Your ECTOFATHER is presently engrossed in conversation with your ECTOBROTHER. You approach.
ROSE: Hello, father.
ROSE: You are my biological father, aren't you?
DIRK: That is my understanding of the chaotic and mostly nonsensical sequence of events that led to our existence, yes.
ROSE: It may seem strange, but I never wondered very much about who my father was or what he was like. Given my mother's habits I always just sort of assumed I was the product of a drunken one-night stand.
ROSE: And reassured myself that whoever the man was, he was probably a deadbeat anyway, and that I was better off without him casting a shadow over my life.
ROSE: One difficult and perpetually inebriated parent was more than enough.
DIRK: You probably weren't too far off. Given Dave's experiences with my adult self, I'd say you lucked out.
ROSE: Regardless, I'm glad I get the chance to meet you now.
DIRK: I read your wizard books. That was some pretty interesting stuff.
ROSE: I looked at your puppet websites. That was some interesting stuff, too.
ROSE: They betrayed the workings of an uncommon mind.
ROSE: A mind ripe, if I may say so, for aggressive psychoanalytic dissection, in which the frightening array of neuroses lurking in the depths of your subconscious would be exhaustively chased out and catalogued.
DAVE: rose stop it youre making him uncomfortable
ROSE: You certainly seemed to leap at the opportunity to inflict discomfort onto my teenage parental figure. I feel a certain obligation to return the favor.
DIRK: It's ok, we can do the lightning round thing if you want. I guess that's what we're all doing now, isn't it?
ROSE: It does seem to have become a thing.
DIRK: K. Hit me with it, then.
ROSE: I'm not sure which subject would be most enlightening to broach first: your intriguing marionette fixation, or your obvious repressed homosexuality.
DAVE: rose wtf
DIRK: I find that suggestion offensive. I am not a repressed homosexual.
DIRK: I'm an open homosexual.
ROSE: ... Oh.
ROSE: My apologies.
DAVE: rose what the fuck
DAVE: you KNEW that??
ROSE: Knew what?
DAVE: that he was
ROSE: ... Are you telling me you didn't know?
DAVE: well ok
DAVE: ill admit some things have come to seem more obvious to me in hindsight
ROSE: Dave, your brother ran a website devoted to blatantly homoerotic puppet fetish pornography.
DAVE: it was supposed to be ironic!!!!
DAVE: at least thats what he always told me
DAVE: ok i guess i was kind of a dumbass about this in retrospect
DAVE: but you cant tell me you never misunderstood your own parental figure in some ways
ROSE: No, I suppose not.
DIRK: Yeah, there were plenty of things I never figured out about my own bro either.
DIRK: Including... pretty much that exact same thing, actually.
ROSE: In short: we're all a bunch of dumbasses.
ROSE: But now that the more straightforward question is out of the way, I'll advance to the more interesting one.
ROSE: Are you genuinely sexually excited by puppets?
DAVE: dammit rose
DIRK: Not holding anything back, are you?
ROSE: I have always held little doubt this conversation was destined to become very inappropriate very quickly. I just thought I'd jump right in and grab that particular question by its tantalizingly bulbous foam ass.
ROSE: If the question really makes you uncomfortable, though, we can skip it. I'll pretend not to be disappointed.
DAVE: sorry rose but as arbitrator of this discussion im going to have to step in here
DAVE: the conversation has just screeched to a halt with a record scratch like in shitty comedy movie trailers
DAVE: were skipping it
ROSE: Who exactly made you the arbitrator?
