I’m going to forget the chapters. I don’t think JDR cares about them after that ‘chapter 2′ near the start. And the archive makes no mention of them.
Also, a neat thing: an account of how an alchemist’s everyday life is. Of note:
- the majority of mid-level alchemists are kept busy with makework in ‘research mills’. Occasionally a research mill will ‘rebel’ and do some new research that somehow always inevitably fails, but this is actually secretly entirely governed by the Council and used as a way to maintain order.
- Makineri - a member of the Lower Elite - is responsible for divvying up these fake ‘rebellions’, but occasionally gets tasked with assigning a genuine research project, whose results lead to secret constructions in various locations on a need-to-know basis and then conveyed to a mysterious location supposedly only known to the Council for a secret project. Presumably this mysterious location and project is the overseas ‘colony’.
It seems (at first, anyway?) that Zuzux and Texto are actually there just to provide catering (their day job when they’re not doing evil deeds)? But I assume there’s more to it than that.
…so… Zuzux and Texto are going to serve human meat, from the children they’ve murdered? Why? Is it just more gratuitous nastiness? Anyway apparently they’re planning to poison all the guests. I guess that’s why Wai-Wai hired them? And they’re planning to kill poor Uni to serve with the rest of it, just in case all their other awful shit wasn’t bad enough.
Wai-Wai gathered everyone to show them a ‘cask of revelation’ stolen from the Council of the Alchemists’ Guild. He’s going to record their observations and then give them dessert, which we know is poisoned…
What the heck is the point of all this?
Well, we don’t get to see inside the cask. But the guests find it shocking.
KaiWai, Lupiko and Chou are all poking around in the back so things are going to get dramatic very shortly, but first, classification of universes oh boy!
Some of you might be curious about the Multiversal Catalog Listing given for the universe of Tryslmaistan. It actually means something, although it should be noted that this listing is derived and simplified from the popular or ‘lite’ catalog, as opposed to the professional level work, which cannot be translated to anything as limiting as text or language.
I’ve got to admit the alt-physics multiverse stuff is like, my favourite part of Unicorn Jelly so I am genuinely excited by this. Honestly this page is very cool and I like the possibilities it suggests through this categorisation scheme.
So the guests are dead, but spiritual visions are here to save the day?
…and by eating Uni’s inside-goop, the guests were spared from the poison? Oh. my.
Anyway, having learned about the alchemists, now to see the witches’ side of the fence.
- Red life (animals) is used extremely carefully - the old ‘no part of the animal is wasted’ narrative - as presumably there is a hard limit to how much is in the world.
- Farmers are accorded special privileges, and don’t have to sign forms every day before work, which is why the tea growers could get away with conspiring.
- Signing forms is otherwise pretty much universal.
The Bosom Sow is a prize pig, famed for having the largest breasts of any pig in Gyranfryll, as well as the greatest milk production. Apparently, while being walked, the poor animal suffered the sudden unsnapping of its breast restraints while negotiating a climb up some steps. The poor prize piggie is treated with salves and bandages to sooth her abraded nipples.
Ooh here’s an interesting thing: because Red life (and presumably Green) requires Vlax to survive, there are basically no microbes in Tryslmaistan except for gut flora. This means no leavened bread or alcohol, but also an absence of most familiar diseases.
The Council involves both Witches and Alchemists, and both are involved in their secret project. Evidently at the highest levels, the rules don’t apply.
And there is indeed a conspiracy to hide the growing of tea, and only a select subgroup of witches who grow the tea are allowed to know about it.
Like, as a story, I’m not fully convinced by Unicorn Jelly, but what an inventive setting!
Anyway… Lupiko finally meets her dad face to face.
Unfortunately, we’re not out of the metaphorical fire yet, because there’s now a literal fire. Fortunately Uni can nuke out of it once again. Good friend to have, that unicorn jelly.
And we’re finally going to see what’s in the mysterious cask? But after setting fire to the house, where have Wai Wai, Zuzux and Texto gone?
And at last we learn that inside the cask is… a telescope? That’s the big secret that was going to destroy the fabric of society? I realise alchemists banned telescopes, but…
Universe structure details.
Well, they’re looking in the night sky. Apparently it wasn’t common knowledge that the plates in the sky are also worlds on the same scale.
Here’s a panel drawn as fancy as JDR can. To be honest, while I can see the effort in the shading, this style of drawing hair looks significantly worse to me.
Oh and now we know the world-shattering revelation (literally): there is a giant ‘wall of clouds’ that worldplates are crashing into.
Fancy version of Millian and Yasui. Pfffffff that codpiece!
Finally time for some hardcore exposition. I’ll let Chou take it away.
