Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 72: Gray and Purple Plot Dumps

Introduction

Part 71 | Part 72 | Part 73 >

Act 6 Intermission 2, Part 1 of 3

Pages 4667-4708 (MSPA: 6567-6608)

Delicious plot dumps if I say so myself.

EDIT (12/14/2016): Shit, I forgot to rant about how weird illogical the supposed retconned version of the penis fight scene was. Better luck next time I guess.

EDIT (10/5/2019): After a really good streak for over 30 posts, this is where my Homestuck posts start reading like garbly nonsense again—makes sense because this is where my posting schedule started to slow WAY down. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote about half the stuff I said in this post, so I didn’t even bother making many edits to it, just so you’re warned.

Hold still, Slick.

After a terrifying montage of the world turning into a flooded alien queen wasteland, suddenly Hussie is trying to feed Spades Slick lusus milk. I must say, this sudden mood switch makes for a surprisingly good transition device.

Amidst all this hilarity, if you stop to pay attention to things a whole bunch of stuff is happening. First off, Hussie is cosplaying yet again, this time as an interpretation of what Calliope might look like. He presumably rescued Slick from the destruction of the trolls’ universe, and gave him some robotic upgrades. The deal with Slick is that the comic consistently refuses to kill him off*, and now Hussie displays a comical obsession with keeping him alive, full out making fun of this recurring motif. I swear to god if he doesn’t turn up alive once again after being killed off in the stupidest way possible…**

Oh, and Aurthour is alive again too somehow? As with Minihoof that’s yet another weird inexplicable horse thing.

* I knowwwwww 😦

** That sentence can also be read as Slick turning up alive in the stupidest way possible, which is semi-intentional. But getting more stupid that self-insert shenanigans requires a bit of creativity.

I love the subtlety in seeing bits of Lord English as he reappears.

As Hussie complains about Slick being difficult, Ms. Paint prepares some soup but drops it in fear at the sight of Lord English making another surprise dramatic entrance. As with his first entrance, we first see parts of him … 

… and then English in full view. I don’t think he has ever not made a dramatic entrance before arriving in a scene.

Once again I’ll try my best to only minimally moan about the retcon and you know what else.I actually can’t wait to vent out all my bitterness about all that stuff, but it would be kind of dumb not to do it at a more appropriate time.

It’s time for another ridiculous Karkat memo, a year into the meteor journey. In that memo, Karkat and himself ten minutes in the future reminisce about how it’s been so far, with a lot of existential discussion, and arguments about red text (sounds vaguely like Dirk I guess?). Once again I’ll do the thing where I skip over some parts.

CCG: REMEMBER THOSE INSANE BLOCKS OF GRAY ANGRY TEXT WE USED TO WRITE TOGETHER. 
CCG: WHAT WAS THAT 
CCG: LIKE HALF A SWEEP AGO ALREADY? 
CCG: IS IT WEIRD THAT I’M ACTUALLY LOOKING BACK ON ALL THAT INSANITY WITH A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FONDNESS? 
CCG: AT LEAST SHIT WAS HAPPENING. 

This is one of those moments where a character feels the same way the reader likely does.

CCG: I’M GONNA DO THE *MATURE* THING HERE: AND SWITCH MY TEXT TO RED. 
CCG: THERE. I THINK THIS SHOULD BE THE UNIVERSAL CONVENTION FOR WHEN TWO OF THE SAME PEOPLE ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER. 
CCG: ONE GUY BITES THE BULLET AND TALKS IN RED. 
CCG: SERIOUSLY, ONE OF US HAS TO BE THE GROWN UP HERE. 
FCG: OH! I GET IT NOW. 
FCG: WHEN I TYPE IN RED, IT’S SHOWY AND INSECURE, BUT WHEN YOU DO IT, YOU ARE SHOULDERING THE PRAGMATIC BURDEN OF A MARTYR, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS *MY* FUCKING IDEA TO DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE TEN MINUTES AGO! 
FCG: YOU PIECE OF SHIT. 
CCG: OK!!! GOD DAMMIT, STOP BEING SO SENSITIVE. I FUCKING APOLOGIZE. 
FCG: CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT YOUR STUPID FEELINGS ALREADY SO WE CAN GET THIS NIGHTMARE OVER WITH. 

An even better example of what I just said. Here the story directly remarks that the whole purpose of this memo is to recap what this trip has been like from Karkat’s point of view, as evidenced by his future self’s line about talking about feelings. In a way Karkat is the protagonist of the meteor crew story arc, so I suppose that makes sense; after all, his arc in Act 6 focuses largely on him watching friendships fall apart.

It’s all the stuff from Karkat’s old hive and more!
Thresh Prince DVDs, troll and human romantic comedies, even his troll bed…

CCG: WELL LOOK, IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS LOPSIDED THING WHERE I SPILL ALL MY FEELINGS INTO IDIOTSPACE WHILE SOME SHIT HEAD YELLS AT ME. 
CCG: I WAS KIND OF THINKING THERE WOULD BE SOME GIVE AND TAKE, SINCE YOU PRESUMABLY SHARE A LOT OF MY THOUGHTS?? 
FCG: OK WHATEVER. JUST SAY SOME STUFF ALREADY. ALL THAT SHIT I SAID TEN MINUTES AGO. 
FCG: I WILL “RIFF” WITH YOU AND SOMEHOW PRETEND IT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE I’M REHASHING A BUNCH OF LINES WRITTEN IN BARELY DRIED INK!!! 
CCG: OK 
CCG: WELL 
CCG: I’M HAVING A HARD TIME EVEN PUTTING MY THOUGHTS INTO WORDS ABOUT THIS BIZARRE TREK THROUGH THE RING. 

