Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 28: The Egbert-Serket Chronicles

Introduction

Part 27 | Part 28Part 29 >

Act 5 Act 2, Part 1 of 32

Pages 2626-2682 (MSPA: 4526-4582)

NOTE: I’m starting a new posting style where I do more commenting as I go and quoting everything I have to say something about rather than these wordy paragraphs and occasional quotes. I also renamed the blog post series to a somewhat more fitting title.

You finally found him. After hours of searching.
No.
SWEEPS of searching.

The opening flash of Act 5 Act 2 is absolutely brilliant. We just got done learning all about how incredibly messed up troll civilization is, and now we go back to the kids’ universe, recapping John’s life, and it seems so magical and beautiful. The scenes with John and his father are so adorably heartwarming, especially baby John riding his pogo and bruising his leg, and his dad walking over to him. He learns to cook and play piano, is taught the ways of pranking, talks to Jade for the first time, gets a green slime shirt, and then starts playing Sburb and goes through some stuff we already saw, until we see where we last saw waking John, riding a rocket board through the Veil. Karkat falls in hate with him, thinking he’s his true destined kismesis (note the spade shirt), which I didn’t realize until now is special for him because he said a little while ago that his standards are too high to have a worthy black partner, barring himself.

Note the early sneak peek of the god tier outfit.

We get to see Karkat’s first time speaking to a human in their famous “first conversation”. I find it interesting how their first conversation is not shown near the end of the kids’ arc, rather at the start of the kids’ portion of Act 5. Maybe this is done for dramatic irony, because John says multiple times that he thinks his first conversation with Karkat will be legendary, but we know how it really goes.

CG: ATTENTION WORTHLESS HUMAN. 
CG: THIS IS YOUR GOD SPEAKING. 
CG: IT IS A WRATHFUL GOD WHO DESPISES YOU MORE THAN YOU COULD HAVE POSSIBLY DARED TO FEAR.
CG: I HAVE WATCHED YOUR ENTIRE PATHETIC LIFE UNFOLD.
CG: I HAVE OBSERVED YOU WHILE YOU WOULD QUAKE AND TREMBLE IN PERSONAL PRAYERS OF SHAME.
CG: WHILE YOU PLEADED FORGIVENESS FOR BEING SUCH A WRETCHED DISGUSTING FAILURE ON EVERY CONCEIVABLE LEVEL.
CG: PROSTRATE BEFORE THE STUPID AND FALSE CLOWN GODS YOU HAVE SCRIBBLED ON THE WALLS OF YOUR BLOCK.
CG: BOGUS DEITIES WORSHIPED BY A PRIMITIVE “PARADISE” PLANET.
CG: BUT YOUR PRAYERS WILL NOT BE ANSWERED.
CG: THERE ARE NO MIRACLES IN STORE FOR YOU, HUMAN.
CG: ONLY MY HATE.
CG: IT IS A HATE SO PURE AND HOT IT WOULD CONSUME YOUR SAD UNDERDEVELOPED HUMAN THINK PAN TO EVEN CONTEMPLATE.
CG: IT IS A HATE THAT TO FATHOM MUST BE PUT INTO SONG.
CG: SHRIEKED BY THE TEN THOUSAND ROWDY SHOUT SPHINCTERS PEPPERING THE GRUESOME UNDERBELLY OF THE MOST TRUCULENT GOD THE FURTHEST RING CAN MUSTER.
CG: IT IS A HATE THAT MADE YOU AND WILL SURELY DESTROY YOU.
CG: MY HATE IS THE LIFEBLOOD THAT PULSES THROUGH THE VEINS OF YOUR UNIVERSE.
CG: IT IS MY GIFT TO YOU.
CG: YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THAT.
CG: YOU UNGRATEFUL PIECE OF SHIT. 
EB: hi karkat! 

John and Karkat’s first conversation opens with Karkat giving this whole dramatic poetic speech about his incredible hate for John, until John absolutely ruins the moment, simply by saying, “hi karkat!” I love how this simple greeting is an extreme moment killer.

