WAITING FOR GOD TIER
(Please type your commands.)
>remember how i died
TYPHEUS THE SLUMBERING is here, thoroughly unslumbering.
Your body is here.
Your blood coats the floor in uneven red whorls.
>that is nasty.
>examine troll companion’s friendly ghost
Your TROLL COMPANION’S FRIENDLY GHOST looks less friendly than the title suggests. He stares at you with wide white eyes, blank and annoyed, the garish slice through his chest still disturbing every time you see it. The rest of him is less disturbing: he is shortish and all corners, like a wiry grey brick. He has choppy dark hair and nubby buttercup horns and is basically “precious”.
“If I could invent a machine that killed you again, I would!” says your COMPANIONABLE GHOST. “You are the type of idiot who believes only what he reads in Make Way For Dumbfucks. You’re not remembering this correctly, John.”
>hehe, it’s still weird every time you call me john. it has that certain buddy atmosphere to it. buddysphere.
>sorry, dude, this is how it happened! i came down here and me and typheus just talked. and then he killed me, which was less of an asshole move than you’d think.
>am i meant to remember what he said, karkat? i don’t remember what he said
“Because it’s not your memory, nookfuck. You’re getting caught up in the echoes of different horseshit. Look harder.”
The Slumbering One may scream with the many voices of the wind, whether shouting typhoons or whispering breezes, ringing through the many parcel pyxis dotted throughout your Land. He also kind of looks like a big pill from Doctor Mario.
His great serpentine head is lowered to where your body lies.
You cannot remember DYING.
Typheus presses one flat cheek gently to your blood, next to your body. He croons a mourning song, and then with a sucked-in breath, he blows. Your blood tumbles away and up the tunnel, light as air, strange wet feathers.
“We made an agreement, dipshit,” says the COMPANION GHOST. “We have to remember before our time’s up.”
>this isn’t how i died. that isn’t even me, that’s the memory of another me. this is how i died first, i mean, but not how i died after.
Typheus nudges your DOOMED TIMELINE’S CORPSE with his flat, wide head. He rolls it away. Your COMPANION GHOST watches the proceedings with what looks to be odd, slightly nauseated regret.
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” he says. His voice is a little raspy, like someone who is used to putting a scowl in their whole being including words. He barks things, like a small, savage dog. “Think, John. Use the lonely brain cell left in your skullbone.”
Everything brightly melts and shifts, like a drippy wax crayon.
Your QUEST BED is here, carved of the same blue stuff as the mountain. Four pillars topped with steel orbs bracket it, silhouetted up into the sky. It looks less like a bed and more like a hard slab of rock.
Your body is here.
It looks as though a great blade was thrust down through your ribcage and your smiling Green Slime Ghost, which is as sad as it is macabre. No Green Slime Ghost should ever be treated this way. The blade was then removed, leaving a three-inch wind tunnel to your heart.
“Do you remember the promise we made?” says your COMPANION GHOST. “We made a vow like the most optimistic pair of jackasses who ever promised that no matter how dumb one became, the other would always be dumber. Please.”
>remember the promise
You cannot remember THE PROMISE.
>i don’t, karkat. sorry!
“Fuck every iteration of my life. What do you remember?”
>i remember that my insides never look any less nasty. ha ha.
>wait. shit. i remember vriska!
>i remember that vriska told me this was going to be a legendary nap.
>vriska did not imply that this legendary nap would give me a big vent.
“Yeah, well, you are one of the billion appendices in Assholes Who Trusted Vriska Serket,” says KARKAT’S GHOST.
>i am absolutely not going to trust her again! jesus, you trolls are all the same. it is do this and do that and by the way, john, we are going to play machinegun trampoline with your death like it is not even a thing.
>i bet you machinegun trampoline is an actual troll game. why am i even talking to you? like, you have been an undeniable asshole also!