As with the alpha kids’ “character ascending to the roof with Cal” thing, this whole recap, which officially began just now, is a thing of narrative relevance that’s entirely contrived by stable time loops. But I guess it’s a fair thing to happen because time loops are kind of a thing that happens in Homestuck. 

CCG: AT FIRST IT WAS JUST BLAND AND UNEVENTFUL. BUT THAT WAS KIND OF A RELIEF, REMEMBER? 
CCG: NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT GETTING KILLED ALL THE TIME, OR TRYING TO RALLY A BUNCH OF UNCOOPERATIVE TROOPS TOWARD AN IMPOSSIBLE OBJECTIVE. 
FCG: YEAH. 
CCG: BUT THEN 
CCG: AS IF IT WASN’T ENOUGH THAT SOMETIMES WE VISIT THESE CRAZY DREAM BUBBLES WHEN WE GO TO SLEEP… 
CCG: WE STARTED PHYSICALLY PASSING THROUGH THEM TOO. 
FCG: “I HEAR YOU MAN.” 
FCG: THAT WAS WHEN I WAS SUPPOSED TO SAY THAT. 
FCG: BUT FOR THE RECORD, I GUESS I MEANT IT. 

Yet another bit of subtle character development: here Karkat is getting along quite a bit better with himself than he previously did. Or at least he’s not totally disagreeing with himself.

CCG: YEAH. 
CCG: I MEAN, DON’T GET ME WRONG. 
CCG: I MISS ALL OF MY DEAD FRIENDS A LOT. 
CCG: EVEN THE ASSHOLES! I MISS THEM TOO. MAYBE EVEN ESPECIALLY THEM, IN SOME PERVERSE WAY. 
CCG: AND I SHOULD BE RELIEVED THAT THEY ALL SEEM TO BE HAPPY IN SOME WAY, EVEN IF IT’S BY FLOATING NEBULOUSLY THROUGH DREAM PROJECTIONS WITH THEIR FREAKY BLANK EYES. 
CCG: AND I GUESS I AM RELIEVED ABOUT THAT. 

Karkat’s statement that the dead trolls all seem to be happy is not just something he informs us; it’s backed up by what we saw of them in [S] Roxy: Sleepwalk.

CCG: BUT AT THE SAME TIME IT’S LEFT ME UNSETTLED. 
CCG: FOR REASONS I CAN’T REALLY PUT MY FINGER ON. 
FCG: I KNOW WHY. 
CCG: YOU DO? 
FCG: YEAH. 
CCG: WELL OF COURSE YOU DO. 
CCG: I GUESS BECAUSE I JUST TOLD YOU TEN MINUTES AGO, MAKING IT LIKE A SELF-FULFILLING EPIPHANY?? 
FCG: WELL THERE’S THAT 
FCG: BUT ALSO THIS CONVERSATION HELPED CLARIFY SOME THOUGHTS TOO, IN SPITE OF ITS EXCRUCIATING POINTLESSNESS. 
FCG: PART OF WHAT’S BOTHERING YOU ABOUT THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS ABOUT MORTALITY. 

For some reason, after all this time getting to know how Homestuck’s world runs on stable time loops, weird self-fulfilling time shit is no less mind-wrenching.

CCG: YEAH 
CCG: I THINK THAT’S PART OF IT. 
CCG: AFTER VISITING WHO KNOWS HOW MANY DREAM BUBBLES 
CCG: AND HANGING OUT WITH WHO KNOWS HOW MANY DEAD FRIENDS, AND *COPIES* OF DEAD FRIENDS FROM ALTERNATE TIMELINES… 
CCG: I START TO WONDER, DOES DEATH EVEN REALLY MEAN ANYTHING? 
CCG: DID LIFE MEAN ANYTHING, FOR THAT MATTER?? 
CCG: WAS THE POINT OF LIFE TO JUST GO AROUND COLLECTING A BUNCH OF PAINFUL AND AWKWARD EXPERIENCES TO SUPPLY MATERIAL FOR THE REVOLVING MEMORY-COLLAGE THAT SERVES AS THE BACKDROP TO A MUCH LONGER, EMPTIER STRETCH OF EXISTENCE? 

I’m starting to really enjoy these existential conversations the comic does sometimes. Here the story is deconstructing its own loopholes around death by redefining the notions of life and death in a kind of depressing way. But when is thinking about death ever not depressing?

It was a really cool narrative choice having an offshoot version of Feferi be the one to bring WV back to life; basically it’s taking advantage of the fact that those trolls written out of the story still exist. It’s also live demonstration of Karkat’s description of meeting god tier versions of his friends.

