Underrated mystery of Homestuck: the origin of Trollian itself. Remember, THAT beta’s poster was hanging on the wall of Karkat’s room like the Sburb beta poster on John’s.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized escape plan.)

Once upon a time, Dirk did, in fact, reveal to Jake that he was from the future.

This wasn’t entirely un-foreshadowed, and I can’t say this is ever directly contradicted or supported by any other past pesterlogs, but what I’m more interested in is his explanation for how he’s able to chat with the past. Not only does he appear to have some sort of “alien technology” embedded into Pesterchum… his source for it appears to be the original “thirteenth troll”.

This, of course, means more backward cascading through time of causality, this one even more profound than that raised by the split time-periods of the session in the first place: “uranianUmbra” is, as far as we’ve been led to believe, several sessions removed from the current one, and her most salient trait is her historical interest in the entire multi-mega-session that is at the heart of Homestuck, which she is now revealed to have actively not only altered the course of, but actually made possible in the first place, by giving Roxy and Dirk the technology they needed to communicate with their fellow co-players.

To me, however, the larger issue is why. Back in the Intermission, Rose essentially reduced the entire game to a single sentence: “A universe has a reproductive system that spreads many seeds, as it were, most of which never come to fruition.” Setting aside the implication that a successful session would result in the creation of multiple universes, which we’ve had no evidence for and enough evidence against to make me wonder if I’m reading it right*, this to me suggests that Skaia’s precognition can’t extend beyond its own session. Contrary to pretty much everything we’ve been through in Homestuck, there has to be some element of uncertainty to Paradox Space in order for the metaphor to make sense; a universe would not need to spread “many seeds” if it had some way of knowing whether or not each seed would come to fruition. UU can’t possibly be an agent of the universe itself (unless, as I suspect, we’re wrong about how many sessions into the future she is), yet that’s exactly the role she’s playing. She’s an active agent in kickstarting the session, and I can’t help but wonder if she’s something other than what she seems, if she’s been approached by someone else.

(*There would seem to be no other way, however, for most sessions to be null as claimed by Rose on the same page without breaking the chain of sessions. One possible solution is for each universe to have multiple sessions, but the only evidence for this even being possible appears to be extratextual, and it doesn’t change the fact that there must be some uncertainty to Paradox Space, specifically centering around the creation of the universe itself, for this to make sense. It may have some bearing on UU’s situation, though.)

Dirk then proceeds to tell the story of how he and Roxy became the only two humans on the face of the planet – and given what we know about their origin I can’t help but wonder if humanity went extinct well before that. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if Skaia elected to send them to the future as a balancing force against the Condesce somehow, or even to play a role in her defeat. Most of the details aren’t that interesting, but Dirk seems to hint that the lusii populating Jake’s island were brought there by the Condesce upon her arrival, though why they were stashed on Jake’s island is beyond me – unless Jake has been unknowingly used as an experiment by the Condesce. Dirk also claims the Condesce imported a bunch of Carapacians, presumably from the Medium (though which session is anyone’s guess), but that may rely on several assumptions. Regardless, they were the ones who raised Roxy and Dirk comments on their loyalty to the Condesce, and I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with her presence in the game.

Where things really get interesting, though, is the apparent origin of Jake’s “English” last name: a way for Jake’s grandma to remind Betty Crocker/the Condesce of the one force she fears. This is mostly interesting for the doors it seems to shut (namely, that Jake is literally descended from Lord English or might even become him), but it also suggests what I’ve suspected since the intermission: that the Condesce, while confirmed to be serving Lord English, isn’t the most willing servant. Moreover, I wonder if there’s an added dimension to Jake’s grandma’s motivation we’re not getting, that of making the Condesce wonder if Lord English was actively working against her. (Though there may actually be a scarier motivation kept as hidden as possible, even one Jake was merely collateral damage to…)

Also, the process by which the Condesce took over the world is, well, straight-up nightmare fuel. Since Roxy and Dirk are in the future, the forces that attacked them at the end of the end-of-Act-6-2 flash didn’t exist when the Condesce made her presence known, nor are they apparently even organic. In fact, as much as I’ve talked about “the Condesce’s forces” in previous posts, the fact is that the Condesce didn’t have any forces. Instead, she allowed the panic from her revelation to do the conquering for her, with a little help from some well-paid media personalities – and, apparently, holding the powers of all the more familiar trolls combined, allowing her to use Tavros-like powers to control, among others, God Cat. That effectively resolves one of my last lingering concerns from the flash, while also apparently shutting the door on some potential explanations of other things. (Also, is it wrong for me to laugh at some of these descriptions?)

