Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 122: Chalk Outlines and Reunion Interceptions

Introduction

< Part 121 | Part 122 | Part 123 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4, Part 5 of 8

Pages 7163-7225

“W3 M4K3 OUR OWN LUCK 4ND YOU’R3 4BOUT TO PROV3 TH4T”
—Terezi Pyrope, 2014

I would say not to expect the rest of my A6A6I4 posts to come out quickly, but not even I can predict my own work ethic. For me, motivation comes and goes like the wind.

I can tell that few things give Hussie more joy than joking about juggalos.

Time for the first of several Meenah/Vriska scenes in A6A6I4! Better known as “scenes where Hussie forgets about Meenah and Vriska’s significant age difference and then awkwardly backpedals in A6A6I5”. It’s a shame the author ended up forgetting something so significant, because this is quite a fun scene giving insight into both of these characters in a more casual setting than adventurous quests to take down Lord English.

VRISKA: Hey Meenah.
VRISKA: Any idea where we are now?

MEENAH: iunno
VRISKA: Do you think…
VRISKA: This could 8e the “Dark Carnival”??

MEENAH: nah
MEENAH: that shit aint real
MEENAH: its a made up religious belief pimped out by trash clowns
VRISKA: Are you sure?
MEENAH: shell yes
MEENAH: be fake as shit
MEENAH: of course the religious beliefs themselves are real
MEENAH: makin it convenient for anyone who wanna exploit those delusions for her own badass objectives
MEENAH: like pulling in clams hand over flipper and ruthlessly subjugating the general public
MEENAH: i mean
MEENAH: not that id ever bother with a dope scheme like that
MEENAH: just saying

Meenah is contrasting herself against the Condesce when she says she wouldn’t ever bother with using clowns for public subjugation. Clown nonsense is so prevalent in Homestuck that I can’t blame Meenah for not wanting to get involved in it. Perhaps Meenah’s apathy towards clowns is because Kurloz, her group’s resident clown, is nothing more than a pious servant of indecipherable juggalo schemes that relate to Lord English tangentially at best.

VRISKA: Ok, I can 8uy that there’s no such place as the Dark Carnival, and TOTALLY get 8ehind slamming the 8eliefs of people I dislike.
VRISKA: 8ut really…
VRISKA: Whose memory do you think this place is from?
MEENAH: fishska
MEENAH: how long you been dead now

VRISKA: Uh.
VRISKA: I don’t remem8er, to 8e honest.
MEENAH: but you still ask questions like that
MEENAH: whose brain this from, where that noise originate…

VRISKA: I’m just curious!
VRISKA: This is such an odd thing to encounter.
VRISKA: Who experienced this? Some alt-alt-alt version of Karkat’s lame ancestor?
VRISKA: A chess creature from a distant unrel8ted session, after its post-reckoning getaway, who then repopul8ted a dead planet, and started 8uilding amusement parks??
VRISKA: I just tend to wonder things. It’s in my n8ture.
MEENAH: it could be anything
MEENAH: could even be a random patchwork of fifty different memories all contributin to nofin that ever existed in particular

I like Vriska and Meenah’s speculation as to where these Dark Carnival memories originated from. It could be anything and it’s not important what—such is the beauty of dream logic in Homestuck. It doesn’t need to make sense.

Vriska rocking a new hairstyle is how you know her character is diverging from the Vriska we’ve previously gotten to know.

VRISKA: So do you want to hang out here a while?
VRISKA: Or fuck off to some other less ostent8tious hodgepodge of memories.
MEENAH: dunno does it look fun to you
VRISKA: Hmm.
VRISKA: I don’t know. Does it look fun to you?
MEENAH: it kinda does
VRISKA: Yeah.
MEENAH: it kinda REELY does
VRISKA: YEAH!!!!!!!!

After the two start being a little flirty, Meenah and Vriska agree to dip their feet into this strange foreign concept of “chilling out”. What can I say, they definitely deserve a break after all their adventures. For the rest of this scene I’m just going to pretend they’re hanging out as nothing more than friends.

How ironic that Hussie would forget Meenah and Vriska’s age difference in the proximity of some horses.
(Look, you can see him!)

VRISKA: So what do you want to do first?
VRISKA: Go on this, um…
VRISKA: Slowly rot8ting horse cylinder?
MEENAH: eugh fuck no
VRISKA: Agreed.

