Act 5 Act 2, Part 19 of 32
Pages 3438-3478 (MSPA: 5338-5378)
NOTE: I’m really sorry about the late post today. Walkaround games always take a good while to write commentary on because I need to capture pictures and use online transcripts and everything. To make up for it, this post is a pretty long one.
It’s time for a third troll walkaround, this time focused on Equius and Nepeta. The main point of this walkaround is to give those two trolls a decent final scene before they bite the dust. And their dialogue really does flesh out both of them. Arguably it’s bad that they got some heavy dialogue and then promptly got offed, but Hussie said that if they didn’t get any such parting dialogue the complaint would be that they got no parting dialogue.
(Equius, talk about Aradia)
NEPETA: :33 < *ms leijon pawnders over whether mr zahhak is still feeling blue over his depurrted robo sw33heart and n33ds more ch33ring up*
EQUIUS: D –> Mr Zahhak, I mean I, will probably be feeling b100 about that for some time, yes
EQUIUS: D –> But he is, darn it, I am, e%ceptionally STRONG and will cope with it admirably
EQUIUS: D –> Even though
EQUIUS: D –> She didn’t even say goodbye for some reason
Previously, it was rather bittersweet to see robotic Aradia make her (thought to be) final goodbyes to her dear friend Sollux rather than the creep who programmed her to love him. But here, we get some sympathetic dialogue out of Equius: he is sad that she didn’t say goodbye, suggesting that despite his fetishes he really does care about her. This is really fitting with the whole parting dialogue theme.
(Equius, talk about Gamzee)
EQUIUS: D –> Nepeta, I think it would behoove us to address the e%treme danger in a serious manner
NEPETA: :33 < you mean about gamz33? h33h33!
NEPETA: :33 < im still not sure if i can believe it!
EQUIUS: D –> That’s because you still refuse to 100k upon our b100dlines as the deciding behoovioral factors they are
NEPETA: :33 < behoovioral? :??
EQUIUS: D –> Behavioral
EQUIUS: D –> Sorry, my heart is galloping and I canter nunciate properly
EQUIUS: D –> The horst case scenario is upon us
NEPETA: :33 < *snort* X33
EQUIUS: D –> His is the richest and most noble b100d possible among the high land dwellers
EQUIUS: D –> As such, he is prone to being more violent and unpredictable than any of us
Here’s another bone thrown to Equius: he is shown to have legitimate useful knowledge through his unhealthily internalized blood caste stuff. Even though most of the trolls don’t care about the blood castes, he really has a point when he says that Gamzee’s high blood makes him violent and unpredictable.
EQUIUS: D –> Not everyone has been as lucky as I in the domain of moirallegiance
EQUIUS: D –> I udder to think what I might be without you, Nepeta
NEPETA: :33 < udder?
EQUIUS: D –> Shudder
NEPETA: :33 < oh! thats so sw33t equius, you know i will always be ready to tacklepounce you when you start getting especially furrious :33
EQUIUS: D –> Yes, which is among the reasons why I must make your prote%ion a high priority
Equius really truly does care about Nepeta, which, even though it was quite clear from the start, is only now emphasized as care that goes beyond his submission and bossing nonsense.
Also, Equius is suggesting that without Nepeta on his side, he may too be among the murderer trolls, which makes sense. After all, when you sort the trolls the way they’re normally sorted (by zodiac signs starting with Aradia, or equivalently by blood color putting Karkat between Sollux and Nepeta)*, Equius is sandwiched between the murderous trolls, with Feferi on top breaking the pattern.
* Thing of the day I find insufferable: when people order the trolls Karkat, Aradia, Tavros… it’s just not the way they’re supposed to be ordered and feels really un-knowledgeable about the story. And yet a lot of serious fans do that.
(Equius, be Nepeta)
EQUIUS: D –> I will now seek the highb100d, Nepeta
EQUIUS: D –> I command you to go hide, as we di%ussed
NEPETA: :33 < sure!
NEPETA: :33 < but there are lots of nuts on the loose out there, so dont stick your neck out and take any big frisks!
EQUIUS: D –> I will e%act caution, even when safety 100% to be 100% assured
EQUIUS: D –> Even so
EQUIUS: D –> I would still like to take the opportunity to say
NEPETA: :33 < what?
EQUIUS: D –> Goodbye
NEPETA: :33 < …
NEPETA: :33 < well ok, goodbye!
NEPETA: :33 < but you had better believe i will s33 you again soon, equius!
EQUIUS: D –> Yes, you will
OH MY GOD THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY SAD. Even if you’re not rereading and don’t know that they’re going to die, poignancy in these goodbyes is very much there and it isn’t hard to guess that at least one of them will die.
(Nepeta, suggest one last feelings jam)
NEPETA: :33 < besides, i know for a FACT that you are still f33ling b100 (h33h33) from losing aradia
EQUIUS: D –> I suppose
NEPETA: :33 < i did not mention, but i think i should…
NEPETA: :33 < it may purrk you up to know that i had a dream about her during my last catnap!
EQUIUS: D –> You did
NEPETA: :33 < yes, she had these purrty wings and a splendid hood, i think she might have b33n cosplaying much like friska has b33n!
Apparently Nepeta thinks the god tier outfits are cosplay outfits. This may match with the theme of Nepeta being kind of like a parody of fans.
EQUIUS: D –> Uh huh
NEPETA: :33 < she was so happy, just like she used to be, and she said she would s33 you soon!
EQUIUS: D –> That’s a nice thought, and thank you for sharing it
EQUIUS: D –> But it was only a dream, and will surely have no consequence in reality
Did Equius never realize that the dreams on Prospit and Derse are actually real things that happened? This may also be something that matches with a recurring theme in the comic: the trolls never got around to fully understanding the game they were in.
