You know that this isn't REALLY mspa.com, right? And the site layout and almost all of the art and, well, EVERYTHING has been repurposed from Homestuck proper, like the whole story is an unusually complicated sprite edit?
And that I'm not getting money for anything? (All the ads are "fake" in that respect.)
And that the flash pages are in a transitional period -- mobile interaction should work now, but loading screens really don't.
Aaaaand I'm almost certainly not going to put up any content warnings - either for flashing images or potentially disturbing topics - within the story itself. Please ensure your life jacket is properly fastened before boarding.
KARKAT: ALL RIGHT. WHICH ONE OF YOU DAWDLERS IS NEXT?
JOHN: i think it is actually your turn, karkat.
KARKAT: NO? IF YOU WILL ATTEMPT TO RECALL THE EVENTS OF SIX SECONDS AGO, YOU WILL FIND THAT I SPECIFICALLY PHRASED MY QUESTION TO LEAVE MYSELF OUT OF THE RUNNING FOR ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE SLOWEST SACK OF ORGANIC MATTER IN PARADOX SPACE.
JOHN: but it has to be you!
JOHN: your troll buddies have already gone into the universe, and so have all the other new people we've met in the last three years.
JOHN: if we are doing this in a sensible order, it'll be just the four of us left at the very end, like how it was just the four of us who started this whole adventure.
KARKAT: THAT IS NONSENSE. I STARTED "THIS WHOLE ADVENTURE." I WAS THE FIRST ONE THROUGH! IF THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING I'M THE ONE WHO'S HANGING BACK TO STOMP THE LIGHTGRUB AND BLAST THE HIVE DOOR BEHIND ME AS I GO.
KARKAT: WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS EXACTLY HOW THINGS ARE ABOUT TO PLAY OUT, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT OTHERWISE AS SOON AS I STEP INTO THAT TERRIFYING BLUE STATIC, SOMETHING INCONCEIVABLY STUPID WILL HAPPEN TO THE REST OF YOU!
DAVE: yeah bro
DAVE: sorry but im with egbert on this one
KARKAT: REALLY? WHAT A SURPRISE!
DAVE: were definitely playing out some kind of theme here
DAVE: if you were gonna be the last troll standing itd be our plush pjed rumps staring in soft amphibian vore right now while youre still getting a private encore of the serket and medigo show
DAVE: i dont write the rules i just mutter incoherently about them
DAVE: besides man youre talking like we can trust you not to get ensnared in a shenanigan the moment youre left on your own and i think we all know thats not a supposition based on the factual historical record
JADE: argh!! you guys!
JADE: we are finally having ONE friendly moment together before everything changes all over agin, and youre ruining it by fighting over who goes last
JADE: no one cares about that!
DAVE: yeah harleys right too lets not turn this into a game of hockey
DAVE: its hockey you try to lose right
DAVE: or polo
DAVE: high jump
DAVE: olympic gay wrestling
DAVE: okay i need someone to make me stop saying sports
KARKAT: HOW ABOUT YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE AT NOT GETTING THE DELUXE DVD SET OF GOOD LUCK CHUCK SHOVED UP YOUR ASS UNLESS YOU START AMBULATING SAID BEHIND GLOBES TOWARDS THE EXIT.
DAVE: but youve got it backwards
DAVE: shit comes out of my ass it doesnt go in
JADE: youre still ruining it!!!
DAVE: i think jades feeling left out
DAVE: dont worry jade ive seen his inventory he brought enough shitty dane cook movies for the whole class
JOHN: okay, everyone stop saying whatever silly thing they're about to say.
JOHN: karkat has a point.
JOHN: at this rate, we'll still be here when our new universe ends.
JOHN: karkat, what if you and me go first?
JOHN: we can go through the doorway at the same time, as co-friendleaders.
JOHN: except for jane, who was our co-co-friendleader scout, i guess.
JOHN: will that be acceptable to your sensitive question phrasing?
KARKAT: YEAH, YOU KNOW WHAT? OKAY.
KARKAT: LET'S SHOW THESE COMPLACENT PLOD DRAGGERS HOW IT'S DONE.
KARKAT: IN A GESTURE OF TRUST AND GOOD FUCKING WILL, I SHARED MY PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE ANXIETIES ABOUT LEAVING PEOPLE BEHIND, AND THEN THIS VAGARIOUS ASSHOLE DECIDED TO TURN THEM INTO A COMEDIC ROUTINE!
KARKAT: GREAT NEWS, EVERYONE! WE'RE BEING GRACED WITH OUR OWN PRIVATE SHOW OF WHEREIN A STRIPE-SUITED BAGUETTE CHEWER PRETENDS TO BE TRAPPED IN AN UNCONVINVING PSIONIC CUBE, BUT HIS PITY BEGGING REPOSE IS INTERRUPTED WITHOUT WARNING WHEN A NUBBY HORNED TROLL LEAPS INTO THE SCENE AND SCREAMS DIRECTLY INTO HIS FACE ORBS UNTIL THAT TROLL'S BREATHING SACK EXPLODES OVER THE ENTIRE CAST AND AUDIENCE IN AN ANGRY RED MIST.
KARKAT: I HOPE YOU'RE ALL AS EXCITED ABOUT THE UPCOMING PLOT TWIST AS I AM!
JADE: wow john, really????
JOHN: that is not the thing that's happening.
JOHN: i just tried to walk through the magic doorway into our new universe, and i could not do it.
JOHN: karkat seemed to be fine, but i was being blocked somehow.
JADE: by what? it looks like nothing is there to me
JOHN: i know! nothing is what i am seeing as well.
JADE: well..... what did it feel like?
JOHN: nothing. it felt like nothing, jade.
KARKAT: THEN WHAT'S THE FUCKING PROBLEM?
DAVE: nothing apparently
DAVE: havent you been listening
KARKAT: GEE, THANKS DAVE! ALL MY QUESTIONS ARE GONE, LIKE TINY GLOWING FLUTTER BUGS CARRIED AWAY BY THE GENTLEST OF RECTAL WINDS.
JOHN: guys, hush. i need to explain this.
JOHN: it felt like the doorway was not actually there. like... even though i can see right through it, there's no SPACE on the other side for me to move into.
JADE: hmm.... :/
JADE: i dont know, john.... theres definitely space on the other side
JADE: it connects to another place, but it doesnt really feel different?
JADE: it should work the same way as the space we are standing in!
DAVE: yeah im not the space guy
DAVE: so i cant tell if its original flavour space or
DAVE: i dont know
DAVE: diet space
DAVE: cheap knock off brand space
DAVE: but im definitely sticking my hand into some kind of hole here
JOHN: yes, but...
JOHN: i can't go in!
DAVE: funny prank john
DAVE: (please just be a prank please just be a prank please just be a prank)
DAVE: whew you got me, there goes all my pranksters gambit
DAVE: how much did i even have
DAVE: like three?
DAVE: haha haaaa
DAVE: okay thats enough prank times over
JOHN: its not a prank!
JADE: something is really wrong!
JADE: i dont understand why its not letting him through!
KARKAT: I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN.
KARKAT: DIDN'T I FUCKING SAY!
KARKAT: I KNEW THAT YOU GIGGLE-FACED HUMAN DISASTER ADDICTS WOULD SOMEHOW WORK OUT THE SINGLE ABSOLUTE STUPIDEST THING THAT COULD EVER POSSIBLY HAPPEN TO EVEN THE PROUDEST OF GIDDY IMBECILES, BUMBLING THEIR DAZED, DISORIENTED WAY THOUGH THE ANNUAL MARATHON IN SUPPORT OF BRAIN CELL ELIMINATION, AND WILL IT INTO COMING TRUE THROUGH THE MAGIC OF FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN DENSE SPONGED MORONS!
DAVE: whats the plan
DAVE: theres a plan right
DAVE: how are we going to get him across
DAVE: because i dont want to panic everyone but were still on a deadline here
DAVE: jade do you have the plan
KARKAT: AND WHY DIDN'T ROSE SEE THIS COMING?
KARKAT: THAT'S HER FUCKING JOB, ISN'T IT?!
KARKAT: THE SEER OF STUPID.
JADE: rose! what are you doing
JADE: get over here and help us fix this!!
ROSE: Hey, John.
JOHN: do you know what's going on?
ROSE: Constantly and continuously.
ROSE: I suppose in this case, I was just... hoping I was wrong.
JOHN: ah, yes. i understand.
JOHN: i would guess that things get pretty boring if you never have any variety about that!
ROSE: Indeed, it turns out that the onerous tedium of being the smartest one in the room is not lessened by the revelation that room is in fact a universe, in all its degenerative iterations.
ROSE: Or even just the decaying corpse of one.
JOHN: well, you have my completely real, non-fake sympathies for that problem. carrying your weird giant brain around everywhere must be a heavy burden to shoulder.
ROSE: Thank you.
JOHN: but what were you right about this time?
ROSE: An entrance.
ROSE: A doorway that, once a brand new universe is established, is meant to deposit its creators bodily into its commodious amphibian endocrine system.
JOHN: this doorway sounds familiar.
JOHN: could it be... the door right over there, that i am pointing to?
ROSE: Well done. Excellent deductive work, John.
JOHN: so are you ready to tell me why i can't walk through it?
ROSE: It doesn't open to where you are.
JOHN: sorry rose, but that thing you just said sounds pretty silly!
JOHN: i am right here! in the same place as you guys!
ROSE: Not exactly.
JOHN: well okay rose, then where am i?
ROSE: The opposite side of paradox space.
KARKAT: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? HE'S STANDING RIGHT THERE!
KARKAT: HOLD ON. I WILL ARRANGE A PERSONAL DEMONSTRATION OF HIS GOOFY WINDSOCKED PRESENCE
KARKAT: AND SHOVE IT INTO YOUR VISION ORBS UNTIL THE SYNAPTIC WASTELAND OF YOUR REASON CENTER FINALLY ACTIVATES.
KARKAT: SEE! JOHN IS-
KARKAT: JOHN IS-
KARKAT: JOHN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GIVE ME MY ARM BACK.
JOHN: karkat, i think we have established that this is not a problem that can be solved by attacking me.
KARKAT: ESTABLISHED BY FUCKING WHO?
KARKAT: MAYBE I JUST HAVEN'T DONE IT ENOUGH!
JADE: that really doesnt seem right
JADE: i think i would know if he was that far away?
ROSE: I never said he was far away.
DAVE: then what are you fucking saying here rose
DAVE: help me out im lost
DAVE: not as lost as john apparently
DAVE: floating aimlessly through the distant void
DAVE: but also somehow
DAVE: standing next to us
DAVE: with karkat in a headlock
JOHN: um, yeah.
JOHN: i am trying not to freak out right now?
JOHN: so i would really appreciate it if you stopped saying all this cagey magical riddle bullshit
JOHN: and gave me an explanation that is actually fucking helpful!
ROSE: I'm honestly trying.
ROSE: Here. I have something that might help...
ROSE: Imagine that this maze is a picture of our reality.
ROSE: Spanning the many intertwined game sessions, and everything else we've affected during our journey.
JOHN: but this still sounds suspiciously like riddle bullshit.
ROSE: John, do you really mean to imply that the last three years were, in any respect, NOT bullshit?
JOHN: point taken, i guess.
JOHN: you may continue.
ROSE: I was going to. But thank you for the graceful magnanimity of your acquiescence. I guess.
JOHN: you are welcome. that is just the kind of guy i am.
ROSE: Each pathway through the maze represents a different timeline. Most of them lead into dead ends, but there's at least one that travels all the way through to us winning the game.
ROSE: The many storied Alpha timeline.
JOHN: so, it's like a treasure map?
JOHN: and we are trying to find the real timeline?
JOHN: but we already did that!
ROSE: Ah. Not quite.
ROSE: Instead of a treasure map, think about it like a geographical map.
ROSE: If you have a map of Earth's United States of America, you can point out the city where you lived. But the map itself doesn't have an implicit goal.
ROSE: Its purpose isn't to give directions to your house in particular, any more than to my house, or to the neighbouring Burger King.
ROSE: As far as a country is concerned, asking which city is the REAL one isn't a meaningful question. All of the terrain is real, even if there are some places I certainly wouldn't want to live.
ROSE: Likewise, all timelines are real in that sense, regardless of which particular one we're inhabiting. We can't directly observe the others, but neither could you have seen New York while standing in the suburbs of Seattle.
ROSE: Does that make sense so far?
JOHN: i... i guess so?
DAVE: okay but theres something about this i still really dont get
DAVE: where did the vintage memorabilia come from
DAVE: i havent seen it before
DAVE: didnt we go over all that stuff
DAVE: whos been holding out
ROSE: Really, Dave? Weren't you the one in a hurry?
ROSE: Is that REALLY the mystery that needs solving right now?
ROSE: Well, what kind of Hero of Light would I be if I didn't solve it for you anyway.
ROSE: The original was in my late mother's effects. An inheritance waiting to be found by my prying, grave robbing fingers.
ROSE: It seems that she had a variety of interests beyond fucking with me and committing scientific crimes against god and man while smash faced drunk.
JADE: i know you are not being serious right now?
JADE: but i think it makes sense from what you told me about her
JADE: jedi are kind of like wizards
ROSE: But I'm still not sure what to think about her vacuum sealed collection of signed bubblegum cards, all of which have carefully preserved bite marks gouged through the paper.
ROSE: Who does that?!
DAVE: that sounds kinda hilarious
ROSE: Then congratulations, they're yours.
ROSE: Are there any more procedural inanities to be ironed out?
KARKAT: WHICH SHIP AM I SUPPOSED TO BE?
ROSE: The lower pink one.
ROSE: And so...
ROSE: Here we are, firmly entrenched in the winding maze of existence.
ROSE: We travel down our predrawn paths. And only ever towards the ending, for time carries us always forwards.
ROSE: With the exception of Dave and Aradia, obviously, who are able to backtrack and even turn into a different branch of the maze.
ROSE: But even our Heroes of Time are constrained by the walls of the maze. They cannot simply appear at an entirely disconnected timeline, or outside of any at all.
ROSE: No one within our reality could.
JOHN: i definitely don't like where this is headed.
ROSE: The very nature of the world demands that we move forth, dooming and sparing ourselves both at each split in the path.
ROSE: So it goes.
ROSE: Until at last, a sliver of our selves might reach the exit of this fucking game...
ROSE: But John cheated.
JOHN: i believe that the technical phrasing is "accomplished shenanigans."
ROSE: No. You definitely cheated like a cheating cheater.
ROSE: You-- John happened across the exit portal prematurely, and then, because he has never met an unknown button that didn't demand to be pressed or a ominous platform that didn't call to be stood on, slipped through it regardless.
DAVE: doesnt that mean hed be in the space frog already
DAVE: thats the exact opposite of the problem were having
ROSE: Not if he went though before the portal lead TO anywhere. We hadn't created - hadn't earned - the new universe yet.
KARKAT: BUT IF THE DOORWAY DIDN'T LEAD TO ANYWHERE, WHERE THE FUCK DID HE GO?
ROSE: The only place he could have gone.
ROSE: It's all on the vintage memorabilia, Karkat. If someone decided to open the doorway in its center and crawl through, where would they be?
KARKAT: I DON'T KNOW! THE GROUND? THE BORDERESS VOID?
KARKAT: LOST WITHIN THE PILLOWED CLEFT OF TROLL NATHAN FILLION'S PRODIGIOUS ASS?
JOHN: the other side of the paper.
JOHN: that's the answer, isn't it?
DAVE: no but hes right here
DAVE: having this conversation with you about how hes not here
DAVE: rose what the fuck
ROSE: So? If you put a Sweet Bro vinyl sticker on the inside of your apartment window, and its Hella Jeff brother on the outside, you could still arrange them into an elaborate interactive tableau. Presumably one involving various mad snax, yo.
DAVE: oh come on
DAVE: thats just an illusion its not the same thing at all
DAVE: like theyd go in for the bro hug bump
DAVE: theyre ready to DO this thing
DAVE: only instead of making it happen they slide right past
DAVE: whoaa dude these doritos are the good shit a plus would snort again
DAVE: but the point is
DAVE: i have secured a whole WACK of friendly fist bumps on johns personage
DAVE: locked that shit in tight all knuckle to knuckle swallowed the key
DAVE: i can touch him!
DAVE: so if hes supposed to be on the other side of the glass anff--
DAVE: jaffe waf da fuuk
DAVE: stop ef
JADE: im not touching you!
DAVE: uhhh yeff oo oyr
JADE: that doesnt even make any sense! :O
JADE: your atoms repel mine way before i even get close! i am not touching you at all!!!
JADE: and if rose is right...... ):
JADE: the "glass" separating us from john is really really thin! in fact it is so thin that his atoms are not any farther away from you than before
JADE: so whichever side he is on... you CANT touch john! you cant touch anyone ever!!!!!!
DAVE: roff felp
DAVE: maak fer stop nof toocheen me
KARKAT: ALRIGHT. I DON'T SEE WHY THIS IS SUCH A PROBLEM. WE KNOW WHERE HE IS.
KARKAT: JOHN, JUST GO BACK AROUND THE EDGE OF THE PAPER.
KARKAT: OR THE WINDOW GLASS PANE OR WHATEVER NEXT HIVE-FOUND SUBSTANCE ROSE DECIDES THE UNIVERSE IS MADE OF.
KARKAT: WELL? LET'S GO. DO THE ZAPPY THING.
ROSE: I really wish it were that simple.
ROSE: But, at least in this case, the map is not the territory. It is only a two dimensional projection of a reality spanning... more.
ROSE: The world isn't flat.
ROSE: Rather than a sheet of paper, imagine that our journey has been etched into the inside surface of a balloon; not a window pane, but a crystal ball.
ROSE: John isn't on the back of reality, he's on the outside.
ROSE: And since the impenetrable borders of causality don't extend beyond that surface... he's the only one of us who is truly unbound. Free to visit any moment along our much frayed knot of existence.
ROSE: But no matter how far he travels, he's still on the outside.
JOHN: so that's what my retcon powers are? like, we are all taking a road trip together like in national lampoon's vacation, but during one of our silly escapades i got lost from the group and had to catch up on a dirt bike i found? and now i can veer off road to do cool dirt bike tricks, or i can go back to get extra fuel and gross gas station mini cakes if you guys run out, but only the station wagon can get into wally world?
ROSE: Pretty much.
KARKAT: FINE? I'M SURE THAT'S A FASCINATING DISTINCTION?
KARKAT: BUT HOW ABOUT THIS.
KARKAT: INSTEAD OF STANDING AROUND GETTING SCHOOLFED ON IMAGINARY CARTOGRAPHY FOR BORED ASSHOLES, JOHN CLIMBS BACK *INTO* REALITY!
KARKAT: AND THEN WE ALL HEEL SKIPCLICK INTO BILIOUS SLICK JUNIOR'S HUNGRY GULLET, HOLDING HANDS AND COMMUNICATING SOLELY VIA TITTERGIGGLES IN THE TRADITIONAL MANNER OF CANDY FROTTING GOOBERS.
JOHN: karkat, you're not listening! the door is between you guys and the frog universe now!
JOHN: that's why rose is looking so sad, come on dude!
ROSE: And even if it wasn't... We were never meant to return after claiming our victory.
ROSE: It's a portal that only opens one way.
JADE: that is not really how it works though
JADE: everything rose just said is nonsense! it bears no resemblance to the truth of the matter in any way at all!
JOHN: yes, i figured that was probably the case.
JOHN: but..... it is a lie that i can understand, i think.
JOHN: and that's good enough for me!
So before going on, I hope we can all pause for a moment to appreciate just how many years I've been setting that joke up for its sweet, sweet payoff: the momentary exasperation of the vast swaths of the mspa readership who are REALLY into hypercubes.
Take THAT, everybody's prankster's gambit except mine!
KARKAT: I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU'RE ALL OKAY WITH WHAT'S HAPPENING.
KARKAT: BUT I'M NOT!
KARKAT: THERE'S NO WAY I'M LETTING JOHN STAY TRAPPED OUT HERE!
KARKAT: OH, THE DOORWAY IS BLOCKED RIGHT NOW?
KARKAT: YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT'S JUST FINE.
KARKAT: BECAUSE IT'S NOT LIKE TIME TRAVEL EVER STOPPED BEING A THING!
KARKAT: JOHN, ZAP YOURSELF TO *BEFORE* JADE AND KANAYA'S FROG HATCHED.
KARKAT: THEN PROCEED TO YOUTH ROLL YOUR STRUT GLOBES BACK WHERE THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE.
KARKAT: HOW LONG AGO WAS THAT, ANYWAY? SEVERAL HOURS? YOU CAN FUCKING WAIT IT OUT LIKE THE REST OF US.
KARKAT: OR, IF I WOULD BE IN ERROR TO TRUST THAT YOU WON'T WHILE AWAY THE MINUTES BY THRUSTING SELECT PIECES OF YOUR ANATOMY INTO WHATEVER QUIVERING METAPHYSICAL ORIFICES YOU HAPPEN ACROSS, WE CAN EVEN SEND DAVE ALONG TO CAPTAIN THE FUTUREBOUND DUMBASS EXPRESS!
KARKAT: WOW! IT'S LIKE THIS ISN'T HARD AT ALL!
JOHN: that's a nice plan!
JOHN: and obviously if it will work i am up for giving it a shot! but if the doorway is blocked from outside reality like rose says.......
JOHN: all the timelines are still on the inside, with the rest of you.
JOHN: i don't think there would be any "before" it "happens."
ROSE: There's not.
ROSE: It's like our planets in the Medium. As soon as we brought them into being, they had never not existed.
KARKAT: STOP EXPLAINING THINGS THAT DON'T MATTER! NO ONE'S LISTENING ANYMORE!
JOHN: hey! i am!
JOHN: just ignore him rose, this is interesting stuff.
KARKAT: WHAT'S INTERESTING IS MY BRAND NEW, UPDATED PLAN.
KARKAT: IN WHICH YOU GO BACK TO THE MOMENT WHEN YOUR PAST SELF IS BUMBLING AROUND THE EDGE OF HIS IMPENDING DOOM IN A SPIRITED ATTEMPT TO BREAK THE IMPERIAL RECORD FOR GROSS PERSONAL NEGLIGENCE, PREVIOUSLY SET EARLIER THAT AFTERNOON BY NONE OTHER THAN HIMSELF
KARKAT: AND STOP THAT VAPID JERK FROM GOING THROUGH IN THE FIRST PLACE!
ROSE: And how would we have achieved victory, with our Heir of Breath still locked away within the claustrophobic quagmire of linear causality?
KARKAT: I DON'T FUCKING KNOW, DO I?
KARKAT: FIGURING THAT STUFF OUT IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR JOB.
KARKAT: I MEAN, MAYBE THIS IS A HUMAN THING THAT SOMEHOW JUST NEVER CAME UP?
KARKAT: A BUNCH OF STRANGERS WHO'D BEEN DILIGENTLY WORKING TO MAKE YOUR LIVES SHITTIER? OF COURSE YOU'LL RISK EVERYTHING TO HELP THEM OUT OF A JAM!
KARKAT: HELL, YOU'LL CRACK OPEN THE UNIVERSE ITSELF IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES!
KARKAT: BUT WHEN IT WAS YOUR BEST FRIEND IN TROUBLE, INSTEAD OF FINDING A WAY TO SAVE HIM YOU SPENT ALL YOUR TIME DOING WHAT?
KARKAT: MAKING PUZZLE SHEETS AND PICKING OUT YOUR FAVOURITE BIG WORDS FROM THE BIG WORD THESAURIFIER FOR SMUG BIBLIOGNOSTS?
KARKAT: Oh, goody! ...NO, THAT'S NOT RIGHT. I NEED A BIGGER WORD, DON'T I?
KARKAT: Oh, exultation! Another opportunity for me, Rose Lalonde, to flaunt how many arcane facts I have stuffed into my thinkpan! Because that is most certainally the priority in this or indeed any other situation!
KARKAT: And for how much consternation it will cause me, John can get tossed into the morning with the rest of the hive trash!
DAVE: stand down and shut up
DAVE: right now
KARKAT: I WILL NOT! NOT UNTIL ROSE EXCISES HER PANCASE FROM ITS RECTAL WONDERLAND AND SEERS US A WAY OUT OF THIS!
ROSE: Do you think I haven't tried?
ROSE: Do you suppose that I whiled away every second Sburb was magnanimous enough to spare me, after keeping our party from its ever present doom, in some way other than seeking an answer?
ROSE: That I haven't run through every possible future, even if it meant watching everyone I love die in horrendous, innumerable ways? Or that I didn't know how nothing in those potential timelines could have changed, and yet ran through them all again anyway; and again, just in case I had missed a tiny nugget of hope to sift out of the steaming pile of our failures?
ROSE: Is that what you think of me, Karkat?
KARKAT: THAT'S NOT IT.
KARKAT: I THINK YOU GAVE UP.
ROSE: Gave up. I see.
ROSE: Tell me, how many times have you watched The Troll Pride And Prejudice Remake With Troll Will Smith In It?
KARKAT: UH, I DON'T KNOW. WHO CARES?
ROSE: Enough to have memorized the script word for word.
KARKAT: I GUESS SO.
ROSE: When you watch it, do you still hope for a happy ending?
KARKAT: EVERY FUCKING TIME.
ROSE: And do you ever get one?
KARKAT: SO WE CAN'T WIN WITHOUT SOMEONE ON THE OUTSIDE RUNNING AROUND PUTTING BUCKETS WHERE THEY COULD NOT LOGICALLY HAVE GOTTEN THEMSELVES AND OTHERWISE MESSING WITH US AT EMBARRASSING MOMENTS IN OUR JOURNEY.
KARKAT: THEN USE ME.
KARKAT: WHEN JOHN GOES BACK TO SAVE HIS OWN UNDESERVING ASS, HE CAN FIND WHATEVER DARK CORNER PAST ME WAS HUDDLED INTO AND PUNT THAT GUY THROUGH THE DOORWAY IN HIS PLACE. IT'S NOT LIKE HE WAS DOING ANYTHING IMPORTANT.
KARKAT: AND THEN EVERYONE LIVES HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
KARKAT: WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? I'M NOT PLAYING JESTER PIE CATCH HERE, LALONDE.
KARKAT: HOW IS ANYTHING I JUST SAID FUNNY?
ROSE: It's cute.
ROSE: How bad you are at thinking five dimensionally.
ROSE: And that you would imagine I was searching through Paradox Space for any workable path, any possible trade offs I could make... and yet had neglected to account for one very important variable:
ROSE: Exactly who I was willing to lose.
JOHN: no one.
JOHN: the answer to that had better be no one, rose.
JOHN: and karkat, come on, let's go and stand over here, where we are at least several inches out of rose's face.
JOHN: yesssss, it's easy! left foot, right foot... you've got this, buddy. here we go.
