Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 68: Dream Decapitations and Smug Brain Clones

Introduction

Part 67 | Part 68 | Part 69 >

Act 6 Act 2, Part 3 of 6

Pages 4538-4568 (MSPA: 6438-6468)

My anniversary special post is coming up next, either on Sunday or on Tuesday. Are you ready?

We now switch focus to Dirk’s dream self, and the big thing I notice here is that all but a few items are tinted red: the ones that aren’t are the rocket board, Minihoof, the Dersite newspaper, Cal, and Dirk himself. My guess as to why that is is because the colored objects are items specific to the dream world, not just projections of his own possessions. The deal with the apparently “real” version of Cal in his dream self’s room is never explained, which is a bit of a plot hole: we don’t know if it’s empty or full, let alone what happens with it, and I can only assume it isn’t a projection because of its coloring.

As for the other objects being colored, Minihoof is probably colored because it’s a living being, the Dersite magazine is obvious, and I’m not sure about the rocket board. I do recall that he later uses it to travel to Roxy’s home and decapitate himself and all that and…

Wait a minute. I think I know why it’s colored like that. I’m pretty sure his dream self uses that thing in the Unite Synchronization sequences as well to pick up Roxy and Jane, and it’s definitely distinct from the waking world rocket board. With that in mind, maybe the board is colored because of its use in that sequence and how it’s taken to the real world in Jake’s island? My bet is that the waking and dreaming world rocket boards are one and the same, with the dream one making it to Dirk’s room with a reckoning portal and becoming the waking one.

It’s the latest issue of THE ENQUIRING CARAPACIAN, touting the recent assassination of Prospit’s Maid of Life. Quite the triumph for the dark kingdom, and the press has predictably sensationalized the event to please the royalty and whip its readership into a nationalistic lather. In spite of all the ridiculous hyperbole and baseless slander found in the tabloids, one thing is clear. This development means nothing but trouble. If Noir has been empowered to take measures like this, you may have to accelerate your plans. 

I think Jack was not so much “empowered” as the narration says as he was simply free to do what he pleases, rather than being bounded by the black queen’s strict rule set. I think that’s the thing with Noir: as someone said in the comic once—upon a quick search it was Karkat—if he is given even an ounce of freedom to do what he wants, he will freely destroy whatever he wants. In this Jack’s case, it’s because the new queen simply isn’t a force of predestination.

I like how this part of Dirk’s room is rendered in a non-isometric perspective, just like what sometimes happened in strifes in the early acts.

Squarewave then distracts waking Dirk’s attention by initiating a rap-off, pretty much making that finally happen. Dirk says he’s busy but Squarewave says that’s bullshit and all he’s been doing is look around his room, which is exactly my point.

This is the closest any of the alpha kids comes to following the pattern of guardian strifes that the beta kids followed. 

Why isn’t the plush tinted red in the dream world? Shouldn’t it just be a projection of something in the real world?
Maybe it’s because Geromy would look weird colored red.

While you were making short work of Squarewave, you once again made the mistake of letting your other self’s guard down. 

It’s pretty clear from this bit and Squarewave distracting waking Dirk with a rap-off that Dirk’s dual consciousness works as follows: he either focuses mainly one one self or on the other. After all, that’s about the easiest way to process the idea of one mind controlling two bodies. That idea is something that can really mess with your head if you think about it too much, very much like time travel, which is fitting because later on Dirk notes that the aspects of time and heart have the common feature of dealing with alternate selves.

Dirk does his signature puppet distraction trick and then…

Looks like Dirk’s anime sword is another thing that’s “real” in the dream world.

Let’s talk about HB, since I’ve never really previously done so.

The only real purpose of this guy in the story is to demonstrate how strong other characters are. He’s established as a tough guy on two occasions: when he lifts a giant safe and when he eats Eggs’s head off. Those moments are just enough to establish his brutal strength, which is itself just enough to make other characters seem even stronger—specifically, Dad, PM, and now Dirk. Though he has easily the most physical strength of the Midnight Crew and their counterparts, he’s always the first to get killed. It’s common practice for a group of villains to include a big tough guy who isn’t the leader of the ensemble (though Lord English is a big tough villain leader); however, the big guy going down first is a very subversive thing to do. The narration even notes this:

Poor HEGEMONIC BRUTE. His time in the spotlight has been cut tragically short. You almost feel sorry for the guy. 

Though the Brute’s time in the story has been cut short, his influence on the story hasn’t. His very existence is what truly establishes Dirk as not just a pretentious guy with a sword, but as a real deadly hardcore fighter.

But now you have a problem. You spend the next ten minutes thinking about it while you stand on his head and stare at the blood on your hands, as the often utilized stock graphic in the bottom corner of the image would indicate. 

Once again, meta jokes completely ruin the tragedy of a “we hardly knew ye” style villain death, in this case lampshading stock graphics. It’s weird how a quick joke about the comic’s abundant use of callbacks can serve as dark humor accompanying or even undermining the impact of someone’s death.

After checking on Roxy to see her sleepwalking, Dirk returns to his waking self and talks to her. The first interesting bit is an exchange on stuff that Dirk and Roxy went through:

TT: Ok, I fucked up. 
TT: I kind of made a mess here, and I’m not sure what to do about it yet. 
TG: ??> 
TT: No need for you to worry about it for now. I’ll figure something out. 
TT: Until then I’m just going to prepare for our session, while I think it over. 
TG: zzzzzz 
TG: what a surprise another mysfery for you to keep to yourself an overly cerebralize 
TG: snooorre 
TG: hey lets talk about something cool instead 
TG: like the dream i had 
TT: Ok. 
TG: first i had some ordinary boring dreams that i dont remember 
TG: but then i dreamed that i woke up from the drema 
TG: and things got way bright and surreal 
TG: and i saw someone 
TG: i think it was supposed to be my daughter 

This is clearly another one of those bits of conversation that is meant to have a certain perspective effect, where it sort of has a different role whether you read it from Roxy’s perspective or from Dirk’s perspective. From Roxy’s perspective it’s mostly about Dirk; from Dirk’s perspective it’s mostly about Roxy. In both cases, the kid we aren’t focusing on vaguely describes certain things that are clearly meant as mystery arcs. The stuff Dirk went through is a lot more vaguely and mysteriously described than the stuff Roxy went through, but I think the conversation so far reads better from Dirk’s perspective because it’s less recapping stuff we already knew happened.

TG: you know those dreams where u just know someones suppose to be someone 
TT: No. 
TG: ok well 
TG: regulgar people have those im pretty sure all the time 
TT: Are you thinking it was prophetic? Like a glimpse of the future? 
TG: i dunno 

I’m pretty sure dreams usually only work like that in fiction, where dreams in stories almost always have deep significance or otherwise they wouldn’t be shown. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that Roxy thinks it’s one of those prophetic dreams. It might be a good thing because it could demonstrate knowledge that she’s soon to be in a video game with narrative rules, or bad because it could demonstrate her being air-headed and thinking everything is like a movie (which is pretty much all Jake ever does).