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *I, a mu%ular man who is clearly a feline-obsessed female at the moment, do something suitably cat-like in accordance with the nature of this juvenile theatrical amusement*
NEPETA: :33 < D –> *STRONG EQUIUS NO LIKE HISS-POOR ATTEMPT AT ROLEPLAY, ALSO DISAPPROVES OF MISSED OPPURRTUNITY TO SPELL AMUSEMENT AS AMEWSMENT*
EQUIUS: D –> That’s not how I talk
NEPETA: :33 < D –> *EQUIUS COMMAND STRONG MEOWSCULAR CAT GIRL TO GET INTO ROLE BETTER* B33
EQUIUS: D –> Oh good grief
NEPETA: :33 < D –> *HE COMMANDS IT!!!!!!!!!*
EQUIUS: D –> Fine
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *I, again as a lithe clawed female wearing a preposterous hood, I mean prepawsterous, strike a supine posture on the floor, darn it, pawsture*
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *The e%posed belly commands to be scratched*
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *It commands it, do as it says*
NEPETA: :33 < D –> *RAWR, HULKING BRUTE NO OBEY COMMAND, TOO STRONG FOR TOUCHY CUDDLY STUFF PURR USUAL!* BPP
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *The scruffy haired, saucer eyed smart alec takes issue with the tone of the girl currently posing as said hulking brute*
EQUIUS: D –> :33 < *She/he wonders if he/she appurreciates that the pawerful nobleman currently meow%querading as her/him would be more than happy to accommeowdate said cuddly stuff, outrageous STRONGNESS purrmitting*
NEPETA: :33 < :\\\\
OK this may well be one of the most pointless conversations in the comic. Not that it shouldn’t be there, just that it has no story relevance. It’s obviously just there for the sake of silliness. I mean, what’s funnier than Nepeta pretending to be this brutal strong guy only for the strong guy himself to tell her that’s not how he talks?
I can’t ignore silliness like that, but sometimes you just gotta point out that the comic oftentimes has the most ridiculous dialogue with zero plot relevance. The first two-thirds of this pesterlog, which also involves Nepeta roleplaying, is also incredibly pointless, even more so than this. At least the roleplaying above is Equius trying to, for once in his life, enjoy himself.
EQUIUS: D –> I think I’m out of material though
EQUIUS: D –> I don’t actually know that much about cats
NEPETA: :33 < errrrrrg! fiiiine, we can stop
NEPETA: :33 < here, take your gross stinky glasses back, SWEATQUIUS
EQUIUS: D –> Very well, here is your hood
NEPETA: :33 < umm
NEPETA: :33 < yeah
NEPETA: :33 < why dont
NEPETA: :33 < you hang on to that
NEPETA: :33 < forever!
NEPETA: :33 < it is my purrsent to you
EQUIUS: D –> I
EQUIUS: D –> I can’t tell you how touching I find this gesture, Nepeta
EQUIUS: D –> Thank you, from the very bottom of my ludi%ly powerful cardiova%ular system
NEPETA: :33 < dont mention it! ❤
This, on the other hand, is some crazy emotional shit right here. They haven’t even died yet but this dialogue is just as impactful as the character deaths, probably because of the word “forever”.
This is way too adorable oh my god. Especially the middle ship.
As Nepeta, you can proceed to open the door and bam, there’s the return of the shipping wall, even more absurd than before. Of the three ships shown above, the two to the right are understandable, but as for Dave/Tavros, I’m not so sure. I mean obviously there’s people who ship them but the two times Dave has talked to Tavros he either scared him away or ignored him.
WordPress on desktop automatically changes < 3 to hearts (and does the same with common emoticons). I’m far too lazy to “fix” that, so in this post I’ve decided to put in Unicode characters for the other quadrants as well. I think it fits with Nepeta’s playful spirit.
More ships. Gamzee ♦ Karkat was correctly predicted. Nepeta remarks that Terezi ♠ Vriska is such a perfect ship to her even though nobody else thinks it is, which is an obvious parody of how fans ship the most ridiculous things.
Jade between past and future Karkat I suppose makes sense but hasn’t been addressed particularly much in-comic aside from that one memo, especially given the no memo policy Karkat mentioned. John <? Dersite is a funny one that especially seems like a jab at shippers: two characters have been interacting somewhat, let’s consider shipping them! And most interesting of all is her OTP: herself and Karkat. Shipping your friends with each other is one thing, but shipping yourself with a friend is especially strange. Thinking two friends of yours should get together is nothing particularly unusual, but treating your crush on someone the same way, especially as a ship, has all kinds of weird implications regarding Nepeta’s character. Drawing a big mural of yourself kissing your crush and labeling it “OTP” isn’t exactly a normal thing to do.
After this point the walkaround takes a turn for the nightmarish with dark scary music. There’s lots of stuff like Gamzee having stolen the dead trolls’ bodies and, as pictured above, more evidence that Kanaya is up and about.
When Equius finds Gamzee in the walkaround, there’s an interesting format of dialogue directly accompanying animation that’s only used sparingly. Homestuck very much experiments with formats of media presentation like this, but this one is used surprisingly infrequently.
Anyway, this confrontation concludes the walkaround.
Gamzee tells Equius to kneel and he actually does so. All I can say is, why the hell would Equius do that??? Seriously.
This is another really rad nightmare silhouette panel. As I said last post, it’s sad that Equius could’ve totally beaten up Gamzee but his ridiculous fetishes just got the best of him.
Hussie said that if Equius even twitched his neck it would’ve broken the bowstring.
“iF i CoUlD mAkE yOu SmIlE iT’d Be ThE bEsT fUcKiN mIrAcLe I eVeR dId PaRt Of.“
Even thought I obviously knew this was going to happen given that this is my third read, I can only think, what the FUCK. Equius is smiling as he’s getting killed, thinking that he is dying a very dignified death.
Yet another ironic death. Once again, someone got killed with his own weapon. Not only that, he also essentially died as he lived: getting off on the creepiest stuff. I mean, you have to be seriously messed up inside to think that this is a great way to die. Hussie said that it’s far more fitting for Equius to die the way he did than for him to suddenly do something heroic. When he comes back as a sweaty muscle ghost he actually does do grand things, but that’s way later and for now he’s just the guy who can’t overcome the weird shit he gets off on.
Nepeta jumps out of the vent with intent to kill Gamzee. This is immediately followed by another gratuitous SBaHJ reference. I’ve already talked about the weird random jokes peppered through Murderstuck and how weird it is that the horror story arc is very darkly comedic.
Gamzee snaps Nepeta’s wrist and uses her claw to scrape his face, smiling as he does it. Hussie said that this is more or less horror for the sake of horror.
