Candy was definitely the right choice, John thinks, as he munches thoughtfully on a strawberry swirl mint.
Meat was definitely the right choice, you think, as grease drips down your chin.
It starts with a crack.
John zaps back to the quietest point in the fridge’s impressively storied timeline that he can pinpoint, which is on The Land of Tombs and Krypton, T-minus about half an hour before his final battle against every dude they all had to fight to get the hell out of Dodge.
DAVE: bro In the heart of the Troll Kingdom’s capital city, Dave and Karkat are sitting on their couch with a foot and a half of space between them.
When you arrive at Rose’s apartment, you find her asleep on the couch.
Yes, something feels very different.
It’s a beautiful day in the Carapace Kingdom, just like it was in the Human Kingdom and just like it was in Salamander Village.
Rose’s eyes flutter open to the sound of a heart monitor and the sight of a featureless white ceiling.
You arrive in the Land of Heat and Clockwork in a flash of white.
JADE: did you hear that john left his house?
The stands of the Cantown Memorial Arena are packed front to back with audience members from every kingdom.
No one is answering the door to Jake’s mansion, so Jane lets herself in.
John’s been spending a lot of time with Roxy lately.
The boxing bell is going off like it’s having a fit.
ROSE: Did you hear that Jane had been intending to run for president?
> JOHN: Zap to your final destination.
JADE: arent you guys happy to get out of the house for once!!!
If you were one of the haters and fools who saw Lord English’s masterpiece circulating through the black veins of the dark web, and were rendered agog by its majesty, then you probably have a pretty good sense of what happened next.
TEREZI: WH3R3 3V3N 4R3 YOU TEREZI: 4ND WHY H4V3N’T YOU SL1C3D M4K4R4 1N H4LF Y3T JOHN: he smells too bad.
Jane Crocker sweeps into her office with grace befitting her station and slams the door shut behind her.
Dave grabs the sleeve of John’s tux in his sweaty palm, and the two of them fly to the top of the nearest tower.
That’s that, you think.
Jake wakes up to the unfamiliar feeling of a cheek on his chest and a thigh slung over his stomach.
DAVE: so we gotta hit jane right in her neoliberal austerity measures were all agreed on that right KARKAT: UH HUH.
Dave and Dirk don’t talk that much about the heavy stuff.
Your name is Dirk Strider, and you know what you must do.
Jake yawns and knocks on the window to Jane’s office again.
The rain is coming down in sheets.
> John: Fight Lord English.
JOHN: hey terezi, guess where i am right now?
ROSE: When I was a child, I wrote a novel.
Three months later, John is still thinking about his last conversation with Terezi.
None of my friends have noticed it yet, but you have.
Jane may have stepped away from her pursuit of public office, but it’s important for any educated businesswoman to stay abreast of the political goings-on of her nation.
JADE: how cute do you guys think johns baby is going to be JADE: like on a scale of 1-11???
Anyway, back to the B Plot.
KARKAT: WOW, SURE FEELS WEIRD TO JUST BE HANGING OUT WITH ALL THESE ASSHOLES WE WERE TOTALLY GOSSIPING ABOUT JUST TWENTY MINUTES AGO.
Jade gasps awake, and begins to spiral.
It’s raining again, coming down in a frigid torrent.
DAVE: holy shit thats disgusting KARKAT: DON’T BE A FUCKING XENOPHOBE DAVE: im not being xenophobe Karkat doesn’t respond immediately.
TEREZI: H3Y JOHN TEREZI: T1M3 FOR YOUR R3GUL4R CH3CKUP H3H3H3 JOHN: oh. hey.
You’ve been drifting so long that you’ve lost the ability to objectively judge time or depth or distance.
ROXY: honey u ready to go?
KANAYA: Why Are You With Rose KANAYA: What Is Going On DIRK: Why would you think something was going on?
JADE: the timelines are interacting again.
The server Meenah fled through is a distant speck now.
KARKAT: SWIFER KARKAT: SWIFER CAN YOU...