But perhaps the most important thing to come from this sequence may be a cryptic image during its course, showing two green legs in shackles with Ophiuchus and Serpentarius symbols in them. The connection they have to the conversation isn’t obvious; it coincides with Dirk’s discussion of the actions of Roxy’s mom, specifically her book Complacency of the Learned, and thus the legs might be assumed to be those of the book’s “protagonist” Calmasis… until you learn that Complacency was in fact a metaphor for the events to come, which suggests that the image is Hussie’s way of dropping hints about future events. Considering what the legs most resemble, is Hussie hinting that uranianUmbra and undyingUmbrage will be ultimately responsible for the final defeat of Lord English?

Meanwhile, I will say nothing about the ongoing extended reference to Hussie’s original MSPA story, other than that Bard Quest is totally getting the shaft.

Fun fact: The code for an overdose of sopor slime on Alternia is 418.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized Tavrisprite.)

Okay Hussie, now I know you’re just screwing with us.

There are no words I can come up with that can add anything to this. The only explanation I can imagine is that this is some sort of practical joke at the expense of the fanbase.

I mean… just… where do you even go with this? What can you do with this beyond the sheer lunacy of the very idea of throwing Vriska AND Tavros into Jane’s Kernelsprite? What’s next, will Roxy’s sprite be prototyped by Eridan and Feferi?

Either the in-comic death of the author is having effects that are spreading into the comic itself, or Hussie is high enough right now to put jelly on a hot god.

Unlike with the green sun, though, I don’t think there was no way it could have been presented clearly.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized anniversary laziness.)

Once again, I goofed up in my reading of a Homestuck flash, and once again I’d like to shift the blame to how confusing said flash was. But I don’t think I can do so entirely, because there’s a lot that snaps together, both about the flash and about all of Act 6, once it’s properly understood, right down to that long-unexplained “wriggling day” reference… while also raising as many questions as it answers.

It seems that Roxy and Dirk are, in fact, native to the time “years in the future” (over four centuries in fact!) when the Condesce/Crocker has ruled for some time and flooded the planet. That explains a lot about what we’ve seen over the course of the act, well beyond just what Hussie points out here. It puts into perspective Dirk’s future tense here vis-a-vis what we learn about the Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff franchise in Act 6-2 (to the point it’s stunning in retrospect that it wasn’t glaringly obvious at the time for that reason alone). It gives an alternate explanation for why Roxy and Dirk know so much about the game, and explains the depth of Roxy’s commitment to the notion of the Batterwitch (and the witch’s copious appearances in the history of said franchise).

On the other hand… besides what it just plain doesn’t explain (namely, the lusii on Jake’s island, and the nature of the childhoods of Roxy and Dirk), and why they would withhold this aspect of themselves from Jane and Jake (I’m not convinced by the explanation Dirk gives), there’s also the fact that it renders the three-year gap the kids are making up completely meaningless. Even if Roxy and Dirk are ultimately the same age as Jane and Jake are at the time they’re communicating, the game is just as objectively tied to their timeframe as that of Jane and Jake. Then there’s the question of whether God Cat is shuttling between two time periods, if he’s screwing with people at two different points of his life, or whether there are two God Cats, and the question of whether the troll Jake saw has anything to do with the troll Roxy saw (which the subsequent intermission seems to give evidence for).

There’s also just how much technological prowess Dirk has contributed to the past, namely the robots sent to Jane and Jake, and the fact that Dirk (and his auto-responder) can control them (and detect their activities) remotely, which seems like it completely screws causality to bits. And then there’s the whole question of how these two time periods got so synched up in the first place, to the point that not only can Dirk serve as Jane’s server player, but so can his auto-responder, which screws up causality even more. (Well, more than it usually is in Homestuck.) The explanation we’re given in the intermission, “Trollian-like technology”, only raises the question of why Roxy and Dirk can’t simply contact Jane and Jake at any point in time they wish; clearly, the two timeframes are synched somehow.

It also suggests some interesting things about the origin of the game in this universe: namely, that Roxy must have hacked it off the Crockercorp servers after the invasion. Moreover, I can’t help but think the company planned on this, and that may help explain how the time periods got synched up, because Jane’s room contains an advertisement for the “alpha” game she’s about to play, but that game appears to only exist in the future. It’s possible that the Condesce imported the game itself from either the kids’ or trolls’ universes – and if the former, that may provide an excuse for how it’s pre-set up for the eventual arrival of the kids, down to what appears to be largely read as an unorthodox method of entry.