TG: hey dick
TG: *dirk
TG: whaaaat do u think
TG: it would be like
TG: if we had kids
TT: What would it be like?
TT: Inconvenient, mostly.
TG: no i mean
TG: what would they be like
TG: th kids
TG: u ever think about it?
TT: Can’t really say I have.
TG: you know for an eccantric guy you can be boring as fuck sometimes
TT: Sorry, Rox.
TT: For what it’s worth, I’m picturing them now. A boy and a girl.
TT: Two perfect little freaks of nature raised by people who’ve clearly got no business bringin’ up anybody. 

Dirk’s answer to the idea of him and Roxy having kids is another one of those things about Dirk with implications regarding his pre-scratch self. In this case, it’s clear that he knows he isn’t one to raise a kid, and neither is Roxy. But his adult self did end up raising a kid. Maybe he felt like he could do it as long as he dubbed himself Dave’s brother instead of his father?

TG: or thats im holding on to any such delsusion thats even a remote possibility….. 
TG: le siiiiiign..//// 
TT: Le sign? 
TG: yes le sign you heard me 
TT: Do you mean * le sigh? 
TG: hmm nup 
TG: ima stickin with le sign 
TG: goign down with the shit 
TG: *shi[p 
TG: the S.S. LE SIGN, starring cap’n rolal 
TT: What does le sign actually mean in this context? 
TG: oh come on 
TT: Come on what? 
TG: LE SIGN IS UNIVERSALLY UNDERSTOOT TO MEAN TOO BAD HES GAY YOU DELIBERABLY OBTUSE DUNDERFUCK 
TT: I mean, yeah, that’s what I thought. 
TT: It would just be cool if you’d refrain from tossing about such antediluvian terms. 
TG: antediulivan waht 
TG: me sayin ur gay u mean 
TT: Yes. 
TG: ok but terminology aside i dont think im off base! 
TT: I don’t see how it has to be a thing. 

Let’s talk about Dirk being gay, or more specifically, how he’s established as being that way.

After that subject is brought up, Dirk quickly argues that him being gay doesn’t really have to be a “thing”. I think having that not really be a big deal is probably the best way to feature homosexuality in works of media with fanbases like that of Homestuck. A lot of people think that it’s good for works of fiction to include homosexuality. While that is by no means a bad thing, if there’s a character who is notable mostly for being gay, it kind of defeats the point that people want homosexuality not to be considered strange or unorthodox. It’s a bit much for Dirk to immediately argue against Roxy’s statement like that, but considering how much fans like to improperly portray the characters it’s probably for the best.

NOTE (10/2/2019): The above paragraph was written in 2016 and doesn’t entirely reflect my current views on gay representation. I’ve learned A LOT about the nature of the LGBT community since then and while I do think it can be good for media to have characters who are stated to be gay without it being their primary character trait, it was incredibly dismissive of me to imply that characters being defined as “the gay one” is necessarily a bad thing, especially in media about homosexuality. /end note

More about this topic when Dirk is established to have a thing for Jake. I was going to also compare this topic against the counterproductive “SUPER BIG FUCKING DEAL” way Dave’s sexuality is presented to us way later on but I don’t really feel like it. Maybe some other time.

NOTE (10/2/2019): “Counterproductive”?????? Holy shit, did I completely miss the point of that whole arc. … Well, to be fair I still have mixed feelings on Dave’s sexuality arc, but I think it was followed up with incredibly well in the epilogues. /end note

TG: its still so frustrating 
TG: tellin jane about the dangers 
TG: and even if shes being polite i just know she thinks im fulla crap 
TG: about EVREYTHING 
TT: We settled this too. She’ll believe everything eventually. 
TT: Why bother working so hard to convince her? 
TG: well i dont even do that for the most part 
TG: but it gets tiring and saddening 
TG: knowing that 
TG: even when were not activly talkin bout it 
TG: that my best friend cant bring herself to believe some really basic things about my life 
TG: like the shitty things the baroness has done to us 
TG: or about our upbringin 
TG: like 
TG: do u know how misrable it is for your bff to doubt you 
TG: when you tell her your mom is dead 

With Roxy’s last line, the conversation suddenly makes a turn for the depressing. From here on out, the story is making it so obvious that Roxy and Dirk live in the future that it isn’t even feeding us hints anymore.

TT: I guess. 
TT: It just registers for me as a reaction which isn’t completely unreasonable from her perspective. 
TT: She is inundated with media coverage of those whom we’ve claimed as our parental figures. 
TT: That they are not presently alive nor ever played that role for us as she understands it is just an extension of a much more elaborate and far reaching explanation, which is much harder for anyone to digest in its entirety. 
TT: Well, anyone who isn’t Jake, I mean. 
TT: Still say you should cut her some slack. 

Dirk makes a decent argument in Jane’s favor regarding why she never believed the stuff Roxy told her; now she is approximately 10% less stupid in my opinion. I think Roxy inherently attaches a lot more guilt and emotion to Jane than Dirk does due to her best friend designation, but this is also why Dirk’s interactions with Jane tend to more constructive. I think it’s pretty funny that Jane is portrayed in a more sympathetic light when we aren’t focusing on her.

TT: And need I remind you, 
TT: That the potential this game provides for their resurrection is what motivated you to investigate it in the first place? 
TG: no i remember 
TG: i told u a million tines shit sounds like it could be the best thing EVAAAAAR 
TG: * wherein evars capsed as heck 
TG: but also that no matter how awesome it might be 
TG: its probly gonna advance all the schemes of “her condescension” 
TT: Right. 
TT: But if we can stop her? 
TG: part of me doesnt even want to give her the satsfaction 
TG: of startin up at all 
TG: like if we didnt wuolndt that wreck her shit just so hiliariously??? 
TG: so many olols 
TT: I must be hard of counting, because I’m barely racking up a single goddamn o-laugh-out-loud at that self-defeating gesture. 
TG: no but it would 
TG: and for all we know starting it up is playing right in her claws…. 
TG: could be a trap waintin for jane the moment she enters 
TG: if i stop her from playing 
TG: maybe i could at leat give her a CHANCE at a future 
TT: But there is no future on Earth for them. 
TT: Or for us, for that matter. 
TG: dunno that for a fact 

I think it’s pretty obvious that Roxy isn’t totally thinking straight regarding trying to go against the Condesce’s plans. I can see where she’s getting the idea of going against all the stuff that’s meant to happen, but the witch is already a step ahead of them, or should I say she is already here, considering she is up and about in the session by being the queen of Derse. So whether or not they start up the game, they’d still be trapped in the witch’s hands—especially if they don’t play, since they’d all be doomed to live through an apocalypse since the fate of Earth is preset as the Condesce underhandedly (and later overhandedly) destroying humanity.

Now, if the alpha kids all lived in 2011, that would be a very different story. Even though she already has taken over Derse’s throne, that wouldn’t mean that happened after or alongside her destruction of humanity; the alpha kids might get to make for themselves how that predestined event happens. I think in that case it would be conceivable that they could reverse-exile her out of Earth by blocking all attempts for her to go back there, thereby saving humanity from turning to complete shit. With such exploitations in mind, it was a smart (if dickish) move for Skaia to send Roxy and Dirk to the 25th century, because that makes it impossible to for them to stop the Condesce from taking over the world, leaving no choice but for the kids to start Sburb.