“Let’s get one thing straight,” Karkat says, and his face scrunches up. “Getting angry at me at this juncture over this happenstance is so impossibly stupid that I can’t begin to describe -- “
>i died. that’s my body right there. i died because of her and i thought
“You thought nothing! You thought that so long ago that it is not even worthwhile thinking about. We don’t have the time for maudlin bullshit, Egbert.”
>i don’t understand.
“I don’t need you to understand. I need you to remember, as I have said redundantly six thousand times.”
>was she sorry?
>did she and i make up?
He is in fact one of the tiredest looking people you have ever seen in your life. Those white empty eyes have bruisy shadows beneath them, like somebody who’s either been hitting the booze or hasn’t slept for a year. While looking at you he opens and closes his mouth like a peeved goldfish. The expression on his face is frustration mingled with something else, glimmering behind heavy eyelids.
“Yeah,” he says finally. “Yeah, you made up.”
>feel bad. give karkat inspirational pat on shoulder
The troll boy does not flinch away, even though you expected him to. He simply looks at you with that weighty, over-serious stare, worn-down with annoyance and too little sleep. The fabric of his shirt has been washed paper-thin: he is no older than you or Dave or Rose or Jade, except for his expression.
He says tiredly, “Don’t friendlead me, John. We have too much goddamn work to do.”
>oh man, friendlead is the greatest term i have ever heard in my life.
“It was made by a gigantic asshole who calls himself my friend, for reasons unexplained.”
>ha ha, i knew you were a popular guy.
You cannot remember THE PROMISE.
>what did we promise, anyway?
The body of YOUR DAD (MANGLED; TWISTED) is here.
The body of ROSE’S MOM (MUTILATED; SPINDLED) is here.
Your body is here.
He is your Dad. Someone has taken his hat off, which makes him look undressed. He would not have liked lying around with his hat off. Your Dad is so old school, he carved his homework on big marble slabs.
>go to dad
You sit down next to your Dad and take his hand in your lap. His fingers are cool and you warm them a little inside your own, breathing on them slowly. You do this until Karkat comes and takes you by the shoulders and tugs you away.
“John. John, I’m sorry about your lusus, just -- this isn’t the time. John, I need you, okay? There. There are the hideous, desperate innards of me. Don’t do this. We don’t have time.”
Did you mean YOUR DAD’S MANGLED, TWISTED BODY, ROSE’S MOM’S MUTILATED, SPINDLED BODY or YOUR BODY?
>my body i mean my body
You are lying sprawled and bloody in your God Tier garb. There is that over-familiar slice through your chest, though this time it looks like the thrust came from behind and not from the front.
You remember JADE, DAVE and ROSE, the progress you had made through SBURB; the TUMOR locked inside Dad’s wallet, ready for the GREEN SUN. You remember being pestered by trolls who were slowly and surely becoming your ALIEN BUDDIES. You are embarrassed by how much you had forgotten about VRISKA, who you did in fact make up with and turn her life around like a stern coach in a Lifetime movie with a star basketballer who has a drugs problem but a big heart.
You are also embarrassed by how much you had forgotten about KARKAT.
You are not embarrassed about DAD. What you feel about Dad is a mess of fried nerve endings and you tug away from Karkat’s hand. He doesn’t let go, not even when you slide down to your knees.
>he killed my dad and i couldn’t do a thing
>he killed rose’s mom and she couldn’t do a thing either.
“I know, John. I know.”
>no, you don’t know, not really. because it was my dad and he got killed for stupid reasons and i wasn’t even there.
“You are not,” says Karkat fiercely, “the only asshole who ever had a lusus, Egbert.”
Your GHOST COMPANION shifts from foot to foot awkwardly, every so often tugging on your shoulder. His palm is a little slick and leathery, like a nice shoe. “John,” he says, taut. “I’m an asshole. I get it. But we can’t fucking stay here, let me repeat ad infinitum! John, I’m -- sorry, okay -- ”
>no i am a jerk, i’m sorr
“ -- no, I was -- ”
>seriously i am a gigantic one, i just
“Just raise your hideous gluteals and remember, John, that is the sum total of my every shitty desire,” says Karkat. He hauls you to stand as you wipe grimy rain off your face. “We haven’t got the time. I need you to remember the promise.”
