Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Reflections Part 137: You’re Welcome for Me Existing


< Part 136 | Part 137 | Part 138 >

Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 5, Part 11 of 12

Pages 7881-7938

I finally made it to the greatest moment in Homestuck history!
That’ll be towards the end of the longest post in my Homestuck post series’ history.

I’m, um. Wow. All I can think right now as I start this post is wow. I’m really doing the final post covering pre-Omegapause Homestuck—the last part with the art drawn by Hussie, the last part before Homestuck’s true ultimate final stretch. I’m already in my Homestuck posts’ true ultimate final stretch though, since this is my fourth last post. After this post which I expect to become insanely long, I’ll only have three posts left before the finish line!! (SMALL CHANGE OF PLANS: This post won’t cover all the rest of pre-Omegapause Homestuck; Terezi’s monologue to Vriska and the flash that follows will be in the next post.)

I’ll likely finish writing my final post (number 140) quite some time before September 20, which is when I plan to release it. Before that date, I’ll do one final read through all the posts start to finish, comparing them to the old versions on my Blogger site (up to number 96). I’ll be fixing errors, editing maybe a few passages for clarity, adding back passages I needlessly removed, and probably trimming down some of the retroactive edits. While a few years ago I had wanted to rewrite my old Homestuck posts and keep them the best commentary on Homestuck I could possibly do, now I view the posts more as a chronicle of sorts detailing how my thoughts on Homestuck (and the entire concept of analyzing Homestuck) evolved from 2015 to 2021. And plus, I frankly want to move on from Homestuck for good after finishing these posts. As such, once I’m done with the final round of edits (and with my final Homestuck post), I think I’d like to keep my Homestuck posts as is.

To start this post off, we have a little scene with Calliope entering Jade’s house, which looks quite barren—everything’s been probably collecting dust during post-retcon Jade’s lonely battleship journey.

I can tell Calliope is fascinated seeing the portrait of dream Jade on the Prospit/Derse themed fireplace.

CALLIOPE: oh, hello, sir.
CALLIOPE: i’m looking for a man they call… “the mayor”.
CALLIOPE: is that yoU?

So distracted that she didn’t notice the Mayor’s sash, plainly showing who he is.

CALLIOPE: oh, silly me.
CALLIOPE: of coUrse yoU are!
CALLIOPE: it says so right there on yoUr handsome sash.
CALLIOPE: how nice it is to meet yoU!

Here, we get a cute little live example of the Mayor communicating with voiced characters using hand gestures—something we don’t get a lot of in Act 6. It’s nice to see him doing so firsthand, even if it’s for something as simple as indicating he is the Mayor.

Yep, here Jade is. She’s sleeping through everything as usual, and it’s more upsetting than ever in A6A6I5, as so many other characters are getting heartfelt reunions left and right.

CALLIOPE: there yoU are.
CALLIOPE: she looks so peacefUl.
CALLIOPE: how odd it is to think she is still in the dream bUbble with my other self’s ghost.
CALLIOPE: what coUld they be talking aboUt?
CALLIOPE: the cUriosity is maddening!

Maddening indeed, but we’ll shortly find out. In the conversation between Jade and god tier Calliope that follows, I’ll be sure to dedicate some time to reflect on Jade’s shafting, as well as her character in general.

Taking a closer look at Jade, we see that she has a little rubber band reminder on her finger for old time’s sake, subtly reminding us of how we first knew Jade. There’s also a little note from Dave, which we later get to read; it’s snappy but heartwarming.

CALLIOPE: please hUrry back, jade.
CALLIOPE: yoUr friends all miss yoU here.

Aww. What an emotional way for the story to remind us Jade has been shafted and perhaps give us a glimmer of hope.

JADE: sooooo
JADE: where exactly are we going?
CALLIOPE: back to the source of all this.
JADE: um
JADE: and where is that?
CALLIOPE: you know already.
JADE: ……

Starting off this scene, god tier Calliope’s statement “you know already.” is probably meant to indicate that her destination is a location that readers already know about: namely, the Green Sun.

I can barely believe my eyes right now. This is a real, substantial conversation involving Jade in A6A6I5! No joke, it took me a moment to process this as real, which is a testament to how brutally she’s been shafted.

JADE: well wherever it is…
JADE: im kinda wondering if
JADE: maybe i should be waking up soon?
JADE: i feel like my friends are probably going to need me
CALLIOPE: you can’t wake up just yet.
JADE: why?
CALLIOPE: it’s not time.
CALLIOPE: not where your physical form is, at least.

JADE: where my physical form is?
JADE: then…
JADE: what about here?
CALLIOPE: what about here?
JADE: argh
JADE: sorry
JADE: this time stuff is really confusing
CALLIOPE: you’re a space player.
JADE: yeah
JADE: i mean
JADE: if its not the right time to wake up where im sleeping…
JADE: how long do i have to wait HERE in order to wake up?
CALLIOPE: the correlation between the passage of time in the furthest ring and any given physical location is tenuous.
CALLIOPE: the measurement of time here is inseparable from the physical passage through its knotted space.
CALLIOPE: those two aspects are closely woven together here, to such an extent that they are barely separable.
CALLIOPE: all aspects are.

Instead of giving a straight and clear answer to Jade’s rightful question about when she’ll wake up, god tier Calliope starts blathering on about opposing pairs of aspects, which is something that had previously been only loosely hinted at compared to the system of classes and aspects. In retrospect, I feel this comes off as leadup to the extended zodiac personality quiz, which gives insight into the meaning of aspects but not classes. The pairs of aspects are straightforward and easy to deduce though. All this classpect rambling comes off as god tier Calliope showing the regular Calliope inside her—the one obsessed with speculating and theorizing about the continuity of Homestuck, which is amusing but also eyebrow-raising.

CALLIOPE: each opposing pair is in balance throughout this field so as to form a stable canvas.
CALLIOPE: though the canvas becomes less stable with each crack in the field, ordinarily one would never directly observe its constituent forces.
CALLIOPE: the canvas would seem smooth from afar, but up close, as it were, the tapestry is circuitously woven.
CALLIOPE: the aspects, while remaining in balance, interfere with each other. they interlock and intertwine.
CALLIOPE: so neither space nor time functions linearly, nor are they conventionally measurable.
JADE: wow
JADE: i am not sure i totally understand…
JADE: but that is pretty interesting!

CALLIOPE: you are predisposed to find the nuances of space intriguing.
CALLIOPE: and since its opposing aspect is more related than you perhaps have realized, the challenges of understanding it are more compelling to you than you realize as well.
JADE: yeah i guess so
JADE: physics are all about space and time and such which are fun to think about
JADE: i like all that stuff!

Oh boy. God tier Calliope seems to be justifying Jade’s shafting and interests and everything about her as “she’s a space player!!!” but I think that’s a load of nonsense. She might be even more extreme about tying everything to classpects than regular Calliope is! What she’s really doing is giving a prose-like description of the Furthest Ring, which is as mind-wrenching as it is poetic.

The Green Sun is visible way off in the distance.

JADE: well…….
JADE: not that it isnt fun talking about these cool space things
JADE: and
JADE: i know you said my real body isnt supposed to be waking up yet, wherever and whenever it is
JADE: but to tell you the truth…
JADE: i would really love to get going and see my friends again!
JADE: dont you have the power to wake me up?
JADE: the other calliope said she has that power
CALLIOPE: i do have that power.
JADE: oh
JADE: soooooo
JADE: could you please wake me up then?
JADE: aw
JADE: why not!
CALLIOPE: i told you.
CALLIOPE: it is not time yet.
CALLIOPE: we must reach our destination first, in order for the requisite time to flow correctly.
CALLIOPE: only then.

JADE: maaaan

Jade is right to be frustrated about her shafting. She’s denied from significant onscreen dialogue with her old and new friends in favor of these conversations with god tier Calliope and Davepetasprite^2 meant to get readers thinking about her shafting, and only a small part of me sees any merit in that.

CALLIOPE: why the hurry?
CALLIOPE: you have already proven your heroism in the moments when it was needed most.
CALLIOPE: it is important to know when the greatest good is best served by remaining dormant.
CALLIOPE: whether that burden is for close to eternity, or only a few more minutes.

God tier Calliope raises an interesting point about Jade’s character arc, a point that Hussie has also made in his book commentary: Jade achieved grand heroic feats plenty in Act 5 Act 2, especially Cascade, which arguably means she has already long proven her heroism. And unfortunately due to the Condesce’s animal mind control, Jade staying asleep is for the greater good, and she isn’t fond of that fact.

CALLIOPE: it is something to learn as a space player.
CALLIOPE: space falls back. it yields. hosts the play silently.
CALLIOPE: then, it roars to life when its time comes, showing all who is really the master.
CALLIOPE: and so too when the time comes, it collapses in on itself, taking all else with it.

On a narrative level, god tier Calliope is saying she has silently waited through the entire story for her grand heroic moment, which is destroying the Green Sun to defeat Lord English. While we had known about Lord English since the intermission, and gotten hints of him since Lil’ Cal and the Saw references in Act 2, we didn’t know anything concrete about god tier Calliope until Jade told us about her in A6A6I4. God tier Calliope seems to believe that this form of lonely, silent waiting is typical of space players, and something they should learn to accept.

“is this really who i am meant to be? that sounds so depressing…..” I can imagine Jade thinking.

Jade’s expression shows she doesn’t agree with god tier Calliope’s description of space players. She doesn’t like the idea that patiently waiting in the shadows is what she’s meant to do for 99% of her existence. Look at her, just look at her. She so badly wants to join the waking crew and catch up on, oh I don’t know, everything???

Long time no see, huh?
(I’m referring to hands being drawn in this fashion, not Jade herself.)

