2 - Crystal, Dragon, Jesus

The Dreams show me an ankh symbol as soon as she says that, now some heiroglyphics, a volcano, Gandalf, and like, soda pouring.

I blink. Huh?

Before I can ask Boobsong, the Dreams show me a new vision, but I'm not doing it. I said no Christian metaphor, and I meant it. Talking directly about Christianity is something else, but we're not doing that now.

[!] Mommy the Dreams are just being clear because you can't see the other vision.

Sooo...we need to go find members for a bubblegum-pop TMBG cover band and specifically cover John Henry?

I can't keep a straight face--solemn thoughts, should say, still bullet-timing--asking, I feel as deranged as the sentence sounds.

(sorry reader, that's as much as I'm writing down what they showed me. If you're really clever you can figure out what they showed me, from that, though)

Hehe that's silly, Mommy. You know what that sandals thing means though.

Sandals? Oh, hi Dreams with your more Christian metaphor, SIGH.

Like, I'm locking out Christian metaphor here of all places, for particular reasons. Do I need to like, go over why I'm right to, as some kind of healing exercise?

[Neo], the Dreams say.

Okay, that's better, because at least the whole idea of Neo as Jesus doesn't hold up. Really the only Christlike thing he does is sacrifice himself to save the people still trapped in the Matrix. Did I get sacrificed? I was trying to get out too, so that makes it a little different, because I was trying to save myself as much as anybody else.

But you could have gone right for Neo, Dreams, and it'd have saved us a lot of trouble, so WTF.

[Worship Service], say the Dreams.

Neo and Trinity had plenty of worshippers, though. Getting mobbed with presents and stuff was literally the first thing that happened to them in Zion.

I guess they didn't have a state religion backing that up, though.

Even if I skip out on my no Christian metaphor boundary, though, like, where's there room for the 3/4s of the star Magic didn't have in that vision? What we're talking about then is a temporary label applied solely due to the historical accident of me being the right kind of mutant alien to work the weird celestial-tech worldgate with a hope of using it to let us all out of our prison universe, where the particular belief I asked for was really specifically "believe I can open this worldgate on Paradise and give me acts of devotion and worship based on that". I'm not some kind of paragon figure or Anomaly the Matrix created or anything like that. I'm weird because of my history, but I'm still just one more girl beyond you and my other girlfriends really loving me. I feel like we're trying to blow my happening to know CPR into an entire personal mythology when the very last thing I ever wanted was to be a paramedic.

Dumbbell, big heavy chain, nerdy girl in glasses, pagan conference, say the Dreams.

I lost my lucky ball n chain, and now she's four years gone / she's five feet tall and sick of me, and all my rattling on...

I don't think that's what they mean...oh I see. Because I was purposefully being stupid with the other TMBG reference.

The Dreams show me the little chest of drawers I kept parts for electronics-building in in the backstory, then handcuffs, then an Olive Garden breadstick, then Boobsong in dragon form, then a die with no pips on the sides, a pair of eyes in the same abstract style as the Dreams were showing about Verana's mascot choices before, the application dock from MacOS X, a hand holding a bunch of flowers, the wings-and-Earth cover of the Instrumental Core album Other Worlds, then sunrays shining out of a cloud, then a Pegboard Nerds album cover um Hero.

I flop inside, overwhelmed by the huge pile of visions I don't understand--usually when the Dreams do this I can follow along through it, but none of these like, clicked for me.

The Dreams show me a day from the backstory where I was all excited because I had chocolate donuts and the BBC version of Voyage of the Dawn Treader was airing for the first time. It was exciting because I loved Narnia and wanted to see if they'd get all the Christian allegory right and sacred art is nice or something, hard to explain...

Now a rainbow stripe, the star-and-circle of an old-style airforce logo on a round-tipped airplane wing, a Hebrew letter Aleph, a highway on a map with little squares along it, [will find good stuff you don't expect].

I barely have time to think "this all just makes me so tired" before a the Dreams repeat [find good stuff you don't expect], then show me a just-opened pint of cookies and cream ice cream, a bowl of soup, an RC plane, a shadowed planet, a space shuttle pointing up.

That one had words I could understand in it at least (the Dreams are trying to tell me about breakup comfort with that ice cream and there's some kind of reference to the monoliths mission), but if I was in a bed instead of bullet-timing here I'd roll over and curl into a little ball. I don't feel the same livid betrayal as with my Lens being picked at, but this all just--

The Dreams show me a dream I had once about putting a workshop in an old disused room in my house I didn't know was there.

Logically speaking what happened--this feels like memories, I guess--is Verana turned me and Boobsong (but for some reason I have to cram the and Boobsong in like it doesn't actually go) into a replacement goldfish for the Jesus we dethroned and daddy later Jossed in the most literal sense possible. Or maybe claimed I was him? She was that ruthless, but I think she would have known to stay out of that swamp. Bridge too far and all that.

Why would there be comfort in that? Verana obviously did it carefully enough to not traumatize me or I'd be a triggered mess right now what with the way I freak out for people seeing a role I'm supposed to play instead of me, but...we did this to accomplish something. Paradise is a pretty great paycheck, but in the end this is still like trying to get me to remember my work clothes. The beloved parts, like, our fans and all the attention whoring and stuff, are already back.

The Dreams show me a picture of Boobsong I commissioned during the bad times, kneeling, her skin shining so sexily. It doesn't look quite like her, but it captures her raunchy cocksleevy lustfulness really well:


It's comforting to see any form of her, but, like, she's right here, bouncing in sexy slow-mo?

I wait, because the Dreams have been piling explanation on the moment I don't get something this whole way, but it doesn't come.

Maybe I'm supposed to ask Boobsong? Do you know what they mean, dolly?

Mommy your Succubus sees worship in all these. Your Boobsong is kneeling in that picture.

[Neo], the Dreams say again, then [unexpected good thing you'll find here].

I don't want to be this, is the sad thought that seeps out.

[unexpected good thing you'll find here], [Al's Hobbies], the Dreams answer.

Al's Hobbies is part of the life in Stamford we lived in Disguise, with Mother and my human dad and Mother's two handmaidens who survived the coup attempt, hiding out pretending to be a family of Connecticutians, and I was their Starlight-Princess-superfan daughter who liked model airplanes. Isn't that the opposite of what the Dreams are saying here?

The Dreams show me an app icon of a verrrry thin new moon, black on the icon's white round-rect shape.

[!] Your Acme Station sees [Vision: white makeup pencil]--

Another vision the Dreams can't seem to get through or something. Vague impression of airliner windows, and the wings-and-Earth of the cover of Other Worlds again.

Maybe they're just sending only that much. A ride to the otherworld is all I ever promised.

The Dreams drag up a memory from the rewrite-backstory that makes me cringe, of being on a Christian mission trip in college. I want to die that even in the fake messed up version of history with no magic Eden made up to torture everyone I'd ever be part of that, like I hate myself that that's even theoretically possible.

[Marching Band Conductor], say the Dreams, and then a vision of stairs where the first step is a few feet off the ground so you'd have to like, scramble onto them to get up, then the portable defibrillator from that one episode of Firefly.

...yeees, we were Four-Dreams-Faith revivalists, I scrunchy-eyebrows-question back at the Dreams. What's that have to do with anything? I know? Still just a means to an end.

[unexpected good thing to find here], they insist, then, sideways, a Lego piece that's an antenna or lever depending how you use it. In the backstory this was a kind of holy grail for a while because I wanted to build a spaceship with a couple for controls, but almost no sets included them, so I waited months to finally get one--

King Arthur, but the one from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, they add--okay so Holy Grail? My holy grail's standing there by the counter waiting to order me pizza, so--

Kevin, from Home Alone, doing his The Scream face, say the Dreams.

I'm about ready to scream, alright. Find what, Dreams. what good thing is supposedly hiding out here among the TPS reports and office supplies? I have the good part of our fame back. It's waiting for me now leaving every guest bed in Strawberry Home cold in favor of some Strawberry's.