KARKAT: NO, I MEAN. NO I'M NOT OKAY WITH THIS.
JADE: of course not!
JADE: no one is okay with this!!
DAVE: its true
DAVE: the rest of us are trying to have our own meltdowns but you used up our entire stockpile of yelling
DAVE: that was supposed to be for everyone bro not cool
KARKAT: YOU'RE REALLY SURE? JOHN'S REALLY STUCK HERE?
JADE: oh my god karkat!!!! DX
KARKAT: OKAY. IF THAT'S HOW IT IS,
KARKAT: THEN SO AM I.
JOHN: no you're not.
KARKAT: YES I AM.
KARKAT: I'M NOT LEAVING YOU BEHIND, SO I GUESS I'M NOT FUCKING LEAVING!
JOHN: karkat, don't be silly.
KARKAT: DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A MIRTHFUL SMILE TO YOU?
KARKAT: OH WAIT, ON SECOND THOUGHT I'M DEFINITELY HEARING THE CALL OF THE MINSTRELS FROM THEIR MYTHICAL PARADISE PLANET, AND I AM READY TO DANCE A MERRY JIG FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT!
KARKAT: HAA HAA HOO HOO HEE HEE FUCK YOU
JOHN: okay to all of whatever you are talking about, but you still have to go into the baby universe.
JOHN: you have an important part to play there! maybe more than any of us!
JOHN: you heard what echidna said.
KARKAT: NO I DID THE FUCK NOT.
KARKAT: I HEARD SCREECHING AND STATIC AND WHATEVER OTHER PAN STABBING NOISES YOU'D EXPECT OUT OF MONSTER GIBBERISH.
JOHN: yes, but you heard what jade and kanaya said she said.
JOHN: obviously that was what i meant.
KARKAT: AND FOR ALL I KNOW THEY WERE LYING ABOUT THAT!
KARKAT: LIKE MAYBE THEY WERE TIRED OF MY WHINY SELF DEROGATION BULLSHIT, AND MADE UP A FAIRY TALE TO STITCH TOGETHER THE TATTERED REMNANTS OF MY EGO.
JOHN: i don't know, that doesn't sound like something jade would do.
JOHN: hey jade! does that sound like something you would do?
JOHN: there you go.
JOHN: sorry karkat, but it looks like you are against the scientific consensus on this one.
JOHN: and besides, what about all your friends who are waiting for you? terezi and kanaya and the troll who pretends to be a creepy death fairy?
JOHN: hmm. which actually does not narrow it down....
JOHN: but you can't stay here! an entire universe needs you!
KARKAT: WELL IF THE UNIVERSE NEEDS ME SO BADLY, IT CAN COME AND GET ME.
KARKAT: AND BY ME I MEAN YOU.
KARKAT: MY DEMANDS ARE CLEARLY SET OUT AND THOROUGHLY REASONABLE. I WILL WALK THROUGH THAT DOOR RIGHT AFTER YOU WALK THROUGH FIRST.
JOHN: uh.... i don't think you can hold yourself hostage against physics.
JOHN: that is a really weird plan for you to think will work.
JOHN: jade! is that how physics works?
KARKAT: THEN IT'S ABOUT TO FUCKING START.
KARKAT: I CREATED THAT UNIVERSE! IT WAS JADE, AND DAVE, AND KANAYA, AND *ME*.
KARKAT: AND THE TWO PEOPLE ON THAT LIST WHO DIDN'T SPAWN FROM A REALITY WITH MY GRUBBY FINGER SMEARS ALL OVER IT? I HATCHED THEM WITH MY OWN PERSONAL HANDS OUT OF TEST TUBES AND SLIME!
KARKAT: THAT UNIVERSE WOULDN'T EXIST IF IT WASN'T FOR ME. I GET TO HAVE THIS!
KARKAT: I AM OWED.
KARKAT: I AM FUCKING OWED.
KARKAT: AND IF PARADOX SPACE THINKS IT CAN OUTSTUBBORN ME IT HASN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.
KARKAT: I DRAGGED A DOZEN SCATTERBRAINED MURDER ENTHUSIASTS THROUGH A MAGICAL ADVENTURE OF FRIENDSHIP AND TEAMWORK BUILDING AND SET THEM UP TO ANNIHILATE AN ENDGAME BOSS PROTOTYPED WITH A MINOR GOD, AND THAT WAS BEFORE THINGS GOT INTERESTING!
KARKAT: YOU COULD CRUSH GALAXIES WITH THE WEIGHT OF MY ANTIPATHY.
KARKAT: MY RAGE IS THE PRIMAL MOTIVE FORCE POWERING THE ARC OF PLANETS SPINNING AROUND THEIR SUNS, AND RIGHT NOW ITS ENTIRETY IS FOCUSED WITH SCYTHE POINT ACCURACY ON THE INVISIBLE WALL GOD TOSSED DOWN AS A FINAL FUCK YOU.
KARKAT: THE INTENSITY OF MY HATE ALONE WILL BURN THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE OF REALITY, AND I WILL EITHER PULL YOU BACK INSIDE OR EJECT MYSELF INTO THE VOID LIKE THE PUTRID INFECTION ERUPTNG FROM THE PUSTULE ON A MUSCLEBEAST'S LACTICALLY ENGORGED UDDER.
DAVE: what the hell am *i* doing here?
(DAVE): hey so it turns out we need to have a serious talk right now about how were gonna save john
(DAVE): and thats just not going to happen with karkat constantly throwing tantrums
KARKAT: I'LL SHUT UP.
KARKAT: WATCH ME. I WILL STAND HERE QUIETLY WHILE YOU HAVE YOUR HUMAN TALKING CONFERENCE AND NOT YELL ABOUT ANYTHING YOU SAY, NO MATTER HOW PAN SEARINGLY DUMB IT IS.
(DAVE): sure that sounds like a good idea
(DAVE): i mean theres only one thing that might maybe get in the way of it turning into reality
(DAVE): do you think that you can actually do that
(DAVE): yeah sorry buddy ive been to the future and no is definitely the right answer to that question
KARKAT: ARRRRGGGHH. FUCK!
KARKAT: WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?
(DAVE): karkat man dont pretend you cant figure this out
(DAVE): you and me are going to vamoose asap so past me can have his human talking conference before the countdown runs out
KARKAT: THERE'S REALLY A COUNTDOWN? LIKE, YOU DIDN'T JUST MAKE IT UP TO ANNOY ME, IT'S AN ACTUAL THING?
(DAVE): of course its a thing
(DAVE): how long have you been playing this game theres always a countdown
(DAVE): even if theres no particular clock stepping forward to claim them the seconds dont stop clocking forward
KARKAT: BUT WHAT IS IT COUNTING DOWN TO?
(DAVE): dude we dont have a lot of time left
(DAVE): like theres not close to enough time to chew the fat about this
(DAVE): make sure every gristle of the current situation gets sufficiently masticated for us to puke it down the gaping caw holes of our tiny screaming children
(DAVE): all undulating their throats into the camera like a clutch of vertically flipped goatses
(DAVE): never before this moment did i imagine id feel such pure fatherly pride
(DAVE): anyway its the countdown until THE END (DAVE): blacked for stating the fucking obvious
KARKAT: RIGHT, I KNEW THAT.
(DAVE): no shit
KARKAT: I'LL GO WITH YOU.
(DAVE): no shit again
(DAVE): but listen can you try pacing your foot shuffle to sandstorm instead of damien rice
(DAVE): time is boonbucks
JOHN: so...... that sure was a thing that just happened!
DAVE: hey guys ive been considering and maybe we were too hasty to rag on karkats plan
DAVE: i mean not that it isnt never not always a good time ragging on that guys plans
DAVE: even if theyre not totally bonkers its worth it just to see what kind of alien death animal hell compare you to
DAVE: i tried to make a bingo card for that but it didnt work i dont know enough alien death animals
DAVE: besides im pretty sure he makes some of them up
DAVE: just throwing together random words to dare me to call his bluff
DAVE: its like playing scrabble with rose some of those letter combos have GOT to be bullshit but you cant challenge her on it you cant know for sure
DAVE: and if anything sounds too gross to be real its DEFINITELY real
DAVE: because trolls
DAVE: anyway dont tell him i said this but the dude can hold his own in a metaphor off
DAVE: still cant rap for shit though so i dont gotta be worried about my rank as greatest rapper in all of paradox space
DAVE: well maybe against dirk i dont know
DAVE: we never got around to that rap throw down remember when we were going to do that
DAVE: haha right but no seriously going back and stopping john from doing stupid shit sounds like all kinds of your standard basic use of time powers
DAVE: if youve got an egbert and a rad clock overlay fx its pretty much guaranteed thats how youre gonna be spending your time
DAVE: just slapping it down like youve got boonbucks to burn
DAVE: i guess egbertian dumbassitude is the major natural resource industry keeping the temporal economy going
DAVE: if we DIDNT go back and stop him what happens to all those seconds and minutes we traded for futures
DAVE: theyll just be wasted probably
DAVE: sorry everybody its layoffs all around and i hope youve cashed out before the run on the timebank
DAVE: even obama couldnt save us from this economic collapse
DAVE: and so what if well probably fail the first bunch of times what else is new
DAVE: you keep TELLING us you dont see EVERYTHING rose
DAVE: maybe theres something out there if we play out enough iterations
DAVE: and okay itll dump us into a doomed timeline and get us all killed
DAVE: as the time guy i feel compelled to lay it out there but really who gives a shit about that
DAVE: anyone who gives a shit about that put your hand in the air like youre trying to high five god and the bastard left you hanging
DAVE: john god damn it
DAVE: put your fucking hand down you dont get to have an opinion
DAVE: were all just talking about forfeiting our lives to clean up the mess you created
DAVE: this practically doesnt even have anything to do with you
ROSE: Dave, I enjoy listening to your monologues as much as familiar duty requires of me, but in this case it seems that, ironically, you don't have the time.
DAVE: you cant let this happen
DAVE: or jade
DAVE: jade you have magic brain powers right
DAVE: maxed out your int stat
DAVE: hell what didnt you max out your whole character sheet is just a line of damn lucky rolls
DAVE: how are YOU not our light hero
DAVE: so jade can you brain us a way out of this or what
DAVE: like is that why youve been hanging back youre up to something right
DAVE: do you have a wacky physics gizmo youve been waiting to pull out until the most dramatic moment
DAVE: because its arrived all the suspense is built this is it this is the time
JADE: i think youve got to go back for your shouty troll friend now
ROSE: Tick tock.
DAVE: break eggs
DAVE: oh no rose
DAVE: dont you give me that sad yet mysterious smile
DAVE: i know i made a nerd joke back there but were not in an rp where youre being an ancient cave wizard with knowledge beyond the human ken
DAVE: what does it matter what ken knows anyway what makes him the barometer of knowing stuff
DAVE: does he even know that barbies got a thing on the side with teresa
DAVE: no he fucking does not
DAVE: his brains made of plastic
ROSE: Tick tock, Dave.
JOHN: she's right bro. karkat needs your help now.
JOHN: or, like, in twelve seconds into the past.
DAVE: thats not when that happened
JOHN: you have to get him out of here! you know what he's like when he starts yelling about stuff. he's not going to stop on his own.
JOHN: you have to go back in time and make sure he doesn't get stuck too.
DAVE: i see whats going on here
DAVE: this was a timey wimey setup wasnt it
DAVE: i bet you think im going to fall for it just because you already saw that i did
JOHN: i saw that you saved karkat from winding himself up into a gesture of dramatic futility, and that you brought him somewhere safe.
JOHN: and i really appreciate it.
JOHN: thank you, dave.
DAVE: youre not playing fair
JOHN: we wouldn't have gotten this far if we had played fair!
DAVE: yeah but i
DAVE: it cant
DAVE: we were supposed to have forever
DAVE: prancing about in our pjs like weve crashed an eternal slumber party
DAVE: braid each others hair play truth or spin the bottle
DAVE: pillow fights
DAVE: okay maybe not pillow fights im sick of fighting
DAVE: but there was so much
DAVE: i was going to tell you
DAVE: i never told you
DAVE: and now i cant
DAVE: theres too much
DAVE: theres no
JOHN: dave, whatever it is, you are my friend and i love you.
JOHN: i promise, there is nothing you could tell me that can ever stop those things from being true.
ROSE: Tick tock.
JOHN: and there he goes!
JOHN: he's right. those are pretty rad special effects. how come our powers didn't come with rad special effects like that?
JADE: i dont know... i think space special effects are pretty rad
JOHN: that's true.
JOHN: rose, it looks like it's only you and me who got a raw deal.
ROSE: Looks like.
JOHN: oh man, how much yelling do you think karkat is going to do after he realizes dave owned him?
JADE: i would guess.... probably a lot?
JOHN: yes! that is my guess also. i imagine his shouty rant will be "epic."
JOHN: it's too bad i will not be able to hear it.
JOHN: oh well!
JOHN: besides all that, i'm glad it is just us reasonable people left now!
JADE: i suppose i am too
JADE: it sure makes things easier!
JADE: and quieter
JOHN: hahaha tell me about it!
JOHN: i thought we were going to be shouted and rambled at for ever!
JADE: i knooow!
JOHN: those guys are so silly.
JADE: that they are
JADE: im still not abandoning you though
JOHN: now what!
JOHN: do i have to go and bring dave back here so he can push you through the door as well?
JOHN: because i will do that!
JADE: go ahead!!!
JADE: it wont work
JADE: guess what, john! space powers are PRETTY USEFUL for not being pushed anywhere you dont want to go!
JADE: even if theyve turned out to be complete shitty garbage for other things, such as noticing if you are on the same side of existence as the people you love
JADE: or getting around the fact that a three dimensional projection of a klein bottle only has an actual reality in three fucking dimensions!!
JOHN: ....uh, what?
JOHN: you've lost me.
JOHN: what bottle?
JADE: um, do you know what a mobius strip is?
JADE: so do you know what you get if you have two mobius strips and you glue their edges together?
JOHN: a mobius double reacharound, probably.
JADE: yes, which is a type of bottle with an inside and an outside that are the same side, just like a mobius strip only has a single side
JADE: so if we were standing inside one, you could simply walk back around to meet us
JADE: but you cant make one that works if you only have three dimensions.... at some point it has to turn back in on itself, and then it has an outside after all!
JADE: maybe if all of us had tried together, we could have twisted the entire shape of reality the way that i can mess with regular space? we had awesome enough powers that we could have probably done that!
JADE: but there would still not be any way to get you here
JADE: wed always be one dimension short
JOHN: nooope. i still have no clue what you are talking about.
JOHN: these are not very good explanations!
JADE: thats because it doesnt matter! none of it!!!
JADE: nothing i ever thought i knew matters, or was correct in any meaningful way!
JADE: do you remember when i thought i knew EVERYTHING about the game we were about to play?
JOHN: i don't remember you ever saying something like that.
JADE: of course i didnt say it like that! i make an effort to not be a rude fucking jerk!
JADE: but i was certain i knew what we were getting ourselves into, and the purpose of the game, and how it was going to end!
JADE: and then i turned around and offered you guys "helpful" tidbits of information until you were even more confused than i was!
JOHN: oh right. yes, i remember that. you had us all convinced you were psychic!
JOHN: i was impressed, it was a very cunning ruse.
JADE: no it wasnt
JADE: sburb wasnt what i thought it would be
JADE: everything that the clouds in skaia had shown me was true, but it never let me see the full context of what was going on... only bits and pieces that led me to the wrong conclusions!
JADE: because that was what i needed to believe so that we would start playing in the first place!
JADE: i didnt know ANYTHING!
JADE: and then later my dream self became a sprite, and as a part of that she was given a deep knowledge of the games mechanics :/
JOHN: i thought you only had vague memories of all that stuff?
JADE: and the memories i DID get to keep made me sure that i knew what was waiting in the new session!
JADE: and look what happened there!
JOHN: okay, but i think it was reasonable for you not to guess that an evil pastry fish dictator with doggy mind control took over?
JOHN: i didn't guess that either, because it would have been a completely insane thing to expect!
JADE: argh! obviously im not mad that i wasnt ready for that EXACT THING
JADE: but i should have been prepared for SOME kind of shenanigans to be occurring
JADE: but no! i was so certain that i had the best powers! i wasnt expecting that things would go wrong, but even if they did i was sure i could handle it!
JOHN: but that's not--
JADE: IM! NOT! DONE!!!
JADE: do you know what the clouds of skaia showed me after we had regained control of our kid adult guardians session???
JOHN: blar. fine.
JADE: us standing on this very platform and opening the door into bilious slick junior!
JADE: thats why i was never worried about any of our impossible plans!
JADE: because i KNEW we would win!
JADE: because skaia had shown me that scene and i was certain i understood what it meant!!
JADE: except i was fooled! AGAIN!!!!
JADE: it keeps happening!!!
JOHN: we did win though!
JADE: so what!!
JADE: if i had known what was going to happen next i wouldnt have helped it along
JOHN: then it sounds to me like skaia knew what it was doing by not giving you that choice!
JOHN: if we had failed, i still wouldn't get to visit our brand new universe, but neither would anyone else!
JOHN: how would that be better?
JADE: i can tell you know
JADE: now that rose pointed it out... there IS a difference
JADE: its almost...
JADE: its as if i cant pick up your scent
JADE: why didnt i notice???
JOHN: well personally, i think it is a good thing that i don't smell!
JOHN: it is one of my better qualities.
JOHN: yes, yes, we know that you are a furry and like to sniff things...
JOHN: oh hey, i have just gotten an idea. maybe this will work!
JOHN: JADE! YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN HERE! BAD GIRL!
JOHN: GET OUT!
JOHN: DON'T MAKE ME GET THE NEWSPAPER!!!!
JADE: STOP IT!!!!!!
JADE: this isnt the time for stupid jokes john!
JOHN: duh, i am aware of that.
JOHN: so stop fucking around already!!
JOHN: you staying behind will not change anything, that is something *i* am certain about.
JOHN: our giant frog universe doesn't care! it is not going to change its mind and let me in, and from what i am hearing that isn't a thing it could do even if it was aware that i existed, which it is probably not!
JADE: i know!
JADE: i know that theres nothing anybody can do! >:O
JADE: as soon as i understood what the problem was, i also understood that i had no way to take you with us :(
JOHN: so why are you saying all of this nonsense?! if you're not trying to copy a dumbass plan made by a ranty alien, what the hell ARE you doing?
JOHN: maybe you were jealous that the rest of us got to act like crazy idiots the whole time and decided that you were going to take your turn while you had the chance?
JOHN: because if that is it, let me tell you jade, you were not immune to acting like a crazy person.
JADE: its not that!!!
JOHN: then what?
JOHN: are you just trying to make my life harder? do you think i am not having enough problems right now!
JOHN: or do you think that what i REALLY WANTED was to spend my last few seconds with you guys having the same argument i JUST HAD with dave and karkat???
JOHN: well okay then! i give up! what's the point? what the hell are you trying to accomplish here!!
JADE: you don't know what its like to be alone!!!!!
JOHN: um, what?
JADE: youve never had to be alone, john! not truly
JADE: you dont know that it really.......
JADE: it HURTS
JOHN: oh no.
JOHN: jade, i'm so sorry--
JADE: no! shut up! this isn't about being sorry!
JADE: you made the choices that you had to make, and now its my turn!
JADE: im not letting that happen to you
JADE: you are my brother and my best friend! and i know that i cant save you, but i CAN make sure that youre not trapped here alone forever
ROSE: Not forever.
ROSE: I'm sorry, John. I'm really, really sorry, but...
ROSE: The game is over. Our frog has hatched, and has drawn what nutrition it needs from its egg.
ROSE: This sphere of reality.........
JOHN: what about this sphere of reality, rose?
ROSE: After we exit, it's not going to last much longer. At all.
JOHN: that's okay!
JOHN: in fact, that is great!
JADE: how the fuck is that great??
JOHN: because it means that you don't have to worry, jade! i will not have to be alone for very long!
JOHN: and it will be easy, because i will know that you and all the rest of my friends are doing an important job together watching out for an entire universe, and having fun adventures and doing fine!
JOHN: look, see?
JOHN: i'm smiling right now, because i am thinking about that!
ROSE: That's why you're our friend, John.
JADE: but you WONT be happy, youll be DEAD! or erased or....... i dont even know!!
JOHN: but that's okay too!
JOHN: a zillion other johns have died or been erased.
JOHN: even i died! more than once!
JOHN: and of course i am not glad that it was necessary, but things have worked out for the best this far and, speaking as a john, i think it was worth it!
JOHN: so i am not going to let one more dead john get in the way of your happily ever after.
JOHN: and honestly jade, refusing it is pretty fucking disrespectful to all those johns' memory!!
ROSE: Statements like that are also why you're our friend.
JOHN: thanks rose.
JOHN: but i'm not only your friend, i am your leader.
JOHN: there is a BIG difference.
JOHN: what is taking so long!!?
JOHN: i'm SO BORED.
JOHN: ...i guess i could watch the happy feet penguin movie like i told karkat i would, but i don't really want to start a movie if i might not ever get to see the ending?
JOHN: maybe i should just jump to THE END before i go MORE crazy.
JOHN: something's wrong, isn't it?
JOHN: what did rose say... if the players go out of the game, it's all over?
JOHN: they did that! and the doorway is completely gone, and dave's imaginary timer must have run out of invisible numbers by now.
JOHN: so why am i still here!!!
JOHN: ....i am still here.
JOHN: is that it?
JOHN: i mean, it was definitely implied that everyone needed to leave the game before it was over, but what if that wasn't because something bad would happen to them otherwise?
JOHN: like, rose said that the whole actual reality was supposed to end right after they left... but what if that is only because it could not do that while its players were still here using it?
JOHN: including... me?
JOHN: OH MY FUCKING GOD, ROSE!
JOHN: FOR SOMEONE WITH ALL THE MYSTERIOUS ANSWERS, ROSE, YOU REALLY FUCKED THIS ONE UP!
JOHN: ...okay, i guess i'm glad you got jade out. but still!
JOHN: where did you even GET your information?
JOHN: it can't just be regular seery bullshit, because terezi didn't know, did she?
JOHN: no... if terezi had known, i think that i would be able to tell by remembering her retrospective weirdnesses. there is no way she wouldn't have messed with me about this.
JOHN: ......oh man, rose. i REALLY hope it wasn't that same white text douche who completely owned us three years ago on my birthday.
JOHN: that would be literally the worst case scenario for my pranksters gambit.
You click repeatedly on the character selection screen but nothing happens.
In a desperate frenzy, you replace the batteries in your wireless mouse, uninstall and reinstall your browser, and rush out to purchase a less broken computer, before finally realizing that the image is just a shitty map to where the characters are currently located and you'll have to wait until the narrative gets to them the boring linear way.
JOHN: hey guys!
KARKAT: AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE BATTLEFIELD, CHASING AROUND GLOWBUGS FOR YOUR "CLASSIFIED" FETCHQUEST?
JOHN: oh, right, i remember that!
KARKAT: WELL, I HOPE SO??!!
JOHN: don't worry, i am totally chasing around glowbugs right now, which definitely does not turn out to be a colossal waste of time.
JOHN: i just thought i'd pop in and say hi.
JOHN: except... hmm.
JOHN: i guess i thought there'd be more people here?
JADE: jane and terezi left a minute ago... did you want to talk with them?
JOHN: that would probably be a bad idea.
JOHN: maybe i can catch up with them later!
KARKAT: WHY WOULD THAT BE A BAD IDEA?
KARKAT: THEY CAN'T BE FAR. I'LL JUST TELL THEM TO ZOOM BACK DOWN HERE.
JOHN: yeah but... i think i'm not supposed to distract them from whatever they're doing?
JOHN: otherwise i wouldn't have missed them in the first place.
KARKAT: SINCE WHEN HAVE YOU EVER CARED ABOUT NOT BEING ANNOYING?
DAVE: since hes a future john messing with the timeline again
DAVE: thats pretty obvious
KARKAT: FROM WHAT, YOUR AMAZING GODLY POWERS OF PULLING FACTS OUT OF YOUR ASS?
DAVE: well yeah that too
DAVE: but weve been dealing with his zappy bullshit nonstop since we got here
DAVE: thats like your new favourite thing to rant about
DAVE: are you saying youre not future john
JOHN: no, that's the john that i am, but...
JOHN: are you okay, jade? you're acting really weird.
DAVE: oh for fucks sake
JADE: ahahahahahaha!! :D
JADE: yeah jade! stop acting weird!!!!
JADE: john... did we really never tell you what happened?
JOHN: um, maybe?
JADE: ok well
JADE: terezi thought it would be easier if we could get help from a heart player?
JADE: one with different powers than dirk, i mean
JADE: so we tried to talk to a ghost nepeta who was with another troll ghost... who is sort of what our alternate universe guardians are to us
KARKAT: JUST IMAGINE A CREEPY, BORING NEPETA.
JOHN: alright, i am imagining that.
JADE: and they were both wearing less poofy versions of dirks outfit, so they must have both reached god tier before becoming ghosts!
JADE: but when we went up to them....
KARKAT: THEY GOT INTO A CAT FIGHT.
JOHN: wow, that's rude!
DAVE: no its fine
DAVE: theyre furries
DAVE: a cat fight is literally the thing that happened in front of us
DAVE: there was hissing
DAVE: and then
DAVE: i felt underdressed left my fursuit in the closet
DAVE: thats one problem that got solved for me at least
JADE: yeah um...
JADE: and then they did some kind of hearty thing?
JADE: i mean heart is REALLY not my aspect
KARKAT: I STILL THINK IT WAS AN ACCIDENT.
JADE: yeah probably!
JADE: all the nepetas ive talked to were very nice
JADE: but they did something, because everything got very bright and... purple
KARKAT: NO, IT WAS FUCHSIA!
JADE: thats the same thing!
KARKAT: OH MY GOD. WHAT?!!
KARKAT: HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT!!
KARKAT: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!
JADE: um... wow
JADE: sorry but i dont think i want to have an argument about this?
JADE: it really doesnt matter
KARKAT: YES IT FUCKING DOES!!!
JADE: everything got really bright and **FUCHSIA** :O
DAVE: ok no
DAVE: thats just wrong
DAVE: please dont do that with my face
JADE: ill do whatever i want with your face!!
JOHN: ...that's right. i think you did mention something about this. but we were kind of busy and it sounded like complete nonsense, so i didn't really pay attention.
JOHN: so... you're dave, right?
DAVE: THANK you
JOHN: and... you're jade?
JOHN: and then, hm.
JOHN: who are you supposed to be?
KARKAT: THE GUY WHO IS ABOUT TO GRAB YOUR RIDICULOUS BLUE HAT TAIL AND USE IT AS A CONVENIENT VOMIT STORAGE CONTAINER UNLESS YOU STOP BOBBING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HIM.