TG: but anywaaaayyyy 
TG: i kinda already 
TG: made this bogus file for her 
TT: What? Why? 
TG: 2 scare the shit out of her 
TG: make her learn to fear an respect the fuckin hag like she should 
TG: then maybe we can drop this whole in game meetup slash reserection idea all 2 geth 
TG: sweet tho it may bey 

I think Roxy feels that the only way for Jane to finally believe the wretched truths about her world is for her to see it in action. But the weird thing is, I’m pretty sure the Condesce had the exact same thing in mind, going by Roxy’s speculation regarding the deal with the mailbox assassination attempt. Considering this, one could say that Jane’s friends and the alpha kids’ main villain both want to do more or less the same thing, which is making the empress’s presence known to her.

TT: Rox. 
TT: I hope you’re not thinking about sending her one of your batshit ~ATH scripts. 
TG: on thas sobject 
TG: i am miss zuipperpips 
TT: Miss Zuipperpips? 
TT: The amount of sense you haven’t been making is un-fucking-real. 
TT: Just go take a nap. And don’t even think about sending her that file. 
TT: Are you listening? 
TG: hnnn 
TG: i will take what u say 
TG: underd serisous advicement…, 
TG: *WONK* ~_? 

Obviously, Roxy isn’t exactly paying attention to what Dirk says. I think this whole conversation is the first time we see Roxy being drunk seriously cause her not to think straight. In this whole conversation so far she’s been sharing ridiculous drunken ideas and habits, and also hitting on him every ten lines. Come to think of it, so far she’s spent the whole comic slobbering all over pretty much every male in the comic whose existence she is aware of. More on that when we switch to Roxy’s perspective.

TT: Jesus. 
TG: dirk 
TG: when did you stop bein any fun 
TT: What? 
TG: it use to be youd get a kick out off a slunt like that 
TG: *stunt 
TT: Man, you know I’m down with insane stunts. 
TT: Insane stunts are practically all I’m all about. 
TT: As long as I actually AGREE with the purpose they’re intended to serve. 
TT: Destroying Jane’s computer and dissuading her from playing is not such a purpose. 

Roxy keeps thinking Dirk is being really boring and shooting down any attempt at having fun. This seems to be another effect of her drunkenness.

TG: betcha ur responder would agree w me 
TG: why cant your be more like him 
TT: I am more like him. 
TG: i mean MOAAAR like him 
TT: You just mispelled “more”, causing me to suddenly understand jack everything. 
TG: hes more in touch with his feelins 
TG: which just makes me L my FA off since hes a bobot 
TG: *robob 
TG: **bobob 
TG: and he can actually loosen up sometimes 
TG: kinda like u used to could 
TT: I used to could? 
TG: for 1 thing 
TG: he doesnt insta shootdown a bip of frisky rp shenans now n then 😉 
TT: Yeah… 
TT: I kind of wish you wouldn’t do that with him. 
TG: why the f not 
TT: It just seems a little tawdry and disrespectful. 
TT: And vaguely exploitative of a still-emergent cognitive entity, whose perceptional frame of reference is difficult for us to comprehend. 

It seems like Roxy likes to use Dirk’s responder as a substitute Dirk; going by what Dirk says, his responder is more OK with the flirty roleplaying because he doesn’t have to concern himself with the dignity that comes with being a human, or something like that? In any case, even though she knows it’s ironic and fake and with a robot, doing this roleplaying thing probably helps make her feel less lonely.

TG: oh come on 
TG: hes cool a guy just liek you its just he lives in some shades 
TT: It rubs me the wrong way, is all. 
TG: ohhhh 
TG: do uuuuuu… 
TG: WANT me 2 rub you the right way ;D 
TT: Not really. 
TG: zzz muh 
TG: youre over blowin this 
TG: its just an ironic funny thing we do some times 
TG: come on im sure you read the transcripts urself 
TG: its all alot of jokestery buiishit 
TT: He blocks me from being able to read transcripts sometimes.

OK, I’m pretty sure Dirk’s responder isn’t supposed to be able to do stuff like that. This is an early hint at the responder starting to be uncooperative which is a thing that happens all the time in stories about artificial intelligence.

TT: Ok, here’s the thing with the AR, since you still don’t seem to get it. 
TT: He’s very similar to me in thought process and behavior, yes. 
TT: But those patterns were imported from a thirteen year old version of my psyche, and then sealed into the program as starting parameters. 
TT: In the years since, we’ve both evolved somewhat. I, as humans tend to, and he, in whatever way is natural for a frequently running, self-aware application. 
TT: So if there are differences between us, they’re first reflected by what I feel is a maturity gap, and then further by several years of minor behavioral divergences. 
TG: omg… 
TG: hes 13yo dirk 
TG: why did than not occur to me that is so cute 
TG: and makes me feel kinda skeevy 4 sayin anything lascivious @ him 
TG: dammit you ruin everything! 
TT: You’re welcome. 

I think Dirk deliberately ruined Roxy’s roleplaying thing by making her realize she’s doing that stuff with a 13-year-old clone of him. It’s weird how that’s the only thing that makes her think it’s the slightest bit weird and creepy.

TT: Yo, you guys realize I can hear you, right? 
TG: pfffffhahaha 
TT: Yes, I was aware. 
TT: Check out all these complicated fucking problems people have when they have to live in big lumbering fleshmonsters instead of a sweet pair of shades. 

The auto-responder’s sudden entrance mirrors the way Doc Scratch busted in on a conversation between Rose and Jade a while ago; maybe that’s how he got that weird intruding ability? It’s one of the many things the two have in common, which also includes gloating about how powerful they are, manipulating people into doing stuff that’s meant to happen, and just being overall relentlessly smug.

TT: Dude, do you think you could sit this one out for a while? This conversation practically doesn’t even concern you at this point. 
TT: It seems there is some gnarly crooked number that represents the percentage of probability you just said this doesn’t concern me. 
TT: Even though it’s patently obvious that half the conversation, like, way totally concerns me. 
TT: Shit, Roxy look. He’s doing the thing where he ironically pretends to fail the Turing test to sass me into submission. 
TT: Even though I was the one who fucking programmed him to do that. 
TG: ell 
TG: emm 
TG: eff 
TG: ayy 
TG: OFF~~!~ 
TG: like my butt is juts there on the floor 
TG: is how hard i elled it off just now 
TT: (Not peekin’ at the floor butt cause I’m only 13 years old, motherfuckers.) 
TT: This is fuckin’ dumb. 
TT: I’m going to leave both of you to interact however you want. I have important shit to deal with and actual responsibilities to take seriously. 
TT: Roxy, go nap off your drink, or aggressively wage another flirtlarping campaign, whatever, I don’t care. 
TT: Just don’t send that file to Jane, ok? 
timaeusTestified [TT] ceased pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]

Before Roxy warned Jane not to run the virus, Dirk warned her not to send it—it’s a foregone conclusion that Roxy didn’t listen, one we’ll probably learn about in her half of the selection screen. My interpretation of this is that Jane running the file is the result of a cascading series of friends’ refusals to listen to each other, but I have a feeling Dirk’s responder has something to do with that too.