Basically the super-nuke used to shatter the previous worldplate resulted in a giant self-perpetuating expanding cylinder of debris that is slowly growing to encompass the entire universe. How’s that for an X-risk?
We get an animation to illustrate too. Can I say that I bet JDR absolutely loves Homestuck?
So there’s a cycle apparently: every 1500 years, the people on hop to another worldplate on board an arc ship. This has been going on for about 30,000 years, so this is about the 20th worldplate to get mulched.
JDR has a page to explain the concept of a finite space without bound. Though JDR uses a 2-sphere analogy, Tryslmaistan doesn’t seem to have any curvature of space, so I think it’s probably actually a 3-torus rather than a 3-sphere.
Note that contra the explanation there, there is no reason to think this universe should be thought of as embedded in a higher-dimensional space.
Ultimately, there will be no where left to run, as the storm closes in on itself, and finally stops….because there is nothing left to crush. All the debris would gradually grind itself to dust and loose tratons after hitting its own leading edge….and all that would remain is fine, floating dust, hanging in the air, spreading out forever.
But….if there is all that loose, fine dust, wouldn’t it stick together? Wouldn’t the stated laws of the Tryslmaistan universe gradually force the dust to clump into falling triangular lumps, evenly spaced, that when they got big enough, they would begin to slow down and eventually stop, frozen in place by planovective forces (which only affect objects above a certain size)…wouldn’t that mean that the Worldplates could form again, maybe become hard with age, covered in sand raining from the sky, and water too, to form a central sea, if only enough time went by?
Did I miss a post on the physical rules of Tryslmaistan? Looking at the ‘codex’ it looks like I have a number of AU strips to go before we get to the physics explanation. I’m looking forward to it.
Anyway, as you probably suspected once you heard about the ships, there is not enough space on an arc ship for the entire population to escape: a much larger population is required to labour to build an arc ship than can fit inside it. Hence its construction in total secrecy.
One of the guests at Wai Wai’s dinner/mass poisoning party is reporting to Makineri. Apparently he is not as in line with the Council as he might pretend. And the former leader of the Impalists is going to build up a new revolution…
I still don’t understand why Wai Wai decided to show everyone the fate of the world and then poison them? Like this event is driving the plot, but what purpose did it serve? I guess the point was to let them know what was coming, break the veil of ignorance - and then kill them to give them a painless death in “good” circumstances?
So we finally get some context for the weird bubble things in the very first strip when Chou accidentally sticks her crystals into KaiWai. This lets her see visions of the future. Specifically, a vision of the future influenced by her having the vision right now.
what the fuck is up with the pigs with human boobs
…so we have some special longer strips in which various people are going about their daily lives when suddenly the wind blows. Meaning it’s time to launch the escape boats and get off Gryrnu asap?
Looks like Chou is hatching some kind of Jade Harley style plan to use the ‘bubble’ worlds inside KaiWai to let people escape the impending doom?
We meet Thilia, one of the Council members, in person. She’s gay or bi too - but her partner is dying after the wind made a brick fall on her. Some moustached guy is coming to bother her about the uprisings prompted by Wai-Wai’s revelations, and she tells him to fuck off…
But first, alt-physics! The physical forces in Tryslmaistan are ‘trinal paravection’ (makes things form triangles), ‘reticrutriation’ (makes worldplates form flat layers), and ‘linovection’ (linear gravity).
Linovection falls off depending on the size of objects. How does that work exactly? What makes something a contiguous object for the purposes of linovection?
Mechanism for linovection. Or at least, a metaphor. Not sure you can make sense of this metaphor too much as a metric for a general relativistic spacetime?
Because of the falloff for small objects, dust floats freely and sticks to the ceiling readily.
This whole sense of disaster came rather quickly, but it’s definitely managed to create an apocalyptic feeling in a short space of time. I definitely wasn’t expecting the comic to get so end-of-the-world-y.
Ol’ Makineri’s getting all revolutionary. Looking back at Taasen, he is representing the Paupil of the Thaum-Sciane-Paupil trio.
JDR’s doing a whole roleplay-y thing as a ‘Creatrix’ in the multiverse-setting of the story.
This ancient tumbled machine’s in surprisingly good nick, considering.
cohabitationally entrammeled. To entrammel is apparently “to hamper by entangling”. So Chou is saying she’s going to hold her up by living with her?
a lot happens and now Sisu’s dead. welp. poor Lupiko :( at least we get (cw: rape, CSA) his backstory?
cw rape, CSA:
Using all of her influence, Muri bent the child protection laws against her despised brother in law, and essentially framed him for raping his own daughter, a crime he clearly did not commit.
Was this really the best angle you could take, JDR?