This is the last time we see Nepeta before she is DEAD; after this, the picture zooms in to Gamzee’s honks as she is killed offscreen. She doesn’t even get a death scene! On the one hand, this is a bit of a relief because who would want to see an adorable cat-themed troll get brutally clubbed to death by a psychotic juggalo? But on the other hand, this is a testament to her irrelevance as a character. All the other trolls who have been killed so far have gotten their own death scene with some level of irony in their death. Nepeta not having a death scene might actually fit with that theme; she has always been that troll who does pretty much nothing. Recent updates have at long last averted this, but the point still stands.
After zooming into Gamzee’s honks we suddenly snap back from the dramatic tension to more of what John is up to.
He enters the castle, thinking this may be where his dad is, and talks to Vriska.
AG: Hi John.
EB: oh, hey there, vriska.
EB: can this wait? i was about to check out this castle and see if my dad is here.
AG: Your guardians are not here!
EB: dang it!
EB: do you know where they are?
AG: Yes, they are in another castle. Don’t worry, you’ll find them later.
EB: argh, how much later??
AG: In a while! Man, settle down.
EB: i guess i just miss my dad. i was hoping he would be here, but apparently i won’t see him for another few hours or whatever?
EB: if that is what you see in the future, then i guess there’s no fighting it. bluh.
Once more, we’re at that subplot where John tries to find his father. Vriska claims that he’ll find his dad later, but when he does find his dad, he is dead and also unviewable to the trolls due to the whole Rose blackout thing. So is Vriska really just lying here?
AG: I still find it a little hard to understand the sentimentality you attach to these adult humans.
AG: It just seems so strange to me. 8ut hey, that’s alien culture for you.
EB: yeah, i know.
EB: i guess you just have to think of them the way you think of your lusus..ses? lusi?
This is the closest the word “lusus” gets to having a plural in-comic. Although “lusii” is the most common plural, used in the title of a song and therefore more or less canon, if you search the comic not once is that plural form used. (I DO NOT HAVE IT IN ME TO EDIT THAT LINK AND ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HOMESTUCK BANDCAMP, WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY)
AG: Are you suuuuuuuure you’re not mad at me?
EB: why would i be mad at you, vriska?
AG: 8ecause I tricked you into getting killed!!!!!!!!
EB: oh. right.
EB: i… actually almost forgot about that!
AG: Would it help if I said I was sorry?
EB: why would you need to apologize though?
EB: i mean, i admit i was pretty confused about it at first, seeing my dead body in the cloud and all…
EB: but in the end, you did it to help me, didn’t you?
EB: really, i should probably be thanking you!
EB: are you there?
AG: Yes, I am here.
AG: Sorry, I wasn’t sure what to say for a moment.
AG: I am just so incredi8ly relieved you are not angry with me.
EB: heh. i really don’t know what reason i would have to be angry!
EB: i mean, aside from the deception involved, but i kinda understand why you did that.
EB: and in any case, you did give me a choice.
AG: Yes, I did.
AG: I don’t know, John. You’d 8e surprised how often people resent it when you try to help them!
AG: 8ut see, you really get it. That’s why you’re special.
Vriska here is comparing her “helping” of Tavros with her involvement in John’s rise to heroism. What’s up with that? She consistently tormented Tavros, but with John, I guess her second chance at meddling with someone’s life worked out a lot better? Even if it’s largely aggrandization, I guess reflecting on her murder of Tavros (which she is just about to talk about) caused her to think about the stuff she’s done and get a lot more sensitive about stuff?
AG: I know how this is pro8a8ly going to sound, especially to a human.
AG: 8ut I just killed someone.
EB: you did?
EB: who was it? you mean like, a bad guy?
AG: Not exactly.
EB: oh yeah, karkat mentioned that he was in trouble, and then had to go.
EB: it made me a little worried! are you guys under attack or something?
AG: I’m not sure what his deal is. I haven’t seen him in a while.
Here, Vriska admits to not being sure what’s up with Jack. This is really interesting; previously she seemed quite sure that he was this diabolical villain that she could kill later for the sake of self-aggrandization, but now she apparently isn’t so sure? Who knows.
Edit made before the post was released: looking again, she’s not talking about Jack, she’s referring to Karkat. God I feel so dumb. I’m keeping the previous passage crossed out because why not.
EB: who did you kill?
AG: He was a friend.
AG: Someone from our team.
AG: It’s a little complicated.
EB: well, did he attack you or something?
AG: 8ut really, that’s not why I killed him. He was no match for me, and I could have just incapacit8ed him or flown away or whatever.
AG: The truth is I killed him 8ecause at the time, I thought I wanted to, and sort of felt like I finally had to.
EB: why did you have to?
AG: 8ecause enough was enough! You don’t even know how frustr8ing it was to 8e friends with him.
AG: I used to really like him and always wanted to help him get stronger, so that he might stand a fucking chance to actually make it on our world.
AG: 8ut he was just soooooooo weak and indecisive. He wouldn’t change!
AG: And when he tried to change, it was too little and too l8. Always l8. L8ey L8ey L88888888.
AG: Too l8 to kiss me.
AG: Too l8 to kill me.
AG: He couldn’t do it when I really needed him to. So when I saw he was actually serious a8out trying to kill me now of all times…
AG: I just got SO AAAAAAAANGRY. I am still a 8it upset thinking a8out it.
AG: So I killed him.
AG: And I’m pretty sure he’s dead for good now.
Despite Vriska opening up on her inner feelings, she hasn’t yet admitted to essentially tormenting Tavros. Before that maybe she actually did want to help him but then started tormenting him out of her special “flat hate” for him? Karkat said a while back that this may be like black romance but it wouldn’t work because the way Vriska hates is just too flat while Tavros is broken in a way that causes him to have a hard time really truly hating someone. I don’t know, I guess this is just Vriska’s messed-up personality.
EB: well, how do you feel?
AG: If any of my friends knew that, they would think I’m weak.
EB: i guess i understand. i mean, i’m trying to, with the cultural difference and all.
AG: Do you?
EB: like, trolls are more violent and angry, right? kind of like klingons or something, which is an angry race of alien savages from a human tv show.
AG: We aren’t savages, you dope!
Emotional conversations are once more interrupted with humor.
EB: oh, i know, that’s not what i meant! but i am guessing you all have to act tough to make it in your world, and have a sense of honor about fighting, and like to beat people up and stuff, right?
AG: Uh, yeah……..
AG: Let’s say close enough!