What happened in the intermission that just concluded? Well, the Wayward Vagabond was revived by a doomed-timeline god-tiered Feferi almost in passing. We learned not only that no one will prototype their sprite before entering the new session, but that there won’t even be a battlefield when we get there, destroyed by the Courtyard Droll for unknown reasons. We learned some really weird things about how the Scratch works, and it makes the troll session sound really, really unusual, in that it was the post-Scratch session that produced all the players for both sessions. We saw universe-warping god-dogs chase sprite cats. We got names for the two trolls encountered in Act 6-2, and seemed to confirm that they are, in fact, from the pre-scratch troll session.

And most weirdly of all, we got Hussie’s author avatar getting killed off by Lord English… and proposing marriage to Vriska. Yes, Hussie is indeed prone to trolling his fanbase.

I think I’m getting sick of Hussie’s penchant for these sorts of “everything you know is wrong” shocking swerves. “Roxy and Dirk are actually from the future! The guy making the comic in-universe is dead!” It’s just a random twist thrown in to make us ooh and aah at his ability to pull off a twist, with the former complicating things as much as anything. It’s the sort of thing that has me seriously considering dropping Homestuck. We’re two sub-acts in and I still don’t feel as connected to these characters as I have to the kids and trolls. I’m mostly holding out hope that they will finally show up in the new session soon. You have no idea how relieved I was when the intermission started – back to the characters we’ve actually been following for nearly three years! I never intended to be a regular reader of Homestuck, and if the kids and trolls don’t show up soon or the new characters don’t give me a reason to care about them, I may be one no longer.

I THINK I caught everything in the flash this time. Naturally, I’ll probably turn out to have missed something really obvious.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized aquatic dwellings.)

Andrew Hussie seems to be making a habit out of ending each sub-act of this act by making it look like the protagonists of this act are complete red herrings when it comes to the main plot of the comic.

This time, though, I’m not sure how he can get out of it. Jane didn’t manage to prototype her Sprite, no thanks to God Cat, and doesn’t even seem to have entered the Medium (though she does appear to be transported somewhere). At that point, a massive invasion force descends upon the planet bearing familiar markings, interspersed confusingly with “years in the future” flash forwards showing the planet being flooded. The only way I can see to get out of this is either time travel, or a psycheout – in some way indicating that most of the events of this flash didn’t actually happen. I suppose he could get all four kids into the Medium while avoiding the invading or occupying forces, but there’s a certain finality to this flash, like anything following up on it directly would have to take place after the invasion already succeeded, and certainly not moments after it starts. (Maybe it’s the subliminal messages towards the end.)

(Incidentially, this invasion force suggests to me that this universe’s Betty Crocker is not the Condesce from the troll universe we’re familiar with, if only because it’s hard to see how she could have acquired such an invasion force unless she and that force were native to this universe. She certainly couldn’t have brought it with her from the old troll universe – she’s the last survivor of that universe’s troll race, other than the twelve we’re most familiar with.)

One question this flash raises for me is the role of the two-person session being planned by the two trolls who have been keeping contact with this new group of kids. Are they, in fact, of this universe, agents of the invasion out to mislead our heroes (and the readers) into thinking they’d be successful? Conversely, might that session represent the actual session that John and company will find themselves placed into, for good or ill?

Another thing I’m thinking about that suggests that almost all of Act 6-2 could be rendered non-canon if these kids aren’t red herrings is that, re-reading parts of the comic earlier, the notion that Roxy would be Jane’s server player seems to have been predestined, even though the events of Act 6-2 seemed to swap Roxy out for Dirk (and later his auto-responder). Perhaps the chain that would have led to Jane entering the session in this sub-act was always meant to fail. Perhaps the copy Roxy hacked from Crockercorp was defective, and this was their real plot against Jane.

Also, would it be possible to look back over the events of the past sub-act and find a plan in God Cat’s actions that might hint at the events to come, if we do continue from the end of this flash?

What does it say that I originally read his threat to kill them all as a prophecy of something that will have already happened, before remembering that the original trolls’ attempt to derail events ended up contributing to them?

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized puzzlemurders.)

No sooner do I put up my post on the growing troll presence in this session than we get introduced to quite possibly the weirdest character ever to appear in pesterlogs, simply because of his shortened trolltag alone. I’d actually thought Hussie had created his symbol out of whole cloth, but it turns out that his symbol actually has more to do with Ophiuchus than the one we’d seen previously.