ROSE: Customarily, we speak in favorable terms about “getting to know each other” as people.
John stares at his phone for a while, thumb pressed to the space just below the “send message” button.
Jade kicks her shoeless feet behind her slowly, as if she’s swimming with the current of the gravitational waves pulling her ever closer to their source.
Ten years have gone by.
And then, she opens her eyes.
That being said, it’s very rude, all things considered, for Karkat to start a war on Harry Anderson’s birthday.
JOHN: uh, how long have you been watching?
The elevator to jane’s office opens, and she stumbles inside. the last traces of trickster mode are bleeding off her aura. the great gift of this sacred boon has run its course for the evening, and though she is not as grateful as she should be, she nevertheless acknowledges the extraordinary benefit it has afforded her with a slight nod to the mirror. she pulls a hand through her hair, watching in the reflection as the last of the pink coloration fades to black.
As Jake traverses the length of Jane’s ship, he suspects he has never carried more dread in his heart than he does in this moment.
JAKE: Ah chaps dont you love to take a rigorous jaunt about the wilds first thing in the morning, middle thing in the day, and last thing in the evening?
VRISKA: John, I need to see!
Terezi is munching her way through another tin of human fatherly tobacco as john crawls into the back seat. this has been their ritual for several days. precisely how many, they couldn’t say. between her frequent naps and his diligence in keeping a lookout for any additional survivors, they have been losing track of time. john, eyes unfocused, stares at the expanse of nothingness. perhaps he imagines it, but it seems as if the emptiness itself is curving against the staggering weight of the black hole they orbit.
(Vriska) grabs Gamzee by the front of his shirt and yanks him down, her hot, furious breath brushing his disgusting face.
Roxy is nervously dialing rose’s number repeatedly. then they try kanaya. considering rose’s failing health, roxy hates to bother her, but they aren’t sure who else to call regarding jade’s unexpected trance. their finger hovers over dirks number for a moment, but... no. that would not be a good idea. they don’t know why they suddenly think it’s a bad idea. it just is.
John looks up to see Rose waving at him while hanging out the hatch of a troll cruiser.
Speaking of meat, holy shit.
VRISKA: Hey, Harry Anderson, guess where I am!
Speaking of giving it everything you got, here comes Jake McGee, about to pop his pistols off in front of a whole crowd of Karkat’s progressively prismatic proletarian partisans.
While John dealt with the sight by immediately turning and walking away, and the Earth Vriska dove into a nearby bush for safety, Vriska is contending with her predicament through willful denial.
You zap back to Earth C with the last of your energy.
The moment John caught a proper glance of (Vriska) and Gamzee going at it in the bushes, he was done.
So it turns out that “home” is an entirely abstract concept.
Because (Vriska) only spent a few minutes on Prospit before her dream self was whisked away to the Battlefield the moment she ascended to her god tier form, she never exactly got to enjoy Prospit life as much as some of her friends did.
We make a quick stop back at Rose’s apartment.
Roxy tugs at a piece of hair behind her ear with one hand as she checks the time on her phone with the other.
But before we get completely out of dodge, there’s one more trifling matter I’d better take care of.
On the other side of the continent, somewhere along the border between the Human and Troll Kingdoms, Dave and Jade navigate a densely jungled region.
I’m inside Jake’s mansion.
From atop the tallest bell tower in the Carapace Kingdom, the sky looks like something painted by a crazy person.
Kanaya Maryam is single and ready to mingle.
Elsewhere, beyond the horizon...
She’s right, of course.
ROXY: so uhhh ROXY: dirk needs to be stopped from ROXY: doin what again?
Later that night, jade has been moved from the hospital to the troll kingdom. she now sits in a wheelchair, remaining in perfect silence with her dark eyes open to maintain my transmission. roxy and kanaya rolled her into the living room of dave and karkat’s hive earlier that evening. this is where they all sit now, discussing the day’s troubling events.
Elsewhere, below the horizon...
ROXY: oh we also became tricksters which as far as things that happen go was sooo dumb ROXY: i guess thats kinda the epilogue of our story?