EB: but i think that no matter what alien culture you are from, killing is still wrong!
EB: and it sounds like you do too.
Let’s talk about John.
John here is trying to be understanding of Vriska and her ways. He recognizes that even though she killed someone, she too has feelings and a conscience. A brittle conscience that can only be opened through revelations of killing someone, but a conscience no less. Eventually, however, he comes to realize that Vriska is really messed up and shouldn’t really be humored; that’s some serious character development. This is notable because I am not joking when I say that some people seriously argue that John’s only real character development through the entire course of the comic was realizing Con Air sucks, and even that was reversed. As I’ve said earlier, that is not fucking true. Seriously, even after undoing her death upon instruction and affectionately patting her unconscious head, he freely talks about how Vriska always makes her presence hard to ignore and says that she’s probably among his friends.
At this point, it’s fairly sweet to see John try his best to understand Vriska, though it’s arguably more satisfying to see him realize that she is kind of insane. Right now he’s excusing the trolls’ murderous tendencies as being more or less like a sociopathic alien race from one of his movies, but eventually I guess he outgrows that? Regardless, it’s still weird how lightly John takes Vriska’s statement that she killed Tavros. I suspect that if she said she killed Karkat or someone, John wouldn’t take it so lightly and would probably start to hate her.
Now let’s talk about Vriska.
She clearly needed someone to talk to about her killing Tavros, and who does she choose? Not any one of her fellow trolls, instead John. She seems to see him as an understanding guy she can open up to much more than anyone else, which he definitely is. I’ve noted multiple times how interesting it is that the trolls and humans have become quite close now despite not meeting in person, but this is an especially notable case. She not only sees John as a friend, but almost as her only friend. Previously Vriska was all “haha so self-aggrandizing” but now she’s seriously tragic.
Let’s go on.
AG: On my world, I would 8e completely vindic8ed for killing him! He is far lower on the hemospectrum than me. He managed to disrespect me time and time again, 8ut I kept letting him live! In fact, the amount of slack I cut him would 8e considered scandalous 8y those in my class.
AG: I had every reason to kill him. And yet…
AG: I feel 8ad a8out it like a lame weak fudge8lood, just like he was.
AG: And the fact that I feel 8ad is why I’m sort of freaking out right now!
EB: i think if you feel bad, it just means you have a conscience. which is good, right?
AG: No. That’s not how it works.
AG: I’m supposed to 8e just fine with it.
AG: This was sort of like a test, and I’m afraid I might 8e failing.
Here, Vriska is explaining that in the troll world there wouldn’t be been anything wrong with her killing Tavros, but she herself feels awful about it, because she apparently did indeed care for him as a person. This shows us that even though she’s Vriska, she is totally capable of feeling sympathy like this. Which begs the question: how sympathetic are trolls in general? As for the comic’s twelve trolls, all except Gamzee (after turning evil) are definitely able to feel sympathy. As for the other twelve, most are insane so who the hell knows. It’s later revealed that trolls aren’t inherently violent in and of themselves, but with Doc Scratch rubbing his smug white puppet hands everywhere, he can make them that way. Did natural selection cause the most violent trolls to make their way through all the wars incited? Or did the whole culling system cause that?
Vriska is also suggesting that her awful feelings might cause her not to make it through the troll world. This brings to mind the exploits of her ancestor Mindfang who she tried to model her life after and who she’ll talk about soon. I should probably save such discussion for later, but I will say this: the ancestors were meant largely as a look at what the trolls would be like had they grown up on Alternia. For the most part, they are considerably more reminiscent of their descendants than their actual cross-scratch selves—does Kankri seem the least bit like the kind of guy who would lead a rebellion against a brutal civilization and become a serious Jesus figure?—but Mindfang’s comparison to Vriska is a bit more questionable. Aranea, her ancestor’s counterpart, was herself introduced as a friendly storyteller girl only marginally similar to Mindfang, but later apparently her inner deadly pirate lady was released when she became an antagonist? I’m not totally sure. The bottom line is, Vriska with her inner insecurities might have a much harder time making it through life as a warrior troll than the others did.
Holy hell I knew I was going to analyze John’s interactions with Vriska heavily, but not like this.
EB: how was it like a test?
AG: Well, it was the first time I killed some8ody.
AG: W8! Ok, that’s not really true. What I meant was, it was the first time I killed some8ody I cared a8out.
EB: you killed other people, that you didn’t care about?
AG: Yes. Sort of a lot, actually. 8ut there was a really good reason for that!
EB: hm. how many?
EB: or… do i want to know…
AG: Oh, it doesn’t matter. Pro8a8ly many thousands.
EB: hopy shit…
AG: God, I know how this sounds! 8ut I had to feed her. My lusus I mean. I’ve 8asically 8een playing this role as a slave in the food chain my whole life. It is what she selected me to do.
EB: i guess that is why you didn’t get along with her?
AG: Hell yes.
EB: i see.
EB: still, that is a LOT of killing. jesus…
AG: Yeah, 8ut I never felt anything a8out it. It was just normal life for me.
As awful as Vriska feels about killing Tavros, now that she brought up the many trolls she fed to her lusus, I’m reconsidering that whole tangent I just wrote. Vriska could’ve probably gone fine as an adult troll massacring strangers in war, but I guess not with killing those she knows well.
EB: but then you finally killed a guy you liked, and…
EB: not so cool anymore?
AG: Yeah. OH!
AG: Ok, that’s not quite right. He’s the second person I cared a8out who I killed.
AG: Man, I always forget a8out her!
AG: I guess she wound up getting me 8ack pretty good though, so we’re even.
In the recurring Vriska debates, fans themselves will also tend to forget about how she killed not only Tavros but also Aradia and the numerous trolls she fed her lusus.
AG: Oh, also, TECHNICALLY I attempted to kill that same guy around the same time.
AG: 8ut I just wound up paralyzing him! Oops, hahahaha.
AG: 8ut man. That was sweeps ago.
I’ve said it before but this line has a lot of scary implications regarding the trolls. “Sweeps ago” means at least two sweeps ago, or four years ago, implying the trolls were at most nine years old when the whole troll flashback arc happened! I have no idea how many people actually realize this.
EB: so… if killing isn’t exactly wrong, then what is it?
EB: what do you mean by “what killing really means”?
