Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 130: um i guess this is the one where vriska devises the battle plan

Introduction

< Part 129 | Part 130 | Part 131 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 4 of 12

Pages 7515-7560

I couldn’t think of a good name for this post, so I’m left with a shitty name instead. Sorry about that.

The character select screen is officially over, and now we’re back to business with a comedic callback to Gamzee playing with dead trolls’ heads in [S] Flip. As much as A6A6I5 lays it thick with callbacks, I can’t stay mad at this one.

VRISKA: Ok every8ody, time’s up!!!!!!!!
VRISKA: Wrap up your convers8tions. Our tactical meeting is officially 8ack in order!

This passage combined with the panel above briefly portrays Vriska’s style of leadership in a more comedic light than usual.

This is a pretty fun group picture. I love how Vriska is standing on top of a fridge to indicate her leadership.

Vriska goes over the battle plans for our heroes to take down all remaining adversaries: the Condesce, Jack Noir, Jack Noir, Jack Noir, and possibly the Prospitian Monarch. She goes over them one by one, and so will I.

ROXY: so…..
ROXY: wheres the condesce right now?

VRISKA: She’s on Derse, preparing for the same critical convergence herself.
VRISKA: After our little prison raid caught her completely off guard, costing her some hostages and key points of leverage, we’ve essentially reached a temporary ceasefire 8y default while 8oth sides regroup.
VRISKA: This is not how she expected things would go.
VRISKA: We had the advantage of surprise that time, 8ut we won’t 8e so lucky next time.
VRISKA: She’s w8ting for the Jacks to get here just like we are.
VRISKA: Once they do, she’ll instantly have the upper hand, and she knows this.
VRISKA: Her particular com8ination of a8ilities along with her supervillain-like cunning make her an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS part of this equation!
VRISKA: That’s why we need a good strategy in place 8efore the shit hits the 8reeze 8lender.

A nice bonus of catching the Condesce off guard and taking away some of her key players is that our heroes have a bit of extra time to plan how to deal with her (and have their heartfelt reunions). Vriska knows that this isn’t permanent, but it’s a good advantage no less.

VRISKA: At this point in the meeting, I think we could use some diagrams to help with the 8attleplans.
VRISKA: Karkat?
VRISKA: If you wouldn’t mind.
KARKAT: I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU PUT ME ON DRAWING DUTY.
KARKAT: I’M EASILY THE WORST ARTIST HERE.
KARKAT: AND IN A SETTING THAT INCLUDES DAVE, LET’S GET REAL. THAT’S NO SMALL FEAT.

VRISKA: I specifically assigned you to diagramming duty so that it would keep you occupied.
VRISKA: That way, you’d stand a chance of keeping your mouth shut while I talk strategy.
KARKAT: THAT’S WORKED OUT GREAT SO FAR, HASN’T IT?
KARKAT: WE’VE LOST HOW MANY STRATEGY-SECONDS TO ME COMPLAINING ABOUT DRAWING ALREADY??

VRISKA: Sure, 8ut I know that drawing requires a lot of concentr8tion from you.
VRISKA: Once you’re in the zone, I expect you’ll simmer down.
KARKAT: WOW, FUCK YOU!
KARKAT: YOU’RE PROBABLY RIGHT, BUT FUCK YOU NEVERTHELESS!
KARKAT: WHERE THE SHIT IS MY ART PENCIL. I HAVE SOME DRAWING TO DO.

Vriska assigning Karkat for drawing duty is a humorous consequence of her strategic way of thinking. She knows that Karkat isn’t good at art and needs to concentrate extra hard to draw something. Assigning Karkat for drawing duty is a clever way to keep him quiet, now that I think of it. Perhaps on a meta level, you could argue that Vriska also wants her story’s audience to get a good laugh at these drawings, but that’s probably a stretch.

I like how Karkat still thinks of his version of Jack Noir as THE Jack Noir.

VRISKA: Let’s run down the threat list, with a full de8riefing on each threat.
VRISKA: We’ll start with the 8ig fish herself, the former empress of our world, Her Imperious Condescension.
VRISKA: The only reason we’ve 8een a8le to temporarily neutralize her stranglehold on this session is 8y taking two major pieces away from her, Harley and Crocker.
VRISKA: Rest assured, she’s already scheming to reassert her dominance, and if it weren’t for my intervention here, I’d 8et everything I had on the sea witch.
VRISKA: She’s spent centuries upgrading her a8ilities which now include 8OTH kinds of telekinesis. The simpler variety more common to rust 8loods, and the nasty kind which sometimes yellow 8looded mutants have involving all the fucking eye lasers and shit.
VRISKA: If that weren’t enough, she has a mix of telepathic a8ilities too, like mine, plus the animal communion kind more typical of 8rown 8loods.
TAVROSPRITE: lIKE ME!
VRISKA: Yes Tavros, like you.

While Vriska recaps all the dangerous powers that the Condesce has, we get some nice clarification on which troll blood castes tend to have which abilities. It’s not always clear which abilities are typical of blood castes and which aren’t, and even if you’re not the type to care about fantrolls, this clarification is good to have.

VRISKA: This means she can hijack animals AND trolls, assuming they aren’t particularly resistant to influence, like me o8viously.

Now that I think of it, there aren’t a lot of instances of the Condesce controlling the minds of trolls. She might have done so quite a bit on Alternia, if we are to assume she learned those powers before the Vast Glub, but the only instance I can think of is possibly her taking control of the Psiioniic, and even then I’m not sure if that was mind control. It’s weird that Vriska brings up the Condesce’s ability to mind control trolls when the Condesce has never done so onscreen, much like the whole gimmick of waking up a cherub by saying their name.

VRISKA: Humans I’m guessing are still off limits to her influence, unless they’ve got some animal 8lood in them, which is what makes Jade such a dangerous element here.
VRISKA: One of the mission critical priorities is to make sure she stays asleep. If she ever wakes up, and the Condesce takes control again, that’s pro8a8ly game over for you guys.
VRISKA: Jade’s first guardian a8ilities make her too much to deal with on top of everything else.
VRISKA: It’s also possi8le that the Condesce may have some sway over the prospitian and one of the Jacks 8ecause of their part-dog n8ture too.
VRISKA: It’s hard to say what their level of resistance is, so I really can’t 8e sure.
VRISKA: Strategically, it’s 8est to err on the safe side though, and presume this could 8e an issue.
VRISKA: This is why taking on the Condesce has to 8e a HUGE PRIORITY!
VRISKA: Ideally, you should 8e trying to kill or disa8le her as quickly as possi8le.
VRISKA: 8ut if that’s easier said than done, then what you need to do is keep her OCCUPIED!
VRISKA: Throw everything you have at her. Whatever crazy powers you’ve got.
VRISKA: Just keep her 8usy!
VRISKA: Distracted enough 8y a 8unch of pesky kids so she won’t have time to get clever with her powers.

With the way Vriska foreshadows the Condesce’s manner of death (namely that she turns her back on the body), I can tell Roxy is paying attention to every word right now. Roxy was always the one who hated the Condesce the most, and she’s probably thinking about how she and her friends could distract the Condesce with all their cool powers so that she can deal the final blow on the witch.