CG: WHAT 
CG: HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME. 
EB: oh man.
EB: this is it, isn’t it?
EB: i’ve been looking forward to this!
CG: WHAT IS IT.
CG: ME HATING YOU IS WHAT’S IT.
CG: IF THAT’S WHAT YOU MEAN, YEAH, BINGO.
EB: no, i mean this is the first conversation between us, from your perspective.
EB: right? 

John being really casual and friendly to Karkat shocks the hell out of him. Part of the deal with John is how he always keeps things lighthearted unless something dumb pisses him off or if it’s something really seriously sad.

CG: AND WHY WOULD I HELP YOU AND YOUR IDIOT FRIENDS? 
CG: I WOULD JUST BE HELPING YOU BLUNDER DOWN THE PATH THAT ENDS WITH YOU OPENING THE RIFT LIKE A BUNCH OF MORONS. 
EB: you mean the scratch?
CG: WHATEVER.
EB: yes! that is the plan.
EB: you yourself said it was the only hope now. 

This conversation has quite a few hints of future events; these hints are everywhere in Homestuck and are a driving force for its mystery arc stuff. I think mystery arcs might also be why this conversation was shown to us so early.

EB: anyway, hey! 
EB: i thought this was supposed to be the conversation where you do all that AMAAAAAZING TROLLING! 
EB: come on bro, flame me!
EB: i have been really excited about this.
CG: YOU ACTUALLY WANT ME TO TROLL YOU?
CG: I MEAN
CG: DON’T WORRY, I CAN AND I WILL, AND IT WILL BE A GODDAMN BLOODBATH WHEN I GET STARTED.
CG: IT’S JUST KIND OF WEIRD YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT IT, IS THAT NORMAL FOR YOUR RACE?
EB: um…
EB: i don’t know, probably not.
EB: i just think it’s kind of funny when you do it. 

I just love how weird it sounds for John to want Karkat to troll him. But instead of trolling John, Karkat makes it obvious that he has black feelings for him, but John turns him down with his famous line:

EB: well… 
EB: i just didn’t really have any idea that you had any sort of feelings like that, so i am kind of caught off guard. 
CG: WHAT FEELINGS, THERE ARE NO FEELINGS, END OF DISCUSSION.
EB: hey, i don’t have a problem with your weird sort of alien hate-love thing!
EB: it is just that, uh…
CG: WHAT
EB: i am not a homosexual.

It’s not uncommon for readers to argue that John was joking about it and actually is bisexual or something, or that it’s a cover-up thing, but I think John is being completely honest here. Also, the way he put it is pretty funny. Karkat doesn’t know what it means to be homosexual and finds it weird that humans have a word for that, which I think is the first confirmation that trolls are generally bisexual. This might be an alright time to talk about the kids’ sexualities and the problems and imbalances regarding how they are (or aren’t) presented *coughDavecough*, but I don’t really feel like it.

EB: anyway, i kind of got the impression that you and terezi were a thing. 

As if the conversation wasn’t hilariously awkward enough. As usual Karkat goes ballistic at this claim and says it’s none of John’s business. Amusingly John seems to think they’re in hate romance, but Karkat says that if they were a thing it definitely wouldn’t be that quadrant. Even more amusing is John’s following line, “oh god, the quadrants…”

EB: karkat, i am going to be honest… 
EB: this first conversation is not going how i thought it would at all! 
EB: it is really kind of… 
EB: awkward. 

It’s weird imagining this first conversation going the way John thought. Maybe Karkat uses terms for troll organs or something to talk about how stupid John is and John just laughs and Karkat gets angry at how John’s laughing and John laughs even more, ad infinitum?

CG: OK, LOOK.
CG: LET’S JUST AGREE TO NEVER BRING IT UP AGAIN.
CG: THE STUFF I WAS BABBLING ABOUT EARLIER.
EB: yeah, well we never really talked about it in the past, so i guess we do agree to that.

The funny thing is, three years later Karkat would freely recount that moment with John as if it wasn’t that embarrassing at all. He does say he’s put all that stuff behind him, but still.

