It’s been a few months since you all arrived on the meteor. You could probably calculate the exact number of seconds that have passed since then ( nine million, ninety-eight thousand, eight hundred and- ), but you don’t want to , because it’s a little annoying. You’re still getting adjusted to it, a few months out. It being the meteor, the dying and resurrecting right before being slam-dunked into a dark, dank laboratory, and meeting a bunch of aliens who’d been bothering you and yours for years.
Some things about it are cool. Flying, that’s dope. All the stuff that comes with being god tier is rad, like the ever-clean cherry-red jammies, a complete end to the trials and tribulations of walking, and an internal set of chronometers fit to make you throw out any kitchen timers you didn’t own.
Where were you? Right. A few months. The first night, everyone who wasn’t in a fridge did a little exploring and found rooms close by to the computer room, redubbed the common area. That's where the trolls had apparently been camped out during their badgering campaign. Holed up in there like it was the night before the general election and all hands on deck need to be calling out to secure that vote. No, like it’s ten hours till the launch of the new hit indie game and that game needs to be finished and packaged by midnight or so help me God, Derek, you won’t be seeing that Christmas bonus. Those alien kids were harassin’ y’all like it was gonna go out of style and you had to get the stylin’ while the stylin’ was hot.
That one got away from you.
Man needs a piss break every so often, and after some deep contemplation you decide to go grab some of the tasty snacks you keep hoarded in the closet of your cool new room. You’re floating down the hallway towards your room, coming down from a high of lyricism. Feet a foot above the ground, you reach the T-shaped corridor that branches off between y’all’s bedrooms and the longer, spookier hallway that leads to the labs. On the wall facing the door to the door to the common area is a poster you’re particularly proud of making. It’s for an as-of-yet-unmade SBAHJ: hte moive. You pause to admire it, bobbing slightly in the air.
Before you can continue, Karkat slams open his bedroom door with a bag on his shoulder and thunders down the hallway towards you. Things you are not used to on the meteor: the sheer energy exuded by this kid. The first week you thought you had pissed him off even worse than his all-caps text implied, but it turns out he just constantly operates at full throttle. No word left unyelled, no door left unslammed, no step left unstomped. He’s an angry little dude and you are so glad you’re a foot and a half taller than him.
While you were thinking, Karkat got within shouting distance of you.
KARKAT: HEY DAVE. LOOKING AT THAT ABOMINATION YOU PUT ON THE WALL?
You take it back. You are extremely glad you’re a foot and a half taller than him.
DAVE: sup karkat
DAVE: i feel like i need to apologize on behalf of your terrible fuckin upbringing since you clearly can’t see and appreciate what we call on my planet
You say this while gesturing to your rad poster. A few of the stray artifacts hovering around it fizzle through your hand as you do.
Karkat rolls his eyes and lifts his hands for a dramatic air quote.
KARKAT: I’LL CALL THAT "ART" WHEN KANAYA WEARS CARGO SHORTS.
He smirks and pushes by you towards the common area. You hear his shoes smack the ground until he hits one of the carpets Rose alchemized.
If you roll your eyes at his response, no one will ever know because of your radical shades.
With that, you resume gliding towards your room. It had taken about three days aboard the meteor for you to alchemize the lock on your door. It’s time-based, so it won’t unlock until its internal timer ends. Or, until you speed up its personal time field a hundred years. You press your hand against the lock to do just that, and your door pops open. Even if you already didn’t have strong feelings about boundaries, Terezi really likes to lick your clothes. You don’t think you could stand it if all your non-magical suits and shirts got weird, goopy teal spit all over the brightest red parts. With your fancy-pants lock, no one gets in but you.
Floating slowly over to the closet, you spin in midair so you can grab some things from your snack shelf. Bending over? Hurting your knees? Pfft. That’s for chumps who can’t fly. You? You’re not a chump.
You roll on your back and hold your snacks on your stomach like an otter, kicking your feet a little as you hover back out the door. When it clicks shut, you spin the "years" dial on the lock to "83," and drop it. Your best back-hoverstroke takes you down the hallway into the common area. You’re careful to balance your snack haul along the way. No Slim Jims down on this trip.
Karkat has gotten settled into the common area since you last saw him. You look at his upside down figure seated at the table near the coffee machine as you fly over to him, unwrapping a savory stick of beef jerky.