Random headcanon: “slowly rotating horse cylinder” is the troll word for merry-go-round, it just took Vriska a moment to recognize it as such because merry-go-rounds normally aren’t colored such a garish shade of yellow.

VRISKA: I think I h8 horses, actually.
VRISKA: They sort of creep me out?
MEENAH: yeah?
VRISKA: I had a weird experience one time where I was surrounded 8y a 8unch of horses for no reason, and it was the most ominous fucking thing.
VRISKA: I think I’ve just decided that 8eing surrounded 8y horses might 8e the ultim8 8ad omen. Nothing good can ever follow or precede those circumstances.

Even as she’s mellowing out, Vriska retains her sharp perception of meta matters and story patterns. She’s right that proximity to horses is a surefire sign of doom. It’s almost as if she knows that the orange guy who keeps hassling her loves joking about horses (almost as much as he loves joking about clowns).

MEENAH: i never seen a horse
MEENAH: except i guess the robot kind
MEENAH: would not recommend
VRISKA: Sounds like a nightmare.
MEENAH: nah just like a mediocre situation prompting a bored thumbs down

I’m not surprised Meenah feels so apathetically about robot horses. Horuss is her exposure to horses and he’s the most forgettable of the Beforan trolls. Literally that guy’s entire character is that he’s forgettable. This is only my second post outside of Act 6 Intermission 3 (the act where we meet most of the Beforan trolls) where I even mention him!

Vriska and Meenah agree not to bother with the merry-go-round, or any amusement park rides for that matter. Instead, Vriska notices a tattoo place.

VRISKA: You should totally get [a tattoo]! It would suit your look, and like, your whole “punk 8rand” so perfectly!
VRISKA: Actually I’m surprised you don’t have one already.
MEENAH: what makes you think i dont
VRISKA: W8.
VRISKA: DO you?!
MEENAH: course i do
VRISKA: Where??
VRISKA: Can I see????????
MEENAH: pfpffpffffff
MEENAH: only if you lucky

VRISKA: Um, didn’t anyone ever tell you?
VRISKA: Luck is kind of my specialty.
MEENAH: oh scrod dammit i forgot lucks just as much your shit as it was two faced whats her serk
VRISKA: :::;)

I have two things to say about Meenah’s last line in this passage:

(1) “two faced whats her serk” is a burn on Aranea on multiple levels. Meenah goes right ahead and calls her out on being two-faced, which certainly isn’t something you can say about Vriska—she always makes her intentions and ambitions clear without any veil of politeness. Along with that, calling her “whats her serk” shows how Meenah has no respect for Aranea anymore. It’s hardly any more dignified than when she referred to Kankri as “whats his shit” before we knew his name.

(2) Meenah’s mention that luck is both the Serkets’ specialty demonstrates that Aranea’s downfall and erasure from the story after Game Over were not the result of bad luck. She brought all this upon herself and was rightly punished for her hubris. Her death’s ruling wasn’t muddled by ambiguity like Vriska’s was with Spades Slick banging on the clock; it was a cold, unambiguous “JUST”.

In the last page of this scene—the last of 8 pages, naturally enough—Meenah convinces Vriska to get a tattoo. She suggests something nautical themed and Vriska realizes that’s a decent idea considering her love of pirates. This scene demonstrates Vriska breaking free from her old hangups, which the alive Vriska despises.

… Hey, I got through this scene without writing too many rants about Vriska. Maybe that makes sense though, because she won’t be Vriska for much longer. Rather, she’s going to be (Vriska) and the name Vriska will be taken by a new Vriska who Terezi and John are about to create.

Speaking of John and Terezi…

(JOHN): what is going on here?
(JOHN): should i, uh…
(JOHN): should i go?
JOHN: yes, me.
JOHN: i mean, yes john.
JOHN: wow, it’s kind of weird talking to myself.
JOHN: i’m not sure if i’m a very big fan of the experience?
(JOHN): tell me about it!

John and (John) are right, it’s weird seeing a conversation between two versions of John compared to the other characters who have talked to their alternate or past/future selves. That’s how John is different from many other Homestuck characters: his relevance is kept within one version of himself, not spread across numerous alternates, making him basically the opposite of Dirk.