CG: BUT IF I TALK TO YOU AGAIN
CG: IN YOUR FUTURE, LIMITED THOUGH IT IS
CG: YOU’LL REMEMBER MY EMBARRASSING SHIT
CG: SO I GUESS
CG: I’LL HAVE TO TROLL YOU BACKWARDS?
EB: told you bro!!!!!!!
EB: hahahaha.

It’s pretty amusing how Karkat says it makes no sense for him to troll John backwards but ends up doing so anyway. When he finally decides to start flaming John, he says he’s out of time, and says “see you soon”, which is yet another one of those mystery arc hints.

Up next is another funny memo started by Terezi instead of Karkat. Unlike Karkat, Terezi decided to make her memos free for everyone to post on except for Karkat; she mentioned this in a previous conversation. I think this shows a difference between her and Karkat: Karkat is uptight and wants it to be about people listening to him, while Terezi is a lot more laid back and social. Terezi asks everyone to give their input on trolling the humans, but Karkat from the past repeatedly gets on the memo and is banned from it each time. The other trolls have pretty varied reactions to the plan:

CAC: :33 < *the especially impurrtant pouncellor looks really serious and thoughtful as she scoots her chair out from under the official courty looking table and begins to pace around thoughtfurry* 
CAC: :33 < *she doesnt understand why 
CAC: :33 < i dont understand why we are doing this!
CAC: :33 < what was the point again? 


CTA: ii already told KK what ii thought about thii2 awful iidea. 

CTA: iit ju2t make2 NO 2en2e, you can count me out. 
CTA: you all can troll the2e iincompetent aliien2 all you want, iit won’t change anythiing.
CTA: ii’ll ju2t be over here waiitiing two diie wiith diigniity, ok well maybe iit’2 two late for that, but ju2t diie ii gue22, and y’all can 2uck iit biitche2. 


CAA: i will n0t be participating 


CCC: I still don’t quite understand t)(e plan eit)(er. 

CCC: I mean, I don’t really mind talking to t)(em! It could be fun and t)(ey look interesting. 
CCC: But I really don’t t)(ink t)(is is all t)(eir fault.
CCC: Can’t we say nice t)(ings to t)(em instead of troll t)(em?
CCC: Maybe even )(-ELP t)(em! 38) 

Many of them clearly aren’t really into this whole plan—ironic given that they were first introduced as some rude Internet trolls. Terezi said so in an exchange with Davesprite. Then Karkat comes in and he and Terezi start mashing each other’s keyboards and arguing.

CAG: Do you guys realize you are sharing a key8oard and taking turns to argue with each other? 
CAG: That is kind of cute. ::::) 
CTA: yeah ii hate to 2ay iit, but iit really 2ort of ii2. 

This makes at least two trolls who think Karkat and Terezi are cute together; Karkat, as usual, denies it. I always think moments like this, where a character (especially one who isn’t much into “cute” things) ships two others, are pretty amusing. Terezi’s about to end the memo until she and Karkat from the future respond, reasurring past Terezi and saying that he’ll be sick respectively, and the memo ends.

We don’t get too much plot stuff out of the memo. I think the point of it was to give a feel for what Terezi’s memos are like, and to confirm that all twelve trolls are still up and about.

He was that close.

Then we pick up John’s arc from where we left off. His first command is “Land already”, fitting given that for the last 600-odd pages we last saw him flying on a rocket board. Vriska tries to manipulate him and ends up cutting short a reunion between him and his father. I like how the first thing Vriska does to a human inadvertently ruins a heartfelt reunion, and how the Skaian clouds remind readers what we last saw the other three kids doing. It’s easy to forget how frequently Skaian clouds are used as information devices to readers in this act with all those sequences of John walking around Skaia.

AG: Joooooooo 
AG: oooooooo 
AG: oooooooo
AG: oooooooo
AG: oooooooo
AG: oooooooo
AG: oooooooo
AG: oooooooohn!
AG: W8ke up!!!!!!!!
EB: heheh. i am pronouncing that like a really long “june”. 
EB: that is so many o’s.
AG: It is 8ight groups of 8ight. I specifically counted them.
AG: It’s sort of a thing I do.
EB: you typed my name in 64 bit.
AG: Wow. What a nerd! 