AG: I guess I have to admit I don’t actually know that much a8out humans either!
AG: Other than that you are all pretty soft and mild mannered and seem to 8e friendlier, and think killing totally sucks.
AG: I really have no clue what it means to grow up as a human, though.
AG: 8ut I do know what it means grow up as a troll, and what’s expected of us.
EB: what does it mean?
AG: When a troll comes of age, you 8etter 8elieve it means they’re going to start killing.
AG: It’s what we do as a race. We are very effective conquerors, and as such, we practically domin8 our galaxy. Or… used to.
AG: The ones that don’t learn to 8e ruthless? They’re 8etter off DEAD.
AG: And the reality is, it won’t 8e long until they are. That’s just life for us.
Here we are seriously learning some new things about trolls and their ways, how they have to grow up to become killing machines or else die. We already kind of knew that but only now it’s really brought to light. I’ve noticed that trolls relating stories of their lives to humans (and vice versa) tends to bring a lot more insight from both ends than people relating such stories to members of their own race, which is fairly obvious why.
Unlike with humans and their relatively modest civilization generally confined to one planet, trolls, their fellow Sburb-destined race, are way beyond that, conquering galaxies and everything. More often than not, fictional alien races tend to be more superior than humanity, which isn’t hard to understand. Aliens who can watch over civilizations expanding and collapsing on planets across galaxies and bet on which ones will make it to the top before ending as if they’re sports teams are a hell of a lot more interesting than aliens who just farm and hunt animals.
EB: that sounds terrible!
EB: i would like to be culturally sensitive, but i wish it didn’t have to be like that for you.
EB: i have started to really like you guys!
AG: Well, thanks John. That’s nice of you to say. 8ut let’s face it, it doesn’t fucking matter anymore, since our whole race was wiped out!
AG: May8e for the 8est, when you think a8out it.
Vriska, of all people, says it may have been for the best that troll civilization was wiped out. I can only wonder what happened to all the planets trolls conquered after all the trolls were wiped out. Did those other alien civilizations themselves reclaim their land or start their own wars or what?
AG: I think the game knows it’s always gonna 8e played 8y kids, and it always rigs it so they enter right around the cusp of sexual maturity, whatever the race is.
AG: Which kinda makes sense, since if they succeed, they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them to do whatever the hell they’re going to do in their universe, like start repopul8ing and whatnot.
AG: That means the game also knows it’s got to deal with all these damn kids who are coming of age while playing it!
AG: I really think how successfully they mature is tied to success in the game. It challenges the players in all the ways they need to 8e challenged to grow, which is different for every individual, and veeeeeeeery different for every race.
AG: I don’t think we were so hot at that aspect of the game. In fact, I’m sure we were quite awful. Hell, even I wasn’t that gr8 at it! I actually just kinda fell ass 8ackwards into the god tier, to 8e honest.
Here is Vriska, the same troll who is, well, Vriska, giving legitimate insight into the nature of the game.
AG: 8ut what really gets me is this didn’t even occur to me until just now, while I was sitting around thinking a8out it.
AG: It was so o8vious!
AG: That was why the game split us up into two teams.
AG: It knew as we came of age, we’d pro8a8ly start killing each other.
AG: So it just provided the stage. Red team vs. 8lue. It was so simple! All we had to do was what we were naturally inclined to. It might have worked out 8etter for us.
The whole red and blue team thing is a little weird. For the first half of the trolls’ arc, everyone made a super huge fuss about being on the red and blue teams, but that eventually suddenly fizzled out. I guess the teams were somehow randomly chosen to be combined together, there was quite some arguing about that, and eventually that was just forgotten entirely, arguably making this whole fussing about the teams a huge waste of time? I’m really not sure.
EB: i don’t really see how you guys killing each other would help you play the game better!
AG: Yeah, you’d think that would 8e counter productive! 8ut then again, may8e not.
AG: If we really did take the team thing seriously, and started killing each other, may8e it would have meant more god tiers?
AG: May8e all of us would have made it????????
AG: Damn, can you imagine? We would have 8reezed through the game even faster, killed the king without a sweat. May8e claimed the reward 8efore Jack even showed up?
AG: Or if he did, may8e we could have 8eaten him then and there instead of scurrying off like cowards!!!!!!!!
AG: In retrospect we failed at this so spectacularly, I am amazed, and kind of ashamed.
AG: It turned out that the only one of us with the guts to kill someone was already DEAD! Hahahahahahahaha. And 8oy, did I have it coming.
It would’ve been REALLY interesting to have seen the red and blue team business to actually not be just meaningless nonsense, in this hypothetical possibly better version of the trolls’ session. But instead, it basically went like this: everyone made a huge stinking big deal about the red and blue teams and had all these crazy plans for defeating the teams, but once we pass the stuff that actually happened onscreen, suddenly everyone forgot about the team business!
God damn I totally could’ve talked about this stuff during my posts about the trolls’ arc. It’s a shame really, how the early parts of this whole project will almost inevitably kind of suck because it’s the start of a long-term project when the early acts have all kinds of interesting stuff I could’ve talked about. Come to think of it, my earlier posts titled “Cookie Fonster Critiques Homestuck” maybe should’ve been named “Cookie Fonster Tries To Sound Smart About Homestuck”. I’ll probably look back on THESE posts and think they could’ve been a lot better, but for now, as far as I’m concerned they are supreme masterpieces that I am totally in love with.
AG: Actually, this is pro8a8ly Karkat’s fault.
AG: When it comes down to it, he was pro8a8ly too good a leader! He actually did manage to get the two teams to work together toward the same goal. It could have easily deterior8ed into a feud otherwise.
AG: He was just so loud and annoying and o8sessed with leadership. He wouldn’t shut up! So it was just easier to go along with his plans.
EB: yeah, i can see how that could be true.
AG: He sure kept us working together, 8ut in the end I think we paid for it.
“Too good a leader” is a really interesting way to describe a way some grand mission might fail. It’s a little weird how the troll session started with Sollux taking the reins on one team and giving Terezi rights to the other because she isn’t an idiot, progressed through a whole bunch of shit with Vriska and Equius trying to usurp each other, and ended with Karkat leading everyone. How exactly did both teams end up merged? When they saw the underlings get prototyped with the lusii of each other’s teams, were they like, huh, turns out we’re actually just one team, let’s suddenly forget that the teams ever were a thing and let Mr. Shouty handle all this? I don’t even know.