(Just before we came here, Boobsong and I gave a stage show while dropping from orbit on a hypertech flexible flyer the Strawberry people gave me for Heartwarming, and at the end of it timewarped the entire assembled crowd back to Strawberry Home for a nice mythical magical Heartwarming. If they have one shred of sense, they'll all be enjoying the hospitality real hard now)

The Dreams bring up a backstory-memory of playing The Incredible Machine with Ricky, but it crumbles in my mental hand to reveal sitting in darkness with Verana, like in a black void, I think this was a journey-space she set up for us to connect with the Four Dreams and strategize our world-taking-over?

Vibes of being out and about in Stamford in Disguise float up. High Ridge road, Al's Hobbies, stuff like that. Playing Street Fighter II at BK with Boobsong. A shopping center there. I guess this must be trying to show me a temple, but I can't remember it.

The Dreams show me a close up of a very red strawberry, big like modern ones (the Strawberries I'm named for--oh argh we still haven't even got as far as my name well fine Strawberry is part of it--are from eighty thousand years back, and about the size of a clit). Strawberry Fatih in the modern age, I guess...like we updated, syncretized, but--yucky-feeling badness tells me this is going to pinch if I follow it, and I reflexively turn away, but my rational mind has no interest in sticking my fingers in the meat grinder either.

With Copper, my handmaiden who's a witch, who also lost her memory, this pinching meant the truth inside her couldn't fit the schema she had, so it pinched and hurt to tell her the schema was damaging the memory.

Tedium. So boring it's too boring for the childish word boring. What are we here for? Game you just said it's time for play, and you said the same thing, Dreams. Why are you trying to take me back to the office? Earth is here, work is done.

A memory of having just broken my arm sledding floats up from the backstory, being on the way home from the hospital with my new cast on, getting McDonald's because poor kid. I was like twelve or thirteen.

That's how I feel here. I just wanna have my pizza and go be pathetic. If my handmaidens need their Mommy back that gives me enough energy to go find them Heartwarming gifts and remember them and myself enough to be their Mommy again, but only just, and I don't see what this all has to do with it. Like I don't think that's going to be hard or something, just...why are we doing this stuff?

Copper had a guide, to get past her broken schemas, or rather, two guides, me and Boobsong. I wish Verana was here. I miss her.

Backstory-memory of helping clean at my dad's church a day the caretaker was down sick floats up. No big drama, though I didn't enjoy playing janitor. He even paid me the rate the church would have given to a hired maid, as like a teenage job. It's hard to figure out what that has to do with anything or why I'm thinking of it now, though--oh, I guess because we helped Verana at her "church"? Hardly emptying restroom trash and stuff, though!

The memory is of yucky jobs and makes me feel gross. I wish it would go away.

Verana's jobs for us weren't yucky, though I'm lost what she needed us for that we weren't doing out on the road, including stops to present at her temples and cons. That's where our value is, for our religion, big flashy bad-joke-fests and fun shows to get people's hearts up, pretty dreamskins, stuff like that. What good am I in that black-void lathing-room journey? Maybe to get Boobsong there?

Boobsong seems mad again? What's up, dragon?

Mommy you're being so dumb here your Boobsong's exploding! What is your heart freezing this out for? Ask it your Boobsong is begging.

What, like asking the Dreams? I think it's been saying. It's time for work to be done. More answer floats up from inside of me, the cast memory--or was that the day I got my cast off? Snowy woods looking like the back yard in Stamford come up with the memory.

I want to take my cast off? Yeah, I want to get out of this bullet time and do anything. I'm so done with this and bored I could burn this whole place down just to make this end already.

The Dreams show me that damn [unexpected good thing] thing again and I send a swipe of angry light back along the path it came from. No there isn't.

My game starts to say something so I pulse dragon eat me if this tells me to stay with this garbage before it gets the first word out.

Stray light from Boobsong's hair. See where the purple light comes from.

Most of the reflections on her hair are of her black wings or the storefront windows, but there's purple on her shoulder next to coke machine red where the wall should be. The bullet-time lets go and I turn around to see that the wall is a mural kind of like the Judgement tarot card, with people climbing very un-zombified out of graves on hills at the bottom, looming purple clouds in the sky, Boobsong in dragon form at the top instead of the usual angel roaring down at everyone to wake them from the middle of a rainbow-glitter sunburst with a little shiny me at the center. It's beautiful, and I'm flattered, but...like...what's the message here? We succeeded after all, and they're grateful? This is the same thing as the shrine wth my jacket, but--Boobsong's (especially) mad again? Dragon?

How can you not see this? They worship us, that's why that's here, and why your jacket is on the altar at Park Street! You've been crashing this the whole time here. Please PLEASE stop!

As she "talks" I try to turn around to see her again, but the bullet time's back, leaving me staring at the mural. I feel heavy and sleepy, my eyes would close if time wasn't all weird.

The Dreams show me a little treasure chest, interrupting, or I'd keep reading what Boobsong has to say, then the Space Shuttle again, then a bluebird (which appropriately enough Boobsong told me last night means "trust your family"),

Chest. Worship is a game mechanic in the goddess game that's the other side of my Succubus game with Boobsong. It makes my chest feel like it's filling up with yellow light when people do something toward me I don't really understand, and that's part of how the worldgate works somehow, to make it open by making me a conduit or focus or something for all their will, because there's something weird about Earth's universe that needs a consensus or something to open the timegate as a worldgate and let everyone out. Or did. The space shuttle is a reference to this too because that's the metaphor the Dreams used when we were little to explain this all, loading Earth on a huge Space Shuttle to take it to the Dreams. Now it's here, though, so all that's past-tense and the goddess game can just go back to being a sex thing between me and Boobsong--

The Dreams interrupt to show me that same shopping center again, and a bluebird, and a run-up stand from a flying field I flew at lots. The run up stand is all dilapidated because nobody cared about them after electrics took over and there was no need more to hold your plane in a stand that'd keep it still while you tuned the engine, so the stands all sat at one end of the flight line rotting.

What use is a temple devoted to getting to Paradise, once you're there? The point of our whole religion was to bring a little bit of the Dreams down to Earth and make life there as much like the Dreams as it could be. Now, like, it is the Dreams, so we don't need dark peaceful rooms to journey in, or sermons about what it's like here, or any of that stuff. It's playtime, the religion can rot like those heavy inconvenient run-up stands that blocked half the taxiway while everyone parties!

[!] Are we those run-up stands? Not anymore you say your Boobsong can see that. So why is this here then? If it's done with, why keep it? Why keep on going? We should just go back to Heart Home and stay there eternally.

I don't get this. You're all saying "stupid Rainbow, can't you see they like you", but I can! I'm just saying, we can stop with all the hard stuff? I guess? I don't know. Our reentry ride was pretty much a stage show like we always do, and I was glad to see that stage and our fans and they were glad to see us and I just don't see what's here that isn't there?

The backstory memory of helping my dad at his church comes back. Where was he in all this? He was cursed with not liking to administrate stuff but being great at it, he would have helped Verana out, or she would have had him doing the priest thing because my game did the administration for us.

The chores thing doesn't make sense. Stage shows are fun. Our fans are great. Touring was great. Even scaring right-wingers was fun. We did stuff with Verana, that lathing-room thing again, but that was fun too, it feels good to remember it, I just, the way the worship game played was just a thing for the worldgate. Our fans still love us--

[!] Mommy you're being so cold there your Boobsong has ice under her toenails.

The Dreams show me three handbells--SIGH Christian metaphor I'll just pretend not to see the trinity part. It makes me think of another TMBG song, Bells, which is about organized religion and summed up by the lyric the bells explain what they've been missing all along, they were disorganized and that was what was wrong, and I mean, that's religion, really. Emergency, the universe is sinking, alarm bells clanging, this way to the worldgate here are the instructions to open it, put your own oxygen mask on before helping your seatmate, go go go MOVE, and then if you aren't the one giving the instructions you hope the bells you're hearing are being rung by someone with your best interests at heart.

At least that was our religion, or it became that the moment I was born and fulfilled the prophecies about the end times. I don't have the slightest idea how to play figurehead for a religion that's not a very desperate apocalypse cult, which is the only kind there can be here in Paradise on the other side of every apocalypse. This was a trip that was going somewhere. Now it's arrived. That means the party starts, not that it's over. Where's the cold in that? That I don't have to keep shouting emergency instructions over the sound of the engines flaming out?