DAVE: you unilaterally crowned yourself referee over my introduction to your mom
DAVE: my mom
DAVE: so i think its only fair that i get to claim the same position here
DAVE: and as such i am officially declaring your explicit question about dirks private sexual fantasies to be out of bounds
DAVE: the quarterback just threw a foul and the umpire awarded the opposing team a penalty kick
DAVE: im the umpire
DAVE: its me
DAVE: and the penalty kick is that dirk doesnt have to answer your dumbass question
DAVE: for the record man if you seriously have a hardon for puppets thats totally cool
DAVE: not being judgmental here
DAVE: im just ruling that if any topic is inappropriate for a discussion between a dude and his ectobiological offspring its gotta be that one
DIRK: Sorry, Rose. If it makes Dave uncomfortable I think we should hold off on descending to the ultimate depths of conversational depravity for now.
DIRK: We can hold the R-rated puppet smut discussion at a later date.
ROSE: Very well, I'm marking it on my calendar. We'll revisit the topic when my fun-destroying brother is out of conversational earshot.
ROSE: Let's move this impromptu therapy session back onto more traditional ground, shall we?
ROSE: Tell me about your childhood.
DIRK: It was shit.
DIRK: Not a lot to do in the middle of the fucking ocean on post-apocalyptic Earth.
DIRK: Mostly I spent my time meticulously building battle robots and then demolishing them with my sword like a maniac, or else fucking around pointlessly on the Internet.
DIRK: Or what remained of it in the 25th century, anyway.
ROSE: Interesting. Do you think your enthusiasm for phallic weaponry stems from a subconscious insecurity about your masculinity?
DIRK: I dunno. Do you think your enthusiasm for bullshit amateur psychiatry stems from subconscious fears about your own mental stability?
DAVE: yeah he pretty much nailed that one
ROSE: Nonetheless, Dirk, it is still my lightning round. You may reserve your unsettlingly perceptive questions until I am the one lying pliantly on this conversation's metaphorical analytic couch.
DIRK: Got it.
DIRK: You may proceed in your exegesis on my personality and how every facet of it secretly revolves around my obsession with dick.
ROSE: Very well.
ROSE: You like horses, don't you, Dirk?
DAVE: oh god
DIRK: Yes, but I think a detailed examination of my insatiable lust for equine schlong should probably wait for the other conversation.
DIRK: The one Dave is banned from.
DAVE: fuck i sincerely cant tell whether you guys are joking or not
ROSE: ; )
DIRK: ; )
DAVE: oh god stop it
ROSE: He said insincerely.
DIRK: The level of sincerity in my apology directly correlates to the level of sincerity in Dave's discomfort.
DIRK: Which I'm legitimately not entirely certain of.
ROSE: Your sincere interest in not upsetting Dave is surprising, coming from someone genetically identical to his deceased brother.
ROSE: Not to mention closely genetically related to me.
ROSE: Perhaps an exploration of your relationship to your own pseudo-brother will shed some light on this apparent incongruity.
ROSE: The adult version of Dave was the closest thing you had to a parental figure and role model, yes?
DIRK: Pretty much.
ROSE: And you found him an... adequate source of inspiration?
DIRK: Hell yeah. Dude was a badass.
DAVE: rose are you implying you cant believe someone would look up to me
DAVE: cause i can tell you right now that is some prime bullshit
DAVE: my awesomeness is an entirely indisputable fact of nature which extends over all timelines and universal iterations
DAVE: in all my circuitous journeys up paradox spaces hairy metatemporal asshole i have never encountered a dave who was not at least as awesome as me
DIRK: This is unquestionably true. As a lifelong scholar of his life and mythology, I can unequivocally vouch for Dave's objective awesomeness.
ROSE: Very well, I withdraw the insinuation.
ROSE: Discussion of Dave Strider's actual coolness or lack thereof will be tabled for now on the grounds that the jury is rigged.
ROSE: But regardless, Dave was your chief formative influence.
ROSE: And psychosexual explanations aside, you developed an enthusiasm for rap and swordfighting and so on because he was into those things?
DIRK: He definitely planted the seed of interest.
ROSE: Did you also make an effort at continuing his... unique artistic legacy?
DIRK: Uh, kind of.
DIRK: All my experiments in comic art are a little more NSFW, though.
