Carapacians

OFF THE CUFF HOMESTUCK THOUGHTS #3: THE SELF PILE DOESN’T STOP FROM GETTING TALLER OR: THE PROBLEM OF DEAD MARIOS

DISCLAIMER

IMPORTANT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

[CHECK THE TAG FOR MORE THOUGHTS]

So, a long-ass time ago, Rose and Dave had a conversation like this:

TT: After you go, what do you think will happen to me?
TT: Will I just cease to exist?
TG: i dont know
TG: i mean your whole timeline will
TG: maybe
TT: Maybe?
TT: Is there a chance it’ll continue to exist, and I’ll just be here alone forever?
TT: I’m not sure which outcome is more unsettling.
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
TT: What do you think I should do?
TG: try going to sleep
TG: our dream selves kind of operate outside the normal time continuum i think
TG: so if part of you from this timelines going to persist thats probably the way to make it happen
TT: Ok.
TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word “self” and still understand what we’re talking about.

This is the most important sentence in Homestuck.

I am dead serious.

Well, OK, I mean, it’s pretty important for understanding some major Homestuck themes and shit or something like that.

Also, I totally should have said: Pre-Retcon Doomed Timeline Non-Dreamself Rose but ultimately about to become Dreamself Rose who semi-merged with Pre-Retcon Alpha Timeline Rose and Doomed Timeline Dave aka Davesprite AKA future Davepetasprite^2 or as we all call them around the office, Davepeta, had that conversation.

Maybe you begin to see what I’m going to talk about here.

One of the major frustrations a lot of people had with the retcon was that the characters we ended up with at the end weren’t the ones we’d come to love and know throughout the story. Was it even worth it, to lose the characters we loved to the tyranny of Game Over? The victorious kids, with the exception of John and Roxy, were other people, with other histories, other goals, and other choices.

Allow me to submit that that may be the whole point.

SBURB is cruel. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s cruel not as Caliborn is cruel, but as the cosmos is cruel, as a supernova is cruel. It wants what it wants, and doesn’t care about how that intersects with the needs of humanity. It wants to make universes through a complex game-playing method, and drags hapless, vulnerable adolescents along for the ride. And most of the time it doesn’t even succeed, leaving its champions to rot in a doomed timeline or similar! Skaia’s victory is an amoral creation myth where individual human beings are just the carved pieces on the chessboard. (I mean, the other ones. Not the carapacians.)

Again, let’s consider the theme of VIDEO GAMES vs. REAL LIFE.

Homestuck, let’s be real, is basically some postmodern horror timey-wimey Jumanji. For a generation way more familiar with pixels than cute little tokens It’s easy for teenagers and in fact, basically everyone, to fantasize about escaping their life and slipping into some game world forever, where they get to do awesome things and be a heroic person.

Homestuck makes that literal. Congratulations, everything you ever knew is dead. You will never see it again, except your internet friends, who turn out also to be your family and other important people. I mean, from a distance, SBURB sounds like an awesome game, right? You figure out who you are and get to wear a cool costume displaying that identity. You get to make anything you want and enjoy this hyperflexible mythology tailored to YOUR CHOICES. HS fans talk all the time about how cool it would be to play a real version of SBURB. That’s a big part of the appeal of SBURB fan adventures. They put you and your friends in the story. Or your favorite characters! It sounds like a fantasy come true.

The thing is, as fantastical as it is, it’s also really fucked up, and ultimately you and your friends are being used. By a giant frog to let it have its babies. By the universe. By a smug blue cloud thing that doesn’t care about you at all.

SBURB does not care about you at all.

The funny thing, SBURB features a mythology with so many layers and nuances and seemingly human motifs about growth and self that you might search for some grand ultimate meaning behind it, but it’s not even human enough to have a personality, to be something you can argue with or fight. It just is. It’s all the cruelty and power of a god without any of the dazzling personality. It’s empty. It just wants to make universes all day long, or fail trying. It is a great, weird tadpole-making machine that eats children.

One of the big ways it doesn’t care about you is its attitude toward the self. Humans and trolls and whatnot prefer not to be relentlessly duplicated. SBURB says, oh yeah, let’s make tons of copies of the player characters and use them for a lot of different purposes.