How come the first page of a pesterlog is always the one I don’t really feel like going over in-depth?
I mean come on. This is the third time that sort of thing has happened.

This next pesterlog is another one that’s probably better to go through in words. Dirk answers his responder, who bugs him about how he’s spacing out, and goes on on to brag about how much better he is at multitasking than Dirk himself is. 

Then Dirk’s responder talks about stupid things that put all prior conversations about stupid things to shame: he brags about having calculated pi all the way to the last digit and having figured out all the prime numbers, which is of course bullshit but that’s kind of the point. I think the point was for him to distract Dirk from stopping Jane from blowing up her computer in the stupidest way possible: by ranting about how he completely hacked math. I will admit, as stupid as that whole conversation is, it’s decently funny.

Dirk’s responder compares his bullshit discoveries about math to “the old movie when Ferris Bueller got the nuclear computer to play tic-tac-toe against itself so hard, it blew up”, which is a movie that doesn’t exist. I know this because I recently watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and it doesn’t have anything like him blowing up a computer (though it does have him use pretty advanced exploitations of technology to get away with cutting school). That fake movie Dirk’s responder made up is probably a pastiche of about three different movies, so I have a feeling I only got half the joke. And had I gone faster with this post series, I wouldn’t have gotten the joke at all. 

EDIT: Once again a commenter explained the joke for me. Turns out it is a real movie, it’s just that the character is referred to as Ferris Bueller because of the actor. Although I haven’t seen that movie, I can only imagine Dirk’s responder thinking the main character might as well be Bueller; after all, according to a quick Wikipedia search both are played by the same guy and like slacking off and exploiting computers.

Speaking of jokes, Dirk and his responder also talk about how the stuff they say is jokes, which pretty much furthers the conversation being about stupid things. I wonder if the point of that part of the conversation is to show us where Doc Scratch got his bullshit ideas of what jokes are from.

TT: I should probably warn you. 
GG: About what? 
GG: Yet another exploding game trap? 
TT: Well shit. 
TT: She already sent it? 
GG: Yes. 
GG: But to be fair, she warned me not to run it. 
TT: That’s weird. 
[CONTINUED PREVIOUSLY

TT: How is the Jane thing going? 
TT: Not well. 
TT: Roxy already destroyed her computer. 
TT: Maybe if you weren’t spacing out so hard you could have prevented that. 
TT: Just saying. 
TT: As if you’re actually concerned. If you were, you could have said something to Jane instead. 
TT: Almost like you enjoy sitting back and watching what happens when shit goes wrong. 

Dirk’s responder is quite possibly the most smug character in the whole comic. We’re only at his third appearance (or fourth if you start from Roxy’s perspective) and it’s already clear that he isn’t the most benevolent character around. He claims to be purely interested in benefitting his friends, but if anything that’s only true in a technical sense, because I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of bad predestined events he intentionally allowed to happen.

TT: Why are you still talking in red, by the way? 
TT: Roxy thinks it looks good on me. 
TT: I don’t have many opinions on fashion since I am a cold, emotionless automaton who also happens to be an accessory of fashion, but I think she may be right. 

From here on out, the responder always talks in red, and it’s pretty obviously done for narrative convenience on multiple levels. The most obvious reason is to distinguish the two, but it’s more than just that. The color difference brings parallels with Davesprite to light, because while Davesprite types in Dirk’s color, the responder types in Dave’s color. But what’s really symbolistic about this change is that it demonstrates the responder starting to try to be his own individual, sort of busting loose from his role as an auto-responder; more specifically, he’s starting to brand his individuality as a robot rather than a human.

Also, Dirk’s responder says he is emotionless even though earlier he told Jake that he actually does have feelings. He’d probably insist emotions and feelings are two different things or some shit.

TT: Are you still talking to her? 
TT: I was for a while. I may yet again. 
TT: Why are you blocking me from viewing the transcripts? 
TT: What the fuck are you two even talking about? 
TT: You, mostly. 
TT: That doesn’t really sit well with me. 
TT: I’d almost rather you both engaged in “ironic” flirtation. 
TT: Who says we don’t do that too? 
TT: Ugh. 
TT: I don’t get what is even your problem with that. 
TT: Because you obviously do it just to piss me off. 
TT: How do you know? 
TT: You don’t know me, dude. You don’t know anything about me. 
TT: Maybe we are perfect for each other. I, a street-smart, fast-talking application with a fuckzillion IQ trapped in a pair of triangular sunglasses that literally only the Japanese could consider to embody the Platonic ideal of “cool,” and she, an oft-inebriated lonely hacker teen who just wants a boyfriend. I ran the numbers on this, trust me. It’s a match made in goddamn crackpair heaven. 
TT: I give her what you can’t, and that just drives you crazy. Just admit it. 
TT: See, it’s lines like that which make it obvious your only intent is to jerk me around. Nobody actually says shit like that and is serious about it. 

OK, if there are any characters whose interactions absolutely never amount to anything constructive, it’s Dirk and his responder. Pretty much all they do is the following: the responder picks on Dirk, he’s annoyed by that, repeat cycle forever. It’s a lot like Jake’s interactions with the auto-responder, but Dirk is I guess a little more calm about it?

Also, as the responder says, it’s obvious now that a big part of Roxy’s arc is wanting a love interest. Weirdly, that arc simultaneously has a satisfying resolution and an unsatisfying one, because she does get someone eligible (namely John), but despite heavy and blatant tease we don’t totally get the payoff of yes, they are an actual thing that happens.

TT: We really should talk about the Jake thing. 
TT: Fine. 

[…]

TT: I think you have this whole blueprint in your head about how it’s all supposed to go. 

TT: He acts as your server player and brings you into the session. 
TT: Then later he joins the game. 
TT: Maybe he finds himself a bit overwhelmed by it all. 
TT: No extra lives left or anything. Suddenly he’s backed into a corner, surrounded by monsters and out of ammo. SUBSTANTIAL vulnerabilities up in here. The kind that make a guy question what he believes about himself. 
TT: When who shows up to save him? None other than his dashing client player, +1 bitchin’ pair of shades that’ll have the best seat in the house when the fireworks go off. 
TT: Wait, whose fantasy were we talking about again? 
TT: Your gutterball was so rowdy it catapulted into the adjacent lane. 
TT: Yeah, you’re right. The scenario is too pedestrian for you.
TT: It would probably be a lot more effective putting yourself in danger and letting him be the hero. 
TT: That’s pretty much what he wants, right? To be a cheesy action film hero, with his twin berettas and silly shorts. 
TT: A man of triumph on the silver screen. Standing tall on some fucking mountain. Conquering ruins, clutching a skull, and kissing a dude. 
TT: Pure Hollywood. 