And here she is, staring at her hands, pondering about who she really is. After two more silent panels, this scene ends on a distinctly poignant note.

Alright, next scene.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < daaamn…..
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < damn! X33
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < im a fuckin troll now!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < and part beautiful bird
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < and also…
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < a human boy?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < hahaha i dont even
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < rose my claws
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < look at these fuckin claws!!!!!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *snikt snikt snikt snikt snikt* omg
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I see your claws, Dave.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: They’re neat.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < hahahahaha!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < holy shit i am a god damn DEBACLE of a thing arent i
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < is kind of GREAT?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i sort of LOVE THIS??????????
JASPROSESPRITE^2: That’s wonderful, Dave and Nepeta.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I’m very happy for you both.

Davepeta is going through the exact same sense of jubilation that Jasprose did when she became a squared sprite, but this time it’s at the expense of Jasprose’s happiness. These clashing feelings make for quite a twist upon the last time a squared sprite was created.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < whats wrong rose??
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < jasprose i mean
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *sidles up to jasprose in a coy and hella feline manner sounding tickled as fuck thru my little 3-shaped snout deal*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *arches back huge up and being all like bumping into rose with my tall curved back and shit, like cats do im pretty sure?*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *fuck yeah they do! omg they do the tall back thing all the time when theyre happy and im doing that right now h33h33*
JASPROSESPRITE^2: What do you think you’re doing?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *davepeta kindly and radly informs jasprose he is doing a bit of roleplaying and no, not even ironically*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *i mean… she*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < hrmmm B??

I love how quickly Davepeta embraces the spirit of furry roleplaying while doing away with any irony. Through becoming a squared sprite, Davesprite has moved on from his depressed irony and whatever furry jokes he might have traded with John and Jade, and is embracing being a non-binary furry. Does this have implications about Dave having complications with gender identity, or is it just because Davesprite didn’t like being a depressed bird bootleg Dave? I’ll discuss this further in a bit.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < jasprose
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < im confused about my gender suddenly
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < what am i now?
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I don’t know, Dave.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < well what are you?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i mean
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < what do you f33l like now a boy or a girl
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < your cat was a boy right?
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Yes, he was a boy.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < so what does that make you now???
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I don’t know. I hadn’t thought much about it.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I think I am probably still a girl?
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Cats don’t have particularly deep feelings about gender, or form strong identities around the idea.

Oh man, now here’s where the conversation starts getting interesting about gender identity. I can tell that while writing A6A6I5, Hussie started to think a lot about this topic. Namely, the fundamental question: what does gender identity mean? If you know even a single person who’s transgender and start thinking hard about it, the idea that gender is nothing more than whether your chromosomes are XX or XY collapses like a house of cards. And then you’re pretty much left for yourself to rebuild that house, which takes a lot of work and reconsideration. There’s concepts to consider like feeling (or not feeling) like a certain gender, which doesn’t always correspond with what you were born as. Hussie seems to have started to come up with his own understanding of gender identity here: he feels that it’s something that only human minds are sophisticated enough to process. As in, devising identities and gender roles based on how some people have one type of body and others have a different type—roles that go beyond just biological roles, that is. Not to mention the occasional cases of people choosing that they would rather go into a different category from what they were born into, or come up with their own category entirely. Through Jasprose’s statements about cats, Hussie seems to believe that gender identity is specifically a human thing (or in Homestuck’s universe, a humanoid species thing).

This is far from the last we see of Hussie’s gender identity philosophy. He enormously fleshes out these ideas in the Obama scene in the epilogues, then even more in Psycholonials with the gender triangle, which is quite evidently an earnest way Hussie has decided to think about gender. Back in 2015, when this update came out, I waved off all such topics as a bunch of bogus nonsense, but now I’m not so sure. This stuff is actually really interesting to think about! I’ve already discussed my thoughts on the gender triangle much further in my Psycholonials review post, so let’s not get too rambly here.

As for my understanding of the concept of gender identity… it changes and shifts a lot, and it’s still pretty muddy and vague. I started thinking about the topic in earnest in late 2017, during the lengthy pause in my Homestuck post series. Since then, I’ve wrestled with myself not so much about my own identity—I’m pretty definitely male—as my understanding of the topic and how it works with other people. Maybe someday I’ll not find the topic completely confusing and head-spinning, but today is not that day.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < ok thats cool
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < but both dave and nepeta did have strong identities as a boy and girl!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < so i dunno where that leaves me
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Does it even matter?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i have no idea!!!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i just started being davepeta like THR33 SECONDS AGO
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < im not sure what matters to me yet
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i think i do like being me though!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < its a really weird f33ling
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i mean not weird just like jarring in contrast with how both me’s spent so long f33ling like

Davepeta is quick to embrace this new identity, and can you blame them? “Them” both as in Davepeta as a character, and as in their sprite components. Davesprite was never happy with his life as a sprite, and Nepeta always felt pretty lost and lonely as a troll. Existing as Davepeta is a welcome change of pace for both of them, and they seem more than happy to use “they” as pronouns. Again, by “they” I both mean Davepeta, and Davesprite and Nepeta as a collective.

After Jasprose brings up her alternate Rose memories and Davepeta confirms that they similarly have memories of dead Daves and dead Nepetas, Jasprose starts to open up about why she’s feeling down now:

JASPROSESPRITE^2: The Rose I was prior to this had just lost everything before she was killed.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Her friends and also her matesprit.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: When I came back as a sprite, not as Jasprose yet mind you, I was relieved to see everybody again…
JASPROSESPRITE^2: But it was also a melancholy return.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I knew that she couldn’t be with me anymore, because I was no longer Real Rose.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: But when I became Jasprose, everything changed again.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I was a whole new being!
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Before me stretched a horizon full of small distant and slightly jostling curiosities to investigate, because you never know when something like that might turn out to be a mouse.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: There were so many, many new pawsibilkitties.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < dude i must say i am so stoked for the cat things youre sayin!
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Shoosh, Dave. And yes I concur about the cat things.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Anyway, one of the new things that opened up to me was…
JASPROSESPRITE^2: The idea that I didn’t have to be alone anymore.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: That I was reborn, more thrilled to be alive than I can ever remember being in any incarnation.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: And that there was someone perfect waiting for me to bring her back.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Another estranged soul like me.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I guess it’s all ruined.

Given what Jasprose says about her initial return to the living as Rosesprite, plain old Rose did a damn good job at hiding her insecurities. She didn’t let it slip to anyone that she was disappointed about not being able to be with Kanaya. But then, Jasprose became the total opposite: she got EXTREMELY hammy about wanting to be with Nepeta instead, and genuinely believed the two were a perfect match due to combining Rose’s lingering love for Kanaya with Jaspers’ simplistic cat instincts. And even after losing the opportunity to be with Nepeta to Davesprite, she still can’t shake off the idea that Nepeta was her perfect match.

I LOVE the shots of Jake playing with his Zilly weapons in the background while the squared sprites are having a feelings jam.

JASPROSESPRITE^2: Dave, she was going to be my WIFE!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: BOO < !!!!!!!!!!!!!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i was?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < she was?
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Yes, Dave. I am quite sure of it.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < well furst of all
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < maybe you should stop calling me dave?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < my name is davepeta now
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Yes you’re right. I’m sorry Davepeta.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: No offense, but the Dave part of you is sort of the fly in the ointment here, so when I look at you, that tends to be who I see.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < yeah thats cool
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < since he became a bird that part of me got pretty used to being a most unwelcome dave in practically all situations let alone when he rudely crashes a tea date through accidental bodysharing shenanigans
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < but now im like this whole new neat kind of sprite with legs again and claws and shit and id prefer that my new identity be respected please!

With Davepeta no longer wanting to be known as “Dave” and saying they prefer that their new identity be respected, the comparisons to transgender people are more than clear. It looks to me like squared sprites tend to accept and embrace their new identities far more swiftly than regular character combination sprites do—two of the character combination sprites even exploded due to conflicts between their components. Even Arquiusprite went through a few small conflicts between his Hal half and Equius half, but here Jasprose and Davepeta are firmly attached to their new identities as squared sprites.

Wow, um,

This is sort of a weird thing for me of all people to talk about, but,

If there’s any character in Homestuck who has clear canon evidence for having some form of gender dysphoria, it’s without a doubt Davesprite. He is (or rather, they are) so much happier as a non-binary squared sprite than he was as a bird version of Dave, and speaking as someone who can talk quite a bit more meaningfully about transgender topics than I could back in 2015, I doubt the transgender similarity is a coincidence.

Yeah. Um.

If I sound stuttery, it’s because, well… to be honest, I never really bought into any headcanons about Homestuck characters being transgender. Not John or Vriska or Roxy or Dirk or whichever other characters are popularly headcanoned as trans men or trans women. I still don’t feel there is substantial canon evidence for those ideas—the most is the thing with the last two letters of Roxy’s name referencing chromosomes, and even that feels like a stretch. But with Davesprite, I sort of maybe possibly DO imagine him as having discomfort with his gender? I mean, I’m not going to retroactively refer to Davesprite as “she” or “they” because that would be confusing, but I hope you get what I mean here. Does this mean I also think regular non-sprite Dave has gender discomfort? Not necessarily, because alternate selves can diverge to become very different people. But I might not completely rule it out.

I really… did I really…


Maybe someone’s reading this and is proud of me for advancing this far in learning about the complicated topic of gender identity, especially when it’s towards the end of my Homestuck post series. Or maybe someone is rolling their eyes, going, “jeez, it’s just a webcomic, who gives a shit”. Or maybe someone thinks that the stuff I said about Davesprite is total bullshit, which is fine! You don’t have to agree with me about this idea. One thing’s for certain: I would have NEVER said all this in 2015. Or 2016, or 2017, or 2018, or probably even 2019. Maybe 2020?