VRISKA: This is the 8est defense against the off-chance she might 8e a8le to sway the dog Jack and prospitian, AND a failsafe in case Jade wakes up for whatever reason.

As we see in [S] Collide, the “failsafe” part of this plan ends up working perfectly! Jade doesn’t regain control by the Condesce when she wakes up, and instead she clumsily tries to stop the dogs from fighting until the Monarch proves her strength by getting over her dog loyalty.

VRISKA: When it comes to killing her, I don’t have much to advise.
VRISKA: There’s no intel on her weaknesses or anything like that. In fact, I’d 8et she doesnt have any.
VRISKA: Like any powerful endgame 8oss, you just have to keep hammering away at her until she’s dead.
VRISKA: Nuff said!

I can tell Roxy’s lips are sealed about her plan to kill the Condesce when she least expects it. She’s not even letting any of her fellow heroes know about this so that she can truly catch them all by surprise.

This image is a nice way to symbolize how strongly a character’s alternate selves can diverge.

VRISKA: This 8rings us to the Jacks.
VRISKA: To differenti8, I’ll give them nicknames.
VRISKA: There’s Dog Jack, Lord Jack, and Ro8o Jack.
VRISKA: Let’s talk a8out them in order of threat level.

Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. This is the birth of the ABSOLUTE MOST BORING POSSIBLE nickname for the alpha kids’ Jack Noir! And yet, it’s also the most commonly used nickname for him, since it’s the only one canonically used. Lord Jack is such a lame nickname, I can’t overstate how lame it is. Jack English and Union Jack sound cool and stylish, and Lord Jack… does not. It just sounds boring and flat. It’s a shitty nickname, and I don’t like that it’s the only nickname he’s canonically given, unlike with the other two Jacks. We have Bec Noir for the beta kids’ Jack, Spades Slick for the trolls’ Jack, and the alpha kids’ Jack is… I guess Lord Jack. Come on, even “Lord Noir” sounds better than “Lord Jack”. How can people possibly say that Vriska did nothing wrong when she came up with the name “Lord Jack”?????

This was a stupid tangent, but I really do think Lord Jack is a snoozefest of a nickname. Maybe it makes sense because the alpha kids’ Jack doesn’t do much after gaining Lord English powers (sort of like Lord English himself)? But still, if he had a cool canon nickname, then at least there would be ONE cool thing about him.

Instead of drawing the dogs like Vriska asked, Karkat draws two hands flipping the bird. Perhaps he did this to tell Vriska he can keep quiet without having to concentrate on drawing? It’s certainly a unique way to tell her that.

Vriska works within these limitations and draws the dogs on the middle fingers, adding a sense of humor to this recap/exposition sequence.

VRISKA: There, perfect.
VRISKA: Dog Jack is easily the most powerful adversary of the 8unch, in terms of pure physical capa8ility.
VRISKA: The Condesce has the edge in guile and flexi8ility, and Lord Jack has a ton of offensive power too…
VRISKA: 8ut there’s nothing quite like the first guardian a8ilities to give someone an overwhelming tactical advantage.
VRISKA: The a8ility to teleport anywhere in the session any time, or ANYONE anywhere any time, while having access to an inexhausti8le power supply from the green sun really makes it no contest, even against an otherwise awesome com8atant.
VRISKA: If it were just him you had to deal with, I wouldn’t like your odds, honestly.

Vriska’s last line in this passage makes me think of how unstoppable Bec Noir was throughout the beta kids’ session. He clobbered grimdark Rose and so many other characters easily, and even his envisioned fight against a superpowered Vriska ended on an ambiguous note. It’s a little unfortunate that Vriska has now set her eyes on Lord English instead of Bec Noir, since with other god tier players by her side, maybe they would be able to take the dog down. Well, it would be a little unfortunate if it weren’t for…

VRISKA: 8ut luckily for us, there’s a major factor here which should mostly neutralize him during this huge melee, which is the prospitian.
VRISKA: Power-wise, she’s a precisely even match for him.
VRISKA: And 8etter yet, she apparently can’t stand the guy.
VRISKA: I still don’t know what her real motives are, 8ut you know what they say. Enemy of my enemy and all.
VRISKA: So I say let her have at him, and if the opportunity presents itself, help her defeat him.

The presence of a Prospitian equal in power to Bec Noir is a lucky 8r8k, as Vriska would say. The Monarch has been chasing Noir while wearing the white queen’s ring for all of Act 6 so far, and her relentless determination has served to keep Noir on the sidelines, recreating the stalemate between Prospit and Derse’s kingdoms at the start of a typical Sburb session.

VRISKA: I will also give this 8it of advice.
VRISKA: If Jade ever wakes up, AND THE CONDESCE IS SUFFICIENTLY PREOCCUPIED, make sure Jade goes nowhere near the Condesce, and sic her on Dog Jack.
VRISKA: She’s the only one here who’s a8ilities are on par with his, so that’s where they’re 8est applied.
VRISKA: Got it? Good.

Jade would put up an incredibly awesome fight against any of the other villains, but Vriska’s battle plan forces Jade to do nothing more than clumsily deal with the dogs. Maybe Vriska feels that on a narrative level, it wouldn’t be interesting for Jade to steal the show in any other fights? Maybe it’s not just that it wouldn’t be interesting—it could well prevent other characters from having their grand heroic moments and the catharsis that comes with it.

Alright, here’s no denying it. Jade’s shafting in A6A6I5 and Collide fucking sucks. There, I said it.

I remember being happy to see “shame globes”, the troll word for testicles, reappear in this scene.
It shows that Hussie remembered!

VRISKA: Ah yes. Another true work of art has 8een made here today.
VRISKA: Anyway, this ugly customer you see here?
VRISKA: This is the Jack n8tive to the session we’re in now.
VRISKA: Somehow he got possessed 8y, or like, INFUSED with…? Lord English’s crazy, ridiculously destructive magical energy.
VRISKA: I have no idea why or how this happened, how it’s theoretically even possi8le, or why we should actually care.

Hussie in his book commentary has described the alpha kids’ Jack Noir as “poor man’s Lord English”. It’s a fitting description—he’s exactly what you get when you take someone with most of the same powers as Lord English, but remove the whole final boss glamour that Lord English has. Since Lord Noir/Union Jack/[literally any nickname that isn’t Lord Jack] isn’t the Final Boss™, Vriska sees no reason to care about him aside from being a dangerous threat.

From Hussie’s perspective, I’m willing to bet that he also forgot what he was going for with this Lord English version of Jack Noir. Maybe he had plans for what to do with that version of Jack that got derailed as he started to take his comic in a different direction, perhaps helped by how for some strange reason, he thought that working on Homestuck and Hiveswap at the same time was a good idea. It’s the same baffling reason why he thought Hiveswap was a good idea in the first place. But let’s not get sidetracked with Hiveswap development tangents, OK?

VRISKA: The fact of the matter is, it happened, and now we have to deal with this hideous rain8ow-eyed monstrosity.
VRISKA: Given what I have learned a8out Lord English’s a8ilities, this will make his attacks quite lethal, and he will 8e EXTREMELY difficult to kill.
VRISKA: In fact, that fucking rain8ow energy might just give him the highest constitution ranking of any adversary, possi8ly making him the toughest one here to actually kill off.
VRISKA: The only reason he’s not at Dog Tier threat level is 8ecause, for all his power, at least it’s localized to wherever he happens to 8e.
VRISKA: He’s a8out as slow as any of us lowly non-omnipotents.

