Chapter

31

VRISKA: John, I need to see!

VRISKA: How do I get 8ack!?

John looks up to see one of Jane’s recon ships flying overhead. Aside from the encroaching fleet, the blue sky is seamless and calm. The hole that Vriska came through has already sealed up.

JOHN: um.

JOHN: i don’t think you *can* go back.

JOHN: i have no idea what the exact scientific mechanism behind falling out of the sky is, but so far it’s proven to be a one way trip.

VRISKA: Noooooooo!

JOHN: welcome to earth c, ha ha.

JOHN: it fucking sucks!

Vriska releases her vice grip on John’s arms so that she can cradle her head between her hands.

VRISKA: Oh my god!

VRISKA: This is the worst thing that could h8ve possibly h8ppened to me.

JOHN: are you sure about that?

VRISKA: Yes, I am a8solutely... w8.

VRISKA: Why are you so... so????????

Vriska gestures wordlessly at John’s entire body. Then she leans in closer to study his face, squinting with suspicion.

VRISKA: John, are you old?

JOHN: um. a little, i guess.

JOHN: i mean, i’m going to live forever apparently, so in that respect i’m still pretty young.

JOHN: but compared to the average human lifespan, i’m like... about three eighths of the way dead?

Vriska runs both hands down her face, leaving long, dark streaks of blood.

VRISKA: I can’t 8e here.

JOHN: vriska...

JOHN: wait, actually, i guess i shouldn’t call you that?

JOHN: it might get confusing.

VRISKA: Wh8t?

JOHN: well, see...

JOHN: rose and kanaya’s daughter is also named vriska.

VRISKA: WH8T????????

JOHN: and since you didn’t come to earth c with us, that means technically she was here first.

JOHN: so that would make you...

JOHN: (vriska)?

(VRISKA): That’s fucking un8ccepta8le!

JOHN: sorry. but i think that’s probably just how it has to be.

(VRISKA): John, you accused me of talking nonsense, 8ut you’re the one not m8king any d8mn sense.

(VRISKA): Where AM I?

(VRISKA): Why are you OLD?

(VRISKA): Why do Rose and Kanaya h8ve a DAUGHTER n8med after ME!?

JOHN: oh, it’s because they thought you sacrificed your life heroically defeating lord english.

JOHN: so they found a baby clone of you and named her in your honor.

JOHN: personally, i thought the whole thing sounded like bullshit?

JOHN: but, you know. whatever makes them happy.

John shrugs. (Vriska) remains frozen in her expression of horror, mouth agape. In the distance, the troll defenses take a shot at the human recon vessel. (Vriska) doesn’t flinch at the sound of a sonic cannon blasting off behind her. She slowly peels her hands from her face and glares at John as one of her eyes twitches at the corner.

(VRISKA): ...

(VRISKA): ...

(VRISKA): That’s...

(VRISKA): Th8t’s the........

(VRISKA): Stupidest *F8CKING* thing I’ve ever heard!

JOHN: yeah, i know! i tried to tell them.

JOHN: man, it’s been a while since we’ve agreed on something, hasn’t it?

JOHN: so, um.

JOHN: not to be nosy, but...

JOHN: DID you defeat lord english?

(VRISKA): Of course not!

(VRISKA): Why do you think I’m so desperate to go 8ACK!?

(VRISKA): The 8attle was hitting its clim8x when I got hit in the head with... with...

(Vriska) paws at her head wound, fingers numb and vision blurry.

(VRISKA): Wh8tever the fuck it was that hit me in the head!

She sways on her feet. John tries to steady her, but she slaps his hands away.

JOHN: do you wanna see a doctor for that or something?

(VRISKA): No!!!!!!!!

(VRISKA): I w8nt to know what the fuck is GOING ON!!!!!!!!

JOHN: ok, sure.

JOHN: so about fifteen years ago, jane started spreading all this xenophobic propaganda about trolls.

JOHN: and eventually she and her corporation became so entrenched in financial dealings with basically every societal institution with power on earth c that she became this unstoppable lobbying monolith that can more or less tell the government what to do.

JOHN: so now she may as well be writing all of these xenophobic policies into law directly.

JOHN: oh, jane’s a huge xenophobe, by the way?

