Detective Pony – Chapter 8, Homeless

Detective Pony – Chapter 8, Homeless

[Music: “Turkish March”, remixed with
sparkly synth and played in reverse] Chapter Eight, Homeless “What are they doing here?”
Dirk muttered to himself. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.” He grabbed the thin purple book from his pocket, held it close to his face,
and began frantically leafing through it. Acorn was pretty much going apeshit
at the sight of Anna. Just freaking the fuck out. As ponies are wont to do. Christ, he was just… he was all over the place. Jesus. Fuckin’ ponies, man. Jeanne Betancourt, accustomed to
such pony-related fuckery, managed to circumvent Acorn’s freakout
and gingerly approached the Pony Pals, as if uncertain that it was really them. Minos just sat there, watching,
shitting at a glacial pace. He knew that now was the time to listen. Because he, like almost everyone else there,
had no idea what the fuck was going on. “Is it really you?” Jeanne Betancourt
asked as she reached the girls. “I can’t believe I finally
get to meet you.” “And who the fuck are you, exactly?” Anna said, poking an accusatory
finger at Betancourt’s chest. Pam and Pawnee stood behind Anna
on either side and crossed their arms to help Anna look like a maximum badass. And she did. Oh, she did. “You are Anna Harley, yes?”
Betancourt said. “And you two—”
she glanced at the other girls and gave them a quick wave
“—are Pam and Lulu. The three of you live in Wiggins
(which is a great name for a town) and go on all sorts of fun
adventures with your ponies. And you — Anna? Anna, oh my god, are you all right?” The instant Jeanne Betancourt had said “Lulu,” Anna’s eyes had gone pure white,
and she now slowly toppled to the ground. Pam immediately knelt at her side. “Anna!” she shouted, shaking her
friend by both shoulders. “Don’t you dare die again. Don’t you fucking dare!” Pam rained a shower of tears
and blows onto Anna’s chest from her eyes and fists respectively. “Anna, you son of a bitch,
you can’t do this to me!” Pawnee, however, didn’t so much as
glance at Anna’s prone body. She had her mind on only one thing:
vengeance. While Pam berated/tended to their friend, Pawnee marched straight to Jeanne Betancourt
and got all up in her business. “I don’t know who the fuck
you think you are,” she hissed at the author, “but you’re wrapped up
in all of this somehow. You’re in league with
that fucking cat and … whoever that douche
in the pointy shades is.” She slowly walked forward,
step by accusatory step, forcing Betancourt to inch backwards until
her back was pressed up against one of the chalky trees that
circumscribed the clearing. “And my name is not Lulu,”
she continued. “It’s Pawnee fucking Indiana. And my father is
Ron motherfucking Swanson, and don’t you fucking dare
tell me any different. Got it?” The whole scene looked like some
sort of goddamn medieval triptych that illustrated the three
primal human emotions: the anger of a wronged victim
confronting her tormenter; the compassion of a lover caring
for her injured friend; and, of course, the most
powerful emotion of all, a pony flappin’ around and goin’ nuts
while a cat watches and poops. If Michelangelo and Picasso
had been in that clearing, they would have wept
at the beauty of it all, and then would have started to make out
due to their pure shared stupefaction. Dirk stood aloof on the outskirts of the chaos,
reading, listening, thinking. In our triptych metaphor, he’s …
the frame, I guess? That works pretty well, actually. Eventually, he came to a decision. He shut the book,
quietly sidestepped over to Minos, and leaned down and whispered with urgency. “Hey, cat. Minos. Cat.” Minos looked up at him and blinked. “Yes?” he said calmly. “We need to judge Acorn now. Like, right on the immediate-fuck now. Things are kind of getting
out of hand in here, and I’m not entirely
sure what’s going on. I don’t like that. But I’ve got a plan. I suspect that if we decide to erase
Acorn right now, we can shut it all down. Like an emergency eject button for the story. I was going to have us protract the judgment
process for another dozen pages, maybe talk about ancient Greek shit some more. More wordplay, of course. But it’s pretty fucking clear that
now we need to expedite the matter.” Minos yawned. “There are only the two of us here, Dirk. We need all three arbiters to make our ruling. And Jeanne—”
he gestured to the author, who was still being aggressively
berated by the enraged town in Indiana, “—is otherwise occupied.” “It doesn’t fucking matter,” Dirk hissed. “The vote just needs to be two out of three. And besides, her vote never really counted
to begin with; she’s a joke character. I just wrote her in as another facet of this