JOHN: yeah, you're karkat.
DAVE: alright so the thing im getting from johns clueless egbertitude is that we get this complete nonsense sorted out
DAVE: thank god and every one of its writhing hentai nightmare tentacles
JADE: aw...... i dont know
JADE: being dave isnt so bad
JADE: i mean... having a cape is pretty fun!
JADE: mwa hah heh heh hah!!
DAVE: jade no what you are you doing thats not what my capes for
DAVE: its to flounce around behind me like im a goddam superhero
DAVE: or maybe to knock over can skyscrapers by accident when i turn around too fastwise but you cant tell me thats a problem supermans never had
JADE: mwa heh heh!
DAVE: oh whatever
DAVE: its actually pretty funny
JOHN: hahahaha, oh wow
JOHN: this is so weird!
DAVE: thank you
DAVE: finally someones here who gets that
JOHN: you don't think this is weird, karkat?
KARKAT: I GUESS?
KARKAT: BUT COMPARED TO WHAT? EQUIUS TURNING INTO A GHOST HUMAN COMPUTER SPRITE WITH EVEN MORE DISTURBING FETISHES? GETTING STUCK IN A DREAM BUBBLE WITH A VERSION OF MYSELF WHO WAS WEARING THE WRONG SYMBOL?
KARKAT: AT LEAST THEY'RE BOTH THE SAME SPECIES. I MEAN, YOU PEOPLE AREN'T THAT DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.
JADE: karkat dont be racist!!! :p
KARKAT: WELL, EXCUUUUSE ME! IF IT'S SO IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO FEEL SPECIAL MAYBE NEXT TIME YOU SHOULD GROW A PAIR OF WILDLY UNIQUE HORNS.
JOHN: no dude, this is definitely so weird.
JOHN: i mean... eugh.
JOHN: what if you have to go to the bathroom?
DAVE: i dont
JADE: oh no...
DAVE: i dont do that sort of thing
DAVE: fuck you john you dont say the b word
KARKAT: JUST GO FIND A LOAD GAPER ALREADY, WHO CARES.
DAVE: no way
DAVE: jade does
JADE: no i dont!!!
JADE: i keep telling you that!
DAVE: yeah but
DAVE: john back me up here
DAVE: you would care if it was your body right
DAVE: like im rocking the blue windsock doing a softshoe taking some selfies and then all suddenly its whoops sorry bro i finally got my chance to get my paws on your sausage stick
DAVE: gonna whip it right out and sign your name in the snow
DAVE: or at least whatevers gently floating down to coat the streets in dream texas
DAVE: scribble sick rhymes into a pile of whataburger wrappers like your pickle juice is invisible ink
DAVE: you know that aint kosher
JOHN: this is not something i have ever thought about?
JOHN: but, umm. I guess if it did happen, I would understand that sometimes my body has to do stuff inside of a bathroom, and you being in charge of that is part of a body swap?
JADE: besides i already went and it wasnt a big deal?
JADE: ugh! >:O
JADE: karkat why are human boys such weenies?
KARKAT: I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THAT, ACTUALLY.
KARKAT: AT FIRST I DIDN'T THINK ANYTHING OF IT.
KARKAT: LIKE I JUST FIGURED THAT YOUR PLANET WAS SUCH A SAFE, BORING PLACE TO GROW UP THAT OBVIOUSLY IT WOULD TURN OUT AN ENTIRE RACE OF THE BIGGEST WEENIES PARADOX SPACE HAD EVER SEEN.
KARKAT: RIGHT! BUT THAT DIDN'T EXPLAIN WHY ROSE AND JADE SEEMED TO BE ABLE TO PULL THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR RESPECTIVE HUMAN ASSES IF THE SITUATION DEMANDED IT HARD ENOUGH, SO IN THE END IT WAS ONLY HUMAN MALES WHO ASCENDED TO THE LAST, VERTIGINOUS TIER OF ULTIMATE WEENIEHOOD.
JADE: i think.... i am choosing to take that as a compliment
JADE: so thank you karkat :D
KARKAT: SEE WHAT I MEAN?
KARKAT: ALSO YES, YOU'RE WELCOME.
KARKAT: BUT THEN LATER, AFTER STUDYING A MASSIVE LIBRARY OF ARCHIVED HUMAN SOCIOLOGICAL FOOTAGE, I--
DAVE: just say that you spent the whole three year trip out here watching romcoms
DAVE: the awfuler the better
KARKAT: BUT WHY WOULD I REPEAT MYSELF, DAVE?
KARKAT: ANYWAY, AFTER GETTING THROUGH SEVERAL HUNDRED EXAMPLES OF HUMAN ROMANCE FILMS, PLUS A NUMBER OF ENLIGHTENING CONVERSATIONS I HAD WITH THE TWO HUMAN PRIMARY SOURCES AVAILABLE,
KARKAT: THE TRUE NATURE AND COMPLEXITY OF THE EARTH HUMAN ROMANTIC SYSTEM SLOWLY CAME INTO FOCUS BEFORE ME.
KARKAT: I MEAN.
KARKAT: I'M STILL WORKING OUT SOME OF THE FINER DETAILS?
KARKAT: BUT I COULD EXPLAIN THE BASIC THEORY IF YOU'RE INTERESTED.
JOHN: oh man, yes!
JOHN: this sounds amazing.
JADE: i have always wanted to know why john is a weenie!! ;P
KARKAT: WOW, UH. I DIDN'T KNOW YOU'D BE SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS?
KARKAT: MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOU KNOW DEEP DOWN THAT YOUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN LOVE AS ONE-QUADRANT SYSTEM IS AN OUTRAGEOUS AND FARCICAL SIMPLIFICATION?
KARKAT: AND THAT IT WOULD TAKE A MEMBER OF A SPECIES WITH A FULLY DEVELOPED EMOTIONAL MODEL TO RECOGNIZE THE BASIC ATOMIC COMPONENTS OF YOUR ROMANTIC DRIVE.
JOHN: yes, that is probably it.
KARKAT: WELL THEN, OKAY.
KARKAT: FIRST OF ALL, UNLIKE MAMMALS ON ALTERNIA, YOUR SPECIES ONLY REPRODUCES HETEROSEXUALLY. WHICH STILL SEEMS DUMB TO STRIKE OUT HALF OF THE POTENTIAL PARTNERS IN THE GENE POOL, BUT WHATEVER.
KARKAT: SO IT MAKES SENSE THAT THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF HUMAN CULTURE WOULD ENCOURAGE, IF NOT MANDATE, HETEROSEXUAL ROMANTIC PAIRINGS.
KARKAT: AND INDEED, IN THE HUMAN MOVIES I WATCHED, THE FINAL PAIRING IS ALWAYS, PREDICTABLY, A COMMITTED RED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ONE MALE AND ONE FEMALE.
KARKAT: EVEN IN THE FEW CASES WHERE IT SEEMS THAT THE CORE MALE-FEMALE RELATIONSHIP IS BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF HEALTHY COMPETITIVENESS, THIS IS TREATED AS TRANSGRESSIVE AND BY THE END OF THE MOVIE VACILLATES INTO A STABLE REDROM PAIR!
KARKAT: HUH. I HADN'T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BEFORE, BUT MAYBE THAT'S WHY YOUR MOVIE TITLES AREN'T VERY DESCRIPTIVE, SINCE THE PLOTS ALWAYS END THE SAME WAY?
DAVE: no thats not why
DAVE: using an entire movie script as a title is nonsense is why
JADE: thats an interesting observation karkat but...
JADE: humans have other types of relationships too!
KARKAT: YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING!
KARKAT: THE POTENTIAL SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR ROMCOMS ARE OFTEN DRAWN TOGETHER ALONG THE BLACKROM AXIS, BUT SINCE YOUR CULTURE PROMOTES HETEROSEXUAL ROMANTIC PAIRINGS ONLY, THEIR CALIGINOUS ENERGY MUST BE SUBLIMATED INTO A COMPETITION FOR THE AFFECTIONS OF AN ELIGIBLE MATESPRIT.
KARKAT: AND ONCE THE PROTAGONIST OF THE FILM SUCCESSFULLY "WINS" THEIR RED INTEREST, DO THEY THEN TURN AROUND AND CONSUMMATE THE BLACK RELATIONSHIP AS WELL, THUS CLOSING THE SQUARE OF THEIR QUADRANTS?
KARKAT: NO THEY DON'T! THE COMPETITION IS SIMPLY OVER, AND THEIR POTENTIAL KISMESIS IS USUALLY JUST REMOVED FROM THE STORY ALL TOGETHER!
KARKAT: AS A CINEMATIC TROPE, IT'S VERY ANTI-CLIMATIC, AND... AND...
KARKAT: YEAH. THAT.
JOHN: hmm. these are fascinating movie reviews from an alien, but how does any of that make me a weenie?
KARKAT: I'M GETTING TO THAT.
KARKAT: SEE... FROM MY OBSERVATIONS, RED ROMANCE APPEARS TO BE THE STANDARD INSTINCTUAL PRINCIPLE IN PLAY BETWEEN HUMAN HETEROSEXUAL COUPLES. IN FACT, IN MY DISCUSSIONS ON THE MATTER WITH DAVE AND ROSE THEY CLAIMED NOT TO EVEN BE CAPABLE OF BLACKROM!
DAVE: bro of course i claimed that
DAVE: its cause we arent
KARKAT: YOU THINK YOU AREN'T.
KARKAT: BUT ACCORDING TO MY THEORY, THAT'S NOT ACTUALLY BECAUSE YOUR SPECIES LACKS THE REQUISITE VILE HUMOURS. IF I'M RIGHT, HUMANS FEEL ROMANTIC HATRED JUST FINE... BUT ONLY WITHIN HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS.
DAVE: oh my god
JADE: wow, um
JOHN: hahaha, okay karkat!
KARKAT: I KNEW THIS WOULD PROBABLY BE TOO COMPLICATED AT FIRST.
KARKAT: MAYBE IT WOULD BE EASIER TO EXPLAIN IF I DREW A CHART?
DAVE: no it wont
DAVE: that has never been true
DAVE: aaand weve achieved a tic tac toe grid
DAVE: or some kind of spiky rubix cube
JADE: karkat, this is ridiculous
JADE: what about rose and kanaya??
JADE: are you saying that their relationship is...
JADE: actually no.... i have no idea what youre saying!
KARKAT: MAYBE THAT'S BECAUSE, INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO AN EXPLANATION BY A MASTER ON THE SUBJECT, YOU'RE INTERRUPTING ME SO THAT YOU CAN PROUDLY PROCLAIM YOUR IGNORANCE?
KARKAT: JUST A POSSIBILITY I'M THROWING OUT THERE!
KARKAT: IT'LL ALL MAKE SENSE, OKAY? GIVE ME A MINUTE TO FILL IN THE DIAGRAM.
DAVE: one of those unfolded cardboard dice things
DAVE: looks like this is happening
KARKAT: ALRIGHT. SO YOU HAVE HUMAN BOYS....
JADE: karkat... why did you draw two johns?
KARKAT: IT'S NOT JOHN. I'M OBVIOUSLY USING HIS BUCKFACED VISAGE AS A SYMBOL FOR ALL HUMAN MALES, OKAY?
JOHN: it's okay with me.
JOHN: hey, does that make me the model human boy, who all other human boys are supposed to strive to live up to even though it is understood by all that they can never quite make it?
JADE: hmmm, i dont know
JADE: maybe it makes you the perfectly generic human boy?
JADE: so youre the medium sized green cube with slightly beveled edges of human boyhood!
JOHN: sweet, i'll take it!
KARKAT: AND YOU HAVE HUMAN GIRLS...
JOHN: is that supposed to be jade?
JOHN: karkat if you want to draw me that is fine, but then you can't put jade on your human romance grid!
JOHN: she's my sister!
KARKAT: I KNOW, I KNOW. "INCEST," RIGHT?
JADE: yes, karkat. RIGHT!!!!
KARKAT: IT DOESN'T MATTER.
JADE: it kind of does matter though!!
KARKAT: NOT FOR WHAT I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT!
KARKAT: BESIDES, IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE JADE. IT'S AN AD HOC PICTORIAL STAND-IN FOR THE GENERAL CONCEPT OF HUMAN GIRLNESS!
JOHN: i don't care! it still looks like jade!
KARKAT: WELL WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? IT'S NOT LIKE THERE'S A CROSSUNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOD ICON FOR EACH GENDER!
DAVE: well this is off to a promising start already
DAVE: but also lets not overlook the main problem
DAVE: besides the crappy art and karkat being banned from drawing shipping charts because it never ends well
DAVE: someone always ends up crying
DAVE: spoiler its always karkat
KARKAT: THAT'S A LIE.
DAVE: whatever you say bro
DAVE: but the main thing that i think we have to acknowledge here
DAVE: is that right now thats not a shitty scribble jade
DAVE: its me
JOHN: yeah, good point, dave!
JOHN: that's what dave looks like right now, and I'm pretty sure he's not a girl.
KARKAT: OKAY! FINE!
KARKAT: I DIDN'T MEAN TO "BLOW" YOUR "MINDS" WITH THE APPARENTLY NEVER BEFORE ENCOUNTERED IDEA OF HABITUAL ATTRIBUTES AND TRAITS?
KARKAT: HERE. ALLOW ME TO GRACIOUSLY CHANGE THE SIGN INTO ONE WITHOUT EVEN A GLANCING PREREQUISITE UNDERSTANDING OF BASIC OBJECT PERMANENCE.
JADE: karkat i have a better idea
DAVE: this conversation being over and us talking about something else now
DAVE: please let that be it
JADE: in fact... that sounds like something a weenie would say! ;P
JADE: this conversation is going about how I expected it to
JADE: but i have a different suggestion for karkats human girl icon
KARKAT: AS YOU CAN SEE, ALONG THIS DIAGONAL WE HAVE YOUR HUMAN "HETEROSEXUAL" ROMANCE. I'VE ALREADY EXPLAINED HOW IT DEFAULTS TO MATESPRITSHIP.
KARKAT: THIS IS THE QUADRANT THAT HUMANS ARE MOST FAMILIAR WITH. OR AT LEAST, MOST WILLING TO ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN YOUR PITY GLANDS ARE SOUSING YOUR THINK PANS IN THEIR STUPEFYING HUMOURS.
JOHN: oh man, karkat. this is starting to look like the shipping grid that you made before, that said me and rose were going to get married!
JOHN: do you guys remember that?
JADE: i remember you bringing it up
JADE: several times!
JADE: but you never actually sent it to me
JOHN: oh right.
JOHN: well, it was a lot like the one karkat is drawing now.
JOHN: except you and dave were also there, and rose didn't look nearly as cute! :B
KARKAT: ONCE AGAIN.
KARKAT: IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ROSE.
JADE: in a way it is supposed to be rose though?
JADE: your shipping chart would apply to her as well, because the real rose is a human girl too!
KARKAT: HARLEY, I KNOW THAT YOU GET THIS.
KARKAT: PLEASE DON'T ENCOURAGE YOUR LESS ACUTE SIMIAN COHORT MATES IN THEIR JOURNEY TOWARDS A COMPLETE MISUNDERSTANDING OF EVERYTHING PARADOX SPACE HAS NEATLY LABELLED AND LAID OUT BEFORE THEM.
KARKAT: THINGS ARE GOING TO GET COMPLICATED ENOUGH AS IT IS.
KARKAT: NOW, I'VE ALSO EXPLAINED THAT THE HUMAN "HOMOSEXUAL" ROMANTIC DRIVE IS CALIGINOUS.
KARKAT: HOWEVER, HUMAN CULTURE DISCOURAGES THESE PAIRINGS... AND IN DOING SO, ALSO DISCOURAGES THE ENTIRE IDEA OF HATRED AS A HEALTHY CONNECTION!
KARKAT: I MEAN, IT MAKES SENSE. KISMESISTUDE IS OBVIOUSLY THE MOST EMOTIONALLY VIGOROUS QUADRANT, SO IF HUMAN KISMESES DIDN'T KNOW THEY NEEDED MORE THAN ONE CONCUPISCENT PARTNER, THEY MIGHT BE TOO CONSUMED TO EVEN LOOK FOR A REPRODUCTIVELY VALID MATESPRIT.
KARKAT: THAT'S PROBABLY WHY THE TABOO WAS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE?
KARKAT: BUT WITHOUT BEING ALLOWED TO ADMIT YOUR DESIRE TO PURSUE A FULFILLING, COMMITTED ROMANCE BASED IN HATRED, HUMAN BOYS ARE COMPELLED TO IGNORE OR SUPPRESS THE NECESSARY COMPETITIVE BEHAVIOUR THAT WOULD TEACH THEM TO HONE THEIR SKILLS, AND ALLOW THEM TO BECOME SOMETHING OTHER THAN GIANT WEENIES!
JADE: thats very....
JADE: a very logical conclusion from an alien who watched too many awful movies!!!
JADE: but what about girls?
KARKAT: I'M GLAD YOU ASKED!
DAVE: he really is
KARKAT: I WAS CONFUSED ABOUT THAT TOO, AT FIRST.
KARKAT: I THINK IT'S WHY IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO WORK OUT THE UNDERLYING RULES?
KARKAT: BUT EVENTUALLY I REALIZED THAT YOU HAD A THIRD TYPE OF ROMANCE, ONE RESERVED ONLY FOR GIRL-GIRL PAIRINGS.
KARKAT: AND THIS ONE IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE AN IMPORTANT, FATED CONNECTION.
KARKAT: IN RETROSPECT, THE MOVIES WORK PRETTY DAMN HARD TO ESTABLISH THAT.
KARKAT: LIKE, MAYBE THE TWO OF THEM HAVEN'T SEEN EACH OTHER SINCE THEIR LATE JUVENILE SCHOOLFEEDING DAYS, BUT WHEN THEY MEET AGAIN AS ADULTS THEY PICK THINGS RIGHT THE FUCK BACK UP AS THEY WERE PUT DOWN.
KARKAT: AND EVEN IF THEY ONLY MEET DURING THE OPENING ACTS OF THE FILM, THEY'RE USUALLY STILL TOGETHER AT THE END.
KARKAT: ANYWAY! IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THIS IS A BIZARRE ALIEN QUADRANT THAT DOESN'T MAP ONTO OUR SYSTEM, BUT IT SEEMS TO BE BEST UNDERSTOOD AS A VACILLATION BETWEEN THE BLACK AND PALE QUADRANTS, RATHER THAN THE STANDARD BLACK/RED CYCLE.
KARKAT: STANDARD FOR TROLLS AT LEAST.
KARKAT: BLACK/PALE VACILLATION IS RARE FOR US. WHICH IS FUCKING LUCKY, BECAUSE IT'S EXTREMELY DISRUPTIVE.
KARKAT: IT ALWAYS LEADS TO A TOTAL DISSOLUTION OF THE PAIR'S OTHER RELATIONSHIPS, UNLESS THEY CAN FIND A REALLY, REALLY GOOD AUSPISTICE.
KARKAT: BUT I GUESS IT *IS* THE STANDARD FOR HUMAN GIRLS?
KARKAT: I STILL HAVE A HARD TIME IMAGINING HOW THAT WORKS, TO BE HONEST.
JOHN: yeah, uh. i think you are not alone on that.
JADE: karkat... :T
JADE: what you are describing isnt a type of romance that we have
JADE: between any genders
KARKAT: OF COURSE IT IS.
KARKAT: YOU EVEN HAVE A NAME FOR THE HUMAN GIRL QUADRANT, ALTHOUGH IT'S SO SIMILAR TO THE TROLL WORD FOR "HATEFRIEND" I DIDN'T NOTICE FOR A WHILE.
JOHN: okay, i will grant that frenemies are a thing, maybe?
JOHN: i've never had one but.......
DAVE: well you wouldnt would you
DAVE: being the prime weenie and all
JOHN: yes, thank you dave. that is totally a good point that someone on my side of the argument would make.
JOHN: but aren't frenemies supposed to be platonic, i.e.... not romantic at all?
KARKAT: HOLY CRAP, WHY ARE HUMANS CONSTANTLY SO QUICK TO DEVALUE PLATONIC ROMANCE?!
KARKAT: DO YOU THINK YOUR MATESPRIT HAS A BIGGER IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE THAN YOUR MOIRAIL?
KARKAT: HA, IS WHAT I SAY TO THAT HILARIOUS JEST!
KARKAT: FUCKING HA!
KARKAT: EVEN PLATONIC COMPETITION WOULD HAVE FORCED YOU GRUB FISTED STOOGES TO FIGURE OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR BULGE AND YOUR SHAME GLOBES!
KARKAT: BUT THAT THEORY DOESN'T EXACTLY ACCOUNT FOR ROSE LALONDE'S CHOICE OF SLOPPY INTERSPECIES MAKEOUT PARTNERS SO....?????
DAVE: no hold up
DAVE: you think rose is frenemy dating kanaya
DAVE: what the fuck
KARKAT: KANAYA WAS PRETTY MESSED UP ABOUT IT FOR A WHILE.
KARKAT: WERE THEY DATING? WERE THEY NOT DATING? HAD KANAYA ACCIDENTALLY PALE ZONED HERSELF? HAD SHE ACCIDENTALLY GIVEN DEEP OFFENSE TO ROSE'S HONOUR?
KARKAT: I ACTUALLY CONSIDERED, UM.
KARKAT: STEPPING IN.
KARKAT: ALTHOUGH THEY SEEM TO HAVE WORKED THINGS OUT NOW SO I DON'T KNOW? MAYBE SINCE HUMANS DON'T PRODUCE THE SAME CONCUPISCENT HORMONES AS US ANYWAY, IT DOESN'T MATTER SO MUCH IF THEY'RE IN ROMANTIC ALIGNMENT?
KARKAT: LIKE I SAID, I'M STILL WORKING OUT THE DETAILS.
DAVE: i thought before i wanted this conversation to end the most i could ever want anything but no it keeps getting more horrible somehow
KARKAT: SORRY, THAT'S MY FAULT.
KARKAT: FITTING INTERSPECIES RELATIONSHIPS INTO BOTH OF OUR ROMANTIC SYSTEMS IS A WAY MORE ADVANCED TOPIC THAN YOU'RE READY FOR.
KARKAT: I KNOW! JUST THINK ABOUT ROSE AND JADE!
JADE: think WHAT about rose and jade??!!
JOHN: rose and jade aren't dating!
JOHN: ...unless there is something you would like to tell me, jade?
JADE: i had never even met rose in person until we arrived in our guardians session!
KARKAT: BUT THE POTENTIAL WAS THERE!
KARKAT: THAT WAS OBVIOUS EVEN WHEN WE WERE DUMB KIDS FUCKING WITH YOU GUYS OVER TROLLIAN.
KARKAT: REMEMBER HOW ROSE LIKED TO PRETEND THAN SHE KNEW EVERYTHING?
KARKAT: NOT THAT ANYTHING HAS CHANGED THERE...
KARKAT: BUT SHE COULD NEVER FIGURE YOU OUT! IT FRUSTRATED THE SHIT OUT OF HER! I COULD TELL!
KARKAT: OF COURSE, THAT WAS BEFORE I DEVELOPED A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN QUADRANTS, SO WE WOULD JUST DISCUSS IT IN TERMS OF CALIGINOUS TENSION, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT DIDN'T QUITE FIT.
KARKAT: WELL SURE, YEAH, I DISCUSSED THE SITUATION WITH A FRIEND WHO SHARED MY INTEREST IN THESE THINGS. I WANTED TO SEE IF HE AGREED WITH ME ON THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU.
JADE: this friend was the creepy asshole guy wasnt it
DAVE: you just described all his friends
JADE: the one with purple text who types like an annoying jerk!!
DAVE: yeah still not narrowing it down
JOHN: karkat... were you and your troll buddies SHIPPING jade and rose?
KARKAT: OF COURSE NOT!
KARKAT: WE WERE MERELY DISCUSSING OUR OBSERVATIONS ABOUT SOME BIZARRE HORNLESS ALIENS TO SEE IF WE COULD FIGURE OUT WHY EVERYTHING THEY WERE DOING WAS SO FUCKING TERRIBLE!!!
KARKAT: AND YES, I PERSONALLY THOUGHT THERE WAS SOME DEFINITE BLACK CHEMISTRY BUT--
JOHN: that's so rude!
JOHN: we don't hate-ship our friends, karkat! i guess you somehow missed that rule in all of your human studies, but i hope you are noting it down.
JOHN: and rose is dating kanaya now!
JOHN: you're not supposed to think about things like that!
KARKAT: WHY IS "IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO, IN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CONTEXT" SO IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND. IS IT BECAUSE YOU ARE A MORON?
JADE: thats it!!!!
JADE: this is just too much bullshit for me karkat
JADE: im taking back my vote! daves right.... its time for this conversation to be over
KARKAT: THAT'S COOL, I WOULDN'T EXPECT YOU TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING RIGHT AWAY.
KARKAT: IT'S ASKING A LOT FOR YOU TO COMPLETELY RE-EXAMINE THE FUNDAMENTAL BASIS OF YOUR ROMANTIC SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN YOU WERE EVER CAPABLE OF REALIZING.
KARKAT: FUCK, YOU DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A WORD FOR THE RAW CONCEPT OF BLACKROM.
KARKAT: NO WONDER IT TOOK AN ALIEN TO FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT FOR YOU!
DAVE: jade changed her vote its two against one
DAVE: why are you still talking
KARKAT: NO, IT'S TWO AGAINST TWO.
KARKAT: WHAT DO YOU THINK JOHN?
JOHN: now that i know this is what you were thinking about humans, an angry rant that you have at me later makes more sense.
JOHN: or at least, is complete nonsense in a different way.
KARKAT: A RANT ABOUT WHAT?
JOHN: you'll see!
KARKAT: WELL SHIT, I'M ENLIGHTENED! I GUESS I'LL JUST GO AHEAD AND LOOK FORWARD TO THAT THEN!
JOHN: as you should. it was amazing.
JOHN: but also... hm.
JOHN: do you really still think i should marry rose?
KARKAT: NO! WHAT?
KARKAT: HOW ARE YOU SO DUMB!
KARKAT: FUCK THAT, HOW AM I SO DUMB THAT I THOUGHT THERE WAS EVEN A TINY SQUEEK BEAST'S BARF TRAIL OF A CHANCE YOU IDIOTS COULD BE TAUGHT ANYTHING!
KARKAT: YOU KNOW WHAT, I'M CHANGING MY VOTE TOO. WHOOHOO! TIE BREAKER!
KARKAT: LECTURE OVER!!!!
JADE: well all the silly shipping squares have been stomped on, if thats what youre waiting for?
DAVE: pretty much
JOHN: so..... since karkat is busy performing a suggestive leprechaun jig, what were you guys up to before i got here?
JADE: we were comparing scars
JOHN: uh. scars?