This character comes across as almost the bizarro version of the “thirteenth troll” we’d previously been introduced to, which given what she’s been like, makes him much closer to the trolls we’re already familiar with. In fact, it strikes me that the two are almost flip sides of Karkat’s personality. Karkat simply wanted to derail the kids’ session so it didn’t ruin the trolls’ own; I don’t recall him ever threatening to kill them all the way this character does, and he certainly did come to the point of assisting the kids, however begrudgingly. Giving credence to this, compare the colors of the three’s respective text.

There’s not much more to say at this point, other than that I certainly appreciate Hussie’s ability to make fun of his own long-windedness when he wants to. That’s the sort of metahumor I normally associate more with The Order of the Stick.

I can’t help but wonder if Roxy’s had an encounter with her before…wouldn’t that explain a lot?

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized woolb-easts.)

The constant, overpowering troll presence in this session continues to get curiouser and curiouser.

We’d already been graced by the presence of the “thirteenth troll” and Roxy’s still-unexplained “wriggling day” reference, but some more surprise appearances in recent updates have made it quite apparent that the new session has their own batch of trolls to contend with. Said troll’s appearances with Dirk gave us a better glimpse at her than ever before, but that’s nothing compared to what’s happened since. First there was the appearance of not-Vriska in Jake’s dreams. Now, after God Cat causes Roxy’s fenstrated-plane connection to be cut off, we find out just where she’s connected those planes through: evidently, whatever planet these new trolls call home, where she’s accosted by someone who most definitely is not Feferi.

There’s a considerable case to be made that these are either the trolls’ ancestors in their youth, or the universe where said ancestors were the ones to play the game. This seems like too easy of an explanation, though, especially if we think this new group of trolls includes the aforementioned “thirteenth troll”; the closest existing troll she’s likely to approximate to is Karkat, but aside from the gender shift and unique typing quirk, the horn pattern is very unique. Another explanation may relate to the numerous hints in this act that Kanaya will, ultimately, be able to recreate the Matriorb and revive the troll race.

However, there are a couple of factors that lead me to question the entire nature of what we’re seeing. The first is the fact that Jake was able to see one of these new trolls by blacking out after his robo-fight (notably, after his dreamself had already been killed). The second is what Roxy saw when she successfully moved through the plane in the other direction: her own dreamself. Take these two factors together, and I can’t help but wonder if what we’re seeing is going on in the Medium, or someplace even weirder.

Of course, that raises its own questions regarding what these trolls are doing here and interacting with our heroes…

I keep writing Jake’s name as “John” for some reason. Also, this is the second time I’ve censored one of Hussie’s comics.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized mixed-up feelings.)

I’m starting to get worried about Roxy.

We already had the revelation that she was the one behind Jane’s exploding computer. Then the “thirteenth troll”, already having problems seeing her, revealed to Dirk that Roxy would cause a “blackout” similar to the one caused by Rose’s turn to the Dark Side… only this one would black out the entire session. (Incidentially, this could have been predicted, but the troll is starting to look less like the omniscient oracle she started out as, having problems with her server player and getting reassurance about her own session from Dirk.) Then she demanded that Jane reveal her feelings to Jake before Dirk does, almost to the point of forcing her, even blackmailing her, against her own misgivings (and apparently unaware of their ectobiological relationship).

Add all this up, and you get the sense that, despite getting a piece of her viewpoint as a future player, there’s still a chance Roxy has her own agenda we’re not yet privy to, that I was right to wonder whether Jane will regret agreeing to believe everything she says for 24 hours, that the “blackout” may prove to be much more intentional than the “thirteenth troll” thinks. This is before we even get to her “wriggling day” reference in the last act, which certainly should be considered to add fuel to the fire.

Now, it’s possible the last of these acts can be construed as her being a more active shipper than, say, Nepeta; she just has such an interest in seeing Jake and Jane get together that she then proceeds to pester Jake into contacting Jane. Even knowing the case against her, I found myself having an interest in the same thing after the way the conversation between the two went. Her standing threat to Jane, though, keeps me from really taking Roxy’s side in any way, and I can’t help but wonder how much of Jane’s reaction is really “I missed my shot” as much as “OMG, Roxy is going to kill me” (and we don’t know how literal that may prove to be).

(Dirk’s auto-responder is also showing signs of going all HAL on everyone – Jake even calls it that – but that’s more obvious and there’s not much to be said about it, other than my being perplexed at how it can apparently control Dirk’s computer.)