fucking book to ridicule. She’s not a real person, she’s my projection
of the kind of person who’d write— Look, I’ll lay it all out for you,
here’s what happens beat by beat.” “I’m listening,” Minos said. “Okay, so Betancourt votes to save Acorn,
I vote to erase him, you want more evidence, I take us all on this bullshit
Wonderful Life interlude, she’s tricked into thinking
that it’s actually Acorn himself who fucked up
the book so bad, she changes her vote, you have doubts
but respect that a majority’s been reached, you wave your paws or whatever,
Acorn’s gone, the book starts falling apart even more, Jeanne realizes what’s really happening, and the anvil of dramatic
irony drops on her head. She was the creator, she becomes the destroyer. Fin. Then appendix A, and then the Final Freakout,
where Acorn tries to come back and you and I band up to finish the job through
pretentious meta bullshit contraptions. Fin again. Roll fucking credits. So let’s just cut out the unnecessary
bullshit and get it over with. Deal?” “Before I agree to anything, I do
have one question,” Minos said. “What exactly did you mean earlier
when you said you ‘wrote her in’?” “Ah, mother fuck,” Dirk sighed. “Not you too.” “I think I’m starting to understand
what’s really going on here.” Minos got up,
and stretched out his front legs in that way that cats do; you know the way, I’m sure. It’s really cute. But this cat wasn’t just being adorable,
he was also being a straight dick. “I bow down to you, o creator,”
Minos said sarcastically. “Jesus Christ,” Dirk said, rubbing his
temples with a thumb and forefinger. “Why did I have to make you
such a smartass?” Minos rolled onto his back and squirmed around,
like the cutest fucking asshole on the planet. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t help you,”
he said. “In fact, if what I suspect is indeed true, then I’d be quite the fool
to try to work against you.” “At least you’re a rational smartass,”
Dirk said. In the distance, Pawnee yipped a particularly
shrill accusation at Jeanne Betancourt. Dirk glanced in their direction. “We should make it quick,”
he said to Minos, “before Pawnee rips off
Betancourt’s head or something. Both of them are just joke characters,
really, but that makes them wildcards, and I don’t want to risk
having the original author die. And I’m not even going to make
the obvious Roland Barthes joke here, that’s how dead fucking serious I am.” “You’re not actually worried about Betancourt,”
Minos observed. “It’s Anna who frightens you.” “Fine, her too,” Dirk said. “I’ll admit it, I got in over my head. So let’s just end this fucking thing
before she wakes up from her revelation-coma
or whatever it is. Say ‘fuck Acorn, time to erase his ass’
or something like that, and we’ll be done. I mean, you should probably make it sound
more formal, use some bigger words. But that’s the gist of it.” “I can’t,” Minos said simply. “God damn it,” Dirk whispered. “It’s always something.” At this point, the narrative
realized that it had been neglecting the other five
characters for too long. And with Dirk’s attention elsewhere,
the narrative shook free from the stranglehold he’d previously had on it,
and it began to stretch its legs. Wander around a bit. “Let’s see what Acorn’s up to,”
the narrative thought to itself. Acorn was still freaking the fuck out. “Okay, not up to that much,”
the narrative thought. “How about Pawnee and Jeanne Betancourt? That could be interesting. Maybe we’re finally addressing how Pawnee
is simultaneously a town and a girl. Like, what’s up with that? It kind of switches back and forth, and sometimes it’s both at once… I never asked about it, but it’s
been bugging me for a while. Oh, and I should also check them out because
that Betancourt woman apparently wrote me? But only half of me?? I don’t really know what’s going on anymore.” “…population 79,218. Incorporated in 1819.” Pawnee was red in the face/municipality. “Median household income: $38,360. Sister city to Boraqua, Venezuela. Current mayor: Walter Gunderson. Official city tree: Indiana Common Shrub. Read my lips: Pawnee Motherfucking Indiana.” Betancourt stood tall and haughty,
refusing to be cowed anymore by this city/child. “Lulu Motherfucking Sanders,” she countered. “Short for Lucinda. Fifth grader at Wiggins Elementary,
homeroom teacher Mr. Livingston. Caretaker of the pony Snow White,
who is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Baxter.” “Neither one is even listening to the other,”
the narrative realized. “Looks like they’re just
in a holding pattern until other stuff’s resolved. God. This story sucks right now. I guess I’ll check on the other two girls. Even though they’re both just kind of