JADE: me and dave noticed that we both have a scar at the same place on our arms....
JADE: hey dave!
JADE: give me your arm for a second!
DAVE: god dammit
DAVE: i cant believe you set me up like that
DAVE: laid out that fresh nerd bait as if i
JOHN: but jade.... how can he give you his arm?
JOHN: you already have BOTH his arms!
JADE: hahahaha!! :D
DAVE: im going back to facepalming
JADE: just give me your-- MY arm! :P
JADE: i want to show john
DAVE: yeah fine
JOHN: yep! those are matching scars alright!
JOHN: what does it mean?
JADE: i dont think its supposed to mean anything
JADE: its just a coincidence... and not even a very interesting coincidence
JADE: i have other scars on my arm
JADE: but we only have that one in common
JOHN: i see.
JOHN: i was just making sure. you never know with this game!
JADE: thats true!
JADE: but im pretty sure these are normal scars
JADE: i got mine when my grandpa was teaching me how to disassemble his old muskets
JADE: but my hands werent big enough to hold everything properly, and i accidentally knocked an entire wall of antique munitions into each other!!!
JADE: my forearm was hit by a piece of shrapnel from the gun powder explosion!
JOHN: that's a hard core experience for a little girl to have.
JADE: i guess?
JADE: i did not think it was particularly unusual at the time though!
JADE: afterwards my grandpa gave me a couple smaller pistols to practice with first
JADE: which didnt turn out to be a great idea actually :/
JOHN: yeah, it really does not sound like it would be!
JOHN: what about yours, dave?
JOHN: unless you'd rather not talk about it?
JOHN: if you don't want to talk about it, i will respect that.
DAVE: nah dude we dont need to make this into a thing
DAVE: i just cant compete with the thrill and excitement of jades tale
DAVE: i caught myself too hard on the edge of the roof one time
DAVE: thats really all there is to say on the matter
KARKAT: OH REALLY? IS THAT WHAT HAPPENED?
KARKAT: IT'S FUNNY, BECAUSE I HAD BEEN TOLD THEY WERE YOUR AND HARLEY'S GANG INITIATION SIGNS.
KARKAT: SO THAT YOU MAY, AND I QUOTE, "RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER IN GANG JAIL, WHICH IS WHERE PEOPLE IN GANGS GET PUT FOR DOING GANG CRIMES."
DAVE: hey everyone karkats back
DAVE: i hate to be the one to tell you this bro
DAVE: but that stuff i said earlier was bullshit i made up to fuck with you
KARKAT: YOU DON'T SAY!
KARKAT: I'M STUPEFIED BY THIS ENTIRELY UNEXPECTED REVELATION!
JADE: what is it?
JOHN: it's just..... one time, when i was baking cookies with my dad, i tried to sneak open the oven too early and burned my thumb. i have always had a small scar there.
JOHN: i never really thought about it, but since i became a god tier, it's been gone.
JOHN: i wonder if....... yeah!
JOHN: so is the one on my knee from getting flung off my pogo ride.
JOHN: but if it's not the same for you guys... i wonder what the difference is?
KARKAT: WHO KNOWS. WHY DID TEREZI'S DREAMSELF HAVE BUSTED EYES BUT NOT VRISKA'S?
KARKAT: TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE RULES AROUND DREAMSELVES IS A GOOD WAY TO TURN YOUR REGULAR SELF INTO A CAVE BOUND PARANOIAC GIBBERING IN AWE AT THE TRANSCENDENT PATTERNS IN YOUR OWN FECAL SMEARS.
KARKAT: WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED TO ME.
JADE: maybe they werent very important to you john?
JADE: in a weird way im glad that i still have mine
JADE: its like one of my old colourful reminders.....
JADE: only for making sure i dont forget something that happened in the past instead of the future!!
JADE: i didnt have very long with my grandpa while he was alive, so having that matters to me
JADE: at least, i know i would have been sad if i woke up and it was erased!
JADE: and because our dreamselves were connected to us subconsciously, it might have carried over because i felt it was a meaningful part of my story
JOHN: hmmmmm....... i guess not.
JOHN: i don't know.
JOHN: or.................. maybe it only gets transferred to your dreamself if it happens after you wake up on prospit?
JOHN: you were awake many years before i was.
JOHN: yes, that is probably the thing that makes sense.
KARKAT: NO IT DOESN'T, BUT HEY! NEITHER DOES ANYTHING ELSE, SO AT LEAST YOU'RE NOT ADDING TO THE NET NONSENSE QUOTIENT OF THIS CONVERSATION.
DAVE: sure it does
DAVE: makes more sense than what jade said
DAVE: the most dumbassed words i ever heard come out of her mouth
DAVE: my mouth
DAVE: of course scars arent important
DAVE: what the hell would that even MEAN
DAVE: i dont know maybe it was different on prospit but no one ever asked me to go through the inventory
DAVE: pick out my favourites
DAVE: holy fuck yes
DAVE: is apparently what im yelling excitedly in this scenario
DAVE: sign me up
DAVE: i cant imagine NOT being tattooed with convenient mnemonic bookmarks to the worst days of my life
DAVE: which are all meaningful apparently and not just souvenirs from a series of random events
DAVE: wow thanks jade for clearing that up
DAVE: hey heres the time i tripped over my speaker chords and all i got was this lousy elbow full of ninja throwing stars
DAVE: sorry martha stewart cant leave THAT one in the declutter pile
DAVE: or else who would i even BE anymore
JADE: okay GEEZ!
JADE: it was only a theory!
JADE: i dont know why youre acting like.... :/
DAVE: put them on
DAVE: those are my glasses
DAVE: not yours
DAVE: put them back where you fucking found them
JADE: dave? :S
JADE: FINE!! D:<
JADE: look! the glasses are back on your weird sort of gaunt face!
JADE: why are you freaking out about this?
DAVE: because its creepy
JADE: no its not!
JOHN: yeah, dave. there's nothing wrong with your eyes.
DAVE: of course theres not who said there was anything wrong with my eyes
DAVE: whats creepy is im looking at them from over here even though i didnt have to pull out a mirror or camera or anything
DAVE: angle the polished side of my ninja sword like im glaring backwards out of a movie poster
DAVE: yeah thats right i can see you fuckasses
DAVE: dont even try it
KARKAT: ALRIGHT, I DON'T HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH ALTERNATE SELVES WITHOUT HAVING A WAY MORE ENTHUSIASTIC TANTRUM BUT... SHOULDN'T YOU BE USED TO IT?
KARKAT: YOUR SESSION WAS FULL OF DAVES. PAST DAVES, FUTURE DAVES. THAT SELF-PROTOTYPED SPRITE DAVE FLOATING AROUND WITH A CREAMSICLE STICK JAMMED UP HIS PRISSY ORANGE CLOACA.
KARKAT: YOU EVEN LET THE DEAD DAVE DREAM BUBBLE CLUB INITIATE YOU AS THEIR TOKEN LIVE DAVE!
DAVE: thats not the same thing at all though
DAVE: those daves are me
DAVE: we meet
DAVE: we exchange a subtle nod of recognition
DAVE: one cool dude to another
DAVE: the kind of nod that says
DAVE: i know exactly how many remixes you did of snoop dogs from tha chuuuch to da palace
DAVE: and how fucking dope they all were
DAVE: and were agreed theres no invasion of the body snatchers bullshit going down here no way
DAVE: im not stuck doing the voyeur thing while someones taking a dave for a joyride
DAVE: as if its a custom dave strider dummy and theyve shoved their fist up his ass
DAVE: and now theyre groping around wildly in there
DAVE: making his arms do weird flappy shit with every sentence
DAVE: twisting my mouth into bizarre crescenty grimaces
JADE: those are smiles!
DAVE: wow no shit thanks jade
DAVE: so when i get back inside all my smile muscles are gonna be swole
DAVE: like getting in my rolls royce
DAVE: and the radio stations on country music and someones adjusted the mirrors and messed with the seat
DAVE: how much is left in the fuel tank by the way you know its rude to bring it back on empty
JOHN: or without washing it first!
JOHN: that's what my dad always said about cars.
KARKAT: SO... YOUR BODY IS A CREEPY RED PUPPET AND ALSO SOME FORM OF NON-AUTONOMOUS GROUND TRANSPORT VEHICLE?
DAVE: bro youre so not the guy to give advice on mixed metaphors either
JADE: im sorry.....
JADE: i didnt realize that part of our situation was bothering you so much
JADE: i can try to act more like you would?
DAVE: no dont thats worse
DAVE: not that your dave impression isnt hilarious but
DAVE: were already out on a leisurely sunday cruse through uncanny valley
DAVE: we dont need to pull off the brakes
DAVE: its like
DAVE: you know that reoccurring nightmare that everyone gets
DAVE: with the puppet taking over your body bit by bit
DAVE: until youre the one sitting on the shelf in your bedroom
DAVE: staring at down yourself from blank undrifting eyes
JADE: ive never had that dream
JOHN: me neither.
DAVE: hahaha figures
DAVE: fucking puppets
DAVE: forget my arm shouldve erased my emotional scars
DAVE: was that an option
DAVE: hey egbert you unlocked it right
DAVE: whats the secret
JOHN: um, what?
DAVE: come on man dont hold out
DAVE: i bet youve never even had a nightmare
JOHN: uh, of course i have?
JOHN: sure. i remember there was one about, um.....
DAVE: uh huh
JOHN: yes, there were definitely clowns, and they were definitely terrible.
JOHN: in fact, they were so terrible that president morgan freeman had to call in the ghostbusters to protect me!
DAVE: so youre saying
DAVE: god himself stopped doing whatever god stuff he was up to
DAVE: cursing apples like a villain in a disney movie probably knowing that guy
DAVE: to fix everything for you
DAVE: in your worst nightmare
JOHN: no! i'm saying it was morgan freeman as the american president, not morgan freeman as god!
JOHN: and i don't know if that was my worst nightmare or not, it was just the first one i thought of right now.
JOHN: you are sort of putting me on the spot here!
DAVE: okay but thats my point
DAVE: the worst thing you could think of is an c rated action movie script
DAVE: where theres a few kickass explosions
DAVE: a couple hot wheels falling off a bridge in front of a green screen
DAVE: and then we all live happily ever after
JADE: you arent being fair >:(
JOHN: dave, i am sure you know that isn't true, and was not even what we were talking about?
JOHN: actually... what are we talking about?
JOHN: where did this argument come from?
JADE: my poor bladder... D:
JOHN: i've never seen dave get upset like this.
JOHN: or....... any dave, actually.
JOHN: when i was travelling on the ship with dave sprite, he had issues which were not... along TOTALLY different themes?
JOHN: alternate you was right, jade. embodiment IS complicated.
JOHN: but dave sprite would deal with his feelings and problems by being a snarky asshole.
JOHN: and by hoarding all the eggy looking things in nests made out of shitty swords and sbahj merchandise, although maybe that last part is normal for birds?
JOHN: i dont know.
JOHN: anyway, what i am saying is, it's weird to see a dave act so "hot" "headed".
JOHN: maybe i should go talk to him.
KARKAT: YES! THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN EXCELLENT PLAN! GO DO THAT!
KARKAT: OBVIOUSLY I'M ASSUMING THAT YOUR GOAL IS TO GET A KNUCKLE SPHERE POUNDED IMMEDIATELY INTO YOUR GOB MUNCHER?
JOHN: i don't mean RIGHT NOW dude.
JOHN: but i should give him a chance to hash it out like bros,
JOHN: if he's really that mad at me for... um.
JOHN: having the most rad dream it is possible to have?
JOHN: that doesn't sound right.
KARKAT: DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. HE'S JUST JEALOUS.
KARKAT: SOME PEOPLE NEVER HAD THE LUXURY OF LETTING THEMSELVES DRIFT GENTLY OFF TO SLEEP EVERY DAY, WALLOWING LIKE AN OINKBEAST IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT IF SOMETHING TERRIBLE DOES GO DOWN, SOMEONE ELSE WILL TAKE CARE OF IT.
JOHN: you mean, inside my nightmare about clowns?
KARKAT: OR... WHATEVER.
JOHN: i have had to face things alone sometimes.
JOHN: dave knows that.
JOHN: and he knows that we all try to back each other up because of teamwork, and friendship, and not wanting everyone to get killed!
KARKAT: I DIDN'T SAY IT WAS RATIONAL.
KARKAT: LISTEN, THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT HIS EMOTIONS ABOUT YOU ARE HIS PROBLEM TO DEAL WITH, NOT YOURS, OKAY?
JOHN: but he's my friend, so it is my problem!
JADE: john stop
JADE: you are overthinking this
JADE: and karkat is really not helping!
JADE: me and karkat were trying to keep him calm but dave was looking for an excuse to have a meltdown since we traded bodies
JADE: it has nothing to do with you, except that you happened to be here
JADE: thats all!
JADE: that guy just does not know how to control his temper!!!
JOHN: i... see.
KARKAT: WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT, EGBERT?
KARKAT: I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW MY TEMPER IS PERFECTLY UNDER MY CONTROL! IT IS A FINELY TUNED AND CALIBRATED ENGINE OF PRECISE DESTRUCTIVE FURY!
JOHN: if you say so karkat!
JOHN: but you are standing right in front of me, so it is hard not to look in your direction.
JOHN: why don't you sit down with us?
JOHN: why not?
KARKAT: I DON'T WANT TO!
KARKAT: WHAT IS THE HUMAN OBSESSION WITH ME SQUATTING MY CUSHIONED SIT GLOBES ONTO THE DIRTY COLD GROUND!
JADE: the human obsession is... youre being a little bit rude!
JADE: and you were sitting around with us before so i dont think you actually care?
JADE: i think you just feel like being frustrating!
JOHN: it's alright jade.
JOHN: he likes to be tall.
JOHN: we should probably not give him such a hard time about it.
KARKAT: FINE. WHY DON'T I--
JADE: karkat are you getting this?
KARKAT: HUH? OH, YEAH.
KARKAT: ABOUT TIME.
JOHN: wait, what's happening?
KARKAT: WE JUST GOT THE SIGNAL.
KARKAT: ITS TIME TO MEET UP FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE PLAN.
JADE: the signal was a pesterchum message saying "Its Time To Meet Up For The Next Part Of The Plan"
JOHN: i guess... you should go do that then!
KARKAT: AS SOON AS DAVE GETS BACK, YEAH.
JADE: are YOU okay?
JOHN: huh? of course i am!
JADE: but you just got a really strange expression.....
JOHN: well, it is only, i wanted to drop in for some silly hanging around time with a few of my best buddies!
JOHN: but even if i didn't "change" anything, i still made this conversation turn out pretty......... awkward.
JOHN: especially for dave.
KARKAT: EH. IT WAS ALREADY AWKWARD BEFORE YOU APPEARED RANDOMLY OUT OF NOWHERE.
JADE: it really really was :|
JOHN: well, what's going on is.....
JOHN: i appeared out of thin air and caught you inside a tiny tornado!
DAVE: btw its great
DAVE: what you did there
DAVE: finding the one thing i had any business already knowing and serving it back at me
DAVE: like its dinner time on butler island
DAVE: ive rung the elegant servant bell to get my confusions cleared away
DAVE: and replaced with a fresh plate of steaming answers
DAVE: but instead youve slammed my leftovers into my face like its a pie and youre you
DAVE: soppy question juice dripping down my shades
DAVE: i hope youre not expecting me to stuff a tip into your g string
DAVE: alright what if i break it down
DAVE: how about
DAVE: oh yeah
DAVE: what the FUCK did you do to my brother??
JOHN: i didn't do anything to him.
JOHN: you were here the whole time!
DAVE: so he took one glance at your goddam party pjs and checked out
DAVE: flew away up to the sun like a piece of garbage
DAVE: and how the hell do you go anywhere without your pajama flag getting snagged on every doorjam
DAVE: i cant even wear a ripped shirt without that being a problem
JOHN: it's not a pajama flag numnuts, it's a magic hoodie!
JOHN: and the answer is..... magic!
JOHN: and... maybe your bro had somewhere that he needed to be.
JOHN: i think all our adult guardians had secrets from us. that's the impression i have gathered.
DAVE: youre right fuck that guy who knows why he does shit
DAVE: anyway werent you trapped in a demon dimension
DAVE: or were yall punking me while you snuck down here
DAVE: actually a hell land full of oily monsters in stupid hats sounds like the most accurate description of texas there is so
DAVE: good job you got me
JOHN: no, i wasn't punking you.
JOHN: that's all happening now too!
DAVE: so then
DAVE: what youre saying is youre here because of
DAVE: time travel
JOHN: you'll...... find out! hehehehe
DAVE: man why be coy about this
DAVE: look at you its so obviously time travel
JOHN: just play the game.
JOHN: i am sure you will suddenly understand everything.
DAVE: well damn that sounds like a vague statement i should take at face value
DAVE: what happens if i dont bother
DAVE: does the universe explode if i toss these in the toilet instead of my cd tray
JOHN: i think you'd better play, though. isn't rose on fire?
DAVE: oh fuck
DAVE: girl is getting hells of toasty
DAVE: and you came back from the future to save her like marty mcfly
DAVE: but instead of making her parents bang each other youre making sure i play a silly computer game with some doofus friends.
JOHN: ummmmmmmm................ no?
DAVE: please tell me you didnt have to make roses parents bang out a littler morbider lalonde
JOHN: uh, no comment on that!
DAVE: jesus hopy christ
JOHN: but more importantly, no i'm not here to make sure you play sburb with us!
JOHN: you were always going to get the beta and join in.
JOHN: it doesn't matter if i'm here or not.
DAVE: then why ARE you here
JOHN: for you.
JOHN: it was just,
JOHN: sometimes you would talk about... stuff.
JOHN: and it was hard to know when to take you seriously, or if you were exaggerating things to be "ironic".
DAVE: no dont do finger quotes around my irony that shits more real than--
JOHN: kraft mayo?
DAVE: f u
DAVE: weve been over this egbert
DAVE: the answer is never and always
DAVE: you didnt have to spank the hell out of physics to ask me that
JOHN: i know, but.........
JOHN: i still wished you didn't live so far away, so i could drop in and make sure you were okay.
JOHN: and then... it turned out i could! right now!
JOHN: so i did!
JOHN: this wasn't a conversation that had to happen.
JOHN: i mean, nobody's plans depended on it, and nothing will change in the end.
JOHN: i just wanted to talk to you because i care about you.
JOHN: but maybe having unnecessary conversations that don't matter or accomplish anything is what friendship is all about.
JOHN: and if part of our adventure was about learning the true value of friendship, maybe those conversations were super necessary after all?
JOHN: hmm. which reminds me...
JOHN: dave, i want you to know that you can always tell me any thing.
DAVE: like what
JOHN: i don't know. whatever you want!
JOHN: and i can't promise i won't act like a fickle idiot when you talk to me, but i will try to listen and understand what you're going through.
DAVE: ok well
DAVE: instead of the weird direction things suddenly started going
DAVE: lets talk about how totally im still discombobulated over what went down here
DAVE: are you going to finally explain whats going on or are you going to leave me hanging
JOHN: dude, i am not going to do either of those things.
KARKAT: NO, HE'S NOT DEAD!
KARKAT: AND HE'S NOT GOING TO BE, SO TAKE THAT HOPEFUL NECROPHILIAC'S OGLE AND REDIRECT IT AT YOUR OWN WITHERED BULGE!
KARKAT: HE'S... JUST. UM.
KARKAT: HE'S GOING TO BE FINE!
JOHN: he's sleeping peacefully... in a puddle of his own teeth?
JOHN: it's funny, but i was not aware that is a normal place for trolls to take a nap!
KARKAT: YEAH, UH.
KARKAT: THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A VERY MINOR ACCIDENT, INVOLVING A DECENDING SERIES OF TRANSITIONAL SUPPORT PLANES.
KARKAT: BUT WHO CARES! WE'VE GOT BIGGER PROBLEMS THAN MY INABILITY TO STICK ONE FOOT BEHIND THE OTHER.
JOHN: oh my god, did you push sollux down a flight of friendship stairs? hehehehe.
KARKAT: WHY WOULD I DO THAT.
KARKAT: WHAT THE FUCK ARE FRIENDSHIP STAIRS?
JOHN: nevermind, it was only a silly thing i said a long time ago to mess with you.
JOHN: although you weren't around when i said it, so i suppose it was only to mess with the version of you i had in my memories.
JOHN: ha ha yeah. you were pretty annoyed in my imagination in the past!
KARKAT: WOW! GEE!
KARKAT: YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT AMAZING COINCIDENCE IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.
KARKAT: IT'S LIKE AN INFINITE NUMBER OF TWISTING HORROR TENDRILS HAVE BURROWED INTO THE SLIMY FOLDS OF YOUR NONEXISTENT THINKPAN AND TURNED YOUR MOST TREASURED DREAM INTO TRUE REALITY!
KARKAT: AND ALL OF MY MOST FEVERED DAY TERRORS!
KARKAT: THAT HAS TO BE IT.
KARKAT: I MUST HAVE SLAMMED MY HEAD ON THE WAY DOWN, AND I'M ACTUALLY LYING UNCONSCIOUS ON THE FLOOR NEXT TO SOLLUX.
KARKAT: AND YOU ARE A PHANTASM THAT MY BRAIN CREATED TO PUNISH ME FOR BEING SO DISTRACTED BY THE FACT OF OUR IMMINENT MURDERS THAT I TRIPPED OVER LITERAL EMPTY SPACE.
KARKAT: WHEW, I'M GLAD EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE AGAIN FOREVER!
JOHN: i mean, i am pretty sure that i'm the real john, but i will agree it is a hard thing to check for certain.
KARKAT: WELL, LET'S SEE. WERE YOU BROUGHT INTO EXISTENCE SOLELY TO IRRITATE ME?
JOHN: dude, that's what you say about real me!
JOHN: and also every human!
KARKAT: HEY! YOU KNOW WHAT? IT DOESN'T EVEN MATTER.
KARKAT: FUCK YOU EITHER WAY.
KARKAT: FUCK REAL YOU, AND FUCK IMAGINARY YOU, AND FUCK EVERY JOHN EGBERT IN A GIANT JOHN FUCK PILE!
KARKAT: EITHER YOU'RE ACTUALLY PRESENT BY SOME HERETOFORE CONCEPTUALLY PREPOSTEROUS MOUNTAIN OF HORSESHITTERY OR, THE MORE LIKELY SCENARIO, MY PAN GOOP IS SLOPPING FROM ITS CASE ONTO THE FLOOR
KARKAT: AND I'M HALLUCINATING MY OWN PERSONAL HELL UNTIL I HURRY UP AND MOVE ON TO THE REAL THING ALREADY.
KARKAT: IN THE MINUTE CHANCE YOU'RE REALLY HERE...
KARKAT: I NEED YOUR HELP.
KARKAT: HAVE I--
KARKAT: IN YOUR TIMEFRAME, HAVE I TROLLED YOU YET? ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THIS METEOR RIGHT NOW?
JOHN: oh, uh... yeah.
JOHN: yes, i have been informed on the situation.
KARKAT: OKAY, GREAT.
KARKAT: AND YET FOR SOME REASON YOU'RE CHOOSING TO STAND AROUND GIVING ME A HARD TIME INSTEAD OF DOING SOMETHING USEFUL, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M EVEN PRETENDING I EXPECTED ANYTHING ELSE FROM YOU.
KARKAT: **AS YOU KNOW**, THIS PLACE IS FULL OF MURDEROUS SHITLORDS RUNNING AROUND ON MURDERSPREES, SO I REALLY NEED YOU TO GO OUT THERE AND MURDER THEM BACK FOR ME.
JOHN: i can't help you with that.
KARKAT: WHY NOT.
KARKAT: WHY THE MOTHERFUCK NOT, UNLESS YOU'RE HERE TO WATCH MY FINAL--
KARKAT: *DEEP BREATH*
KARKAT: OK. OK! I KNOW YOU HAVE A WACKY ALIEN HANGUP ABOUT KILLING PEOPLE, BUT.
KARKAT: I REALLY NEED THIS, JOHN.
KARKAT: IF I WAS THE ONLY ONE LEFT, FINE! TOSS MY DISMEMBERED CORPSE UP ON THE RUBBISH PILE WHERE IT BELONGS! BUT I'M NOT. I MEAN I HOPE? NO. I CAN'T BE.
KARKAT: AND WHAT ABOUT SOLLUX! WE AT LEAST HAVE TO SAVE SOLLUX!
KARKAT: IF YOU'RE REAL. IF WE WERE EVER REALLY FRIENDS.
KARKAT: I NEED YOUR HELP.
JOHN: but you don't, though!
KARKAT: YES I DO!
KARKAT: DID YOU MISS THE PART ABOUT THE MURDERS??!!!
JOHN: argh! no, that's not what i meant!
JOHN: of course i wanted to help you! and i did! i fixed all of this! i fixed everything!
JOHN: and it worked! i zapped all over the place and saved you and your friends and my friends and we were all set to live happily ever after!
JOHN: it worked.
JOHN: ...until it didn't.
JOHN: ugh, this is hard to explain. maybe you had to be there?
JOHN: which you were.
JOHN: or... you would have been will be there?
KARKAT: EGBERT I SWEAR TO THE MOTHER GRUB'S SLIMY FLAGGELLAL CLUTCH...
JOHN: the point is, this one's on you, buddy.
JOHN: i can't be the one who fixes it.
JOHN: but that's alright! you've got this!
KARKAT: WHAT DO I DO?
JOHN: i have no fucking clue.
JOHN: you'll figure it out.
JOHN: ...unless you don't? and you end up on another doomed timeline where everyone dies?
JOHN: maybe don't think about that.
KARKAT: SO YOU'RE OFFICIALLY HERE JUST TO MOCK ME FOR TAKING A FACEPLANT DOWN THE STAIRS?
KARKAT: YOU COULDN'T HAVE SHAT YOURSELF INTO BEING TWENTY SECONDS SOONER AND MAYBE, I DON'T KNOW, WARNED ME?
JOHN: karkat, there is no one in any universe who has not been adequately warned about stairs.
JOHN: we both know this to be true.
JOHN: but anyway, i didn't get a chance to give you something earlier, while i was handing them out.
JOHN: and this looks like a good time...
KARKAT: WHAT IS IT? A WEAPON?
KARKAT: IS IT CLOWN SEEKING MISSILES?
KARKAT: IT HAD BETTER FUCKING BE CLOWN SEEKING MISSILES, BECAUSE OTHERWISE I'LL HAVE TO PAUSE TO INVENT BRAND NEW WORDS FOR HOW AMAZINGLY NOT IN THE MOOD I AM FOR A FUN TREASURE QUEST BEFORE I CAN PROPERLY COMMENCE TELLING YOU WHAT A SHITHEAD YOU ARE.
KARKAT: AND NOBODY HAS TIME FOR THAT.