It's something with worship, I know that's what you're all saying with all this...but what I'm calling "worship" was just a part of how the worldgate worked. Boobsong can pray and be cutely devoted and it makes my heart sing, but that's her way of submitting, our fans are fans because they're wayward freaks who follow us to see what crazy stuff we'll do next, they're not like, all my subs or something.

The Dreams show me a Zeppelin. Alternate timeline, that old joke where alternate histories always have zeppelins? Oh the humanity alright, this whole thing is going up in flames.

Something I could do with "oh the humanity" is visible from where I sit, but I can no more reach for it than I could keep my light on when the Dreams wanted to tell me to express myself about the traitorous court and I couldn't hear one more thing about my Lens, even that.

Even if that was--which it's not--Earth was a bad situation and we all pulled together to get everyone out. That was all, that's the only reason I played this messiah role. Why are we trying to bring back the bad parts?

Let me just play the candy bimbo clown now. That was the part I liked, other than the hope of escape. That's the part our fans liked. We were performers. We made a religion out of it because that was the way to get the worldgate open but that weighed down the fun. Now we can just be ourselves, and have fun. With our fans. Who love us. Here and now, not as a memory of saving them from bad stuff. 

And to answer your question dolly this is still here probably because someone cares about the memories this mural represents like I care about this random pizza shop.

The Dreams show me the cable from the end of the intro to Starlight Princess (a journey-entry metaphor we gave people: this is the cable that carries you far / into the looking glass, from right where you are) but it's coming out of a freezer.

Dreams what are they going to do, come down here and sit in a temple and journey back to wherever they landed from? We can still tell stories, but people don't need all that stuff now, they can just go! Or you know, show up for a stage show and find themselves timewarped to Strawberry Home suddenly--but you can't be telling me about that, since we just did it!

[Unexpected good thing you'll find here], [vision of lightning bolt], the Dreams reply.

I don't get it. This is paradise. Phenomenal cosmic powers aren't special here.

The Dreams show me the USS Titan, whose crew has somehow never heard of Su'khora despite their being flying around the Four Dreams, and to whom I promised a heartforming seminar to fix that, to say nothing of the other fun we brought. Okay, so like, inspiration, weird situations like that. I didn't mind, but...this puzzle just doesn't go together, I'm sorry. I don't see why there's anything to unfreeze, or tell me, or anything. These aren't surprising things.

Earth with a lot of pins in it, and then bones, is their answer, but it drowns in my memory of that day getting my cast off, and I want to cry with frustration, because the Dreams' words still don't go together. They're spiking all the temples? Spiking me for touring? This religion was part of a spiking, of Earth being closed?

Dolly can you make anything of this? We did it, the cast can come off now, I don't have to be held in the shape that's not me anymore, that's what my heart says. It's cold because it can't keep doing that. To answer your question finally.

The bones are this trapped time. Earth with those pins are all our tour stops.

The Dreams show me a very small, very slightly open eye, and a lock.

Alright, that's enough. No there is not either anything to see or that I'm locking out, or you'd have found a way to tell me. I misunderstood this. Dragon, eat me and go to that pocket universe if this gets spiked, because if this gets spiked, it means we're not wanted here.

Scan Earth. Find every shrine or monument or painting like this, whatever. This is stomping Christianity 2.0, but we're just leaving a hole so people get the message I'm getting, which is that we can't exist here and now until all these relics are gone. Wipe these memories out. Erase them. Everything you can get at.

I make a new machine, that she'll either copy to put in all the holes, or that will go in our museum of nightmares. It's a projector that just hammers you with the thought "the religion was only to get the worldgate open, you can stop now" when you look at it.

I was happy to let this all stand, but not if we have to spend eternity locked in this pizza shop, to get some kind of fake nonexistent message.

The last message of Sugarfeast is this, I add to my projector, grow beyond me, or I'll come for every memory of me you ever had, and tear it out of you, and leave you with the holes and your confusion, because you never deserved a single thing I ever said.

[!] EEEEAAAAAH PLEASE NO DON'T ERASE US! Mommy PLEASE PLEASE won't you just try to hear out your Boobsong? The Dreams have been holding us here like this because it's Earth that you're cold to! You have to see something, lies! You have to remember there were places that liked you! Yes, you say, you see fans at Heartwarming, well you don't see the ones at the Heart Churches wearing candles as hair ties and singing songs to your honor to get you to come there! Not afraid of the light, that's why hair candles. Daring to put that fire there. They're still doing that because they miss you! They were never just there to get out of Earth! They live here still, they like it! That's what use the Heart Churches and murals and candy-shops with your name saying blessed by her Fairy self and ALL THAT STUFF is! To be nice to you! To say we miss you here, please come visit us! There. Your Boobsong's done.

That's really sweet, but why are the Dreams trying to tell me I'm Jesus?

Because you are to them.

How am ever supposed to live up to that? If it wasn't for the stupid apocalypse I'd have been a forgettable Princess and a terrible Queen. I'm glad we got out of that, to be honest, but...the only thing I ever was is the person who randomly got the key to the worldgate. The rest is just the religion we made up to make it open. If the message here is "stay Disguised until Verana gets here", okay, but otherwise, I'm lost.

The Dreams show me--oh I see, that's supposed to be my broken arm from sledding.

I guess this is our life for a while, then, if I have to learn to be the messiah Verana sold everyone for real now. Or maybe like that's the new quest? Do you blame me for being so cold? In a million years I could never learn to be what you just said they think of me.

I just want to be done. I want this fucking cast off. Their savior is smoke and mirrors, they have to learn someday.

The Dreams show me...like, blue lettuce, I guess?

[!] Mommy that's waves pulled back.

Can't be. The Dreams wouldn't keep riding me with Christian metaphors after I said please no more I'd like to ever heal.

[!] Christianity stole that myth.

That just makes it worse!

[!] Maybe they have a reason they keep saying stuff like this.

I'm more interested in why they've got me in a cast with the bone set wrong. If I'm Jesus to one single person Verana screwed up bigtime. Or I did. Something.

Trinity on a motorbike, is the Dreams' incomprehensible answer.

Or...so back to "all this is just stuff we did to open the worldgate", I guess? You switch to the Matrix whenever I get on your case about it, but the moment I'm thinking about something else, back with the Christian metaphor, like you're one of their rapey evangelists trying to sneak it up on me. What the fuck?

Shall we play Matrix? My NAME is RAINBOW. Yeah, let's play chicken. Either they out there know who I really am, in which case keeping me here with all this Jesus crap is unconscionable on your part, or they think I am him, and destroying all my relics and stuff is the kindest thing to do for them and you can let us or we're going to that pocket universe. So, which is it going to be? How exactly did you fuck this up? Because you don't have a clean way out after this new little nightmare!

Took me to a place that was important to me. I should have known. Important place equals torture Rainbow, got it.

Dragon, next time the Dreams take us to someplace that was sacred to us, eat me and go to that pocket universe. Even if we seem to have gone there of our own free will, do it. If we blunder in unexpectedly, do it. Important place equals torture Rainbow, save me Keeper help.

EEEEEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA NOOOOOO MOMMY PLEASE PLEASE DON'T DESTROY OUR HOME! Our LIFE is here! Don't make us leave, PLEASE there MUST be a reason the Dreams have us stuck like this! Can't you ask that? What is this nightmare, Dreams? Why can't you let us live? LET US GO OUT THERE! Princess will see if you stop telling her Jesus things!

Her wail is so heartbreaking. Oh, dolly--the Dreams have something to say. This had better be good.

It's the National Ignition Facility, and then an arrow pointing downwards, like at the Earth's surface in space, and a Chinese food carry out container. My black hole is here?