Safely above the table, you flip over, dispensing your snacks. Karkat jumps as a Twinkie lands near his weird green spongey snack. He’s eating it with a fork. You think he calls it grubcake? You settle into the chair next to him and munch on the jerky.
Karkat pulls a few DVDs out of his sylladex and slaps his hand on top of them.
KARKAT: BEFORE I EXPLAIN, YOU HAVE TO PROMISE TO LET ME FINISH BEFORE YOU START GIVING ME ANY HOOFBEASTSHIT ABOUT WHAT I DID TO GET THESE.
You chew the jerky a bit more and swallow most of it.
DAVE: you know that youve now primed me to razz you about however you stole this thing or whoever you stole it from right
KARKAT: ABSOLUTELY NOT, NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE A MOVIE NIGHT, BUT THE LAST TIME WE TRIED TO HAVE ONE -
DAVE: it turned into an absolute shitshow because we couldnt decide on a movie and you and rose almost started a fistfight over bridge to terabithia
Karkat sighs and stabs his fork into the grubcake. It jiggles a little.
KARKAT: YOUR SHITTY HUMAN VERSION IS MISSING AN ENTIRE CHARACTER THAT ADDS TO THE ROMANCE AND GUT-PUNCH ENDING.
He lifts his hand off of the pile of DVDs. You take a closer look. None of the titles are recognizable to you.
KARKAT: I USED SOME OF YOUR ALCHEMITER ATTACHMENTS WITH THE CODES FOR SOME MOVIES.
KARKAT: YOU KNOW, THE ONES THAT CAN MANIPULATE AN ITEM’S TIMELINE?
KARKAT: APPARENTLY A BUNCH OF MOVIES GOT REBOOTS IN THE 2010S AND 2020S.
You take a look at the stack again. There’s some Star Wars films you don’t recognize, something that looks truly heinous titled “The Emoji Movie,” and a couple of movies based on weird old novels you might have seen Rose talking about from her homeschool classes. At the top of the pile is a movie titled, “Fant4stic,” which. Wow. You pick it up.
DAVE: i gotta admit the 2005 version of this movie was just absolutely fucking horrible
DAVE: except for chris evans
Karkat leans back in his chair and beams, gesturing with his long claws a bit. It looks like someone’s painted them? They’re jade and black, a little shiny in the weirdly blueish overhead lights.
KARKAT: THE ABSOLUTE BEST PART OF THAT MOVIE WAS TROLL CHRIS EVANS HAVING A FUCKING BLAST SAYING THE STUPIDEST SHIT.
He thumps the table with a fist and the fork shudders, still in the cake. Jesus.
DAVE: absofuckinglutely and I have no idea how anything else is supposed to top how god awful that movie was
DAVE: that being said
You slap the cover.
DAVE: this one
Karkat claps his hands together and points them at you.
KARKAT: CAN I SELL YOU ON THE HELLBOY REMAKE.
DAVE: no i have this movie in my hand and i have to watch this absolute trainwreck
KARKAT: HOW ARE WE GOING TO CONVINCE THE GIRLS?
He makes a good point. Terezi and Vriska will spend the entire time cuddling and making fun of whatever you guys watch, but the tricky part is selling Rose or Kanaya on a movie. Once one was convinced, the other would eventually acquiesce, but the trick was figuring out which one of them to go for.
You flip the DVD box over, looking for more information. There’s only one named woman you can see in the summary, which isn’t a great start towards convincing the meteor’s resident fussy lesbians they should participate.
Wait. You look closer at the image of the blonde woman on the back of the box, then flip the whole thing over to look at the front again.
DAVE: did they change her hair in the middle of this movie?
Karkat looks at you, annoyed. It’s rare he doesn’t do that.
KARKAT: HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THESE MOVIES? THEY’RE FROM A VERSION OF YOUR PLANET THAT YOU WEREN’T EVEN AROUND FOR.
KARKAT: I DON’T KNOW JACK ABOUT SHIT.
DAVE: you got that right at least
You quickly shove some jerky in your face before Karkat punches you in the shoulder. You float a foot away from the table. Fuck, you forgot to actually sit down in the chair.
Karkat snickers and eats another bite of the grubcake.
KARKAT: ANYWAYS, BACK TO THE PROBLEM AT HAND.
KARKAT: WHAT IF WE USED THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO KEEP VRISKA AND TEREZI DISTRACTED SO THEY DON’T TRY TO PRANK KANAYA AND ROSE’S DATE LIKE LAST WEEK?