I view this passage as Hussie reanalyzing the powers of all the villains that he devised and deciding which ones are the most threatening. He probably forgot most of his ideas regarding the alpha kids’ Jack (if he even had any), so looking at their abilities again, he figured that the only reason Jack English isn’t the alpha session’s most powerful villain is because he can’t teleport, which makes sense.

VRISKA: He’s not quite as relevant to keep occupied, or even to defeat, as the Condesce herself.
VRISKA: 8ut he’s still going to 8e HUGE TROU8LE when he gets here.
VRISKA: You’re going to need to stick some really good fighters on him.
VRISKA: My advice is also to SERIOUSLY prepare for casualties during that fight.
VRISKA: As the group’s chief healer, Jane is going to need rapid access to the multiple fronts of this 8attle.
VRISKA: More on that l8ter.

Yeah, Hussie has pretty much decided to improvise on how to deal with this version of Jack. I’m not sure if he had prior ideas for what villainous things that Jack should do, but this advice from Vriska makes sense given the little we’ve seen of Union Jack.

Oh boy, here comes the controversial part. I mean, controversial aside from the fact that everything involving Vriska is controversial.

It’s nice to see that Karkat remembers his friendship with his version of Jack Noir. It seems like these are memories that Karkat has kept in the back of his head; probably something that he never talked about with the rest of the meteor crew, because for the rest of them, the name “Jack Noir” is bad news. For some reason, Karkat doesn’t question Vriska’s statement that he’s just another Jack Noir that they have to kill, and I’ll discuss that shortly.

VRISKA: That 8rings us to Ro8o Jack.
VRISKA: He’s the Jack origin8ting from our session.
VRISKA: Remem8er him, Karkat?
VRISKA: We hatched a plan with him to take down the 8lack queen. Seems like so long ago, doesn’t it?
VRISKA: Now apparently he’s got some cy8ernetic upgrades?
VRISKA: Who the fuck knows how that happened, or for that matter, why or how he’s on his way here now.
VRISKA: My mind 8oggles trying to even picture the amount of stupid shit he’s 8een through 8etween now and when we knew him.
VRISKA: Put this on the ever lengthening list of gar8age that doesn’t matter and no8ody cares a8out.

For fans of Spades Slick (read: fans who wish they were reading Problem Sleuth), this passage probably feels like a slap in the face, as does his death in Collide. It sort of makes sense for Vriska to describe Slick’s story arc this way, since it’s very far removed from the kids’ storyline, but I still can’t blame fans for expecting Slick’s arc not to end on such a wet fart.

VRISKA: The fact is, we have no idea what his affili8tions are at this point, 8ut like I’m always saying…
VRISKA: 8est to just plan for the worst, and assume this is just another scru8 we’ve gotta kill.

It’s never been clear to me why Karkat doesn’t question Vriska on this statement, since he saw the trolls’ Jack as a friend. Is he sticking to his promise of staying quiet? Is he busy thinking about all those long-gone memories? Or is he just tuning Vriska out? It could be any of those, but one thing’s for certain: it would make A6A6I5 even more insanely long if Karkat interrupted Vriska and they had an argument about their Jack.

VRISKA: He’s the lowest on the threat level, though his various enhancements and accessories may pose more of a challenge than we 8argained for.
VRISKA: He’s also traveling with a juju known for its high storage capacity, so he’s possi8ly packing company.
VRISKA: May8e a LOT of company…
VRISKA: I won’t get into that now though.
VRISKA: You’re going to need to reserve a squad for dealing with this guy and whoever he’s 8rought along for the ride.
VRISKA: It’s a lesser priority, so I’d recommend an ensem8le of third-stringers.
VRISKA: No offense to whoever those 8rave souls may 8e!
VRISKA: Every lamewad has their place in an epic 8attle, and everyone’s effort counts.
VRISKA: Eg8ert-looking kid, I’m looking at you.
JAKE: !
VRISKA: Possi8ly you too, Tavros.
VRISKA: May8e.
TAVROSPRITE: ,!

On a meta level, Vriska seems to think of Slick and his crew as an easy way for the group’s resident wimps to get some semblance of a heroic fulfillment. She knows that they, too, have a concept of heroic fulfillment, and thus she’s going “sure why the hell not” at the idea of them facing off Slick’s crew.

VRISKA: That covers the overall tactical situ8tion!
VRISKA: Gr8 jo8, Karkat.
VRISKA: Really, just an all around gr8, gr8 jo8. I mean that.
KARKAT: THANK YOU.
VRISKA: Now, listen…
VRISKA: We’ve got to keep these 8attles spread out across the session so you all don’t start tripping on each other’s toes, turning this into more of a clusterfuck than it already is.
VRISKA: That means you need to st8tion teams ready to intercept the Jacks wherever they’re coming from.
VRISKA: You also need to launch your lightning-strike raid on the Condesce 8efore any of them get here.
VRISKA: As for your party’s healer, like I said, she’ll need to 8e highly mo8ile.
VRISKA: So what you’ll need to do is lay out a network of key portals and transporters so she can make the rounds, and 8e in tight communic8tion with her.
VRISKA: One of you less relevant, more mo8ile folks should get on that now.

It’s interesting that Vriska offhandedly implies that she measures people in terms of relevance. In her mind, she’s obviously up top when it comes to relevance, and it makes sense for her to consider some people more relevant than others given the extreme stock she puts into her own relevance. She’s also convinced herself that Lord English is the most relevant villain there is, far too relevant for anyone besides her to take on.

The fenestrated planes are still such a fun callback to Problem Sleuth.
I like that although the general concept is reused from Problem Sleuth, Homestuck uses them in quite a different way.

VRISKA: See? Scatter window portals like these around the various 8attle sites.
ROXY: yo did you loot my house or something…
VRISKA: Please don’t interrupt.

Here’s another offhand reveal of something weird that Vriska did: stealing Roxy’s fenestrated planes for her own usage. Also partly for the team’s usage, but the plane shown above was put there so she can travel to the Furthest Ring and then cut off the connection so no one else follows her. Her stealing Roxy’s fenestrated planes ties in with her mythological role as a thief and matches with her intrusion into the alpha session.

VRISKA: Transportalizers will work too, if you can get them all hooked up right.
VRISKA: This is definitely 8usywork, 8ut it’s also really important. So we need someone competent in charge of this.

ROSESPRITE: I think I can handle that.
VRISKA: Yeah?
ROSESPRITE: Yes.
ROSESPRITE: I’m quite mobile in this new form.
ROSESPRITE: Also I think my abilities will help with forecasting the optimal network to lay out, along with helping Jane coordinate her routes during battle.
ROSESPRITE: Plus, I have to admit.
ROSESPRITE: I kind of relish the idea of being a “less relevant” party member.
ROSESPRITE: Particularly since I think it is inherently true now.

Rosesprite seems to easily accept being a subordinate party member, but after she becomes Jasprosesprite^2, we see that she was hiding things. I’m looking forward to all the Rose analysis that will come out of Jasprosesprite^2’s existence, particularly with the implications raised about her hiding strong emotions. The good thing is, after becoming a hectic squared sprite, she dutifully follows Vriska’s orders, and it greatly comes in handy.

