Ehhh I’ve got to get back to work soon so let’s see how fast I can knock out the rest of this.
Let’s continue from the point of all the stuff about Jack’s massacre through Exile Town, and address issues surrounding
The big chess game
After all this, events involving the carapace people still resemble an extremely complicated interdimensional game of chess. Everything the royalty does is strategic in the bigger picture. The black queen was exiled, but found another way to fulfill her role through a complex maneuver of self sacrifice. The white queen’s retreat from the session, after Jack stole the black queen’s ring and wrecked Prospit and the Battlefield, was a defensive regrouping strategy on post-apocalypse Earth. She formed an elaborate plan, most of which went unwritten but could be understood mostly by deduction. Basically, she mobilized remaining exiles there, planned to leave this universe via one of the stations, destroying them all behind them to burn the bridge, but not before reuniting with the king from the time capsule. She also bestowed her title as queen to PM as her successor to rule the new kingdom they would build, and privately bestowed the responsibility on WV to some day wear the ring and hunt down Jack, wherever he might be. The problem is, Jack short-circuited her strategy by appearing immediately after the king arrived, killed WK and WQ right away, thus finally winning the chess game for his kingdom, or more particularly, himself.
The final gambit belonged to PM though, when she found the ring, put it on, and inherited the true powers of a queen, more than just in name. Neither PM, nor any carapace creature, can literally be considered a pawn. But she is pawn-like in rank, as many are in this exotic and diverse race of chess people, and being the only piece left standing, she put the ring on and became the most powerful type of piece possible. Much like a pawn reaching the end of a chess board, and becoming a queen. For now, with her and Jack’s powers being about equal, the chess game sits in stalemate.
First let’s look at what happened to Rose and Dave.
When Rose asks Scratch whether she will reach god tier, he responds,
You have exactly a fifty percent chance of ascending to the god tier.
TT: That’s a strange answer.
TT: Why such a precise probability?
Because, much like the decisions you must face to complete your dual suicide missions, you have two ways of achieving godhood to choose from.
Which was before Jack killed her, and John revived her with a kiss, leaving only her dream self. When she died, this eliminated one of the ways she could reach god tier, the only way we knew of explicitly at the time. This is by having a waking self and a dream self, both alive. When the waking self dies on the quest bed located somewhere on the planet, the player’s dream self takes over permanently, assumes god tier status, and wakes up on the battlefield, while the waking self’s corpse lies dead on the quest bed thereafter. This is how John reached god tier, and how Jade did as well. (Sort of.)
Dave and Rose only had one life left. They’d both been killed by Jack, and then revived as their dream selves. They only had the other means of reaching god tier, which we knew little about. We only had Aradia’s example to speculate from.
It turns out, the other way involves another set of quest beds in the core of the moons of Prospit and Derse. Reaching god tier involves using the only life you have left, and dying on that quest bed. Then, rather than waking up as a god tier on the Battlefield, the dead body simply resurrects automatically, transforming then and there. This is the basic outline of the process, with some caveats from examples we’ve observed.
Aradia was always a special case, since she was dead long before entering the session. She began the session as a ghost, and then a ghost inside a robot, which never actually counted as having a living waking self. She was never alive from the start, so she always only had the one ascension method available to her, by the death of her dream self, which had been sleeping on its quest bed all long. It was not in the core of the moon though. The moon only had five towers, because she was never a living player, and didn’t “belong” with the rest of the players on her team of Derse dreamers. So her dream self was sequestered away from the others, in the core of Derse. She reached god tier when Jack destroyed Derse.
We also can’t be sure that’s all there is to this method. Is it a simple matter of dying on the bed, or is more required? In the only two examples we have of this, Aradia and Dave+Rose, they die spectacularly in an explosion of green fire. Is that among the requirements? This is inconclusive.