JOHN: unfortunately, you may not be relevant anymore.
JOHN: i’m the john who is learning to use his flashy powers to reconstruct the time line, so that responsibility is on my shoulders now, not yours.
JOHN: sorry, i am just keeping it real!
(JOHN): …
JOHN: well, who really knows how it will turn out.
JOHN: maybe you will still have important things to do?
JOHN: i don’t have all the answers, i just know terezi and i have to talk now, so you should go.
(JOHN): where?
JOHN: where you were about to go anyway!
JOHN: go see typheus, and do the quest thing.
JOHN: it worked out great. well, for me at least.
(JOHN): ok, i will.
(JOHN): i do hope i get to still be relevant, but i will understand if that turns out not to be the case.
JOHN: that’s the spirit!

The whereabouts of any versions of John other than the main one (no quotation marks needed) are always left to the imagination, for reasons I’ve just stated. They could diverge from the regular John to extreme degrees. Maybe one of those alternate Johns transitions and becomes June Egbert? Or gives up interest in Nic Cage in favor of some other actor, let’s say Leonardo DiCaprio.* Or enters a romantic relationship with a random ghost copy of Nepeta. Or undergoes a complete personality overhaul and becomes a sassy punk like Meenah. Or transitions and chooses a totally different name from June. It could be anything!

* He was the first actor who came to mind because my parents talk about him a lot.

TEREZI: N3RDS

This single line from Terezi shows us that the two Johns are exactly as nerdy and goody-two-shoes to each other as she expected them to be. Sometimes, one word says more than a thousand can.

With (John) having stormed off to irrelevance, John and Terezi start brainstorming what to change. Terezi explains how it feels wrong for her to fix mistakes other than her own, and John responds with the most stereotypical Egbertian ramble imaginable about the dangers of retcon powers that ends as follows:

JOHN: it’s like, go big or go home, you know?
JOHN: sort of a catch 22 when you think about it.
JOHN: is any of this making sense?
JOHN: terezi?
JOHN: terezi!!
TEREZI: WH4T
JOHN: were you listening to a word i said?
TEREZI: NOT R34LLY

John doesn’t show it, but he admires Terezi’s honesty here. Or at least, I like to imagine he does. He looks up to how good Terezi is at getting to the point compared to himself.

JOHN: augh!
JOHN: come on terezi, get it together!
JOHN: i was saying some really deep and insightful stuff, probably.
JOHN: i bet ROXY would have thought it was cool.

John’s statement about Roxy is very presumptuous, as he often tends to be regarding Roxy. Roxy probably wouldn’t have found John’s retcon ramble “cool” so much as endearingly cute, that this guy could go at length about something so obvious and predictable. There’s a lot of subtlety here regarding how inaccurately John tends to perceive Roxy.

TEREZI: H3R3
JOHN: what the hell is this?
TEREZI: 4 L1ST OF 1NSTRUCT1ONS
TEREZI: JUST FOCUS ON 4LL OF TH3S3 K3Y THOUGHTS, 1N 3X4CTLY TH1S ORD3R
TEREZI: FOR 34CH ON3, DO 3X4CTLY WH4T 1T T3LLS YOU
TEREZI: 4ND TH3N QU1CKLY MOV3 ON TO TH3 N3XT ON3, UNT1L YOU 4R3 DON3
JOHN: huh?
TEREZI: 3V3RY CH4NG3 1 4M T3LL1NG YOU TO M4K3 W1LL H4V3 1NCR3D1BLY SUBTL3 CONS3QU3NC3S
TEREZI: HOW3V3R, TH3Y W1LL B3 4BSOLUT3LY 3SS3NT14L FOR CR34T1NG 4 MOR3 F4VOR4BL3 OUTCOM3
TEREZI: BUT ONLY 1F YOU FOLLOW MY 1NSTRUCT1ONS TO TH3 L3TT3R, NO QU3ST1ONS 4SK3D!
JOHN: wow.
JOHN: but how do you know these are the exact right things to change?

TEREZI: 1 S41D NO QU3ST1ONS 4SK3D!!!

Terezi knows John’s tendency to do what others tell him very well. As such, he designed her scarf instructions to be as straightforward and clear as possible so that even a dork like him—no, especially a dork like him—would have no chance at messing a single one of them up.

JOHN: terezi, did you know, even though you’re a weirdo, and we probably wouldn’t get along most of the time, i kind of missed you?
JOHN: you were one of the first trolls i ever talked to.
JOHN: we got off on a weird foot with your death threats, and jokey antagonism, and it’s almost like we never stopped being on that foot?
JOHN: it makes me nostalgic for simpler times…
JOHN: do you remember when you made me those maps to follow?
JOHN: in a way, following your instructions will be like that tom foolery all over again!