JOHN: vriska, wait.
VRISKA: ????????
JOHN: before you go on, i just wanted to say…
JOHN: i’m really impressed with your strategic analysis so far!
JOHN: you really seem to be all over this. i wouldn’t even know where to begin figuring all this stuff out.
JOHN: anyway, i’m glad we have you back on our side!
VRISKA: Aww, thanks John!
JOHN: just thought i’d say!
JOHN: i didn’t want you to go through all this stuff for us, thinking it was going unappreciated.
JOHN: anyway, please continue!

Aw, this is so sweet of John. His opinion on Vriska goes back and forth so much it’s ridiculous, but when his opinion is at its positive peak, he’s incredibly heartfelt and encouraging to Vriska. He knows that the other party members are weirded out by her ambition, so he takes some time to praise her. This passage is a lot funnier if you remember that when John first met Roxy about an in-story day ago, his opinion of Vriska was at a negative peak. Or a negative valley? You know what I mean.

Next up, Vriska starts devising teams, asking who wants to fight which villain. First is the Condesce.

I love that the Lalondes are both making the same expression.

VRISKA: We’ll need a team to raid Derse again, 8ut this time for all the mar8les.
VRISKA: And remem8er, the raid has to start 8EFORE the rest of the action, to keep her from getting the upper hand.
VRISKA: And the party has to 8e at LEAST good enough to if not defeat her, keep her 8usy for a long time.
VRISKA: So who wants a piece of the sea witch?
ROXY: ME ROSE: ME.

It’s heartwarming to see Rose and Roxy simultaneously and immediately choose to go fight the Condesce. They only just now had their heartfelt reunion, but they had been waiting three and sixteen years respectively for that moment to happen, so it makes sense that their Lalondian bond is already fully realized.

VRISKA: Alright, I’ve got two takers from the Lalonde camp.
VRISKA: We’ll need more though. Who else?
JOHN: i’ll go!
VRISKA: You sure, John?
JOHN: i think so.
JOHN: from what you said, it sounds like this is the most important battle.
JOHN: if we don’t keep her busy, everything could get messed up.
JOHN: i think i’d be good at that! i can use all my windy powers for distractions and such.

VRISKA: Ok. You’re with the Lalondes then.
VRISKA: Make it count!

It’s easy to see why John chooses to fight the Condesce. He knows that he has a versatile swath of wind powers and is eager to use them to participate in the heroic battle and help achieve the kids’ goal of Sburb victory. I also imagine that he heard (or overheard?) Roxy talking about how horrible the Condesce is, and since he has such a positive view of Roxy, her choosing to fight the Condesce may also have influenced his choice.

KANAYA: I May As Well Go Too
KANAYA: It Would Be A Shame If The Party Defeating The Woman Who Terrorized Our Planet For Ages Had No Representation From Our Species
VRISKA: Shame or not, I’m afraid that won’t work Kanaya.
KANAYA: Why Not
VRISKA: You can’t join their party. Well, not yet at least.
VRISKA: There’s another critical role which you specifically need to play first.
VRISKA: We can’t risk losing you in 8attle until it’s complete.

KANAYA: What Is It
VRISKA: I’ll explain l8ter! After the teams are set.

Kanaya does indeed join the team fighting against the Condesce, and the members of the team nicely symbolize all the wrath and terror that the Condesce has brought: first Alternia, then a practice round on B1 Earth, then a proper second round of terror on B2 Earth. Her joining is probably partly out of symbolism and partly because she and Rose are inseparable.

As for Bec Noir, Vriska decides that the Monarch will be fit to deal with him for now and reminds us that Jade will be reserved exclusively for the dogs in case she wakes up. This is a reasonable strategy that interestingly prevents the main villain of Homestuck’s first half from being defeated by its main heroes.

The alpha kids’ Jack, on the other hand…

“Lord Jack” is such a ridiculously boring nickname, come on.

VRISKA: Next: Lord Jack.
VRISKA: Who wants di8s on this guy?

DAVE: i guess thats me
VRISKA: Ok, Dave.
DAVE: there are all these rumors swirling around that ive gotta beat LE anyway
DAVE: which is probably bogus but w/e
DAVE: killing this guy at least would be the next best thing right
DAVE: so maybe if i do that i could like
DAVE: put the “prophecy” to rest

Dave’s whole thing of reluctant heroism is back in action here, and I had already explained that his reluctant heroism is really just that he doesn’t care about defeating whichever villain people say he’s supposed to defeat, but rather about protecting his friends. However, he knows that these prophecies must have come from somewhere, so he decides that taking down Union Jack will be close enough. That is indeed the only fulfillment of this prophecy in Homestuck’s canon, but the Meat Epilogue fulfills this prophecy for real with pre-retcon Dave, making this fulfillment of the prophecy sort of pointless. Well, maybe not so much pointless as a statement on the difference between partly and truly resolving a long-running plot point.

VRISKA: That logic sounds reasona8le to me.
VRISKA: For what it’s worth, I never 8ought into the idea that you were supposed to 8e the one to kill English anyway.

Pffffffff, of COURSE Vriska wouldn’t believe that anyone other than her is destined to kill Lord English. She’s so caught up in her idea of relevance that she brushes aside any idea that someone else is supposed to kill the big invincible skull monster, and she seems to find that entire thought laughable.

VRISKA: So that’s one down. Who else?
TEREZI: OK, WHY NOT
VRISKA: You sure, Terezi?
VRISKA: You’re not immortal, remem8er. And this one’s going to 8e tough.
TEREZI: YOU S41D W3 N33D GOOD F1GHT3RS TO GO 4T TH1S GUY
TEREZI: 4ND 1 TH1NK 1’M PR3TTY D3C3NT
TEREZI: 4T L34ST 4T ST4BB1NG TH1NGS
TEREZI: SO 1’LL GO
TEREZI: B3S1D3S…
TEREZI: *SOM3ON3* H4S TO W1TN3SS D4V3’S H3RO1SM, 1F H3 W4NTS TO B3 L3T OFF TH3 HOOK FOR TH4T PROPH3CY >:]

VRISKA: Hey, it’s your decision!

Even though Dave/Terezi as a ship was not meant to be, it’s nice to see that their flavor of mind games hasn’t gone away. Amidst her usual insecurities, Terezi displays confidence about the idea of taking down Jack English in a goofy mind-gamey sort of way.

Terezi suggests to add Dirk into the team, and Dave is awkward about it as ever. I don’t have anything new to say about Dave’s insecurities regarding Dirk.

Arquiusprite is of course foreshadowing… er, backshadowing? Or is it still foreshadowing if the event already is known to happen in the future? In any case, he’s clearly talking about his entrance into Caliborn’s Masterpiece, and it’s quite tragic for him to have such noble intentions when he ends up becoming part of Lord English. I already discussed how tragic it is a few posts ago when I went through Caliborn’s Masterpiece.

Vriska lets Arquiusprite do what he wants and then goes over Spades Slick and his crew.