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i understand
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < you could even say i “know that f33l”
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < h33h33 loling my ass off
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i love that theres this whole side of me that is all freshly tickled by even the most basic applickations of irony
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < for instance that was some weaksauce milk but here i am lapping it up B33
JASPROSESPRITE^2: It pleases me to hear you have rediscovered the joys of entry-level irony, Davepeta.

The Nepeta side of Davepeta is getting one hell of a kick out of this new identity too. We’re getting a more humor-loving side of Nepeta’s character than we ever saw before, and these personalities combine to make someone who uses ironic humor in much lighter and more joking ways than Davesprite did with all his cranky depression.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < but yeah sorry for blowing our date
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < even if i… she… wasnt sure what to make of the date?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < she was really flattered that you liked her tho
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < but i dunno if it would have led to marriage!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i think yall may have b33n pouncing the gun on that
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I don’t think so. I had it all figured out.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: She never got a chance to see any of my moves though, so I guess we’ll never know.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i dunno… gettin married isnt even a thing for trolls!
JASPROSESPRITE^2: It was just a figure of speech. It isn’t a thing for cats either, remember?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < ok but even so i still dont think you can force something like that
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < we would have n33ded to spend more time together and stuff to find out!

It’s refreshing to see the squared sprites be honest with each other about how forward Jasprose was being. Davepeta tells Jasprose plain and clear that forcing a relationship doesn’t work out, but Jasprose still thinks she was in the right.

JASPROSESPRITE^2: Yes we would have spent that time together, and it would have turned out to be magical. Trust me.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < god DAMN rose gettin some kitty cat mixed up in ya made you so much HELLA SMUGGER than usual
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i kinda dig it???
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < it suits you
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i mean you were always full of yourself but now youre owning it so completely
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < f33ls a lot more honest tbh
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Actually such a nice compliment? Thank you, Davepeta.

And Davepeta puts Jasprose thinking she’s in the right in a positive light, which is incredibly endearing. Much like the Serket trolls, Rose was always unconsciously full of herself and believed her way of doing things was the right way, and spoke of it in a dry and matter-of-fact way with a significant lack of self-awareness. But as Jasprose, she owns up to thinking she’s in the right, which is exactly like how Rose has always been but more honest. In A6A6I5, it feels like pre-retcon Rose has had a much more complex character arc than post-retcon Rose, who pretty much just had a reunion with Roxy and then struggled to make sense of Rosesprite and Jasprose’s creation in meta terms. But here, Jasprose is pre-retcon Rose with a massive, but not complete, personality overhaul: she’s still full of herself but doesn’t deny it anymore. The Rose inside her is still very much there.

When Davepeta offers to continue the date platonically, something interesting happens: both squared sprites have one half squeamish and horribly uncomfortable with the idea due to human incest while the other half sees no issue, but they both find the internal argument little more than amusing.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < you are part cat soooo
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < so how do you really f33l about that…
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < issue?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i mean as far as both sides of me know cats arent too concerned with that right?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < after a while they dont s33 brother and sister kitties they just uh
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < s33 more kitties who are just like all the other kitties
JASPROSESPRITE^2: There is such a potent force within me that squirms at every word of this train of thought Davepeta!
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Good grief Rose was such a stuffy girl, wasn’t she.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: But yes, you are basically correct.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Asking the Jaspers half about this issue would be like showing him two slightly different gray swatches, and asking his opinion on which color to paint the observatory.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: So to answer your question, I…
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I don’t know.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I really don’t know, about any of this.

This instance of the running gag of species other than humans not understanding what’s bad about incest is a good way to bring in more fun cat metaphors, which Hussie obviously had a blast writing.

More of Jake fooling around with guns in the background.

This panel is a callback to Rose and Dave’s dream selves having a heavy conversation in the Doc Scratch intermission scrapbook scenes. It’s a very fitting callback because now we see different versions of Rose and Dave similarly going through an honest feelings jam. Despite the changes they’ve gone through, these two squared sprites are still Strilonde siblings.

JASPROSESPRITE^2: So how would you like me to help you “get yourself”?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i dont know!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < when we were on our date and you were talkin to me about stuff and i was acting all embarrassed…
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < that was pretty cool or at least nepeta thought so
JASPROSESPRITE^2: You mean about her liking Karkat, and such?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < you know whats crazy is
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < even in my new form i…
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < dont even f33l conflicted about that???
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < it sorta f33ls right still
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i would have thought id be a mess of contradictions about that but hmm nope
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < weird right?!
JASPROSESPRITE^2: If you say so.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < not that im sayin i should act on that or anything

Ugh, I’m rolling my eyes so hard here. It’s like Hussie even knows that Davekat makes NO FUCKING SENSE and is purposely screwing with readers’ heads!

Just kidding. Please don’t take the above paragraph seriously. It’s a surprising moment of maturity for Davepeta not to turn into a mess of contradictions about Nepeta’s crush on Karkat, but instead roll with it and realize it surprisingly still feels right. Through being a non-binary squared sprite, Davepeta has a much easier time accepting non-straight sexuality than Dave ever could. Perhaps Davesprite had realized he wasn’t exactly a boy during the battleship journey, but could never explain those feelings to John or Jade? And perhaps in a similar vein to the contrast between Roxy in the meat and candy epilogues, regular Dave decided to make do with living life as a boy. It’s also a moment of maturity for Davepeta not to get carried away with the idea of Karkat as a love interest or even act on it at all, which contrasts against Jasprose. Davepeta has better things to worry about right now, and we’re right about to find what those things are.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < hmmmmmm
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < aw man youre gonna think im crazy for even saying this…
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I already think we’re both crazy.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i have this weird urge……
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < to go fight lord english
JASPROSESPRITE^2: What the fuck?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < im just strangely drawn to the idea
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i wasnt at all before as a really depressed bird version of dave
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < and nepeta didnt even know who he WAS until recently
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < but now it sounds cool suddenly
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i f33l like…
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < the exact blend of people i am
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < is a being that he should in some way be vulnerable to
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < i cant even explain why i f33l that way
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Well, you have to follow your heart, I suppose.

Davepeta’s existence is incredibly convenient, isn’t it? Given what we know about Lord English’s soul components, we now know that Davepeta is sort of a counterpart to Arquiusprite, which is where their idea of vulnerability comes from. This random urge to fight English seems to be an effect of sprite powers, much like Jasprose’s knowledge of Nepeta and so many other things; I had mentioned this all the way back in one of my oldest Homestuck posts. As I said then, it’s always been characteristic of sprites to gain “new powers as the plot demands”, which is a phrase that I’m admitting at long last I stole from TV Tropes.

DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *davepeta stealthily stalks their heart as it minds its own business beating at the bank of a nearby stream*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *they crouch into one of those quintessential cat poses with like their butt in the air… davepeta starts wiggling their ass furiously*
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < *gets mildly distracted by wiggling of own ass… becomes more intrigued by movement of ass than beating of heart*
JASPROSESPRITE^2: Is this what we’re doing now?
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < nah im just messin
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I think if we are going to make a habit of roleplaying, I would like to script out some scenarios in advance.
JASPROSESPRITE^2: I’m concerned that too much improvisation could end up muddying the narrative.
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < lmao!!!!!!
DAVEPETASPRITE^2: B33 < okay you go right ahead and do that

Jasprose shows the Rose inside her one last time when she briefly gets meta, talking about improvisation muddying the narrative. I can’t decide whether I think this is a self-deprecatory remark on Hussie’s end or an indirect statement of how much he did plan in advance. Maybe a mix of both.

To end the scene, Davepeta says that before fighting Lord English, they would like to catch up with “a couple of bros from the past”, leading to a brief mystery that isn’t much of a mystery if you use your brain. With that, Davepeta flies off, and Jasprose is left behind to get ready and help with the alpha session’s battles.

Wow, holy shit. If you had told me in 2015 that in my Homestuck post series, I would give earnest analysis to the transgender allegories in Jasprose and Davepeta’s conversation, I would think you’re joking. There is no way I would have done ANY of that back in 2015, and I probably wouldn’t have talked about those topics in this scene if I ran my Homestuck post series without any lengthy pauses. If I hadn’t paused these posts so many times, I probably would have finished them in 2017 or early 2018. In this sense, I’m glad it took me until 2021 to get to this part, since I’m now older and can speak about such topics much more meaningfully. Maybe years from now, I’ll look back on this post and think I was being naive. I still have a lot to work through when it comes to understanding gender identity, and only time will tell how my thoughts on this topic will continue to evolve.

We meet again, old friend.
(And by “old friend”, I mean the Sburb interface).

Next up is a wordless scene where Arquiusprite finishes his work building up the kids’ houses and deploying the grist rigs. There are two very interesting things in the panel above. First is the grist rig, which is the first time in AGES that we’ve seen a new Sburb device; I think the last time was in Act 5 Act 2 with Jade’s frog breeding arc. Vriska mentioned grist rigs earlier in A6A6I5, but only now do we see one in person. I don’t think I ever stopped to appreciate the designs of Sburb devices and how they’re loosely based on real-world devices with some surrealism mixed in. The grist rig’s design is based on oil rigs with a bunch of fancy technology attached to it, and its purpose is to release the denizens’ grist hoards onto Skaia. Since only three of the eight kids (four if you count Davesprite) ever met with their denizens, I’m guessing that most of the denizens simply agreed to release the grist hoards without the need for planet quests or defeating the denizens; perhaps the denizens, too, knew in a spooky mysterious denizen way that Homestuck needs to end already. Either that, or Arquiusprite hacked Sburb to allow the grist hoards to be released. Not sure which makes more sense.