>but why are we hurrying, karkat?
>what do i have to remember for? i mean geez, aren’t you supposed to sleep when you’re dead ha ha
>rose! what about rose?
Your body is here.
Rose’s body is here.
Your body crackles with a thousand colours of light, then disappears!
>examine rose’s body
She lies in a bedraggled pile away from you, all grey skin and black ooze. Her pretty blonde hair is bleached white and bloodied, and there is a wound the exact same size of YOURS and KARKAT’S deep through her stomach.
“Just a little more, Egbert,” says your COMPANION GHOST, with a sort of grim eagerness. “Last one. After this is the simmering gaper labelled paydirt and we can finish the job. Do you remember?”
>i remember this!
>i woke up and kissed her. for, um, the good of the city. i mean she was dead but i still felt sort of bad about it, i mean she had been speaking gobbledygook and i am not entirely sure she responded positively to being my future wife like in your diagram and
>examine karkat’s chest
With due heterosexuality, you perambulate Karkat a shoulder’s length away from you. Whatever blade he faced carved right through his skinny ribcage, shearing neatly through t-shirt and spine. It is the twin of yours twice over and the related cousin of Rose’s.
>wait a minute.
>karkat, when did you die?
Karkat says, “Got shown some stabs. They touched me! Deeply.”
>dude, not funny
Karkat’s body is here.
A troll girl’s body is here.
>examine troll girl
Terezi is wearing that funny red and bluey-green outfit. She has been stabbed neatly through the solar plexus.
>how do i know??
“He cut us all down,” says the COMPANION GHOST. This time he kneels, takes his sleeve and awkwardly wipes teal off her wan dead face. He does this very gently. “Just for the sake of Vriska Serket’s fucking hero complex.”
“John, if you go into denial now, I will rip your arms off and beat you to a final death with them -- ”
>no i mean, that’s not how it happened.
>it can’t be how it happened. like, logically!
“John, we haven’t got time for -- ”
>if this is how we went how come i’m here?
>i got better after that first death, man!
>and we talked. remember that we talked about
>remember what you talked about
CG: IT WASN'T A FUCKING COMPLIMENT.
Karkat’s face goes strangely slack. He opens his mouth to argue, but nothing comes out. He wears the expression of someone who just woke up from a dream, and is caught in the no-man’s-land between waking and memory. The grim confidence seeps away and he looks so lost and panicked all of a sudden that you’re sorry; looks like someone who left all his ovens on back home, and now he’s forgotten what an oven is.
He exhales hard and he says, “Shit.”
>remember the promise
“But -- fuck, why would I even remember -- what did I -- “
>jesus, john, remember harder!
YEAH, YOU ARE PRETTY MUCH THE DUMBEST REASON I WAS EVER IN DANGER FOR.
SUCK IT DOWN, JADE.
haha, karkat, it sounds like you’re getting “cute” over my sister.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU SHOULD SHUT YOUR GAPING FAILMAW.
we dont have much time left!
with the green sun still around he could come back at any moment
HARLEY, MUCH LIKE I ABHOR YOUR IMPERFECT ASS --
-- THE GAME ABHORS A SCRATCH.
I AM NOT LETTING GALUMPHING HERDS OF BICLOPSES AND WHYCLOPSES YOU DIMWITS CONJURED UP DESTROY THE MESA, TRAPPING YOU AND YOUR BUCK TEETH FOREVER.
jade, we are your established friendleaders, palhonchoes and co-buddycaptains.
go get those denizens! we will hold down the fort.
at the first sign of trouble, you guys go through
heh, your fingers were crossed too?
OF COURSE THEY FUCKING WERE, JOHN.