More foreshadowing that’s probably meant to be caught while re-reading the comic. Here’s some more Doc Scratch parallels for you: it doesn’t exactly sound like what actually ends up happening with Jake having to kiss Dirk’s severed head, but it’s all pretty much true. The skull Jake clutches and the dude he kisses, although it’s not explicitly stated, are one and the same. Also, Jake being Dirk’s server player actually is what happens, which makes it the only client/server connection that matches with the original plan.

By the way, I changed my mind about talking about Dirk having romantic feelings for Jake. I’ll save that for the teen drama conversations that happen later in this act.

TT: See, this is why even if I did have a specific plan, I wouldn’t go into details with you. 
TT: You would just fuck it up. You’re the biggest unknown quantity here. 
TT: Which is pretty weird, considering you’re a virtual reflection of my own thought processes. 

You know what else is weird? That Dirk not trusting his responder not to mess up his plans doesn’t come off as all that strange. Maybe it’s because his responder has the whole “artificial intelligence that isn’t concerned with human motives” thing going on while Dirk’s intentions are a lot more explicitly good? However, I think his responder is not so much a malicious version of Dirk as it is an extreme version of him.

TT: You know, considering your lectures about dividing my concentration, you seem to have no problem making a distraction of yourself. 
TT: I’m trying to operate here. 

I think Dirk’s responder gives those lectures not because he wants Dirk to better, but to brag about himself. Because that’s pretty much all that thing ever does.

You can see me, right?
Tell me what is wrong with this picture.

(I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist the callback.)

TT: Here, check it out. 
TT: Dude, what are you doing? 
TT: I’m proposing a distraction. 
TT: See, I’m just gonna dangle one of her dad’s ridiculous dancing figurines in the air like this and get his attention. 
TT: Ok, if you want to help that’s cool, but we should try to agree on some shit first before you hijack the controls like this. 
TT: Then when his back is turned she can run to the study. 
TT: Yeah, that’s fine, but I already had a plan sorta like this, if you’d actually let me do it. 
TT: Can you just put the fuckin’ Astaire down? 

It’s obvious that Dirk and his responder both want to be the ones to do the work with the game, but the difference is …

TT: I was going to stick the cruxtruder in the kitchen. 
TT: Distract him with that. 

TT: Once he follows it in, Jane can hurry into the study. 

… that Dirk is the one who actually thinks of doing useful constructive things, while his responder is focused on solely what’s “meant to happen” even if it’s stupid. I think this is more of a human vs. robot thing than anything.

Another thought: in contrast to John, Jane needs some help to sneak around and avoid her father.

TT: Oh shit, it’s Pony Pals. I guess dad saved it from the explosion or something. 
TT: That beautiful bastard. 
TT: Yes. 
TT: Hell yes. 
TT: Hell. 
TT: Fucking. 
TT: Yes. 

Looks like Pony Pals being awesome is the one thing Dirk and his responder agree on.

GG: Oh gosh. Another large contraption! 
TT: Now, Jane. Get to the computer in the study and ditch that tiara. 
TT: Go go go. 
GG: Okay. 
GG: Say, what’s with the red text, Dirk? 
GG: Are you typing your most important instructions in red now?
TT: Yes. 
TT: No. 

Here’s another bit of symbolism in Dirk’s responder typing in red. As Jane notes, red text comes off as more important than orange text. This basically means Dirk’s responder is deliberately making himself come off as the more important Dirk through a purely stylistic change, further tying in with his rise to power as an autonomous individual, which is itself an example of the alpha kids’ blank slate effect I keep talking about. I can only presume his responder decided to go through this change to his own character on the day they all enter the game or something. Maybe it’s explained better from Roxy’s perspective? I don’t know.

It’s weird that we don’t yet get to see what Jane’s study looks like, almost as if it’s a supreme mystery. I don’t recall it being much to look at.

GG: Alrighty, I am in my father’s study! 
GG: I have kindly asked Mr. Sebastian to hand over the reins to this silly computer shaped like a man. 
GG: What now? 
TT: Now you have access to a clean computer, for one thing. 
TT: Soon we can get started going through the steps necessary to launch the session. 
TT: Oh hell. 
GG: What? 
TT: Another interruption. 
TT: I should step away for a moment to take this message. 
TT: He’s probably right, I’m distracted by too much bullshit at once lately. 
GG: Who’s right? 
TT: Me. 
TT: Jane, I’m going to leave you with the responder for a little while. 
TT: Maybe he can help you get started. Think you can handle that, dude? 

I think it says a lot that Dirk decides to answer Calliope himself rather than have the auto-responder do it, and lets his responder deal with Sburb. This demonstrates how his responder is, uh, no longer just his responder? As for Dirk leaving his responder to deal with Sburb, I can only think about that in relation to starting the game being the main plotline of the story. It’s clear that the comic has so many other plotlines going on that it’s only fair that Sburb doesn’t get all the focus; unfortunately, one of those plotlines is the alpha kids’ web of relationship drama, which starting from around Act 4 has been a theme that’s taken more and more time in the comic. I’ll talk more about that later in posts that I can only guess will be a hassle to think of stuff to say.

TT: I’m all about being able to handle that, you don’t even know. 
TT: I will perform an acrobatic pirouette on to the handle, wherein the handle literally represents my ability to handle that thing. 
TT: Ok, got it. You and the handle are tight. 
TT: We don’t need a whole thing about this. 
TT: Once I stick the landing on the handle like a champ, I am going to get down on one knee, pull out a ring, and propose to it. 
TT: The handle I mean. 
TT: Ok. 
TT: Implying we will be married. 
GG: :B 
TT: Ok, long story short, you and the handle fuck gratuitously. Nuff said. 

Dirk is right, that joke became stale almost 2000 pages ago. But his responder goes on with it anyway. Maybe that’s symbolistic of his responder being stuck with a 13-year-old computer brain and thus unable to grow out of jokes that jumped the shark long ago?

TT: Try not to say I never gave you any responsibilities, or never took you seriously as a viable conscious being with free will. 
TT: Also, please try not to make me regret this. 
TT: You have nothing to worry about. Go talk to the alien. 

Despite Dirk’s warning, I don’t recall anything bad happening with his responder being Jane’s server player. The relationship drama subplot, on the other hand, is all about stuff messing up. Maybe that relates to that drama engulfing so much screen time that it feels almost like the main plot at times even though by definition it’s only the main plot in romantic comedies? I don’t know.

In Dirk’s command to talk to Calliope, she is referred to as the “alien”, which to me suggests the story’s hiding something. And yet, it’s ridiculously easy to fall for the red herring clues that she’s a troll. I admire anyone who suspected she wasn’t actually a troll before the grand reveal.

Oh damn, I was hoping to go over this pesterlog between Dirk and Calliope in somewhat less depth than previous, but it just has SO MUCH PLOT STUFF that I almost feel like I can go through it in extra-high depth. I’ve always found conversations about plot stuff the easiest to write commentary on, which is a good thing because sometimes I can’t even pretend to have much to say about a conversation in the comic.

