Croach the Tracker (played by Mark Gagliardi) is a Martian (colloquially: "Marjun") in Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars. He is the second lead character in Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars and is in the majority of the segment's episodes.
All Martians have a designation based on their skill or characteristics. Croach's skill is tracking, which is greatly enhanced by his 28 senses.
Croach, like all adult Martians, is protected against physical harm by Nah Nohtek (in Earth English "nanotech"). Croach's Nah Nohtek has revived him of, among other things, being shot, squished, and sharing a consciousness with a cosmic being, V’stalu of the Galaxium. For more information on Martian physiology and customs, see Martian.
Several alternate versions of Croach have also appeared throughout the show's run.
Croach is typically brave and selfless. He has thrown himself in front of many dangers to save the lives of others.
The Martians in Croach's tribe claim to never lie. (There is, however, another tribe that lies all the time). Croach himself has claimed he cannot lie but he has said several things that one might consider severely bent truths.
Croach tends to be somewhat argumentative, especially with Sparks Nevada, and a stickler for making sure all things are designated correctly.
Croach is particularly exceptional at quantifying his experiences.
- Croach is imbued with Nah Nohtek (nanotech), as are all adult Martians, which give him regenerative abilities and enhance his senses.
- Croach uses a Quantum Bow and Techno Arrows as a weapon.
- He rides a hoversaddle as do most martians.
Like all his tribe, Croach learned Earth English from the novels of Rebecca Rose Rushmore. His progenitor read "Bushwackers of Neptune" while he was gestating and he credits it for the strength needed to consume his broodmates and attain pack dominance.
As a child, he was infected with SmallOx and spent his convalescence at the Old Mission.
Croach and The Red Plains Rider were betrothed as younglings.
Croach was once killed accidentally by Sparks Nevada. His addiction to alcohol caused his Nah Nohtek to cease to function, and when Sparks Nevada was showing down with Mercy Laredo, Croach threw himself in front of the bullets, as his primary onus at the time was to Mercy Laredo. He was later resurrected by V'stalu of the Galaxium.
Croach later thought he was fertilized, and believed Sparks Nevada to be the fertilizer. However, it was later revealed that he had merely been the carrier for Jib Janeen, the Jupiter Spy's Jupiterian offspring.
In Sparks Nevada Vs Everything All Up At Once, which takes place several years after My Only Sunshine, it's revealed that Croach has accepted a Co-marshal position alongside Sparks and Red.
The Red Plains Rider
Pre-Podcast, Croach and The Red Plains Rider had a romantic relationship, which ended when Red expected Croach to have emotions he was incapable of at the time. However, he later became interested in her romantically again. In early podcast episodes, he and Sparks Nevada competed for Red's affections, but Red initially chose Nevada. After seeing Croach's willingness to sacrifice himself for Sparks, Red changed her mind and she chose Croach; she is pleasing to 9 of his 28 senses. For several months, Croach and Red engaged in a romantic relationship. However their physical incompatibility and Croach's inability to process emotions caused him to avoid Red and return to work with Sparks Nevada. Just as he was on the cusp of processing his emotion, Red ended the relationship for good. Later, as Croach was dying, he revealed that he still harbors an emotion for Red. Even after his resurrection, Croach continued to express that he still feels attraction to her.
In Dinner and a Groovy, after being infected by and subsequently cured of the Pleasure Being virus, Red realizes that having nano-induced feelings for Croach stirred up real feelings. Croach admitted that he never stopped having feelings for her. They are now once again in a romantic relationship. Red also chose Croach over her ex-husband Cactoid Jim when Jim returned to confess his love and ask Red to run away with him.
In Crisis on Infinite Marses part 1, Croach openly declared his love for The Red Plains Rider, who told him that she loves him, as well. When Red became marshal on Mars after Sparks Nevada stepped down, Croach accepted the position of her deputy. Red and Croach visited their tribe to inform the tribe of their relationship, and were told they were expected to have children together (via Red fertilizing Croach) soon.
The Space Saloon AI
The AI running the Space Saloon, which belongs to The Barkeep, began having emotions for Croach after the events of Do the Fight Thing lead to the Barkeep upgrading her software. For several months, the AI had a crush on Croach, culminating in her confessing the crush in The Piano has Been Thinking. Croach did not return her feelings, or her affections, causing her to go rogue. She grew arms and legs, then left Mars to become a bounty hunter. Later, she revealed she still had feelings for Croach even after becoming a successful bounty hunter, up until the Troubleshooter hard rebooted her and her emotions were lost.