There’s the dreamself, an essential bifurcation of identity (you are now and were always the dream moon princex) that sometimes gets merged into god tier but sometimes doesn’t. There’s doomed timeline selves, who exist ultimately to augment an Alpha timeline whose Alphaness is decided very arbitrarily and frequently by Lord English. There’s the you who exists before a scratched session and the you who exists afterward, who are two different people but started as one baby in an act of ectobaby meteor duplication, your player self and your guardian self. Dead timeline yous fill up the dreambubbles made by the horrorterrors and get endlessly confused with each other. Any one of these could be the you experience being at any given moment, and which one it is entirely arbitrary. Don’t like being Dead Nepeta #47? Tough hoofbeast leavings, kiddo.

To top it all off, in Terezi: Remember, we learn that every single time we thought someone changed from one self to another, was resurrected or something like that, it was another act of duplication. For every time someone’s died, there’s another version of them waiting in the Dream Bubbles, surprised that they’re not the main character anymore. And we have no way of knowing which is which. Even John, good old everyman John, may or may not be the person who died three or four times. It’s really impossible to say whether we’ve been following the same person throughout our story, or just the illusion of the same person, like a horrifying cosmic flipbook.

The retcon is a return to this same theme. Ultimately, there’s very little new in the changes John makes to reality except that they drive the point home.

John’s friends all died. John and his friends won the game. These things are both true at the same time, except those things may not have happened to the same people. There was a happy ending. Hooray! For, um, some folks who may or may not be the ones we care about. In fact, it’s very confusing, because from Rose’s perspective, Roxy is dead but came back to life, and from Roxy’s perspective Rose is dead but came back to life, except also she came back to life as a weird tentacle catgirl of pure id and self –indulgence. So there’s that. Um. Which Rose are we rooting for again?

Or wait: is it none of them, because the first Rose died in a doomed timeline, hundreds of panels and a number of years ago?

There’s a tension here which one experiences between saying it’s okay because it’s still the same people, and saying it’s not okay, because it’s not the same people at all. This tension is exactly what we’re meant to wrestle with. To put it another way, Homestuck asks if identity can work in aggregate. Are all Johns John, all Roses Rose, and do they all share in what they accomplish? Or are the final victors only accidents created by the whims and needs of the frog baby machine?

What I’m saying, basically, is that the retcon, in the sense that it pointed out our confused relationship with these characters, was already here.

In interviews and questions put to him over the years, Hussie constantly compares HS and SBURB to other video games, particularly Mario, which he frequently returns to as a baseline of comparison that most of his readers will know. One answer, from a recent Hiveswap interview, is particularly revelatory. To the question of “Why do you kill off all your characters?” Hussie replies:

[…]HS is supposedly a story that is also a game. In games, the characters die all the time. How many times did you let Mario fall in the pit before he saved the princess? Who weeps for these Marios. In games your characters die, but you keep trying and trying and rebooting and resetting until finally they make it. When you play a game this process is all very impersonal. Once you finally win, when all is said and done those deaths didn’t “count”, only the linear path of the final victorious version of the character is considered “real”. Mario never actually died, did he? Except the omniscient player knows better. HS seems to combine all the meaningless deaths of a trial-and-error game journey with the way death is treated dramatically in other media, where unlike our oblivious Mario, the characters are aware and afraid of the many deaths they must experience before finally winning the game.

The big man hass the answer.

Homestuck is the story of those dead Marios.

Other works, like Undertale, have engaged with this topic as well. But one of the major differences between Undertale and Homestuck is that in Undertale, between “lives,” one’s consciousness is preserved. In Homestuck, it’s discontinuous, and the value of the overall trial-error process is called into question by the fact that you, the player, may not even get to experience the victory. What meaning does victory hold if that is the case?

So, to put it in a nice thesis format:

One of the central themes of Homestuck is the challenge of reconciling an arbitrary and destructive pattern of growth and victory with the death and suffering you experienced along the way. Homestuck asks: is victory worthwhile if you’re not you anymore? And would you be able to know?

What even is the self? Is there such a thing?

If you were left feeling somewhat disconcerted by our heroes’ tidy victory and departure to their cosmic prize, or by how which Rose gets the spotlight is so deeply, deeply arbitrary, there’s a good reason for that. You’re supposed to be.

The philosophical problem of Wacky Cat Rose is insignificant next to the bullshit of SBURB.

And don’t forget—John and Roxy’s denizens helped them achieve the retcon. Ultimately, the victory they achieved was mediated by the same amoral system of SBURB, and was a victory over an enemy, Caliborn, whose power was created, perpetuated, and ended by that same system.