JOHN: i probably should have started out with that fact.

(VRISKA): John, this story fucking sucks.

JOHN: oh, and then karkat had this really catastrophic breakup with jade and dave, so he ran off to spearhead a troll rebellion against the xenophobic government.

JOHN: to be honest, the rebellion was pretty lame in the beginning, but then, um... meenah?

(VRISKA): Meenah?!

JOHN: yeah! meenah. she fell out of the sky, like you just did, and helped him actually get good at revolutionary stuff.

JOHN: so now both sides are all maxed out with space ships and weapons and stuff, and are on the brink of war.

(VRISKA): Holy shit. That’s even dumber than Rose and Kanaya naming their shitty kid after me.

JOHN: oh man, their kid IS shitty. you have NO idea.

(VRISKA): How the hell did you all fuck this up so much????????

JOHN: oh.

JOHN: that’s my bad.

(VRISKA): YOUR 8ad?

JOHN: yeah. i made the wrong decision and totally blew it.

(VRISKA): HOW?

JOHN: i was supposed to go fight lord english, but i didn’t. so now we’ve gone beyond, like, the event horizon of canon.

(VRISKA): What the fuck does that even MEAN????????

John sighs and sweeps an arm across the landscape. The sky darkens as the first of the troll fleet roars onto the frontline.

JOHN: i don’t know, really.

JOHN: rose explained it all to me once, but i pretty much forgot what she said. i didn’t actually think it was that important at the time.

JOHN: all i know is that all of this is my fault.

JOHN: it’s been turning around in my head like this for a while. i thought...

JOHN: why does everything here fucking SUCK so much?

JOHN: how the hell did we even make it from point A to point festering clusterfuck?

JOHN: it doesn’t follow any kind of logic i understand, or any sort of basic sense i have about who we are as people...

JOHN: and why? why have we all ended up so unhappy and... twisted up?

JOHN: i got everything i wanted. everyone got what they—

JOHN: what i thought they wanted.

JOHN: and that’s just it, isn’t it?

JOHN: the more i think about it, i’m the only factor that matters to anything.

JOHN: whatever i did, or didn’t do, just... destroyed reality’s ability to, like, substantiate itself, or whatever.

JOHN: like there’s a bug in the operating system of whatever force in this world that regulates cause and effect.

JOHN: everything’s been unraveling. nothing that happens makes sense anymore.

JOHN: and now i’m the only person out here who’s even real at all!

JOHN: hahahaha.

(VRISKA): Hahahahahahahaha... Wow, I’ve never seen a guy get his 8ulge all the way down his own swallow chute 8efore!

JOHN: wait, what?

(VRISKA): Good fuck. Do you actually think reality gives that much of a shit a8out you?

(VRISKA): Get real, Eg8ert.

(VRISKA): It’s not like you’re me.

JOHN: ok, well.

JOHN: that’s fair i guess.

JOHN: but whatever it was that caused this, it’s pretty obvious that all of this is just kind of dumb and fake.

JOHN: so don’t worry about it.

(VRISKA): I kind of H8VE to worry a8out, it considering you just expl8ined to me that I’m TR8PPED here!

JOHN: nah, it’s fine. it’ll all work out.

JOHN: or it won’t. it doesn’t really matter either way.

(Vriska) clenches her hands into fists so tight her nails draw blood, and hisses out a long, vicious expletive. Around her, the ground begins to shake as the human fleet of batterpanzers roll out from the edge of the city and take position.

JOHN: um, so we should probably get out of here soon.

JOHN: or not. we’re both god tier, so as long as we don’t do anything cool or evil, i guess we’ll be fine and not permanently die.

JOHN: hehe... it’s almost like the god tier rules were designed to reward us for being useless pieces of shit?

JOHN: heheheheh. i think i get it now.

JOHN: it’s a pretty good joke actually. nice.

(VRISKA): FFFFFFFFUCK!!!!!!!!

JOHN: oh, hey. that reminds me.

JOHN: did you ever see terezi out there?

(VRISKA): No????????

(VRISKA): Why would I h8ve seen Terezi? Didn’t she go with the Striders to fight six hundred versions of J8ck or something?

JOHN: well, yeah. but then later, she went back out there to find you.