KARKAT: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
KARKAT: SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?
KARKAT: DID I ASK YOU TO RETRIEVE YOUR HINGE ARTICULATED FLESH NOODLES AND STRING THEM DECORATIVELY ABOUT MY PERSON?
KARKAT: HOW IS THIS SUPPOSED TO HELP?
KARKAT: IF YOU NEEDED SOMEWHERE TO WIPE OFF YOUR EXCESS MILK MAMMAL SWEAT, WE HAVE DOZENS OF FRESHLY ALCHEMIZED TOWELS YOU COULD HAVE USED WITHOUT FORCING ME TO THROW AWAY A PERFECTLY GOOD SHIRT WITH ONLY MINOR BLOODSTAINS AND SMALL BITS OF TROLL ORGANS SPLATTERED ALL OVER IT AND OH GOD OH GOD AND
KARKAT: HEY ASSHOLE, MY TURN!
KARKAT: LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT!
KARKAT: I AM GOING TO SQUEEZE YOU SO HARD YOUR HEAD WILL BLOAT UP LIKE AN UNOPENED BAG OF GRUBSAUCE!
KARKAT: OKAY, I GUESS I'M NOT DOING THAT.
KARKAT: I GUESS WE'RE JUST GOING TO STAND HERE LIKE THE MOST APATHETIC PLOD STOMPERS EVER TO SLOW DANCE THE OBLIVION WALTZ, A SYMPHONIC NIGHTMARE COMPOSED FOR CLOWN HORN AND THE HIDEOUS SHRIEKING OF THE LAST CLINGING VESTIGES OF MY SOUL AS IT ESCAPES ITS BODILY PRISON THROUGH THE MOST EMBARRASSING ORIFICAL TUBULES NOT BLOCKED BY A GOOFY HUMAN...
KARKAT: WHY AREN'T YOU SAYING ANYTHING?
JOHN: oh, i didn't want to interrupt!
JOHN: your angry tirades are always really great!
JOHN: i wish i could listen to them all.
KARKAT: I'M NOT TRYING TO ENTERTAIN YOU, YOU CRETINOUS BLUE EMBODIMENT OF TERMINAL STAGE NOOKROT!
KARKAT: I'M TRYING NOT TO DIE!
JOHN: i know.
JOHN: i know, karkat. i promise.
JOHN: you never give up on saving your friends, not even after the game has been finished and you've already tried yelling at everybody in the entire universe!
JOHN: you just move on to a new universe fresh for the yelling!
JOHN: hahahahaha! that's how we met in the first place, remember?
KARKAT: YOU MEAN, DO I REMEMBER THE SOCIAL CALAMITY THAT IS ENFOLDING ME AT THIS PRECISE FUCKING MOMENT?
KARKAT: I GUESS YOU'VE SETTLED IT!
KARKAT: YOU CAN'T BE MY HALLUCINATION, BECAUSE NO THOUGHT FIGMENT SIFTED FROM THE DROOLING GARBAGE MINES OF MY CRANIUM COULD EVEN REGISTER ON THE SCALE NEXT TO THE PURIFIED INANITY SPEWING OUT OF YOUR BELCH CAVITY!
JOHN: see, i told you it was me!
KARKAT: MORE STUTTERING HILARITY NUGGETS! WONDERFUL!
KARKAT: HOW GRATIFYING IT IS THAT IN MY FINAL, DESPERATE SPASMS OF LIFE I COULD STILL WRAP MY FIST AROUND YOUR HUMAN ABSURDITY GLAND AND GIVE IT ONE LAST HEFTY SQUEEZE.
KARKAT: I ALWAYS HOPED I'D GO OUT IN A FINAL CAPSTONE PERFORMANCE OF EXACTLY HOW MUCH MY EXISTENCE MATTERED!
JOHN: of course you matter.
JOHN: you're important, and the best troll.
JOHN: and so many people love you! even people you haven't met yet!
KARKAT: I DON'T NEED PEOPLE TO LOVE ME, I NEED YOU TO KILL GAMZEE!
JOHN: heh, that's silly.
JOHN: people don't love you because you need them to.
JOHN: that's not how it works.
JOHN: bye sollux!
JOHN: i'd give you a hug too, but you're unconscious and covered in blood, and that would be something a creepy person would do!
KARKAT: NOW YOU'RE LEAVING? JUST LIKE THAT?
KARKAT: DON'T YOU AT LEAST WANT TO STAY TO WATCH MY SQUAWK BLISTER GET RIPPED OUT AND REPURPOSED AS A SECOND HAND HONKULATOR?
JOHN: hahahaha! i wish i could hang out more, but it's not a good idea for me to stick around here very much longer.
JOHN: you get a sense for these things, once you fuck it all up a couple of times.
KARKAT: THAT'S HOOFBEAST SHIT.
JOHN: no, it's true! i swear!
KARKAT: SO, UH. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE?
JOHN: wow, dude.
JOHN: niiiiiiice bragging.
KARKAT: NO! THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT!
KARKAT: OBVIOUSLY I MEANT THAT I AM NEVER *NOT* IN AN INCIPIENT STATE OF PERSONALLY FUCKING IT ALL UP, WHATEVER IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE, AND I DON'T HAVE A BASIS TO COMPARE WHAT NOT CONSTANTLY FUCKING IT ALL UP WOULD FEEL LIKE!
KARKAT: HOW DARE YOU TAKE MY OWN WORDS AND TWIST THEM TO IMPLY I DON'T THINK I'M THE BIGGEST MANUFACTURER OF FUCK UPS A GRUB EVER PUPATED INTO.
KARKAT: MY FRACTALLY EXPANDING FUCK UPS ARE THE SINGLE UNIVERSAL CONSTANT TYING ALL OF EXISTENCE TOGETHER!
KARKAT: IN FACT.
KARKAT: SINCE YOU ENJOY MY PANICKED RAMBLING SO MUCH, WHY DON'T YOU PARK YOUR SNOOTY BLUE STRUT GLOBES ONTO THE NEAREST UNOCCUPIED PIECE OF PLOD SUPPORT PLATFORM, AND I'LL SERENADE YOU WITH THE BEST RANT EVER SCREECHED INTO THE UNCARING AURAL DISKS OF PARADOX SPACE.
KARKAT: FEATURING MY GREATEST FUCK UP OF THEM ALL: THE CREATION OF JOHN EGBERT!!!
JOHN: no can do, buddy, but don't let that stop you.
JOHN: i will see you in a while, okay? and you can tell me all about how terrible i am then. it'll be great!
JOHN: anyway, later!
You click repeatedly on the character selection screen but nothing happens.
In a desperate frenzy, you replace the batteries in your wireless mouse, uninstall and reinstall your browser, and rush out to purchase a less broken computer, before finally realizing that the image is just a shitty map to where the characters are currently located and you'll have to wait until the narrative gets to them the boring linear way.
(JOHN): what are you doing here?
JOHN: the same thing you are!
JOHN: i decided to drop in and say hi to my friends, and this is where i ended up.
(JOHN): but... didn't you already do that?
(JOHN): when you were me, i mean.
JOHN: yes. yes i did.
JOHN: i guess i should have been more specific about my destination.
(JOHN): oh man, this isn't another preemptive retcon loop, is it?
JOHN: i don't think so?
JOHN: i mean, i don't remember coming here and meeting me when i was you?
(JOHN): no. that's probably even worse somehow?
(JOHN): argh! dude, we're supposed to be better than this!
(JOHN): should i take off?
JOHN: no. i will.
JOHN: this is your fun conversation with friends to accidentally turn into an inevitable awkward disaster.
(JOHN): alright then.
JOHN: oh, by the way!
JOHN: jade and dave are doing a body swap right now!
(JOHN): yeah... i think i remember them talking about that, but i was too busy to pay attention to something that was obviously complete nonsense?
JOHN: hahaha, i know exactly what you mean!
JOHN: but as it turns out, it was a thing that really happened.
(JOHN): ...unless you're trying prank me?
(JOHN): even though i'm pretty much the official pranking master.
JOHN: but what's a friendly jape between gentlemen jokesters?
JOHN: just a professional fucking courtesy.
JOHN: besides, you know jane and terezi were teaming up to get even with us, right? we wouldn't stand a chance.
(JOHN): yeah i know.
(JOHN): i bet they're all set up right now, in the future.
(JOHN): just waiting for us to arrive.
JOHN: hey, you're right!
(JOHN): so, uh, are you pwning me?
JOHN: you will see, john. you will see...
JOHN: but anyway, yeah, the whole bodyswap thing is kind of a touchy subject, so try to be sensitive about it?
(JOHN): okay, i will try to keep that in mind.
(JOHN): thanks for the heads up.
JOHN: also! make sure you ask karkat about his human theory.
(JOHN): karkat's human theory. that sounds amazing.
JOHN: it was the greatest thing i have ever heard.
JOHN: my life was not complete until today.
(JOHN): is it true?
(JOHN): are you dave?
DAVE: might be
(JOHN): wow, this is so crazy.
(JOHN): do a dave thing!
DAVE: a dave thing
DAVE: yeah ill get right on that
DAVE: as soon as you let me know what the fuck a dave thing is supposed to be
DAVE: should i pull out my turntables and start dropping beats like theyre grody radioactive steaks ive shoved into the unspeakable depths of my kangaroo pocket for some reason
DAVE: without even warning a guy whos trying to figure out what to do with his hands
DAVE: bastard doesnt have a clue how much flailing hes about to make happen
DAVE: cancer slime and ill rhymes flinging off his fingers
DAVE: the police barge in with citation books and im like naw man you dont get it
DAVE: with rhymes this sick it aint littering
DAVE: its triage
DAVE: call the fucking paramedic
(JOHN): oh my god, your face is all weird and wrong!
(JOHN): this is what i'm talking about!
DAVE: ok great
DAVE: now lets talk about something else
(JOHN): sure thing, bro.
(JOHN): karkat, why don't you tell me about your human theory?
KARKAT: UM. WHICH ONE?
(JOHN): .....how many do you have?
JADE: are you really leaving right away?
JOHN: yes, i think i had better.
JOHN: this is too many johns for one conversation!
JADE: well..... i dont mind
JADE: i figure you owe me a whole lot of john conversations!
JADE: so having two of you around is a good way to start catching up! :p
JOHN: hahahaha! maybe!
JOHN: hey... is that rose?
JOHN: what's she up to all the way over there?
JADE: shes going for a walk!
JADE: rose told us that she wanted some space to think...
JADE: but i suspect she was trying to escape being licked by terezi
JOHN: oh boy, do i know how THAT goes.
JADE: im not sure you do!
JOHN: what do you mean?
JADE: when dave and i were caught in the bodyswapping explosion.... jane and terezi were there too
JADE: and they did not emerge unaffected!
JOHN: so, if i am understanding you correctly...
JOHN: if i had arrived here a few minutes earlier, i would have been slobbered on by an annoying troll who is currently my teen nanna?
JOHN: why is terezi always so terrible, jade??
JADE: i dont know if thats true?
JADE: she said that she needed to taste things as a human to build up her human sensory baseline
JOHN: who cares what she said!
JOHN: it was obviously an excuse for her to mess with you guys!
JADE: well yes...
JADE: but i think she was freaking out quite a lot about suddenly becoming a human!
JADE: and being extremely obnoxious was her way of coping with everything
JOHN: being extremely obnoxious is just what she's always like, jade. always!
JADE: if you say so john :P
JOHN: you know......
JOHN: dave is, uh. having a "difficult" "time" with the current situation.
JADE: thats a nice way of putting it!
JOHN: and it sounds like terezi is as well, which i GUESS is understandable?
JOHN: and... oh geez. i don't know if i even want to think about my teen nanna being inside terezi's body?
JADE: it sounds like you are the one having a difficult time with the current situation!! >:P
JOHN: hahahaha.... maybe! but that's kind of my point!
JOHN: which is that you actually seem pretty calm about the whole thing.
JADE: of course!
JADE: i am a cool guy now!
JADE: so i have to be cool about it
JADE: sooooo coooooool..... :D
JOHN: but still, isn't it... strange?
JOHN: to be you, but to also be dave at the same time?
JOHN: there's got to be a better way to say that.
JADE: its okay
JADE: i know what you mean
JADE: and yes, it is pretty strange!
JADE: but not in a bad way?
JADE: i spent most of my life on an island with no other people around
JADE: not that i was lonely!
JADE: i had you guys to talk to and bec and prospit and even my grandpa
JADE: sort of
JADE: but most of the time it was only me
JADE: and even when i met you in the game...
JADE: well i spent most of the last couple years by myself too
JADE: nannasprite tried her best to be good company, but it was never that different from living with the pretend ghost of my grandpa
JADE: and now that im older, hanging around with only chess guys gets really repetitive after a while
JADE: i know thats not fair! they are adorable and their concerns are important to them!
JADE: but part of their purpose in sburb is to be exiled in boring places for a very long time
JADE: potentially millions of years!
JADE: without being able to change very much
JADE: and if they had more complicated personalities they could probably not survive that?
JOHN: no, probably not.
JADE: im not proud of it, but there's a part of me thats always felt like the only real person in the entire universe
JADE: it gets... tiring :/
JADE: so getting to be someone else for a while...
JADE: its like going on a vacation for the first time in my life!
JADE: like im getting to finally visit the wider world
JADE: one that i KNEW existed but never could truly imagine or expect to see
JADE: so i might as well not ruin the experience by freaking out about it...
JADE: especially since I know ill go home in the end! :D
JADE: is it? i didnt mean it to be.
JADE: i dont feel sad about it
JOHN: i got to hang out with a jade on my journey here, and you're pretty great company!
JOHN: even after three years, you were... never the person i was sick of.
JADE: thanks john!
JADE: it sounds like we had an awesome time!
JOHN: yeah, we sure did!
JADE: youll have to tell me all about it!
JADE: every detail!!
JOHN: haha, that would take forever!
JADE: nooooo.... only three years!!
JADE: and then we will be even :p
JOHN: ha, that's fair.
KARKAT: ...OKAY. SO THEN, YOU KNOW HOW HUMANS ARE ALL COLOUR BLIND?
DAVE: no were not
(JOHN): yeah karkat! i took a test for that every time i got new glasses, and i can see colours just fine.
KARKAT: FINE FOR A HUMAN, YOU MEAN. STOP BEING SO ANTHROPOCENTRIC.
KARKAT: YOUR WHOLE FUCKING SPECIES IS COLOUR BLIND THE WAY KANAYA IS COLOUR BLIND!
KARKAT: I THINK IT'S A DIURNAL INSENSITIVITY THING?
KARKAT: IT'S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED ABOUT!
DAVE: uh bro
DAVE: kanaya isnt colour blind
(JOHN): yes, this is the first time i'm hearing about this as well.
KARKAT: OF COURSE SHE IS!
KARKAT: WE MAKE FUN OF HER EYE SEARINGLY VIVID HUE PREFERENCES ALL THE DAMN TIME!
DAVE: well yeah but i thought that was just yall being assholes like usual
KARKAT: IT WAS!
KARKAT: OR IS THERE A MAGICAL HUMAN METHOD OF MOCKING YOUR GOOD BUDDY'S PHYSICAL DISABILITIES WHILE SOMEHOW NOT BEING A GIANT ASSHOLE IN THE PROCESS?
KARKAT: BECAUSE IF THERE IS, I'M LISTENING! ENLIGHTEN ME WITH YOUR HUMAN SECRETS.
(JOHN): but what about sollux?
KARKAT: HE'S THE BIGGEST ASSHOLE OF ALL!
(JOHN): okay, i'm not going to argue about that, but like, isn't he the colour blind one?
KARKAT: WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT?
(JOHN): yeah, because he can only see red and blue, or whatever?
KARKAT: WHAT THE FUCK. THAT'S NOT...
KARKAT: DO YOU NOT KNOW WHAT COLOURS ARE? OR HOW EYES WORK?
KARKAT: IF SOLLUX COULDN'T SEE YELLOW HOW WOULD HE BE ABLE TO WHINE ABOUT IT GIVING HIM MIGRAINES?
KARKAT: CRAM THAT MYSTERY IN YOUR THINK PIPE AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR QUIVERING ANAL SQUELCH HOLE!
JOHN: i have no idea what karkat is yelling about, but i should takeoff before you miss it!
JOHN: at least until the other me fucks up and turns this conversation extra awkward. :/
JADE: between you and me john... we were already heading towards one of the most awkward conversations in the history of paradox space
JADE: i dont think theres anything any you could do to make it more awkward than it was going to be anyway!
JOHN: huh, that's... oddly reassuring.
JADE: youre welcome! :)
JOHN: oh by the way, tell rose i said hi!
JADE: tell her yourself! shes not that far away
JOHN: well, maybe i will!
JOHN: maybe i will........
JOHN: what's up?
ROSE: "What's up."
ROSE: Is there any question more straightforward in its ambiguity?
ROSE: How should I answer, if I wished to enjoy the prankster's gambit on this exchange?
ROSE: "The Clouds"?
JOHN: only if you think it would be funny.
ROSE: Not really.
JOHN: then you could just tell me what you're doing.
ROSE: Currently? Not much.
ROSE: I find myself in an open moment.
ROSE: A brief respite from demands on my attention, emerging serendipitously from the ineffable sburbian machinery of fate.
ROSE: I am choosing to use it to reflect.
JOHN: on what?
JOHN: everything... huh! that is a lot of reflecting to do.
JOHN: are you sure you won't need more than only one moment for that?
ROSE: It's a possibility.
ROSE: What about you?
JOHN: i suppose i am doing the same thing.
JOHN: having a quiet and undemanding moment.
JOHN: but instead of sitting around by myself, i decided to stop by and visit you.
ROSE: Then you can't be the John native to this point in the timeline.
ROSE: I understand him to be occupied right now.
ROSE: With events you would be unlikely to describe as "quiet and undemanding".
JOHN: that's true.
JOHN: excellent deducing work, rose!
ROSE: And would you happen to be from what a naive observer might, for want of more precise language, refer to as "the future"?
ROSE: I see...
ROSE: But no, that's not quite accurate, is it?
ROSE: And surely the least you deserve is my precision. Wouldn't you agree?
ROSE: That was a rhetorical question, John.
ROSE: I know you don't give three shits if I elide the details.
ROSE: I know that because, you see... I See.
ROSE: I have been gifted with so very many, many sources of information, all meant to help me realize the grand purpose Skaia created me to fulfill.
ROSE: Magic visions. The powers of godhood. Horriterrible voices to guide me from outside the veil of spacetime. Planets built out of riddles.
ROSE: Alternate selves who were sacrificed on the altar of my own self-righteousness.
ROSE: And I wasn't exactly a leftover from the think pan rummage sale to start with.
ROSE: So to parlay all of that into the permanent exile of one of my oldest and dearest friends?
ROSE: Of COURSE I could have done it.
ROSE: I just didn't know if I wanted to.
ROSE: Or maybe I had it right the first time.
JOHN: the first time?
ROSE: In the beginning. Back in our original session.
ROSE: I'm certain you remember.
ROSE: The first time I realized we wouldn't taste victory,
ROSE: Whatever I thought that meant.
ROSE: I could always revert to my original plans, and continue tearing this place apart.
ROSE: Artifact by artifact. Rule by circularly defined rule.
ROSE: If paradox space will not compromise but through blood, then let it be the stars that bleed.
ROSE: And if breaking free from the chain of existence dooms every one of us and every universe that ever or will ever have existed into the beyond-void of oblivion... SO BE IT!!
ROSE: A world that hinges on your destruction deserves to burn!
JOHN: you know what, rose?
JOHN: i do remember your original plan.
JOHN: and i remember it wasn't the world you were planning to blow up.
ROSE: That's not the same thing.
JOHN: it feels like the same thing though?
ROSE: Self-immolation may have been an extreme option, but it wasn't murder.
ROSE: It didn't feel that way.
ROSE: Like I was sitting around, scrupulously plotting a murder.
JOHN: in that case, what if it's me saying that you should do the new plan instead, where trillions of other people and all my friends get to be okay in the end.
JOHN: that's allowed, right?
ROSE: But it's not your Choice, John. It's mine.
ROSE: One I wasn't sure if I was strong enough to make.
JOHN: you were.
JOHN: you did it.
ROSE: I GUESS SO!
ROSE: But don't you get it??
ROSE: If the door's been closed in the future, it's closed everywhere!
ROSE: So I don't have to worry about it anymore!
ROSE: Because as it turns out, Future Rose already did the hard part for me!
ROSE: I'M OFF THE FUCKING HOOK!
ROSE: As much as it pains me to refuse this fascinating conversational detour,
ROSE: Like a kitten resolutely ignoring the red pinprick of light dancing beside its toes in favour of continuing its advance on a dangling piece of string....
ROSE: I really would like an answer.
JOHN: to if i'm real?
ROSE: To why you chose to visit me at this particular point on my timeline.
ROSE: You're not foolish enough to think that you could change the course of my actions. Or rather, to imagine that it would matter if you did.
ROSE: And somehow I doubt you've arrived seeking revenge.
ROSE: Was it to grant me permission?
ROSE: Is there even any difference here?
JOHN: i... huh.
JOHN: do you want me to?
ROSE: I don't know.
JOHN: because i felt like you already knew you had all that.
JOHN: there wasn't time to talk about it... or about what the plan was? but we definitely had an understanding.
JOHN: we had to get everyone else through.
JOHN: you must have known i'd agree you did the right thing.
ROSE: Of course.
ROSE: How could I have gone through with it, if I thought you would not go gentle into the choking dissolution of your doom?
ROSE: Or maybe that's too simplistic.
ROSE: Maybe if you were someone who prized himself above the entire branching whole of existence, you would be a sufficiently different person from the friend I love that I wouldn't have minded stabbing you in the back.
ROSE: But yeah.
ROSE: Of course I knew.
JOHN: because of your magic seery powers?
ROSE: My magic seery powers are constrained to result, not intention.
ROSE: I just know you.
JOHN: thanks rose.
JOHN: i love you too.
JOHN: i didn't.
JOHN: i didn't choose to visit this moment. not exactly.
JOHN: i just thought, the game was finished, and i didn't have anything better to do, and maybe there was some time in the past where you were feeling upset and alone?
JOHN: and this is where i ended up.
JOHN: uh huh.
ROSE: Huh. I didn't realize that your powers would remain so vaguely steered, even after presumably better mastered.
JOHN: well yeah.
JOHN: it's because of, like, the localized meta-ontological density gradients that are both causal to and effected by circumstantial simultaneity.
ROSE: ...the WHAT?
JOHN: meme gravity.
JOHN: you know.
JOHN: don't MAKE me get out the rubber sheets and marbles, rose.
ROSE: Heaven forbid.
JOHN: you haven't started your quest yet, right?
ROSE: No, I have not actually decided if I...
ROSE: Not yet.
JOHN: okay, well after you do that, i think you get a fuller understanding of your powers, and how reality works and stuff.
JOHN: that's what happened for me too.
JOHN: and then we all have a very important meeting where you talk about it a lot.
JOHN: and you and jade get in a silly argument about if space and time and probability are the same thing, and also if they are the same thing you are talking about?
JOHN: (huh. maybe karkat was on to something...)
ROSE: I didn't quite catch that last bit.
JOHN: never mind!
JOHN: for the record, i don't think they can be, because otherwise why would we have so many different powers if they were all really the same thing?
JOHN: that is my position on that.
JOHN: i can go back to a specific moment.
JOHN: in fact, i have a very specific idea of a time and place that i will visit next...
JOHN: but it's a lot harder to get it right.
ROSE: Your arrival point?
ROSE: Or the effect, if any, intended by your interference?
JOHN: either one?
JOHN: both, maybe.
JOHN: my retcon powers work best if i focus on the kind of, um, "shapey-ness" of the sort of moment, or whatever, where i'm hoping to end up.
JOHN: does that make sense?
ROSE: Not... specifically.
JOHN: okay, what if this part of the space/time/alternate timeline continuum, where you are sitting around on a very pretty island thinking or whatever--
JOHN: maybe you are trying to psychoanalyze sburb's subconscious dream mind by counting how many tentacle dicks it made out of clouds?
ROSE: Yes. That's almost certainly what I was up to before you dropped by.
JOHN: i thought it must have been something like that!
JOHN: all right.
JOHN: let's say this moment is like a string, and we are both in tune with the note that it plays, because we are standing on it.
JOHN: but my retcon powers let me change that.
JOHN: so i could decide to resonate with, for example, the note an octave higher instead of this one. and then i can step directly into that string.
JOHN: and even if i don't know for sure what note that would be, i know it will probably sound ok combined with whatever note we are playing right now, because octaves are like the most basic harmony ever.
JOHN: so i know i'm not going to mess up the entire song by accident.
JOHN: except maybe instead of an octave, i want to play a quick callback to the motif of my friends finally getting together in person after way too long.
ROSE: Or the sad Rose soundtrack?
JOHN: ...yeah. or that one.
JOHN: it might need to be in a different key, depending on what the song is doing, or maybe i should only echo the rhythm pattern into the current melody?
JOHN: but the "shapey-ness" of the motif is still right, and that's what's important.
JOHN: if i try to visit a specific note - like a high e flat, for one example - without knowing what part of the song i'm on exactly, i'll have to put in a lot of effort to search for the note.
JOHN: and then to play it without messing up the rhythm.
JOHN: and i'll have to be ready to improvise a whole bunch to tie it into the main theme, since it might be completely dissonant.....
JOHN: well you know what that's like, right?
ROSE: Do I?
JOHN: sure. because of the violin?
ROSE: Oh. I guess so.
ROSE: Although it's been a while, and I've never tried any improvisation like you're describing.
ROSE: And you're not talking about violin strings.
JOHN: no. i was thinking about piano strings, since that way every note has its own.
JOHN: but violin strings work too, if that ties in better with your own hobbies and interests?
JOHN: it's basically the same idea.
ROSE: Not really.
ROSE: The hands of the piano virtuoso may waltz together over a smooth corridor of ivory, finding each note conveniently pre-defined and merely waiting to be roused from restless slumber by the gentle yet insistent urging of his caress.
JOHN: hahahahaha! okay rose.
ROSE: But the violinist has just four strings to work with, and can only contribute to the ongoing melody by forcing her will onto the medium of vibration.
ROSE: Warping each string's original voice with a calloused fingertip.
JOHN: sure but... don't you actually need more than four strings to play a violin?
JOHN: like, waaaaaaaay more?
ROSE: What do you...
ROSE: Are you talking about the bow?
ROSE: That's horsehair.
ROSE: ...In fairness, the point's still arguable, depending on what your definition of "strings" is?
ROSE: What the hell, I'll allow it.
JOHN: there, see?!
JOHN: it IS the same!
ROSE: Uh huh.
ROSE: In that case, how does your String Theory interpret the eventual fate of most bowstrings?