We learn what Wai Wai and Sisu’s job was all about:
The Governmental Council of Gryrnu had always had a covert branch dedicated to maintaining the stability of the society as a whole. Drafting from the ranks of the outcast and the desperate, Perfection Crystal Violet Ultra offered the role of covert agent to any with the talent and the dependability to play its harsh game.
I guess they called it that because it just sounds too ridiculous to be the name of a secret organisation, so nobody would believe any report of it.
One thing I didn’t notice at first: the flying device is supposed to resemble a unicorn jelly, and is called the Unicron J-L-Y on this map of the story so far. It was some kind of war machine on Myrmil.
JDR is a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. Like, seriously:
Any person who is too old for Dr. Seuss really needs to be buried immediately: they are either starting to stink, because they are very dead, or you really don’t want them around in any event. Dr. Seuss is required reading for anyone who would dare claim to possess even the illusion of a soul within their own moldering meat.
There’s loads about JDR that’s kind of fucked (cf COGIATI) but I do kinda really admire her passion for what she’s into?
Cool bit of layout on the Ark launching facility along with a fair bit of detail on how the ark ships work.
This page is oddly inspiring? Though I’m not convinced JDR’s style has changed as drastically as she feels it has.
This discussion of an AU!JDR is kind of adorable in how dorky it was. Also it’s so weird to see excitement over the impending release of Warcraft III, more than a decade later, many years into the rule of World of Warcraft.
Now hold on, if falling rates are determined based on size, what’s the significance of weight here? I suppose there’s still inertial weight, and air resistance, together determining speed given the particular force of the engines, and the engines would fail to push everyone far enough to buy enough time to build the next ark? But to calculate everything to the ounce..?
anyway have some porn of yasui and millian I guess?
oh and the murdery murder guys Zuzux and Texto might have gotten stabbed to death at last by Yasui. um, good work dude. I guess that will save a few ounces?
oh shit they haven’t. instead Yasui stabbed like twenty children to try and get to them.
what the fuck
i mean come on
that’s just needlessly grimdark there
uh, third alternate universe. have some awful trans discourse
Unlike the Prime story Kai-Wai, who fully identifies as female, or the usual Alternate Kay-Wai who might be best described as a kind of Jelly drag-queen, this Kay-Wai is truly transgendered…somewhere in the middle, but leaning heavily towards the female. Just in case you were interested.
and ok some context for the fucking ‘bosom sow’ things:
Bosom-sow fans will be disappointed to know that there are no such animals in this alternate universe…since cattle, oxen and even sheep survived, there was no need to selectively breed pigs that could give great quantities of milk. However, on the cheery side, this also means that no one has to drink sow milk here.
JDR like… you do realise there are many people in the world who don’t drink milk? Milk isn’t some kind of like civilisation necessity?
Oh yeah and, in the main strip, shit is going down. It’s your usual ‘revolutions are bad and destructive’ thing I guess? Shades of Korra, etc. The regime is awful, but attempts to overthrow it are worse. Perhaps that’s unfair. But here, resistance to an unjust social order is an existential threat to humanity?
Wait this isn’t an AU strip? Or a fic?
the basic entertainment genres are all there…cop shows, soap operas (Relationship Drama), fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, animal shows, documentaries….this is to be expected, if you think about it. Any species that can make technology has to be two things: curious about things, and social. That leads to a commonality of interests in all tool-using sapients.
OK so the main cast has decided to throw in their lot with the escaping Arks. Thanks to the convenient child murder (………….) there’s room for them. I… don’t like this direction? Not at all.
JDR presents an interpretation guide for her comic. It’s really patronising imo. I think we may want to come back to this?
Hey it’s a contrived tragedy.
Chou ultimatums. Yasui and some guy called Achyx heroically murder loads and loads of people.
This stinks of LessWronger fic. The contrived situation in which you must do something horrible for good reasons or whatever. See also (forgive me for this) Fallout Equestria which presented the same pretense of insight through contriving scenarios where an individual hero has to make the hard choices. See also fucking The Cold Equations.
More alt-physics. And alt-chemistry. Of note:
Where Oxygen is the atom of choice for earthly fires, there are no atoms in Tryslmaistan…instead, taking their place are tratons, which are polyhedral compositions of force planes…rather than our 'nucleus with energy shells’ atomic model.
Naturally there is a completely different periodic table, which, upon entering, all the terrestrial matter was converted into….becoming the nearest analogues to their original atomic states
Now that’s interesting. How was the conversion process accomplished? How was the chemistry similiar enough that humans can function up to the effects of the ‘weakness’ and not just completely collapse as soon as they ‘enter’?
Periodic table. Neat stuff. But why is one of them named after Heinlein given the setting history? idk
Alt-bio creatures! Nice!
I’m not talking much about the events in the comic yet. Stuff’s getting hella perilous.