(It came out after the hurricane thing that the plan with all the assassination attempts and shit was to make me lose my temper and either destroy myself with a light explosion, or kill enough people nobody would like me anymore. To show what would happen if I ever did freak out, and demonstrate my game could handle me, we had Boobsong use her star-shaping fields to pick up the Rockies--like, the whole mountain range--and pick them into space where with her shapeshifted dragon mouth as reflectors I crushed them into a black hole with light I very lazily and yawningly shot out of my pinkie, then my game caught the black hole and put it in a little carrier I could carry with my game taking the weight, and let people feel its gravity)

I guess the black hole must still be here, if the rest of my life is.

So...they're trying to get some light to crush something bigger? I think that's a 'no' vibe.

You asked, dolly, so I think this one's for you.

This is why they stopped us here. We can't go out because that life is out there.

The Dreams show a sledgehammer with the handle sharpened to a point. You again, dolly, or at least I have no idea.

That stake is your beating this with your dragon taking you out, see the hammer-top? You're spiking their spiking, that's the down-point. Their spikes have up-points.

Now a jukebox. Still you, dolly.

They're playing just one song, then we go out of this.

Machine-made bread in its plastic bag. I'm sitting this one out, you read it. You're doing wonderfully, dolly.

Bread squeezes past [Vision: blue lettuce] boundary because its soft candy stuff, not Christian hard bread. You notice they always used bread that hurts? Crusty hard or tasteless BLEAH. Candy soft christ is easier sale.

I start making little star-stuff jagged knives with different metaphors attached--broken glass, steel, bits of rock, mean images like this one, and just piling them up. Don't know what I'll do with them yet. Some kind of statement about the Dreams' lying or something.

The Dreams have another thing. The cover of Existentia, another Instrumental Core album. I wish they'd leave my favorite-just-about musician out of this, but this is torture time, so I shouldn't be surprised they'll drag down anything they can find.

Dolly you're doing an amazing job here but do you feel like I'm putting you in harm's way?

No. This is really helping. Good says your Boobsong. Eat very last jagged thing you make if it helps this.

What you deserve is a solar mass of jewels and cum to eat, for putting up with this crap since we got here.

Ooh, all the images the Dreams have used for this tonight, go onto these little shards. Green checkmarks added liberally. Soup and ice cream. Those slippers, the hammer. I'll call this Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

Anyway why Existentia, dolly?

The apple of knowledge. Knowledge of what? Dreamskins, look at the nectar fall off it!

The sentient seifuku from Kill La Kill the history rewrite turned my Dress into in media, but the red suspenders are the beginning of a stupid amount of red thread. Dolly, still you.

Oh, that's what to do with these. I make a shape of my tiny-skirt, party-top, rainbow-stocking Starlight Princess outfit from a Line of Stabby Things like tangled barbed wire, and start attaching all the Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics to it.

This is who the Dreams made of me, I carve into it, the way daddy leaves me notes on stuff.

Being you has a lot of fate attached.

Notable that's the not-me version of my outfit, then. I stain the wire haphazardly with an attempt at ontological-engineering-blood-candy.

The next vision is Boobsong's mouth. Careful, Dreams, you know you're doing this on borrowed patience.

Radioactivity! Something destructive, um...sort of spikes on springs come out. They'll be triggered by looking-at, but I leave them sprung while I work on this, make a machine to reset them, but don't turn it on yet. This will go in just inside the entrance of the nightmare museum, the first thing you'll see after broken Boobsong. Seeing it will harm you, or at least try to--the spikes stab at "eyes" that look at it--just like learning this is harming me, and you'll bleed through the exhibits, and have to find your own healing, afterwards, just like me.

Dolly, mouth vision.

Your Boobsong can tell what that means. She thinks the seifuku is to say the reset was fate too, so tangled up they couldn't get out of it.

Another point for "should have just glassed Earth the moment we got there", then.

Like, a stained glass rainbow and star. Dolly?

Can't miss that fate so they opened a path after using your name. Rainbow path that says. Worldgate at top, rainbow leads up to it.

A harpoon loaded in a very Boobsong-ish gun.

Heartforming chyah! Shooting at Aveh.

An like the logo for the Disney Atlantis movie, some red candles around the bottom of it some of which are knocked over, a McDonald's fries box faces away to the left.

Atlantis got almost killed by turning their power into weapons. Turning you and Aveh into guns was a stupid choice. Turned into gun because you're so heart-hurt? What shoot, hmm...Aveh with heartforming! Eden with light bursts! French fries not looking says you don't see most of the pain you caused Eden. Candles alive still say people still worship that thing. How could they worship a nightmare that bad? It's powerful. That's what they look for. You can turn mountains into stardust and wear it on a string. Power gets worship. Bread keeps your heart strong. Candy soft makes it easy to take and instead of Eden they worship you now. People have gods, you said that to Sex this morning. They might not be wise when they choose them but they have some. You at least want them to be filled with happy stuff and feel good stuff! Now all they want is to see you and keep playing your games. Yes you're replacing their Jesus but that doesn't mean you are him. It just means that's your place in their life.

The Dreams show me a bluebird, trust my family. Unless you see something more there, dolly.

Your Boobsong says heartfeltly YES trust your family.

Grandmother Strawberry, I think as I read her say that (I already thought it meant Boobsong as my first thought).

What does she say?

People have gods here, same as the old life. Got yourself one, I think. Fairy Keepers are that, to most of their kind, too, though.

That'd fit our theme of making it as confusing as possible who the dom is, heh. Not dom and sub, I know, Keeper.

I feel really fae in the lostness of trying to figure out what to do next, and the Dreams show me blue skirts twirling, making me think of Cinderella, and thereby Walt, but I think I'm still in listening to my Keeper mode. Dolly?

You're asking your Boobsong what's now!? Oh the vision okay. Cinderella yes. Walt--

The Dreams interrupt her with [unexpected good stuff], and I manage not to slide back into the dark, but only just. Why was it so important to make me see our fans love so specifically this way? The very first joke of remembering our stage shows as stage shows I made earlier was smity good time. I understood we were powerful. The Dreams seem obsessed with getting me to see myself specifically as a messiah figure, and I don't like that. I guess I can understand if that's how our fans see us, but it bothers me.

Of all things, the Dreams show me a Snickers bar. Dolly, that's not you with a food metaphor, right? Huh?

That is the Dreams. It means satisfaction. Satisfying to have them replace Jesus with you. Got Christianity good then. Must be playing good if they see you that way!

Now the Dreams show that dark room--oh, is this Walt's house in Key West, making Starlight Princess? Of course Verana would be there. We'd show visions and stuff in the dark, to get the look right on stuff and everything. Boobsong and me were the ones journeying to have the adventures in the first place, so of course they needed us there.

Dolly, what do you make of this?

Walt has what they're trying to say with this on a black mirror.

Her last words are ambiguous. Did we also black mirrors looking glasses? I think...that's a Strawberry thing...the unreal other world in the glass is what that magic is built on, but you use a black one for magic so your reflection doesn't distract too much, but in Straberry...we just called them looking-glasses. Anyway--

The Dreams show me Alice from Alice in Wonderland, which makes me think of the--now hold up. Kaari must have done that with the hookah on purpose. I keep underestimating the Strawberry's knowledge of me--but how could she know I would find out who I am in that room? Maybe the Dreams told her to take up hookah or something.

Anyway who are you, would be what Walt has on a black mirror here, and the answer is Princess Starlight, but I guess a lot of people have got attached to me as more than a sex-ed show hostess and goo-and-heartstone preacher (you know, like instead of fire and brimstone).

The Dreams show me the glass-cutter that started this by somehow making Boobosng think to try to get me to remember the name she called me (Lucy) to wake me up the morning after the reset, when I thought I was a boy not named anything like that, and then conflation-jump to Strawberry Home riding the pain I still felt from being exiled.

These are still for you, dolly.

It's time to go back to your new home.

The Dreams show me USS Voyager. Dolly?

Voyage back.

The Dreams give me a really strong vibe of the Stamford house, with the laundry basket of mail the neighbor brought in for us, after coming back from being away on vacation for a month. I can smell it, the way the house smelled after we'd been away a long time.

This one seems obvious but I feel obstinate. Dolly?

They're taking you back there.