CCG: AND HOW UNNERVING IS IT RUNNING INTO OUR DEAD DOPPELGANGERS FROM DOOMED TIMELINES? 
FCG: HEY, YOU’RE PREACHING TO THE CHOIR, BRO. 
CCG: IT’S FUCKED UP. 
CCG: NEVER MIND WHAT IT MEANS ABOUT A PERSON’S IDENTITY OR SENSE OF SELF, OR WHICH GUY GETS TO BE CONSIDERED “THE REAL GUY” OR PHILOSOPHICAL BULLSHIT LIKE THAT. 
CCG: JUST ON THE LEVEL OF WHAT YOUR DECISIONS AND ACTIONS DURING YOUR LIFE ACTUALLY MEAN. 
CCG: SOMETIMES WE RUN INTO THESE VERSIONS OF OURSELVES WHO REACHED GOD TIER FOR FUCK’S SAKE. 
CCG: BUT IN SPITE OF BEING *MORE* SUCCESSFUL THAN WE WERE, BY THAT PARTICULAR OBJECTIVE MEASURE 
CCG: THEY GET PUNISHED FOR THAT, BECAUSE IT WASN’T “THE THING THAT NEEDED TO HAPPEN”?? 
FCG: PRETTY MUCH. 
CCG: SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US? 
CCG: IF WE ARE TO TAKE SOME LESSON FROM THAT, WHAT IS IT! 
CCG: “TRY TO BE GREAT AND SUCCESSFUL, BUT MAYBE NOT TOOOO GREAT AND SUCCESSFUL?” 
CCG: OR MAYBE DON’T TRY AT ALL IN SOME CASES! BECAUSE IF YOU DO, SOME GIANT FUCKING SQUID IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE IS GOING TO BE LIKE, NOT SO FAST, MY HIDEOUS MONSTER PLANS BEG TO DIFFER. 
CCG: DON’T YOU THINK WE’D HAVE BEEN BETTER OFF IF WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT ANY OF THIS DREAM BUBBLE SHIT? 

As shown in that scene with Feferi, the god tier dream bubble ghosts seem to be there for occasional plot convenience, but I too get the feeling that their existence is supposed to teach our heroes some sort of lesson. Not that I actually think they teach a lesson besides the contradictory stuff Karkat speculates about, just that I get a feeling they’re supposed to.

FCG: WELL. 
FCG: YEAH. 
FCG: THAT’S WHAT I WAS THINKING TEN MINUTES AGO. 
FCG: BUT NOW I DON’T EVEN KNOW. 
CCG: YEAH, WELL AT LEAST YOU’RE LISTENING. EVEN IF YOU WERE BEING YOUR USUAL SHITTY SELF ABOUT IT. 
CCG: NOBODY ELSE EVEN GETS THIS, THEY DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. 
CCG: LIKE TEREZI? 
CCG: IT USED TO BE THAT SHE WOULD AT LEAST HUMOR EVEN MY MOST LUDICROUS, VITRIOLIC GARBAGE ALL THE TIME. 
CCG: REMEMBER THOSE DAYS? 
CCG: WAY BACK BEFORE WE EVEN KNEW WHAT A HUMAN WAS. 
CCG: BACK ON ALTERNIA WHEN MY BIGGEST FEAR WAS IF PEOPLE FOUND OUT I WAS A MUTANT. HOW QUAINT CAN YOU FUCKING GET? 
CCG: I WAS AN IDIOT NOT TO UNDERSTAND HOW GOOD THINGS WERE BACK THEN. 
CCG: BETWEEN US. 

For some reason it feels kind of mythical having the comic address Karkat’s relationship with Terezi because after a certain point the comic just started not bothering to address certain things. The end credits, which address most of the things I hoped for, somewhat dampen this feeling but whatever.

Dave, Terezi, and the Mayor (that’s his new name pretty much) playing Can Town truly is a sight to behold, just because of how fun it is seeing them play together with combining their various interests. Perhaps this scene makes the reader feel Karkat’s annoyance and envy about this relationship, but it’s almost too good a sight for that feeling to kick in.

CCG: I WOULD JUST LIKE TO KNOW. 
CCG: IS SHE PUNISHING ME FOR SOMETHING? 
CCG: I DON’T NEED TO REMIND YOU HOW MUCH TIME SHE SPENDS GALLIVANTING AROUND THE METEOR WITH YOU KNOW WHO. 
FCG: NO YOU SURE AS FUCK DO NOT. 
CCG: AFTER ALL THIS TIME I *STILL* CAN’T TELL IF SHE’S SERIOUS ABOUT THAT, OR DOING IT TO FUCK WITH ME. 
CCG: WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS THERE SOMETHING LEGITIMATELY RED GOING ON THERE? 
CCG: HOW CAN I COMMAND SUCH ABSOLUTE MASTERY OVER THE ROMANTIC SCIENCES YET REMAIN PERPLEXED BY THIS??? 
CCG: MAYBE I CAN’T GET A READ BECAUSE HE’S NOT A TROLL, AND THEREFORE HAS NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK HE’S DOING? 
CCG: IT’S LIKE TRYING TO DECIPHER AN INTRICATE COURTSHIP PROCESS BETWEEN AN ATTRACTIVE POTENTIAL MATESPRIT, AND SOME SORT OF VEGETABLE. 
CCG: LIKE IT DOESN’T COMPUTE. 

Karkat amusingly thinks Dave is by nature unqualified to be involved in troll romance. And here I was thinking the trolls gave up on being condescending to the kids a long time ago.

