Love, Love Screen & Stage

I Read Homestuck So You Don’t Have To: Part Six

TRIGGERS: violence, ableism, bullying, spiders.
Image via edited from original

Last time on Homestuck: We met Karkat, Terezi, Sollux, and Tavros. We also learned that troll society is ableist trash. Back in the past, arachnidsGrip (AG) starts trolling Tavros about what a loser he is because he’s disabled, confirming the ableist trash diagnosis, and my hate has soared to the stratosphere. Tavros says that he promised Rufio that he wouldn’t talk to her. Rufio is the name he’s given his self-esteem on grimAuxiliatrix (GA)’s suggestion. AG continues to mock him for being on the red team before leaving. Tavros coordinates with Gamzee but doesn’t say anything about AG.

Terezi, meanwhile, goes out to check on the lusus she never had: a dragon egg balanced on a Doomsday Scale. The egg has been waiting for millennia until a meteor-sparked forest fire would provide conditions hot enough for it to hatch. It taught her how to see without vision! The dragon hatches, flies, and dies so that Terezi can prototype it. The doomsday device gives her six minutes to enter the game.

Elsewhere, apocalypseArisen (AA)’s name is revealed to be Aradia Megido. She has lost interest in most of her prior interests, such as archaeology. She has been able to hear the voices of the dead since she was very young and has followed their instructions in matters like building their version of Sburb, called Sgrub. Her base emotional state is okayness. GA, a known meddler, trolls her. She’s trying to get Aradia not to blow everything up. Although she doesn’t succeed, she reminds her that what she does is her own fault while also offering help if she needs it.

After this Aradia contacts Sollux, which we’ve already seen, and then makes her way up to his rooftop. AG trolls her and gets her to become the other blue team leader. Aradia agrees on the basis that if AG wants to pretend that they’re on separate teams and make up a name for themselves then okay. AG is trying for several things here: a fresh start after the Team Charge Debacle and mutual trickery. Not getting much from Aradia, she decides to give somebody they both know a hard time, whom I’m guessing is Tavros. We get a brief glimpse of AG; she has glasses, an eyepatch, a roboarm, and an aura of mastermindery.

Elsewhere, Sollux apologizes for flying off the handle at Aradia. He decides to make the best of the game because the alternative is dying by meteor. Aradia instructs him to look out the window, which he does. Somebody snaps their fingers, making him sleep in a puddle of mind honey. Much later, he would wake up and be the last person to join them in Sgrub. His long nap meant that the trolls all would have important dreams. The mind honey will make a huge red and blue flare come out of his eyes and destroy the roof of his home.

But that hasn’t happened yet, so we get to go back and meet arsenicCatnip, also known as Nepeta Leijon. She lives in a cave. She likes friendly role-playing but dislikes extreme role-play as too many of her friends have gotten hurt that way. She paints wall comics and sees her job as to pacify her bossy best friend. She also wears claw gloves a la Wolverine because everything on Alternia is unsuspecting prey to everything else. Her lusus is a cat named Pounce de Leon, and they frequently go off on adventures looking for the Fountain of Cute. Karkat messages her to try and get her on his team, but she won’t budge. He yells at her for being autistic, which is awful. It’s interesting how Hussie’s doing a lot with disability in the troll world that wasn’t as present in the human one? It’s sad that it gets associated with a lot of violence and mistreatment, though.

Nepeta contacts her friend, centaursTesticle (CT). CT is the one person who refuses to role-play with her. His weapon of choice is a bow and arrows he’s never actually fired. CT forbids Nepeta from playing on the red team with the lesser bloods. Guess what time it is, folks: It’s time for alien racism! Hooray!!! She contacts Tavros and tells him that she can’t be his server player. Tavros is chill about this since listening to CT last time meant that Nepeta didn’t get involved in their game where so many people got hurt.

Flashback time! Tavros is walking and wearing a Pupa Pan costume. He’s about to start playing a game called Flarp with his friends: Team Charge vs. Team Scourge. The teams devise scenarios for each other. While they’re playing a game, the mechanics are weirdly tied to the real world. It’s not quite virtual reality. It’s more like they have the ability to hack reality, in some way? This was true back on Earth too, I think. AG is Tavros’ scenario designer, because of course she is, and she gave him harder monsters than he’s comfortable having.

SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH FOR THE VIOLENCE. Tavros refuses to play against monsters he can’t win against. AG shows up and threatens to mind control him into doing it. She mind controls him anyway and gets him to jump off a cliff, and that’s how Tavros lost the use of his legs. That’s a thing that just happened. Take a moment. When you get back, this’ll still be here.

In the time slot where Karkat has just entered the Medium, AG contacts him trying to join the red team, claiming she’s trying to make friends. Bet that’s pretty hard when you pushed one of your other friends off a cliff! Karkat is, thankfully, having none of it. AG demonstrates her ability to mind control him before he goes, which is troubling.

Elsewhere, Aradia floats the frog head of her temple back to her old hive to start sending the blue team to Sgrub. She sends AG in as leader, understanding that the leader position is meaningless. When it’s her turn to enter Sgrub, she gets Nepeta to be her server. Her lusus is long dead, so she uses the frog head of the temple to prototype her sprite instead. The result looks something like Kermit the Frog with a ghost tail. Aradia enters the Land of Quartz and Melody as the Maid of Time. While Nepeta could see everything Aradia did, she couldn’t see Aradia herself until Aradia prototyped the sprite for a second time with herself. Aradia was dead all along! We don’t know how Aradia died, but apparently she ignored the advice of a friend, which led to her demise. Nepeta promises not to tell because she’s a good friend.

We then get to be introduced to AG, whose name is Vriska Serkit! Hello, Vriska. It’s not exactly a pleasure to get to meet you. Her lusus is continually hungry for the flesh of young trolls, which she gathers through extreme role-playing. She is an apocalypse buff. She’s drawn to dark prognostication but has lost most of this ability since she lost her vision eightfold. She’s into spiders. She’s been building up a stockpile of terrible luck for herself by breaking magic 8-balls for some reason. She’s got a hook arm pirate aesthetic going, which I guess makes her the Captain Hook to Tavros’ Peter Pan? There’s extreme role-playing, and then there’s this.

Vriska has got a lot of meddling and scheming to do and is about to get started when she gets messaged by a mysterious icon-less person who talks in white text and has no username. This person seems somehow worse than Vriska? They claim to have been exploiting her for a long time in order to bring about the events of this day. This person additionally claims to have forgotten about something she did and is willing to give her amnesty in the future. Vriska is just about taking nothing from this dude, and the dude takes it as an excuse to belittle her further. Yikes.

Next time on Homestuck: meddling, alien racism, and more backstory.