ROSE: Don't tell me you wrote Bro/Jeff slash fiction.
DIRK: It was a satire on contemporary ideals of masculinity and sexuality.
DIRK: I'm sure my bro would have approved.
DAVE: hell yes
ROSE: So your interests overall were heavily influenced by your version of Dave. Yet he took on those hobbies, in our universe, because you did.
ROSE: Are those interests then innate to your personality, or did they arise in both universes due to coincidence only?
DIRK: I don't think there's any way to answer that, without knowing more about the history of my or Dave's adult selves and how they came to develop their various predilections.
ROSE: I suppose not. Roxy and I have observed similar mysterious parallels between our lives, which can't be explained merely by our genetic similarity but whose ultimate origin remains inscrutable.
DAVE: yeah paradox space is full of these stupid parallels and coincidences
DAVE: like why do we even have the same names as our alt universe counterparts
DAVE: how did other me get named dave and was it for the same reason bro decided to call me that
DAVE: well never know
DAVE: and i kind of think its better not to dwell too much on stuff like that
DAVE: its just paradox space trying to mindfuck us with its shitty space tendrils again
DAVE: and make us have a mental breakdown when we realize the truth
DAVE: like HOLY SHIT
DAVE: its a PARADOX
DAVE: never seen one of those before
DAVE: in my three years as a fuckin time player
ROSE: Perhaps. Space tendril violation aside, though, it does make tracing the development of an individual's personality and neuroses into a complex and difficult process.
ROSE: I mean, even moreso than it already is.
DIRK: Well, I don't think that's too much of a concern in my case. My bro may have shaped my impeccable taste in ill rhymes and surrealist comic art, but my neuroses are entirely my own.
ROSE: That's good to hear. I've already spent the past six or so years plumbing the depths of Dave's subconscious; it's nice to know I'll finally have some new material to work with.
DIRK: I'm glad someone still finds my manifold personality problems so overwhelmingly fascinating. I got pretty sick of them a while back, myself.
DIRK: Too many conversations with oneself will eventually become tiresome even to the most inexhaustibly self-absorbed.
DIRK: This I know from bitter experience.
ROSE: Ah, yes.
ROSE: You created a robot version of yourself, correct?
DIRK: An AI, yeah. And a robot, kind of.
DIRK: The robot exploded after ripping its own heart out in a futile yet aggressively symbolic romantic gesture.
DIRK: And I never really got along with the AI. He was kind of an asshole.
DIRK: Not unlike me.
ROSE: Roxy was right; your psyche is positively brimming with unsettling peculiarities.
ROSE: This externally-manifested conflict against your shadow self sounds positively Jungian.
DAVE: lmao rose where do you even get off acting like a guy having an adversarial relationship with a copy of himself is such a crazy exotic phenomenon
DAVE: you felt exactly the same way about your fuckin duplicate
ROSE: A fair riposte.
DIRK: You mean the cat one?
ROSE: She was maddening.
ROSE: She seemed to take a perverse delight in taking every aspect of myself that I most dislike and rubbing it aggressively in my face.
ROSE: Not unlike the cast-off hair of a vigorously-shedding cat, deliberately shoved into the face of the nearest allergic human.
DIRK: To put it memetically, I know that feel.
DAVE: hey look you guys are bonding already
DAVE: and it only took like a thousand words of bullshit psychobabble for you to figure out you have something in common
ROSE: Yes, there's something truly touching about bonding with my ectobiological father over what ideal psychiatric patients we both are.
DIRK: What is even the deal with the psychotherapy schtick anyway? If you don't mind my asking.
DIRK: I don't recall anything about Roxy's mom moonlighting as a cut-price Freud impressionist.
ROSE: No, it seems she pursued the much more mature and respectable occupation of spinning elaborate fables involving magical bearded men.
DIRK: So, you aren't that into the wizardfic thing?
