[Panel description: A lilac pyramid with three terraces rises from the white sands of the land of light and rain. The sides of its lowest terrace are covered with engravings of the light symbol and serpentine figures curling up decorative columns. Similar structures rise behind it, their edges tinted gold with reflected light. Pink turtle shells float in the sky, pouring out streams of water glittering blue, yellow, and magenta. Pink-edged golden clouds drift in the bright blue sky.]
[Panel description: Rose walks down stairs in a purple cavern. As she descends, the walls and stairs become darker and tinted with blue. A speech bubble spirals from her head. It contains Jade's space symbol.]
tentacle Therapist [TT] began pestering garden Gnostic [GG].
TT: Care to explain what Kanaya was talking about?
GG: hi rose! I knew you would message me.
maybe we should set up another memo so kanaya can talk too.
[Panel description: Dirk stands on the land of tombs and krypton. The clouds above him are a dark red, and the entire scene is washed in a bloody light. The structure in front of him has a large door lined with ornate columns. On the door is a group of nine large white buttons arranged in a three by three grid. Another row of three buttons is set below this grid. One button at a time glows with a bright white light. The location of the glowing button alternates in a steady pattern. A carving of the heart symbol sits above all of the buttons. Dirk looks up at this with his gas mask on, and a haze of gases clouds the air. The image is drawn as if the viewer is situated below Dirk, looking up toward the sky with the tall structures looming above.]
[Panel description: Dirk reaches up and presses several buttons in sequence. Each lights up when he touches it.]
CGG RIGHT NOW opened memo on board rose and kanaya, click here! (heart emoji).
CURRENT Grim Auxiliatrix [CGA] responded to memo.
CGA: I apologize if I blew your cover there.
I wasn’t sure if your mission was a secret,
and I’m not sure if it should be.
CGG: it’s not a secret... it’s not something I’m spreading around either though.
I didn’t want people to worry.
CURRENT Tentacle Therapist [CTT] responded to memo.
CTT: Bring me up to speed here. What's going on?
CGA: Jade means to do something to the green sun.
Beyond that I’m not sure myself.
[Panel description: Rose continues walking down the stairs. A carving of a large serpentine creature wraps around the wall to her left. The speech bubble with Jade’s symbol continues to emerge from her head. She is viewed through a large circular porthole. On the other side of the porthole, air bubbles rise through water, and the bleached skeletons of dead coral reach toward the glass.]
CGG: until I’m there I won’t know what to do exactly...
but I know I’m supposed to sacrifice its light somehow.
that’s what I was told anyway.
CTT: I'm not sure I like the sound of this.
CGG: I knew you’d be worried, but my source is a little more trustworthy this time.
I heard it from calliope herself.
at least this is what I think she meant.
[Panel description: A thick stone slab rises from the ground, and small pieces of stone crumble downward. The gap reveals Dirk standing with his legs braced.]
CTT: Roxy's friend?
CGG: a version of her.
it turns out she’s behind a lot of things.
I’m not sure I liked her but I do trust her.
[Panel description: Rose stands in a pale blue chamber. A circular pool of water lies at her feet.]
CTT: From what I've learned, a cherub of that alignment can always be trusted to do what's right.
However, their concept of right is more impersonal and farsighted than ours.
Even if this is advantageous on a cosmic scale, we may not like the consequences.
CGG: I’m not planning to cart a bomb there.
hopefully anything I do can be undone.
CTT: My vision these days is blurry.
It seems all right, but you never know.
Kanaya, what do you think?
[Panel description: Dirk removes his gas mask, holding it in both hands as he looks upward. The path in front of him stretches on into the distance. Rectangular tombs, some closed and some gaping open, line the walls. Thick load-bearing beams crisscross the pathway.]
CGA: I did give this project my blessing,
but that was before jade revealed its true nature.
meddling with universal forces sounds risky,
but if anyone is cut out for such things I imagine a witch of space would be.
at the rate individuals are flinging themselves at this particular celestial body like moths circling a very large candle flame
it might be best if she does whatever she is planning before someone else does.
CTT: A ringing endorsement.
[Panel description: Rose dips one foot into the water. It splashes upward, rising much higher than normal.]
[Panel description: Rose stands encased in a bubble of glittering water.]
CGG: by the way kanaya how did your meeting with echidna go?
CGA: better than I expected.
she was very understanding and did not bear any grudges against me for killing her last time.
if I follow her instructions I should be able to accomplish the tasks I have been assigned,
which will be a relief in more ways than one.
CGG: (smiling face).