Okay, so here’s where it gets contentious. There’s an argument to be made, which I’m not sure how I feel about, that some of the character development that could have been in post-retcon Act 6 was left out precisely to push this feeling and play up this tension. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that they were deliberately badly written, but that they’re deliberately written to make us uneasy.That Hussie deliberately played with the balance between making these retconned characters feel familiar and making them feel eerily different to leave us feeling uneasy with the result.

I’m not sure I like that idea. It smacks a little too much of that “everything is perfect” thinking that comes sometimes from the far Metastuck camp. Some of the differences may also be the result of flawed writing. (See: Jane and Jake’s character arcs, which I might talk about later.) And I want to be able to critique those flaws. Ultimately, I think we still needed more time and development to figure out who these new people were—even if our goal was ultimately to compare them to their earlier selves. And again, more conscious acknowledgement of the problem from our heroes—especially John, the linchpin in this last and biggest act of duplication—might have helped drive this theme home.

Still, I think the Problem of Dead Marios is one of the most fundamental questions of Homestuck, maybe THE biggest question. It’s essential to understand it to understand what Hussie’s doing—or attempting to do— in the retcon and the ending.

I don’t know that Homestuck offers us a clear answer to that question. There are some confusions around the issue, too. Where do merged selves fit in, exactly? Clearly they’re a big part of the discussion, because Hussie spends some time in Act 6, especially near the end bringing the identity-merging powers of the Sprites to the forefront. (See also: the identity-merged nightmare that is Lord English.)  Can we even come up with a clear answer to what it means when a dead Mario returns to life grotesquely fused with Toad? How does he beat the game? Does he tell himself that the princess is in another castle? Or what if he merges with Peach? Are they their own princess? How do they know if they’re in the right castle?

Um. Anyway—

Interestingly, it’s not all grotesque—spritesplosions suggest that personalities that are too different don’t stay together long, so a fusion might rely on some inherent compatibility between the two players. Erisol’s self-loathing, sure, but also Fefeta’s cheerfulness. Davepeta seems to be a way of bringing out the best in their players, a way of getting Davesprite past his angst and Nepeta past her fear. Honestly, I know a lot of people don’t like Davepeta as the ending of these two characters’ arcs, but I can’t help but love it. They’re the ultimate coolkid. Cool enough to know they don’t have to be cool. Regular Dave got there, too, of course. But was his retcon assist from John ultimately any different?

Then, of course, we come to Davepeta’s speech to Jade in one of the last few updates before Collide. Davepeta suggests that there is such a thing as an ultimate self beyond the many different selves one piles up throughout the cosmos. A set of principles that describes who you are that’s larger than any individual instance of you. Your inherent Mariohood. (Maybe this is comparable to your Classpect identity, which attempts to describe who you are?) Davepeta even tells Jade, strikingly, that one might learn to see beyond the barriers between selves. Be the ur-self, in practice, rather than theory. This would be incredible news for Jade, who wrestles with the issue of different selves perhaps more than any other character. (There’s a lot to say about Jade.)

Honestly, I wish this ur-self idea had been developed more, and I honestly expected it to be. It doesn’t fully come to fruition, I feel. (Same goes for Davepeta’s character. Ohhhh, ZING!) I’m not sure it entirely makes philosophical sense, especially with fusion—I mean, doesn’t Davepeta themself disprove it? Or at least complicate it? Like, are they part of the ur-Dave or the ur-Nepeta? They seem to imply they’re BOTH? Does that even work? Does that mean that Marieach is all the Peaches and Marios at once?

(In fact, Bowser/Peach/Mario are but the three manifestations of one eternal principle. Also, Bowser/Peach are the true power couple. Read my fanfiction plz.)

And what, say, of Dirk, who ultimately ends up rejecting aspects of his other selves? It feels like there’s a lot more you could say here, and I wonder if Hussie would have said more, if he’d had time. What’s weird is, none of our victorious kids never reach an ur-self (though to their descendants, they become archetypal to some degree), which one might have expected. They’re just individual selves who happened to get lucky. Does that make them representative of the whole? It feels like something’s missing here, or like something got dropped at the last minute.