CCG: I JUST FEEL LIKE MAYBE I’M PAST THE POINT OF NO RETURN WITH HER. 
CCG: WHERE BEFORE THERE WAS MARGIN FOR ERROR, PROBABLY WAY MORE THAN I EVER DESERVED. 
CCG: AND NOW THAT’S IT. SHE’S TOTALLY HAD IT, AND THERE’S A NEW DUDE WITH CANDYBLOOD IN TOWN. 
CCG: HE’S JUST GOT IT ALL, DOESN’T HE? HE’S A MUCH BETTER ARTIST THAN I AM, FOR ONE THING. 
CCG: AND HIS HORNS ARE SO NUBBY, THEY DON’T EVEN EXIST! TALK ABOUT HITTING THE JACKPOT. 

Here Karkat starts moaning about Dave in a way that reminds me of the way Terezi frequently moaned about Vriska through the course of Act 5 Act 2. In both cases that sort of inexplicably disappears after the retcon, which makes me think that the retcon messes up a lot of stuff about the story in the same specific way. I know I said I wanted to avoid talking about my salt over that stuff but this is just too good of a parallel to pass up.

Future Karkat proceeds to tell past Karkat off on his relationship with Terezi, saying things like:

FCG: YOU WANT HER IN EVERY QUADRANT LIKE A DESPERATE FOOL. 
FCG: DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE BECOME? YOU ARE THE SAD JOKE CHARACTER IN THE ROMCOM, YOU KNOW THE GUY I’M TALKING ABOUT. 
FCG: WHO’S GREEDY AND INDISCRIMINATE ABOUT FILLING EVERY QUADRANT, TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS TO IT, AND IN THE END HAS FUCKALL TO SHOW FOR IT. 

For some reason this feels so much like someone is telling someone else off about this whole situation. I basically have no words as to how ridiculous Karkat’s self arguments are. But he definitely does:

CCG: MAN, I MUST HAVE BEEN INSANE TO THINK ANYTHING IS DIFFERENT. 
CCG: YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED AT ALL, YOU’RE JUST AS PETTY AND HORRIBLE AS EVER. 
CCG: FUCK YOU FOREVER. FUCK EVERY TEN-MINUTES-AHEAD VERSION OF MYSELF ALL THE WAY INTO TEN-MINUTE-FUCKING-ETERNITY. 
FCG: I CAN’T EVEN DO THIS, NOT ANY MORE. 
CCG: YEAH, WELL YOU MADE YOUR COCOON, PAL. NOW WE HAVE TO TAKE TURNS SHITTING IN IT, TOGETHER. IT IS THE MOST PATHETIC, SMELLIEST DANCE OF ALL. 
FCG: HMM. 
CCG: WHAT THE FUCK IS IT NOW? 
FCG: IT JUST OCCURRED TO ME 
FCG: THIS DUMB TANTRUM I THREW 
FCG: THIS ENTIRE BAD MOOD… 
FCG: IT WAS JUST ANOTHER IDIOTIC SELF-FULFILLING REACHAROUND WASN’T IT. 
CCG: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?? 
FCG: I MEAN, WHERE DID THIS EVEN COME FROM? 
FCG: IT WAS LIKE SPONTANEOUSLY GENERATING SELF-LOATHING WITH NO DISCERNIBLE SOURCE. 
FCG: WAS THIS EMOTIONAL OUTBURST EVER EVEN REAL? 

This whole conversation brings back the theme of Karkat being tormented by the ways of predestination; it seems like he has some sort of special connection to that nonsense, especially since that’s basically the main topic of this whole conversation. And this torment most certainly doesn’t stop from keep happening constantly.

CCG: OH NO, DON’T EVEN START WITH THAT. 
CCG: DO *NOT* START GETTING EXISTENTIAL ABOUT MY ANGER. 
CCG: YOU BETTER FUCKING BELIEVE THIS IS REAL. 
FCG: ARE YOU SURE, MAN? 
CCG: ASLKJSDKLSDLFHJSIKLKLSDGNKL 
CCG: YOU CONDESCENDING FUCK. 
CCG: HOW 
CCG: FUUUUUUUUUUUSDLIHLYUUIFHIERGFSHDJKBGJKSUUUUUCKING 
CCG: **********DAAAARE********** 
CCG: YOU CALL INTO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF MY FEELINGS, AS IF THEY AREN’T COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED AND TOTALLY 100% GROUNDED IN 
CCG: *ABSOLUTE* 
CCG: ~*=STONE COLD CONCRETE GOD DAMNED=*~ 
CCG: ********** 
CCG: OBJECTIVE. 
CCG: MOTHER. 
CCG: FUCKING. 
CCG: REALITY. 
CCG: ********** 

OK what the fuck. I thought Karkat has gotten a tiny bit better at not momentarily losing all capacity for rational thought. I guess I was wrong.

FCG: YEAH, SEE 
FCG: I’VE COMPLETELY SET YOU OFF HERE, AND NOW YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. 
FCG: SORRY, THIS WAS MY FAULT. I’M GOING TO GO TRY AND CALM MYSELF DOWN. 
CCG: OH, SO THIS IS WHY YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE THIS CONVERSATION??? 
CCG: YOU GOT OWNED, SO YOU HAD TO SLINK AWAY LIKE A FUCKING COWARD?????? 
CCG: NICE TRY SHIT HEAD, BUT I’M NOT DONE WITH YOU YET. YOU THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN LIST HIS 10-MINUTE-AWAY-SELF’S FLAWS?? 
CCG: I COULD GO ON FOREVER! 
FCG banned himself from responding to memo. 
CCG: FINE, GET OUT OF HERE! GOOD RIDDANCE! 
CCG: AS IF I COULD TAKE ANOTHER SPONGE WRINGING MINUTE OF YOUR DISINGENUOUS DRIVEL. 