This is the start of Vriska’s first conversation with John, the start of their dynamic which I promised a while back would warrant much analysis. Vriska’s first impression of John is that he’s a nerd, but John remembers talking to her months back, noting that she threatened to kill him.

EB: since one of you already managed to trick me into getting myself killed. 
EB: well, in another timeline at least. 
AG: Man.
AG: That was pro8a8ly Terezi! I should have known she would pull something like that. What a meddler.
EB: terezi?
AG: Yes. The pesky 8lind troll who licks her monitor and smells words and stuff. The one who got you killed. I’m sure of it! 
EB: huh. it never really occurred to me to ask what your names are. 
EB: kinda rude of me! 
EB: what is yours?
AG: Marquise Spinneret Mindfang. ::::)
EB: man, that sounds so made up!
EB: but if you say so, marquise. 
AG: Spinneret! Marquise is a title, stupid. 
EB: oh, ok. 

This is the first time John learns the name of one of the trolls. I don’t personally think it was that rude not to ask the names of the trolls; lots of people on the Internet, including myself, don’t share their real names. Then again the impetus for withholding one’s name—strangers rummaging through your personal information and potentially committing crimes on you—is virtually absent here. I also find it interesting how when Vriska first interacts with the humans she makes up a fake name for herself but freely mentions the names of the other trolls. Even though a bit later she admits that isn’t her name but refuses to tell him her real name.

EB: ok, i will be sure to let my guard down. 
EB: psyche!!!!!!!!! 
EB: oh damn, that was 9 !’s. 
EB: !!!!!!!1 
EB: shit! 
EB: never mind. 

I didn’t realize until now that John already did (or at least tried to do) the so-called “Vriska thing” in his first (technically second) conversation with her.

AG: You can’t sleep now, John! 
AG: What a8out J8de???????? 
EB: oh god, i forgot! 
EB: poor jade… 😦 
EB: i hope she is alright. 
AG: She’s fine. I can see her right now! 
AG: 8ut she will not 8e for long if you don’t get her into your session. 
EB: yeah, you’re right. 
EB: i have to hurry and go save her! 
EB: see ya! 
AG: Wait!!!!!!!! 
AG: Where the hell do you think you’re going to go? You don’t even have your copy of the game yet! 
EB: oh yeah… 
EB: duh, stupid stupid dumb. 
EB: do you know where i am supposed to get it? 
AG: Easy! Just w8 around for a few minutes. 
EB: hmm… 
EB: ok? 

Likewise, Vriska already starts guiding John in her first time talking to him, and she also already says exactly why:

AG: See, John? You need me to advance. 
AG: Even though you were going to do this stuff anyway, it turns out I am the reason you were going to do it anyway in the first place! 
AG: Your timeline is my we8, and suddenly you are all tangled up in it, wriggling and helpless. 
AG: Isn’t that cooooooool???????? 

This right here is the other Vriska thing: taking any opportunity to be the one responsible for important things. She’s going to be doing a lot of that in this act.

It took so damn long.

John finally gets his second disc of the game we knew about since page one of Homestuck … after over two and a half thousand pages. There’s quite a few things in Homestuck that once would expect to happen early on that happen quite late. Some other examples are face-to-face conversations between regular characters shown without any fancy methods (after all the kids become god tier), and the four beta kids all gathering together (doesn’t happen until Caliborn’s Masterpiece, and if that doesn’t count, it happens a bit thereafter but with Jade asleep). Even the alpha kids all gather together long before the beta kids do.

I like the ominous black Z bubble.

Jade lands already, just like John does. Bec saves her from falling to death, and she falls asleep again. The black Z bubble, which I didn’t notice differs from the usual Z bubble until now, is some pretty nice foreshadowing of dreaming in the Furthest Ring. WV? sees that all his soldiers are dead, and notices the ring in the river of blood. Then we switch to John again.