After being brought back to live by the Barkeep using The Force Galactic, the Saloon Doors again developed feelings for Croach. When Croach realized this in Malware Wars, he told the Doors that he loved her fractaly, and he couldcreate a nano-spore cloud to program his mimetic self in the saloon's inter-facial consciousness, thus allowing them to be together inside the Saloon's programming. The Saloon accepted, and the nano-version of Croach and the Saloon began a relationship.
Both the Barkeep and Felton have referred to Croach as their friend, and Croach probably likewise considers them friends. Croach has also expressed a deep admiration for Cactoid Jim, to the point of expressing that he will miss Jim as Sparks Nevada is preparing to kill Jim in Support Your Local Marshal. Croach was also kind to Rebecca Rose Rushmore, as well as an admirer of her work, despite Rushmore showing disgust and contempt to Croach for being a martian. After spending several months working together, Croach and Pemily Stallwark are now friends as well, despite their relationship being slightly competitive in the beginning.
Croach expressed in Crisis on Infinite Marses part 1 that he feels that the people he is closest to on Mars -- Sparks, Red, Barkeep, Felton, The Widow Johnson, Ginny and Pemily, have formed their own family, and that he cares for them all (despite great efforts not to care.)
Generally, Martians do not have emotions. However, Croach's constant proximity to humans and other events have caused Croach to acquire a limited but growing range of emotions and ability to express them.
In Inside Out In Outer Space... Again!, Croach is plagued with an emotion most of the day, until he figures out the emotion is positivity at his two friends (Sparks and Red) beginning a relationship, as it would bring them happiness, despite his attraction to The Red Plains Rider.
During the events of A Mind is a Terrible Thing... In Space!, Croach spends several minutes in Sparks Nevada's body. Croach gets the giggles for the first time, very much enjoying the sensation of laugher. He does not feel the need to quantify the experience. He realizes the simplicity of the human body magnifies each sense due to feelings, and likes being in the human body. When Red arrives, Croach attempts to explain how in a compatible body he will be able to express his emotions for her. Red switches Sparks and Croach to their rightful bodies and asks Croach if he would still show her his feet. Croach replies that he needs time to further analyze his emotions. Red says she won't wait for him, and their relationship is off for good.
In Do the Fight Thing, Croach is so inspired by Cactoid Jim's handling of the conflict between the Science Beings and Technology Beings, he is able to process several emotions at once - pride, courage, and awe.
During The Piano has Been Thinking, Croach begins to drink alcohol heavily. When we next see him in One Night at O'Tooles, Croach is drunk and can express his thoughts and limited feelings more openly. Throughout Mercy Killing, Mutiny on the Bounty Hunter, and Red Alert, Croach is constantly drunk, and also often belligerent and sarcastic. At the end of Red Alert, when he is dying, Croach admits he still harbors a secret emotion for Red.
Several months later, Croach is resurrected by V'stalu of the Galaxium. While he shares his body and consciousness with V'stalu, he is able to openly express his emotions and desire for peace, love, beauty and no shoes.
Once Croach's Nah Nohtek destroys V'stalu, Croach is not as expressive of his emotions, but since, he is more prone to have them, and speaks up more often when he does.
In Station Break, Croach expresses excitement at being fertilized, and the future child that will come out of his brood, as well as for the Surprise Event he is throwing for Sparks. He is annoyed with Alloy Roy for misdesignating his gender. He is touched by the affection that Alloy Roy's gang has for Roy, and attempts to get Sparks to agree that the affection is inspirational, as Sparks has been ignoring Croach, brushing him off or attempting to send him into danger since Croach's announcement of his fertilization. Croach becomes upset with the way Sparks treats him throughout the episode, and chooses to leave Sparks' company rather than raise their child in such a negative environment.
In Free Kicks, Croach experiences a Martian emotional episode called "dvie’yeece", in which when a Martian is in such close proximity to powerful unfamiliar emotions that they take on the emotions. Croach experiences Pemily Stallwark's emotions of being near a soccer game that is not a Punishment Soccer game, in which clones of her entire Punishment Soccer match is played. He experiences intense bloodlust as well as a doomed attraction to Pemily's boyfriend, Yeera. Croach is unable to handle Pemily's emotions and kills two clones before the Barkeep, still imbued with The Force Galactic, transfers the emotions back into Pemily.