Also, god tier Aradia, Dave, and Rose were all unharmed by the fire during the resurrection process. Dave and Rose’s case was so extreme, they actually emerged from the core of a sun. Does the transformation method itself protect them, until complete? Or is it just the simple matter that upon transforming, they are now immortal, and dying in the very explosion leading to their ascension would count as neither just nor heroic? You may speculate.
After examining all that, Jade’s ascension is simple in comparison. Her dream self died, but she brought it back to life by prototyping the stuffed corpse in her grandpa’s lab, making Jadesprite. So, she did in fact have a living dream self, so option #1 was available. This had the side effect of turbo charging her god tier state. She not only has the Witch of Space powers and immortality, she merged with the sprite, which was imbued with Bec’s powers. She now has the abilities of a god tier player, a sprite, and a first guardian all in one.
Ironically, the green sun which they were seeking to destroy, now powers two of the heroes opposing Jack: Jade and PM.
This is all pretty straightforward. We saw John at the beginning, fighting very strong monsters on the Beat Mesa, and initiating the Scratch with a giant Quill of Echidna, just as he was instructed to by Karkat. He killed the monsters easily with lava tornadoes and his Pop-a-matic Vrillyhoo Hammer, completed the full jagged mark across the record’s surface, and the whole Beat Mesa took off towards Skaia. It was releasing its energy the whole time, causing the Medium to crackle with that background energy you saw so often. Before it could get to Skaia, Jade teleported him to her ship. Once it entered Skaia, it fully released its temporal energy, and caused the hard reset, totally wiping out the session. But not before Jade collected all the planets, the Battlefield, and John on her Propitian battleship, and flew through a gigantic 4th wall.
The 4th Wall
First of all, she didn’t actually conjure the 4th wall out of thin air. Remember when Karkat told her to turn the wall off, and then draw it? He was asking her to captchalogue an undamaged copy using her Pictionary modus, for this exact purpose. The eventual getaway. So she had it on standby, waiting for the right time to use it.
As she expanded it, and we crept ever closer to the completion of the scratch, we saw individual panels from early in the story flashing backwards. From a visualization standpoint, this is just reminding us that the scratch is in fact undoing everything we just read, all the way back to page one, and starting over fresh in a different instantiation of the universe. But if you want to understand why all that was literally being broadcast through the wall at that moment, you could consider what happened to be on the other side of the wall: Lord English’s coat. Why would the interior of the coat broadcast those flashbacks? No need to get into it too much. Suffice to say, it belongs to someone purported to be a master of time.
Will the coat still be there the moment they crash through the glass? Recall that this is all happening “simultaneously” with the rest of the critical moment, which is the juncture that summons him. When he is summoned, he may need his coat. Whether he retrieves it or not, we’ll just have to see.
What’s waiting for them on the other side, beside a big ugly coat? Recall the setup I had with the two 4th walls facing each other, separated by one yard. They will break through the wall on the right, traveling nearly the speed of light, and presumably, break through the wall on the left to enter another reality. If you were thorough during Seer: Descend, you might have caught this excerpt on a bookshelf. “Though we adore Him we shall never enjoy His beauteous Croak. We spill our blood on acres of black and white so they may cross the yellow yard. At last in Skaia’s reflection through broken glass He may find the pond in which He’s meant to squat.”
The yellow yard, regarding my self indulgent spiel about the degree of author intervention to expect, very simply refers to the physical distance between the two 4th walls the heroes will pass through, to escape from a doomed reality into one of promise. The heroes will coexist with me, the author, for the span of three feet, and while traveling very quickly, for the duration of thee nanoseconds. This was always my tongue in cheek way of quantifiably demonstrating the absolute minimum degree of influence an author insert can have on the story, while not having none. It’s essentially a gag, but serving a practical purpose in the story, and a very concrete, understandable mechanism by which they may hop between realities.
I am also pretending that my personal interaction with Doc Scratch doesn’t count as influencing the story directly. It’s influencing the way the story is told, which after all, is what authors tend to do.
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