EB: jade is not answering! 
EB: are you sure she’s ok? 
AG: She’s asleep! 
AG: She sure seems to sleep a lot. She sort of reminds me of my goo8er teamm8. 
AG: He napped through most of the adventure, and was practically useless. 
EB: oh… 
EB: you mean carcino geneticist? 
AG: Hahahaha, no way! Karkat is so up tight, he hardly slept a wink over the whole 600 hour span of our quest. 
AG: He didn’t even wake up on the moon until AFTER we won the game, hahahahahahahaha. 
AG: What a loser. 
EB: heheh. car cat. that is how i am saying that. 
EB: beep beep, meow! 
EB: i will have to remember to give him a hard time about that. 
AG: John, you are pretty weird! I can see why you would piss him off so much. 
EB: it is really not hard to do that. 
AG: Tell me a8out it! 

Here, in the continuation of their first conversation, we see John bonding with Vriska over how easily Karkat is set off. Also now we know how John knows Karkat’s name.

EB: i never even saw prospit. 
EB: aside from flaming bits and pieces of it i guess. 
EB: something happened, and it blew up, and dream jade died, and then i was wandering around this place that was like a chess board with a huge crater in it, with loads of dead black and white guys everywhere. 
AG: Yes, I know all that! That place is the 8attlefield, which is where your dream self lives now. You will appear there any time you go to sleep. 
AG: Prospit dreamers are supposed to end up there eventually. If they’re any good, that is. ::::) 
AG: 8ut you got there so much sooner. Normally a dreamer’s journey to the 8attlefield will not 8e so spectacularly sudden and violent. Meteoric, if you will! 

What’s weird is we never see a typical example of such a journey. Do Prospit dreamers typically fly there or alchemize wings or build bridges or something? This reminds me again of how much stuff in the troll session is skipped over.

EB: the funny thing is, he is not even really my dad. 
EB: i mean, i was adopted by him, although we are not actually unrelated, i think. 
EB: he is the son of my grandmother, who isn’t really my grandmother… 
EB: nanna is sort of like my biological mother, and my biological father would be jade’s grandpa, sorta. 
EB: both of which i just created, with slime and stuff, and sent back in time as babies. 
EB: so i guess, if anything, that makes my dad… 
EB: my half brother??? 
AG: ::::\ 
EB: tell me about it!

You’d think John would be more weirded out by this revelation. But no, instead he freaks out about company he irrationally hates making a candy he loves.

EB: but i know where i’m going! 
EB: terezi already made me a map. 
AG: What!!!!!!!! 
EB: first she made a really crappy one, then a really nice one that works kind of like google. 
EB: she started helping me after she tried to kill me. 
AG: Ugh. She is still trying to one up me I see. Even preempting my awesome helpfulness! 
AG: When did she do that? I mean from my perspective? Do you think she already did it, or hasn’t done it yet? 

Not sure whether this is actually Terezi’s motives or classic Vriska misconceptions.

EB: you mean like a candle light hate date? 
AG: God, no!!!!!!!! With a human? Gross. 

This line is a bit weird because usually romance between trolls and humans isn’t generally seen as particularly weird. For example, neither John nor Roxy think that Rose and Kanaya being together is the slightest bit weird. I think we are to presume that trolls and humans are very anatomically similar, even though baby trolls are apparently insects and many people’s troll biology headcanons are pretty bizarre. Only Karkat is set off by the prospect of trolls smooching humans, which I guess can be attributed to how practically everything sets him off.

AG: You won’t win? Says who????????? 
EB: you guys. 
EB: it is practically all you ever say. 
AG: Well, ok yes, you are screwed. And so are we. 
AG: 8ut so what! 
AG: Just 8ecause you are going to fail doesn’t mean it won’t 8e any fun along the way! 
AG: 8y the looks of things, you have a very exciting 24 hours ahead of you. 
AG: It’ll 8e one hell of a reckoning!

Despite the whole inevitable failure thing, Vriska won’t pass up a chance to involve herself in relevant stuff.