VRISKA: I really don’t want to spoil too much fun for you guys, 8ut.
VRISKA: No, I shouldn’t.
JOHN: what?
VRISKA: Ok, intelligence reports I have gathered, namely through a 8it of time hopping reconnaissance, suggests that Ro8o Jack may, I repeat MAY, 8e in transit with a 8unch of green time traveling idiots in that oven.
VRISKA: Don’t quote me on that.
VRISKA: Anyway, if true, none of these 8ozos are particularly powerful.
VRISKA: They’ll mainly just 8e a nuisance.

Vriska waves off everything Slick has been through as a bunch of stupid bullshit that doesn’t matter, but if you remember the most troublesome Felt members in the Midnight Crew intermission, this isn’t quite true. In that sense, maybe Vriska is analogous to readers who skipped the intermission? Let’s not get sidetracked about how horrible it is to skip the intermission though. By waving off the Felt as a bunch of pointless idiots, Vriska is forgetting about the two leprechauns who the Midnight Crew couldn’t kill: Clover and Cans. While most of the Felt are annoying at most, Clover is extremely lucky and Cans is extremely strong, and it will take extreme heart* and extreme strength respectively to defeat them. The Felt’s unprecedented power players fortunately don’t cause too much havoc; instead, they allow heroic moments for Karkat and Dad Crocker respectively.

* No, not “heart” as in Dirk’s aspect. I’m using the word to refer to the type of character who doesn’t have fancy superpowers but plays a major heroic role regardless, which Karkat fits to a T.

VRISKA: So who wants to deal with them? Hmmmmmmmm?
VRISKA: Hey kid.
VRISKA: Kid!
VRISKA: Yes, I’m talking to you again.
VRISKA: God damn it, what was his name again?
VRISKA: Joke?
TAVROSPRITE: vRISKA, sTOP,
TAVROSPRITE: iT’S JAPE, aND YOU KNOW IT,

VRISKA: Listen, Joke.
VRISKA: Joke! Snap OUT of it! I’m talking to you.
JAKE: Oh sorry.
VRISKA: This is a strategy session, Joke. Please stay alert.
VRISKA: Now do you think you can handle 8eing on this team?
JAKE: Um…
VRISKA: Awesome. That’s the spirit.
VRISKA: This assignment should 8e right up your alley, kid.
VRISKA: Who else?
TAVROSPRITE: mE, i’LL DO IT,
VRISKA: Thanks for volunteering Tavros.
VRISKA: This fight is pretty well suited to your skillset too.
VRISKA: And you can join Joke here to help him get ready, 8ut there’s one thing I need you to do 8efore the 8attle starts.
TAVROSPRITE: oH, rEALLY,
TAVROSPRITE: wHAT,

VRISKA: I’ll explain to you l8ter in priv8. 8ut it’s critical, and something only you can do.
TAVROSPRITE: oHHH!
TAVROSPRITE: tHAT MAKES ME, tHE FUNNY FEELINGS COMBINATION, oF SKEPTICAL, nERVOUS, aND EXCITED,

VRISKA: Good!
VRISKA: That’s exactly how you should 8e feeling a8out it, trust me.

Oh boy, Vriska’s special mission for Tavros. Talk about a brutal prank on the reader’s end! Vriska leads us to believe Tavros is going to do something cool, but all he does is get prototyped into GCat and then put to sleep by Vriska to neutralize that loose cannon. Readers’ reaction was mostly “wait, that’s IT?” Or at least, that was certainly my reaction. The outcome of that supposed mission does demonstrate how little Vriska thinks of Tavros, setting the surprise for the reveal that pre-retcon Tavros assembled a gigantic ghost army all by himself. I suppose that’s the main narrative purpose of post-retcon Tavros’s mission: setting up surprise factor through contrast.

Karkat speaks up, asking why he hasn’t been assigned a task yet while knowing full well that Vriska treats him like the bottom of the barrel. I can’t help but think about how Homestuck’s canon doesn’t give Karkat much of a dignified resolution; that’s instead saved for the epilogues in a way that’s clearly intended to deconstruct the concept of resolving character arcs. A6A6I5 treating some characters (especially Jake and Karkat) like useless nobodies is an interesting but clumsy way to set the stage for the epilogues’ bizarre flavor of proving points. I imagine that when Hussie devised the epilogues, he knew that some fans would refuse to acknowledge they ever happened and designed them so that refusing to acknowledge them is tempting but difficult.

KARKAT: SO WHO THE FUCK IS EVEN LEFT, ASIDE FROM ME???
KARKAT: AND THE FUCKING CAT I GUESS.
KARKAT: ARE YOU SURE WE SHOULDN’T PICK A ROLE FOR ROSE’S FUCKING CAT LUSUS BEFORE MOVING ON TO THE *ABSOLUTE* BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS “THE VANTAS ZONE”?

VRISKA: Oh, gr8 point Karkat!
VRISKA: Hey there, kitty.
JASPERSPRITE: MEOW!!!!!
VRISKA: What would you like to do?
JASPERSPRITE: I would like to eat some tuna fish and cuddle with either rose or roxy or both! :3
VRISKA: Awwwwwwww!
VRISKA: Ok, that can 8e your very important jo8. Don’t let us down!
JASPERSPRITE: Purr purr purr. ;3

As annoying it is for Karkat to be treated like the bottom of the barrel, Jaspersprite’s line here is a cute way to remind us that he’s just a simple cat. Perhaps this line together with Rosesprite’s supposed acceptance of being a subordinate Rose are meant to set the stage for Jasprosesprite^2 existing?

Karkat’s angry confusion about not being assigned to any team transitions us to the next order of business: getting the genesis frog stuff out of the way to create the new universe.

VRISKA: First, a8out Kanaya and Karkat’s “mission” I alluded to a minute ago. This is really important.
VRISKA: You 8oth listening??
KANAYA: Yes
KARKAT: NO.
VRISKA: Ok, well one out of two isn’t 8ad. As long as Kanaya understands, that’s mainly what matters, since she’s the more important part of this equ8tion.
KARKAT: WOW, I’M FUCKING SHOCKED!
KARKAT: WHAT DO WE, OR, EXCUSE ME… WHAT DOES *SHE* HAVE TO DO?

VRISKA: You 8OTH have to go to Jade’s planet and see Echidna.
VRISKA: Even though this session is a8out as far from “normal” as it can possi8ly get, the same 8asic rules apply.
VRISKA: Someone needs to seek an audience with her, and get her to agree to release the genesis frog.
VRISKA: Or, the tadpole that grows up to 8ecome the frog, which is the stage of development he’s in at this point.

Kanaya doesn’t do much throughout Act 6 compared to the other meteor crew trolls, and her mission to talk to Echidna is a good way to give her a narrative role… at the cost of shafting Jade even more than she already has been. A double-edged sword in narrative roles, benefitting one character arc while truncating another.

KANAYA: Why Does It Have To Be Me Though
VRISKA: 8ecause SOMEONE has to!
VRISKA: Sources tell me this is the plan the Condesce had for you, 8efore we derailed all her shit.
KANAYA: You Keep Talking About All These Sources
KANAYA: Who Are All These Sources
KANAYA: Did Arquius Tell You This Too

VRISKA: No! Look, I’ve 8een 8usy, ok?
VRISKA: Inform8tion is everywhere if you know where to look.
VRISKA: Derse has a lot of agents on the inside who are wise to the old lady’s plans.
VRISKA: Shaking the 8ushes for good intel isn’t that complic8ted, it just takes a little effort!
VRISKA: Some people on this lily pad should may8e try looking into that some time.