And finally it’s time for this comic’s [S] Cascade. Lots of wordless stuff happens, including a world getting blown up. Dramatic stuff
On the fractal structure of Tryslmaistan. I think the fractal, steady-state universe with its alt-physics is by far the best thing about this comic.
I mean honestly like what the fuck is with the amount of children getting murdered in this comic. Like some kind of cheap way to make Yasai seem not so different from the Zuzux and Texto?
At least there’s a cute side strip about Jelly babysitting?
All Your Base/Zero Wing ref. I guess it was actually like, not old back in 2002? I know how ridiculous that sounds!
And, yeah, so there’s some kind of showdown between Yasui and Texto while hanging in various acrobatic positions off the side of the ship. It feels… really contrived? And weirdly paced?
But yeah idk, Yasui comes to a personal revelation and forgets revenge; he gets Texto to make some kinda promise, then throws himself into the void.
We get shown the promises: 1. rescue the stowaway kids, 2. look after Millian, 3. “be good”.
Frankly this entire storyline is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
I guess the point is to force a redemption arc onto two characters who were established as being the absolute worst, make some point about how nobody is irredeemable, good evil aren’t absolute, etc. But it just seems like a series of arbitrary awful things happening.
There’s a reference in one of the titles to a SF TV series called Lexx. I thought I knew of most of the major SF TV series, so I’m surprised to find one I’d never heard of. It has an alternate-universes premise.
The bag that Sisu threw onto the ship contains… money?
Finally a reference on all the random NPCs who’ve shown up recently.
Not all that surprisingly, the awful totalitarian Council plan includes a program of space eugenics:
The children that are chosen for Arkship transport are selected carefully, and part of the plan included the social prohibitions against Alchemists and Wiccans marrying. By forcing an artificial separation of breeding access, the Pact Of Myrmil manages to further divide genetic lines so that when the cream of the last 1300 odd years is brought together on an Ark, genetic diversity is at the maximum possible. Linages are traced to weed out various genetic problems and cautions, and once the destination is reached, additional careful eugenics are applied to assure that the human species regains a strong genetic foothold once again. For several generations, no person is allowed to breed freely. Everything is carefully controlled.
We learn Yasui murdered 6 of the 102 kids.
The fuel meter at the side of the comic went up from this strip to that one. Is the storm they’re encountering causing the fuel to regenerate?
The storm is of ‘charge’ i.e. fractal triangle lightning. Cool! It’s because they’re passing through one of the ‘Veils’ that regulate the structure of the universe and control entropy or something. This leads to some odd effects that I’m sure make sense to JDR.
Also by being outside the ship to work the valves or whatever during the storm/veil, Texto got all fucked up and kinda gooey? I think? But Millian fashions him a suit of straps and gloves and stuff.
It looks like the two ships have taken pretty much the same course.
I guess they fix all the problems because they make it intact to ‘Landing Day‘.
We get to see the landing from the perspective of a Jelly drive-in movie theatre.
It’s not the daintiest of landings.
So the Jellies go up to the human ship and the humans come at them with swords. One Jelly, who’s kind of a jerk, runs all the way to the other human ship, which is the one KaiWai is on. There’s shades of Back to the Future, but it’s probably small reference pools talking.
Alt-bio. White/blue (crystalline) life forms and disperses organs as needed.
Some details on what Veils do that might have been useful earlier! Evidently statistical thermodynamics does not apply on Tryslmaistan. Also what ‘charge’ is. Continuing the electromagnetism theme, light.
Back in the comic, “Johnny”’s witnessing of the alien invaders is basically causing slime civilisation to collapse. Hiliarious?
So the humans want to get their settler colonialism on and exterminate the Jellies. I’m not remotely convinced it wouldn’t be for the best if the human ships had all been destroyed.
Chou however is arguing that the humans should make the Jellies work on ships for them, and thereby pierce the storm instead of fleeing it…
I really like the amount of effort involved with coming up with alt-tech for this setting. Here are clocks.
The military ship has become aware of the violations of the Plan in controlling the valves by pulleys from inside, and is willing to go along with it. They want some help murdering and subjugating the Jellies in order to reach the sea and get water. The protagonists’ ship has become very opposed to killing of Jellies until… Millian volunteers.
This is not a good way to establish diplomacy with the local population, you guys. But maybe Millian is up to something.
Then again maybe not. Millian has killed a lot of Jellies. I guess this is a narrative about settler colonialism now.
JDR presents some of the Jellese language. I love it.
Who wants a heavy handed metaphor?
So the broad arc now is: different factions among the humans working for either piece with the Jellies or genocide.
also Lupiko may end up in a relationship with Thilia? huh… kind of an age gap there…
ok that’s a long post. Cutting it off here.