The second interesting thing is the return of the mysterious device we had glimpsed at back in Act 5 Act 2. I specifically remember the MSPA wiki calling it the “Unknown Device”, and while I’m normally very reluctant to use that wiki as a resource for Homestuck information (or any Fandom wiki as a resource for any media), I decided to look up that device on the wiki. It turns out Hussie’s book commentary clarified the device’s purpose: it’s intended to drill a hole into Skaia so that the genesis frog can make it to the core, but the kids didn’t need to use the device because John had already drilled a hole into Skaia. Out of the many ways the kids’ session differs from a standard Sburb session, this is easily one of the most obscure. The purpose of the so-called “Unknown Device” is a hell of a mystery that only a few people thought was a mystery but lowkey really needed solving, and damn if it didn’t just get clarified by the author himself two years ago, so nice work. Nice work to the MSPA wiki for documenting the device’s purpose, I mean.

I really didn’t analyze the Sburb interface in much depth throughout my Homestuck posts, did I? Not even in my rewritten posts, which I’m probably just going to can. I guess analyzing Homestuck in terms of adventure game design never interested me too much, and I always felt that most attempts at analyzing Homestuck in its entirety got carried away analyzing the narration style and Sburb interface in Act 1 and then fell flat not long after. Still, it’s nice to have one last opportunity to analyze the Sburb interface this late in Homestuck.

After a few more pages, we get a silent flash where all eight grist rigs release the grist hoards onto Skaia, fueling the planet and completing the second last step in achieving the standard goal of Sburb. The last step is, of course, throwing the queens’ rings into the volcano to release the genesis frog, but that’ll be in Act 7. With this flash, it’s really hitting me how close I am to the end. After this post, I only have three more before I am done with my Homestuck post series forever!!!

Arquiusprite is stunned at this sight, and let’s be real, who wouldn’t be stunned? Both halves of him are probably thinking about how much they’re all setting right what went wrong, both in the trolls’ session and the beta kids’ session.

And then he notices Davepetasprite^2 and gapes in shock, ending this wordless scene on a cliffhanger.

With the wacky sprite Striders about to reunite, we’re now back to the regular Striders in a very wordy scene.

DAVE: damn
DAVE: and i thought our houses were pointlessly tall before
DAVE: it just doesnt stop from keep constantly getting more and more vertically enormous
DIRK: Shit is downright precipitous at this point.
DIRK: Like, upways.

DAVE: haha yeah
DAVE: we made sure as fuck not to come right out and literally describe that building as tall
DIRK: Hell yes.
DIRK: Who needs small and serviceable adjectives when the most ass-backwards way of saying a thing is right there, tantalizingly hidden within the vast ocean of language.
DIRK: Like a treasure in a huge shitty clam.

DAVE: we are way on the same page philosophically here
DIRK: Who is surprised by this?
DIRK: Zero people, is who.

DAVE: sounds like a club for losers to me
DAVE: theyre lucky they dont have any members, otherwise theyd all be lame as hell
DIRK: Yeah.

Unlike the last two Dave/Dirk scenes, this one starts off the bat with two-way Strider snarking, which is very heartwarming. A good way to kick off a conversation that itself goes into deeper topics.

DAVE: so uh
DAVE: why do the houses need to be so tall again
DAVE: i never actually understood that
DAVE: except to reach the gates but once we all figured out how to fly and shit that became so pointless
DIRK: Yeah. After a while in the game, building kind of stopped mattering.
DIRK: Except near the end. Getting them to the top is just a point of completion.
DIRK: Then you dump the grist rig on top of it, apparently.
DIRK: That lets the thing spray out all the grist from the hoard in the planet’s core, kind of like a huge oil derrick I guess.

DAVE: oh
DAVE: how do you know this
DAVE: do you guys have like a manual or
DIRK: I’m in communication with Arquiusprite.
DIRK: He’s working on it now.

Here’s a handy little recap/clarification of the purpose of the grist rigs. It makes sense for Arquiusprite to know the deal with those devices, because of half of him was a player in the A2 session, which was far closer to a typical Sburb session than this is. Out of all the Alternian trolls—the only players before to have gotten to the point of setting up grist rigs—Equius probably isn’t one who you’d expect would handle this matter in the B2 session, but that’s what he ends up doing. It helps that he’s combined with Lil’ Hal, who similarly took care of many of the alpha session’s technical matters.

DAVE: so youre in communication with him like…
DIRK: Yes.
DIRK: Via my shades.
DIRK: Which he incidentally used to be.
DIRK: Like, as a computer, which he lived inside as my Auto-Responder.

DAVE: right
DAVE: and
DAVE: uh
DAVE: why… did you make that thing again
DAVE: not that you ever told me before
DAVE: ‘again’ is just like a stammering tack-on to that sentence so as to try and not sound too fucking rude
DIRK: I don’t think it’s a rude question. It’s perfectly fair to wonder what was going through my head when I made him.
DIRK: I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about that myself.

That little bit of Sburb exposition seamlessly transitions to the Striders continuing to open up to each other. It’s refreshing to see Dirk finally be honest behind his intent with creating his auto-responder, or rather, the uncertainty regarding his intent.

DAVE: so you just
DAVE: straight up programmed a copy of your brain
DIRK: There was some programming involved, but also a bit of cheating, through the mapping of a captchalogued ghost-imprint of my brain.
DIRK: I guess part of it was just about trying to understand myself.
DIRK: But I don’t think I would have put it that way at the time. For a while I insisted he was meant to be a “debate partner” or some horseshit.
DIRK: I was pretty young, and had some stupid ideas.
DIRK: About irony in particular. But also a lot of mostly faux-intellectual thoughts on a wide variety of topics.
DIRK: Like philosophy, consciousness, programming, identity, history, ancient pop-culture… really it ran the full gamut of pretension.
DIRK: Not that I don’t still find that stuff interesting. I’d just like to think I’m somewhat less full of shit about it all now.

DAVE: yeah me too
DAVE: i mean, about my interests and stuff

It’s interesting to contrast this passage against Dirk’s pesterlogs early in Act 6, especially about his responder—here, he’s admitting that a lot of the stuff he said back then was pretentious nonsense. On a more tragic note, it’s worth considering how EXTREMELY carried away pre-scratch Dirk was with irony, to the point where he raised Dave in a thoroughly unacceptable manner.

DIRK: Creating him was an interesting exercise I guess, but over the years I came to see his development as one of my biggest mistakes.
DIRK: He sort of turned into a monster. But I could never bring myself to get rid of him, or even really blame him for being an asshole, because he wasn’t actually that different from me.
DIRK: Like, by definition.
DIRK: He seems alright as Arquius though. At least it keeps him busy, obsessing over his muscles, asking for milk and shit like that.

As far as Dirk knows, creating Arquiusprite neutralized the wrath of his responder for good. Tragically, we already know this turned out not to be the case because of the events of Caliborn’s Masterpiece, with Arquiusprite becoming part of Lord English, which caused this whole circular cascade of misery and mayhem, including part of adult Dirk’s treatment of Dave. But the good thing is, Dave and Dirk have turned a new page in their relationship, and they’re soon to exit canon and be free from English’s wrath. Then again, English is also indirectly responsible for them all existing, so…

Dammit, I completely lost track of this tangent. Let’s just say time shenanigans are confusing and move on.

DAVE: hmm
DAVE: i guess i started some projects i regretted
DAVE: but nothin like making a milk weirdo eventually exist
DAVE: it sounds fucked up but is also kind of an awesome story in its own way
DIRK: I guess so.
DAVE: maybe im lucky i was never that good with computers
DAVE: now computer ART thats a different story
DAVE: ok it actually isnt i fuckin suck at that too
DAVE: but dammit i try my best and make some magic happen at least in my own mind so maybe thats good enough
DIRK: It certainly worked out for you in my universe.
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: i DID captchalogue my own ghost brain once but i didnt know what to make of that and thought it was kinda weird so that never really went anywhere
DAVE: probably for the best

Ah yes, Dave’s captchalogued ghost brain—one of many items made during one of the alchemy binges and then never seen again. If memory serves me, I think it was only used to make the SBaHJifier, which Dave only used once? Here, Dave brings up that thing again as a point of contrast between him and Dirk: Dave never did much with his brain copy because he was weirded out, but Dirk is a WAY different story. Goes to show Dirk’s unique and peculiar relationship with his splinters.

DIRK: It definitely is.
DIRK: Tinkering with your own mind, or identity or whatever… it’s a dark road to go down.
DIRK: There are enough splinters of everyone running around out there as it is, just as a natural byproduct of our reality. For me in particular. Probably for you too, as a time player.
DIRK: That process doesn’t need to be encouraged or fucked with.
DAVE: for real
DAVE: my bro did cool things with computers too
DAVE: i mean nothin like making a clone of his brain or anything thank god
DAVE: just some absurd bullshit with web bots and stuff mostly to help prop up his various “enterprises”

DIRK: You mean the porn stuff?
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: but with puppets of course
DAVE: it was always about the puppets

DIRK: Naturally.

Continuing the heartwarming factor of the conversation, Dave takes some time to discuss something lighter and more positive about his bro; something adult Dirk did that was less extreme than his teen self, for a change. It’s worth noting that while Rose felt a need to ask Roxy whether she really likes wizards, Dave never asked Dirk the same about puppets. He had come to that conclusion on his own—for better or for worse, the evidence was all around him as a kid. And now that he’s reconciled with Dirk, he easily accepts that puppets are simply a thing Dirk likes.

