JOHN: what are you doing here?
KARKAT: IT'S NICE TO SEE YOU TOO.
KARKAT: JOHN, YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED, BUT I AM THE LEADER OF AN ARMY. MY PLACE IS ON THE BATTLEFIELD.
JOHN: i suppose that is true, but that doesn't answer my question!
JOHN: this isn't a battlefield, it's just...
KARKAT: THE OBLITERATED, SMOLDERING HUSK OF YOUR FORMER HOME.
JOHN: well, yeah.
KARKAT: WHICH WAS DESTROYED AS COLLATERAL IN AN ONGOING MILITARY CONFLICT.
JOHN: oh all right, fine.
JOHN: it just feels weird to call it that.
JOHN: i guess i'm used to thinking of home as somewhere far away from all that war stuff.
KARKAT: JESUS *CHRIST* JOHN.
KARKAT: I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO LIST ALL THE WAYS IN WHICH THAT CONSTITUTES A SHORT-SIGHTED AND PUKE-WORTHILY IGNORANT THING TO SAY TO ME, PERSONALLY.
KARKAT: AND FRANKLY I DON'T HAVE TIME TO BOTHER, THANKS TO THE COUNTLESS FIRES I HAVE BEEN PUTTING OUT ALL DAY, THE ONE PRESENTLY CONSUMING YOUR HIVE NOTWITHSTANDING.
KARKAT: YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE MADE THINGS GO A BIT MORE SMOOTHLY? JUST A FRACTION?
KARKAT: IF YOU HADN'T JUST DECIDED TO WANDER OFF THE INSTANT SHIT STARTED HAPPENING.
JOHN: jeez, i'm sorry karkat.
JOHN: i had no idea how much time had passed.
JOHN: i must have gotten a bit distracted by my house being blown up.
KARKAT: NOT WANTING TO POINT OUT THE OBVIOUS, BUT I FEEL LIKE THIS WAS A PROBLEM THAT YOU OF ALL PEOPLE WERE UNIQUELY AND MAGICALLY EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH.
KARKAT: YOU KNOW.
KARKAT: WITH YOUR SHOOSH THING.
JOHN: my shoosh thing.
KARKAT: YOUR SHOOSH THING.
KARKAT: THE GUSTY NONSENSE? THE GIFT OF GAS??
KARKAT: YOUR SBURB ALLOCATED BLOW JOB???
KARKAT: THE SUPERNATURAL COMMUNION YOU HAVE WITH ALL THINGS WINDY, YOU ASS!!
JOHN: oh right, that.
JOHN: that would have let me put the fire out, maybe.
JOHN: i don't think there's anything in my skillset that would have unexploded my house though.
KARKAT: THAT'S FAIR.
JOHN: i suppose i'll add one more notch to the daily tally of crazy stuff that happened which i just have to accept as my life now.
JOHN: what else happened while i was caught up watching the symbolic representation of my former life get consumed in a giant fire ball?
KARKAT: OH BOY. WHERE TO START.
KARKAT: SO FIRST OFF, IN HINDSIGHT, TODAY WAS PRETTY OBVIOUSLY JUST ONE HUGE BAITED TRAP.
KARKAT: I SAY "IN HINDSIGHT", BUT FORTUNATELY IT WAS ALSO EXTREMELY APPARENT EVEN IN FORESIGHT TO THOSE OF US WHO SPENT A FEW SECONDS THINKING ABOUT IT.
KARKAT: OH COME ON EGBERT, SERIOUSLY?
KARKAT: KIDNAPPING A PERSON OF IMPORTANCE, ONLY TO LET US KNOW PRECISELY WHERE AND ON WHAT OCCASION THEY WOULD BE MOST ACCESSIBLE FOR A RESCUE ATTEMPT?
KARKAT: HAVING THAT OCCASION BE NONE OTHER THAN THE CORPSE PARTY OF A HIGHLY NOTEWORTHY POLITICAL FIGURE, WHOSE CASKET MIGHT AS WELL HAVE HAD A GIANT "KICK ME" SIGN DAUBED ON IT?
KARKAT: THERE WAS BASICALLY NO WAY IT WASN'T A FRONT FOR SOMETHING HUGE. AND IT WAS!
KARKAT: WE HAPPEN TO BE SITTING IN FRONT OF ONE FACET OF THAT HUGENESS AT THIS VERY MOMENT.
JOHN: well, when you put it like that...
JOHN: i guess we all got pranked pretty hard, huh.
KARKAT: THIS IS NO TIME FOR YOUR SHITTY NERD PRANKS JOHN.
KARKAT: FRANKLY I'M INSULTED THAT YOU THINK SUCH A WORD IS EVEN REMOTELY APPOSITE TO THE PRESENT SITUATION.
KARKAT: OTHER THAN TO DESCRIBE THE WAY I AM PERSONALLY BEING "PRANKED" BY REALITY IN HAVING TO EXPLAIN ALL THIS TO YOU.
KARKAT: ANYWAY, THE RESCUE ATTEMPT.
KARKAT: THIS IS THE ONLY POINT WHERE ANY SEMBLANCE OF GOOD NEWS COMES INTO PLAY, SO SAVOR IT.