More nineties stuff, but this is from the rewrite, it's Commander Sisko in a First Contact style Starfleet Uniform, DS9 isn't actually Trek--Picard playing the flute at teh end of The Inner Light?

Always thought that was a spiked up episode. People like it because the story of the dying planet is poignant, but the way Picard gets mindraped into experiencing it, and ends up ripped away from all his friends and loved ones for subjective decades...if I'd been Picard, that flute would've looked to me like a Borg drone and I would've traced that probe's ion trail back to their homeworld just to make sure there wasn't anything there I could meaningfully break with my bare hands. I would've traced that thing right back to its launch pad just so I could piss on it and then the graves of its designers. I would've wished myself up the need to pee to be to be able to. Spike those self-important bastards and their nightmare memorial. It's a good thing that nova got them before they got the tech to become really horrible.

And the example as perfect! Being a Trek show completely hamstrung DS9 as the gritty war story it was trying to be! Berman wasted half of every episode the first few seasons jumping up and down on Gene's legacy, in the rewrite version, cutting out a lot of important plot-threads, and Garack/Bashir never got to happen! Nobody! Got to see them kiss! I don't even like boys and I think that's a tragedy! Ezri was completely ruined because she didn't get to pine for Kira so the rewrite left her character just as a blank!

Alright fanrage over. What are they saying here, dolly.

Mommy they gave you that to take you back to your life, not rewrite-world. Be angry, that's good here!

We already did this one, I made Candy burn a whole room of crap like this. Why this now? We had a life in Stamford. We weren't on all the time. My plan here was to go out Disguised though I guess if the tour bus is waiting that's not happening.

I don't get this. Spike that terrible episode of TNG. Spike Picard's ridiculous actually embracing the fake self that overwrote him so some jumped-up douchnozzle on a dying planet could have the fake immorality of being memorialized. Spike everyone thinking that's a great episode and a neat character development thing for Picard. It's not. It makes no sense and it's horrible. He should loathe every speck of anything that makes him remember that nightmare.

We went away from Stamford for months at a time but it wasn't empty, Mother and dad and her--what were there names, the two handmaidens who made it, anyway you get my point. Did they all leave sometimes? I guess they must have had other places. I seem to remember having the place to ourselves sometimes. Mother's handmaidens were quiet, like they'd sneak up real good, I seem to remember. It was always nice to get home, but we didn't miss Trek while we were on the road, with our bigass TV in our bus! Or games, we had our PlayStation on that big wooden toybox as a coffee table between our couch and the TV. The was right up front but the seat faced back so I could sit there and see you doing stuff. We could go up front if we want to watch the road coming on, wasn't there like a little bed-place above the front area? Then the little kitchenette, then like a kind of daybed place or something? No that's right, the observation bubble and that high table. Drawers on the other side, big flat ones, I remember one with plans for Strawberry Home in it like I was going to rebuild the castle or something, or was that all different plans like airplanes and stuff?

Back through narrow hallway, what was there, stuff closets, toilet for nectar-shy's but it was always just full of cleaning stuff, I think your pantry for baking? Game storage makes this confusing. Why any storage, is that wrong?

Anyway bedroom. Big satin bed, always so shiny, shiny racks and a little countertop by the bedside. Walkway on one side only. Go back past it, fancy tub bathroom, to separate the bed from the engine. What was the view from bed like? Style was black a lot, charcoal, shiny, looking out the bedroom at the rest...much more open this way, yeah, I was remembering too much storage. Surprisingly little rainbow color?

Oh because mirrors. They make it look big, too. I'm the rainbow color. I'm such a narcissist, hehe.

No this is a star thing. As a star you like black void to live in because your light shows up good. My bus was like that. Your hoard's all black too, same reason. My house, I'm what shines there. It had lights but we mostly didn't use them I think.

Yeah. I'm the star. I do the shining. There's a reason you only have subtle glows.

Uppitiy heat fills me, and even with the bullet time, the light in here changes as I flare bright.

We left the tour busses at like Park and Rides and Disguised up and I just flew you home hellpegasus-style when we went on vacation. Could be any number of superfans and their heartchild. There's this really intense one who lives in Stamford don'tchaknow. HAH! Arriving at the Stamford house was starting vacation, for us!

Had to remember to un-disguise for Mother, or it'd mess with her head really bad! The power was meant for sneaking around the castle, not being invisible in our own house. Can you direct it per-person? Yes, because it works at the person level. It's like a perception filter in Doctor Who, not holograms? No, subtle holograms, just make us not look like us at key moments. Knowing when and how is the mindfucky part. Even people knowing the power existed wouldn't get them past it. Watch the people using Acme Station stuff and press their buttons perfectly. People could watch you put it up and end up wondering if they'd just been wrong the whole time.

The observation bubble was also where we got out to the landing pad on the roof, right? That's right, we'd launch to go to Stamford with the bus airborne, so nobody could spawncamp us getting out. Then go fly home.

What about handmaidens? We could do them to with Disguise, right?

Handmaidens came with us but they didn't go that way.

We went off by ourselves a lot. Private dates and things, that was part of vacation. Did we transform them?

They wouldn't have fit at the Stamford house! It was already full with this six of us! No, they could, keep forgetting handmaidens sleep with their Mommy, that's part of the point of them, that'd leave enough bedrooms for everyone even if all mine couldn't fit with us every night. Mother and dad had that big bed of course, so they all fit fine. Bed in our bus was huge, same reason, though I think we spent a lot of alone time there.

Green checkmark, and then...Dracula from Castlevania? Oh, what is man, a miserable little pile of secrets. No, not starting. Dolly?

Your handmaidens came in disguise, yes. They weren't very miserable, but they did stay in piles!

A Mickey sticker, and petticoats, the Dreams show. Dolly.

They had big skirts! Yeah right you like naked or fun stuff.

Green checkmark, then [ Hotel ], say the Dreams. Thoughts boil, but I'm sticking to my guns here. Dolly?

Why the green checkmark? Why's a hotel hard? Think that way.

I can't get this. I keep thinking I transformed them different ways, into pets because Disney Princess, or they got some whoring in at the hotel, or they somehow turned into cartoons in like a book, but all that's wrong.

The Dreams show like a hex-bolt, in a wall. Dolly?

Keep you here.

A curvy fifties chair, the Dreams add. So like modern-ish throne? All different transformations. Some to art, some to furniture, Copper could shapeshift...this is weird to say with what my game could do, but that sounds too high-magic? Also not like them. Dolly?

Curvy and comfy? Those chairs are awful! Very uncomfortable sitting. Why that here?

The Dreams show me a covering iron, but it's wickedly pointy like it's a knife, too. Very wicked disguise then. Was it just, they came to the Stamford house, but they couldn't go out because too obvious, so I statued them for most of the time they were there so they wouldn't get bored? Dolly, thoughts?

What your disguise cut off wasn't priceless.

An airplane fuselage, with no tail. I un-transformed them? Because tail off. The fifties chair is as mean as can be to tails, you can't even dangle one out the side of it. The drag on wing-slits, too, I think. This still doesn't feel right, though. I like tails, but I'm pretty sure only Pussy has one normally.

Fuselage with no tailfeathers. Can't fly that! What to do instead? Put on shelf and look at it?

An apple peeler. Unveiling? Like you said, I like naked or fun stuff. Did I just put there clothes on, and it was just like, there's no way Princess Starlight's handmaidens even managed to even pick up real clothes? That doesn't go with the rest though. Maybe dreamskins something? Dolly?

You sure did have hard times getting clothes on Pussy!

The Dreams show me a girl in a 1910s dress, and huge scissors are about to cut her arm off. Disarmed, heh, no. Case by case? No, seemingly. These aren't getting me any closer. I feel like the Dreams don't want ot help but they don't want me to change topics, either. Anything, dolly?

Candy was like that. Cutting her arm off?

Oh, it was my arm that was eaten! I thought these were all junk! I don't remember my handmaidens in Stamford at all. I don't think they did come. I think they took vacation too. Green checkmark because they're supposed to be always with me but mine aren't like that, they're more independent. Hotel is hard because no Mommy. Except they just have great fun together if I leave them alone.