DAVE: he made all these porn bots that would just talk to each other in a chatroom endlessly
DAVE: all like gettin each other riled up about squishy bottoms and whatnot
DAVE: actually it was pretty entertaining to watch them go at it for hours
DAVE: i think they may have been teetering on the threshold of SOMETHING resembling self awareness?
DAVE: except they only seemed to apply that faculty to reach even more heightened states of sexual excitement for a bunch of nude soft puppets
DIRK: That sounds…
DIRK: Oddly rewarding.
DIRK: I mean, not to say he wasn’t still a douche.
DIRK: But as a pastime, cultivating a group of earnest, erotic puppet-loving chatbots sounds so much more relaxing than painstakingly constructing a version of your own brain, and then arguing with it for years thereafter.
DIRK: Almost like tending to a little flock of pigeons.

We had seen such a puppet chatroom on adult Dirk’s puppet porn website back in Act 2, but only now do we know that they weren’t real people, but rather chatbots. This reveal is a fun way to learn something new about Dave’s bro and give him a more relaxed side. Compared to all the crazy over-the-top robot projects that post-scratch Dirk got up to, pre-scratch Dirk’s simple-minded puppet chatbots seem like a relaxing hobby indeed. It’s really interesting to learn a way where adult Dirk was less messed up in the head than teen Dirk.

DAVE: yeah you know he did some cool things
DAVE: it wasnt necessarily all inherently terrible
DAVE: things i would really appreciate under better circumstances
DAVE: he definitely had a lot of drive and also some uh “ideas” that warranted a certain amount of respect i guess
DAVE: he just
DAVE: maybe should not have been allowed near a child?
DAVE: sall im sayin

As Dave says, stories like this don’t make up for adult Dirk’s abusive behavior, but they still make for positive things to reflect on for Dirk’s sake, which is in a way nice.

DIRK: Sounds about right.
DIRK: We really don’t have to talk about him anymore though, if it is going to stir up more bad shit for you.

DAVE: nah im alright
DAVE: i think that is all mostly out of my system
DAVE: i mean not forever because i dont think thats how things work
DAVE: i just mean my venting fit is over and im probably good for another 16 years or so and i can return to being mostly deadpan and rad
DIRK: Well, in sixteen years, if you need someone to vent to again, let me know.

DAVE: sure
DAVE: assuming we havent been killed by like 10 jacks before that i will
DAVE: you certainly seem to be the right guy for that
DIRK: For what?
DAVE: i mean like the most suitable recipient of my hysterical fits on that particular subject

Continuing the cathartic factor of this conversation, Dave begins a Strider ramble about how he’s grateful to have someone he can full-out vent to about his upbringing. This entire scene serves as catharsis after the Striders’ grand reconciliation a few posts ago, and it’s very nice to have.

DAVE: there is no way i would ever tell karkat all that
DAVE: i mean maybe some stuff but not ALL the stuff its just too heavy

Please don’t laugh at me for this, but I remember years ago thinking this passage qualified as evidence against Davekat, or against the idea that it was a healthy relationship or something. Talk about grasping at straws!!! All Dave is saying here is that as close as he is with Karkat, there’s no one other than Dirk who he’d be able to vent out everything about his upbringing to.

DAVE: i certainly wasnt gonna mention the stuff to rose or john or jade or whoever else
DAVE: if i was ever gonna do one of my patented acrobatic pirouettes off that particular handle to anyone it really only could have been at him
DAVE: except he was dead
DAVE: and even if he wasnt and i did say all that shit
DAVE: theres no way it would have resulted in anything resembling reconciliation
DAVE: which i think
DAVE: was something i kinda needed
DAVE: but didnt realize it
DAVE: so….
DAVE: thank you for being a really plausible stand in for him who i could rip to shreds??
DAVE: while still being basically innocent of all that terrible garbage
DAVE: so you end up sorta being like an avatar for him that is much easier to forgive
DAVE: i mean
DAVE: maybe FORGIVE isnt the right word because im not sure he deserves that and anyway it doesnt matter because hes been dead for years and at this point is just an irrelevant deceased weirdo who doesnt matter anymore
DAVE: i guess i mean coming around to a place where i dont have to feel rotten all the time anymore
DAVE: and i guess im lucky i got to blunder into a reality that just happened to have the exact right version of a dude which made that possible for me
DAVE: sorry this fuckin ramble is really getting away from me
DAVE: i have no idea if im making sense anymore
DIRK: I think I get it.
DIRK: And sure.
DIRK: You’re welcome for me existing.

I love the phrase “you’re welcome for me existing”—so much that I made it this post’s title. I actually came up with this post’s title quite a long time ago, maybe as far back as 2016? It’s a similar deal to the phrase “The Deep Blue of Weird Plot Shit”, which I similarly thought long ago to name a post after and am glad I remembered to do so.

DAVE: hey can that be like
DAVE: the motto on our family crest
DIRK: I think it already is.

D’aww. Sometimes Dirk’s lines are heartwarming in a very lowkey way.

DAVE: all that melodramatic sadbabble aside
DAVE: i think its perfectly cool if youre still curious about your adult self
DAVE: and i dont mind tellin you more stuff about him if you want
DAVE: i know im still wondering about what my adult self got up to
DIRK: Yeah.
DIRK: Well like I said, any time you want to know more, feel free to ask.

DAVE: kay how about
DAVE: we do this thing
DAVE: when i met roxy we did a thing
DIRK: A thing?
DAVE: yeah
DAVE: its called the lightning round
DIRK: That does sound like a Roxy thing.
DIRK: Does it by any chance involve asking a rapid-fire series of questions, some of which end up being a bit too personal or invasive?

DAVE: well yeah when she does it
DAVE: we could be chill though
DAVE: when it comes to asking about each others secret crushes and shit
DIRK: Then I guess I will disclaim in advance that I don’t have any, and I don’t care about yours even if you do.
DAVE: it is settled then on the fact that we are a couple of cool dudes who know where to draw the line on certain topics

As endearing as it is that Dave and Roxy have some traits in common, there’s nothing quite like his brotherly bond with Dirk. It’s a bond that both of the Striders wanted to have for a long time, but couldn’t due to corruption by a puppet and a time gap of four centuries respectively. Now that they finally have that bond, they’re able to do their own less invasive variant on Roxy’s lightning rounds, and it’s very endearing.

The lightning rounds start with Dirk asking Dave questions about his bro, and the two talk about some things we already knew, some things we didn’t know. I’ll skip over most of the things we already knew and instead focus on the new stuff.

DIRK: You say he owned Cal as well?
DAVE: yep
DIRK: Did he come down to Earth on a meteor with Cal too?
DAVE: i think so
DAVE: that was a long time ago
DAVE: kinda weird to imagine him strutting around with that puppet as a kid in the 80s
DAVE: or maybe just kinda funny actually
DAVE: he sure held on to it a long time
DAVE: must have gotten attached at a really early age and just never let go
DAVE: i guess you fell to earth with one of those things too?

DIRK: Yeah.
DIRK: But if I came to Earth on a meteor the same way you all did, then I guess I just got dunked right in the fucking ocean.
DIRK: Which makes sense. One of my earliest memories is of using Cal as a flotation device.
DIRK: So he sorta saved my life in a way. I guess I bonded with him too, the way your bro did, even if that sounds a bit stupid.
DIRK: Then again, it didn’t help matters much that I lived alone in the middle of the ocean. He was my only real life friend. I mean, until I built some new ones.

While the beta kids’ births (as in the meteors falling to Earth, not John creating them in a lab) were all shown onscreen in Act 4, the alpha kids’ births are much more mysterious—about all we knew before this was that Poppop Crocker died on the same day as Jane’s birth, implying a parallel with Nanna Egbert’s death. But here, Dirk provides a logical explanation for how he was born, which I view not so much as a new revelation as an inference from the fact that his home is in the middle of the ocean and he had to find his way up there somehow. Dave similarly speculates what it was like for pre-scratch Dirk as a kid, growing up with a version of Lil’ Cal filled with all those souls.

After some dramatic irony about Davesprite being dead, here’s the next interesting thing:

DIRK: So, you said he “trained” you.
DIRK: I’m guessing that means he knew what was coming?
DIRK: Or, some things about your future, at least?

DAVE: seems that way
DAVE: not sure what he knew or how he knew it
DAVE: all our guardians seemed to know bits and pieces of stuff and did vague mysterious things to prepare
DAVE: to this day i have no idea if he was training me to fight lord english or if he even knew who that guy was on any conscious level
DAVE: or it was more like general purpose training to be able to survive some hard shit after the end of the world happened
DAVE: youd have to ask him but thats impossible

Speculating from little bits that we know has become quite a strong theme of this conversation, and it’s very fun to see. Dave outright mentions the little hints peppered through the early acts of the guardians knowing things about Sburb, so he speculates about the purpose of his bro’s training based on that. I can’t decide either whether it makes sense for pre-scratch Dirk to have known about Lord English.

DAVE: i do know he managed to get the drop on a meteor before i entered the game
DIRK: What?
DAVE: as far as i can tell he stood on top of it and split it in half with his sword
DIRK: Not to be too much of a wet blanket on that rad as fuck anecdote, but that sounds kind of far fetched.

DAVE: yeah it does doesnt it
DAVE: but then again so does a baby getting dunked from space in the ocean then floating on a weird doll and then growin up by himself with no adults around
DIRK: That’s not far fetched. It was pretty straightforward.
DIRK: I think I just found a building poking out of the water, climbed up, then I just started foraging for food in there like a feral infant.
DIRK: Supplies which I’m sure your adult self must have left behind for me, seeing as he clearly must have known some things about the future too.