lying over there on the ground. Now that I think of it, the ground hasn’t
been very well described, really. It’s just grey and misty.
Like, does it have grass? Is it dirt? So dumb. You know what, I’m deciding
that it’s snow. There. That’s canon now. Snow.” Pam had two fingers on Anna’s neck,
monitoring the girl’s weak pulse. Pam was whispering things to her
that were so private and passionate that even the newly-liberated
narrative couldn’t listen in. Free indirect discourse holds no sway over
those freer and more indirect than it. In a story full of secrets and complexities,
maybe the most mysterious character of all is the most human:
Pam Crandal. Anna’s eyes were still wide open,
but they were no longer white. Now, they were rapidly changing, flickering
quickly between different hues, different sizes, different degrees
of brightness and cloudiness. It was as if the eyes of
dozens of different people were fighting for dominance inside
the body of this one small girl. It was terrifying. “Hey, what the fuck are you doing over there?” Dirk shouted to the narrative. “Get back inside my head! Christ. I can’t leave you alone
for two goddamn minutes.” The narrative meekly complied. It also decided that it would never
wander off on its own again, because doing so was as confusing
as it was self-indulgent. It would be best,
the narrative thought, to treat this sequence as a stylistic flourish
that isn’t plot-significant. Just the flailing of an author who can’t
think of a natural way to handle so many characters in the same place,
so he resorts to weird bullshit in the hopes no one will notice
that it’s masking incompetence. Minos looked bemused by Dirk’s outburst. “Is this another pretentious meta-thing
that I wouldn’t understand?” Dirk sighed.
“Yeah, pretty much. Things are really coming apart
at the seams now. Unraveling. Which is why it’s so fucking
imperative that you help me.” “As I was saying before you began
yelling at nothing,” Minos said, “I can’t vote now, because I
never heard Acorn’s sins.” “What the hell are you talking about?”
Dirk said. He knelt in the snow (canon) to look Minos
right in his bottomless kitty eyes. “I read them all to you and Jeanne
ten minutes ago.” The cat sat up and shrugged. “If you did, then I don’t remember them. I’m sorry, but those are your own rules. We listen to you read the sins, then we judge. If I didn’t hear the list,
I can’t, by the very logic that you wrote into our universe,
make a ruling.” Dirk uneasily looked around at the other
characters in the dead forest clearing, knowing full well that any one
of them could ruin everything if they got their act together and
realized what was really happening. “Fine,” he said,
looking back at the cat. “I’ll read them to you again. Will that fucking satisfy you?” The cat nodded demurely. “It certainly would.” Dirk pulled the thin paperback volume
out of his back pocket and began thumbing through it with a
rapidity that suggested great familiarity. (Multiple revisions prompted by care? Or by insecurity?) “Okay, bottom of page 53. We’d just finished the retrospectively
unnecessary Socratic dialogue conceit, and Acorn was being sassy. Betancourt told him not to be an asshole. Then on the next page—” Dirk flipped to page 54,
and immediately went silent. Minos jumped onto Dirk’s shoulder
and read out loud. “‘The two girls and the town trudged
through the snow silently. Pawnee and Pam had left Lighting and
Lil’ Seb behind miles ago.’” Dirk was very still. “That’s not right, though. Pages 54 and 55, that’s where
I read all the sins out loud. It’s just a really long list in a
nigh-unreadably-tiny font. That’s the joke.” The cat arched its eyebrows. “Tiny font is a joke?” Dirk waved a hand at the animal
on his shoulder dismissively. “But now 54 is about the girls. Their story was supposed to end permanently on page 43,
when Acorn leaves. It’s not about them anymore,
they’re no longer relevant.” “Maybe they didn’t want
it to not be about them. Maybe there’s more to the
Pony Pals than you thought. After all, they somehow made it here.” Dirk shut the book, stood,
and closed his eyes. No one could tell he had closed his eyes
because of his sunglasses, but I know, because I’m him. So trust me, he closed his fucking eyes. Now is not the right time to start
questioning my/his/our objectivity. Eye status: shut tighter than… something that’s really tight; I don’t have time for these
elaborate similes anymore. “Okay,” Dirk said after a few sec “Okay, new plan. I can still make this work. I’ve got it under control.
Just as long as—” And that’s when Anna woke up. Anna’s eyes, which had been flickering wildly,
suddenly snapped back to their usual deep, cloudy brown. But now, there was an