Same goes for the idea of the Ultimate Riddle. You’d be forgiven for missing it, but there’s been this riddle in the background lore of SBURB that seems to have something to do with personal agency in this overwhelming, overarching system. Karkat called it predestination, saying something like “ANY HOPE YOU HAD OF DOING THINGS OTHERWISE WAS JUST A RUSE.” But others have interpreted it more positively. My favorite interpretation, from bladekindeyewear: the answer to the Riddle is that YOU shape the timeline through your existence, personality, and choices, even when it looks like it’s all predestination. Ultimately it’s your predestination, your set of events, based deeply on your nature, that you are creating. Someone like Caliborn can use his innate personality to achieve power; someone like John might be able to use it to achieve freedom.

I definitely expected something like that to be expressed more explicitly. Like, a big ah-ha moment that helps John or Jade or whoever understand how to escape Caliborn’s system. Something like that would have been very helpful for a lot of our heroes, actually, who’ve been pushed around by Skaia and SBURB together, in finding a cathartic ending.  Once again, I wonder if something was dropped or rushed because there wasn’t time to put it all in. There’s places where you can see hints of that Answer being implied, maybe? But it’s kind of ambiguous.

You can see how the Answer to the Ultimate Riddle ties into some of Davepeta’s ideas. If your personality, the rules of your behavior are a fundamental archetype that goes beyond each individual self, then the answer to whether it matters if one self of yours makes it through to victory is an emphatic YES. You are all of those people, and by winning one round with Skaia, you’ve won the whole game, despite all the arbitrary challenges and deaths it heaps upon you along the way.

This may strike some as too positive for Skaia’s brutality, or again, some way of excusing flaws in many characters’ arcs, or unfair things that happen to them. To be fair, I don’t know that Davepeta’s necessarily meant to be taken as authoritative or the voice of Hussie. They may simply be offering a purrspective.

Hussie not choosing to come right out and engage with the Ultimate Riddle leaves the question of Dead Marios and what they mean for the victorious versions of our cast very open. I like that in some ways—let the reader decide—but I can’t help but wish we had more to work with in making that decision. Plus, it might have brought the thematic messages of Homestuck all the way home to tie them more closely to our characters and their experiences—character development being one of the things most people found most lacking in the ending.

NEXT TIME: All that wacky gnostic stuff probably

Homestuck Amusement Park Headcanons

Suggested by: @asnailinthighhighs

John: warily eyes the pastry booths bc he still has a deep mistrust for baked goods thanks to the Betty Crocker incident aka literally the apocalypse. Plays a (rigged) wack-a-mole game and gets frustrated when he keeps losing. Terezi makes fun of him so he whips out the hammer of zillyhoo and ah, crushes the game, so to speak. His prize is a giant bunny. He puts it back in the box.

Jade: sees one of those rodeo electronic bull things and goes oh that looks fun! Everyone is like uhhh Jade that can get pretty wild are u sure?? Karkat bets Jade that she won’t last 5 mins, oh really Karkat? 5 minutes? She sits on that bucking bronco for an entire hour making uncomfortable and spite fueled eye contact with Karkat the entire time. She only gets off because there’s a line.

Dave: wants to go on all the big rides and drags Karkat along despite Karkat complaining very loudly the entire time. Sorry Karkles, you scared of heights? You a scaredy Kat? A scaredy Karkat? Fuck you Dave, I’m fine! Dave drags him on the biggest rollercoaster in the entire park, they get off and Karkat says wow that was actually pretty fun! Dave’s hair is a mess, he looks inches from perma-death, that was horrible oh god. Not a word, Rose, he says. She and Kanaya are definitely not snickering behind their hands.

Rose: makes a goddamn beeline with Kanaya in tow to the haunted house ride because fuck yes she wants to see some creepy ass shit. If y'all have ever been in an amusement park haunted house, you know how vastly disappointed she was by the lame jump-scares and cheap monsters. Kanaya made it up to her by taking her to the Tunnel O’ Love™ and Rose was significantly cheered up.

Kanaya: isn’t a huge fan of non-blood food but v intrigued by all the fried stuff. Why Is It Fried? Does It Add Flavor? Not really, Rose tells her, it’s mostly just another way humanity likes to push itself closer and closer to its own imminent demise. Only now they’ve roped the trolls and carapacians into it. Oh, Kanaya says. She tries a fried Twinkie and sucks the filling out w her sick rainbow drinker/ vampire skills. Delicious. A single tear trails down Rose’s cheek. I have never been more in love w you.