ROSE: I've written a few stories, though I doubt they can compare to my counterpart's oeuvre.
DIRK: Can I read them?
ROSE: Sure, when Roxy's done with them.
ROSE: But only if I get to have a look at your own... artwork.
DIRK: It's a deal.
ROSE: Does this mean we're transitioning into the part of the conversation where you interrogate me about my various interests and personality dysfunctions?
DIRK: I mean it's fine if you want to keep asking me stuff.
DIRK: Your Freud schtick is pretty useful inasmuch as it indulges my apparently inexhaustible interest in talking about myself.
DIRK: But there are some things I'd like to know about you, too.
ROSE: Fire away.
DIRK: So. You're my daughter.
ROSE: So it would seem.
DIRK: And Dave's sister.
DIRK: But only genetically, you didn't actually grow up together or anything.
ROSE: Correct. We met online, the same way we met our other friends.
ROSE: We didn't even know we were related until Sburb very considerately dropped that nuclear warhead of a revelation directly onto our heads, and left us to deal with the radioactive fallout of social awkwardness that inevitably ensued.
ROSE: An experience more awkward for some of us than others, as I'm sure Dave will inform you. ; )
DAVE: oh stfu
DAVE: shes implying i used to have a crush on her or some shit
DAVE: look its not my fucking fault all the hot people turn out to be related to me
DAVE: i cant help it that my genes are just that terminally attractive
DIRK: You can blame that one on Roxy, I guess.
ROSE: Oh, I don't know. You're not so bad yourself. ; )
DAVE: jesus rose no
DAVE: we had almost achieved escape velocity after my ill considered hot mom remarks and now youre draggin us right back into this fucking oedipal hellhole
ROSE: Relax, I'm only joking.
ROSE: And a girl hitting on her father is Electran, not Oedipal, anyway.
DIRK: Wow, our family really is messed up.
DAVE: i wonder if the harleyberts ever have awkward conversations like this
DAVE: do you think john and jade ever accidentally hit on each other before finding out they were related
ROSE: I doubt it.
ROSE: I think they're probably too pure-minded to be afflicted by incestuous thoughts, even unwittingly.
DAVE: yeah probably
DAVE: john and jade are ridiculous goobers in the best possible way
DAVE: ill introduce you to em later
DIRK: How did you guys all get to know each other, anyway?
DAVE: we met online when we were all around 10
DAVE: i think jade sought the rest of us out because her mysterious source of future information that turned out to be skaias hallucinogenic fog said we were destined to be best bropals forever or something
ROSE: Actually, I believe it was a letter John wrote her, that got sent back in time accidentally.
DAVE: ok so more time paradoxes got it
ROSE: Really, it's not too surprising that our meeting should have been facilitated through circular causality.
ROSE: We were destined since "birth" to play the game together, after all. Skaia merely chose its own way of arranging that eventuality.
DIRK: Yeah, that makes sense.
DIRK: Our situation was artificially arranged too, just more straightforwardly.
DIRK: An alien from another universe contacted Roxy and me out of the blue and informed us it was necessary for us to become friends with a couple of kids from the past, while providing us with the very temporally-transcendent software that enabled us to do so.
DIRK: We had no ability to directly contact anyone else, and we were the only ones alive in our own time period, so we pretty much had no choice in whom to befriend, even beyond mere predestination.
DIRK: A fact that resulted in a certain amount of drama down the line.
DIRK: Still, though. Even if my friends were cosmically mandated, I wouldn't trade them for anything.
ROSE: Same here.
DIRK: Did you guys have any other friends, though? Back on Earth? Ones who... didn't make it?
ROSE: Not really. At least, I didn't.
ROSE: I find that I can't be too annoyed at Skaia for dragooning me into friendship with these hopeless dweebs, since if not for its meddlesome intervention I might never have managed to acquire any friends at all.