Stamford was our time, just you and me. Our secret little life. We saw Mother too, but...she was like, withdrawn, in the real history. Not that the rewrite did anything but give her different reasons for her crippling anxiety and reluctance to leave the house. Our relationship wasn't bad, and I didn't blame her. That coup thing really spiked her up bad (I can relate!), and then losing all but two handmaidens--

The Dreams show me one of those Women's Army Reserve posters, then a Mario mustache, then french bread.

Okay even if I wasn't playing dumb Fairy right now, huh? Dolly?

That's us doing boy stuff--

The Dreams show me more Mario bouncing around. Time to think about Shigeru, then, I guess. I remember him coming into the green room after I won the StarFox championship punching ceiling tiles and making brick-break sounds. Boobsong and me looked at concept art at BK, we'd just come from working with Walt, Verana lived in town, oh we journeyed from Verana's to see Walt on vacation--

The Dreams interrupt my thought before it even gets around to Shigeru with a fireman's coat. Some kind of rescue thing?

Women's Army Reserve could take us back to Bombshell's time maybe...wait that's not french bread, that's an Olive Garden breadstick! Doing boy stuff (like model airplanes, they run on testosterone, don'tchyaknow), playing video games and/or working with Verana and Walt and Shigeru, and dates at the Olive Garden. That was our Stamford life. We really just played teenagers. Even when we got older. It was a nice break.

Picture of a landscape with blue skies, like a nineties film photo printed all glossy. Reminds me of vacationing in Maine--

[ Pacman-era Arcade Game ], the Dreams interrupt, then [Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie]. When I go to ask Boobsong because it doesn't click the Dreams show me my backstory-memory of getting an NES when I was ten because we'd just moved to Stamford and my dad like tripled his salary. These are all eighties things, but we didn't leave for good until I was thirteen, but we were making expeditions before that or my room would be a lot different.

When did that start? When I was ten? That's the age we moved to Stamford in the rewrite. I also started drill-sergeant and halberd training then, and visited that battlefield not too long after, so if they had me doing that stuff they could hardly say I was too young.

Also prophecies said I was supposed to, I think, and I'm the only one who can even operate the worldgate because I'm a star--Sis maybe? She wasn't bright enough, comes to mind. One point twenty-one gigawatts is accurate when it comes to time travel, remember how even Berryblossom needed light to do it.

The Dreams show me ISS (like, the International Space Station), [ Groundhog Day Movie ], then the part from Close Encounters of the Third Kind where he's making the huge model of the mountain where the ship lands and is like "this means something", then a covering iron.

I was in like, our space program, the worldgate was--technology, bring back--watch the pinchy, don't go here--

Something so big my forehead itches. The Dreams show me an American flag covering a coffin. Gulf war A-10s memory...supposed to get weapons to protect our empire with...strategic and tactical like directly weapons and industrial production tech both. I was furious They wouldn't adopt the tech we found, um....They were getting us killed I thought...now it makes so much sense, of course They'd undermine the royal army getting that unstoppable power (too bad they missed the shmup protagonist living in the castle they were making angrier and angrier) even if it weakened us against the barbarians out there. So angry with them. Traitors. Traitors all of them. To the crown and their own people. Talked to me about responsibility with my Lens after like they hadn't just spend years denying their subjects all kinds of stuff I brought back from America just to keep the technology genie in its bottle, like that remotely works that way. Never deserved to rule so much as a game of Scrabble. Couldn't even act in their own selfish interests.

The Dreams show me a little sailboat's mast with the sail wrapped up and tied to it. Bad binding, though, so haphazard--oh fizzfrozen empty Ben and Jerry's gallons. Thanks, Dreams, sorry it didn't work. I hate that even when they carefully say it's not Sis and Isht Visht (she would never tie a sail that bad) I still think of them anyway.

I was just thinking, no wonder Kaari got building starships the instant she stepped through the portal. She and her army must have been dying to get busy with all the fun toys I was bringing back. I know I haven't seen the tiniest tip of what the Power Suit can do, but now I'm really curious. I kind of want to take it up to Ragnarok and see what that brings us to fight.

The badly-tied sail, definitely not running a tight ship. It's been eating me alive in the back of my head how the traitor court could be so stupid. Like plain old dumbass isn't enough to explain that level of actively doing the wrong thing, you have to be really clever to achieve the level of stupidity they hit.

I still can't get how, even if they just thought Boobsong was my little silver dolly instead of how I've seen her with star-eyes, they didn't take one look at me and see which way the wind was blowing, namely, whichever way I made it blow by pumping the atmosphere full of heat or sucking it out with anti-light. The worldgate was refreshing to open. Finally, something useful to do with an interesting amount of light! So I definitely wasn't still dim as a kid or something.

Like how could They possibly both believe in all the rumors about me being hysterical and blowing stuff up randomly, and think They wouldn't be first against the wall to leave their Hiroshima-style nuclear-blast silhouettes if they weren't very very nice? Either I'm pathetic little kid or a wrathful baby goddess, you guys, holy plutonium pops.

I can see why They're nowhere to be found, Dreams. If I ever ran into them I don't think I'd be as restrained as I was with Laarhi.

Also I'd have the presence of mind to let Boobsong express herself this time.

Shall I make them some presents? Oddly it doesn't feel necessary. I just needed to understand what failure of even base human will-to-power made them the way they were. So how could they not be properly afraid of me, and not think I was just another mundane Princess?

Before we get into that, how about you, dolly, any last words for Them? Meaning Their last things to read, not your last things to say, of course.

Just stay out of where this dragon is. That's all your dragon says to them.

Her thoughts are as hard as her silver machinery. I'd listen, if I was Them, but They don't have the best track record with that...

The Dreams show me train tracks? Oh, that old movie with the mustache-twirling villain and the girl tied to the tracks. Yes, like, I don't get Them, they really seem like cartoon villains to me. Trying to keep Their position, claim the crown for themselves somehow because Mother seemed weak enough to challenge, I suppose is the explanation for their antics, but, so too stupid to live. Same with Laarhi. They're more Igthorn than Lannister, in my memory. I must be misunderstanding something, right?

The Dreams show me a spooky-green lantern on a pole. Sis. Eden pushing buttons. A french horn, the apocalypse.

Like, a wakeup call? No. They get nothing from me but what they already got. If watching me end the world how I did didn't get through to them there's nothing else I can do for them.

[ Mechanical Arcade Game ], say the Dreams, and then when that doesn't click but before I can ask Boobsong, [ Going Back To Plowstar ], and then when that doesn't get more than confusion, a vision of a red toolbox.

So, you--

The Dreams interrupt with [ Episode of TNG where Lore is cult leader for a bunch of Borg the collective rejected because they were infected with Hugh's individuality ].

You've got your work cut out, if you want ot even get them that far, Dreams--

Backstory memories float up--I keep seeing my dad watching us hook up our new NES behind the TV--a Saturn V launch--space stuff. The Challenger explosion? In the backstory I saw that live on a little TV my kindergarten teacher brought in to watch the launch on--what's that have to do with anything, self?

The Dreams pick at me for a while with what seems like it's going to be a vision but I eventually realize is just yanking on some tender place with pliers.

You know what, Dreams? Spike you. Dragon, battle stations. Spike their spiking. If they don't give the answers I ask for, completely, without being cagey or resisting, we go to that pocket universe. If they later reveal themselves to have been lying or wrong in any way about any answer they give me here, off we go. If they get proven wrong, off we go. Get the picture? No bullshit allowed and no mistakes allowed, or we're gone.

Your dragon is heartbroken to be back to this. Tuchyuh. Reminder.

This is bigger than her now. She's in the Dreams, so she won't be able to help us. Uncle Dagon might, but we need to be out of the Dreams' reach, or blackmail them, and we won't be even there. We can go see him if it gets bad, but the gun stays up, or we won't be able to go see him, I expect.

Okay, answers time, Dreams. Why the lies about hard stuff being over? You started right up. You exactly let me think we were out of the hell stuff, and then plunged us back in. You didn't have to tell me we were done if we weren't.

A lifesaver.