I knew you could do it!
CTT: I can only hope my own audience goes as smoothly.
I'm headed to Cetus soon.
CGA: Vriska claimed her denizen was unusually vicious.
whether that claim was true I do not know.
I’ve sometimes wondered if vriska found Cetus so difficult because she herself was inflexible,
which is a characteristic not limited to her alone.
denizens often ask of us things we do not believe we are capable of accomplishing.
and without abandoning that rigidity we doom ourselves to failure.
no matter what,
[Panel description: Dirk walks down the pathway. Beams continue to rise diagonally through the hallway, and gears line the walls along with more openings to tombs.]
CTT: I will. It would be a shame to die after making it this far.
Plus, after my insistence on Freudian readings of every possible scenario, being murdered by a serpent might have some unfortunate implications.
CGG: are you ok with what I’m doing rose?
CTT: I guess so. You seem to know what you're getting into.
Or rather, you don't, but your very lack of a plan is encouraging for some reason.
I thought I knew what I was doing, and I was hopelessly off base.
Your source isn't obviously nefarious.
I say go for it.
Do what I couldn't. Fuck up the Green Sun for me.
CGG: I won’t let you down.
CTT: When do you leave?
CGG: not for a while yet... I’ll have to catch john to get there, but I’m not in a hurry.
CTT: No, we have some breathing space before any more enemies arrive.
Take your time.
Let me know how it goes.
CURRENT Garden Gnostic [GG] left memo.
[Panel description: The bubble containing Rose drifts underwater between the pale blue and green walls of an underwater canyon. In front of it is a stone structure with a crude doorway. Behind the structure, the wreckage of a sunken ship angles toward the surface.]
CGA: Are you visiting Cetus now.
CTT: That's the plan.
I hope there's air down there.
CGA: I warned you already but do be careful.
echidna required me to bend.
perhaps in directions that are beneficial but it wasn’t all pleasant.
sometimes you have to swallow your pride.
CTT: Do you not think I'm capable of that?
CGA: I can’t say.
No one is sure what they are capable of in front of a giant snake monster until they find themselves in that situation.
[Panel description: Dirk pushes apart two enormous red-orange doors engraved with the heart symbol. He is clearly putting a lot of effort into it. A bright yellow-orange light like a fire glows from the space between the doors, casting flickering light on Dirk's surroundings. More ornate columns line the sides of the door, and curling wings reminiscent of the hope symbol emerge from behind each column.]
CGA: You have tremendous strength of will,
but sometimes that is paired with a reluctance to take advice
even if it is good for you.
I remember it was difficult reasoning with you when you had your own plans for the sun.
CTT: It all ended well, didn't it?
CGA: See you are using that as a way to excuse your behavior,
but even if it ended well it did not go as you expected.
you were tricked and killed.
and even if that result was inevitable or worked out in your favor it does not mean you were not headstrong and dangerous.
Cetus is likely to exploit that if you are not cautious.
[Panel description: An enormous lilac and white serpentine figure with a frilled back and finned tail fills the oversized panel. Rose's bubble rests near its base, dwarfed by the being’s size. A few other air bubbles float in the water, and some more dead coral lies to Cetus' left.]
CTT: Believe me, I know I made mistakes.
I promise I'm listening to you now, and I'm not taking your words lightly.
If Cetus and I don't get along, it won't be because you failed to prepare me.
What did Echidna ask of you?
CGA: She agreed to relinquish the frog when the time came.
through me she told karkat things pertaining to his own personal development.
and she told me that while I could restore my race there would be a price.
CTT: Did she tell you what?
CGA: I’m not sure.
I’ll find out.
CTT: I won't pry then.
CGA: You don’t have to tell me what Cetus says either,
If you don’t want to.
CTT: I have to hear her first before I decide if there are any secrets worth keeping.
Speaking of which,
[Panel description: Dirk stands at the base of an enormous red-orange serpent with its face obscured in a corona of light. The bright light casts a start shadow behind him. To the denizen's right is a door decorated with a combination of the heart and hope symbols. It contains another three by three grid of colored buttons, some of which are flashing.]
CTT: In the timeline that never happened, I realized there were things I'd left unsaid.
That I wanted to tell you.
Unfortunately, now that I'm no longer dying, I've lost my nerve.
CGA: If you find it,
let me know.
CTT: You'll be the first to hear about it.
CGA: For now I won’t keep you.
Remember what I said.
CTT: Luckily, fortune is a friend of mine.
CURRENT Tentacle Therapist [TT] closed memo.