As John reads Terezi’s instructions, which she wrote in her own blood, he takes a moment to give some heartfelt (spadefelt?) goodbyes to Terezi. It’s pretty interesting that he has an easier time thinking of something to say to Terezi than to his supposed number one romantic interest, Roxy. He’s totally lovestruck with Roxy, but he’s known Terezi for long enough that he feels more confident in being honest with her.

Top tier callback right here. The whole thing with WV eating green chalk stuck out vividly to me even in my first time reading Homestuck.

TEREZI: 1 DO R3M3MB3R
TEREZI: TH3 M4PS 1 S3NT TO YOU W3R3 C4RTOGR4PH1C M4ST3RSTROK3S, 4ND R3PR3S3NT3D 4 SH1N1NG 3X4MPL3 FOR 4LL WHO WOULD 4SP1R3 TO HO4X GULL1BL3 DW33BS 3V3RYWH3R3
TEREZI: BUT L3T’S NOT W4ST3 GOOD S3NT1M3NT4L1TY H3R3
TEREZI: YOU 4R3 4BOUT TO STROLL DOWN M3MORY L4N3 W1TH M3 1N 4 MUCH MOR3 L1T3R4L S3NS3
TEREZI: WH3R34S 1…
TEREZI: ON3 MOM3NT
JOHN: huh?
TEREZI: YOU’LL N33D ON3 MOR3 TH1NG FOR YOUR JOURN3Y
TEREZI: WH4T 1S YOUR F4VOR1T3 COLOR
JOHN: um…
TEREZI: TH4T W4S 4 RH3TOR1C4L QU3ST1ON, NUMBNUTS

As Terezi is about to die, she gives one last reminder of how sharp her mind is. It takes no brain power for her to deduce what John’s favorite color is, which she chooses as an appropriate color…

… to draw an outline of her body in. She’s right about to predict the method of her own imminent death, but not before giving some parting words.

TEREZI: GOOD LUCK, 3GB3RT >:]
TEREZI: NOT TH4T YOU’LL N33D 1T
JOHN: why not?
TEREZI: B3C4US3 W3 M4K3 OUR OWN LUCK
TEREZI: 4ND YOU’R3 4BOUT TO PROV3 TH4T

God, these are such great last words for pre-retcon Terezi. Unlike most deaths in the Game Over timeline, Terezi’s comes after the grief has passed and the pieces are in place for everything to be fixed, all thanks to Terezi herself. She goes out with a slight smile and a thumbs up.

And so, what would ordinarily be a tragic death ends up humorous instead, because we knew it was going to happen. Terezi decided to make the most of her final moments by landing perfectly in an outline of her body, demonstrating her sharp mind and freakish sense of humor.

And instead of grieving Terezi’s death, John has the following to say:

JOHN: god, you are so fucking weird.

Terezi wouldn’t want to go down any other way. She probably knew John would have this reaction; even in her death, she’s playing mind games on him.

Oh boy, time for a scene I will probably draw a blank on what to say about. Jane joins in on Jade and Calliope’s dream bubble scene, and after a bit of awkwardness regarding Calliope not knowing how to express friendship in person, this happens:

Enjoy Calliope being more than just Roxy’s sidekick while it lasts.

Jane suggests making a trollsona along with Calliope and Jade, who provide us a perfect reaction image to use if you’re incredibly excited about something:

I promise I’ll have more to say about the next Jade/Jane/Calliope scene. Let’s move on.

Goodbye, Game Over timeline.

John reads the first instruction on Terezi’s scarf, telling him to get the Ring of Life before Aranea can snag it. The password is R3UN1ON.

John zaps into the moment right after the Act 6 Intermission 5 ending flash and encounters yet another copy of him doomed to irrelevance, plus some copies of the meteor crew. They then render themselves in a more symbolic manner:

John on the right is processing the unfortunate revelation that he won’t be relevant after all.

John is joyed to remember this moment, the other John is confused at the appearance of his past self, and everyone else is staring blankly behaving like limp puppets because they were already confused at being dropped in the grass next to John, and they simply cannot understand this sudden appearance of two Johns.

JOHN: i would love to have this sweet reunion all over again with you guys…
JOHN: we had some great conversations here on this lonely stone henge planet. i really wouldn’t mind listening to everything we said again word for word!
JOHN: but i can’t.