In Moonfaker, the presence of the Earth's Moon being moved to orbit Mars causes Croach to behave erratically, which Sparks calls "acting out". Croach unexpectedly sheds his exo-skin and leaves it laying around the Marshal Station, and acts very defensive about his emotional state. He eventually accepts that he is acting out, despite Sparks' promise to pay him more attention, and revels in his immature emotions. Later, when given the opportunity to save everyone on Earth, Mars, and the Moon, he is very happy and excited to be able to bring equality to his people, and is disappointed when he cannot due to being too tall. When Sparks Nevada offers to make Red his official deputy again after re-assigning Pemily to Earth's Moon, he promises to stop acting out if Red joins them.
In Emperor of Mars Croach learns to use human sarcasm. He confesses to Sparks Nevada he is angry at him for not considering him for the position of sheriff on Mars. Croach also admits to possessing feelings in this episode, and sarcastically tells Sparks he is very good at hurting them.
In Better Red Than Dead, Lairn Gar'ner utilizes a mind control device to control Croach's actions. The device causes Croach to experience bliss, and hug Sparks tightly in order to restrain him at Lairn's command. Sparks invokes the onus and friendship shared between them to help Croach break free of the mind control.
In Dinner and a Groovy, Croach admits he never stopped having feelings for The Red Plains Rider, and is readily agreeable when she suggests they renew their romantic relationship. When Cactoid Jim returns in The Once and Future Thing, Croach understands that Jim is a threat to his and Red's new relationship, and he not only implores her to not accept Jim's offer to run away with him, but uses a metaphor to explain his feelings for her and the situation Jim is putting them in. When Red tells Jim that she is no longer in love with him and wants to continue her relationship with Croach, Croach expresses relief and perhaps even happiness by singing after Red and Sparks have left the room.
In Custard's Last Stand, Croach says that his and Red's relationship is at a state of onal equilibrium and he trusts her, even if she leaves for long periods of time without saying where she is going. When made to feel as if he is drunk again in Crisis on Infinite Marses part 2, Croach is extremely upset and angry that Red has been sent to another reality. He is also touched when he learns that Sparks had dreams about him while he was dead between Red Alert and Personal Business.
In Crisis on Infinite Marses part 1, Croach becomes upset when he learns that Red might leave their universe to travel with her alternate-universe father, and pleads with her to stay, telling her that they have made a family of sorts on Mars, with Sparks, Ginny, The Barkeep, Felton, The Widow Johnson and others, as they all care for each other. He then tells The Red Plains Rider that he loves her, and he already considers her his family.
In Malware Wars, Croach feels empathy for The Saloon Doors when he learns that she is once again in love with him. He declares that he loves her fracticaly, and creates a nano-version of himself to reside with the Doors, after explaining the procedure to Red, with whom he is in a relationship.
Sacrifices / Injuries
Croach often places himself in danger in order to protect others, or is otherwise shot or harmed.
- In the graphic novel, Croach is squashed underneath the foot of a giant robot while saving Sparks Nevada.
- In Flood at First Sight, Croach throws himself in front of laser bullets fired at Sparks Nevada by Deputybot 001.
- In Inside Out In Outer Space, Croach is shot by the Lynchtree family for being a Martian, then turned inside out by Professor Genius' Inversifier gun. His Nah Nohtek heals the bullet holes and restores him to being rightside-in again.
- In The Agony of the Feet, he is shot three times by the Space Preacher, also for being a Martian.
- In A Blast from the Past, Croach pushes The Red Plains Rider out of the way so she is not stomped on by a giant robot, and is squished underfoot instead.
- In Inside Out In Outer Space... Again!, Croach wades into a pack of giant spiders to retrieve the Inversifier gun which will save Sparks Nevada's life. He is thought to be killed, but instead is carried into the spider's caves to become an incubator for the spider's young, insisting Red flees to save both herself and Sparks.
- During A Mind is a Terrible Thing... In Space!, Croach switches bodies with Sparks Nevada for several minutes.
- In War of the World, Croach throws himself in the line of fire of the Mecha Technology Bot being controlled by Technos the Advanced, saving Rebecca Rose Rushmore's life.
- In Showdown, You Move Too Fast, Croach is shot by Techs because Sparks Nevada declines to showdown with Techs and suggests he shows down with Croach instead. Techs did not like the suggestion.