KARKAT: I’LL BET THEY’LL APPRECIATE IT.
Hm. Rose had been complaining to you earlier about how she wanted to have a private moment with Kanaya without having to lock a door and come on too strongly. You agreed, but you were way less intimidated by Terezi when she was lines of text bothering you and you couldn’t see that she had not one, not two, but several rows of sharp teeth in her mouth. She was kind of terrifying. In your opinion, she was far scarier than her partner-in-crime.
From your observations and from what Karkat told you, Vriska was a petty asshole who took things way too personally and had a pathologic desire to seize the spotlight. It was like living with all of Team Rocket rolled up in one person.
Terezi, though. She actually thought a bit about what she was doing, and the pranks she was able to plan and execute with Vriska had felled every single other meteor resident, save the Mayor.
Even Terezi wouldn’t fuck with the Mayor.
You finish the jerky.
DAVE: operation distract team scourge sounds like a go
DAVE: how about you tell kanaya so she can surprise rose and ill convince terezi that movie night is a good idea tonight.
Karkat grumbles a little, but looks down at his nails and nods.
KARKAT: YEAH, ALRIGHT.
KARKAT: MAKE SURE THERE’S A BUNCH OF STUFF FOR THOSE SHAMELESS FUCKING HARLOTS TO BUILD A PILE IN, AND THAT’LL SEAL THE DEAL FOR THEM.
DAVE: you mean like the pile of fabric and pillows i found you and kanaya in last mon-
KARKAT: SHUT THE FUCK UP!
He roars and kicks your chair over, and you go somersaulting backwards through the air, cackling. Luckily you haven’t opened the soda in your hand yet, or you would find the entire thing a lot less funny.
Two hours later, your plan seems to be going swimmingly. You invited TZ down to Can Town to subtly bring up the idea of a movie night. She’s sitting across from you now, holding a stick of chalk in her mouth. There’s chalk dust covering her entire front as she used the blue and white to expand the highway system. You never seemed to have any red or green chalk in Can Town.
DAVE: any plans for relaxing tonight pyrope
You try to keep your tone casual. Can’t have her catching onto the plan too quickly.
She snaps the chalk with her teeth and a little puff of powder floats away from her. Your brain flashes up the mental image of her sitting in a P.I.’s office smoking a cigar, the black and white ambiance replaced by a technicolor rainbow filter.
You are absolutely drawing that later, especially if you can get anything half as dope as the picture in your head onto paper.
TEREZI: NOT R34LLY
TEREZI: 1S TH1S YOUR SLY COOL-GUY W4Y OF 4SK1NG M3 OUT ON ON3 OF YOUR HUM4N D4T3S?
She winks at you before throwing her head back and cackling.
DAVE: youd be funnier if you didn’t make that joke every other time i asked you to hang dude
You’re coloring in the lines she’s drawing with some black paint. Rose gave you the code for it. The paint beat the oil the Mayor had been using before by a landslide, and you didn’t have to keep dragging Terezi to Kanaya to replace her clothes when they got too grimy.
Rolling back into your field of vision, chalk street named stamped onto her clothes, she pouts.
TEREZI: TRU3, BUT YOU BLUSH3D TH3 F1RST F3W T1M3S 1 D1D 1T, 4ND 3V3NTU4LLY 1’LL C4TCH YOU OFF GU4RD 4G41N
TEREZI: WH4T COOL 3V3N1NG PL4NS DO YOU H4V3 TO SUGG3ST FOR M3, B1G M4N ON C4MPUS?
Terezi throws a piece of chalk at you that bounces off your right shoulder.
TEREZI: D1D 1 H1T YOUR F4C3? 1 W4S 41M1NG FOR YOUR F4C3.
You don’t answer her, lobbing the chalk back.
She catches it.
Son of a bitch.
DAVE: karkat alchemized some weird movies from an alternate timeline earth that kept goin for a decade or two after we blew it up from some of my old dvds
DAVE: i picked the one that looked the worst without being too unpalatable
DAVE: you down to dunk on it with me and your girlfriend
TEREZI: SH3’S NOT MY HUM4N G1RLFR13ND, D4V3.
DAVE: oh now whos caught off guard
DAVE: shes your troll girlfriend obviously
You duck, and the piece of chalk narrowly misses your head. She is startlingly accurate for a blind chick. This is what you mean about her being way more lethal.