DAVE: same tbh
DAVE: and then we got to meet you guys too
DAVE: so i guess aside from the whole destruction of humanity thing sburb isnt really that bad
ROSE: It's positively magnanimous.
DIRK: But aside from fucking around with friends on the Internet, you mostly spent your days prior to the game writing wizard stories and contemplating psychology?
ROSE: And reading books, and playing the violin.
DIRK: Sounds like a peaceful life.
ROSE: I didn't think so, at the time. I saw my home as the battleground for a ceaseless war of passive aggression.
DIRK: You lived with an adult version of Roxy, right?
ROSE: Yes. Our relationship was... complicated. But I've come to feel that I significantly misunderstood her.
DIRK: Oh, really? An expert psychoanalyst like you?
ROSE: Yes, even I have my occasional lapses when it comes to interpreting others' motives.
ROSE: I was once played fantastically by a sentient puppet with a cueball for a head.
DIRK: That sounds like an interesting story.
ROSE: Well, I'm sure you would think so. ; )
ROSE: Don't get too excited, though, he wasn't a sexual puppet.
ROSE: Or at least, he claimed not to be.
DIRK: Hey, I have ample appreciation for all members of puppet-kind.
ROSE: Even one who was a smug, manipulative creep?
DIRK: To be honest, it sounds like we might have had a few things in common.
DIRK: Too bad I never got to meet the guy.
ROSE: My interactions with him were ultimately not very profitable.
ROSE: Although they did result in Dave and me going God Tier.
ROSE: And he did tell us how to reset our session using the Scratch, which resulted in all of you existing in the first place.
DIRK: Well, I guess it wasn't a total loss.
DIRK: Speaking of God Tiers, you seem to have continued the trend of the girls getting all the stylish god garb.
DIRK: What's your title, again? The something of Light?
DIRK: Cool. And what kickass powers do you get?
ROSE: Supposedly, the ability to perceive the threads of possibility and weave them into a fortuitous outcome.
ROSE: In practice, nothing much since our resident Thief of Light ended up mostly usurping me in the strategy department.
ROSE: However, I do still have magic wands.
ROSE: They're pretty good for fucking shit up.
DIRK: So your counterpart wrote books about wizards, and it turns out you're an actual IRL wizardess.
DIRK: Or witch I guess, if I wanted to make that statement sound a bit less fucking stupid.
ROSE: If you'll forgive my asking a question out of turn, what do Heart powers do?
DIRK: Give the player a raging identity crisis, mostly.
DAVE: yeah my powers were pretty much a headache too
DAVE: like you cant actually use time powers for shit unless youre already predestined to do so
DAVE: if you try to defy causality all it does is make a doomed timeline
DAVE: i mean there have been times when it came in handy i guess but mostly the whole thing is more trouble than its worth
DAVE: ebgerts history-rewriting powers are pretty sweet though go figure
ROSE: Meanwhile Jade is hurling planets around and Roxy is conjuring arbitrary objects out of thin air.
ROSE: Why did the game have to stick us with all the terrible useless powers?
ROSE: I think I'm going to file a complaint.
DIRK: Write up a bug report. I'll help you.
ROSE: "Decent game but the power balance is very poor. Also our parents all died."
ROSE: "Juvenile replacements provided by Sburb are not sufficient compensation, though appreciated."
DIRK: To be fair -- because you know I'm all about fairness to omnipotent genocidal universe-seeding death machines -- if it weren't for the game none of us or our guardians would have existed in the first place.
DAVE: yeah sburb sucks balls but at least it bothered actually giving us families
DAVE: instead of just like whipping up a few genetically randomized paradox clones and calling it a day
DIRK: Having babies with Roxy was not on the list of things I ever intended to do with my life, but you know what? I'll take it.
ROSE: Yes, I suppose amid the patchwork of terrible design and sociopathic implementation that is Sburb, there are a few things it managed to not completely fuck up.
ROSE: Let this touching revelation be a lesson to us all.