Karkat banning himself from the memo brings a weird sense of nostalgia, with the whole banning system that as far as we can tell doesn’t mean dick squat.

And so, the time loop starts all over again. It’s amazing how this all somehow flows smoothly, with present Karkat pretty much flipping out at past Karkat and all that.

Dave transportalizes into the remade computer lab and I’m given a vague sense of nostalgia, which has been there throughout this intermission; it reminds me of the similarly nostalgic scenes in the end credits that just happened when I wrote this.

DAVE: anyone seen terezi around 
ROSE: No. 
ROSE: Why? 
DAVE: we were gonna do a thing 
DAVE: but shes not around and not answering my messages 
DAVE: on any one of the probably ten thousand computers lying around that they would show up on 
ROSE: A thing? 
DAVE: yes a thing 
ROSE: I see. 
DAVE: shut up 

The first we hear from Dave a year after the events of Cascade is teasing him and Terezi which is pretty amusing.

KANAYA: No 
KANAYA: Have You Seen Gamzee 
DAVE: are you serious 
DAVE: of course not 
DAVE: i havent seen that guy at all since the first day we got here 
DAVE: not once 

[…]

DAVE: are you saying this is like 
DAVE: a spade quadrant thing 
DAVE: is she trying to be his kismet fish 
ROSE: I’m saying no such thing! 
DAVE: well if she hates him isnt that what that means 
ROSE: Dave, don’t be a dick. You’re embarrassing her. 
DAVE: haha no im not shes cool 
DAVE: look shes being cool about it 
KANAYA: Im Being Cool About It 
DAVE: see???? 
KANAYA: Its Not Like That 
KANAYA: I Just Want To Find Him 
KANAYA: And 
KANAYA: At Least Wound Him Somewhat 
DAVE: yeah see i knew there had to be a perfectly harmless and unerotic explanation 

A year after the journey Kanaya still wants to kill Gamzee more than anything; yet another example of the characters’ ways not changing one bit after a year on the meteor. I’ll go over that more later.

DAVE: so what are you up to in here 
DAVE: whats with all these books 
ROSE: Research. 
ROSE: We’re trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. 
ROSE: You are aware this meteor has many secret rooms scattered throughout, including libraries, right? 

Remember when I said the reason the meteor journey has to take three years, unlike the battleship journey, pretty much relied on handwavey nonsense? Now it seems like every plot point on the meteor is handwavey. While on the Prospit dreamers’ side of things it makes sense for the kids’ planets to have loads of reading material, for the meteor it’s basically as follows: let’s just throw in some secret rooms based on those walkaround game easter eggs, why the hell not? Sure that makes total sense.

DAVE: hell yeah 
DAVE: we looted one of them for the can town project 
ROSE: Can Town? 
DAVE: i told you about can town didnt i 
ROSE: No?? 
DAVE: well 
DAVE: the thing about can town 
DAVE: and all there really is to say about can town is 
DAVE: its awesome 
DAVE: the end??? 
ROSE: Wow. 
ROSE: What a story. 
DAVE: fu 

For some reason it’s just such a nice throwback to see Dave being unhelpful as usual, and him and Rose snarking at each other. Maybe because I dragged out Act 6 Act 2 so long blogging about the beta kids is a welcome change?

DAVE: so 
DAVE: what is the point of this research 
ROSE: Primarily to gain a more thorough understanding of the situation we’ll be entering when we arrive. 
DAVE: i thought you pretty much already knew the situation 
DAVE: since you can see the future 
ROSE: Oh my God. 
ROSE: I’ve told you. I can’t see the future! 
DAVE: yes you can 
DAVE: you totally can 

A character thinking another character is in some way all-knowing is another thing that never stops being hilarious, even when Dave made the same assumption before. And holy shit was that really 800 pages ago???

ROSE: Ok. But not all of it. Only certain relevant pieces. 
ROSE: It’s a bit frustrating when people make that presumption about you. 

Sounds like Jade am I right? Or more accurately, if Jade was a more realistic character during the early acts.

ROSE: I can treat my finite glimpses as an additional source of information. 
ROSE: If you combine that with the knowledge we’ve gathered from these texts, and things we’ve learned from our various encounters with the deceased, with a bit of inference and deduction, a more detailed picture is coming into focus. 
DAVE: nice 
ROSE: Do you want to hear about it? 
DAVE: uh 
DAVE: now? 
ROSE: Yes. 
ROSE: Why not? It’s been a year. 
ROSE: It seems like all we’ve done on this trip so far is indulge in lavish interior decoration projects and screw around with mysterious “Can Town” initiatives, which may or may not be consuming valuable library resources as building materials. 
ROSE: We could make at least some effort to squeeze in annual briefings on our objective. 

Amusingly, when recapping what’s been done on the meteor, Rose is saying exactly what the reader can infer about the journey, almost as if that’s some weird thing consorts or whoever the hell like to do, rather than what they’ve been doing.