The conversation between Roxy and Jane was immediately followed by a lengthy flash I’ve been remiss in not addressing, though there are only really two things – and one very tantalizing hint – in it, Jake getting pwned by Dirk’s robot and Dirk himself carrying the head of the Hegemonic Brute through the streets of Derse (seemingly evoking WV’s rebellion in the process), sticking it on a pole, and attaching a message to it. The Draconian Dignitary is dispatched to investigate the latter by his new boss… who sure as hell looks like the Condesce, former ruler of Alternia last seen getting enlisted as a servant of Lord English. Whether it is really the same character making her way to this new session somehow, or whether (as has been seemingly heavily hinted for the Condesce and speculated for the new boss) she’s also Betty Crocker, is (as with several other apparent refugees of the pre-Scratch universe) yet to be confirmed.

Oh, and Jake blacked out (did SOPA make that join Homestuck‘s repository of arc words?) and had an encounter with a troll who is probably not Vriska. One wonders if this is a hint at the identity of the “thirteenth troll”‘s universe, as well as that “wriggling day” reference…

Programming Note

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized blackout.)

I had heard of SOPA before today’s protests thereof, but I generally don’t like jumping to conclusions and following whatever people tell me I should think. Nonetheless, in light of current events, next week will see a special four-part series on the future of content. Some of this will likely be things that would have made my book on the Internet had I ever written it, and not all of it will be related to SOPA; there will also be things specific to this site’s main two topics, sports and webcomics.

Also, MorganWick.com will go down today sometime between 9 AM and noon PT, but not because of SOPA. I’m finally upgrading to WordPress 3.x series; seems someone finally got around to taking over the plugin that powers the Sports and Webcomics subsites.

Also, as I write this, it is 1:35 AM on the West Coast, and many webcomics have not updated yet, and I still feel confident saying that no other webcomic will protest SOPA as well as Homestuck, even if no one will get it later. (Although now that I’ve seen xkcd, I like its alt text too.)

We could have avoided all this if the secret players weren’t so secretive.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized discussion of dream reconnaissance.)

Just like that, we’re back to not knowing who’s really behind the assassination attempts – although it wouldn’t surprise me if Lalonde somehow had something to do with all of them. Nonetheless, you can ignore everything I said in my previous post, except the title and last line.

I could probably go into a detailed examination of Lalonde’s psyche and relationship with Jane, but instead I’ll just note that one could draw some parallels between Jane/Lalonde and Karkat/Sollux. The latter member of each pair warned the former member not to open their own file that they coded themselves, but the former member decided to run it anyway. If one were to take that precedent in mind, everyone involved is going to deeply regret Jane’s decision to run the file (although who knows if it’s an inevitable part of a scratched session).

Meanwhile, we now have an explanation, weird and incomplete as it may be, for why Lalonde and Strider know so much about the game. One may surmise that one reason for Strider’s weird state of awakeness may have something to do with this session eventually being joined by these kids’ own pre-Scratch counterparts; Jade already counts as the session’s pre-woken member, and this entire universe owes its existence to events within that session in the Medium.

Lalonde’s “wriggling day” reference remains unexplained, however, and her Sollux-like ~ATH coding skills could be seen as adding more fuel to that fire.

I have a feeling Jane is going to regret agreeing to believe everything Ro-Lal says for 24 hours. Then again, by opening the file technically she’s already broken it.

(From MS Paint Adventures: Homestuck. Click for full-sized tree-loveseat.)

After seeing the logo on Jane’s hacked file, I think we’ve pretty much established who’s behind the assassination attempts. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that we’ve already seen Jane and Jake’s dreamselves (as well as UU’s assurances), I’d be back to thinking that this universe is a red herring and none of these players will actually play the game – that the notion of the game is solely a ruse for Crockercorp to rub out Jane. Certainly I’m having a hard time seeing what other sources there are for the game.

Looking back at this pesterlog, we now see that Crockercorp never wanted Jane to play the game at all, but may have felt that it was inevitable. Instead, they brought the game within their own banner and made sure that the players’ every attempt to play it only resulted in their deaths. Presumably, Crockercorp knows of the game’s true nature, and how it will ruin all their plans if played. Or rather, the plans of some higher power, which the use of ~ATH in this attempt only seems to confirm… at this point, the theory – treated as almost a fact by someone at TV Tropes – that the “new boss” of the Dark Kingdom is in fact Crocker (which Lalonde seems to subscribe to) only adds fuel to the fire. The enemy is going all-out to ensure the players don’t discover and defeat it using whatever means it can.

Also, is it just me, or is Jane kind of an idiot?