NAKKODILES come in their tens and dozens, bringing tiny BABY NAKKODILES with them through the Scratch. Every so often you will see a similar diaspora of SALAMANDERS and TURTLES. The IGUANAS come last.
Karkat hits you like the unhappy hammer of God.
Karkat cocks back his fist and punches you again, angling up to land one on your jaw as you stagger.
That sure did HURT!
>holy shit! karkat, quit it!
“Stop it,” he says, strangled. “Shut your miserable, slackjawed vomitsphincter, shut your -- shut UP, shut UP, I can’t -- I -- “
>karkat you were the one who wanted me to remember in the first pla
Karkat crunches his bony grey knuckles directly into your nose.
You sure are BLEEDING!
You grab his fists. Karkat crumples like a pizza box left out in the rain. He deflates, and all the brightness that is Karkat goes out of him: for the first time he looks like what he is, an empty ghost with a gaping wound through his ribs.
“We’re dead,” he says. “We’re dead and I was thoroughly fucking wrong in every way. We’re dead and we failed.”
>say something intelligent
There is nothing to say.
“Wait,” he says. There is a terrible hope skewing his mouth. “No, you have to remember -- John, you have to remember how it finished. You’re God Tier, you pajama-clad nookspittle -- come on, it couldn’t have been just, how the miserable hell would any of that have been just -- ”
“ -- you’ll probably be heading back any second. There! I have it down. That’s it -- ”
“Remember,” he hisses, and he digs his claws into the soft heels of your hands. Even now, it hurts. “Egbert. For the last time: remember.”
>remember how he looked
-- fighting them off, sickle slicing through bone and flesh: the hilt crunching down hard, then a flick, a twist, a spray of blood. Karkat moved like he and his sickle were one and he had a belated hate-date with decapitation, and when you tumbled imps towards him with a gust of hot air he became a living blender --
>remember when they stopped
-- they didn’t; every Ruby Giclops came, every Amber imp. The Game’s last-ditch attempt not on you, but the gash in its code --
“Karkat, go through, I can -- “
“I’m not leaving anyone behind!” he hollered, over the din. “Never! Fucking! Again!” --
“ -- besides,” Karkat said dreamily, eyes like fireworks and blood all down his front, “I have to cure cancer, John.”
“ -- but -- ”
“Go. My fault, my fight.”
“My co-friendleader,” you said, “my fight.”
“You are the greatest dipshit I have ever known, John Egbert.”
>remember jack noir
-- God Tier; full echeladder; maxed fraymotifs; elite gristweapons. You both fought harder than you ever had done in your lives.
You lasted six minutes.
>remember how we died
YOUR GHOST COMPANION says heavily, “You fuck.”
>we kept the scratch open!
>both of us.
>we both know, dude, what’s the use of a world that doesn’t have jade harley in it?
>as for you and me, well. maybe the universe could stand to be a little less badass.
>though it’ll probably have shitty stars!
>karkat please it’s okay, it’s okay, we’re just fine.
“If you’d care to review your dripping memory stuffing, Egbert, the dreaming dead don’t pass through.”
“Sweet leaking shitholes,” he says dazedly. “Look. I think it’s closing.”
Slowly and surely, it totally is.
>ok, now we do not have to worry.
>jade is so good at beginnings. you don’t even know.
>not long now, i guess.
After a while your COMPANION GHOST closes his eyes and breaks the silence: “I can welcome a universe not reeking of my stale failure stink,” he says, with difficulty. “I find the idea of one without you a -- a little goddamn distasteful.”
“Shut it. Let me embrace entropy with wide, open arms.”
>look at karkat
Your COMPANION TROLL turns his face to you and squints in the bright sunshine. He is a little pink in the embarrassment area but in the light he almost glitters a little, right here at the end of it, and you are so thoroughly content with how he looks. “What.”
>karkat. the next time over!
“‘Next time’? Are you dumb or just demented -- ”
>next time over i am going to be SO homosexual for you, i promise.