I recall readers being very confused as to how Vriska knows all this information, and when she clears up how she knows that, she no doubt makes readers feel very stupid. Thinking about it, Vriska’s knowledge about the remaining events of the alpha session isn’t too different from the knowledge that the beta kids and trolls gathered through their respective sessions. It’s fun to see Derse’s agents mentioned again, but I still wish we could have heard directly from the alpha kids’ Dignitary or Droll one last time before Homestuck ended.

VRISKA: Normally Jade would 8e the one to do this, 8ut at the time, Jade had 8ecome corrupted, so I guess Echidna wouldn’t deal with her.
VRISKA: And now, Jade’s asleep! Which is exactly how she needs to stay.
VRISKA: So that leaves the person Echidna requested in Jade’s a8sence, which is you.
VRISKA: I am assuming 8ecause you were also a space player, so you’ll 8e a8le to understand her gar8led nonsense language.
VRISKA: 8ut that’s not all there is to it. She also requested you 8ring Karkat.
KARKAT: UGH.
KARKAT: WHY THE HELL WOULD SHE WANT TO SEE ME?

VRISKA: No idea!
VRISKA: Denizens are mysteeeeeeeerious.

The way Vriska stretches out the word “mysterious” humorously shows that she doesn’t give a shit about denizen lore or any other sort of cryptic Sburb mythos. She just cares about cutting to the chase, which at this point amounts to her telling the rest of the Sburb players exactly what to do to beat the game, then setting out to kill Lord English.

VRISKA: Echidna is kind of a 8ig Deal Denizen. One of the real heavy hitters, like that other guy… the really strong one with the ridiculous name.
VRISKA: She might even 8e the 8iggest deal. She’s the mother of all denizens. I mean, not in a literal sense. Like, I really dou8t she physically spawned them all.

I find it amusing to imagine that Hussie probably didn’t have any idea what he meant when he wrote that Echidna was the “mother of all monsters”. Kind of the like Mirthful Messiahs or the numerals of the blind prophets, this is a lore thing that fizzled out and ended up inconsequential, and “the mother of all monsters” as far as we know is just a figure of speech. Can you imagine if that was the fate that happened to Homestuck’s Con Air references? We would probably be living in a very different world if that were the case.

VRISKA: So if she wants you to do something, it’s serious. And if you need to do something of massive cosmic significance, like release a frog that contains an entire universe in its 8elly, then 8y the same token, it has to go through her.
VRISKA: The other denizens are a 8unch of petty grum8ling riddle-merchants 8y comparison.

Even though Vriska doesn’t care about most denizens, she does care about the big essentials (Echidna and Yaldabaoth) and seems to have learned from the troll session’s mistakes. Her accepting that there’s at least one denizen worth worrying about is some good character development, indicating that she’s willing to do what it takes to get the alpha session under control before living her most self-absorbed fantasies.

KARKAT: HOW ARE WE EVEN SURE SHE HAS A FROG TO RELEASE??
KARKAT: WHO MADE THIS FROG? THE JOKERS FROM THIS SESSION?
KARKAT: I THOUGHT THEY SPENT MONTHS DOING NOTHING.

VRISKA: It’s the same frog Jade made!
VRISKA: With Kanaya’s help, remem8er?
VRISKA: Hell, you may have even 8een involved in that process too. I don’t recall every single detail.

It’s safe to say Hussie doesn’t remember every detail of the beta kids’ frog breeding either. That felt mostly like a side arc in the Doc Scratch intermission to me, and I can’t remember if Karkat was involved in the beta kids’ frog breeding either. Funny that the part of Sburb that actually involves creating a universe, which is of course the game’s goal, doesn’t take up much of the story.

VRISKA: 8ut it fell in the forge on Jade’s planet 8ack in the old session, and now Jade’s planet is here.
VRISKA: Hence, the frog is here too. It’s just 8een… let’s say hi8ern8ting inside the planet for a few years.
VRISKA: Echidna kept it warm for us until we were ready. Which is now!
KARKAT: OK. YEAH, I REMEMBER NOW.
KARKAT: SO THE CONDESCE WAS GOING TO MAKE US DO THIS ORIGINALLY? WHY??

VRISKA: 8ecause her goal was pretty much the same as ours!
VRISKA: To win this game and cre8 a universe.
VRISKA: The 8attle taking place here isn’t over WHETHER one will 8e created.
VRISKA: It’s over who gets to control it when it’s made.
VRISKA: Ideally, that should 8e us, rather than a genocidal fish dict8tor.
VRISKA: In fact, we don’t want ANYONE to “control” it.
VRISKA: No8ody should control a universe. That’s what 8ad guys try to do.
VRISKA: We just want it to 8e a nice place to live, and free of any controlling influence that will make life misera8le for the people who live there.
VRISKA: Having an attitude a8out the Ultim8 Reward that differs from that in any way was just ANOTHER thing we fucked up the first time around.
VRISKA: So let’s just 8e clear on what we’re fighting for here.
VRISKA: Got it?!
KARKAT: …
KARKAT: YEAH
KARKAT: YOU’VE MADE YOUR POINT.

“The first time around” refers to the trolls’ session, not the pre-retcon timeline. It’s easy to forget that the trolls’ haste cost them victory in Sgrub… or wait, no. It was Doc Scratch’s influence on the Alternian trolls, or Lord English infecting the trolls’ universe, or Bec Noir slicing the door in half… whatever, you know what I mean. Their haste was certainly one such factor, that’s for sure.

The next cool thing for Vriska to reveal is that she captchalogued Earth, just like how Jade did pre-retcon but without needing space powers. The way she managed to replicate that pre-retcon event is really cool:

JOHN: what is it?
VRISKA: It’s Earth!
VRISKA: Remem8er how three years ago you told Terezi we needed your wallet, 8ut you didn’t have it?
VRISKA: Well in the time since, we talked a8out it a lot, and figured this was most likely the reason she told you to give it to us.
VRISKA: It wasn’t a 8ig deal, actually.
VRISKA: We spent some time deciphering the code for your wallet. It took a little while, and a few lucky guesses on the code digits, 8ut we eventually got there.
VRISKA: Then I just used it to upgrade my much cooler 8 8all modus.

I’ve seen readers question whether this really was the reason pre-retcon Terezi wrote the wallet instruction. Readers seem to have a lot of doubt that this is why Terezi needed the wallet, but I can easily imagine how this occurred to pre-retcon Terezi. It’s a demonstration of how insanely good Terezi is at thinking ahead. I imagine that pre-retcon Terezi’s thought process went as follows: She realized a major disadvantage with the alpha session’s lineup of players, specifically that none of them have a good way to captchalogue enormous objects (or at least no one who doesn’t sleep through everything). Captchaloguing enormous objects is important because it’s how Earth will be transported to the new universe. Jade captchalogued Earth by shrinking it down, but the other characters needed a different modus. And so, Terezi remembered that John’s dad has a wallet modus with no size limit, which is quite an enormous advantage. Even Jake’s puzzle modus can only store something as big as the top of his lab tower, which is barely a blip compared to an entire planet. With this realization, Terezi wrote the instruction under the presumption that John still had his dad’s wallet handy. He didn’t have the wallet after all, but post-retcon Terezi and Vriska had plenty of time to figure out how to clone it, and that resolves that.