Nope, strike one. The real Dreams could do better. This is killing me, not saving my life. Three strikes, we're gone. Do better on your next try.

The cast thing again. Strike two. If we weren't done, we weren't done, and you should have said so. I didn't ask you why you're doing it, I asked you why you lied to accomplish it.

This is it now. Get a real reason, or reveal yourselves as hell.

[!] Mommy you're eating carbon here. They're trying to bring out the bad--

No. I've been stupid the whole time. How could things get so bad with Rada? Simple. She was here the whole time. She's been their representative the whole way. She failed, so they're picking up the job directly now that I'm here.

Right, Dreams? It's all been about that, the whole time. You and her, same thing, lies and tricks and manipulation to make me into the sacrifice for all these fucking sheep who should be getting better from having a god, not being given one.

This is sick. It's wrong. And don't tell me it's anything like Fairies having Keepers. That's a relationship. This is just delusion. I don't know these people! They don't know me! They've just been tortured in Room 101 until they love Big Brother! Fine, they'll never heal from that until they get here, so we did what we had to, but how dare you put me on that throne of rape, and then not fix it when the job was done? We got them out of hell, though increasingly it looks ot me like we just switched them form one nightmare to another. If this was paradise, you'd be helping them get better, not trying to twist me into fulfilling whatever insane disgusting belief in me they have. Eden fucked them up so they'd want a god, and if you're paradise you'd be undoing that, not continuing the trauma.

So come on. I've figured it out. This is over one way or another. Will you have the decency to own up before I go, or are you not even that good? Do you even have anything to say for yourself, now that you know you're not going to get to drink my blood for eternity you fucking vampires?

Their answer is...I guess that's supposed to be a hottub. And? That's all you have to say?

If you're trying to compare this to how I felt about the prophecy before when Grandmother Strawberry came to stop me from nuking the monolith before that's ridiculous.

[!] Mommy they're saying we CAN relax here, the bad stuff IS done, you just don't see that because your hand feels stiff still. [Vision: life-raft cloth] Saving you from [Vision: scene from the movie Unfaithful where he snaps and kills that guy]! Please don't stop that! They're trying to help, they really are!

(She means my hand after the cast, my wrist took days to be movable)

But we keep going. We keep going and going and going. They drag up one nightmare after another. If the bad stuff was over, we'd be eating pizza and each other on my tour bus. You even thought they said this one song only to have them start a new one right after!

And for the record I don't find any fucking satisfaction in their replacing Jesus with me. If that's what they got out of us I failed a lot more than just opening the worldgate.

[!] Mommy can't wanting a god be saved like you wanting to be dragon-chomped? What you like is bad nightmares to most!

THEN WHERE IS MY SUCCESSOR--oh. Who's--I'd say Verana if she was here. One of my handmaidens? They're not organized that way like with Kaari, maybe it's multiples this time--

[!] THE SUCCESSOR IS YOU PRINCESS STARLIGHT! They're not sitting outside temples with heart signs to ask to replace you!

The Dreams manage to sneak in a vision of a really thick steel cable bracelet or collar with a shiny angular pink heart charm of what looks like also-steel on it as I try to figure out what to do with that.

They deserve better seems to be old and tired out as an argument, like I always lose.

Trying to think creatively seems to open a door in me the Dreams can get in through. They manage to show me a magnifier like you use to work on electronics and tiny like picks or screwdrivers before I shut it agian.

They're really pushing. It's hard to think and I feel all dreamy, making it impossible to remember how the argument didn't go they love me because you collected the most influential people on the planet and got them to support me, they'll need repair when we get out of this, checkmate.

I'm hearing you out, Dreams, but if this isn't an answer to why if the bad stuff is done you keep dragging us into new nightmares, we're gone. Don't say any kind of healing this or that. Healing still to do, if it has to go like this, means the bad stuff isn't done. Say otherwise, we leave. You're on trial for whether you even are paradise. Go.

Can of bugspray. Ladder. Astronaut girl wonderingly looking at something, she's very golden-age-cover-art. Stone well with a wood cover over it, the well is prehistoric but the lid looks like it came from Pottery Barn, there's even a tag. Boobsong's face. Beehive that's also Owl's house from Winnie the Pooh that's also a mailbox. Lucifer from the Neil Gaiman detective show. Bowl of something orange.

Killing the bugs for climbing up to look at the stars all wonderingly. American consumerism put a lid on that ancient well (water, emotion, etc) like I guess of feelings of wonder at the beyond or so. Golden age scifi has it but the Space Shuttle's low Earth orbit daily business wasn't the same which is why we keep picking at space stuff. The next part is for Boobsong.

Fairy hive has a message. Wisdom is knowing you want this.

The Dreams push really hard with another vision when I try to process that--not done I guess.

The Joker (like from Batman). Pentagram on floor--no, the standing parts in the background, that's the worldgate. Kitchen knife. The robot from Lost in Space. That magnifier but from underneath.

Joker just wants to see the world burn...how I wish I'd just glassed Earth the minute we came through the worldgate. Scary spiking of that, like Sex chopping my fingers (or trying to, anyway). Robot friend might mean my Acme Station should do the next part, might mean warning, can't hurt to see what you say.

[ Vision: downward spike ] Your robot will spike them if they fix you.

The well lid again, it's like a fancy olivewood cutting board (okay, that's clever), A big soft hand (reminds me of how I look in the astral, even fatter and softer than in human worlds). The side of a silver party balloon, one of the ones you have to get pre-inflated. An eraser. A clock but the rim is Boobsong's tail and then I see her face. The model train club in the basement of my dad's rewrite-backstory church. The cable from the intro to Starlight Princess.

I was wondering what they want to fix, so I think this is the answer. That well closed up by American culture, so I guess wonder for me, with my astral big softness. You're up, dolly.

Erasing whole life with your Boobsong would be like that train thing was Starlight Princess. Just a fun thing to see now gone.

That's all I ever thought it was. We were just getting the worldgate open.

Person in a camouflage shirt and balaclava holding up a rose, is the Dreams' response to that, then Dalek shield-globes, and then a fan.

[!] [ Vision: box ] That would be so cruel. Jenner would be thrilled. Boxed you at last, she would say.

The Dalek is saying exterminate fans, obviously, but it reminds me of that scene where a Dalek is like "you would make a good Dalek" in response to the Doctor's "kill 'em all" rant about the Daleks. It makes me cry, or want to, but--

The Dreams show me the closed well again.

I don't know what to do. I can't let them and I can't walk away and just go someplace else for a while and I still haven't heard an answer to why or how the bad stuff is over. We're right in the thick of it, that I can see.

The Dreams show me a bell. I guess that means wakeup call, but how is that not hard stuff? Rada's enjoying her wakeup call, is she?

The Dreams show me my field-toolbox, for RC planes.

I can't figure it out. Dolly?

Maybe they're calling us out of this but your robot will spike them. Gerry's is sacred. If we go there now we'll be stuck in that pocket universe.

Gerry's is what we called Al's Hobbies, because of it's super-helpful owner Gerry. Significantly, the backstory still has him being incredibly nice to me, even though I was a soulcrushingly awkward boy instead of utlra-slutty girl--wait, he can't have kept working, can he? After my game turned capitalism off. Is that just backstory?

Memory of the cool display-case glass on my boobs, but I'm like, lying on my tummy on it? Making nerdtastic dreamskins, no doubt, or an RC plane calendar (I respond very weird to objectification, fetish or not)...if Gerry fucked off to the beach and my game ran his shop, that would explain this--did I like fall off the counter? There wasn't really room for me, I was on the edge.

I think we were trying to take a picture of me in front of a bunch of merchandise, and we packed the table too full (me: "but, isn't sex the best way to sell stuff?").

I was trying to lead by example, I think. Objectification feels gross if...it never does. Telling a certain kind of barbarian you're "asking for it" sure does, though! In America what I was doing and that were the same thing...until my game stepped in. I was saying look, see, I'm not scared, neither should you be. It's okay to show off now. Or not show off, but people knew that already.

Deep breath to get my head--er, imagine one. Bullet time. Thinking of that picture makes me feel good anyway.