AG: That form prepares Skaia to grow the new universe you will cre8te. 
AG: Or in this case, fail to cre8te. 8ut whatever! 
AG: That is no reason to deter you from completing worthwhile game o8jectives. 
EB: we are supposed to create a universe? 
AG: Yeah! You didn’t realize that yet? 
EB: no! 
AG: 8oy. How clueless can you get. 
EB: why are we supposed to do that? 
AG: What a stupid question! It is the point of the game. It’s what happens when you win, and winning is the only point of anything. 

Dammit, pretty much everything Vriska has said so far in this post makes me think “classic Vriska”.

EB: well to be honest, i never really believed any of your guys’s doom and gloom nonsense. 
EB: not because i think you are lying… 
EB: i just feel like there must still be a way to win! 

And a bit of classic John as well. This right here exemplifies John’s attitude to the world. None of the four kids actually give up when they find out that they’ll fail somehow.

This is what happened to the starting location of Homestuck.

John returns to his room to see it ruined by the imps. I remember getting to this point in my first read, reading that John must get his hands on a new computer somehow, and I never got to a point where I thought, oh, this is when John gets his hands on a new computer like the narration promised. This sequence feels kind of like a throwback to Act 1 with these pixelated zoom-ins to faces of posters, not to mention that John is commanded to examine his room, the same command he’s given at the very beginning of Homestuck.

AG: John, why are you standing around wasting time???????? 
EB: um, i don’t know. you can see my future, can’t you? 
EB: how much time am i wasting? 
AG: Enough to make me wonder what the hell your deal is! 
EB: then i would venture to guess i am wasting time because you chose to pester me just now! 
AG: Dammit, John. 
AG: Stop sounding smarter than me. It is un8ecoming of someone so inferior. 

I like how John one-ups Vriska without even trying. Dave and Rose would OWN her should she have chosen to talk to them. They do eventually talk to Vriska, but it’s after three years of knowing her; both think of her as kind of a tool but put up with her. Why didn’t she at all talk to any of the other kids? I suppose she wanted someone impressionable to meddle with, leaving Dave and Rose out of the question, and Jade is probably eliminated because she reminds her of Tavros who she already tried and failed to “improve”.

EB: i mean, i was just pausing for a moment… 
EB: to look at my trashed movie posters. 
EB: they bring back memories, of a life that i guess is long gone now. 
EB: but you probably know what that is all about. 
AG: Yeah, I know. 
EB: it wasn’t even that long ago, but it already seems like forever since i was on earth! 
EB: it was a pretty nice place, i bet you would have liked it. 

I guess John feels the same way I do about this segment.

EB: this one here is so great. it is about this street tough renegade who did hard time behind bars, and wants nothing more in the world than to reunite with his loving wife and daughter. but not so fast! he has to go on crazy and dangerous escapades through the sky with a motley assortment of rogues led by john malkovich, who is wise to cage’s heroic nature and pure heart. they tether a grumpy police man’s awesome car to the plane and smash it, and then later they crash into some casinos. cage gets out of the wreckage and hugs his family, and i usually tear up a little. 
EB: that is my working troll title for the movie, i hope it was ok. 

I like when characters speak in paragraphs like this. I also like how John made up a troll title for his favorite movie. I also like how he stops what he’s doing to tell a random troll about his glorious movies.

AG: Your pail is showing, stupid!!!!!!!!
EB: my pail? 
EB: you mean this bucket here? 
AG: Yes! Come on, will you take a hint and show some decorum???????? 
EB: umm… 
EB: i’m really not following. what do you have against buckets?
AG: Man! Nothing, really. It’s just…….. 
AG: Ok, may8e humans don’t really have any sense of shame over this sort of thing? 
EB: shame over what? 
EB: it’s just a bucket! you know, for putting soapy water in and cleaning stuff with. 
EB: why, what do trolls use them for? 
AG: Oh. 
AG: Haha, yeah, of course! 
AG: That’s what I was talking a8out. Your cleaning 8ucket. 
AG: In troll culture we consider cleaning products to 8e really indecent or something! 
AG: I am 8lushing furiously a8out it right now. Please try to 8e sensitive to my cultural ways and understandings. 