JOHN: you hacked my dad’s wallet??
VRISKA: Sure. Like I said, we had some time on our hands.
VRISKA: It is after all just a fucking wallet. It’s not like it’s some legendary item he got on some mythical dad quest.
VRISKA: I mean, he did 8UY the thing somewhere, right?

JOHN: um. yeah, i guess so.
JOHN: i dunno.
JOHN: i still think it’s a pretty special thing.
VRISKA: Nope!
VRISKA: Sorry to 8e the 8earer of 8ad news. It is literally… just a wallet.

Aww, how typical it is of John to put sentimental attachment onto an item as ordinary as his dad’s wallet. He probably DID imagine until now that his dad got that wallet on some mythical dad quest, because even after his mental breakdown where he realized his dad was just a simple businessman, he probably still has a special, mythical idea of what his dad is like. As for the wallet being able to captchalogue anything no matter how big, it’s safe to say that’s just how Homestuck’s reality works. Nothing specific to John’s dad.

VRISKA: Anyway.
VRISKA: Then, 8efore I did the scouting work on this session, I rode the meteor through the g8, watched it crash on Earth, then just captchalogued the whole damn thing and got out of there.
VRISKA: No sweat!
VRISKA: Presuma8ly like Grim8ark Jade was supposed to, if she wasn’t asleep.
VRISKA: Again, it was a pretty good plan, she just never saw me coming.
VRISKA: Sorry Condy, if you want your waterlogged little glo8e 8ack, you’ll have to pry it from John’s dead hands now.
JOHN: er.
JOHN: …yeah.

It’s amusing to imagine Vriska reenacting the events of the Gold Pilot flash that opened A6A6I1, one that fans are ABSURDLY bummed out about it not getting a full version. Having the events described in text works totally fine, because what’s the use of taking a second shot at the flash when the comic needs to just end already? Much like how my Homestuck posts need to just end already.

VRISKA: Those are the important things to remem8er.
VRISKA: 8ut don’t forget the 8asics.
VRISKA: Remem8er to finish 8uilding up your hives as far as they’ll go.
VRISKA: Then deploy the grist rigs which will disperse your planets’ hoards into Skaia, giving it the nutrients it needs to mature the frog.
VRISKA: This is Sgru8 101 stuff, 8ut I guess it 8ears repeating since most of you have never actually made it this far.
VRISKA: When the hoards are empty and Skaia is ready, then all you have to do is make sure someone’s in position to ignite the forge.
VRISKA: Then everyone rendezvous right 8ack here on the lily pad to claim the Ultim8 Reward.
VRISKA: Which is represented 8y the hive shape thingy with a door on it that leads to the new universe.

It’s really interesting to consider that all these Sburb wrap-up actions are taken care of not by our heroes, but by side characters. This goes to show how far removed the humans’ session is from a typical Sburb session. Arquiusprite finishes building up the houses and deploys the grist rigs, while the Mayor and the Monarch (the two surviving exiles, of course) ignite the forge. I find both of those actions to be a nice way to let side characters play their part in the kids’ victory.

VRISKA: Any questions 8efore we kick this into action?
JOHN: yes, i have one.
JOHN: vriska, what’s YOUR part in all this, aside from making all these air tight plans?
JOHN: you’ve been making it sound like you won’t be here when all this happens!

VRISKA: Of course I won’t.
VRISKA: I’ll 8e off doing something much more important than all this.
VRISKA: I’m traveling to the furthest ring to go kill Lord English.

Oh my god. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my FUCKING god. Why is Vriska’s statement that she’s heading off to kill Lord English so fucking funny to me???? She just drops a bomb like that, having deluded herself into thinking killing Lord English is the true pinnacle of relevance. She’s admirably gotten a good command of leadership skills, but her self-absorbed desire to kill the final boss has remained intact this whole time!!! It’s also really funny that Vriska claims killing Lord English is far more important than killing any of the other villains or winning Sburb. For Terezi, this no doubt stings a lot; for the others, her leaving is probably just confusing and weird.

JOHN: WHAT??
JOHN: wow.
JOHN: isn’t that going to be, uh…
JOHN: hard?
VRISKA: Of course it will 8e.
JOHN: are you sure you can even…
JOHN: DO that?
JOHN: like, by yourself, i mean.
VRISKA: John, I’m not an idiot. I won’t 8e diving into this 8lindly.
VRISKA: See, somewhere out there in the incomprehensi8le causal-stew of the furthest ring, there was once a plan that was coming together to defeat him once and for all.
VRISKA: It involved a secret weapon, an army, and all sorts of other shenanigans.

JOHN: yeah, this…
JOHN: sounds weirdly familiar.
VRISKA: Oh, I’m sure it does.
VRISKA: 8ut the point is, along the way, that plan stalled out.
VRISKA: It went nowhere 8ecause the party involved disintegr8ted and lost their way.
VRISKA: So someone needs to light a fire under that shit again, and I don’t see anyone else stepping forward.

JOHN: how are you going to do that?
VRISKA: Let me worry a8out that.
VRISKA: You have your hands full enough as it is.

In a way, though, Vriska’s decision to resume the subplot of killing Lord English is an admirable way to take initiative. It’s also hilariously obvious how much she’s repeating her pre-retcon self’s actions, especially considering that those two versions of Vriska have gone in VERY different directions since then.

Fun fact: all twelve Alternian trolls except Aradia are on the frog platform right now, whether alive, prototyped as sprites, or as corpses inside a fridge. Or alive inside a fridge.

It’s quite symbolic and thematically fitting that while almost all of the party members are gathered together, even Gamzee and the other trolls’ corpses in the fridge, Jade is off to the side, still sleeping. Jane is also sleeping, but at least she’s still near the other party members, ready to be woken up when Arquiusprite finishes disabling her tiaratop. This panel is an interesting way to symbolize Jade’s shafting in A6A6I5: she’s just far off preoccupied with sleeping and doing nothing aside from I guess talking to god tier Calliope and Davepetasprite^2. Even though I’m not a fan of Jade’s shafting in A6A6I5, I do like the way said shafting is symbolized above.

Anyway, with Vriska’s battle plan complete, the rest of our heroes take some time to discuss all their plans. Karkat mispronounces LOFAF as LOJADE, and John mispronounces the Condesce as the Condensce, while being corrected by Kanaya and Rose respectively, making for some endearing duality.

JOHN: hey, jake!
JAKE: Huh?
JOHN: want to come make plans with us?
JOHN: we can help you figure out how to deal with robot jack, and whatever hooligans he is bringing!
JAKE: Oh!
JAKE: Yes.
JAKE: Thanks john.
JAKE: May… maybe.

JOHN: ok!

Poor Jake has gone back to being extremely nervous. I guess the guy is just more sociable when it’s one-on-one, huh? Even though John and Jake get along as famously as anyone would have guessed, the two don’t seem to encounter each other too often, and Jake especially has trouble remembering to talk to his friends.

Dave and Terezi then talk about Dirk, and Dave expresses yet more nervousness about meeting him.