Terezi: that scene with Toph and the scam artists in ATLA? Basically picture that. It’s one of those rubber duck games where they’re all floating in the pool and at the bottom of them is a different color and that’s how big a prize you get, thing is, Terezi can smell what’s on the bottom. She wins Vriska all the prizes and the dude running the booth is sweating and has to write her an IOU that John won’t let Terezi cash in on because that’s cheating and that’s wrong!

Jane: goes around with Jade and Roxy and Callie critiquing the food booths on their baking skills. She absolutely loathes that everything is fried bc it’s a cheap tactic to make weak bakers stronger! She tries a funnel cake and immediately changes her mind. CrockerCorp releases its own line of fried food that fall. Roxy calls her a sellout but eats it all anyways bc it’s just That Good.

Jake: finds one of those carnival shooter games and one of the big stuffed animal prizes is a gigantic rainbow dash my little pony and,,,he sees Dirk eyeing it. He doesn’t say anything, but Jake Knows. He tells Dirk he has to run off to the “little lads” room for a second, but he goes back to the shooting game, crushes the fuck out of those targets with the wimpy water gun, and presents Dirk with this oversized goddamn pony. It is touching and romantic for everyone involved.

Dirk: tries to show off to Jake by doing that strength test where u slam the hammer down and try to ring the bell at the top, he makes it about half the way up and he’s like fuck yeah that’s pretty fuckin’ good. Jake goes wow golly that’s impressive! Mind if I give it the old college try? Dirk is like pffft go for it, still flexin his muscles trynna show off and shit. Jake casually slams it down and rings the goddamn bell so hard it almost flies off the top. Dirk just stands there with his eyes v wide behind his shades while Jake is like gosh! Must have been buggered, huh?

Roxy: goes on every single ride she is living for today y'all, Callie is too short for most of the rides but Roxy promises to dab at the top of every coaster so Callie can spot her from where she’s watching down below. They share an ice cream sundae and Roxy gives Callie the cherry on top bc it’s “a cherry for a cherub!”

Sollux: idk about amusement parks near y'all but I live right by cedar point and there’s a coaster called Gemini so uhhh he and Aradia just do that. All day. Sollux rides this rollercoaster 53 times, turns to Aradia, says “what if bees had yaoi hands would that be fucked up or what” then passes out for a week.

7

A very very old thing that I only just finished recently.

A friend and I used to do a lot of roleplaying with the Felt, and we got to discussing the Felt as exiles. So I did a little MS Paint magic and made it so x’D

All of these sprites belong to Andrew Hussie, I simply edited them. You are free to use them as well, if you like :’)

4

i think i got this!

Timelines of all the agents. (click for better view i guess)

Carapacians are not the filler characters. The players are.

Personally, I think Carapaces are the “Master Race." 

They live forever so long as they aren’t like actually fucking killed. Even being mortally injured like WV; he didn’t die. Spades Slick is 1200 sweeps old when the universe dies. That is 2,600 years, people. Plus however long he lived on Derse. That is a LONG time.

They have perfect spacial memory and depth perception, are extremely efficient as far as building goes, and need little to no food or water for long periods of time.

And let’s think about this. Every universe that ever had a Sburb session had their world taken by Carapaces, and there are apparently countless worlds where that’s happened. Carpaces are taking over the fucking multiverse. Who’s really the filler here? The beings that start a planet for the Carpaces, that’s who. They’re a candle in the wind compared to the lifespan and impact Carapaces have.

But this brings up another point I’ve been meaning to get to. Who are really the bad guys here? The Dersites are against creation and the success of the players. Why? They would get another world to make their own, and the cycle begins again. The Horrorterrors (who are closely affiliated with the Dersites) do not really want this either. Why? As I said, the cycle would just keep going on and on and on, making more and more and more and more Carapacians and gradually exterminating all of the other beings in the universe (as most sessions aren’t successful.) It is very probable that the Horrorterrors and the Dersites innately want the cycle to end, which is why they all have an instinctual aversion to life iconography. I’m not saying that the Prospitians actually know what they’re doing, but they are on Skaia’s side, and Skaia wants to propagate itself.

Dersites are like Meenah (a Derse Dreamer), who can appreciate the finality of death. Rather than going on endlessly and pointlessly (from their perspective), things just end, and there is a peace to that. There would not be as many people suffering if so many people weren’t born. Dying, to Dersites, isn’t the big to do it is to Prospitians, where it marks the end of Life. It marks the end of usefulness and of suffering.