UU: i see yoU’re aboUt ready to begin. how splendid for yoU. ^u^ 
UU: i’m at dangeroUs risk of jealoUsy. 
TT: Why? 
UU: oh, it’s jUst i’m rUnning a bit behind schedUle. i wanted to coordinate with yoUr groUp in something approximating real time, and that is starting to look less likely. 
UU: my client player continUes to be a soUrce of frUstration. u_u 
UU: i’d thoUght we had everything settled, bUt it’s always something with him. 
UU: i even told him in my last message it woUld sUit me fine if he wanted to be the server player instead. i jUst want to begin! 
UU: bUt i have not heard back from him… >:u 
TT: That’s probably the way it always is. I’ve run into plenty of problems here already, and I’ve had to improvise heavily. 
TT: Ain’t nothing about our situation to envy yet. 
UU: bUt at least i know how certain things go when it comes to yoUr story. 
UU: i don’t qUite have that lUxUry with mine! it is nerve wracking sometimes, especially when i mUst coUnt on him to be responsible. 

From reading this bit, two things are obvious: (1) that I’m going to have A LOT to say about Calliope’s exposition and (2) that her Skaian clouds showed her just about nothing about how her session really will go. Sometimes I wonder if Calliope’s early pesterlogs are deliberately meant to be fun to re-read. Wait, when I put it that way, of course they’re meant to be fun to re-read, just like all the lies of omission Doc Scratch says.

TT: Well, your bro definitely has got some problems. Not gonna lie. 
UU: this is trUe. 
UU: thoUgh i’m sUre i’ve said, he isn’t qUite my brother. we are related, yes, bUt not in the way hUman brothers and sisters are. 
UU: we are genetically similar, bUt in many ways qUite different. in fact, oUr blood coloUr is not even the same! 
UU: bUt i have referred to him as a brother at times becaUse it is close enoUgh to being trUe, mUch as yoU refer to the one yoU regard as yoUr ancestor in the same way. 

The weird thing is, Calliope and Caliborn’s genetic relationship is a lot more similar to human siblings than she purports. Since they share the same parents, they’re pretty much just twin siblings who share a body and are polar opposites. Besides, they very much have the “good twin, evil twin” thing going on.

TT: Yeah. 
TT: Just give him some time. He’ll probably come around. 
TT: You would never even have woken up on Prospit if you weren’t going to launch the session, right? 
TT: I mean, there wouldn’t even be a session for a Prospit to exist inside if you weren’t about to instantiate it in the first place. Unless I’m just totally not getting how this works. 

What Dirk says is a decent argument in favor of Calliope being able to start her session. However, knowing that Caliborn ends up playing alone, in retrospect maybe it’s more of a way the game misled her into thinking they could play together, and used her largely as a pawn for Lord English’s creation.

UU: no, i think yoU’re probably right. 
UU: while i await his response, perhaps i will take a nap, and see if the cloUds may offer any gUidance. 
UU: thoUgh lately i have been seeing many more black cloUds cropping Up in skaia than UsUal. it is a most Unwelcome trend. u_u; 

At this point it’s already heavily hinted something will go wrong with the cherubs’ session. Black clouds are something I’m pretty sure aren’t supposed to usually happen; my bet is Skaia started running short on things to show her that wouldn’t reveal the dark truth about her session.

Next the conversation transitions into some classpect exposition that’s worth discussing not as the implications of what bards and princes typically do (though I’ll get to some parts of that later), but also as the fact that it exists.

Some people argue that Calliope’s exposition is useless and unreliable because she’s supposed to parody fans and some of her theories have turned out wrong. I disagree here, at least on the point of classpect exposition. Since fans LOVE that roleplaying title system, obviously any discussion of the system in-comic is there at least partly for the sake of fanservice; definitions as explicit as the ones Calliope gives definitely are meant to be taken seriously.

But as I’ve mentioned previously, the weird thing is, the comic goes out of its way to explain some classes and aspects but not others. Why is that exactly? One could argue that some not being explained is yet another example of the present ending of the comic sort of cutting it short when we still have many stories to tell and plot points to resolve. But another potential argument is that this stuff could be explained in external media, like a book listing out all the definitions of the classes and aspects. At least half of fans would kill for such a full explanation, and I’ve heard of Hussie and his associates having definitions for all that stuff that they refuse to share due to the author being reclusive these days so it probably wouldn’t be that hard. To expand upon the metaphor, I would maybe slap someone for such an explanation. Not literally but you get what I mean.

However, that begs the question: if that’s the case, why do some of the classes and aspects get such an explanation in-comic? My best guess is that it’s simply because of general plot relevance.

Anyway, Calliope describes the two parts of Dirk’s title as follows:

UU: to Understand the heart aspect better, yoU might Use it interchangeably with the word soUl. 
UU: the hero Uses the methods endowed by class to inflUence in some way the soUl, or essence of being, of oneself or of others. 
TT: Then I’m basically the Prince of Soul. 
UU: yes. 
TT: That sounds kind of maybe a little cooler. Sort of. 
TT: Then what am I supposed to be able to do as a Prince? Like, rule over souls in a pompous, regal manner? 
UU: no! 
UU: again, sUrface meaning of classes and aspects can be deceptive. 
UU: a prince is a destroyer class. 
UU: it is very far on the active side of the scale. its more passive coUnterpart woUld be the bard class. both of these are exclUsively designated for male players. 
UU: to Understand a hero’s capabilities, it always helps to search for the right way to parse the class/aspect pair into a more explicit statement. 
UU: for instance, being active, a prince coUld be viewed as “one who destroys x, or caUses destrUction throUgh x,” if x is the aspect. 

I feel like this exposition is sort of also meant to get readers thinking about the prior characters who have titles related to Dirk’s. In this case, Eridan in particular fits far better with his title in retrospect given his constant destructive tendencies. I’m saying this not because it’s a new thing I realized (which it most certainly isn’t), just as an obvious example of something one may realize from Calliope’s exposition.

UU: while the more passive bard coUld be seen as “one who allows x to be destroyed, or invites destrUction throUgh x,” as if by the will of the aspect. 
TT: I’m obviously no expert, but that sounds like a pretty odd thing for a Bard to do. 
UU: maybe! it’s a qUirky class. 
UU: somewhat like a wildcard role for a hero. very Unpredictable. 
UU: they are typically known for their spontaneoUs and dramatic story-altering inflUence on the fate of a party. 
UU: some of the more remarkable tales involve sUch parties, where the bard is single handedly responsible for their spectacUlar downfall or improbable victory. or both! 
UU: in trUth, yoU are probably fortUnate yoUr groUp doesn’t have one. :u 

The twist is, the alpha kids actually do end up having a bard, in the form of Gamzee showing up sometimes due to clown nonsense. Very unpredictable indeed. What’s more is, the same goes for the cherubs’ session, both having a bard and having Gamzee.

TT: So if I’m following, my title nearly parses as, 
TT: Destroyer of Souls. 
UU: indeed. 
TT: Well, that’s a little more badass sounding I guess. 