- In Red Alert, Croach throws himself in front of laser bullets fired by Sparks Nevada at Mercy Laredo, as Croach was under onus to Mercy at the time. Croach was unaware that the alcohol he had been drinking would render his Nah Nohtek inert, and he does not regenerate. Croach's wounds are fatal, and he dies.
- In Die Hardware, Croach says that during a failed attempt to stop Piston Pete from robbing the bank, he was shot at least three times.
- Flood at First Sight (SNMOM #0)
- The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part One (SNMOM #1)
- The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part Two (SNMOM #2)
- The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part Three (SNMOM #3)
- The Sad, Sad Song of Widow Johnson, Part Four (SNMOM #4)
- The Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars segment in the Original Graphic Novel
- Inside Out In Outer Space (TAH #2)
- The Agony of the Feet (TAH #6)
- A Comet's Tale (TAH #11)
- Blast from the Past (TAH #14)
- Inside Out In Outer Space... Again! (TAH #19)
- Spiders, Man (TAH #24)
- Danger 2.0 (as a hologram) (TAH #27)
- This American Wife (TAH #38)
- Companeros (TAH #43)
- The Return of Croach the Tracker and the Introduction of Two New Important Characters! (TAH #47)
- A Mind is a Terrible Thing... In Space! (TAH #51)
- Christmas on Mars (TAH #52)
- War of the World (TAH #53)
- Do the Fight Thing (TAH #57)
- A Date with Destinos (TAH #61)
- Showdown, You Move Too Fast (TAH #65)
- The Piano has Been Thinking (TAH #70)
- One Night at O'Tooles (TAH #82)
- Mercy Killing (TAH #86)
- Mutiny on the Bounty Hunter (TAH #91)
- Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier - MurderMen (introduction only) (TAH #92)
- Red Alert (TAH #95)
- Sweet and Show Down (in a dream, played by Chris Hardwick) (TAH #99)
- Murder In His Place (in a dream) (TAH #103)
- Tales of the Troubleshooters - Personal Business (TAH #104)
- Croach Returns (TAH #107)
- Support Your Local Marshal (TAH #112)
- Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier - Good Jim (TAH #113)
- Sparks Nevada's "I'm from Earth" Day Special (TAH #118)
- Something Wicked This Way Is (TAH #119)
- The Thing From This Same Planet! (impersonated by Jib Janeen only) (TAH #121)
- Father Reaches of Space (TAH #124)
- Wanted Men (TAH #127)
- Into Darkness (TAH #131)
- Station Break (TAH #135)
- Distrustified (TAH #136)
- Natal Attraction (TAH #141)
- Can a Leopard Upgrade Its Spots? (TAH #144)
- The Complete “Christmas on Mars” show from December 8, 2012 (TAH #147)
- Free Kicks (TAH #150)
- Moonfaker (TAH #152)
- La Venganza de Los Bandititos (TAH #157)
- Sheriff on Mars (TAH #162)
- Emperor of Mars (TAH #166)
- Inventor-y (TAH #170)
- Better Red Than Dead (TAH #173)
- Space Oil (TAH #175)
- Wild, Wild Quest (TAH #177)
- Dinner and a Groovy (TAH #181)
- The Great Thrilling Adventure Hour / Welcome to Night Vale Crossover
- The Once and Future Thing (TAH #184)
- Custard's Last Stand (TAH #190)
- Christmas on Jupiter (TAH #191)
- Cosmic Sans (TAH #193)
- Crisis on Infinite Marses part 2 (TAH #195)
- Crisis on Infinite Marses part 1 (TAH #196)
- Malware Wars (TAH #198)
- Die Hardware (TAH #202)
- Martian Orders (TAH #206)
- Space-ships Passing in the Night (TAH #212)
- That's No Honeymoon (TAH #228)
- Still Alive (TAh #234)
- My Only Sunshine (TAH #236)
- Bonus Onus (TC #1)
- I'm...From Earth (TC #6) featuring Icebreak and The Space Train Robbery
- Sparks Nevada Vs Everything All Up At Once
- April is the Duelist Month
- She Blinded Me with Technology (TAH #33)
- The Complete “Christmas on Mars” show from December 8, 2012 (TAH #147)
- The Night We Never Met (TAH #188)
- A Word from Our Characters (TAH #92.1)
- On with the Show (TAH #156.1)
- The Thrilling Adventure Hour April Fools' Fun-Around part 1 (TAH #209)
- A Thrilling CBB Adventure Hour (Non-canonical crossover) (CBB #284)
- The Piano Has Been Thinking (M Bar 2007) (FTV #2)