Man this is such a reminisce on the failures of the trolls’ session.
AG: He likes to pretend he’s all vicious and 8loodthirsty, 8ut I know he 8n’t got that in him. I have a sense for these things.
Vriska herself is really also kind of like that. She always portrayed herself as super smug and the best at everything, but she just said it may have been for the best that troll civilization was wiped out and just got done talking about her inner uncertainties.
AG: He’d 8e so pissed if he heard me say this, 8ut I think he’d cut it 8etter as a human than as a troll.
EB: you probably mean that as an insult, but i think it is a nice compliment!
EB: i won’t tell him you said it, heheheh.
Karkat being better off as a human may be the most weirdly insightful thing that’s ever been said about him.
GC: K4RK4T, MOR3 B4D N3WS
carcinoGeneticist [CG] did not receive message from gallowsCalibrator [GC]
GC: 1T S4YS YOU D1DNT G3T MY M3SS4G3
GC: YOU D1DNT BLOCK M3 OR 4NYTH1NG, D1D YOU?????
GC: WH3R3 4R3 YOU!
GC: 1 LOST MY GL4SS3S, BUT 1 4M B4CK 4T TH3 COMPUT3R L4B 4ND TH3R3 1S NO ON3 H3R3
GC: 3XC3PT FOR 4NOTH3R MURD3R V1CT1M >:[
GC: SH3 GOT F3F3R1 TH1S T1M3, 4ND M4YB3 K4N4Y4 TOO, 1 DONT KNOW
GC: DO YOU KNOW 4BOUT TH1S Y3T?
GC: 1F YOU G3T TH1S, PL34S3 B3 C4R3FUL K4RK4T, WH3R3V3R YOU 4R3
GC: 1M 4FR41D VR1SK4 H4S F1N4LLY GON3 COMPL3T3LY OUT OF CONTROL
GC: DO NOT TRY TO 3NG4G3 H3R, SH3 1S TOO D4NG3ROUS
GC: SH3 1S NOW MY R3SPONS1B1L1TY
GC: ONLY 1 KNOW HOW TO D34L W1TH H3R
Oh my GOD. This is such a crazy misunderstanding thanks to one small “honk” let out by an evil clown. Karkat never got around to telling Terezi about the other murders; after she found Tavros’s murder, they were unable to exchange any more information before Gamzee scared Karkat off and started messing with her head.
Karkat, meanwhile, examines the ectobiology equipment, realizing that the trolls were all going to die the most pointless deaths possible. There’s also mention of another twelve wigglers Karkat spawned which he speculates were the ones really meant to be heroes—early foreshadowing of the other twelve trolls. In any case, reminiscing on the troll ectobiology stuff is a great way for the heap of tragic murder falling on Karkat to be brought even further to light.
Then Sollux wakes up and spits out his teeth.
Feferi had spooky white eyes at one point, now Sollux has spooky black eyes.
EB: so… what about jack?
AG: What a8out him?
EB: are you still planning on killing him?
EB: that would be a constructive way to use your killer troll instincts, even by human standards.
EB: it is much better than killing friends.
John here is legitimately trying to help Vriska be constructive.
AG: Yeah, you’re right.
AG: And to tell you the truth, part of the reason I wanted to kill him was to protect them. It’s not just a8out glory you know.
AG: 8ecause if I don’t do it, then who will?
She involved herself in the creation of Jack so she could be the one to kill him, but she also wanted to kill him to actually protect her friends?
I really don’t get it. Vriska’s motives are suddenly a lot less selfish apparently???
EB: will you go fight him then?
AG: Man, I don’t know anymore.
AG: It’s one reason I’m freaking out a8out this. A8out feeling 8ad a8out a simple, perfectly justifia8le killing.
AG: If I can’t handle that, doesn’t it mean I’m not as strong as I thought? What hope do I have against Jack if that’s the case?
EB: for whatever it’s worth coming from a human, feeling remorse doesn’t make you weak!
EB: i bet you are still really strong.
EB: but then, i’m not sure if i actually want to encourage you to go off fighting him…
EB: because as strong as you probably are, it sounds like he is REALLY strong.
EB: and even though you killed tons of people, i think i would still be pretty sad if you died.
AG: Aw. ::::)
EB: so maybe you should just let us handle it? at least we won’t fight him directly.
Whoa, John is really being friendly and encouraging to Vriska. Not necessarily encouraging her to fight Jack, but encouraging her to do what he thinks is right.
AG: You know how I said I couldn’t rel8 to the attachment you have for your guardians?
AG: Well, I guess that isn’t completely true.
AG: There are adult trolls who we can rel8 to, if we choose to, and if we are lucky enough to discover who they are.
AG: 8ut it is not really in a familial sense, at least not socially speaking, the way you understand family. They are more like figures of legend, who are said to have more in common with us genetically than any other troll. 8ut we can never meet them of course. Only look up to them, and follow in their footsteps, 8ecause they died centuries ago.
AG: We are each supposed to have one, and if you 8elieve the lore a8out it, your destiny will 8e tied to theirs. You will find clues pointing to them and who they were, 8ut you will only notice them if your eyes are open.
AG: You then can choose to take up the life they left for you. And if you do, they will always 8e looking out for you, and guide you in finishing what they started.
Here Vriska is re-introducing us to the concept of ancestors. Eridan also talked about them when conversing with Jade, but now this part is especially relevant because we’ll be getting insight into Vriska’s psyche with her knowledge of her ancestor and how that influenced the way she is.
AG: It was 8efore I ever started gaming, or rounding up other kids to feed my lusus.
AG: I was nearing the age where I would 8e expected to feed her.
AG: And she was starting to get so 8ig, that she would have to crawl out of the caverns soon, no longer a8le to feast on stray wigglers she caught in her we8.
AG: It was kind of an intense sym8iotic thing, a particularly demanding lusus-troll relationship, and only really strong kids are supposed to 8e a8le to handle it.
AG: So of course I was terrified of the responsi8ility looming!
AG: I really didn’t think I would make it. I was sure I’d fail, and my lusus would either get angry and eat me, or she’d just die and then I’d 8e culled.
AG: 8ut then I saw a shooting star one evening.
AG: I tracked down where it landed, and found a chest with my sign on it.