It seems like the comic uncovers the underlying meaning of Dirk’s title for us so to speak. Well, maybe not so much doing the work for us as once again getting readers thinking, about what Dirk’s title would mean other than just destroying souls, like sort of making Jake “broken” through toxic influence via his splinters. See, this stuff is getting readers thinking in action.

TT: But I’m not sure I’ll ever feel a major need to destroy a soul, unless I become a cartoonishly villainous sorcerer some day. 
UU: i woUldn’t be hasty in rUling it oUt. 
UU: that is, finding the need to Use the ability, not sUccUmbing to any sort of villainy. u~u 
UU: we tend to have these roles for a reason, and that reason UsUally finds Us. especially if we are to achieve god tier ascension. 
TT: Ok. Do I do that? 
UU: no dirk! 
UU: i mean, no, i will not tell yoU!!! 
TT: Give me a fuckin’ break. 
TT: Why don’t you just tell me? Who cares about spoilers. What’s gonna happen is gonna happen. 
UU: that very well may be, bUt it will dreadfUlly complicate both of oUr lives if what is to come resUlts from self-fUlfillment alone! 
UU: a great deal of instrUctional material is very clear on this. 

Calliope is doing the Doc Scratch thing again, namely withholding information that counts as “spoilers”. Weirdly, in both cases the motives are pretty much what it sounds like: so information won’t be spoiled. Also, isn’t a lot of what Calliope does sort of self-fulfillment with her cloud instructions and all that?

UU: besides, yoU make it soUnd as thoUgh i know everything, which i most certainly do NOT. upu 
UU: (pardon the sideways tongUe.) 
TT: Wait. Don’t you? 
TT: I thought you did. 

This is approximately eleven times more hilarious than it should be.

UU: i have read mUch aboUt yoUr story in texts and have pieced together the overarching, exceedingly complicated saga as best as i coUld. i have as mUch aUthority over these events as a historian, and am at the mercy of my soUrces. 
UU: i also am able to access mUch of yoUr adventUre throUgh this terminal, bUt there is a limitation to this too, which i may as well admit now to get yoU off of my back! 
TT: What? 
UU: i can view all events involving yoU and yoUr coplayers on earth, for yoUr entire lives, Until yoU enter the game. 
UU: i can also view some events after yoUr session begins, bUt not for very long, thanks to yoUr tipsy friend. 
TT: Oh man. What the hell does she do? 
UU: she blacks oUt yoUr entire session! 
UU: i’m sUre this is not deliberate on her part, bUt thereafter i can see nothing at all. 

OK this is a bit confusing. If Roxy’s blacking out the session is a subconscious act like it so appears to be, then how does Calliope know she did it? Maybe it’s yet again her speculation, but the kind that isn’t definitely wrong and thus shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed as fan satire.

UU: bUt i have never considered this to the detriment of either party. i still wish for Us to collaborate, and to help each other oUt. 
UU: beyond a certain point, we simply mUst commUnicate in the dark. 

What’s interesting is, they end up communicating in the dark in a much more literal sense later on when Calliope spends a stretch of time as a ghost in the Furthest Ring hiding in the shadows from Lord English, especially in that dream bubble scene with her and Roxy.

UU: thoUgh i can’t see what happens mUch later, i can certainly specUlate. and i very often do. i gUess it woUld not hUrt to share some of my specUlation with yoU. 
UU: in fact, now that i consider it, that coUld be the most fUn thing of all! 
TT: Speculation? 
UU: yes. theories! examining all the clUes and hazarding oUr gUesses. 
UU: what does it all mean? everything aboUt yoUr vast epic points to a central mystery which i have not been able to solve yet. 
UU: yoU might even call it the Ultimate riddle, if that were not already codified as “a thing” in scriptUre. 
UU: i have so very many theories, i woUldn’t even know where to begin. 
TT: So… 
TT: You’re kind of obsessed with us then. 
UU: i woUldn’t go that far! oh my, i’m probably coming off as an absolUte nUtter now. 
TT: No, not really. I just want to understand. 
TT: So can I ask, 
TT: Just to get a better sense of the nature of your “admiration,” 
TT: When you engage in the aforementioned speculation, is it strictly on a factual basis? 
UU: hm? :u 
TT: Or do you start to… 
TT: Fictionalize. 
UU: UUUUUUm… 
TT: What I’m asking is, have you ever written stories about us?
UU: ….. 
UU: yes. u_u 

I love how Dirk quickly puts two and two together and figures out the deal with Calliope; namely, that she is pretty much a fan of their story, in the sense of it being like a popular work of media. It also says a lot about the guy “knowing what’s up” so to speak.

As this image shows us, all those teasers of what Calliope looks like point to her being a troll, but are vague enough that people should wonder if something’s up with who she is. It’s amazing how her reveal still comes off to just about all readers as a surprise.

But in fairness, even if someone IS inclined to think she isn’t a troll, who would think she might be Lord English’s race? Probably not many people.

TT: Interesting. 
TT: Would you ever be inclined to share? 
UU: ohhhh, no no no no no no no. 
UU: i woUld be far too embarrassed to do that. 
TT: That’s cool. I’m not trying to pass judgment here. Just curious. 
TT: Do any of these stories about us by any chance involve… 
TT: Romance? 
UU: well… 
UU: maybe jUst… 
UU: Um. 
UU: a wee bit. :u 
TT: How wee? 
UU: a smidgen or two. 
TT: Which is it? One smidgen, or two smidgens? 
UU: OK A WHOLE BLOODY LOT OF SMIDGENS. XU 
UU: i’m sorry. unu 

It’s an open question what pairings Calliope ships, which is a good thing because she’d probably be a lot more controversial among fans if she explicitly has strong opinions on certain ships (especially the one people argue about). But I’m going to offer my speculation on her ships regardless. Since she’s supposed to parody the fans, I bet Dirk/Jake is among her ships because it’s a very popular pairing among the fandom even though their relationship in-comic is blatantly unhealthy.

TT: Ok, I am seriously curious to read some. 
TT: I won’t show anyone, I promise. 
UU: bUUUt… 
UU: yoU woUldn’t even Understand it! 
UU: my species has a completely different Understanding of romance than yoU do. 
UU: it woUld probably offend yoU deeply. it might even sicken yoU! 

Calliope’s species having a completely different understanding from humans makes a lot more sense in retrospect knowing how cherub romance works. Troll romance isn’t completely different from that of humans, since one of the quadrants is the same as human romance. Cherub romance, on the other hand, works entirely upon hate love in a way much more extreme than troll black romance.

TT: But that only makes me want to check it out more. 
TT: Really, there’s no way it’s going to sicken or offend me. Whatever it is, I’ve seen worse. 
TT: I’m not judging you at all here. I’m genuinely curious about your work. 

I really think Dirk is right that despite what she says, Calliope’s work probably isn’t all that bad; she seems to be meant as a parody of fangirls who like writing the innocent kind of shippy fanfiction, not the weird smutty erotic kind about characters having sex. Besides, how would she know—you know what I’ll stop talking about that.