ROSE: Where one brings the bow too roughly across the four lines of their intention, and the horsehairs fray and snap?
JOHN: okay well... i think that means...
JOHN: this is turning out to be a way better metaphor than i was expecting!
ROSE: It does fit neatly with the musical aesthetic touches on our planets.
ROSE: World spanning organs and my Quest and such.
JOHN: so, i would just like to say for the record...
JOHN: i could make a joke right now? about my world spanning organ?
JOHN: but i am choosing not to do that.
ROSE: Very mature.
ROSE: If slightly disappointing.
JOHN: you're welcome.
JOHN: man, i am never going to get used to this!
ROSE: What's that?
JOHN: out of the two of us, me being the one with the spooky future tipoffs!
JOHN: hahaha! it's so backwards!
ROSE: It's not that strange.
ROSE: You're hardly the first font of frighteningly accurate yet infuriatingly nonspecific information to pop into my life.
JOHN: do you mean other mes?
ROSE: Yes, alongside other... a lot of people.
ROSE: The gods of the Furthest Ring got particularly chatty over the course of our meteor journey.
JOHN: oh no! that sounds so annoying!
JOHN: all of those giant creepy monsters moaning in your brain!
ROSE: They aren't so bad.
ROSE: They've actually done us a lot of favours, behind the scenes.
JOHN: i said what i said.
JOHN: how much can you even understand them?
JOHN: when you aren't personally mired in the dark festerthroes, i mean.
ROSE: I was working on improving that.
ROSE: The information in my Grimoire for Summoning the Zoologically Dubious has proven startlingly accurate.
JOHN: are the horrorterrors bugging you... because you summoned them to do that?
ROSE: Me? Summon the Noble Circle?
ROSE: John, you appear to be operating under a foundational misapprehension.
ROSE: When the situation is at its darkest...
ROSE: When every glittering twinkle of hope is lost, and one's friends are in their dying throes, and Lord English is approaching from the edges...
ROSE: When what is needed is power, and one is in no position to question the origin or ultimate intention of any god willing to spend that power in one's name...
ROSE: When things are THAT desperate...
ROSE: That's when the horrorterrors summon ME.
JOHN: can i do a rose summoning too, or does it only work if i'm a whiny alien space squid?
ROSE: I don't see why not.
ROSE: Although you'd be handicapped by not possessing a veritably infinite number of attached limbs and assorted appendages with which to paint the occult geometry of my summoning circle.
ROSE: Or the ink sacs to produce the accursed pigments necessary.
ROSE: These are to be injected into the bones of your most fervent worshipers in place of their marrow, leeching their life and their flesh into the poison.
ROSE: And then, once their torment of eons has quieted, you may crack open their skeletal remains and use the bone shards and still flowing ichor as pen nib and reservoir.
ROSE: Some of the more subtle intricacies of the design might be overlooked otherwise, I can only imagine.
JOHN: i wouldn't worry about any of that. my drawing skills are way too shitty for it to matter very much.
JOHN: besides, there are a whole lot of my arms floating around in a bunch of places, and i can make wind tendrils and stuff? doesn't that count?
ROSE: A fair point.
ROSE: When I am asked about eldritch gods dwelling outside the bounds of reality, 'John Egbert' shall henceforth be the first name to ooze from my lips.
JOHN: as it should.
JOHN: i'm definitely the best one, compared to those other guys.
ROSE: Yes, you are.
JOHN: okay, so after i draw all the skeleton math, do i have to put anything inside it?
ROSE: Like what?
JOHN: like... a spooky candle?
JOHN: that's what the witches in the craft movie had when they decided to summon a god.
ROSE: I can hardly allow my invocation ritual to be outclassed by Manon.
ROSE: One spooky candle is required at each point of the design, and every one must have a different novelty scent.
JOHN: so when i light them up, everything will smell like chocolate, and flower petals, and. uh. marshmallows?
ROSE: And gummy bears.
ROSE: And the subtle ozone tang of a basement filled with strange electronics.
JOHN: shaving cream.
JOHN: whipped cream that has been replaced inside a shaving cream bottle as a funny prank, which is a lot harder than it sounds actually.
JOHN: freshly baked cake.
ROSE: Store bought cake placed inside the oven to warm on a rustically pre-worn tin, and then forgotten until the fire alarm sets off.
ROSE: A kitchen recently freshened by the liberal use of a New Car Smell aerosol spray.
JOHN: that oil on my planet that got into every thing.
ROSE: The ocean mist.
JOHN: jade after she has just finished going swimming. :/
ROSE: The trolls' suspiciously rainbow hued coffee.
JOHN: trolls in general.
ROSE: Trolls in general, but each assigned their own candle so we can pad out the numbers.
JOHN: and because there are certain troll scented candles you would want to sniff out more than the others?
ROSE: I'm not going to comment on that, and you can't make me.
ROSE: Plastic novelty vomit, accidentally eaten and subsequently choked up by a household pet.
JOHN: a dudely man who has been sitting on a horse for waaay too long.
JOHN: apple juice.
ROSE: Howie Mandel's piss, replaced inside an apple juice bottle as a funny prank?
JOHN: hahaha, nice one.
JOHN: hey, how many corners does your magic geometry drawing have anyway?
ROSE: A lot.
ROSE: As I said, it is a ritual designed for the excessively tentacled.
JOHN: at least i can use my windy powers to help set all of them out, as long as i am careful not to extinguish them after the ritual starts.
JOHN: and to keep from having to smell that many different fake things at the same time, because i am imagining that it smells like a giant pile of random garbage that someone has set on fire.
ROSE: Then you'd be cheating the point of the ritual.
ROSE: Do you really expect to summon a god without SOME personal sacrifice involved?
ROSE: The loss of your ability to ever again enjoy your olfactory senses is getting off easy, really.
JOHN: okay fine, then i will use my cool powers to make things extra stinky, just for you.
ROSE: I appreciate it.
JOHN: what else should i bring?
ROSE: What do you think?
ROSE: How would you design a ritual to lure me?
JOHN: maybe a sweater.
JOHN: and it was originally bought from a fancy expensive store, but i have to borrow it to unravel it and then knit it back into the exact same sweater, to see if its owner notices.
ROSE: She noticed, John.
ROSE: That was one of my earlier masterpieces, from before I completely figured out how many armholes humans generally require.
ROSE: The point wasn't to see if she noticed, it was to see if she would admit to having noticed.
ROSE: She wore it to a physics convention in Milwaukee.
ROSE: Where she contrived to get herself drunkenly photographed on the front page of the local gazette, which she put in a huge gold filigreed frame and posted in the room with the "fun" centrifuges.
ROSE: It had the neck hole and one of the arms close enough to swapped that she was wearing it as a shirt with one short sleeve and a ridiculously oversized turtleneck.
ROSE: There were holes I'd revisited on finishing and tied off with dental floss.
ROSE: It wasn't meant to be worn in public.
JOHN: i bet your mom loved it.
JOHN: in a totally sincere, non-ironic way, and she wanted to show off how proud of you she was.
JOHN: roxy would have.
ROSE: Yeah, probably.
ROSE: I'm going to have to sit down at some point and recontextualize the bulk of my childhood memories.
ROSE: But for now, let's just put the garbage sweater in the garbage candle smog where we don't have to look at it.
ROSE: What else will be joining it?
JOHN: um... how about.....
JOHN: a book?
ROSE: Good call.
ROSE: No doubt a tome of dreadest prophesy.
ROSE: Not a fabled text, but one whispered of only in the isolation of silent crevasses by the strongest and most learned of the elder ones, as all others would have their aural sponge clots dissolved away by the brush of its merest rumour.
JOHN: no, i was thinking more like one of karkat's dumb romances you kept stealing from him.
ROSE: Did Karkat tattle on me? That snitch.
ROSE: Also... Damn.
ROSE: That might actually work.
JOHN: now i know the secret!
JOHN: i can finally talk to you whenever i want!
ROSE: And as a backup measure, in case the dank majyyks fail you...
ROSE: There's always my pesterchum account.
JOHN: so now what happens?
JOHN: since you've been summoned and everything. like, did you fight the horrorterrors' enemies for them?
ROSE: Of course. What kind of arcane diety would I be otherwise?
ROSE: A terribly fickle one, at best.
JOHN: what amazing godly power do you use?
ROSE: My talent for composing subtle, innuendo soaked satire featuring beloved children's media.
JOHN: oh, right, of course.
JOHN: i do not know why i have even bothered to ask.
ROSE: Me neither.
JOHN: does it work?
JOHN: do you defeat all the bad guys by reciting your poem about a comic book superhero getting arrested?
ROSE: You want me to decide that?
ROSE: Aren't you concerned I'm biased towards my own success?
JOHN: who else? i want you to win too.
ROSE: On the meteor, we'd traditionally solve such dilemmas generated through dramatic roleplay by spilling a few polyhedral randomization nuggets and divining our fate from their patterns.
ROSE: But unfortunately, I don't have any stashed away right now.
JOHN: i have some dice!
JOHN: we can use the ones vriska gave me!
ROSE: That sounds like a bad idea.
JOHN: no, it's fine.
JOHN: i combined them with a dangerous legendary weapon, in order to make it extra dangerous and legendary, and unpredictable.
ROSE: Oh well, in THAT case!
ROSE: What a relief!
JOHN: look, the dice are safely trapped inside the pop-a-matic hammer dome.
JOHN: as long as i don't let the front of the hammer hit anything, we can shake them around and see what they say.
ROSE: And no one will be forced into a ridiculous hat?
JOHN: but it does more stuff than just that!
ROSE: All right.
ROSE: Here's what happens.
ROSE: I give the deep ones of the Furthest Ring the web address of my old LiveJournal.
ROSE: In particular, my series of posts deconstructing the first season of the Squiddles cartoon.
ROSE: Taking its cheery character designs and inane plotting at face value, while simultaneously interpreting each event as strictly concordant with the mythos of numinous horror.
ROSE: To no one's greater surprise than mine, reading my twelve year old self's overwrought prose neither baffles nor offends my ageless summoners.
ROSE: Instead, it precipitates an powerful awakening amongst our already omniscient squid monster friends.
ROSE: What they had understood to be hard limits on their abilities, baked in by the very structure of Paradox Space itself, were only ever artifacts of a shared cultural metaphor. The type of lie we use as a basis for civilization.
ROSE: It is best not to dwell on the psychic toll of losing such a necessary metaphor.
ROSE: As discussed, my calling ritual should not be invoked by those disinclined to sacrifice.
ROSE: Lord English is the master of time, but there is no time in the domain of the outer gods.
ROSE: Unless they will it.
ROSE: Newly armed - or tentacled, if you prefer - with this knowledge, how could the day not be saved? The battle not be won?
ROSE: As a side effect of this inevitable victory, there is a shuffling of certain metaphysical walls.
ROSE: All of us are free to step into a new reality of our own creation.
ROSE: It would not occur to me or you that things could ever have been otherwise.
ROSE: And once inside...
ROSE: I don't know.
ROSE: My Sight does not extend across this final boundary.
ROSE: I might guess that we continue in whatever function we're needed to fulfill.
ROSE: To protect our universe from disease or outside attack? Provide the required maintenance to keep the galaxies moving?
ROSE: Infancy is such a delicate phase of the life cycle.
ROSE: Or maybe there's really nothing left to do.
ROSE: Maybe we find an alien world similar enough to Earth and Alternia to be culturally navigable, and we settle down in the suburbs like Greek gods in a pulp comedy series.
JOHN: that sounds hilarious.
ROSE: I would have watched it.
ROSE: Maybe we simply wake up, thirteen years old again, in our old lives, on our old world.
ROSE: The past three years blinking away like a stubborn dream.
ROSE: But I hope not.
ROSE: After everything we've experienced, I fear the Earth would be too small.
ROSE: Like going back to visit your primary school.
ROSE: It's hard to imagine the place was ever big enough to be worth your time, or could do anything but stifle you if you were forced to return.
ROSE: Personally, I hope it's something unimaginable.
ROSE: That whatever awaits us is beautiful and strange enough that it's still beyond my understanding.
ROSE: But... whatever our ultimate destination...
ROSE: We finish the great work of becoming.
ROSE: It won't be easy, or without strife and controversy.
ROSE: We have a lot of feelings and problems and undiagnosed personality defects to sort through.
ROSE: I can only hope someone in that frog gets around to inventing psychotherapy before too much blood is shed.
ROSE: But we have all the time in the worlds, and eventually... We grow up. We grow into ourselves.
ROSE: We grow into our godhood, whatever that ends up meaning.
ROSE: I'd like to guarantee that we won't grow apart from each other along the way, but let's be real.
ROSE: That's the same solemn vow made by every group of friends who meet at summer camp.
ROSE: The odds don't really back it up.
ROSE: Unless we are entirely inept as creators, our universe will contain beings interesting and complex enough to be worth knowing.
ROSE: Even the trolls managed to get us.
ROSE: So we meet new people.
ROSE: We find new causes and start new journeys.
ROSE: Become part of new stories.
ROSE: The alternative would be intolerably claustrophobic, don't you think?
JOHN: but we don't forget each other.
ROSE: We remain the touchstones in one another's lives, however many tens or tens of billions of years those lives span forward.
ROSE: We're family.
ROSE: And if that's what a happily ever after looks like...
ROSE: We live happily ever after.
ROSE: The End.
JOHN: oh man, she looks so happy!
JOHN: i don't want to ruin her day with such sad news.
JOHN: but i guess i have to.
JOHN: otherwise i'd just be a weird kidnapper?
JOHN: or a meddlesome grownup squatter, hahahahaha....
JOHN: we'll see.
JOHN: at least this time, she will always know what really happened.
JOHN: but first i'll have to introduce myself...
JOHN: and without appearing out of nowhere and alarming her!
JOHN: that would be a terrible first impression.
JOHN: maybe if i call from way back here?
JOHN: HI JADE!
JOHN: i guess... i'm an astronaut now?
JOHN: it's too bad that wasn't one of my childhood dreams, so i don't get the satisfaction of seeing it come true in the most convoluted and pointless way possible.
JOHN: but yeah.
JOHN: this is the first time i've been to outer space, for real.
JOHN: i've visited the medium and the farthest ring and a bunch of other places but... it wasn't dangerous?
JOHN: hahahaha, okay.
JOHN: i mean, it wasn't dangerous for the SAME REASONS.
JOHN: nobody exploded or froze, or whatever is supposed to happen in a vacuum.
JOHN: not that anything is happening to me here either.
JOHN: i sure picked the right thing to be a god of!
JOHN: the heir of breathing in outer space!
JOHN: oh no.
JOHN: i'm also TALKING in outer space?
JOHN: please don't throw me into space again!
JOHN: i promise, i am here to help!
JOHN: okay... i'm not sure how much you can understand me.
JOHN: or how much you understand what just happened here.
JOHN: maybe, if you loved jade's grandpa as much as you loved jade, this is a really bad day for you too.
JOHN: i'm sorry about that.
JOHN: i know that you will do your best to take care of jade from now on, and you'll do fine, for a dog.
JOHN: or really,
JOHN: but humans aren't supposed to spend years growing up without a family. we're not built for it.
JOHN: jade's not built for it, no matter how strong she'll turn out to be.
JOHN: but i can help with that.
JOHN: i can stay here, and be jade's adult human custodian.
JOHN: at least until the world ends.
JOHN: i never saw myself as becoming a teen parent, but brotherly fatherly adoptions are an egbert family tradition!
JOHN: and this way, she won't have to...
JOHN: this is all your fault, you stupid dog!
JOHN: finding the surprise corpse of her beloved kindly grandpa is exactly the sort of thing jade shouldn't have to do by herself anymore!
JOHN: stop getting in my way!
The kid in the silly blue squiggle shirt, that is. Not the wacky mutant hamster wandering by to conveniently and precisely locate this scene as "somewhere Brazil-ish", or possibly "in a rich person petting zoo".
As if Old Man Jake could gaze upon those adorable pony-esque faces, with their wise, bunny rabbit eyes and prospit human teeth, and NOT immediately bullet explode every one of their brains into a refreshing pink mist.
Besides, if John was nearby, we'd probably hear his continuing tantrum by now.
Unless Bec got a little more serious about his side of their absurd existential throw down? I'm not sure how that could possibly make a difference, but imagine how awful it would be for poor, sweet Jade.
Poor, sweet, baby, innocent, dear, precious, sweet Jade, losing both the guy she didn't know was her dad and the guy she didn't know was her brother, on the same day, to the same beloved family devilbeast she'll eventually merge with so that she is retroactively the one who murdered her own entire family, as well as the entire human species?
What kind of bad person would do such a terrible thing to dear, sweet, innocent, baby, sweet, beautiful, dear, precious, sweet, sweet, dear, sweet...
I'm setting up the introduction to Homestuck's new primary protagonist!
I have every expectation that you will soon be squished happily into your computer chair's butt imprint, as you are preserved in a perfect state of anticipatory suspense watching this guy flutter up the echeladder of life defining achievements and goals. Will he win a mate? Scavenge rotten fruit? Come to terms with his immediately imminent mortality?
The only way to find out is to hang out here for 7 years while I tell you.
JOHN: i get it!
JOHN: you are NEVER going to let me go up to jade and adopt her.
JOHN: not unless...
JOHN: i take you "out" of the "picture"?
JOHN: i would only have to raise and protect jade from now on,
JOHN: but that was already my plan.
JOHN: and i would have to make sure that any weird doggy things you did in the background to set up the game still happen.
JOHN: and... it would mean that you also disappear from jade's life today. possibly forever.
JOHN: she would miss you, of course. but after i explain the situation i know that she would forgive me.
JOHN: she is very practical about these things.
JOHN: and we would have so much fun together.
JOHN: maybe it would even be worth it.
JOHN: you don't have to worry anymore.
JOHN: i am going to leave you alone. both of you.
JOHN: and... i don't know how much dogs remember, or how much of your memories jade will have access to.
JOHN: but i hope you don't forget i was here today.
JOHN: so that even if her brain is too different to use your exact memories, on some level she will still know that she was always loved, even when she felt most alone.
JOHN: and i really... i am sorry i could not be there for her.
JOHN: will not be there for her.
You click repeatedly on the character selection screen but nothing happens.
In a desperate frenzy, you replace the batteries in your wireless mouse, uninstall and reinstall your browser, and rush out to purchase a less broken computer, before finally realizing that the image is just a shitty map to where the characters are currently located and you'll have to wait until the narrative gets to them the boring linear way.
-- tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering ectoBiologist [EB] --
EB: oh, hey rose!
TT: Could you come over here?
TT: I'd like to talk to you about something.
EB: of course!
EB: but, um, which john did you want to talk to?
EB: maybe she means all of us?
TT: No, just whichever one of you is the, uh, "latest" John.
TT: As much as that statement applies?
TT: Ugh, English grammar does NOT have a sufficient tense structure for this.
EB: maybe you can fix that?
EB: if you create a whole new universe, i think you are allowed to design a few extra words as well, as a special bonus.
TT: Someone will has been could have to.
JOHN: i guess that's me! since i remember being both of you already.
JOHN: i'll float over and see what rose wants to chat about.
((JOHN)): then what should we do?
JOHN: probably, just fuck up the impending conversation in whatever way feels most natural to you?
JOHN: you know that's what we're gonna do anyway.
((JOHN)): before you go. i have a question.
((JOHN)): why do i keep coming back here. what's so important about right now?
((JOHN)): you know that we agreed not to cross the streams like this.
((JOHN)): and by "agree" i mean that i decided by myself, but i was very determined about it.
(JOHN): yeah, i have that question too.
(JOHN): i don't think i even meant to return to this moment?
(JOHN): i just remember it being a bunch of awkward nonsense when i was you!
JOHN: you will understand when you are older.
(JOHN): you mean, like, ten minutes older?
JOHN: yes, exactly!
(JOHN): dammit john.
JOHN: just... tell the first me what to expect, maybe? that's what i did.
((JOHN)): he already said i should expect a bunch of awkward nonsense!
JOHN: oh yeah.
JOHN: yeah, that's pretty much what happens.
JOHN: trust me, you wouldn't want to miss it for anything.
JOHN: hi, rose!
JOHN: you wanted to talk to me?
ROSE: What the hell are you doing.
JOHN: an interesting query!
JOHN: but would you like to be more specific, so that i can actually give you an answer?
ROSE: If you don't want to explain, just say so.
ROSE: But I'm not going to play along and pretend you don't know exactly what I'm talking about.
ROSE: You're not stupid, and I'm not in the mood.
JOHN: what i'm just saying is that there is a lot going on right now! i am a busy guy!
JOHN: did you know me and dave are about to get in an argument over if my nightmares have met a sufficient quota of puppets?
JOHN: it is true, and only one of things i am doing.
ROSE: John, you do realize I can remember the conversation we had on my planet.
ROSE: It was a real conversation for me, that really happened, and as yet has not stopped being a thing that happened.
JOHN: haha. we've had so many conversations, rose.
ROSE: You've actually going to make me say it.
ROSE: The conversation we had about you being doomed. Because of me.
JOHN: ...yeah, okay.
JOHN: that conversation.
JOHN: are you sure you want to have a serious discussion?
JOHN: for me, we practically just got finished with the last one.
JOHN: i would personally rather spend my time with you talking about fun and ridiculous things!
ROSE: Of COURSE I would rather hammer my stake down beside yours in the land of Obstinate Denial, let you change the subject to the secret treasure chest of Troll Matthew McConaughey movies, and trade silly jokes between us for the entire remaining foreseeable future.
ROSE: But I don't fucking get to have that, do I?
JOHN: you could. it sounds great to me.
JOHN: the land of obstinate denial is a pretty nice place some times, and we would be happy to have you.
JOHN: i will give you the v.i.p. scenery tour myself, and bake you a smiling rose welcome cake.
ROSE: I just need you to promise me something first.
ROSE: That no matter how it looks through every way I have of understanding the world, nothing is spiraling out of control right now.
ROSE: You know what you're doing here, and I don't have to worry about it.
ROSE: If you tell me that, I will believe you.
JOHN: you don't have to worry, rose.
JOHN: you have spent so long worrying about me, along with everybody else! you get to be free of that now.
JOHN: i'm not going to undo all of our work.
JOHN: and i'm pretty sure i know what i'm doing here.
JOHN: after everyone else had left the game, i thought it would be fun to go back and say hi to people, in a safe moment where i wouldn't wreck anything.
JOHN: and i ended up here.
JOHN: then i went to see... well, it doesn't really matter. but afterwards, i wanted to catch up with my friends.
JOHN: and i ended up here.
JOHN: and then i zapped over to talk to you, and do some other stuff?
JOHN: and when that was finished, i decided to visit you guys again. specifically at some point without other johns already there, hogging all the friendly hangouts!
JOHN: at least... as long as it was possible to do that without screwing everything up forever.
JOHN: and i ended up here.
JOHN: whatever jade and dave and karkat were about to talk about, it was so pointless and awkward that three johns randomly apprearing couldn't make it worse.
JOHN: or better.
JOHN: i'm here because it is a safe place to visit my friends!
JOHN: maybe the last safe place.
ROSE: If that's true...
ROSE: I don't want to be the one to suggest this, but do you think it's--
JOHN: --time for me to go back to THE END?
ROSE: How did you say "The End" like that?
JOHN: like what? :B
ROSE: Solid. Suffused with an inexorable, metaphysical finality. Sort of, uh... black? No.
ROSE: No, I am not going to let you lighten the mood with stupid tricks I will watch you aquire in the near future.
JOHN: don't you mean... BLACKEN the mood?
ROSE: What did I just fucking say.
JOHN: i didn't mean to prank you.
JOHN: are you still using the kiddie camper handysash to keep track of your god tier bonus powers?
JOHN: i guess you haven't earned that badge yet.
JOHN: it's hard to keep track of that sort of thing.
ROSE: Then maybe you shouldn't be putting yourself in a position where you'll have to.
JOHN: good point, rose!
JOHN: you are correct.
JOHN: i will follow your advice, and leave right away.
ROSE: Oh my god.
ROSE: Something went wrong, didn't it.
JOHN: of course it did. something going wrong was the plan, remember?
ROSE: Something went wronger than expected.
ROSE: What happened.
ROSE: Aren't we past the evasive bullshit by now?
JOHN: yes, we are.
JOHN: nothing happening IS what went wronger than expected.
JOHN: if i was understanding correctly, the idea was that after all the winning players had left into the new universe, the entire game reality would close up and fade away, like a doomed timeline after the alpha one doesn't need anything from it.
JOHN: so i waited for that to happen, but it did not.
JOHN: nothing happened instead.
JOHN: i even used my powers to jump as close to the end as i could.
JOHN: but... nothing happened.
ROSE: Maybe you didn't wait long enough?
JOHN: maybe! but i don't think that's it.
JOHN: i think that as long as i am still here, inside the game, it has to keep existing.
JOHN: even though our adventure is over, it can't actually stop until i'm finished with it.
ROSE: But you can't go with us, and you can't reach the point where everything ends around you.
ROSE: You can't visit us anywhere but here, and three Johns is already pushing it.
JOHN: it is all right, i have a plan.
JOHN: i said you don't need to worry!
JOHN: sitting on the victory platform by myself for ever would be basically impossible, considering how long that is.
ROSE: I know.
ROSE: If I had any idea...
ROSE: I would never do that to you, John.
ROSE: I could never have done that.
JOHN: and you didn't! not even by accident!
JOHN: because i could leave.
JOHN: i can go to lots of places in our universe while it wasn't destroyed! or in the trolls' old universe.
JOHN: maybe other places?
JOHN: basically, somewhere with groceries and videogames that don't destroy the planet.
JOHN: and as long as i never contact any of my friends or family, and i never do anything that would affect anyone or anything that matters,
JOHN: or that would affect anyone who would affect anyone who would affect anyone who would affect anyone... well, you get it.
JOHN: i could exist there, instead.
ROSE: That's a reasonable sounding plan.
ROSE: There's only one thing that might get in the way.
ROSE: Do you think you can actually do that?
JOHN: i feel like, back when the earth was still a thing, a lot of people existed that way.
JOHN: probably most people, since they all got blown up by surprise meteor explosions.
JOHN: the only difference would be that i'll know for sure that nothing i did would ever matter to anyone ever again, forever.
JOHN: and i will understand why.
ROSE: I can't agrue the premise.
ROSE: But do you think you can live like that, forever, and not be destroyed by it?
JOHN: now you are just being picky!
JOHN: me getting destroyed was supposed to happen anyway.
ROSE: Not slowly.
ROSE: Not by having your soul crushed inch by inch across eons.
JOHN: soooooooo picky!!!
JOHN: besides, wouldn't it be easier that way?
JOHN: if i stop caring.
ROSE: For a while.
ROSE: But for an eternity?