otherworldly glow bordering her irises, as if a power inside Anna’s
skull was struggling to escape, but was being held in check
by the girl’s willpower alone. She began to stand. Pam, kneeling by her in the snow, gasped in
shock and relief, and cautiously scooted away. (To be completely honest,
Pam’s gasp was due to shock, relief, and fear. So much fear.) As Anna stood, her robotic arm
did not come with her. It remained on the cold ground,
lifeless and motionless metal once more. Covering the stump where the cybernetic arm
had previously connected to Anna’s shoulder, there was now a shimmering glaze
of the same slowly pulsing light that struggled behind the girl’s eyes. Again, as with the eyes, Anna seemed
to be holding this power back, keeping it from shooting out of her shoulder
in a solid beam of chaotic creation. Anna looked around the clearing as if
seeing it (and everything) for the first time. The cat and the boy had stopped
their conversation to stare at her, as had the city and the woman. Even Acorn had stopped his
nonsensical horse bullshit to watch Anna Harley, Pony Pal. Anna walked to the center of the clearing
and tilted her head to the sky. She spoke in an icily sharp voice:
“I am become Author, destroyer of texts.” At last, the night listened. At last, it was silent. And then it was silent no longer. Every small noise was audible now, practically to the point of being visible;
sounds etched in bas-relief, like the grooves on a record
or the pins on the cylinder of a music box. You could almost see them
embedded in the heavy, viscous air: the crunching snow under Pam’s feet
as she cautiously stood up. The quiet whispered stream of
“fuckfuckfuckfuck” that tumbled from Dirk’s lips
like an obscene waterfall. The swish of Minos’ tail, once again
emulating that eternal pendulum. Pawnee and Jeanne Betancourt’s little grunts
as they angrily bumped each other with their shoulders, continuing their
argument pettily and nonverbally. And, of course, Acorn the pony’s huge,
gulping breaths of air as he recovered from his (final?) freakout. “Acorn,” Anna said as she fixed her
phantasmagorical gaze on her pony. “I’m glad I got to see you again.” She slowly walked to the pony and put her
hand on his mane, stroking it lovingly. Acorn rested his head on Anna’s
shoulder and nuzzled her neck. He too was thankful for this moment. And he too knew its cost. Like Pam’s earlier speech to Anna,
this moment was too private — no, too sacred — to eavesdrop on. The silvery light began to
drip from Anna’s shoulder, each drop bursting into a flash of
prismatic rays as it hit the ground. She and the pony were
— it was still hidden. Too sacred, too secret,
sacrosanct, sacrament, Acorn was… sacrament, consecrate,
desecrate, desiccate, dissociate Why can’t I describe what’s happening? It’s de-scribing itself. At last, Anna pulled away from Acorn. She stood on tiptoe, whispered
one last secret in his ear, then stepped backwards,
away from him. She kept her hand on his
mane as long as she could, and left it outstretched for several
moments after the contact broke. Anna once again stood in the middle of
the clearing, the middle of the universe. She gazed at the pony she loved more
than anything, including herself. “Now,” she whispered. Immediately, Acorn sprung into action. He moved with a preternatural speed and agility;
a machine of oiled muscle, a brilliant quicksilver torrent, a cascade of light and flesh and sound, a god. A god. He first ran to Jeanne Betancourt,
grabbed the back of her jacket in his puissant jaws, and with one sleek movement of his head,
tossed her over his shoulder so she landed perfectly on his back. She instinctively grabbed onto his mane
as he began to race towards his next target. Minos was more than ready. As Acorn passed,
the cat fluidly leapt onto the pony’s flank. He dug his claws in deep;
Acorn bled; neither cared. Finally, Acorn turned to Dirk. Through his shades, Dirk saw Acorn’s
horrifying face rushing towards him. Lips pulled back, mane whirling, eyes frothing,
ears billowing, hooves pulverizing, legs pumping like the pistons
in the engine of a hearse. One horsepower was more than enough
to drive this h(ea/o)rse on his journey to the
grave and back again. This was the n(e)igh-celestial body of an
animal who would run into a burning barn, not out of stupidity, but out
of defiance, out of refusal to believe that the flames
could so much as singe him. Acorn had become Oak. Dirk was fucking scared shitless. But Acorn didn’t touch Dirk at all
as he sped past. Instead, he precisely plucked the book from
Dirk’s hands and continued on his thunderous way. Acorn held the paperback between his