AG: A sign is an insignia we must wear, specific to our class. Each class has a huge alpha8et of signs, so when someone shares yours, you know you have a lot in common. I was so excited to see it.
EB: what was in the chest!
AG: It was her journal!
Vriska says she tracked down a shooting star and found the chest with her ancestor’s journal. This implies that the chest was sent through a reckoning portal and thus the journal was always predestined to be found by her. I suppose this makes sense: the journal inspired Vriska to be like Mindfang and thus go through all the cycle of revenge stuff which was also destined to happen. This begs the question: who actually sent the journal to Alternia for young Vriska to find? Probably Aradia had something to do with it.
AG: She documented all of her amazing adventures as she sailed around the world, commanding a notoriously deadly fleet of Gam8lignants.
AG: It was so thrilling reading it. It really felt like she wrote it just for me, like she was talking right to me and telling me how to 8e like her. She even left notes on where she 8uried treasure and stuff, which I followed l8er when I started RPing. I found her dice that way, and so many other gr8 things.
AG: Learning a8out her gave me the strength and confidence to do what I had to do.
EB: that is a pretty exciting story!
Vriska being always so, uh, “Vriska” turns out to be not so much her nature as influence by Mindfang’s journal. As thrilling as it is to read about your very own ancestor going on amazing adventures, it is also definite negative influence on Vriska and her ways, which becomes quite apparent when you get to read the journal I’ll go through starting next post. I wonder what the A1 universe version of Vriska was like? Though we’ll probably never know, I suspect that without Mindfang’s influence she would be very different from any version of her we’ve seen.
EB: so then, your great great great grandnanna or such was some kind of troll pirate? uh, i mean, pir8?
John’s interactions with Vriska here are bordering on shippy. He’s being noticeably good-spirited and bonding in this whole conversation so far. This makes me think about where they eventually go. Over time, John doesn’t see Vriska for two years and starts losing respect for her as he realizes she is insane, and eventually forgets about any possibility of romance with her. But Vriska, her dead version at least, dates an alternate John who didn’t talk to her during the session for a while and after it doesn’t work out I guess they stay on friendly terms until he dies. Given the way things are going at this moment, if John were to join the meteor crew (which it’s easy to forget could’ve totally happened) he would probably have a relationship with Vriska which goes just about the same. But I feel that as constructive as their interactions can get, John and Vriska are just too fundamentally different for a sustainable relationship.
EB: now that you mention that…
EB: it really sounds like our situations are not so different!
EB: i created our guardians in the lab too, along with the four of us.
EB: and when you think about it…
EB: i never even knew my nanna.
EB: she died before i was born. or, uh, before i created myself and sent baby me back in time, i mean.
EB: so really, she is my ancestor too! someone i am connected to genetically, but never knew.
AG: Oh yeah. Wow, I never thought a8out that.
EB: and even though i never knew her, she definitely helped me when i was growing up!
EB: i followed in her footsteps, and became an incredible prankster.
AG: Hahahaha. That is an admira8le calling, John. Every 8it as dignified as the path of the Marquise!
EB: i even had a book i learned a lot from too, the book was sort of a family tradition.
EB: it was written by an even older ancestor, my nanna’s grandpa, who was only the most LEGENDARY PRANKSTER OF ALL TIME.
EB: so as you can see, we have both benefited greatly from ancestral wisdom.
AG: Yeah, that’s so awesome!
EB: i think it is nice to see that when you take a closer look, we have a lot more in common than we first thought.
More stuff that’s arguably kind of shippy. John is further bonding with Vriska, talking about things they have in common. Also, this part is kind of where John is also sharing some of his experiences so this isn’t just Vriska stuff.
AG: Haha, oh man…
AG: I was just thinking a8out your life on Earth.
AG: You had it so easy! You don’t have to go hunting for clues a8out your ancestors at all.
AG: There was a picture of her hanging RIGHT THERE on the wall of your hive.
EB: heheheh, yep! also, her ashes were there too.
AG: I don’t know why, 8ut that is just so funny to me.
AG: Your lives are so simple and easy. It must 8e really nice 8eing a human, even though you’re all so weak.
AG: 8ut may8e it’s ok to 8e weak, if that’s what’s normal.
EB: yeah, it is pretty great, actually. i highly recommend being human.
Vriska really could’ve gotten a good heap of development from being around humans and learning their ways. There’s a fan adventure I’ve partially read which does this with Vriska choosing to live with humans (and developing a romantic subplot with John) unlike the other eleven trolls. It’s pretty decent but it has a lot of stuff that makes me think, god, what the hell do these random mythological characters have to do with anything??? Anyway, when post-retcon Vriska spends a good three years with both trolls and humans she still seems more confused than anything by their ways which might have to do with that weird “partner system” that I could rant about but won’t? I’m not sure. I’m just saying, Vriska could’ve become a very different character through getting accustomed to human ways and perhaps being with John.
This heartwarming moment between John and Vriska (god dammit it sounds like I’m talking about them kissing) is immediately followed by another fairly heartwarming conversation.
GC: 1 W4S ST4RT1NG TO TH1NK 1 W4S TH3 L4ST ON3 OF US 4L1V3
GC: H4V3 YOU S33N K4RK4T?
TA: but i’ve sure as hell heard him.
GC: WH4T DO3S TH4T M34N??
GC: 4ND WHY 4R3 YOU TYP1NG L1K3 TH1S, 1TS V3RY ODD >:?
TA: it means that i’m blind n0w.
TA: and i guess i talk like this cause…
TA: kk kn0cked 0ut all my teeth like s0me kind of grubfisted d0uche.
TA: eheheh, n0w he’s flipping 0ut.
Turns out that now that Sollux is blind, he types differently, nearly like Aradia originally did. This is the second of three times a troll’s typing quirk changes; all three correspond with a significant change in the troll’s personality. The first time was when Gamzee started typing with caps alternating per line rather than per letter after turning evil, and the third time is when Aradia stops typing with zeroes after becoming god tier. Changing typing quirks is a really effective way to signify that a troll has changed, which is kind of the magic of each character constantly using a certain typing style. In my very first post I took a moment to talk about typing quirks and how their purpose seems to be so that they’ll always evoke a particular character and be consistently associated with a character. So when someone starts typing in a different way from usual, that lets you know that person went through a significant change.
