist with an all new purpose.