teeth as he galloped out of the forest, following the trail the
Pony Pals had cleared. This… was a pony. This was a fucking pony. Again, the silence. Again, the stillness. Dirk and the three Pony Pals stood alone in
the clearing, bodies tense, minds tenser. The stasis was finally broken when Pam walked
over to Anna and put a hand on her left shoulder (being careful to avoid the
mysterious shimmering fluid that was now falling
from Anna in a steady trickle). Pawnee quickly joined them,
grabbing onto Anna’s other shoulder. This wasn’t the Anna that they had known,
and had maybe loved. But whoever had now joined her in this body,
Pam and Pawnee trusted them. “…Okay, what the fuck went down
just now?” Dirk asked. “I’ve seen some bullshit,
but this is bullshit.” Anna shivered. The light pouring from her dimmed
until it was just the faintest flicker that occasionally radiated from her eyes. The stump of her left arm
was once again bare flesh; Pam began to remove her coat so
Anna could cover it with a sleeve, but Anna shook her head
and pointed at Dirk. “I want him to see it.” “Still don’t know what’s
happening, but now I’m even more weirded out than
I was before,” Dirk mumbled. “Yeah, you can add me to the
list of people who want to know what the fuck’s going on,” Pawnee said
as she and Pam drew back their hands. “And I’m pretty damn sure
you’re on that list too, Pam.” Pam was silent. “Then let me explain,” Anna said. “I’ll explain it all.” “Okay, good, info-dump time,” Dirk said,
inching closer to the girl, the town, and the… whatever it was that Anna had become. “And let’s just go through
the highlight reel, since I’m pretty sure that letting
those three fuckers hold onto that book for too long isn’t
the greatest of all conceivable ideas. So give it to me bounded in a nutshell. Even though this dream is bad enough that I highly doubt I can become
the king of infinite space.” Another sharp burst of the mysterious
light shot from Anna’s eyes, and her irises rapidly flickered
through another eighteen permutations of colors, shades, and sizes
before once more settling down. Anna smiled. “Thank you,” she said. Dirk started rubbing his temples again. “Jesus, this rabbit hole
just keeps getting deeper and darker and shittier, even without that
Cheshire motherfucker hanging around here.” Yet another flash from Anna’s eyes. Pawnee tugged on the sleeve of Anna’s shirt. “We probably should actually hurry up. We still need to save Acorn, right?” “Acorn’s gone now,” Anna said softly. “He no longer belongs here, or anywhere. In other words, he’s Homeless. That was the last time I’ll ever see him. But there’s more at stake here than
Acorn’s soul. So much more.” Pam hesitantly nodded. “Yes…” she whispered, then looked
surprised at the word she had said. “First answer,” Anna said to Dirk. “Why and how I’m here. I actually have you to
thank for that, Dirk. By killing me, you sent me to
the Other Side of the Other Side. I know you think that that phrase is just
a little playful combination of words that doesn’t mean anything, but it does. You removed me from the story,
but only temporarily. On my way out of and my way
back through the Other Side, I passed through all the layers
of other texts surrounding this one.” “Other texts?” Pawnee said, reaching for her flask before
realizing that she’d drained it (and the five others she carried on her
at all times) and tossed it aside hours ago. “The fuck do you mean, ‘other texts’?” “Yes,” Dirk said menacingly,
advancing a few steps. “What do you mean? Because if you mean what I think you do, then saying so would maybe be the most self-indulgent thing of all in this already incredibly
self-indulgent clusterfuck.” Anna ignored him. “This is a text, Pawnee,” she said. “We’re characters in a book. Well, not exactly — it’s complicated. But I’ll explain that later. The point is, Dirk, that you killed me,
then brought me back. That’s the key. Because in destroying me, you created me anew.” “But why only you?” Dirk asked. “I killed and revived Minos too.
Several times. And there were even more that I killed
and left dead. What’s special about you?” Anna grinned. “I’m dyslexic.” [Music: “Turkish March”, remixed with
sparkly synth and played in reverse] [Credits Narrator]
Detective Pony was originally written by Jeanne Betancourt. The first two pages were altered
by Andrew Hussie, pretending to be Dirk Strider. The rest of the pages were altered
by sonnetstuck, also pretending to be Dirk Strider. The book is read by Duckface as
yet another person pretending to be Dirk Strider, and Naked Bee, as Jeanne Betancort,
a fourth character who may or may not be Dirk Strider. This recording was instigated, perpetrated,
and assembled by Naked Bee. [crunch] [ttthwwwip]

