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Here Be Dragonflies

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> Be Dave Strider




>Be Dave Strider




>Be Dave Strider




>Be Dave Strider




You are Dave Strider. Current location: a few gear platforms from the Lohacse (totally not running from some angry reptilian stock brokers. Everything's cool). But there's this weird chick impeding your strategic retreat. Talking about yet another world and Gods and Champions. And of course, she needs help.


Tcaolin: You are not my first Champion, Dave Strider. I had one before, one with the potential to draw my enemies from the field without touching a weapon. But he has abducted the soul of my host, the princess who would become God-Queen through me, and now seeks Godhood for himself. My second Champion, in love with my human host, has decided that he wishes to debase her for his own needs rather than assist her to her rightful place. But you, Strider, have been given your chance at Godhood and turned it down, and have no ties to my world, but all the power you will need to do what I need of you. Free the soul of my host, rescue her body, and kill both my former Champions.

> Take The Job


The crazy bitch kind of looks like a color-inverted Rose. Not really, when you peer through your shades, so it's probably the aura of passive-aggressive self-assurance that the world revolves around her. Like everyone else, she wants DJ McAwesome to save her ass, her and some magic princess. Save the princess, save the world: you can dig that. Everyone's always all falling all over themselves to offer you up princesses on silver platters. Just another hazard of being the best.


Dave: “And I’m supposed to do this out of the goodness of my heart? So I can shoot rainbows of altruistic shit out of my ass and never need air freshener again because it just smells like that much virtue?”
Tcaolin: “You can be the hero. What happened just over there? You missed your mark. You’ve doomed yourself by your own standards. This way, you can be useful before you die.”

You nod.


> Be the Champion



Your self who is saving the princess is obviously not helping John, so even though you plan to finish this in like an hour then mash up a track that will change this new world's music industry forever then get back on task trying to fix the shit you fucked up, you’re already cool with just being another Doomed Dave. When you have enough of you, you'll assemble an army of them like Aradia and get all freaky together.

It's not like you have to pack for the trip, with the time-tables already in your sylladex and like six sick suits,, so you follow the Queen-Goddess-thing back through the rainbow gate.


>Enter Grey World



There’s ash blowing against your shades, and the Queen’s dress is flapping in the breeze. The wrong way, though, and the timing is off. “I’m going to need a base, and someone to brief me on our current situation. Preferably someone with enough body to notice when we’re in the middle of a forest fire, though, y’know, that’s no big.”

You’re unflappable. You are unflappable even when you pop into another world and wind up surrounded by death by thermal burns for the second time. At being unflappable, you are simply the best there is.


> Be Unflappable Somewhere Else


You can’t just be somewhere else instead of here. Flashstep only works if you know where you’re going, and being this cool still doesn’t make you fireproof. If Egderp were here, he could clear a path with the Windy Thing, but you’ve left him behind. You bring up Pesterchum on your shades just to verify that John is alive, that everyone is. You don’t talk to them when you know you’re doomed, in case of more paradoxes.

It’s completely blank.


> Panic


No, that’s stupid. Only Rose and Terezi and Eridan and Aradia (still, again) and Nepeta and Sollux were actually dead when you left, and at least one Karkat from some point in one of their timelines was always on. So it’s a problem on your end, not the utter annihilation of everything you care about. There is the possibility that, not being part of massive game-space, you are simply no longer under 4G or wifi coverage. That just means that, when you change this world with your sick beats, you will also introduce them to 4chan.


> Get Out Of The Damn Fire



Tcaolin: “Through those trees is a lake. Run quickly and you will not be injured.”
Dave: *cough*
Tcaolin: “I will have my guards meet and guide you on the far side of the lake.”
Tcaolin: “They will be masked, and cannot speak.”
Tcaolin: “But they will show you to our staging ground, where I can send an envoy to explain.”


> Jump Into The Lake


The water’s cold. It takes precisely thirty-two minutes and sixteen seconds to swim to the far shore, where the fire’s burned down to hot ash. Smells like you imagine Vermont in the fall, but with ground the consistency of Texas asphalt in a heat wave, melting and black and sucking at your shoes. Your pants are dry to the knees in four minutes thirteen seconds as you walk away from the lake. God-thing’s dudes might not be as chill as you about the fiery death thing, so you should probably meet them a little farther into normal temperatures.


> Meet Dudes


So Tcaolin’s dudes are sumo wrestlers with creepy blank masks nailed to their heads. Whatever. You have faced down mountains of plush smuppet rump. If you were to be ruffled by anything - which you totally aren’t - it would be smuppets before sumos. One gestures mutely for you to follow him, using a giant fucking sword for the gesture.

You follow. You don’t need to be told. They take you on a path that seems exclusively made of tree roots to a camp in a clearing between what are trees or branches of the enormous trees you’re walking on. You’re not sure the difference matters. The sky looks dark blue instead of black, so that’s a comforting change from the void above Lohac. There might even be stars up there. At least it’s a step closer to the light-polluted dull orange of Houston, where no one expects you to be able to see stars.

The other dudes are walking as quietly as you are despite their bulk. It’s a bit reassuring that Tcaolin isn’t running a complete crackerjack organization.