This is the first instance of the infamous bucket gag. Homestuck is known for that joke—it’s one of the things most popularly associated with it, a bit below the trolls themselves. I can’t help but wonder what trolls use to carry liquids around instead of buckets. Probably some goofy slime pod thing. Also Vriska is a terrible liar; nobody would sincerely end a statement about people’s social conventions with “or something”. But John buys it anyway.

John goes to his balcony and sees imps trashing his house, one of whom is carrying a broom. Here’s his reaction to the broom:

Oh no, more embarrassing cleaning apparatus. You’ve got to hide it before Sekret Spinneret or whatever her name is sees it and gets upset.

This narration line tells us that after conversing with Vriska for not too long, he already doesn’t want to upset her. By this point he clearly has warmed up to the trolls and realized that they’re beings with regular feelings so I suppose that’s why he does that.

I really like these perspective views.

John looks up to see his house built way up and talks to Rose about it. This is the first conversation between two humans in—hang on let me do a quick search—over 800 pages. Holy shit.

EB: hey rose! 
TT: Hi. 
EB: how are you doing? i don’t even remember the last time we talked. 
EB: i have been so busy. 
EB: and it looks like you have been too. 
EB: i mean, hopy shit! 
EB: my house is HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE! 
TT: Actually, building up your house has been one of the more trivial ways I’ve passed the time. 
TT: Great swaths of the structure may be copied and pasted with little architectural consideration. 
TT: I’ve only bothered to do so while in contemplation. 
TT: It’s relaxing. 

I can imagine that doing such repetitive patterns of building would be relaxing like Rose says.

TT: We have a lot of grist. 
EB: how much? 
TT: I don’t recall any hard figures off hand. 
TT: Last I checked, more than a million units of several different types. 
TT: Torrented between the three of us. 
EB: torrented? 
TT: Shared, through an application. 
TT: I unlocked the disc from your registry, and deployed it. 
TT: I convinced your nanna to install it on your computer. 
TT: Before an imp threw it out the window, that is. 

Rose is here catching John up on the game. It’s like the stage of video games where you have millions of these currency units and stuff but aren’t anywhere near the final goal, if that makes sense. Also, how did Rose talk to Nannasprite? I think in Act 2 Rose has said stuff that indicates that she could somehow see John’s conversations with Nannasprite, so maybe it’s however she knows it? Did she read their lips as she watched their conversations or does the game let you listen to the sound of whatever you’re viewing or what? Does she alchemize paper notes for Nannasprite to read and deploy them from there? It’s probably not an important detail but I still can’t help but wonder.

EB: what’s up with the alchemiter? 
EB: it looks weird. 
TT: Upgrades. 
EB: did you get nanna to do that too? 
TT: No, your consorts were utilized for that. 
EB: the salamanders?? 
TT: Yes. They seem eager to receive simple instruction. 
TT: I’m guessing they find their way back to your house to allow the client player to remain productive while the server player is away. 

Again, how did she contact the salamanders? Was it the same way she talked to Nannasprite or something else? Does the game just have an interface that allows you to input thoughts into people’s heads like an exile?? I don’t even know.

EB: and then i cloned some slime babies in the veil. 
TT: Did you? 
EB: yes. um… 
EB: ok, long story short is, jade is my slime clone sister, and dave is your slime clone brother, and we were all born today! 
TT: Yes. 
EB: yes? 
TT: I figured that out. 

She must have somehow found it out in books she read in her planet or something. This conversation has really been giving me a vibe of Rose suddenly being omniscient or something.

EB: rose, i am fairly sure i saw your mom! 
TT: You did? 
TT: Are you sure it was her? 
EB: well, it was a nice and proper looking lady, with a pink scarf, so… 
EB: i dunno, who else would that be! 
TT: That was likely her. 
TT: How was she? 
EB: fine, i guess… 
EB: she was with my dad. 
TT: That’s interesting. 
EB: yeah! 
TT: Did she seem happy? 
EB: happy? 
EB: wow, i dunno. 
EB: i don’t really know her well enough to say, i guess? 
EB: plus, i was a little distracted. 
EB: maybe i will find out next time i go to sleep. 