TEREZI: 4LR1GHT, 4LR1GHT, F1N3. 1’LL BR1NG VR1SK4 TO YOUR T3RR1BL3 HUM4N MOV13 N1GHT.
TEREZI: W31RD TH4T YOU W4NT TO W4TCH US W4TCH 4 MOV13, BUT WH4T3V3R.
DAVE: i dont want to watch you watching the movie i just want to watch the movie
DAVE: also karkat will be there since they’re his movies
TEREZI: OH, B3C4US3 TH3Y’R3 H1S MOV13S. OF COURS3.
You very pointedly don’t say anything and keep looking at her.
TEREZI: 1 S41D 1 W4S GO1NG TO COM3!
You punch her in the shoulder and get up, stumbling over a few stray romance novels you guys have been using as roofing to retrieve the errant chalk pieces.
Step 1: Complete.
Step 2, "Occupy Team Rocke- you mean Scourge for several hours that evening", also started off well in your opinion. The four of you had been camping out in a room a few doors down from the common area that you and Karkat had turned into a home cinema. There was a projector mounted high up on the wall, the floor was covered in massive bean bags the two of you had alchemized from some of Terezi’s plushies, and best of all, there were plenty of snacks. The menu screen for "Fant4stic" has been on the far wall for a while, and Vriska and Terezi are arguing about how to pronounce the name of the movie.
TEREZI: 1’M PR3TTY SUR3 K4RK4T M3NT1ON3D 1T’S B4S3D ON 4N 34RTH MOV13 C4LL3D ‘TH3 F4NT4ST1C FOUR,’ SO M4YB3 YOU’R3 SUPPOS3D TO S4Y TH3 ‘4’ 4FT3R ‘F4NT4ST1C?
Terezi’s face is screwed up as she sniffs at the projection on the wall.
Vriska also scowls.
VRISKA: No, listen, I’m with you on the logic of that st8ment. However, it would 8e waaaaaaaay funnier if you pronounce it ‘Fant-four-stick.’
TEREZI: M4YB3 1T’S JUST SUPPOS3D TO B3 ‘F4NT4ST1C…’
VRISKA: Your quirk totally 8utchers that, 8a8e.
Yeah, you probably should have figured that the title screen of this movie alone would be enough to distract them for a while. You’re also impatient and want to see if you’ll get to see "Michael B. Jordan" shirtless in an improvised snow hot tub as well. You nudge Karkat, who is seated next to you on the other leg of the massive dragon plushie y’all’ve taken for yourselves.
DAVE: can you start the movie
Karkat swallows the grubcorn he’s eating (it’s tiny, air-popped insects. You scoot a little further back onto your dragon leg), and sighs.
KARKAT: ARE YOU TWO ALSO READY TO WATCH THIS MOVIE, WHATEVER IT’S CALLED?
You both look over. Terezi and Vriska have stopped mid-wrestle, Terezi with her jaws about to close around Vriska’s ankle, her moirail reaching to pull on one of Terezi’s horns. Vriska uses the distraction to flip Terezi over and sit on her, exclaiming her victory.
TEREZI: OK4Y 1 W4NT TO JUST W4TCH TH1S STUP1D TH1NG 4ND NOT G1V3 4NY MOR3 FUCKS 4BOUT WH4T3V3R TH3 H3LL 1T’S C4LL3D.
Terezi attempts to crawl out from under Vriska. Vriska leans a knobby elbow on Terezi’s head and gives a thumbs up.
VRISKA: Yeah, sure, I’m ready.
VRISKA: Pass me some gru8corn, though.
Karkat pulls out another bowl of grubcorn, and hands it to you to give to her. You do not make eye contact with any of the insects as you gingerly extend the bowl away from you. Jesus, trolls are gross weird aliens. You chew your far superior and way less gross dried beef product smugly. The air smells of jerky and chitin.
Predictably, you get about ten minutes in before Vriska and Terezi start yelling at the screen and throwing grubcorn. You’re only half-paying attention to the kids in a shitty old garage, waiting for the moment when Karen Storm or whatever her name is has her hair change and puts on that terrible platinum wig. That, or a shirtless Michael B. Jordan. There has got to be a better movie you can watch that shows off that dude’s bod more.
You turn to Karkat, who is of course actually following this terrible movie.
DAVE: hey karkat
DAVE: do you think you could alchemize a bunch of different movies with the same actor in them if you had one movie with that actor in it
Karkat snorts, but doesn’t turn away from the projection.