It’s still super weird that this reunion is the one important memory to John that happened offscreen. Perhaps that goes to show how brutally Caliborn’s stardust glitches tampered with the narrative, since John normally experiences things onscreen.

JOHN: i don’t know if this makes sense…
JOHN: but when we all came together like this out of the blue, and had our long awaited reunion…
JOHN: i’m not sure if we really earned it yet?
JOHN: we didn’t realize it at the time, but there were still a bunch of problems waiting to happen.
JOHN: like, some lingering issues that were going to pull us all apart again, and make us fight to get back together once and for all.
JOHN: but don’t worry, i’m working to overcome all those problems right now.
JOHN: that’s why i’m here!
JOHN: it’s also why i can’t hang around all day babbling like a fool. i really need to quit yapping and hit the road.

Imagine how confusing this speech must be for the copies of the meteor crew sitting in the grass and the other copy of John beside him. Even the Mayor looks completely befuddled.

JOHN: see you karkat!
JOHN: i hope your pals don’t take it personally, but you were always my favorite troll.
JOHN: the shouty tirades you are going to have on this hilly planet are going to be epic and hilarious. i will never forget them.
JOHN: kanaya, take good care of him for me, ok? thanks.

Karkat’s tirades are probably going to be even more epic and hilarious this time around, considering he was just hugged by another copy of John who appeared out of nowhere. It’s quite cruel for those tirades to be left to the imagination.

JOHN: dave! see you in a different reality, buddy.
JOHN: be sure to take care of mr. mayor too.
JOHN: your beautiful friendship with a cute chess man is an inspiration to us all.
JOHN: i hope and firmly believe it will transcend the boundaries of even the most ludicrous retcon shenanigans.
JOHN: (heheheh.)

John preemptively tells us here that Dave’s friendship with the Mayor isn’t going anywhere, which assuages perhaps the biggest worry about the effects of his retcon powers. It also hints that some friendships will change in the post-retcon meteor journey.

JOHN: goodbye, rose. it makes me happy to see you alive and well, even if only for a minute.
JOHN: i’m going to make sure i never have to watch you die again.
JOHN: sorry if that sounds morbid and confusing, but… yeah.
JOHN: and if you see her around, say hello to roxy for me!
JOHN: haha, oh yeah. hey terezi.
JOHN: i feel like this is some big joke you are in on too.
JOHN: but you probably don’t have the slightest clue what’s going on, do you?
JOHN: maybe it’s better that way, heh.
JOHN: anyway, the plan is going perfectly so far. 😉
JOHN: (i just winked.)

What if Rose and Terezi, the group’s resident seers, put the pieces together immediately after John (specifically the John who’s talking right now) left the scene? And then they all shared a good laugh over future John being, well, the same old John, followed by accepting that they won’t be relevant after all. You know what? That’s definitely what happened after this scene, you can’t change my mind.

JOHN: so yeah, time to go get that ring.
JOHN: i don’t know what’s going to happen to you all once i change stuff…
JOHN: maybe you’ll stop existing? i don’t have a damn clue, to be honest.
JOHN: but just so you know, you will always keep existing in my heart.
JOHN: bye!

“You will always keep existing in my heart” is such a John way to give heartfelt goodbyes. I can’t imagine any other character saying that.

I like the “again” written alongside John’s trail of wind.

Weird seeing god tier John rendered in the early acts’ style.

And so, John grabs the ring in a triumphant callback to the early acts. This serves as the first of many instances of him setting right what went wrong, providing an introduction to the more intensive retcon adventures that follow. Perhaps Terezi started with this scene to ease John into his grand mission of fixing all her past mistakes and meticulously moving around scalemate plushes.

JOHN: it feels good to have it back.
JOHN: the dear, sweet, precious ring of ghost life…
JOHN: i’ll never lose track of it again!
JOHN: i definitely won’t let…
JOHN: um…
JOHN: wait, who was going to steal this ring again?
JOHN: the other vriska, with the short pirate skirt… what was her name?
JOHN: meh, it doesn’t matter. she’s probably irrelevant now.

Normally this passage would come off as foreshadowing that Aranea will resume relevance after all; I remember thinking exactly that when this update first came out. However, now we know that John’s narrative senses were right and Aranea is indeed irrelevant now. He unknowingly dunks on Aranea by not even remembering her name anymore.

This line is a perfect point to end this post. See you next time as John plays with dragon plushes.

>> Part 123: Tales of an Empress’s Neutralization

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