DAVE: oh ok there it goes 
DAVE: two hot revitalizing cups of shitty coffee 
DAVE: fresh out of the weird pod 
DAVE: why do we even drink this shit 
DAVE: i guess just cause this thing is here 
DAVE: like somehow the temptation is even stronger because the coffee sucks? 
DAVE: dunno how the fuck that works 
DAVE: wish there was such a thing as apple juice on troll world 
DAVE: could go for a bottle of aj 

What I’m getting from this is, the meteor weirdly allows for access to just about everything except apple juice? Damn I feel kind of bad for Dave now. Screw anything he says about having an abusive upbringing, this right here is the real kicker in feeling bad for him.

DAVE: i wonder if theres any booze squirreled away on this meteor 
DAVE: kinda feels like we should be drinking our asses off here
DAVE: no adults nothing to do 
DAVE: thats what you do without adults right 
DAVE: get wasted all the time? 

Another one of those bits of easy-to-forget foreshadowing, I believe. This might be a little terrifying of a thing to say knowing that eventually Rose starts not being herself at all due to alcohol, and worst of all, she’s the only one on the meteor to do that.

DAVE: so whats with the big book youre writing in 
DAVE: is that more wizard fan fiction 
ROSE: No, it’s something like an extensive journal. 
ROSE: I’m recording everything we’ve been through so far, and detailed notes on everything we know about the game. 
ROSE: I’m also using it to document our research, and extrapolate on the new session and players. 
DAVE: so its like 
DAVE: your nigh unreadable gamefaq 
DAVE: in tome form 
ROSE: Somewhat. 
DAVE: you sure like to write big game guides 

Despite Rose’s denial that this is basically Rose’s GameFAQ 2.0, Dave is right on about it being the sequel to her walkthrough …

ROSE: I don’t look at it that way. 
ROSE: I’m approaching it from a standpoint of responsible historical documentation. 
ROSE: Don’t you think people in the future will want to know about our story? 
DAVE: i guess 
ROSE: I think it could be a very useful resource some day. 
ROSE: It could be helpful to others beginning their own quests.
DAVE: ehh 
DAVE: chances of that seem pretty remote 
KANAYA: I Really Wouldnt Rule It Out 

… and with Kanaya’s last line here, it becomes a foregone conclusion that someone will get a hold of that book and use it as a game guide; this makes for a pretty enticing mystery arc, but I have no idea what people suspected at the time.

DAVE: so tell me about the new session 
DAVE: what is there to know 
DAVE: and most importantly 
DAVE: how is everything going to go wrong this time 

Dave’s genre savviness never stopped being a thing either; to him it’s obvious that everything will mess up because that’s how this whole mad adventure has worked out.

ROSE: From what I understand, everything already has gone wrong before the game even started, in many different ways than ours did. 
ROSE: There are indications of thicker political intrigue. Assassination attempts. And a usurpation of the throne more insidious than what we dealt with. 

A usurpation more insidious than what the beta kids dealt with you say? Rose is kind of implying that the throne situation is worse than what happened with Jack Noir. Is that even possible? Well I guess this time around the Condesce preemptively has her hands everywhere which left the alpha kids with no choice but to start the game, but only when it actually happened did the beta kids know about Jack.

2019 EDIT: Yeah I have no idea what I was trying to say here.

ROSE: But those examples still don’t illustrate the fundamental fault with their session. 
ROSE: Ours had a similar fault. It was a null session. 
ROSE: Literature on the subject says null sessions are actually very common. 
ROSE: It is any session resulting in failure, and as such, designed to result in failure from the start, due to Skaia’s comprehensive “knowledge” of its own fate, and that of all it illumines. 
ROSE: Biologically speaking, it’s to be expected that null sessions far outnumber the successful ones. When it comes to reproductive systems, overwhelming redundancy is commonplace. 
ROSE: A universe has a reproductive system that spreads many seeds, as it were, most of which never come to fruition. So we shouldn’t feel too bad about our results, really. It was quite par for the course. 

I already pretty much know all this but it’s still kind of worth analyzing. We already knew for a while that the beta kids’ session was doomed from the start, but now Rose gives something of a reason why that is. Or at least, says that’s a thing that very often happens. This is simultaneously an actual reveal and a “because I said so” sort of reveal.

Additionally, when I finished Act 1 in this post series, this was one part I wanted to say stuff about when I got there. But my posting style has changed a lot so instead of saying stuff you probably already know I have what I said above. At least I can be proud of finally getting there right?

2019 EDIT: I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I meant by a “because I said so” sort of reveal. I’m extremely sorry for making you read that confusing as all hell paragraph.

ROSE: The new session is essentially our session, rebooted with different parameters which also affected the original conditions of our universe. 
ROSE: And strangely, it seems the new one is a null session as well, but within a much less common subset of all null sessions. 
ROSE: This one is referred to as a void session. 

DAVE: ok 
DAVE: which is what 
ROSE: It’s very simply a session in which nothing is prototyped before entry, at all. 
ROSE: Hence, by Skaia’s preemptive all-knowing and its influence on the rest of the incipisphere, there are not even any towers on Prospit or Derse built to receive the split kernels. 
ROSE: See? 

Here Rose reveals yet another reason for something, but unlike other stuff it’s an explanation for something that’s easy to miss, rather than a glaring inexplicable thing. Here she points it out in a book which is a rather clever way to bring that to light without directly returning to visually focus on the alpha kids’ session (even though on the next page the comic does that).

DAVE: weird 
DAVE: why would these alt universe players fuck up in such an obvious and stupid way 
ROSE: I don’t know what specifically led to the failure to prototype anything. 
ROSE: But it doesn’t really matter. As I said, the session was designed this way before they began playing. Any efforts to prototype may have been in vain regardless. Possibly subject to sabotage. 