But as I said before, I don’t think every Dersite consciously believes this. I think it was the idea the original "programmers” of the game had for them as a driving force when they were created. I think most Carapacians as a whole just want to live and let live. And build. Build forts. Build Can Towns. Build Cities.

They (and Caliborn) are my favorites. They are every bit as important as the kids, if not more so. I’m so done hearing that they aren’t as important. You’re undermining both my, and the entire Carapace/Intermission Fandom’s feelings. CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE!

Homestuck Camping Headcanons

John: Brought enough kites to populate a small country if the citizens were also kites. “John we’re in the middle of the fucking woods where are you going to fly a goddamn kite,” wrong question Karkat. John makes eye contact while holding a kite, floats up above the tree line, and flies his kite suck a dick everyone. Terezi tries flying one of the kites but seemingly does not know how. When John tries to show her she somehow manages to get him tangled up in the string and just starts cackling. She takes another kite from the pile and flies it perfectly. John is not pleased.

Dave: Spends the entire trip there composing raps and sick beats which is VERY ANNOYING to Karkat who is being carried five inches from Dave’s stupid rhyming mouth fuck you Dave. When they get there, it turns out mr cool kid is hella afraid of bugs, like “fuck oh fuck there’s a bug Karkat kill it please fuck oh my god someone please just kill it” levels of hate. “You know my species starts out as a bug” Karkat narrows his eyes. That is different, Dave tells him, your species can talk and have s- “eat shit, Dave.” Around the campfire, he tries to tell a scary story but it turns out the big plot twist at the end is just a character falling down some stairs and Dave saying “I warned you about stairs, bro” in a spooky voice. Roxy throws a marshmallow at his head from across the campfire.

Jade: Somehow manages to befriend every single forest creature she finds. She goes out for a walk and comes back with five squirrels, three bunnies, and a doe with her baby in tow. “Can we keep them?” She finds a nearby lake with a little waterfall and encourages everyone to go swimming, she cannonballs off the ledge obvi and a belly flop competition starts. Everyone’s belly hurts. This was a mistake. Oh god.

Rose: Finds a dark cave nearby and extends an invitation to explore it, Kanaya lights the way and Jake shows up in full on spelunking gear which ends up being pretty much useless as the cave dead ends after fifty feet. Rose is disappointed, she was hoping to find ancient cave drawings or the remains of a ritual sacrifice. Jake, who found some cool rocks and some kind of skull he might give to Dave, asks her why she seems let down. When she mumbles something about the blood of children he nods and walks a step behind her on the way back. At the campfire, Rose also tries to tell a scary story, she recounts the tale of Mothman. It is actually pretty spooky until she gets to the end and says that there probably was no Mothman and it was most likely a red sand hill crane that had wandered off its mighration course. Dave boos.

Kanaya: No one but Rose will share a tent with Kanaya (especially not Dave) because she likes to turn up her glow a little which attracts every. Single. Bug. She has an entourage of moths following her around and yes they do have names, Rose, they’re our children now you have to love them. Tries her hand at scary stories too, but it ends up just being about a troll who showed up to a white-tie occasion in a semi-formal outfit. Needless to say, the fear and outraged reaction was limited. She does end up scaring John, however. He heads around to the latrine only to see Kanaya hunched over a bag of pre-packed blood. “Uh, Kanaya? What are you doing?” She turns around with blood all over her mouth which she casually wipes away, Oh Hello John, I Did Not Hear You Coming, Is Something The Matter? The last part is said to his back as he sprints away screaming.

Karkat: Eats a bug in front of Dave just to freak him out a little, then Dave asks if it’s cannibalism and Karkat punches him in the arm. Tries to refuse swimming in the lake, but Dave jumps in and pretends to drown so Karkat freaks out and jumps in to try to rescue him. When Dave resurfaces laughing, Karkat pushes him back under and asks Dirk if this would count as a just death. Dirk says he better not risk it. While he’s asleep, Dave and John team up by squirting shaving cream on Karkat’s hand and tickling his face with a crow feather. This backfires because instead of rubbing his own face, Karkat starts swinging his arms out and manages to cover both Dave and John’s faces in shaving cream. He doesn’t notice and goes immediately back to sleep. Dave and John wash the shaving cream off and agree that this never happened, only Jane and Roxy Definitely Saw Them and also took a video.