ROSE: Ignoring the possibility that by continuing on indefinitely within this reality, even in a state of ennui-powered suspended animation in a demolished universe, you will destroy the "shape" of our adventure, and retroactively destabilize the foundation of everything we're trying to accomplish right now... And I'm not convinced that we should ignore that...
ROSE: What happens when you STOP not caring?
JOHN: well, um.
JOHN: maybe we will never find out.
JOHN: maybe, in a way, you were right about me not waiting long enough! if i don't do anything interesting, maybe reality will eventually get bored of the delay and stop pretending that i am important.
JOHN: like when a regular game shuts itself off due to lack of player input.
ROSE: That's not how metaphysics...
ROSE: Oh no.
ROSE: John, we are about to have a visitor.
JOHN: yes, i am noticing that too.
JOHN: it looks like we will need to put our human talking conference on hold for a minute.
MEENAH: why you gotta play me like that blue boy
JOHN: like what?
JOHN: like not letting you stab me for no reason?
MEENAH: YEA)( exactly!
MEENAH: you got no clue how bad im needing to spear something
MEENAH: could at least lemme fork you a lil
ROSE: Yes, John. You are being terribly inconsiderate of Meenah's needs right now.
MEENAH: sea roseweed gets it
MEENAH: hang still a mo imma line this up
MEENAH: you dont need all those legs right
JOHN: if you throw your trident at me again, i will stick it some place you will not be able to retrive it so easily.
JOHN: (oh, don't you start.)
ROSE: (But you've set me up so well!)
ROSE: (I gotta.)
ROSE: You know, I have wondered on occasion, what IS it about John that inspires such enmity from so many individuals of the troll race.
JOHN: (rolling my damn eyes)
MEENAH: i dont )(ATE hate him or nofin its just
MEENAH: LOOK at his dumb dork face okay
MEENAH: face like thats just crying for some bad sea bitch to grab her fork and jam it through his squishy blue torso.
MEENAH: just get it reel deep in there
MEENAH: squelch it around all stabwise
JOHN: meenah, what did i say about aiming your trident at me?
MEENAH: ...s'chool so long i dont actunally jab ya?
MEENAH: you being a real buzzbait blue kid
JOHN: i am ok with that.
ROSE: And your most overwhelmingly murderous longings are restricted to John and, from what I have gleaned previously, Feferi?
MEENAH: cutie peixes?
MEENAH: naw thats a different thing
ROSE: Is it truly?
MEENAH: shes my descendant or whatever
MEENAH: my royal blood instincts think she finna take me out and steelhead my throne
MEENAH: not that i even ever wanted a throne
MEENAH: or got a life any moray to take
MEENAH: stupid forkin instincts
MEENAH: but this blue pj dweeb is just some rando whose organs got a bad case of insuFIS)(ent ventilation
ROSE: And you're certain about that.
MEENAH: i was
MEENAH: but smiling like that makes me think you winding up to a big chunk of words so...
MEENAH: prob not then?
MEENAH: fin lets have it already
ROSE: You are familiar with your Alternian self, who grew up to become Empress of that world?
ROSE: And that she outlived the death of her universe, and later became the ruler of Earth as well? Not the particular version of Earth we hail from, mind you, but an Earth nonetheless?
ROSE: In that timeline, your counterpart adopted its variant of John. Took him under her fin.
ROSE: Yes. Embarked on a long term human style familiar relationship, not entirely dissimilar to that of a lusus naturae and its charge.
MEENAH: she culled him???
MEENAH: man aint she too chill for that fishshit
ROSE: I... wouldn't say.
ROSE: But for humans, we'd have seen her as positioning him to be her descendant.
ROSE: Her heir.
ROSE: So on the level of your collective individual unconscious, you might indeed percieve of John as a relation.
ROSE: Specifically, as your son. In which case, it must be a case of sublimation.
ROSE: And it is a reverse oedipal impulse driving your allconsuming urge to thrust your unsheathed spear into the most inviting portions of John's torso and, as you say, squelch it around in there.
ROSE: Until you have reached full personal satisfaction.
MEENAH: like i aint understood all them fancy human words but
MEENAH: checks out i guess
ROSE: (I have lived in close quarters with trolls for three years.)
ROSE: (You'd think I would eventually learn.)
JOHN: (if it cheers you up at all, *i* am feeling incredibly uncomfortable right now!)
ROSE: (Honestly? A little.)
MEENAH: water you pajama dorks up to anywave
MEENAH: conspiring over here
ROSE: Nothing that would concern you, I'm sure.
MEENAH: i was reedy to not give a carp but you changed my mind
MEENAH: never met a gull in serket robes who aint wanna talk my fins off about every dumb thing shes doin
JOHN: (she does have you there, rose.)
MEENAH: so shell me already
MEENAH: whatcha talkin aboat?
MEENAH: is it me
ROSE: Well, I suppose I could go on and on at exhaustive length about our clandestine activities. Such as... standing in the general proximity of an friend? In shameless view of any witnesses who might care to note our presence?
ROSE: On the other hand...
ROSE: Are you aware there are currently TWO instances of John sitting on a hill behind me.
ROSE: Fresh and unstabbed.
ROSE: And I have it on good authority... which is to say, my own... they will not remain with us long.
MEENAH: i sea i sea 3>8D
MEENAH: ya throw a mean distraction roseweed
JOHN: rose, no!
JOHN: those past johns are busy learning important stupid human facts!
JOHN: you can't ruin things for them like that!
ROSE: It seems that I can.
ROSE: And who knows what else I might be capable of ruining for your past selves.
ROSE: Perhaps you would know better than anyone.
JOHN: no, i will not do that to them!
JOHN: meenah, please stay here and keep talking to us, and don't stab any versions of me, or anyone else.
ROSE: No, it's time for her to leave.
JOHN: no, it is not.
JOHN: hey, i know! maybe she can help us with our problems!
ROSE: You're not serious.
JOHN: yes, i am completely serious about that suddenly.
JOHN: what do you think, meenah? can you hang out here and lend us some help?
MEENAH: maybe i can maybe i cant
MEENAH: but well never find out i got dorks to fork
JOHN: ok but, even if you don't want to help us....
JOHN: maybe you can... kelp us?
MEENAH: you know i gotta do anyfin if you ask me as a fish pun
ROSE: John, we really should continue our previous conversation.
JOHN: but i am doing that.
JOHN: meenah, you are right. me and rose are having a secret meeting.
JOHN: if i explain what it is about, can i trust you not to tell anyone else?
MEENAH: but like
MEENAH: i dont care about your nerdy human secrets so
MEENAH: you probs safe
JOHN: good enough!
JOHN: okay, well...
ROSE: John! We can't tell--
JOHN: it is okay, rose. i think she is trustworthy.
JOHN: that is trustworthy smirk on her face, filled with trustworthy fangs.
ROSE: She literally JUST told you that you can't trust her.
ROSE: She has stabbed you on multiple occasions.
JOHN: yes, but those were friendly stabbings.
JOHN: it is probably just her way of saying hi.
MEENAH: hey! no it isnt!
MEENAH: dont be disrespecting my mad murder stabs!
JOHN: i do not think she will betray our confidences, so long as they are... top seacrest.
JOHN: SEA, rose?
MEENAH: (that last sea)
MEENAH: (that a sea as in the ocean sea?)
JOHN: (why, were you afraid it was... a fluke?)
MEENAH: (you aight bluefin)
MEENAH: guess im stuck kelpin you nerds then
JOHN: okay, so all of the alive people are trying to create a new universe and then enter it through a magic door, right?
MEENAH: issat porpoised to be news
JOHN: and while we are still doing that plan and absolutely sure it will work... it cannot hurt to have an extra, secret backup plan to make sure everyone will be okay.
JOHN: but we don't want to tell our other friends, because it would be a distraction.
JOHN: like how you got all of your friends to keep existing by being ghosts!
MEENAH: yeah that was clam clever of me wasnt it
JOHN: so that's what our conspiracy is about, right rose?
ROSE: I guess!!
MEENAH: ya i get it
MEENAH: if i told them other whiny ass bitches i was gonna blow em up would haddock hear about all kinds of feelins and whining
MEENAH: guess you could blow all your buddies into ghosts too but reely?
MEENAH: it kinda sucks
MEENAH: and english took out almost all of us suckafishes already
JOHN: yeah, uh, i think i would rather avoid blowing anyone up!
JOHN: but you have been in the dream bubbles for a long time right?
MEENAH: shella long yeah
JOHN: you must be an expert on them.
JOHN: so... is there a way out?
MEENAH: of the dream bubbles?
JOHN: yes! and then out of the weird, squiggly type of reality containing them.
MEENAH: us ghosts dont really get to leave the afterlife like that
MEENAH: so uhhhhhh....
ROSE: OF COURSE she doesn't know!!!
ROSE: A desperate escape from between the tentacles of the outer gods.
ROSE: You don't think that's the FIRST route I explored??
ROSE: But I didn't find anything.
ROSE: And Future Rose -- who knew more and must have been motivated more, without the inescapability of her failure occasionally popping up to cheerfully mock the idea that her choices, her failures, her talents might still matter -- didn't find anything!
ROSE: The horror terrors know of no escape route, or they would take it!
ROSE: And your punky fish murder friend doesn't know either!
ROSE: ISN'T ONE!!!
MEENAH: s tru
ROSE: The afterlife is a closed system!
ROSE: Our particular rat king clusterfuck of a situation is cordoned off.
ROSE: The dream bubbles hold no one but ourselves. The ghosts of player alternates of ourselves, our guardians, our troll creators.
ROSE: A spare cherub or two, although their race is in general so deterministically inclined, they rarely make the nessecary choices with which to doom themselves.
ROSE: If there was permeability at the edges of paradox space, we would meet strangers running from Lord English, as we are.
ROSE: But we don't.
ROSE: There are an uncountable number of ghosts, and they are all and only us!!
MEENAH: eh i mean
MEENAH: theres the orange guy
ROSE: Orange guy?
MEENAH: just some random ghost i see round some tines
MEENAH: usually at a distance
MEENAH: might be a human tho
MEENAH: no horns
ROSE: Do you mean Dirk?
MEENAH: naw that dude i know
MEENAH: pointy human!
MEENAH: he dope as shell
MEENAH: this guys more a stalky creepy kind of guy
ROSE: I see.
ROSE: And yet... you're sure it wasn't Dirk?
ROSE: Sorry, sorry. That was unfair.
ROSE: Did this orange gentleman happen to have wings and a floaty ghost tail?
MEENAH: not davesprite!
MEENAH: read my puckered fishlips rosefang
MEENAH: theres a ghost
MEENAH: of a guy
MEENAH: whos orange
MEENAH: maybe not orange?
MEENAH: some kinda pumpkin colour
ROSE: What pumpkin colour?
JOHN: oh hey, is this vriska's orange guy?
ROSE: John, YOU know this orange man?
JOHN: no, it is just someone vriska talked about.
JOHN: apparently he tried to give her the ring that makes ghosts come back to life?
JOHN: but she thought he was just a weirdo and punched him.
ROSE: Why didn't you tell me!
JOHN: rose, i don't tell you about SO many things vriska says.
JOHN: this is because we are friends.
MEENAH: oh yeah
MEENAH: you the kid who stole that guys ring!
ROSE: (What is happening.)
MEENAH: dude was shells of salty over it
JOHN: no, meenah, i did not steal the ring.
JOHN: or anyway, not from a weird orange HUMAN guy?
JOHN: i just saw it in a fake dream desert and picked it up.
MEENAH: hey you dont gotta splain nofin to me
MEENAH: got no issue w you sculpin some bling
MEENAH: i got a swell business oppurtuna-ity outta yer fast fingerfish
JOHN: i don't know what that means.
MEENAH: it means
MEENAH: i scammed him
MEENAH: he was jibbering about needin a ring for waterever
MEENAH: gross alien bullshit i guess?
MEENAH: wasnt reely listening
MEENAH: so i prawned off a piece a worthless garbage in trade for all his boonbucks
JOHN: that's awful!
JOHN: why would you do that.
MEENAH: look bluefish some people just chumps
MEENAH: if i hadnt gotten there first hed just be congered by some losers instead
MEENAH: yeah i basically did him a huge favour
JOHN: how is that a favour?
MEENAH: cuz he got to give his moolah to meenah
JOHN: so what!
MEENAH: if someone gonna sclam ya
MEENAH: dont you want it to be someone awesome?
JOHN: i'd rather not be scammed at all!
MEENAH: not my problem suckafish
MEENAH: shell i bet i taught the orange guy a important life lesson and everyfin
JOHN: no, you didn't.
JOHN: ghosts can't learn important life lessons.
MEENAH: oh yeah
MEENAH: well then
MEENAH: consider this...........
MEENAH: who cares
ROSE: I have an idea!!
JOHN: about scamming people?
ROSE: This strange orange gentleman.
ROSE: What if he is a not a ghost, but merely a memory?
ROSE: Like the shadow figments of my mother that occasionally bloom in the peripheral vision of my dreams.
ROSE: It might appear that she somehow made her way into the afterlife but... she's not real. No more than my younger self's bed or poster collection.
JOHN: i know what you mean, rose.
JOHN: but you can't talk to a memory figment like that. at least, i was never able to.
JOHN: not even a repeat of a past conversation.
JOHN: so it is pretty unlikely meenah would be able to haggle with one about overpriced jewelry.
ROSE: I suppose...
MEENAH: yeah this a dumb theory
MEENAH: me and serket the sequel aint had no memories of a creepy orange alien before we kicked it
MEENAH: but we was the ones he kept following
MEENAH: like we werent gonna notice a dude hiding in the bushes
MEENAH: or behind some rocks
JOHN: maybe he's mad because you ripped him off?!
ROSE: Or maybe this orange guy is still alive!
ROSE: We were not the only four - or eight - humans on Earth.
ROSE: Perhaps in another timeline, a strange adult interloper wandered into one of our households before our entry, and from there found his way into the dreambubbles somehow, and...
MEENAH: fucks sake rose human!
MEENAH: he got them blank ghost eyes!
MEENAH: H-E A GHOST!!
JOHN: hey, rose?
JOHN: are you okay?
ROSE: Why wouldn't I be okay!!!
JOHN: well, you seem pretty bothered about this hypothetical orange ghost person.
JOHN: is it really a big deal if you didn't know about him?
JOHN: you always tell us that you don't know everything.
ROSE: OF COURSE I SAY THAT!
ROSE: OTHERWISE NO ONE WOULD BE IMPRESSED WHEN IT TURNS OUT I DO, IN FACT, KNOW EVERYTHING!!!
ROSE: The only people in this afterlife should be players from those sessions necessary for the creation and uncreation of Lord English.
ROSE: It's not a guest list, it's a rule of dream bubble physics.
ROSE: It's what defines this cluster of reality!
JOHN: i already know all this, rose.
ROSE: Hahahaha! Good! So do I!!!
ROSE: I HAVE to know!
ROSE: Because if I'm wrong, I have no business advising anyone on "beating Sburb" and walking out of it.
ROSE: But if I'm right... there can't be an extra, random ghost in the machine! Not like, a regular, dream bubble ghost.
ROSE: So how is he here?
ROSE: Where did he come from?
MEENAH: good thing yer lookin for a back wave out then
ROSE: I guess so!!
JOHN: i can just go and ask him.
JOHN: yes, it is the obvious solution for this matter.
JOHN: i will pop over and see if there is an actual orange guy, and once his realness attribute is established, i will ask him where he came from and how he got here.
JOHN: and if he is from somewhere outside of the reality cluster fuck, maybe the process can be reversed?
JOHN: for the backup plan, remember?
JOHN: then i will meet up with you, and tell you if it is an option.
ROSE: Maybe you shouldn't? Come back and tell me that, I mean.
ROSE: If there is an intruder, and if there is anything that will affect how things play out... yes, of course. Whatever we need.
ROSE: But if there is an escape?
ROSE: It seems impossible. But if I ask you to return and tell me the good news, and you don't...
ROSE: I will always...
JOHN: i am surprised, rose!
JOHN: aren't you someone who thinks that it is better to know things for sure, even if they are sad things, instead of being able to pretend?
JOHN: and be wrong?
ROSE: Is it better?
ROSE: I am honestly asking.
ROSE: Until I choose to open the box, the cat might be dead or it might be alive.
ROSE: But it's been a long time since that was a choice for me.
ROSE: I can't remember how to make it.
MEENAH: now water you blabbin about
ROSE: Sorry to bore you, Meenah.
JOHN: meenah, you have been very helpful.
MEENAH: a HEM
ROSE: Yes. You actually have.
JOHN: but if you still want to stab the past mes, karkat's human school may be wrapping up soon. it would be a good time to try.
MEENAH: uh huh
MEENAH: you getting rid of me to have a heartfelt piledown johnfish?
MEENAH: sea no moray
MEENAH: thats adorbs
ROSE: There's no longer a need to bully his past selves.
ROSE: John was just about to leave.
JOHN: was i?
ROSE: Well, you filed a flight plan.
ROSE: Track down this orange guy of dubious validity, learn what you can, and act on it.
ROSE: I won't expect to hear from you again.
ROSE: I can't keep having our la-- this conversation.
ROSE: I'm barely keeping myself together as it is.
JOHN: okay, okay.
JOHN: i will go.
JOHN: but even if the orange ghost is a dud, there is still the other backup plan we talked about!
ROSE: Of course.
ROSE: Peace through apathy!
ROSE: Very well.
ROSE: And when that course of inaction inevitably fails....
ROSE: I trust you?
JOHN: uh, thanks?
ROSE: You'll realize what needs to be done, and you'll do it.
JOHN: i am going to pretend that wasn't ominous as shit!
ROSE: And I'm going to pretend that Meenah's figment will show you an alternate route into the promised land.
ROSE: So we're even.
ROSE: And John?
ROSE: Good luck.
JOHN: thank you, rose.
JOHN: i know what that means, coming from you.
MEENAH: whats he talkin boat
MEENAH: blue buoy
ROSE: What about him?
MEENAH: you told him good luck
MEENAH: w/e narwhal thing to say
MEENAH: (narwhal equals normal btw)
ROSE: (Yes, I got that.)
MEENAH: but he says it means somefin different when YOU say it?
MEENAH: so whats it M-EAN??
ROSE: It was a joke.
ROSE: Luck doesn't actually matter.
ROSE: But then, the fact that luck doesn't matter... also doesn't matter.
[If this login screen doesn't look familiar to you, click here.]This is the pw that the openbound trickster mode asks for. It would have been (thematic) spoilers to give it away earlier! The code to enter trickster mode is 'Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-b-a'. The link to the openbound retcon is here. [If you sumbitted a suggestion and would like to see if it was incorporated (yet), click here.]
VRISKA: So that's it?
VRISKA: All that 8ig girl talk, and here you are... crawling away like a deformed wiggler.
VRISKA: After cutting off your own fucking hair to escape!
VRISKA: God, you didn't even TRY to sta8 me, did you?
VRISKA: Not that it would have done jack shit, but at least I would have respected that.
VRISKA: Hell, may8e I would have let you get in a free hit, if you needed a 8r8k from this 8eatdown so 8adly, just out of astonishment at you 8eing slightly less of an a8solute loser than conceiva8ly possi8le?
VRISKA: Whew, close thing, 8ut i guess we missed out on that one, huh!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: And........ wow.
VRISKA: Now you're crying. Disgusting.
VRISKA: I don't know why I'm surprised.
VRISKA: Am I surprised?
VRISKA: I knew you'd forgotten how to take an emotional punch, so of course you'd 8e snivelling over a literal fist to the face.
VRISKA: Honestly, some8ody as fragile as you've let yourself 8ecome should've st8yed out of my way.
(VRISKA): I'm not crying!
VRISKA: Of course you are. I can see your shoulders shaking from all the way 8ack here.
VRISKA: Pro8a8ly out of shame at what a despica8le, worthless failure you are? That's what m8kes ME want to cry.
VRISKA: W8, no........ it just m8kes me want to kick your ass ag8in!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): May8e you're right. I am ashamed!
(VRISKA): 8ecause I used to 8e just like you, and listening to your o8livious 8lather........
(VRISKA): It's em8arrassing to realize how predicta8le I must have been!
VRISKA: Oh, the dead loser is calling ME predica8le. That's a laugh!
(VRISKA): It is, yeah.
VRISKA: As if you h8ve ANY ID8A what's a8out to happen.
VRISKA: Who the fuck do you think you ar8?!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): Me? You still h8ven't figured that out, you self-o8sessed 8itch?
(VRISKA): I'm Vriska Serket.
(VRISKA): You know, the Vriska Serket who actually matters?
VRISKA: Why am I even 8othering?
VRISKA: I guess I thought there was a chance I could get through to you, and help you remem8er what it means to not 8e a deluuuuuuuusional weakling?
VRISKA: Like the shit you pulled in the Final 8attle! That wasn't... entirely contempti8le?
(VRISKA): That wasn't the final 8attle, idiot.
VRISKA: Hey, it might've 8een, if you hadn't sa8otaged me with your super fuckup loser powers!
VRISKA: You got a shitload of ghosts killed, and wasted all my progress to help MY friends, just 8ecause I hurt your little dead girl feelings.
VRISKA: Gotta admit, that was pretty cold.
(VRISKA): I didn't ruin anything. That plan sucked and was never going to work.
(VRISKA): Ok, since you were going to fail ANYWAY, I decided to 8e the reason, 8ut--
VRISKA: I'd almost think there was hope for you!
VRISKA: I figured you were trying to start something with that stunt, 8ut honestly? Fighting you was just sad. I've had 8igger challenges from the underlings 8ack in our game!
VRISKA: At least they didn't stand there stupidly and let me punt them on a custom tour through the afterlife.
VRISKA: I'm making it official. Anything a8out you that might 8e mistaken for "cool" is only a reflection of me, the real deal.
VRISKA: Even your girlfriend realized that, the instant she got a glimpse of us together.
(VRISKA): Huh? My girlfriend?
VRISKA: Come on, you're going to play make 8elieve now? Pretend we didn't leave you weeping in the dirt like the pitiful trash you are?
VRISKA: You really can't sink any lower, can you. 8ut damn if you 8n't putting in the effort!
(VRISKA): Oh. Meenah, right?
(VRISKA): Talk a8out ancient history! For me, that happened a very long time ago.
(VRISKA): How is she doing, anyway?
VRISKA: Well, the last time I saw Meenah, she was facing off against Lord English, so she's pro8a8ly dead 8y now? For real dead?
VRISKA: Or may8e not. Who cares!
VRISKA: The point is, she'd rather throw herself into the death maw of a rampaging skeleton than spend one more moment of eternity in your misera8le, pointless company.
(VRISKA): Man, if you're trying to make me feel upset a8out our 8r8kup, you're like... several million sweeps too l8?
(VRISKA): I was pretty choked up a8out it for a while, 8ut eventually I realized that her leaving wasn't really a8out me.
VRISKA: Sounds like something some8ody who got DUMPED would say!
(VRISKA): I guess.
VRISKA: Rationalize it all you want, 8ut she knew leaving your dead, MASSIVE weight 8ehind was the only way she'd have a chance to 8e important again!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): No, see, that's what I realized. Meenah never actually wanted to 8e important?
VRISKA: The punky teen version of Her Imperious Condescension didn't want to 8e important. THAT's the excuse you've settled on????????
VRISKA: You really do live in a delusional make 8elieve land.
(VRISKA): But she didn't!
(VRISKA): Sure, she wanted people to TELL her she was important, and give her money and parades and shit?
(VRISKA): But we 8oth know that's not what 8eing important is really a8out.
(VRISKA): It's a8out 8eing strong enough to make tough choices, even if those choices have a result SOME people might classify as 8ad. 8n't no pleasing every8ody! And it's a8out having the strength to make those choices happen, and to accept the consequences.
(VRISKA): So anyone TRULY important? They have to 8e powerful enough to 8e dangerous. There's no getting around it. That's just the way it is!
(VRISKA): Meenah liked the idea of 8eing some8ody dangerous, but really? She was scared of having power over anything, even if it was just one single person.
(VRISKA): She was afraid of making 8ad decisions, but she hadn't ever 8een interested in learning how to NOT make 8ad decisions.
(VRISKA): So every time she was in a position of mattering to ANYONE, she left. A8dic8ted the throne! Dropped the treasure hunt! Left me in the dust!
(VRISKA): May8e that's even admira8le?
(VRISKA): If you don't have the courage of your convictions, at least have the courage of your LACK of convictions and get out of the fucking way.
VRISKA: Sounds pretty weak.
(VRISKA): Yeah, 8ut weakness is complic8ted.
(VRISKA): And that means 8eing strong, truly strong? Has to 8e complic8ted too.
(VRISKA): Eh, whatever. I'd explain it, 8ut even if we had the time, you wouldn't understand. It's the type of thing you have to figure out for yourself.
(VRISKA): Which you won't.
VRISKA: I WOULDN'T W8NT TO!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): Aaaaaaaand that's WHY you won't!
(VRISKA): But I get it. I didn't want to understand either.
(VRISKA): Even when I was forced to experience memories of 8eing weak my entire life........ I just avoided thinking a8out it for pro8a8ly 8illions of years!
(VRISKA): Actually, Meenah dumping me was what made me consider some of these things?
(VRISKA): I should thank you for that.
VRISKA: Experience memories... Oh fuck, this is a8out that monstrosity. You getting merged with Tavros.
(VRISKA): Kind of, 8ut--
VRISKA: I actually forgot a8out that whole fi8sco? Fuck. Remem8ering that happened is making me fucking sick.
VRISKA: HRK. I act8ally might puke.
(VRISKA): Hahahahahahahaha! Oh my god, you are so imm8ture.
VRISKA: Although may8e it's ok, if you're only this useless 8ecause you were contamin8ted with FUCKING T8VROS.
VRISKA: I should feel 8etter knowing that no REAL Vriska would stoop to your level, 8ut. GOD! Just looking at you is m8king me feel dirty!
VRISKA: I me8n........
(VRISKA): Do you need a towel?
VRISKA: Shut up, you repugn8nt tramp!
VRISKA: You are a disgr8ce to the entire Vriska Serket 8rand!
(VRISKA): I dunno, could 8e! But it's not up to you to decide.
(VRISKA): You keep talking like you're the main Vriska, 8ut you're not.
(VRISKA): Trust me, I'd 8e the one to know.
(VRISKA): And no one out here would give eight shits if you WERE the alpha Vriska, 8ut you 8n't even that!
(VRISKA): You're nothing 8ut another sad, leftover Serket from an irrelevant timeline........ JUST LIKE ME!
VRISKA: ........ARE Y8U ACTU8LLY FUCKING SER8OUS????????
VRISKA: NO! WE AR8! N8T! THE S8ME!
VRISKA: Because even if it didn't m8tter if I'm an important 8adass winner or a us8less weaky worthless L8SER, there's still one thing th8t separ8tes us!