KARKAT: WHY, DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR HUMAN ACTOR YOU’VE BEEN MISSING OUT OF YOUR SPANK BANK YOU WANT ME TO HELP YOU RE-ACCESS TO ACHIEVE A SPECIAL BOYHOOD DREAM OF YOURS?
DAVE: wow no what the fuck dude why would you say that
KARKAT: IT JUST SEEMED LIKE THE KIND OF REASON YOU’D ASK.
KARKAT: ANYWAYS, WHY DO YOU ASK?
DAVE: okay see now that you say that it sounds dumb
KARKAT: JUST TELL ME DAVE
DAVE: okay so michael b jordan is hot
KARKAT: GOD DAMN IT.
Karkat grabs another handful of grubcorn and stuffs it in his mouth, refusing to look back at you. God damn it indeed. You just wanted to see this dude take off his shirt. Nothing weird.
The movie proceeds uneventfully for the next twenty minutes. The kids in the garage turn out to be the main dudes who will become Stretchy and The Rock, and they meet up with Storm daddy who is also the general of a tippety-top secret project. You realize you’re paying more attention than you thought you were when you start yelling at the movie:
DAVE: victor no what the fuck thats obviously not stable
DAVE: thats why youre fuckin careful when you step onto dangerous alien planets
KARKAT: SO YOU WERE EXACTLY THIS CAREFUL THE FIRST TIME YOU STEPPED ONTO YOUR DUMB LAVA FACTORY PLANET THEN?
DAVE: no captain hindsight i wasnt exactly as careful as the dude who im currently yelling at on the television
DAVE: is that what you wanted to hear
KARKAT: I MEAN
KARKAT: YES, BUT NOT IN SO FEW WORDS SO IMMEDIATELY.
DAVE: and how does that make you feel karkat
KARKAT: YOU DON’T GET TO TURN THE TABLES ON ME THAT QUICKLY, YOU ROTTING PIECE OF HOOFBEAST HINDQUARTER.
DAVE: looks like i just did
DAVE: also shut up something weird and unusual is happening
KARKAT: DON’T YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS MOVIE?
You are paying rapt attention to this movie. The plot has just hit its second time skip and yet another location jump to somewhere in South America you think? Central America? There was a caption you missed. You think you’ve seen a few weird blonde wig shots and you’re enjoying the absurd, disconnected plot.
Finally, everyone on the team ends up back at the military headquarters, and they recover the dude they left behind. You and Karkat both make a face at the Doctor Doom design reveal - sorry, his name is just "Doom," you guess.
DAVE: wow what the fuck
KARKAT: WHAT THE ACTUAL SHITFLIPPING FUCK
It’s…. Not great. Most of the decisions made during this movie were not great at all. You might even go so far as to say it is, if you wanted to use a ten-dollar word, “bad.” More grubcorn hits the wall.
KARKAT: HEY, I HAVE TO VACUUM THAT OUT OF THE GIANT PLUSHIES LATER
KARKAT: STOP IT
TEREZI: OH, W3LL 1N TH4T C4SE.
Terezi crushes a fistful of grubcorn and scatters it above her head. Some bits get caught in her hair as they flutter down through the air, and Vriska spits some out of her mouth.
VRISKA: 8a8e, chill.
The rest of the movie viewing session rides out the wave of hatred y’all picked up from the Doom reveal to the end, with all four of you heckling and screaming what could generously be called a film. As soon as the credits start rolling, Vriska picks up Terezi by her neck and holds her under her arm, then hovers a little.
VRISKA: Well, this has 8een gr8, but we need to get 8ack to our regularly scheduled strife pr8ctice.
VRISKA: See you l8tr, l8sers.
TEREZI: VR1SK4 1S TH1S R34LLY N3C3SS4RY
VRISKA: It sure is!
VRISKA: Scourge team out.
Vriska flies out the door as Terezi kicks and attempts to get loose from the armlock she’s trapped in. You and Karkat are left to listen to the end credits music, lit by flickering blue light.
DAVE: was that worth the grist and time we spent on it or what
KARKAT: ABSOLUTELY NOT
KARKAT: THAT’S WHY I ALCHEMIZED IT
DAVE: see now you’re catching on
DAVE: pickin up on some of that good ol fashioned irony the stri-dog has been peddlin to you since day one
DAVE: hell yeah hell yeah alright
You shoot him some finger guns, and imagine that the light from the projector gives you a starburst on your shades. That would be so cool.