Dirk has always had a penchant for doing far-fetched things, but his adult self slicing a giant meteor in half is still on SUCH a different level. It’s like, god damn, how did he even DO that?! In retrospect, this feels like a tale of legend that we all take for granted, even though we saw it firsthand in [S] Descend. Many readers (including me) probably didn’t stop to think about how far-fetched this was until Dirk said as much, and this gives a good picture of how impossibly aggressive adult Dirk was.

Next up, it’s Dave’s turn to ask Dirk some questions about his adult self’s life, and here’s where things get more interesting.

DAVE: ok FIRST the fuck of all
DAVE: what happened to ben stiller
DIRK: He was deemed a heretic, and was crucified on the Washington Monument by some clowns.
DAVE: wow
DIRK: Due to his dedication to freedom and peace, he came to be seen as a martyr, and then a holy figure.
DIRK: He was left on the monument as an example to all, but thousands of faithful gathered below to gaze up at his pious, sort of gaunt face.
DIRK: For years thereafter, his followers would carve stone busts of him in his memory, capturing the piercing glare of his final expression.
DIRK: But they were all smashed to pieces by the presidential church.

Here’s where we learn at long last the story behind B2 Ben Stiller—something touched upon in Act 6 Act 2 when Dirk was introduced, but never fully explained. Now we’re learning it at long last, and I’m heavily reminded of the various roles that celebrities play in Psycholonials, like Post Malone and Jeff Bezos, as the world descends into an insane clown cult. Celebrities playing roles in the story is something Hussie carried on from Homestuck to Psycholonials, and it’s quite fun to see.

Going back in time instead of forward, the Ben Stiller busts are of course a callback to Problem Sleuth, which has a few celebrity roles but not as much as Hussie’s later works. While in Problem Sleuth, the Stiller bust is a plot point introduced early on whose sunglasses end up crucial to the final boss’s defeat, the Stiller busts in Homestuck are a piece of B2 Earth’s history, symbolic of how much of a heroic rebellious figure he was. And Stiller’s memory lives on to the very end of the comic in the form of Dave’s sunglasses, which he had brought up in a portion of the conversation that I skimmed over.

DIRK: That religious movement didn’t last very long.
DIRK: Rumor has it the batterwitch had a lot of experience crushing righteous insurrections.

Those rumors about the Condesce crushing rebellions are true indeed—remember the story of the Summoner? I find it pretty neat that during exposition sequences about the Condesce’s rule of B2 Earth, tales of her rule of Alternia are incorporated as rumors, subtly reminding us of the first half of the witch’s exploits. Another example is the rumors that the ICP was meant to imitate a previous form of troll government, which was of course the purple-blooded clown tyrants with inscrutable morality.

DAVE: did my adult self get pissed about stiller
DAVE: i bet he got pissed

DIRK: Yeah. There was a whole series of final insults that led to his active rebellion, instead of just producing subversive media.
DIRK: At one point, the witch “remastered” all of his films to clean up all the shitty artifacts, and released them in stunning high-def quality all over the world, using a rational business model and everything.
DIRK: That REALLY set him off.

You know when you see a video or other such piece of media that’s hilariously bad, and then someone remakes it to fix all the errors and it just isn’t the same, like the charm is all washed away? Maybe you don’t know what that’s like, but I sure as hell do. Presumably using a team of celebrated film directors that exist in real life, the Condesce deliberately invoked this concept to set off Dave and ruin the charm of his SBaHJ movies. I wonder which movie directors played a part in the SBaHJ remastered movies… Steven Spielberg perhaps? Probably an incredibly basic choice, but I don’t know a whole lot about movie directors.

DAVE: what the fuck
DAVE: how fucking dare that woman
DAVE: so then he tried to kill the batterwitch right
DAVE: who is the same exact alien as the condesce in this session??
DIRK: Yes. Same one.
DIRK: And yeah, he teamed up with Rose from the same era.
DIRK: They supposedly put up a good fight, but both died.

This passage puts into perspective how much wrath and destruction the Condesce brought upon trolls and humans alike, unmatched by any other villain in Homestuck. Lord English caused didn’t even cause a fraction as much direct horror as this, and he was mostly just the supposed “hidden man” or whatever behind the Condesce and Doc Scratch.

DAVE: so…
DAVE: does john know that he is literally about to go fight betty crocker yet or what
DIRK: I have no idea.
DIRK: I really don’t know John at all, or any of your friends.
DIRK: I know Jane was the heiress to the Crocker brand. Uh, obviously? It is her name after all.
DIRK: Was John the heir to that empire in his universe?

DAVE: nah
DAVE: i mean not to my or his knowledge
DAVE: he just fuckin hated that company for some reason
DAVE: i think his reason was literally as mundane as just being slightly overexposed to cake
DAVE: thats classic john though he doesnt get pissed about anything except for the absolute dumbest shit
DAVE: but i guess his instincts were right in this case
DAVE: maybe we should just
DAVE: not tell him
DAVE: that hes fightin crocker i think the poor dude has probably had enough mental breakdowns for one adventure
DAVE: we all have

Here’s some buildup to a surprising moment of character development on John’s end, where it’s finally spelled out to him that the Condesce is Betty Crocker and he doesn’t have a mental breakdown about it. Though it makes sense for Dave to presume John wouldn’t take this revelation well, when John has a clear goal to achieve, he puts his temper tantrums aside and gets done what he needs to.

Also, I presume that much like Rose, Dave figured out Betty Crocker’s identity through inference. Unlike those two, John tends to be adorably bad at putting two and two together.

DIRK: I’d like to get to know him.
DIRK: Not to mention Rose and Jade. Would have been nice to hang out and chat, in a circumstance where we weren’t supposed to prepare for an imminent deadly struggle.

Here’s another passage in A6A6I5 that indicates it simply isn’t feasible to do every character conversation onscreen, no matter what fun dynamics they may lead to. Dirk getting to know the beta kids besides Dave will just have to happen after they all settle on Earth C, it looks like. The conversation topic shifts to awkwardness on the frog platform, and then to Jake, as Dirk talks about how much of a trainwreck that relationship was.

DAVE: wait
DAVE: you
DAVE: you dated jake?
DIRK: Yeah.
DIRK: That didn’t last long though.
DIRK: It was really lopsided and kind of forced.

DAVE: so
DAVE: you
DAVE: hmm
DIRK: What?
DAVE: nothing
DAVE: i think were breakin one of the rules here
DAVE: this tangent got too personal
DIRK: Oh yeah.
DIRK: I forgot we weren’t doing that.

Here, the conversation almost dives into sexuality territory again. It’s easy to tell Dave thought his bro was straight the whole time, and is caught off guard by Dirk casually mentioning he dated a boy. Well, it’s easy to tell unless you’re me in 2015, because my brain was a brick wall on those matters. I mean, I did know Dirk was explicitly stated to be gay, but I don’t think I made anything of Dave’s stuttering reaction to learning Dirk dated Jake.

The sky is a lot brighter than it was in Dave and Dirk’s prior scenes, which is very symbolic.
The clouds have cleared up, both figuratively and literally.

The next topic for the Striders to discuss is B2 Dave’s early life, but it’s just as mysterious to Dirk as it is to the readers. Though Dirk mentions urban legends about his ancestor, Dave decides to make something up himself.

DAVE: really it sounds dope as hell to imagine that sort of blank canvas life
DAVE: dropped on earth as a kid in the 70s or 80s or whatever with no bossy adult to reel me in
DAVE: and just having to figure stuff out
DAVE: especially knowing that many years later it all worked out ok
DAVE: really wonder what i did
DAVE: was i like some homeless eighties ragamuffin???
DAVE: jesus christ that sounds fairly adorable if so
DAVE: maybe i slept in an alley on a bed of rubix cubes and alf merchandise
DAVE: or maybe i offered my old school rap services for food
DIRK: Like, through a shitty cardboard booth?
DIRK: You know, like the one from the fuckin’ Charlie Brown comics.
DIRK: “This is what the refrance,” FYI.

Dave’s speculation about his scratched self’s childhood is so endearing and funny, I don’t even know what to say. It’s the kind of speculation that you can really only have within the comic, not in Formspring posts or book commentary or Skaianet Systems or whatever else. If the words came from Hussie’s mouth rather than one of his characters, they’d be treated as “Word of God” about B2 Dave’s childhood and as important lore on the MSPA wiki. But since Dave is the one speculating about all this, it’s clear that this is just an in-story idea for what his scratched childhood might have been like.

DAVE: yes exactly
DAVE: this sounds like exactly the life for me
DAVE: what if without a penny to my name and the wind at my back i hopped a boxcar to the big apple
DAVE: because as a dumb child i naively believed thats where they made all the apple juice
DAVE: id be sorely disappointed when i got there but it wouldnt matter because id probably scrape together a living on off off off broadway like…
DAVE: making shitty cartoons
DAVE: on stage
DAVE: and saying
DAVE: you guys
DAVE: this will be SO much funnier once the internet happens TRUST ME
DAVE: then the aristocratic patrons of fine theater just shrug and dump their shillings into my orphan hat
DIRK: It sounds to me like you’ve been reading up on the urban legends already.
DAVE: hahaha

For all we know, the urban legends about B2 Dave were similarly wild speculation. I like to imagine that Dave’s speculation is closer to the truth than those other urban legends were, since, you know, he’s literally Dave.

I never noticed before how much brighter the scenery is here than in the Striders’ prior scenes.