DAVE: yeah you know im sure if teen hardass strider shows up with his sword and shades and shit and we say
DAVE: hey dude look bad guy go kill
DAVE: im sure the guy will be more than willing to oblige
DAVE: its just
DAVE: man
TEREZI: WH4T!
DAVE: it feels wrong
DAVE: planning “around” him
DAVE: like hes a weird hypothetical battle mannequin
TEREZI: FROM TH3 TH1NGS 1 H4V3 H34RD 4BOUT H1M, FROM YOUR OWN P3RSON4L MOUTH
TEREZI: TH4T 4CTU4LLY SOUNDS L1K3 4 PR3TTY 4PT D3SCR1PT1ON TO M3

Here’s where we start getting some leadup to Dave and Dirk’s reunion, specifically with a reminder of how Dave perceived his bro: as a ridiculously tough and aggressive lunatic who never shows even the slightest sensitive side. Dave then goes at length about how nervous he is to meet Dirk, continuing the leadup until he’s interrupted.

VRISKA: Ok Strider, I’ve heard enough.
DAVE: ??
VRISKA: I have 8een more than patient, and more than accommod8ting.
VRISKA: 8ut your hangups regarding your ancestor are starting to 8order on pathetic.

KARKAT: HEY!
KARKAT: WHY DON’T YOU CAN IT.
VRISKA: Karkat, stay out of this.
KARKAT: NO, I WON’T.
KARKAT: NOT IF YOU ARE GOING TO START TRASHING PEOPLE WITH RESPECT TO THEIR SENSITIVE ISSUES IN A MANNER THAT IS *WAY* OVER THE LINE AS FAR AS THE BASIC GROUND RULES OF GOOD NATURED SHIT TALKING GOES, GROUND RULES ON WHICH I *HAPPEN* TO BE AN EXPERT.
KARKAT: EITHER MAKE SURE YOUR TRASH MOUTHED INVECTIVE IS CRITICALLY CONSTRUCTIVE, OR SHUT UP!

Karkat standing up for Dave is a heartwarming way to demonstrate how far their relationship has gone since their hot-headed bickering in Act 5 Act 2… wait, I mean, EW DAVEKAT!!! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO READERS AND SUBJECT US TO THIS HORRIBLE SHIP, HUSSIE!!!! I THOUGHT YOU WERE COOL!!!!!

VRISKA: Who said I wasn’t 8eing constructive?!
VRISKA: God.
VRISKA: I cut him all the slack in the world on this, 8ut I can see it isn’t doing him, or any of us, any good at all.
VRISKA: I can see I’m going to have to expedite matters.
VRISKA: Go figure. Leave it all to Vriska, ONCE AGAIN.

Upon realizing how Dave won’t get anywhere if he’s still forced to hold in his insecurities about Dirk, Vriska gets ready to demonstrate her way of getting shit done one last time before heading out. It’s clear to her that Dave and Dirk’s heartfelt reunion is necessary for them to get anything done, and she has a clever way to account for that.

I LOVE Roxy’s angered expression in the background as she realizes Vriska stole her Crockercorp appearifier gun. Vriska is a thief; stealing shit is just what she does. But that doesn’t mean others are going to be happy about it.

I love the way Dave and Dirk comically bounce off each other.

And here’s what Vriska meant by expediting Dirk’s arrival. Theft or not, this is one hell of a clever use of Roxy’s appearifier gun. Vriska sees the gun and figures, why just let it sit there? If the gun exists, then it better be put to good use. That’s the DEFINITION of a Chekhov’s gun right there, and it’s cool to see it used for something that isn’t painfully obvious like Jaspers’ death. The best part is that this Chekhov’s gun actually is a gun!

VRISKA: There you go!
VRISKA: Strider, meet Strider.
VRISKA: He’s pretty fucked up, 8ut pro8a8ly a nice guy once you get to know him.
VRISKA: Which one am I talking a8out, you ask? Who knows!
VRISKA: Feeling awkward yet? Here’s an idea.
VRISKA: Get the fuck over it.
VRISKA: Ok guys, I’m out of here.
VRISKA: I’m not sure I can take another second of this.

Although it seems at first that Vriska is unable to tolerate the Striders’ teen awkwardness, she makes it clear that there’s something entirely different she’s aggravated about. Something that probably popped into her brain out of the blue.* Something that makes for a humorously abrupt last thing for Vriska to say before anyone else on the platform never sees her (at least in canon) again:

* No pun intended. No, seriously, my usage of the phrase “out of the blue” is not a pun of any sort. Not Vriska’s blood or John’s text color or John’s god tier outfit or anything else that is blue.

Note the twitching eye.

As I said earlier in this post, this is a clever way for Vriska to head off to the Furthest Ring without letting anyone else follow her.

This, my friends, is the last thing anyone on the frog platform hears from Vriska Serket. Well, except for Jake since he talks to Vriska on the phone later, but the point still stands. She doesn’t leave a heartfelt goodbye or a confident “you can do this” message or a self-important message about defeating Lord English, but instead screams at the top of her lungs that her ghost is being a fucking loser. I can only imagine how bizarre this feels for everyone on the platform, especially John and Terezi. Vriska just stormed off screaming something completely random for the entire world to know. I imagine that the words “FUCKING LOSER!!!!!!!!” rang across the entire Incipisphere, and probably even Dersites locked up in jail heard her. They’re no doubt very confused.

And that’s that. The wire powering the fenestrated plane has been severed, and with it, Vriska’s involvement in the alpha session. The others can all figure things out by themselves from there.

Look at John’s face here. He just got done giving heartfelt words to Vriska, and now she just stormed off screaming about her ghost. He looks to be a mix of confused and worried about her, and I’m willing to bet that he was the most affected by this departure. Everyone else probably either shrugged it off as “classic Vriska” or stood there blankly confused.

As we see in the following zoom-out, John is the only one looking down at the fenestrated plane, taking a moment to reflect on his complicated relationship with Vriska. The others all probably don’t think nearly as much of it, and I bet John is by far the deepest in thought here.

The zoom-out leads us to Skaian clouds, which are the perfect transition device in Homestuck if you don’t know what else to use. Where does the transition take us to? Why, that’ll be next post of course! (It’ll take us to Jade, Jane, and Calliope’s dream bubble story arc.)


I want you to hold up your hands so that you can see all your fingers. Unless you have missing fingers, extra fingers, or are an alien, each finger you see represents one Homestuck post that I’m yet to write. In other words, I have only ten posts left!!!!!!!!!! (Those ten exclamation points are another way to visualize how few Homestuck posts I have left.) Ten posts until I can finally forget I ever read Homestuck and go back to my long-lost life as a regular person who hasn’t read Homestuck. Ten posts until I will let out a loud, triumphant scream that will shatter windows across the globe as I erase every last trace of Homestuck from my mind. Ten posts until… OK, I shouldn’t get too excited yet. I should save feelings of triumph for when I finish my Homestuck posts for real. Still, having only ten posts left to write is a cool as hell milestone! Though frankly, it would be so much cooler if humans had twelve fingers since that’s a far more divisible number than ten is and that would mean humanity evolved to use the duodecimal system. But I guess ten fingers is what we’re stuck with.

See you next time as we finally meet god tier Calliope in person.

>> Part 131: Meeting of the Contrasting Muses

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