KARKAT: IT TURNS OUT THAT WE DIDN'T NEED TO PUT SO MUCH EFFORT INTO THE RESCUING YIFFY PART OF THE OPERATION.
KARKAT: SHE BASICALLY RESCUED HERSELF WHEN ALL WAS SAID AND DONE.
KARKAT: AND TOOK CARE OF KICKING GAMZEE'S CORPSEBOX OVER WHILE SHE WAS AT IT, IN A STUNNING DISPLAY OF EFFICIENCY WHICH THE REST OF US CAN ONLY ASPIRE TO.
JOHN: oh wow, haha.
JOHN: i knew she'd be a bit of a character, being rose and jade's daughter and all...
JOHN: but that's impressive!
JOHN: it sounds like she'd be a pretty welcome addition to your ranks then.
KARKAT: SHE'S A CHILD, YOU MORON.
KARKAT: OH, AND SPEAKING OF WHICH.
KARKAT: PAUSING BRIEFLY TO NOTE IN ADVANCE HOW MUCH I LOATHE THE FACT THAT THIS IS AN EVENTUALITY THAT THE UNIVERSE HAS *ONCE AGAIN* SEEN FIT TO CURSE US WITH:
KARKAT: THE VRISKAS, PLURAL.
KARKAT: THEY'VE BOTH BEEN CAPTURED.
KARKAT: GREAT WORK KEEPING AN EYE ON THEM, BY THE WAY!
KARKAT: YOU LITERALLY HAD ONLY ONE JOB, AND YOU MESSED IT UP IN THE EQUALLY SINGULAR WAY IT WAS POSSIBLE TO DO.
JOHN: urgh, i know, i know. ):
KARKAT: HAVING SAID THAT, THIS WAS THE ONE THING UP CROCKER'S SLEEVE YOU COULD BE EXCUSED FROM NOT HAVING SEEN COMING.
KARKAT: I GUESS BECAUSE, ON THE FACE OF IT, IT'S JUST TOTALLY FUCKING BANANAS!
KARKAT: JANE'S PLAN FOR THIS CONFLICT HAS THUS FAR CONSISTED ALMOST ENTIRELY OF KIDNAPPING VARIOUS HIGH PROFILE CHILDREN.
KARKAT: IT'S BIZARRE.
KARKAT: AS THOUGH WE ARE FIGHTING A WAR OF ATTRITION, WHERE THE MAIN RESOURCE BEING UTILIZED IS THE OFFSPRING OF THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE ON THE PLANET.
KARKAT: IF IT WASN'T ONE OF THE CORE TENETS OF HER FASCISTIC PHILOSOPHY, I'D BE TEMPTED TO SAY THAT CURBING REPRODUCTION MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GOOD IDEA, IF ONLY TO PREVENT THIS KIND OF FUCKSHIT NONSENSE FROM HAPPENING.
JOHN: wait a minute.
JOHN: you said that both vriskas have been captured, right?
KARKAT: EXCUSE ME WHILE I WEEP FOR JOY AT THE REVELATION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN PAYING ATTENTION FOR ONCE.
JOHN: okay, well putting that emotional outburst aside for a moment.
JOHN: how is that even possible?
JOHN: doesn't vriska, the original vriska, still have her magic alien mind control powers?
JOHN: it seems like it should be basically impossible for anyone to kidnap her.
KARKAT: YOU'VE STUMBLED ASS BACKWARDS ACROSS THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF THIS UNFORTUNATE DEVELOPMENT.
KARKAT: YOU ARE CORRECT, IN THAT WITH HER CASTE-TYPICAL, *COMPLETELY SCIENTIFIC AND NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT MAGICAL* PSYCHOMANIPULATIVE ABILITIES, STAYING OUT OF CROCKER'S REACH SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY TRIVIAL FOR SERKET PRIME.
KARKAT: EVEN ACCOUNTING FOR THE FACT THAT SAID ABILITIES ARE NOT NEARLY AS POTENT ON HUMANS AS THEY ARE ON FELLOW TROLLS, THEY STILL OUGHT TO HAVE TIPPED ANY ALTERCATION SQUARELY IN HER FAVOR.
KARKAT: BUT SOMEHOW, IT DIDN'T!
KARKAT: INSTEAD, THINGS APPEAR TO HAVE GONE GLOBES UP IN CLASSIC VRISKITE FASHION, AND NOW ONE OF THE MOST UNEXPECTED AND UNWANTED BUT NEVERTHELESS USEFUL WEAPONS IN OUR ARSENAL IS DOING TIME IN CROCKERJAIL.
KARKAT: THAT'S ABOUT ALL WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO GLEAN FROM TAPPING INTO THE BATTERBITCH AIRWAVES, WHICH IS A FANCY TERM FOR EAVESDROPPING ON THOSE OF HER AGENTS WHO TALK A LITTLE TOO LOUDLY IN SEMI-PUBLIC SPACES.
JOHN: i really screwed that up, didn't i.
KARKAT: I'M RELIEVED TO SEE THAT YOUR GRASP OF THAT FACT IS PRETTY GOOD AT LEAST.