I love the way Rose obtusely references things that happened in the alpha kids’ session, thereby revealing why a thing happened.

2019 EDIT: Unlike before, tihs time I actually do know what I was talking about then. I was referring to how GCat prevented Jane from prototyping old man John’s corpse into her sprite.

DAVE: didnt you say at some point that not prototyping anything would be really bad 
ROSE: Yes. 
ROSE: It’s just another way to create an infertile session. Though by a less catastrophic and bloody route we took to achieve the same result. 
ROSE: By contrast, it leads to a rather harmless, uneventful session. Underlings remain unaugmented, and so does the royalty. 

With the royalty unaugmented and the whole session rather “empty” so to speak, it’s no wonder the Condesce managed to take it over so easily. When you think about it, Jack needed a bit of predestined help (specifically Liv Tyler) to take over Derse, but the witch just flat out did it.

Meanwhile, underlings remaining unaugmented turns out not to be quite true if you consider that those skeleton underlings were very hard to kill if I remember right. If you don’t think of it in purely technical terms this might count as a continuity error, but if you’re one for handwaving stuff away then that may be Rose not totally knowing everything.

In any case, god damn am I delightfully fuck deep in weird plot shit. If I had a Homestuck enjoyment meter during this reread blog then it would be definitely going up right now.

Oh hey it’s the device with beta kid-colored wires again. I’m so proud of myself for noticing that.

ROSE: The fully matured battlefield from our session can be used to make the new one viable. The path to success will be made possible by a combination of efforts and assets from both iterations. 
ROSE: Usually scratched sessions are absolute resets, and involve no direct influence from the first attempt at all. I can’t find any precedent for our situation. 
DAVE: jade has our battlefield right 
ROSE: Yes. 
DAVE: so she shows up and drops it in skaia 
DAVE: and then we take the result of all that damn frog breeding we did and stick the thing in there somehow 
DAVE: and we sit back and wait for it to do its huge ribbit or whatever 
DAVE: and were golden 
ROSE: Pretty much. 

Come to think of it, after the sessions are combined and the retcon happens, most of the universe creation is handled by the carapaces, not the kids who are focused on fighting. Same goes for taking down Jack, which was necessary for creating the universe because of the rings. I suspect that’s either to give the carapacians story roles or to demonstrate that the final steps of making a universe are essentially a formality.

Holy balls it looks like the Droll succeeded yet again, somehow. In the large scale of things, this guy is actually kind of competent, or at least the alpha kids’ version of him is. I would say that’s a refined thing about the alpha kids’ narrative but that topic is getting a bit stale.

Note the horrorterrors in the background. Their tentacles kind of blend in with Jack.

And when the subject of the conversation switches to Jack, we get to see what he’s doing right now, which I think is pretty cool, not to mention a pretty satisfying sight. Rose’s exposition so far has made me think back to how dangerous Jack was back in the day, and now look at him still running from his adversary.

ROSE: When I said there would be no time limit in this session, I was talking about something more specific. 
ROSE: There will be no reckoning. 

[…]

ROSE: This is of course good news for Earth as well. During the reckoning, Skaia redirects all incoming meteors to the only place it can. Earth. 
ROSE: So it turns out that players who initiate a void session are not actually condemning their home planet to an apocalyptic wasteland after they leave. 
ROSE: In the new instance of our universe, Earth is just fine. 
ROSE: Sort of. 
DAVE: so 
DAVE: no meteors came at all 
DAVE: you mean by fucking up and having to scratch we also sort of saved earth in the process 
ROSE: Again: sort of. 

More of Rose indirectly referencing mysteries prior, namely why the Earth after the scratch wasn’t destroyed by meteors, rather an alien queen.

I like how a scene in Descend is revisited like this…

…with more to it than we saw at first.

ROSE: To understand what happened, it really helps to understand exactly what a scratch is. 
ROSE: When John severely damaged the Beat Mesa on your planet, and sent it off to Skaia to release its temporal energy there, you could view it as a kind of “request.” 
ROSE: We were asking Skaia to change everything at a fundamental level, and we gave it the energy to do so. 

Only through Rose’s words right here is it clear how exactly the Beat Mesa hitting Skaia caused the scratch. While Jade recapped a lot of the events of Cascade in the first intermission in a way that clarifies a lot, this part of what happened in Cascade is only clarified in the second intermission when we learn more about what the Scratch does.

ROSE: But Skaia is a very passive entity. It only “knows” and “sees,” but it never quite “acts.” 
ROSE: When it is asked to change everything, there is only so much it has control over. 
ROSE: In fact, it has control over exactly one thing. The defense portals. 
ROSE: It can decide to send important meteors to different points in time than originally planned, thus creating alternate realities. 

This is some serious butterfly effect shit right here. Rose is suggesting that just by changing the birth dates of eight people history can totally change. We saw this in action near the start of Act 6, when we learned that Harry Anderson became a detective in the scratched universe. But it also has a lot of implications besides that. Rose suggests that differences between the scratch all lie in the dates the meteors’ arrivals, which doesn’t account for the differences in the Condesce’s publicity. With that in mind it makes slightly more sense to think she is in both the pre- and post-scratch kids’ universes because of universe bifurcation, but that doesn’t account for her supposed disappearance. I guess it’s just kind of a mystery.