JOHN: (vriska), she searched for you for YEARS!

JOHN: i mean, years from my perspective at least. i dunno about hers.

JOHN: but, we used to talk sometimes. it was fucked up how sad she was without you.

JOHN: i don’t even know what happened to her. the last time i talked to her she... she thought she was about to die.

JOHN: for a long time i liked to pretend that maybe you two found each other after all. but if you’re here now, and she isn’t, that means...

JOHN: ugh, who knows what it means.

(VRISKA): Wow. John, you sound pretty 8roken up a8out this! Were you in love with her or something?!

John laughs sadly.

JOHN: well... i don’t know.

JOHN: what does it even matter!

JOHN: like everything else, it was just some more stupid crap that happened, which technically wasn’t even “canon.”

(VRISKA): Oh my fucking god.

(VRISKA): I CAN’T T8KE THIS ANYM8RE!

(Vriska) screams in frustration and throws her arms in the air. Her piercing voice can be heard over the roar of a hundred war-freighter engines. The bulk of Karkat and Meenah’s fleet has just arrived. Their ships are less sleek and imposing than Jane’s, most of them having been scavenged, patchworked, and jury-rigged. But they’re numerous enough to blot out the sun when they coast overhead.

(VRISKA): I don’t c8re a8out wh8tever the FUCK “c8non” is supposed to 8e!

(VRISKA): I don’t a8out your dum8, unrequited crush on Terezi!

(VRISKA): I don’t C8RE a8out this stupid, pointless w8r!!!!!!!!

(VRISKA): Someone get me the hell out of this fucking NIGHMT8RE 8efore I re8lly L8SE MY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GAMZEE: WoAh, HeY, lEt’S aLl CaLm ThE mOtHeRfUcK dOwN.

John and (Vriska) both turn to see a gangly figure emerging from the dust kicked up by Jane’s tank platoon. Gamzee’s hair is caked with dirt, his makeup is smudged, and he’s sucking on his milk bottle in the style of some smooth hombre in a spaghetti western mouthing a cigar. He tugs the rubber nipple out of his mouth with a pop. The chalky, viscous milk forms a goatee of spittle on his chin.

GAMZEE: VrIsKa My MaIn BiTcH, lOnG tImE nO sEe.

GAMZEE: YoU SeEm aLl dIsCoMbObUlAtEd tHeRe, SiStEr. JuSt fUcKiN BeSeT WiTh tHe pOoRlY ReGuLaTeD EmOtIoNs tHaT CaUsE a MoThErFuCkEr nOtHiNg bUt pAiN.

GAMZEE: NoW WhY DoN’T LeT’S CaLm tHe fUcK DoWn, TaKe rIpS OfF ThIs dOpE BoTtLe oF FrEsH AsS TiTtYdAiRy, ThEn sHoOt ThE WiCkEd sHiT AbOuT ThE GoOd wOrD.

(VRISKA): The... the “Good Word”?

GAMZEE: It bE CaLlEd rEdEmPtIoN, mOtHeRfUcKeR!

GAMZEE: AnD YoU GoTtA GeT ThAt sHiT LoCkEd aLl tIgHt iN WhErE YoUr hEaRt’s aT, tO GeT YoUr mOrAl cOmPrOmIsAtIoNs tO ChIlL ThE FuCk uP.

GAMZEE: CaUsE I CaN’T ThInK Of a sInGlE NoThEr mOtHeRfUcKeR WhO CoUlD UsE A RiGhTeOuS DoSe oF ThAt sWeEt, SwEeT ReDeMpTiOn rIgHt dOwN ThE ShAmE HaTcH MoRe tHaN (vRiSkA) mOtHeRfUcKiNg (SeRkEt). :o)

(VRISKA): ...

(VRISKA): ...

(VRISKA): ...

(Vriska) casts a wide glare at the intruding clown with steely, merciless eyes. Slowly, she stalks towards him, her feet pressing so heavily in the soft earth she might as well weigh a thousand pounds. Gamzee suckles at his bottle and beams at her with the complacency of a man perfectly oblivious to the one-way ticket to the world of shit his big mouth just bought for him.

(VRISKA): Wh8t the F8CK did you just s8y to me?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

> ==>
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