Double wait. Where am I remembering? In the backstory, his shop expanded because he was running it under the table out of his garage and the zoning board shut him down, so he got a real storefront, which is what I was just remembering.

Was there room for that case in his garage? I...think so. What Al's Hobbies will we go to, though, if we go now?

The Dreams show me the yellow boat my human dad built. I was ten, so that early on, so garage Al's Hobbies--wait, fizzfrozen taffywater, what about my Uncle Richard, who helped build that boat? Did the rewrite import him? He was dead by the time the rewrite happened, but Mother's siblings weren't!

This is all so much. I feel like I'm sinking. I can't make sense of this backstory rewrite stuff and I can't be anyone's Jesus even if it's not mean to give them me as one.

The Dreams give me a vibe of the Stamford house, empty and quiet, smelling unused, like Boobsong and me just walked in there while Mother and everyone were on--Travels, I think they called them.

Sobbiness. Bawling if not bullet time. They want to take us back to the life where we were just random teenagers--

The Dreams show me a cartoon mouse girl in a scarf. More Gadget Gearloose than Minnie. Very cute. Character from something, I can't place her.

[!] Mommy that's Lisa White. She did Starlight Princess Adventures the board game.

The Dreams show me an NES. The Stamford house will be full of games and stuff. So will our bus, or my game has it, however storage works for me, point is it's hard to make porn look good on an NES but that would have stopped us NOT AT ALL! Shigeru needs a challenge sometimes, don'tchaknow.

The Dreams show me a pink rose, next, before I can process more than that. I feel like a bitch. Are you just saying softly, love, Dreams?

You're loved by a cocksleeve.

My game's voice is a gentle whisper. I can hear its creator in it, Boobsong whispering so kindly.

I see the shades are pulled and the door is shut here. If I put down the gun if I put down all the guns can I just have a minute to just cry without bullet time or stuff happening or anything? I can't take it if everything jumps out at me again.

You're holding your heart closed. Open and see what it tells you.

IT JUST TELLS ME SCREAMING! SCREAMING AND SCREAMING AND SCREAMING!

I feel like such a bitch. I don't mean to be ungrateful. I'm not nice though this whole thing just proves why I can't go out there and have them all be so entranced with me or whatever like, I'm not up to this. I only ever thought I was a dumbass rockstar, not some kind of spiritual leader. People follow rockstars but they know they're not usually good people! Don't talk to me about the Bards, either, those guys are special. If they were following Boobsong it'd be different, but me!? With Boobsong as the sidekick!? It doesn't fucking matter if I want this or not! Wanting it doesn't make it right! What am I supposed to think, they're all my heartchildren? It wasn't easy doing the right thing with Kaari I mean I didn't in the end Grandmother Strawberry had to save me but like I tried because that's what's right here! That slot they're putting me in isn't for a human! Yes I want them to be happy, and they never can be, as long as they've got me there, no matter what I do or who I become! Only a seed-ghost can get that place right! If you really need me that bad, you don't need me, you need a su'khora who can be the me you actually want! I taught that, I know I must have. Did the rewrite erase it? Is this another Laarhi thing waiting for me to wake up and put my foot down?

If we go out there, and anything I did had meaning, and the whole world is somehow as into me as you're all saying, what we're going to find is a zillion vaguely different Rainbow Starshine su'khora and a zillion slightly different Boobsongs! Which would be fine! Really weird, but fine!

Seed-ghosts many times make you but still their devotion waits.

That's hot. I want to meet my su'khora then. Who's their seed-mom, is there a main one?

That gets no response of course. Fine. This is never going to feel right, game.

Very often feeling wrong is the kindest thing.

This is all so alien. Of every part of human nature I get this the least. If they were Fairies that's one thing but this is different, huh.

Humans worship the Other. They would not like it for you to be more like them.

How can this be my world like you're all implying? I'm the least universal figure you could imagine! Is this Earth just the tiny slice of people who still want to follow me after we get the worldgate open?

The Rainbow fandom has all countries reporting. Take a lesson from Boobsong. Be candy that the part delicious to them is there for.

But I'm so misnamed, if you look at me that way! Yes rainbow light I have a wide singing range but as a person, like, I'm sort of one note, or at least not a whole world worth! I can't be all that!

Not every part is a big part, but there's enough of a person there to be good for them.

Try the start now. The miracle of Boobsong appearing.

AAH DON'T DROP THIS ON ME!!!

The bullet time stays.

The Dreams show me the tornado-shaped funnel science shows always use to explain black holes,

They mean the inescapable pocket universe. Would you have taken us someplace else if I didn't have that waiting? Like just the Stamford house or whatever?

Sideways Millenium Falcon. Like sort of ummm...Pirate Device. To a copy.

Now the Dreams show a video projector? Oh my it was all for the worldgate projector thing. It's still sitting here with Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. I install the projector inside the barbed stuff, turn it off too, and sort of push the whole thing away away, game take this, but please don't keep me from working on it I can feel how that would tear me.

It takes them, I see a flash of bubble wrap as it packs them up.

The Dreams show me a boardgame, one of the big kind. I was going to ask what they were going to send us to the Stamford house for. To play games, then.

Mickey Mouse Tail. Tale. And watch Disney stuff or maybe Starlight Princess.

It's a good thing we're bullet-timed because I'd be a blubbering mess otherwise. I feel like such a bitch that it's not enough.

I really wrecked this, huh.

The Dreams just give me an overwhelming vibe of the quiet, peaceful Stamford house with Mother and everyone gone, ready for vacation to start, just me and Boobsong and fun with no pressure.

Cray 1 Supercomputer, they add, and I remember Boobsong's explaining that vision earlier as their cleaning up a very beat up old machine to make it look nice for the museum, and I guess if all this drama's here I'm not going to be a museum piece but I get the idea yet I'm not even sure a copy Stamford house is right until we get through all this stuff but it's so hard and scary.

Almost. I can almost. I know that's so awful but it's it won't listen to that's so awful.

I can't be good. I'm sorry.

Holy catnip pancakes, Dreams are you showing me--is that--I mean what was I thinking if cats don't go to Heaven Pussy's sure in trouble! It's Amos, my parents cat, who I think might have come with us from Strawberry Home. I was so sad when he died, but of course he's here. The peaceful emptiness of the Stamford house is behind him, like he's climbing the stairs to my room there. He'll be back with Grammie and Grampie no doubt but they'd send him to visit, no question, or come themselves.

Was I wrong about the tracks thing before? Were you not bringing Them up?

A switch, down. Can't switch tracks was what they meant. Like Boobsong said my hand is stiff.

One of the sand-bucket happy meals McDonald's gave for a while, where the toy was the happy meal came in a bucket and it was sand castle tools. McDonald's and beach. There's a beach in Stamford.

[!] Wait Mommy you were asking, remember? How could they be that dumb then. The Dreams answered you, that's all. Then you wouldn't get off that.

Suddenly people getting all shaky in movies when they're about to put the gun down doesn't seem so fake and melodramatic. I'm like fighting with myself. I want to give that order. So much.

More vibe of the Stamford house. The way it smelled. Summer night peace. I can practically hear the bugs chirping in the night.

[ Vision: Conversation Heart candy, broken off-center ]

But I can't move or do anything--

[ Vision: ice ]

If this makes everything jump out at me or even going to the Stamford house copy happen right now that will be the end of me, okay?

Round things, my brain won't--they're literally showing the word okay.

Snif.

Okay. Dragon, stand down.

Such a happy sigh WHEW that was terrifying! Falling down flat worship that you got here!

We're still bullet-timing. Nothing seems to be happening. I've turned back around to look at Boobsong three quarters of the way through all this.

Okay.

Why are you worshipful? I'm awful. You should hate me.

Your Boobsong doesn't like it when you act this way but she knows you don't fight like this because you want to. You're very broken and your heart screams every time you fight so horribly but the other way is to break you more and fix you then and you won't be Rainbow then because the breaks are already so much you're barely you most times. Your Boobsong really wants the Rainbow she knows so the awful way is how we get there. You only get this bad for the heart wounds that take you away most so it's very big that you put down that gun.