DAVE: i wonder if he had like
DAVE: friends
DIRK: It sounds like he knew a lot of people, at least later in life.
DAVE: sure
DAVE: i mean im sure he knew rose at some point because obviously they teamed up
DAVE: but as fairly old people?
DAVE: it sounds as though they only knew each other as a result of their notability
DIRK: This seems likely.
DAVE: i mean more like the friends i grew up with
DAVE: he couldnt have grown up with john or jade as friends because they were already old by the time he got there
DAVE: this cool 80s kid fantasy was probably just a lot lonelier than ive been picturing in my sweet daydreams
DAVE: i didnt even have the MAYOR god what a nightmare now that i think about it
DAVE: i wonder if all he cared about was making ludicrous shit and fighting evil pastry moguls

Oh man, here’s probably the deepest we’ve delved into the life of any of the guardians. Dave starts speculating about whether his adult self had friends, and it’s a fair thing to speculate on given that all the guardians in Homestuck have been defined by a set of absurd interests that they don’t hold back on expressing. We’ve gotten to know teen versions of most of the guardians, but the adult versions are still shrouded in plenty of mystery, and we can still only imagine such basic things as whether they had friends.

DAVE: do you know if he had any other interests
DIRK: Like what?
DAVE: i dont know
DAVE: did you ever read any urban legends about…..
DAVE: paleontology
DIRK: Paleontology?
DAVE: yes the scientific study of dead shit
DIRK: Not that I recall.
DAVE: hmm
DAVE: i guess he probably didnt do anything with that
DAVE: what a shame
DAVE: maybe he never even got the idea since he had completely different experiences
DAVE: but if i were suddenly dropped back in the 20th century id probably look into it at some point
DAVE: i dunno how though
DAVE: i think it would be mainly like
DAVE: some sort of theraputic interest
DAVE: something relaxing to think about instead of a bunch of ironic and stupidly ambitious objectives
DIRK: Yeah, like the porn bots.
DAVE: yeah exactly
DIRK: Maybe some day, when we’re both old men, you can live a quiet life tending to your fossils, and I will do the same with my dear collection of simple-minded chat robots fixated on puppet ass.
DAVE: sounds like the fucking life to me

Dave and Dirk have realized something they have in common: enjoying the idea of simple, therapeutic pastimes that aren’t too ambitious. It’s quite surprising that they ended up realizing this through Dave saying something more positive about his bro.

DAVE: k heres a curveball
DAVE: what the fuck are you wearing
DIRK: My prince gear.
DIRK: You know. Leggings, slippers, the poofy asshole pants, a hood with some sort of cloth tiara deal embedded in it.
DIRK: Basic stuff for princes, apparently.

DAVE: huh
DAVE: gotta say
DAVE: some of these god tier ensembles really are…
DAVE: something
DIRK: I thought I hated it at first.
DIRK: But over the couple hours I spent flying back, with time to think about all sorts of stuff…
DIRK: It kinda grew on me.
DIRK: The asshole pants are pretty damn comfortable, so I dunno if I even care how stupid they look.
DIRK: And I *am* kind of an asshole, after all. So who am I to complain.

DAVE: i thought the same thing about my cape outfit at first
DAVE: felt like some bozo from the renaissance festival
DAVE: like maybe i should get on a horse and sing a shitty ballad
DAVE: but then it grew on me pretty quickly
DAVE: hardly ever took it off in three years
DAVE: youre right its comfortable and theyre fuckin magic pajamas or whatever and they start to feel like part of who you are after long enough

The god tier outfits provide an interesting contrast between trolls and humans. While all eight human players wore their god tier outfits from the moment they ascended to god tier until they exited canon on the frog platform, none of the trolls who went god tier (except Aradia) started regularly wearing their god tier outfits. Meenah in particular expressed disdain for her Thief of Life outfit, and she never took the time to get comfortable in her outfit because she’s far too impatient.

DAVE: i mean they are supposed to last you forever right
DAVE: kinda by definition since they come along with immortality
DAVE: maybe part of their magical nature includes this insidious quality where they grow on you
DAVE: or not i dunno maybe this is bullshit and ill just wear some normal person clothes when this is all over
DAVE: what about you are you gonna wear god duds forever
DIRK: Nah. I’m sure I’ll wear regular stuff again at some point.
DIRK: If a shirt with a hat on it can be deemed regular.

DAVE: im cool with deeming it as such
DAVE: yeah maybe youre right and we should all stop dressing like tools from an infinite magic slumber party for floundering teens
DAVE: and just look like standard floundering teens

You know you’re nearing the end when the kids start talking about the possibility of changing back out of their god tier outfits. They do exactly that not long after settling Earth C, which of course indicates their completion of the game and resumption of regular life.

DAVE: i think…
DAVE: there is a SLIGHT chance…
DAVE: i may be the biggest idiot in the world
DAVE: when it comes to understanding some things about my bro
DAVE: some pieces i never really put together
DAVE: about him
DAVE: until maybe literally right now
DAVE: which i think makes me an objective dumbass
DIRK: What does this have to do with me and Jake?
DAVE: idk
DAVE: nothin
DAVE: maybe i dont wanna ask you anything about jake
DAVE: maybe ill just keep abiding by the code of basic dude manners on that
DAVE: if i bother skirtin the line of this rule maybe id rather ask you other stuff instead
DIRK: Like what?
DAVE: like
DAVE: um
DAVE: say one of your best friends is a knucklehead you havent seen in three years
DAVE: and unless you use ultra direct and explicit language he just wont put two and two together himself
DAVE: and also say ANOTHER best friend is a girl you feel like you had kind of a special relationship with but you ALSO hadnt seen in three years
DAVE: and shes asleep
DAVE: but at some point shell wake up and youll have to talk to her

After Dave brings up Jake’s god tier outfit, the conversation starts getting much more personal than before. Dave starts tiptoeing around the topic of his sexuality, or rather stops tiptoeing and starts discussing the topic in earnest. He says things in slightly indirect ways about John and Jade, and about the difficulty he’d have telling them that he’s attracted to men—both with their own special difficulties, John’s thick-headedness and Jade’s romantic tease with him.

DAVE: this is dumb im not making any sense
DAVE: lemme start over
DAVE: ok lets say
DAVE: way back whenever
DAVE: howww
DAVE: how did you tell your friends

And there we have it: Dave and Dirk’s conversation is going to reach a new level of personal, so personal that it’ll happen offscreen and is left to the reader’s imagination. Perhaps it’s symbolic that Dave and Dirk’s honest discussion about sexuality is offscreen—it’s so private that not even the reader is invited to peek in and see what they’re talking about.

God dammit, if you’re ready to hear more about me in 2015 being stupid, I thought it was a mystery what “how did you tell your friends” meant, like it was something to be elaborated upon later. Maybe this whole time, I was the knucklehead who unless you use ultra direct and explicit language just won’t put two and two together myself. I’m not saying I am literally John Egbert, but I have always been pretty fond of his character.

Alright, next up is the wacky half-troll sprite Striders’ reunion!

This scene is quickly established as a lighthearted wacky character combination reunion, much unlike the Striders’ reunion, when Arquiusprite gets Davepeta’s name wrong and Davepeta describes how they came to be in a snappy Strider way.

The lighthearted humor has a tinge of emotion as this scene picks up where we left off from Equius and Nepeta’s tragic murder in Act 5 Act 2, and the two sprites remind us of what their troll halves were like.

This sprite reunion puts Davesprite and Arquiusprite’s pre-retcon offscreen bonding to shame, and not just because it’s onscreen. Now, both of the shafted alternate Striders have been combined with shafted trolls, and they’re both different people from their components—at least, Davepeta strongly views both of them as such. Despite being such separate and new characters, their dual bond between longtime moirails and long-lost alternate bros is stronger than ever.

This is a hell of a throwback to [S] Equius: Seek the highb100d, which was Nepeta and Equius’s sendoff walkaround. Even as Strider sprites, roleplaying comes naturally to Davepeta, while Arquius continues to be endearingly bad at getting in character or saying anything other than his normal thoughts in third person. But this time, Davepeta takes some time to provide him some advice…

… and this happens. Arquiusprite gets carried away with describing his internal thoughts, including those of his robot half. This portion of the conversation is just as silly and inconsequential as Nepeta and Equius roleplaying as each other in a walkaround, but I must quote it anyway because it would be huge injustice to ignore it. The roleplaying turns into an exchange where Arquius asks Davepeta to touch his muscles, which they eagerly and vigorously agree to, leading to a subversion of Equius’s whole yes/no thing.

And so, the sprites reenact the bro hug bump scene from Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, leading to this legendary flash:


Here we have it: Davepetasprite^2 and Arquiusprite’s bro hug bump in all its glory, in a flash with catchy horse-cat sounding music interspersed with robot horses, cats, and birds, as well as some SBaHJ references. What do you want me to say about this moment? I think I’ll do what the narration tells me to and take a selfie.

It sure took me long enough, didn’t it? I was THERE when this update came out back in July 2015, and I had taken a selfie, and I might still have the picture, but when I posted it to Twitter I put a black rectangle over my face because back then I didn’t want my face on the Internet, at least not under the handle “cookiefonster”. Now, six years later, I’ve done the hug bump selfie for the second time, and my god was it painstaking. I tried positioning my chair backwards and taking a selfie that could fit in both my face and the computer, and I pushed my chair’s seat as far down as I could, but even then, my computer was simply too low and my arms too short for my phone to take a picture that includes both. So instead, I resolved to sort of awkwardly sit on the floor, and I had to go through more painstaking trouble to fit both my face and the computer on my phone’s screen. I had to really get as close as I could to the computer, and rotating my phone to fit the right place required tons of counter-intuitive and annoying angle calibration. When I finally got a fitting picture on my phone screen, I tapped the gray circular camera button, and the computer ended up displaying the wolf head scene instead of the hug bump. So I tried again, making sure I got it at the right moment, and took the picture you see above. Then on my phone, I uploaded the photo to a Discord server with only me in it that I only use for uploading pictures from my phone to transfer to my computer. And then when I saved the file on my computer, it didn’t even save with a file extension for some reason! Like a pitiful animal, I had to rename the file and type “.jpg” myself, desperately hoping my guess of the file extension was correct. And thankfully, it was correct, allowing me to upload the picture to this blog post.