KARKAT: HAVING SAID ALL OF THAT, AND WITH THE RECOGNITION THAT I AM CHOOSING TO NURSE YOUR BRUISED FEELINGS DURING A PLANET WIDE CONFLICT FOR THE FATE OF MY SPECIES,
KARKAT: IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO EXPEDITE YOUR GETTING THE FUCK OVER IT?
JOHN: i... hm.
JOHN: i don't really know?
JOHN: this all feels wrong, karkat.
JOHN: no offense, but when you're around, it's usually a lot...
KARKAT: A LOT WHAT?
JOHN: a lot funnier.
JOHN: how to put this.
JOHN: normally listening to you go on and on about how much we've fucked everything up is just very funny!
JOHN: but now it's just not the same.
JOHN: maybe it's part of what's going on with this entire reality? i don't know.
JOHN: once upon a time i would have put down your ability to pull a silly rant out of your butt as a fundamental law of physics or something.
JOHN: remember back when we first knew each other?
JOHN: it felt like all you ever said to me was how much you thought i was screwing up and being a useless asshole.
JOHN: and once i realized that you were also just a dumb kid who didn't know what was going on, i started to kind of enjoy it.
JOHN: but now it's like... the only one who's still a dumb kid is me, and everyone else has something big and important going on that i just don't understand.
JOHN: i thought that i finally got what was going on with this whole war and everything. i wanted to be useful!
JOHN: i guess i got a little too wrapped up in the feeling of something finally happening again.
JOHN: and then watching it all blow up in my face, kind of literally now that i think about it...
JOHN: it's hard not to feel even more dejected about the situation than i was before.
JOHN: and now even the patented karkat vant rant has lost all its sparkle.
JOHN: maybe if you had like, painstakingly itemized a list of all the things wrong with my plan in a comically overdone fashion or something.
KARKAT: I CONSIDERED IT, BUT HONESTLY THERE WAS SO MUCH WRONG THAT I CONCLUDED THAT THE BEST THING FOR EVERYONE WOULD BE TO NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.
JOHN: oh. okay.
KARKAT: IF WE'RE BEING HONEST, YOU DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A PLAN, JOHN.
KARKAT: CALLING IT A PLAN WOULD IMPLY THAT IT WAS A STRUCTURED SEQUENCE OF STEPS DESIGNED TO ACHIEVE A GOAL.
KARKAT: WHAT YOU CAME UP WITH WAS A CONVOLUTED MESS WHICH STILL SOMEHOW INVOLVED DOING FUCKALL.
KARKAT: AND I USE CONVOLUTED HERE IN THE SAME WAY THAT I WOULD TO DESCRIBE THE FRENZIED DRAWSTICK SCRIBBLES OF A SQUALLING HUMAN INFANT.
KARKAT: SPEAKING OF WHICH:
KARKAT: DRAWING A SHITTY PICTURE WITH "THE ULTIMATE PLAN" AT THE TOP AND A BUNCH OF ARROWS DOES NOT, AND TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE HAS NEVER, CONSTITUTED AN ACTIONABLE PLAN.
KARKAT: DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS CRITICISM WITH ANOTHER MISERABLE EXPRESSION, I AM BEGGING YOU.
JOHN: okay ):
KARKAT: I APPRECIATE THAT YOU SEEM TO HAVE DUG YOUR PAN OUT OF YOUR OWN CHUTE THE FEW MICROMETERS NECESSARY TO NOTICE THE PRECISE DEGREE TO WHICH THE WORLD IS BEING JUDICIOUSLY BATFUCKED RIGHT NOW.
KARKAT: AS HARD AS IT IS TO BELIEVE, THAT'S A FEAT WHICH NO SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE ARE COMPLETELY INCAPABLE OF DOING!
KARKAT: BUT NOTICING THE PROBLEM AND MAKING MEANINGFUL PROGRESS TOWARDS SOLVING IT ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.
KARKAT: THE NEXT TIME YOU GET THE IMPULSE TO "LEND A HAND", YOU'D BE BETTER OFF CANNING IT FOR FIVE MINUTES AND LISTENING TO THOSE OF US WHO'VE BEEN TRYING TO SOLVE IT A LOT LONGER THAN YOU HAVE.
KARKAT: THIS ISN'T AN EXERCISE BEING CONDUCTED IN ORDER FOR YOU TO PROVE YOUR PERSONAL DEGREE OF MORAL RECTITUDE.
KARKAT: AND IF IT WAS, YOU WOULD HAVE ALREADY FAILED MISERABLY! SO DO YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE A FAVOR AND STOP TREATING IT LIKE ONE.
JOHN: well... all right. if you say so karkat.
KARKAT: I DO SAY SO, EMPHATICALLY AND AT GREAT VOLUME.
KARKAT: AND NOW THAT MY OBLIGATION TO CATECHIZE YOU ON THE SUBJECT OF YOUR OWN LIFE IS FULFILLED, I HAVE A WAR TO GET BACK TO.
JOHN: wait, hold on.
KARKAT: OH MY GOD WHAT NOW.