Terezi: “accidentally” knocks one of John’s tent poles out with her cane while she’s walking, then accuses John of unfairly targeted a poor innocent blind girl. She and Vriska go to the river to try and catch fish for dinner, they end up getting in a competition to see who can catch the most fish. Everyone eats soup for dinner. Terezi and Vriska will not talk about what happened. Terezi gives scary stories a go, but it ends up being less scary and more like one of her roleplaying court scenarios. The only vaguely frightening thing is that at the end, she points up to the trees and everyone suddenly realizes that she hanged a bunch of her plushies sometime during the day and apparently no one noticed until now. She smiles wickedly and everyone feels slightly uneasy.

Jane: Spends part of the afternoon getting the soup ready in anticipation of a lack of fish. Realizes she forgot some of her spices at home and starts panicking until Jade takes her through the woods and helps her find some wild herbs that will taste almost the same. At one point, she goes to the bathroom and comes back with a small carapacian in handcuffs having apparently dodged another assassination attempt. She treats this very casually but enjoys being fussed over for a little bit. She tells a scary story that’s actually scary, no one realizes she’s teamed up with John in the Ultimate Prankster Duo. He is making the wind move through the trees very eerily, and right at the scariest part of the story he jumps out of the woods yelling. Everyone jumps out of their seats, some of the godtier kids accidentally fly up a good ten feet in the air they got so frightened. Jane and John high five and secretly salute Colonel Sassacre.

Jake: Jumps off the waterfall at least fifty times and has a blast doing it. Dirk is hesitant to go because he secretly is sort of afraid of heights after living in the post-apocalyptic high rises of Texas. Jake remedies this by picking him up bridal style and jumping off the ledge with him. Dirk does NOT scream or hold onto Jake for dear life because that would be uncool. Jake shows Jade some of the cool rocks he found and presents Dave with the cool skull he brought back. Dave is slightly in awe and develops a newfound respect for Jake, who promises to show him his Cool Skull collection when they get back home. Jake tells a story around the campfire that might have been intended to be scary, but ends up being more of an adventure tale, Indiana Jones style. Everyone listens intently and really enjoys it even though it’s not a ghost story.

Roxy: Can apparently climb trees like nobodies business? She had to help the carapacians in her old neighborhood get stuff out of them because they were always losing balls and cats and kites. She goes for a walk with Jade and Calliope while Jane is making dinner and they pick her a nice bouquet of wildflowers to give her when they get back. Around the campfire, she tries to tell a scary story but it ends up being about wizards and no one is surprised. Their tent is poppin’ and she and the ladies party it the fuck up all night and end up sleeping until noon the next day because they’re so exhausted.

Calliope: Loves being in nature so so so so much holy fuck. She’s lived underground and chained up her entire life that this is unbelievable. She’ll spend entire hours just staring up at the sky and pointing out cloud shapes to Jane and Roxy. She tries telling a scary story around the campfire, but it ends up being a tale about the importance of friendship and how love is the truest magic of all. There are a few tears in some of the kids eyes at the end of it.

Dirk: He and Jake go out to collect firewood and refuse to take more than one trip so they stagger back into camp with towering piles of branches and make a huge mess by dropping them everywhere. Instead of telling a ghost story, he and Dave have a rap battle over the fire which devolves into them just laughing and quoting SBAHJ until they can’t talk anymore. Karkat and Jake share a Look™ like, I can’t believe these are our fucking dorks. Dirk can name every single star, he knows the stars and constellations that transferred over from his Earth, and he knows the ones that migrated in from Alternia/Beforus. People begin to doubt him when he points out a constellation that he claims is shaped like a dick, most likely because he called it “Ursa Penis”. He spends the rest of the night trying to come up with a major/minor dick size joke but can’t think of a good one and sulks a little about it.

Sollux: Sets up everyone’s tent for them with his psiionics and goes on a walk with Karkat. They get very lost and argue the whole time about whether or not they are actually lost. John and Dave are flying above them and could theoretically help them get back to camp but they will not. Sollux thinks they’re going to die out in the woods and tries eating some roots and berries and mushrooms even though Karkat tells him that that’s the worst possible fucking idea he’s ever had in his life and yes he’s including the time Sollux suggested finding a way to combine troll and bee DNA to make the ultimate being. You mean ‘bee’-ing, Sollux says. No the fuck I do not, Karkat replies. The mushroom Sollux eats ends up giving him wackass hallucinations and Karkat definitely does not record any of the crazy bullshit Sollux starts saying.