GC: 1’M R3L13V3D YOU 4ND H3 4R3 OK
GC: 1 W4S G3TT1NG SO WORR13D, H3 WOULDN’T 4NSW3R
TA: seems like he wants t0 talk t0 y0u.
TA: but i was h0ping t0 talk with y0u a bit first, h0pe y0u d0n’t mind.
TA: i mean, i kn0w he minds, but he can sm00ch my bl00dy, gummy m0uth right 0n the lisp f0r all i care.
TA: i mean lips! that’s what i mean t0 say, n0w that i can.
TA: lips, lips, lipsssss. w0w, it feels s0 great t0 say that w0rd!
Aside from being blind, Sollux also no longer has a lisp. It’s pretty easy to forget that’s even a thing. Some Sollux voices I’ve heard have a way exaggerated lisp and are thus pretty much impossible to listen to, but on the other side of things, Let’s Read Homestuck’s Sollux voice only has a subtle lisp which makes it OK to listen to but makes it not as noticeable to hear that he doesn’t have a lisp anymore. Is there any difference in the voice before and after going blind? If there is one I sure haven’t noticed it.
GC: H3H3H3 >:]
GC: OK SOLLUX, W3 C4N T4LK
GC: WH4T 1S TH1S 4BOUT YOU B31NG BL1ND?
TA: i h0pe y0u d0n’t find it insulting that i wanted t0 talk t0 y0u ab0ut it first.
TA: y0u just seemed like the right 0ne t0 talk t0 ab0ut it.
GC: 1 DO NOT M1ND
GC: HOW D1D 1T H4PP3N?
TA: it was eridan.
TA: g0t me with his fucking science stick, but it’s my fault, i t0tally underestimated him.
GC: OH NO
TA: h0nestly i’m 0k with it th0ugh, i’m fine, i mean, aside fr0m the part ab0ut n0t being able t0 see g0d damn squat.
GC: DO YOU KNOW 4BOUT F3F3R1?
GC: 1M SORRY >:[
TA: me t00.
TA: but it’s 0k, i’m 0k with that t00.
TA: it’s hard t0 explain h0w i’m feeling n0w.
TA: i just kn0w that she is happy and 0k right n0w.
TA: just like aradia is.
Sollux is “0k” being blind, as well as all the tragedies that have been going on, which is pretty heavily reminiscent of Aradia but less depressing. I suppose when you type with zeroes it pretty much means you’re OK with things. After seeing so much Sollux depression stuff this is a really nice change of pace.
As for Feferi being happy and OK, even though she’s dead that’s true. She was cheerful as usual that one time she revealed that she was dead with a nightmare smile.
GC: YOU 4R3 SUR3 YOUR3 OK?
TA: i feel better than i ever have, really.
TA: there is n0 m0re n0ise, i never realized h0w N0ISY it was.
TA: i can finally relax, and hear my 0wn th0ughts with0ut having t0 yell them, 0r actually, just n0t have any th0ughts, that’s a nice change 0f pace.
GC: TH4TS GOOD
GC: WH4T K1ND OF NO1S3 W3R3 YOU H34R1NG
TA: indiscriminate, indecipherable v0ices, all talking at 0nce, v0ices 0f the s00n t0 be dead.
TA: they had been getting l0uder lately, and i just figured they were all 0urs.
TA: i tuned them 0ut kind 0f like i pretty much always d0, but n0w that they’re g0ne the difference is HUGE, i mean W0W.
TA: maybe since they’re g0ne, it means we w0n’t have t0 die anym0re?
This whole newfound blind Sollux thing is pretty much a happy ending for him. This matches up with Aradia and how different and how much happier she is after becoming god tier. He assumes that now that the voices are gone the trolls don’t have to die anymore which is also a nice thought.
This whole “happy ending” for Sollux also reminds me of his lack of role in much of the story. When I was at his introduction I talked about how he simultaneously has a large role and many facets and little actual screen time. Now here’s the first time I’m going to discuss post-Omegapause stuff that I couldn’t have talked about at this point had this post series gone faster. The grand final showdown brings Sollux all the way to the “no role” side, as he was there in the beginning but didn’t do anything. Even Aradia did something relevant: she participated in the fight against Lord English. I hope Sollux will get to do at least something in the upcoming comic epilogue; it’s on my epilogue bingo card.
GC: 1 HOP3 YOUR3 R1GHT
TA: s0, since i guess i have t0 learn t0 be blind n0w, d0 y0u have any tisps f0r me?
TA: i mean tips.
TA: tips tips tips tips tips!
TA: wait, n0, that s0unds stupid.
GC: Y34H! 1 H4V3 PL3NTY OF T1PS
GC: 1T M4Y T4K3 T1M3 THOUGH, 1T TOOK M3 PL3NTY OF T1M3 TO G3T US3D TO
GC: 4LSO, 1 M4Y NOT B3 4S GOOD 4 T34CH3R 4S 1 H4D, S1NC3 1 4M NOT 4 M4G1C4L DR4GON >:[
TA: that’s 0k, i’m happy t0 learn fr0m y0u just being y0u.
We never did get to learn how Sollux gets around after being half-blind and then once more fully blind. This is the weird Sollux thing in action; he just doesn’t get all that much screen time despite being the kind of character that should be really important. I guess he just goes with the flow or something?
GC: SO WH3R3 4R3 YOU GUYS?
GC: 1 SHOULD COM3 JO1N YOU, SO W3 C4N ST1CK TOG3TH3R
TA: fuck, i dunn0.
TA: i’m BLIND, remember?
TA: i’ll ask kk.
GC: H4NG ON
GC: SOM3TH1NG 1S GO1NG ON
GC: 1 SM3LL SOM3TH1NG 1N H3R3
GC: 1T SM3LLS
TA: are y0u there?????
TA: aw shit n0…
We were just in the middle of plenty of relieving news that’s really nice to hear, but just then, Terezi goes missing, abruptly ending this exchange on an uncertain note and returning the comic to the spooky mysterious mood. Even though the next page itself whiplashes the mood yet again with a throwback to Dave screwing around the living room.
Wow this post is really getting pretty long. It’s not quite 50 pages but it has a lot of stuff so I’ll stop here. See you next time as we get to read a wordy journal describing the exploits of a ridiculously messed-up alien pirate.