Although Rose’s reaction to John seeing her mom is surprisingly deadpan, she does take a moment to ask if she “seemed happy”. This must mean that she’s concerned about her mother’s emotional state, which I think matches up with what she later says about her when she finds out her mom died.

EB: now stop being so spookily mysterious and tell me what you’ve been doing! 
TT: Investigating, mostly. 
EB: investigating what? 
TT: Everything there is to investigate. 
TT: Information hidden in the lore of our lands, concealed in ruins and riddles. 
TT: I’m looking for whatever there is to discover about the game, and more importantly, whatever exceeds its boundaries. 
TT: The cloaked traces of myth beyond its scope. 
EB: its scope? 
EB: oh, rose, did you know that we are supposed to be creating a universe with this game? 
TT: Yes. 
EB: i think that’s pretty neat! 
TT: It is, in principle. 
TT: But it won’t happen. 
EB: so you believe the trolls then? 
TT: It’s not a matter of believing them. 
TT: The writing is on the wall. Literally. 
EB: it is? 
TT: This session was never meant to bear fruit. 
TT: It’s barren, so to speak. 

This is definitely how Rose knows everything. It’s interesting that while we resume John and Jade’s arcs from right when we left off, we resume Rose’s arc at a point some time after what they were up to at the end of Act 4, and as we learn a little later the same goes for Dave. Rose in particular seems to have gathered a lot of information offscreen. Hussie once noted this disparity on his Formspring. I think this might tie in with Prospit/Derse duality, where Derse stuff is generally more mysterious than its Prospit counterpart. For example, the Derse trolls all get less screen time than the Prospit trolls, and far less is known about the Derse kids’ cross-scratch childhoods than those of the Prospit kids.

EB: that’s a bit of a bummer! 
EB: i am still skeptical about that, though. 
TT: That’s why you’re our leader, John. 
EB: huh? 
TT: Optimism through stalwart skepticism is a defect not everyone is lucky enough to be cursed with. 
EB: that’s stupid. 
EB: i’m not your leader, i am your FRIEND, there is a BIG difference! 
TT: Statements like that are also why you’re our leader. 
EB: pff.
EB: laaaaaaaame.

This memorable bit is reiterated a few times. It exemplifies a bit about John with how he refuses to believe all this fate stuff. Also, this is the first time John successfully does the Vriska thing. It’s interesting how it doesn’t take long at all for Vriska to rub off on him.

EB: so, if you’re sure that we are going to fail… 
EB: what is the point of everything we’re doing? 
TT: Simple. 
TT: The objective is no longer to win. 
EB: um… 
EB: i mean, what are we actually shooting for here? 
TT: To do as much damage to the game as possible. 
TT: To rip its stitches and pry answers from the seams. 
TT: We will snatch purpose from the jaws of futility. 
TT: Are you ready to wreak some havoc, John? 
EB: i suddenly don’t understand anything.

And here comes the start of Rose’s massive brazen mission to break the game, the start of what she spends almost this whole act doing. Her plan for success says a good deal about her character: she wants to go against the irritating forces of the game, which she perceives as outright malevolent.

This is a good stopping point because the next pages show us what Rose is up to, after a good stretch of pages focusing on John. It’s not quite in the neighborhood of 100 pages, but this post is getting pretty long with all this quoted stuff so I’ll stop here. Seriously, it’s pretty long to scroll through, despite only half the words or so being commentary rather than quoted stuff. I think this new posting style warrants fewer pages covered per post, so expect posts covering 50-80 pages or something like that.

See you next time as Rose does stuff. Next post will likely be three weeks to a month from now, because my school schedule next semester looks pretty complicated and it may be pretty hectic sorting things out, but once I’ve got everything I’ll definitely be able to do this blog again.

>> Part 29: Crazy Destruction and Laptop Reunions

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