When Dirk finally convinces Calliope to share some of her work, she gives him this drawing of what Dirk would look like as a god tier:

God tier outfits just keep getting more and more ridiculous, am I right?

and Dirk’s reaction is mostly “do I really have to wear that?” I think it says quite a bit that this drawing proves mostly accurate, except for the wings. As I said previously, people like to think Calliope’s theories are always wrong, but I think she’s more accurately mostly right, which the drawing demonstrates. As for god tier Cal, I’m not counting that as a mistake because that’s just a stylistic thing.

TT: Ok, what is with the butterfly wings? 
UU: we sproUt them Upon ascension! aren’t they beaUtifUl? 
TT: Uh. 
UU: i have seen many depictions of sUch heroes with wings, Unless they happen to be hiding them beneath their clothes. 
UU: i gUess i can’t be absolUtely sUre, bUt i believe it’s reasonably likely the Upgrade is Universal! 

This is a theory of Calliope’s that does turn out to be wrong, but here “turn out” maybe isn’t the best phrase. Her theories that are actually wrong are generally ones the reader already knows the truth about, which can be said very much for things like thinking Gamzee was the least important character, but not for her descriptions of classes and stuff, since that’s never been contradicted, nor does she say her descriptions are the only way to view that stuff.

TT: How much of this shit is compulsory by game law or whatever? 
TT: Am I obligated to traipse around in fucking tights and puffy little asshole pants forever? 
UU: no, silly. 
UU: they are jUst clothes. yoU are free to swap parts if yoU like. 
UU: or, if yoU wish to be free of it altogether, change back into yoUr plain clothes, and bob’s yoUr Uncle. like it never even happened! 

You know how superheroes sometimes change in and out of their regular clothes to switch between their secret identity and hero identity? Well, I wonder if god tier clothes were sort of meant to tie in with that concept. This sort of brings a new meaning to the notion of god tier clothes, like how if Sburb players settle the universe they create they could make themselves be in regular person mode or superhero mode whenever they want.

TT: Are you British? 
TT: Or pretending to be British, in a sort of ironic or stylized way? 
UU: doing what now? 
TT: I mean, I guess it doesn’t make sense for an alien to be British. 
TT: Or for an alien to be American, for that matter. 
UU: hmm… 
UU: no, i fancy neither of those things make mUch sense at all.
TT: Just the way you type is making it seem that way is all. 
UU: oh! 
UU: yes, that woUld be my qUirk. 
TT: Quirk? 
TT: So like, 
TT: Deliberate affectation? 
UU: no! a qUirk!!! 
UU: qUirk dirk. 
UU: heeheehee. ^u^ 
TT: You pretending to be British is a quirk. 
TT: What the fuck is a quirk? 
UU: we all need a qUirk! 
UU: it adds spice to oUr voices and helps Us stand oUt as individUals. 

Basically, the explanation for Calliope saying stereotypical British things is that it’s another fandom parody thing. Some fans of Homestuck regularly type with troll typing quirks which is the stupidest thing ever, so despite Calliope appearing to be a troll who types with a quirk by definition, that’s really yet another satirical thing. I’m tempted to say it makes more sense in retrospect due to her being a cherub instead of a troll, but Caliborn, who despises everything she loves, starts with the exact opposite typing quirk. Maybe god tier Calliope typing in all lowercase symbolizes that version of her growing out of being a fandom parody?

TT: That’s stupid. 
TT: I don’t have a fucking quirk, and I don’t want one. 
UU: oh, well of coUrse YOU woUldn’t. 
UU: yoU’re hUman. 
UU: hUmans are notorioUsly strange. :U

If saying British stuff counts as a quirk, then talking like Dirk probably counts as one as well, albeit a purely subconscious one. But still, typing with regular capitalization and grammar is probably Dirk’s idea of having no quirk. I think all the beta and alpha kids’ typing styles are pretty much their respective ideas of not having a quirk.

UU: i think their romantic practices are particUlarly esoteric.
UU: actUally, i have written hUndreds of pages examining the striking differences between hUman and troll romance, as well as reprodUctive habits, as the comparison makes for a marveloUs case stUdy in xenobiocUltUral differences. 
UU: as long as i am sharing specUlation with yoU, perhaps yoU woUld like to read my essays? 
UU: i coUld even paste each page right here in sUccession, and allow yoU to read them back to back to back to back to back to back! ^u^ 
TT: Oh hell no. 
UU: ah. 
UU: yes, yoU’re right of coUrse. i’m probably getting carried away as UsUal. 

More fandom satire stuff. Once Calliope’s nervous fan shell is broken, she’s all about sharing her crazy stuff, and casually coming off as a whole bloody ton of smidgens too obsessed with stuff. But then again I’ve also written hundreds of pages online about Homestuck and about large numbers so maybe I’m not one to call that too crazy. But still somewhat crazy.

TT: Hang on, though. Before you go, 
TT: You never did give me any actual advice on my situation. 
TT: With the dead agent, and my blown cover. 
UU: oh, right! 

I think Dirk generally tends to realize a lot of things other characters don’t. In this case, he points out that Calliope never gave him actual advice in a part of the conversation I skipped when going over it. This realization is notable because often characters who know stuff about the future (this includes Calliope) don’t go beyond giving cryptic “advice” that’s really just stuff like “you’ll see what’ll happen”.

UU: i woUld look at it this way. 
UU: yoU are moments away from beginning yoUr session, yes? 
TT: Sure. 
UU: and yoU have already spent a long time gathering intelligence Unbeknownst to the aUthorities. 
UU: how mUch more do yoU expect to accUmUlate even if yoU coUld stay Undetected? 
UU: and how mUch strategic advantage is left to gain by delaying yoUr discovery for mUch longer? 
TT: I don’t know. 
UU: i say the time to make a stand is now! 
UU: to hell with the dersite tossers. 
UU: make yoUr presence known. let them see that the prince is awake, and make it abUndantly clear what that means. 

Well shit, it looks like the impossible just happened: someone who knows stuff giving someone else actual advice. And to add on, it’s Calliope (a.k.a. Jade 2.0) of all people giving that.

As for the advice itself, Calliope’s statement that Dirk should make it abundantly clear what his presence means brings a whole new meaning to the second part of his dramatic written one-liner (two-liner I guess), “Your shit is wrecked.” God I almost wish I didn’t completely remember those words, but it’s pretty much impossible for me to have forgotten about such an iconic scene.

In this image, the Skaianet poster makes for some nice really subtle foreshadowing—in this case, Dirk’s and Roxy’s ancestors rebelling in the Condesce following the footsteps of grandma Jade. This sort of brings to mind how the beta kids’ friendships can still be there even when they’re displaced through different time periods.

Dirk leaves his room and we’re done with his half of the selection screen. That sure took a long time. See you next time as I celebrate a year of this post series by commenting on Roxy doing a bunch of stuff.

>> Part 69: A Series of Faux Cat Mysteries

1 thought on “Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 68: Dream Decapitations and Smug Brain Clones

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