10 thoughts on “Detective Pony – Chapter 8, Homeless”

  • I love the stop motion animation on the narrative camera. The way that the movement is just a little jerky (presumably because doing enough stop motion frames for perfectly smooth animation would have killed naked bee) adds a really unique and special aspect to it that makes it stand out from all of the other characters

  • Fennecfoxfanatic says:

    The narrative being the camera itself in stop motion was soooo cute! It's little tripod legs! I wonder what other camera took the pictures then? That question is just another layer of the "IT JUST KEEPS HAPPENIN" motif of never ending bull shit. I lo this so much!!!

  • Seeing the audiobook pop up was so clever, and gave me chills. I've started obsessively going through these episodes now, looking for small details that might symbolize something. You manage to add so much depth on top of an already impressive text. I feel like the pink strap on Pam (someone who was able to prevent the narration from listening cough Void cough) has the be on purpose, and I think Pawnee's jacket is also on purpose, though that one is a bit more of a stretch. I considered Detective Pony 100% canon even before it got referenced, but these videos elevate it to an entirely new level. Amazing work, everyone who worked on this project.

  • Dedicatedfollower467 says:

    This continues to get more and more incredible with every episode. I LOVE the way you played with the narrative as a stop motion camera, and therefore not acting under the "control" of the authors. Also, since I recognized Bob and Larry from Veggietales in the eye flashes, I'm half-tempted to see if I can recognize any of the other characters' whose eyes are in the whole sequence. Again, BRILLIANT work, and I love the depth of thought you've put into this!