I almost never post pictures of myself to the Internet because I feel weird and nervous doing so, but there was no way I could refuse to take this picture for the sake of Homestuck, no matter how much bullshit I had to go through. For better or for worse, I owe a lot in my life to Homestuck, so I hope going through what I did to take this picture was an appropriate payback. It’s perhaps the most arduous thing I’ve ever done related to Homestuck because I just had that much of an obligation.

I am now at the brink of being done with Homestuck for good, OK? So please, I beg you, don’t look at me too funny for doing this.

JOHN: hey, they’re back!

This specific page really feels like I’m approaching the end—more specifically, the end of pre-Omegapause Homestuck, the part of Homestuck that existed when I started this post series. That’s probably because it is near the end of pre-Omegapause Homestuck, specifically the start of the second last update.

Oh my god, look at Rose in this panel. Her rendition in this panel is so hilariously simplistic that it earned her a memetic nickname, Rorb Lalorb. I was wondering when she’d show up!

JOHN: how’d it go?
ROXY: went cool
ROXY: dropped callie off with jade + mayor
ROXY: gave kanaya space egg
ROXY: shit is shaping the heck up

JOHN: nice!

Roxy’s concise recap again feels like we’re quickly approaching the end. It’s probably also meant to set up contrast against Terezi’s emotional monologue to Vriska that shortly follows.

JOHN: hehe.
JOHN: hello, hummingbird.

This Con Air reference, which doubles as a little ship tease for John/Roxy, again has a strange sense of finality. Yes, I know Con Air is referenced more blatantly at the end of the Snapchat credits, but I’m still pretty sure this is the last Con Air reference that is strictly within canon. The movie is so important to Homestuck’s history, much like how Homestuck is important to my history. I guess Con Air is to Homestuck as Homestuck is to me? That’s probably a stupid analogy.

ROXY: hay whats happening to skaia
KANAYA: It Looks Like Someone Has Finally Released The Grist
KANAYA: Its Ready To Receive Echidnas Offering Now
KANAYA: If Someone Is Able To Light The Forge That Is
ROXY: oh
ROXY: soo…
ROXY: how do we do that again?

KANAYA: In Our Session By This Time It Was Trivial
KANAYA: Under Present Circumstances I Think It Will Be
KANAYA: Tricky
JOHN: huh?
KANAYA: Every Magic Ring I Am Aware Of Is Currently In Use
KANAYA: Some By Friends And Some By Foes

As a member of the troll session, Kanaya provides some helpful exposition on the last standard step of Sburb: throwing the queens’ rings into the forge to release the genesis frog. Aradia did indeed trivialize this mission during the trolls’ session: she cleverly prototyped a frog statue into her sprite, making the black queen refuse to wear the ring and allowing the ring (and presumably the white queen’s ring) to be easily retrieved.

JOHN: oh.
JOHN: well, i wouldn’t worry about it right now.
JOHN: there are more pressing things to think about, like fighting a lot of bad guys.

John is ready for action here! He’s in his best possible mood right now, right on his way to achieve the goal of Sburb while being a positive and encouraging leader.

This scene somehow REALLY makes me feel like I’m approaching the finish line.

JOHN: by the way… where’s karkat?
ROXY: hes meditating
JOHN: what? meditating??
KANAYA: Inside A Pretty And Spiritual Cave

ROXY: echidna really blitzed his chakras apparently
JOHN: what the fuck is a chakra.
ROXY: shrug
ROXY: some soul junk that gets blitzed in the presence of a snake goddess??

JOHN: um.
JOHN: this doesn’t sound like something karkat would do.
JOHN: are you sure this isn’t some sort of bullshit?
KANAYA: Its Definitely True And Not Bullshit Lets Change The Topic

John knows Karkat well enough to tell that him supposedly meditating inside Echidna’s cave is total nonsense, but he doesn’t question Kanaya too much about it. He has an adventure to get on with and much better things to worry about than minutia like whether Karkat is really meditating.

ROSE: Agreed.
ROSE: I think I speak for all of us when I say we’ve indulged in entirely enough bullshit already.
ROSE: Let’s get on with this.
ROSE: John, you’re our leader. And if you try to deny that one more time, so help me god, I will acrobatically pirouette so hard off this lilypad, I’ll perform a supersonic swan dive through Skaia and impregnate the battlefield with my own incredulous torso.
ROSE: Now please tell us what to do.
JOHN: wow, ok! i won’t say i’m not your leader anymore, jeez.

I love how John subverts the “statements like that are also why you’re our leader” running gag by indicating how much he’s ready to get on with taking on the Condesce, who he eagerly chose to fight with clear reasoning behind it.

JOHN: i think it’s about time to get going!
JOHN: by my estimation, all the bad guys should be getting here any minute.
JOHN: so we should go find the condesce and ambush her.
JOHN: she’s supposed to be on derse, right?
ROXY: yup
JOHN: alright, then let’s go.
JOHN: i think we are as ready as we are going to get.
JOHN: we all have weapons, cool powers, a plan of attack, and most importantly of all, each other.
JOHN: never forget, team work is our secret weapon here.
JOHN: probably the most powerful weapon we have!
JOHN: second ONLY, perhaps, to the power of friendship itself.
JOHN: remember that, guys.
JOHN: as long as we have team work, friendship, and cool powers on our side, we can’t lose.
JOHN: you are my best friends ever… rose and roxy, and kanaya and terezi, and dave and jade and karkat, and also jane and dirk and jake, and…
ROSE: John.
JOHN: hold on, rose, i’m almost done…
JOHN: and callie, and tavros, and cat rose, and um, the sweaty guy, uh, PROBABLY not the clown in the fridge though… oh, yeah, and even probably vriska.
JOHN: oh, and the mayor! he’s great too.
JOHN: did i miss anybody? i think that’s it.
JOHN: anyway, i believe in you all, and i know we can do this together.
JOHN: now let’s go kick some ass!

John’s leadership speech is just so John. It is especially John of him to list all the friends he can, first the obvious ones and then the miscellany. He almost forgets about Vriska and says she’s probably among their friends, indicating that after all this time his opinion on Vriska still goes enormously back and forth. And then he almost forgets to list the Mayor, because when listing everyone in a certain group, it often takes a while to remember a few of them for no specific reason.

ROXY: mmm thas good shit
ROXY: very leadery 🙂

JOHN: how was that, rose?
ROSE: I don’t know what I expected.
JOHN: huh?
JOHN: wait, did i say something dumb?

ROSE: No, it was fine.
ROSE: Roxy’s right. It was very leadery. Very… “John”.
ROSE: I’m just wondering now, if you’re really going to embrace this business of leadership,
ROSE: Maybe you’d consider hiring a speech writer?
JOHN: a speech writer??
JOHN: i dunno, rose. i think i’d be pretty bad at memorizing speeches.
JOHN: especially ones YOU wrote. :p

ROSE: Touché.

The leadership speech is followed with some endearing John/Rose bicker, continuing the silly positive interactions without dragging too long, while Terezi stays strangely silent.

In a silly little callback to Dave talking in A6A6I2 through the foam ass, we see that he and Dirk had their offscreen sexuality conversation and are now finally ready to get on with the battle. The Striders spent the bulk of A6A6I5 together and got plenty of time to work through their differences and become friends, and it looks like they really needed that time.

I love how John abruptly switches to a smug expression getting ready to say goodbye to Terezi.

ROXY: ……
ROSE: ……
JOHN: heh.
JOHN: sorry, i guess i got carried away.
JOHN: no offense.


This is a fitting and snappy way to indicate that despite his tease with Roxy, John has also gotten carried away with black feelings for Terezi. He’s encouraging and leaderly one moment and aggressively hate-flirty the next.

Poor John, blushing while surrounded on both sides by questioning Lalondes.

JOHN: what??

Ah, good old John. So oblivious to romance that he’s even oblivious to his own feelings for Terezi. Roxy is half smiling, half looking neutral, unsure whether to be amused or perturbed by John and Terezi’s dynamic.

I had wanted to continue with Terezi’s monologue in this post, but since this post is getting so insanely long, I’m moving it to the next post.

This post is long as hell. In fact, I didn’t even get through all the pages I wanted to cover and I’ve surpassed 8,000 words, more than the word count of any Homestuck post I had done before! Because I’m weird, I’ve kept track of word counts of all my Homestuck posts, always disregarding words quoted from Homestuck, most retroactive edits, and blurbs I’ve put at the start and end (like what you’re reading right now). This post comes at the top, followed by number 90 and number 54. I really wanted to analyze all the rest of pre-Omegapause Homestuck in this post, but I think it’s wise to move Terezi’s monologue and the flash that follows to the next post, especially since post-Omegapause A6A6I5 consists of a few small dialogue scenes followed by a bunch of wordless panels.

Man, I need to sit down for a bit and process how close I am to finishing my Homestuck post series. It’s almost as insane to process as how close I am to starting a full-time job in September that will allow me to save up money and move out of my parents’ house. God damn, I’ve tried to deny it for a long time, but I love Homestuck so much.

See you next time for Terezi’s monologue that I wanted to cover in this post, followed by Terezi: Rememb8er which I also wanted to cover in this post, then by the rest of A6A6I5 which I was already going to cover next post.

>> Part 138: Emotional Memories and Fight Preparations

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