DAVE: what do you mean tweak the destination times 
DAVE: where did they get sent to 
ROSE: A variety of different time periods. 
ROSE: The simplest way to way to look at it is to picture the original destinations of our two groups of four ecto-babies… 
ROSE: And switch them. 
DAVE: what 
ROSE: Though this is just a slight oversimplification. 
ROSE: While it’s roughly true, Skaia had some peculiar whims this time. 
ROSE: While most landed in time periods corresponding with the original group, 
ROSE: It seems that two of the new players arrived four centuries ahead of everyone else. 
ROSE: For some bizarre reason. 

Unlike other stuff with the alpha kids Rose references, Skaia sending Dirk and Roxy to the future isn’t something she quite explains. That’s never quite made explicit, and in a sense, we are to go along with Rose’s uncertainty as to why those two live in the future. However some conversations in the prior sub-act imply that two of them being in the future gave the alpha kids no choice but to start the game, which you’ll probably realize if you’re attentive.

DAVE: so 
DAVE: uh 
DAVE: in this alt universe group of us and 
DAVE: them 
DAVE: which ones are the actual players 
ROSE: I’ll give you a hint. 
ROSE: It isn’t us. 
DAVE: fuck 
DAVE: why did i know that was gonna be the answer 
ROSE: And to think that usually I’m the one accused of knowing the future. 
DAVE: i dunno if im ready to process the ramifications of this bullshit 
ROSE: You would find it less disconcerting if the players were alternate versions of us? 
DAVE: man 
DAVE: at least im used to dealing with alt daves 
DAVE: ive been fuck deep in alt daves before 
DAVE: its a goddamn delight if you want to know the truth 
DAVE: but i dont even know what to think about… 
ROSE: What? 
ROSE: Meeting a deceased figure of authority as a peer? 
DAVE: lets not even talk about it ok 
DAVE: can we slow down this meteor 
DAVE: delay the meetup 
DAVE: maybe fight jack for a little while 

OK here’s a tangent I’ve been meaning to go on for quite a while.

So at one point Dave has this whole dramatic scene where he revealed just how traumatizing it was living with Bro, right? To many readers this comes off as suddenly retroactively turning him into a super tragic “oh my god I feel so bad for this guy” character. However, this snippet of conversation clearly indicates that at this point, Dave would already rather not meet his guardian again, even as a parallel universe clone. One could argue that it’s buried amidst him and Rose trading sarcastic remarks but it isn’t even buried that deeply since that kind of became the topic of the conversation.

Though Dave revealing what he really thought of his guardian still might come off as sudden to some, it’s clear that Hussie didn’t do that without some forethought.

ROSE: I honestly thought you would find the idea exciting. 
ROSE: I know I’m looking forward to it. 
DAVE: but your mom was just a nice alcoholic spinster who liked wizards who you complained about for no reason 
DAVE: she wasnt anything like an untouchable master of irony who could replace the meat in your sandwich before it even occurred to you what the fuck you were chewing 
DAVE: let me ask you this did your mom ever wiggle a puppet in your face even ONCE 

To add on, Dave gives some unsettling descriptions of what his bro did to him back in the day, which he does a lot more of later on; however, once again the message is already clear at this point.

ROSE: Not that I recall. 
ROSE: But anecdotes like that just make me more curious to meet him, personally. 
DAVE: fine well you can be on bro duty then 
DAVE: ill be the ambassador to your mom 
DAVE: and no that wasnt actually meant as the sick burn it sounded like 
ROSE: She’s your mom too, though. 
DAVE: yeah i know 
DAVE: ill be the ambassador to my mom then 
DAVE: that sounds pretty stupid when i say it that way 
DAVE: whatever 
DAVE: ill be the fuckin one man welcome wagon for the john and jade teen old people and also our mom thats the plan 

This is one of several times it’s suggested that Rose and Dave would’ve been better off with each other’s guardians, which was also suggested in a much earlier conversation between them. Though Rose and Bro probably could’ve had a decent relationship I dread to imagine what she’d be like in that case.

ROSE: You do realize we’ve seen her already, right? 
DAVE: what 
DAVE: when 
ROSE: Months ago. 
ROSE: In a dream. 
ROSE: She was floating along in Derse pajamas, asleep. 
DAVE: wait that was her 
ROSE: Yes. 
DAVE: oh 
DAVE: huh 
DAVE: ….. 
ROSE: You’re wondering why I didn’t tell you? 
DAVE: no 
ROSE: You’re specifically wondering why I wasn’t forthcoming with an answer to your question at the time, “hey who was that choice babe in the pajamas?” 
DAVE: god fucking dammit 

[…]

DAVE: all these fuckin 
DAVE: momtraps and sistertraps 
DAVE: what a joke i hope skaia gets to have a good laugh over shit like this 
DAVE: wait i forgot skaia doesnt laugh it just “sees” and “knows” 
DAVE: its like a huge blue perv thats mad jazzed for kidcest 

While Rose talked about Skaia in terms of a passive entity that subtly controls things through one factor, Dave kind of breaks the fourth wall by realizing that the forces of nature make ridiculous things happen, almost as if it has a fucked up sense of humor—the same sense of humor Hussie has with the comic’s numerous dark jokes.

OK I think that’s enough. See you next time as I try not to complain about things I’m salty about too much despite the many opportunities in the following pages to do so.

>> Part 73: A Reminisce on Romance Weirdness

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