VRISKA: One TINY det8il!
VRISKA: I can see how you'd miss it, tho8gh. It's almost as ins8gnific8nt as you ar8!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Do you see that light show up there? A8ove the pastel memory 8ullshit.
VRISKA: That's Lord English tearing apart the last dr8gs of the dream 8u88les.
VRISKA: May8e if you w8ed long enough this one would split up or float away, 8ut for now? There's nothing else around. No where else for your disgusting loser ass to run.
VRISKA: Not while my luck holds, and it aaaaaaaalways does.
(VRISKA): So what?
VRISKA: So? CAN'T A8SCOND, SIS!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: THERE'S NO A8SCONDING PLACE!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: And you know what's even 8etter at getting the attention of a ramp8ging destruction monster than a dou8le-dead troll army?
VRISKA: A well deserved LIGHT 8ITCH 8EATDOWN!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: That's right, we've GOT the spotlight.
VRISKA: English is on his way to smash this cozy little 8u88le and destroy everyone inside!
VRISKA: At least......... everyone DEAD!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: I 8et that's hard to hear for someone so sad and vulnera8le like you, huh? Your pointless little ghost existence is a8out to get wiped out.
VRISKA: Are you going to start 8awling again. You are, aren't you. Despica8le.
VRISKA: Well, don't worry, you won't have to dou8le die alone.
VRISKA: 8ecause I'll 8e with you until the very end, making a8solutely certain th8t it h8ppens!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: I'm going to w8 here and watch your useless, worthless, UGLY GHOST 8urn to ash in rain8ow fire, and then? When it's my turn?
VRISKA: I'll just w8ke up! 8ecause unlike y8u, I didn't get mys8lf stup8dly killed for n8thing! This is just a dre8m project8on, not my real 8ody!
VRISKA: So I'll open my eyes in the alpha timeline where I am r8levant and making an import8nt diff8rence to the f8 of EVERYTHING.
VRISKA: It will 8e like aw8kening from the 8est dream I've ev8r had in my LIFE, which is something I STILL HAVE, 8ecause I'll know that you are f8nally g8ne for8v8r!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: And there will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, 8V8R, 8V8R, 8V8R, 8V8R, 8E ANYONE 8LSE SO FUCKING P8THETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
??: why are you being so mean to her?
VRISKA: Oh well, I guess that shows me!
VRISKA: You must 8e SUPER relevant if you managed to get fucking NEPETA on your side.
VRISKA: Hahaha! And it's not even the real Nepeta! She never hit God Tier 8efore getting 8rutally murdered. Nope, just one of a 8illion meaningless dead copies.
VRISKA: Really coming at me with your A game, huh?
VRISKA: What kind of powers does a Rogue of Heart even have?
NEPETA: i can--
VRISKA: Don't care! I already know the only thing you're good for!
VRISKA: Failing to win the Ultim8 Reward, and dying uselessly along with your entire timeline!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): *I* would never talk a8out her like that.
(VRISKA): I've met many Nepetas during my travels in the dream 8u88les, and they are all very fun to hang out with.
(VRISKA): In fact, they have invited me along on many exciting adventures in the realm of roleplay!
VRISKA: Are you 8ragging to me? A8out how utterly you've w8sted your time?
VRISKA: Just trying to make me feel even 8etter a8out seeing you wiped out, I guess!
VRISKA: As if I ever had any interest in dum8 stupid g8mes for silly harmless wiggl8rs without a single iron in a single fire.
(VRISKA): Vriska, why are you lyyyyyyyying to yourself? I was there, remem8er?
(VRISKA): I know how it r88888888nkled that she never wanted to play with you.
(VRISKA): You wanted to think that you were the 8est at games, 8ut how could that 8e true when you sucked too hard to 8e worth Nepeta's time.
VRISKA: Like you were any diff8rent!
(VRISKA): No! 8ut I am now!
(VRISKA): Nepeta can tell you how good I am at roleplay games now.
VRISKA: This is ridiculous.
VRISKA: Why would I care a8out your loser ho88ies.
(VRISKA): Come oooooooon, Nepeta, teeeeeeeell her!
NEPETA: i mean, we have had lots of fun together!
NEPETA: and i am always happy to rp with you
(VRISKA): You don't think I'm good?
VRISKA: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh my god, that's just too perfect!
VRISKA: You're such a sad case, even this knockoff 8ackground Nepeta is shutting you down!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): Why would you play with me if you didn't think I was good enough?
VRISKA: (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. UN8ELIEVA8LE.)
NEPETA: i did think you were good ENOUGH
NEPETA: otherwise i would have basked to do something diffurent when we were hanging out!
NEPETA: roleplay isn't about deciding who is the best, it is about having a good time with your furiends
NEPETA: and an excuse to be a little bit goofy :33
NEPETA: did you have fun playing with us?
(VRISKA): Yeah, 8ut...
NEPETA: me too! :DD
(VRISKA): Ok, 8ut it's... I don't know.
(VRISKA): You never wanted to play with me when I was alive. If I still sucked as a ghost, what's the difference?
NEPETA: the diffurnce is...
NEPETA: you figured out how to roleplay without making your characters do mean things to other peoples!
NEPETA: and without fighting to be the ONLY important player, instead of working together with evfurryone else to tell the story?
NEPETA: and that you can be clever and funny even when its not at a purrson's expense, or at least not a purrson who isn't completely fake and made up for the storyline!
(VRISKA): That's it?
(VRISKA): Gotta say catgirl, that sounds like a pretty slow string to catch.
NEPETA: h33 h33 h33! mice one! XDD
NEPETA: and maybe!
NEPETA: but its all that really counts
(VRISKA): I guess.
(VRISKA): 8ut when you and the other Nepetas stopped giving me hints, I thought that meant I had gotten allllllll the roleplay skills, not what? 8arely scraped 8y on the 8areliest of 8are technicalities????????
(VRISKA): And then you just gave up on me? Ag8in????????
NEPETA: *nepeta rolls her eyes at all the silly spider girls silly draaaaaaaama!*
NEPETA: *they are rolling all over the place like cute little balls filled with catnip and tiny ringing bells!!*
NEPETA: how did i give up on you
(VRISKA): 8ecause you stopped helping me!
(VRISKA): It doesn't even make sense, since you're the one who had to deal with my incompetent ass!
(VRISKA): If you had just told me how to stop sucking, I would have done it!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!
NEPETA: vriska, we had b33n giving you f33dback for like a murrion sweeps, and even though i could tell you hated it you were trying your furry hardest to listen and impurrove but...
NEPETA: youre dead
NEPETA: so there are some limitations to being a ghost!
NEPETA: exhissting in the afterlife is kind of like being put on pawse as a person
NEPETA: we had lots and lots of time, and if we worked really hard we could make purrgress on the things we already understood
NEPETA: but you can only learn new things when youre alive
(VRISKA): Ugh, fine. I know THAT.
NEPETA: do you?
NEPETA: i mean this purrobably sounds like a weird question, but are you sure that you CAN know that?
(VRISKA): I've 8een a ghost for 8asically ever! I've heard it all 8efore!
NEPETA: *nepeta offers friska a noncommittal, yet still friendly and supportive purr*
(VRISKA): I just thought if I really really really wanted to do 8etter at... at everything. If I TRIED........ it would matter.
NEPETA: it did matter though!
NEPETA: just because something didnt end up how you wanted doesnt mean it didnt matter!
(VRISKA): Well what8ver! Nothing matters anymore, does it!
NEPETA: it might
(VRISKA): And as a consol8tion, at least we know you had the chance to perfect your Aradia impression!
NEPETA: okay even though you are just being snickty i am taking that as a nice complimewnt!
NEPETA: aradia helped me s33 dying from the right pusspective
NEPETA: so i am ok with it
NEPETA: even if i will nefur be able to do some things, like swordfight the way you can, i can still be pawfully great at many other things that align with my purrvious interests
NEPETA: *nepetas nose suddenly twitches in excitement as she gets ready to share a piece of highly astonishing and impurrtant news*
NEPETA: it has taken many eons, but i have completely solved shipping!
(VRISKA): Oh, for real?
NEPETA: yes! :DD
NEPETA: i wasnt sure i would complete it in time, but i figured out the entire system!
NEPETA: even accounting fur the aliens and self shipping, and how our alternate hisstories can affect the pairings pawssible for us
(VRISKA): What a8out the Porrims?
(VRISKA): I remem8er you were having some trou8le finding sta8le pairings for her.
NEPETA: porrim was the key!
NEPETA: purrhaps it s33ms like to be completely finished a shipping chart would have be completely static
NEPETA: but thats not the case
NEPETA: you will always have to account for healthy quadrant vacillation and tempawrary auspisticiships
NEPETA: the real clawpoint of shipping is to find groups of trolls who can furfill each others quadrants so that these changes are predictable and stable
NEPETA: and hopefurry somewhat flexible as well, so that if somebody gets killed or a new purrson is added to the crew everyones relationships arent shattered
NEPETA: luckily if you know the people involved very well none of this will be a surprise!
NEPETA: beclaws the same patterns will happen over and over again in the same ways, furever
(VRISKA): Except for Porrim.
NEPETA: porrim is predictable too
NEPETA: but she follows a slightly yiffurent set of relationship logic
NEPETA: if she enters an existing shipping dynamic, she will disrupt it. but that is not unusual!
NEPETA: anyone new would have to scratch out a place for themselves
NEPETA: it is only that when porrim flips into someones quadrants and displaces the exhissting pairing, she will not stay there
NEPETA: her emotional and physical n33ds musk be met by moving on to other people and their quadrants
NEPETA: and instead of settling into a repeating and stable pattern she will always eventually leave the entire group behind for a mew one!
NEPETA: then the original group might settle back into its purrvious relationships
NEPETA: in fact it probably will!
NEPETA: but sometimes the people she displaced will decide to leave the group ball-together
NEPETA: they will find a new social group to fill their quadrants with, which mewns potentially displacing some of the people from THAT group, and so on
NEPETA: and it will have to k33p happening that way as long as there are porrims to mix things up
(VRISKA): Wow. Sounds like a mess!
(VRISKA): And this made it EASIER to chart out everyone's romantic future?
NEPETA: oh no
NEPETA: nuh uh no way
NEPETA: the opposite!
NEPETA: it made it impussible :33
NEPETA: obsfurvation alone would never never ever be enough to stalk down every potentail shipping outcome
NEPETA: so understanding the full picture meant that furst i had to work backwards and nail down the basic rules
NEPETA: hehehehe! it sounds so silly to say shipping has rules
NEPETA: its not like theres anyone making sure they are followed!
NEPETA: but now that i understand the fundamewntal ways that our friends interact inside their quadrants, our relationships spiral across my shipping charts in the most elegant of purrmewtations
NEPETA: and even better than being elegant, it is accurate!
NEPETA: my pairings evolve excatly the way they would within a dreambubble
NEPETA: if you give me any group's current ships, i can tell you what will happen next fur sure!!! :33
(VRISKA): Pretty neat!
(VRISKA): 8ut hey, if that's true........
(VRISKA): Have you ever tried taking a more active hand, er, paw in the way things turn out?
(VRISKA): Like, if some jerk's in the way, give them just a liiiiiiiittle nudge out of the picture, since you know all the shipping strategies to get things on track to your preferred OTPs?
NEPETA: hehehehe! :DD
NEPETA: you sound like sollux!
(VRISKA): ........I've 8een around approxim8tely 8ight etern8ties, and that's the first time I've ever 8een accused of THAT.
NEPETA: heh! you do though!
NEPETA: i showed a sollux my chart serval times
NEPETA: he agr33s that my shipping logic is locked down!
NEPETA: he said that my pretty future patterns are just like twitchy lines of code, and since i understood them so well i could interfur with the outcome
NEPETA: and if i interfurred enough times I could implmewent a computer based on people's romantic decisions instead of using b33hives or electronics
NEPETA: with so many many ghosts out here, and so so much time, the computer i built could be very very huge!
NEPETA: maybe even huge enough to calculate an entire world? or even more than one world?
NEPETA: purrcats a whole universe could mewmerge out of our choices!
(VRISKA): Hahaha, sure, we can pretend I came up with that suggestion.
(VRISKA): So did you do it? Em8ark on THAT grand project?
NEPETA: of course not!
NEPETA: and i made him purrmise not to either!!
NEPETA: i am rawlways pawsitively kitty to think about the patterns in my charts, but they remane very abstract!
NEPETA: and not real for us in any mewningful way
NEPETA: what matters and IS real are the decisions that we and our friends make!
NEPETA: and just because i can scratch them out in advance
NEPETA: or beclaws back when we were still alive the timeline would hission, with a version of ourselves making each choice
NEPETA: do-scent mean those decisions are any less meaningful for the purrson who made them
NEPETA: i won't swat that away from them!
NEPETA: it's true that our friends do not always choose to end up in my favfurite pairings
NEPETA: and ok i am a little bit sad about that sometimes, but if you can only make your OTP happen by isolating them from the people who were aroarnd them befur, it wouldn't be a relationship with a very strong foundation
NEPETA: it would be terrible to furrce it!
(VRISKA): Yeah! It WOULD 8e terri8le!
(VRISKA): Luckily you and me, we'd n8ver follow through on such an impulse.
(VRISKA): Hahahaha, as if!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): We're waaaaaaaay 8etter than any fucking jack8ss who would do something terri8le like that!!!!!!!!
NEPETA: that is an intense way to put it
(VRISKA): Right! 8ecause we are an int8nse couple of tr8lls!!!!!!!!
NEPETA: that is categorically true
(VRISKA): And, you know, juuuuuuuust 8y the way... since you have the 8ntire future mapped out........
(VRISKA): Did you sneak a peek at the ending?
(VRISKA): Got any spoilers to share?
NEPETA: i mean, i guess so?
NEPETA: but are you thinking of a specific scenario? most of what i could tell you would not be very helpful without a great aboundance of context
(VRISKA): How a8out this one...
(VRISKA): What are the very 8EST endgame ships out there?
(VRISKA): For me. :::;D
NEPETA: oh! i s33
NEPETA: yes fur sure i can tell you that vriskers!
NEPETA: yeah! :33
(VRISKA): So what are they?
(VRISKA): Hey! What's that supposed to mean!
NEPETA: i said what i said! :PP
NEPETA: it's not just you though!
NEPETA: there are many less ghosts in the afterlife than there mewsed to be
NEPETA: and there will only efur be less and less
NEPETA: and less...
NEPETA: the final end state of all shipping is only an empty chart
NEPETA: so our tail ultimately does purrn out to be stable and static, but only in a very boring way
NEPETA: it's much more fun to think about what might happen in the mewnwhile!
NEPETA: :33 i have nefur been pussonally meowrdered by somekitty who pawsn't vriskers so i musk be mewsed to it?
NEPETA: ...is what i would say if i thought it was really her fault, which i do not!
VRISKA: Then you're o8viously thinking like an idiot, so stop doing that and open your fucking eyes.
VRISKA: Lord English is right on our t8il!
NEPETA: yes i know, but he has always been inevitable
NEPETA: you two arriving furst didn't change that
NEPETA: it only means that now i have a decision to make :||
(VRISKA): Uh, what?
(VRISKA): No you don't?
(VRISKA): How is there a decision?
VRISKA: Yeah, I can not 8ELIEVE you're forcing me to agree with the L8SERIEST me a8out SHIT, 8ut I gotta c8ll them like they are.
VRISKA: There's no leaving this 8u88le. Your ghost is going to get 8lown up ex8ctly the w8y it spent an etern8ty floating around in the void........ Doing nothing of consequ8nce!
NEPETA: that is purrobably true
(VRISKA): 8ut I thought........
(VRISKA): I thought we were friends.
NEPETA: we are!
NEPETA: or at least, i think so?
NEPETA: and if we are really furiends, it shouldn't depend on me agreeing with you about everything
NEPETA: not even every impurrtant thing
(VRISKA): 8ut you have to agree with me! You've seen what she's like! You H8VE to!
NEPETA: once you said you trusted me to do the right thing
NEPETA: did you mean that you trusted me to do what i thought was right, or just that i'd do what you wanted
(VRISKA): 8ut I want to help everyone! Like, actu8lly help them, not just ste8mroll everything!
(VRISKA): I've ch8nged!
VRISKA: Hahahaha, get a load of THIS dum8fuck.
VRISKA: Ghosts don't change, you moron. That is KIND OF their whole deal?
VRISKA: Hope your note-taking pen is out and ready for these HOT TIPS!!!!!!!!
(VRISKA): I'm the 8etter Vr8ska. You know th8t I am!
NEPETA: no, i don't know that
VRISKA: YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT!!!!!!!! PUT HER IN HER FUCKING PLAAAAAAAACE!!!!!!!!
NEPETA: better-ness isn't some kind of objective quality that is up to me to judge!
NEPETA: and it definitely wouldn't be based mewely on who i like the most!
NEPETA: afur all, i was grrreatly accomplished compared to most nepetas, but i wasn't a better version of them
NEPETA: because i wasn't who the alpha timeline... who YOUR team needed
(VRISKA): 8ut I am! I am who they n88d!
(VRISKA): The fact the dream8u88les let me find you again proves that I h8ve to 8e!
(VRISKA): Just listen, ok8y, let me--
NEPETA: vriska, maybe there is something that will change my mind
NEPETA: actually, i furry much hope that there is!
NEPETA: but i have already heard what you have to say and i am sorry but it wasn't enough!
NEPETA: i want to hear HER purrspective
(VRISKA): 8ut........ ::::(
VRISKA: TAKE A HINT, 8ITCH!
VRISKA: Hahahaha! You're less p8thetic than I thought, phony Leijon.
VRISKA: You made her sit through that entire irrelevant shipping rant, and now that she's grovelling to turn in the friendship points that should've earned her? You're STILL 8lowing her off so you can spend your last few moments in existence talking to someone who doesn't SUCK SHIT.
VRISKA: So that was your 8iiiiiiiig decision, huh? If you could 8ring yourself to put up with her self indulgent, whiny 8ullshit for even a single additional second?
NEPETA: no, that wasn't it
VRISKA: Hahahahahahahaha, of course not!
VRISKA: 8ecause there was no WAY you were going to hang out with her when *I* am right here!
VRISKA: You know what, I'm glad you're with us. Sure gives ME 8etter company options for the main event! >::::D
VRISKA: I was worried I'd have to feel 8ad a8out you 8eing coll8teral while I take out the trash, 8ut nope! Turns out you GET it!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: You were gonna get erased no matter what.
VRISKA: All the useless dead versions of us are getting cleared out. At least you'll go knowing your dou8le death served a purpose. Finally! After all those pointless eons! What were the odds????????
VRISKA: I 8et you're thanking me.
NEPETA: for something that was going to happen already?
VRISKA: Sure! 'Cause this way you know WHY it's happening.
VRISKA: We'll w8tch my fee8le clone explode together, and then it's 8ack to the living. Well, not for you, o8viously. You'll 8e cheru8 paste!
VRISKA: I'm still really happy you're ok with that, 8y the way. It would sure make this awkward otherwise!!!!!!!!
NEPETA: uh huh
VRISKA: 8ut really, it's a8out time I get 8ack. It was a fun 8r8k, serving up some well deserved face poundings to a sappy wiggler, 8ut everyone is completely fucking useless without me.
VRISKA: The current alpha timeline was just an unspeaka8ly aimless clusterfuck until I showed up.
VRISKA: Well........ I saaaaaaaay it's the alpha timeline, 8ut 8etween you and me? That la8el is pretty much meaningless these days.
VRISKA: The alpha timeline was supposed to 8e the one that fulfills all Sk8ia's major paradox loops, right? Gets the Alternian universe up and esta8lished. Well, gr8!!!!!!!! Achievement unlocked!!!!!!!! You're fucking welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: 8ut now there's a group working on a 8onus game o8jective, and just 8ecause they 8n't metaphysically doomed, suddenly THAT one's the alpha timeline?
VRISKA: Does that make any sense to you?
NEPETA: um... yes?
NEPETA: often when you are playing out a story it will make scents to invent new terminology for concepts in the imaginary world!
NEPETA: but as the story becomes more complex, the meaning of those terms will usually change in subtle ways, beclawse the point is to communicat ideas with the other players whose understanding of the story has also changed, and not to stick with rigid defurnitions when they are no longer useful!
VRISKA: ...Hmm! Well, that is an idea I'll think a8out l8r, defin8tely.
VRISKA: 8ut the correct answer is no! Calling it the alpha timeline doesn't make ANY sense!
VRISKA: Without a destiny cycle guaranteeing us a win, the only thing actually keeping that timeline going is that it has ME in it! I've got irons in SO many fires, AS USUAL.
VRISKA: Once again, I am singlehandedly carrying my team across the finish line, so they can live out their cute little happy endings.
VRISKA: For however long it lasts THIS time around.
VRISKA: And does that make me the Alpha Vriska? Nope! 8ecause I've transcended the very idea of there even 8eing an Alpha Vriska!
VRISKA: I've had allllllll the personal development, got past my juvenile flaws and hangups, and evolved into the very pinnacle of myself!
VRISKA: Or anyone, pro8a8ly!
VRISKA: I guess I can't really 8lame my worthless, disgusting, loser ghost for so88ing into your shoulder a8out how much she wanted to change into a 8etter person. I'd pro8a8ly 8e desper8 for that too.
VRISKA: You know, if I wasn't already me.
VRISKA: Haha, okay then!
VRISKA: So how a8out it?
VRISKA: Did I help you to put in order your mysterious last second ghostly life choices?
i'm guessing you heard about what happened by now. i'm guessing that because karkat went through before i am making this message send, and i'm guessing he has been very loud ever since!!
yes, it is unfortunate, but i will not be joining you in the new universe. which means..... it's MY turn to send YOU a message and then disappear indefinitely under mysteeeeeeeerious circumstances!!!!!!!!
and if i only get one last thing to say to you, i know what it has to be...
you don’t need anyone’s permission to be a good person.
on several occasions, you told me about an incredibly large number of people who you have hurt. i kind of got an impression that you were hoping i’d forgive you on their behalf, but it is not my place to do that. it’s true that many of those people are dead now, or else just really not interested in receiving your amends, and you can’t stop them from continuing to think badly of you.
but so what! somebody thinking you are terrible doesn’t give you permission to BE terrible, any more than somebody forgiving you gives you permission to NOT be terrible. and if your troll society forced you to be cruel... well, that world is gone.
from now on, it only matters what YOU want! and i know that you want to stop doing bad things.
so... stop doing bad things!
that is my very important advice to you.
no other details are required, because you already know the right things to do. if you didn’t have a conscience, you wouldn’t feel guilty about hurting people! yeah, yeah, yeah........ you can make all the clever justifications you like, but you are way too smart and the one person you ain’t ever fooling is yourself.
you will always be an extremely dangerous person, but that just gives you EXTRA power to decide who you want to be!! maybe it is even an important thing to be dangerous sometimes, as long as you treat people well and always remember to be kind.
so just keep on trying to make better choices, one tiny decision at a time, and i know that one day you will realize you are someone who is... truly, deep down, and honestly... happy with being who you are.
it might be a difficult journey and take a very long time, and it is likely that you will fall into old habits sometimes. who doesn't!!! i also can’t promise that you will always have the support of our friends, and i think we both know there won’t be a huge parade waiting for you, with spider themed balloon floats all like "CONGRATS ON NOT BEING AWFUL OR WHATEVER!" to prove to you that you made it.
but vriska, you are one of the strongest people i have ever met, and i know you can do it!
In case you did not decode the last news update's SECRET CLUE.... WhatPumpkin will be at Emerald City Comic Con once again this year!
So if you are in Seattle this April 7-10, you should stop by and say hi, and also purchase many of our fine t-shirts.
And if you aren't a kickstarter backer, this is your chance to play the Hiveswap sneak preview yourself, instead of being stuck watching strangers make silly choices on youtube. And maybe... your chance to play a DIFFERENT sneak preview????
I know what you're wondering, because I've gotten approximately a zillion inquiries about this: will I personally be in Seattle to meet fans this April 7-10, or will I be too busy doing cries into my keyboard?
(That's a trick question btw. Those things are not mutually exclusive.)
Hiveswap update!!!!! Read it here. It is pretty exciting news, I think, and I am unsurprised to discover that you agree with me completely.
Kickstarter backers will have noticed that they've been sent a playable sneak preview, but if that's not you, there MAY still be an opportunity to get your greedy peepers on it? (And by "may" I of course mean "will definitely".)
It's going to be a surprise, but just between me and you and the millions of other people reading this website, I'll let you have a teensy hint. See if you can decipher the SECRET CLUE:
Homestuck will be on pause until next Monday, but seriously who cares about that when you could be finding out about some awesome new MSPA merchandise!
Hey! You! Did you hear that there's awesome new MSPA merchandise?
Maybe you have been dreaming of a shirt that screams into the world's eyeballs that you are one groovy dude who loves Homestuck? (These things are synonyms.)
Wow!!!! Looks like your dreams just got turned into true reality!
But wait! There is something even more guaranteed to blow your mind with it's unbelievable astoundingness. Homestuck panel prints are a thing now!
For many years it's seemed like an impossible idea, since animation effects don't work on paper, and also every Homestuck panel is online anyway?
But our greatest MSPA scientists have been working on the problem non-stop for years, abacuses and slide rules snapping, test-tubalizers being carefully examined under microscopificators, and at last they have sent word over the mail-electronifier that there's been a breakthrough! Homestuck: solved forever!!!!
These are lenticular prints, which you may have seen on movie posters or really neat backpacks? The secret is that, when you move the image, it appears to flip between frames... kind of exactly like an animated gif that just got turned into true reality! What's left that HASN'T been turned into true reality anymore?
Here are some examples you can click on to see how they work, and you can peruse all 12 at the Homestuck store.
I was so blown away by this technological advancement, I immediately set to work making the next Homestuck book entirely out of lenticular images. Finally, it will offer a full and accurate MsPaintAdventures.com experience.
In unrelated news, the next Homestuck book will be 5 feet wide and $10,000 a copy.
Awwwwwwwwww. (Everyone: Awwwwwwwwwwww.) That was adorable!
Make sure and check the credits page to meet all the contributors who just injected a live kitten directly into your heart. (Awwwwwwww!)
I bet this update sure has you feeling smug that you ordered a pack of MSPA Quadrant Day cards in time for YOUR Quadrant Day celebrations!
What's that? You DIDN'T? (Readers who have their life priorities in order, this paragraph isn't meant for you. You may resume feeling smug.) Well, who said that Quadrant Day is February 14th, anyway. Other than me, I guess??? And now I'm saying that the holiday officially occurs 6 to 8 weeks from the moment you chose to gently caress this news post with your wibbling peep orbs.
Whew! Cutting it close, aren't you? Better hurry and order a set RIGHT NOW.