  • Oh my god, Dirk in the intro because of course he is. I love it! The girls' arrival is just so fantastic because they're so assertive. They're going to get shit done. What are authors to pony pals?! Acorn's continued shit flipping is brilliant, love to see a pony just go buckwild (pun).

    I had to pause the credits to see what had been done and perfection itself had been done. Obviously the vast majority of the credit goes to Dirk, but Jane is marked in there as "best friend", which is the whole point of this story, Auto-Responder as ADR (I'm assuming Automated Dialogue Replacement which is not only an excellent term for the film-making technique, but accurately describes his entire purpose) and Dave for craft services. Yeah, I'd believe that. In fact, I'd believe that Dirk and Dave collaborated on this on Earth C, with Dirk going absolutely overboard and Dave just contributing lazy-ass pictures of Pawnee superimposed over Pawnee's face and Vriska's arm without making the background transparent. I can completely see Dirk making sure Dave sees this, the ugliest and most honest parts of himself, his answer to his Dave's example of irony and an insight into the best and worst parts of him. The worst is heartbreakingly obvious; this puts all of Dirk's pretension and arrogance under a spotlight. But it also shows how much he loves his friends. And I think Dave is uniquely positioned to Get this as a work of art. When I say lazy-ass, that's Dave showing he understands Dirk's vision. Of course I could be reading way too much into a gag credit that was impossible to see in real time.

    God, Dirk-the-hand rubbing Dirk-the-barbie's temples is just … I love it. The stop motion camera/narrative is so fucking cute. This shit right here is why WALL-E was a success. Oh My God, the eyes were so perfect. The arm returns! The association with Anna's power over the narrative is wonderful. The background of the audio, god, it's so familiar to me by now and it's such a wonderful interpretation of the words and homage to your previous adaptation. Phantasmagorical is a good word. It's a shame modern writers don't have the balls to use it four times on a page like Poe.

    Holy shit. Is what's happening to Anna going to be John's journey. We all know that meat John isn't going to stay dead, surely. He's just chilling in Terezi's sylladex as far as we know and his journey is incredibly tied into the intertextuality that intrudes on Homestuck, I've literally written an essay on this exact topic. Death empowers Anna (a character that represents Jane, who shares many parallels with her pre-scratch counterpart, John). Interestingly, though meat John being bitten by Lord English removes candy John's retcon abilities, John still manages to zap himself and Terezi back to Earth C with the last of his power. So meat John still has it, in theory. Does Dirk realise the power he may have given John by bringing this version of Detective Pony into Homestuck^2, making it an intentional set up for John's return and power over him? Or did he, like this character version of Dirk, just want to make a clever reference.

    When meat Jade was knocked out, it seems like she and alt-Calliope had a chat about what Dirk's doing. Calliope and Dirk are very aware that they're in a text, a text they have some degree of control over (or are written as though they have control over it, depending on how deep you want to get into that rabbit hole). We haven't seen any other instance of the dream bubbles or their equivalent since the ending of Homestuck, which makes sense given that Feferi asked the horrorterrors to create the bubbles throughout the furthest ring, something that shouldn't be accessible from Earth C, but Jade and Calliope were able to communicate while Jade was asleep. If John is now existing in whatever counts as an afterlife/sleep-life post-game, will he too realise that he's in an honest-to-god narrative? He's talked about canon before, but he very clearly does not understand it fully. He has an instinctive knowledge, but it doesn't seem like Rose has ever said "we exist within a story", just "this is what constitutes canon. Which, now I think on it, that's a rather strange omission. If he was able to get full comprehension at the level of Dirk and Calliope, to know explicitly what his retcon powers are, not just have an instinctive knowledge and the ability to follow seers directions, I don't even know what he would be. Super OP, probably. (These comments keep turning into me musing about Homestuck^2 instead of the content, sorry!)

    Fantastic work as always Bee! The story is of course exquisite, but your take on visually representing the action elevates it further, I can't properly articulate just how much I look forward to seeing every update!

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