> Make Camp


They’ve already made camp, and have some kind of stew they’re dishing up. You sniff it suspiciously, but it doesn’t smell any worse than when Bro decides that nachos need scrambled egg on them to be a complete meal.




 You eat crouched around the fire with them, letting the seconds tick away until her envoy or whatever shows up.

Eventually, you take one of the bedrolls arranged like spokes around the campfire and sleep.


> Meet the Asshole


You’re asleep ten minutes twenty-five seconds when the redhead shows up in your dream, disrupting some sick beat-laying in your dream-bubble.


Red: Tcaolin says you’re the new Champion in town.
TG: It happens. The ladies get drawn in by my ill rhymes and make me their hero. I’ve got ladies beggin’ me to take their quests all up and down the block and if I weren’t -
Red: Shut up.
Red: I was going to be her Champion, since I’m already half-tied to her last one, but she decided I wasn’t worth the investment. So I get to play tour guide.
Red: The one you’re looking for, the first one you have to kill, looks like me. Shorter, though, and his cheek’ll be bleeding from the last present I gave him.
Red: Kill him without touching him directly, or you’ll fuck it all up.
Red: Got it, kid?
TG: That you can’t take my precocious and complete superiority? I’m picking up what you’re laying down. Threatened that you’re so much closer to kicking the kinky alien bucket and the eternally-hot God-queen will ditch your sagging rump for a piece of DJ McStridenasty?
turntechGodhead stopped pestering Red at 11:11pm


> Wake Up


It’s dawn. You know this because there is bright-ass sunshine creeping around the edge of your shades. At least Lohac was dark except for the molten death from below: you could use your shades for computing and looking chill. Now you dial the dimming factor way up. Pesterchum is still dead. No, dead is a bad word. Idling. Loitering just offline like a hobo by the tracks cracking open his can of beans over a trash fire with a side dish of Wild Turkey in a paper bag because the next train won’t be through until morning.


> Wake Up


It’s 5:34am, and you smell blood and fire. You don’t move, in case whatever made your ‘guards’ bleed is still around. You look around without moving your head, eyes safely hidden by your shades. Two are still in camp, sleeping in bedrolls: bedrolls that had been empty when you went to sleep, so these were the night crew. The other five are empty, which might just mean they’re mostly early risers. You’re not good at optimism anymore, so you don’t think so. You stay wrapped up, because you look harmless and sleeping, and wait for what’s going to happen to happen. You’re ready for anything. You’re always ready for anything, because you’re a Strider.

You fetch your broken sword from your strife specibus and hold it flat against your leg under the blankets.  You hear footsteps, but they could theoretically be your guards.



Except for the part where one of them is stomping. You watch as a scantily clad furry and a spaced-out looking redhead who sort of looks like that asshole come in to camp. The furry’s fist turns black, and she punches right through the head of one of the sleeping guards.


And now, from the opposite corner, comes a chick in a dress, pointing a staff at the other sleeping guard, and he now has blood leaking from his ears. He isn’t getting up. The redhead’s the one you’re supposed to kill, but he looks harmless and only a few years older than you. He’s the one with the captive soul, too, but you have no idea how to rescue that. Maybe it’ll just happen naturally with death, corpse fountaining souls like it’s double rainbow day and he’s the goddamn pot of gold.


>Fear For Your Life


You don’t do fear. Try again.


>Rise Up


You sit up real slow, like some kid who hasn’t mastered the flashstep and isn’t hiding a sword in their bed.

“What’s going on?”

The furry swears, all English accent and violent surprise. “Bloody hell, it’s a kid. Kid, what the shit are you doing out here?”

“These guys were just . . . did you kill them?”

“Yeah, you’ll be okay now. We won’t let them hurt you.”

The chick in the dress leans on her staff that looks like it might still be growing trees. “I am not sure it was their intent to hurt him. Dalai and Monster may have found their replacement for Kamang in someone who looks just as harmless as they do.”

“But he’s just a kid, Starless.”

You need to deflect. “Are you the Queen’s Champion?” you ask the space cadet.

He - probably he, despite the hair - just keeps looking at the trees. The furry glances at him and sighs in annoyance. “Aye, kid, he is, most of the time.”


>Kill The Other Champion

“I’ve been sent to find you, then. Well, him.”

The furry shifts to stand protectively between you and the space cadet. “Oh, aye?”

You flashstep around her and press your sword to the space cadet’s neck. “Tell me how to release the princess’ soul.”


He turns blank panic-eyes on you and twitches a hand up to touch your arm. He’s short and skinny and mostly hair, so you’re not worried about him trying to shove you away until his hand touches your arm and everything goes white and black and Pesterchum lights up like it’s goddamn Christmas.

The furry is behind you, winding up with her black-glowing fists and she’d punched right through the guard’s head with that fist oh shit.




You flashstep as far away as you can see. Repeat six times.

Pesterchum is showing a bunch of missed messages. This fact is significant. It means that not everyone on your timeline is dead yet. And it means something strange just happened. It means that the space cadet was also a wifi hub or something, since no way in hell was that flash of whatever-it-was a coincidence with your internet coming back up.

You are not happy about this. Unexpected powers usually mean that you are going to die horribly. It took you a long time to know all of Jack’s powers so they weren’t unexpected anymore.

Now you need to find a way to a town to regroup and figure out how you’re going to kill the pitiable space cadet.