A whole bunch of things start happening at once. Here are just a few of them:

In the blink of an eye, Vriska is airborne. She has evidently, and by her own admission, had enough. She reaches out with incredible speed and grabs the microphone that was brandished at her a moment before. In one smooth motion, she helicopters it around her head by the cord and sends it hurtling into the face of the witless journalist whose needling questions had been so, SO irrit8ting. He sprawls in the driveway, two rivulets of red starting to spring from his expertly broken nose.

From its hole in the wall of Roxy's house, the bullet that flew over Vriska's shoulder seethes with indignant rage—furious to have missed such an easy shot. It is swiftly joined there by half a dozen more: the Secret Police has begun to open fire with a vengeance, if not a great deal of accuracy.

Even before her first victim hits the deck, Vriska is already winding up a punch to the jaw of the next; she has wedged some of the signature octahedral dice between her fingers as a makeshift knuckleduster. There is a deliciously pointed crunching noise when her fist connects.

In his hiding place behind a moderately sized garden gnome, Tavros Crocker lets out a small rodential squeal, and puts his hands in front of his eyes.

Fearing gunfire, the few paparazzi who aren't currently getting their asses handed to them by the world's angriest traffic cone start to trip over each other, diving for cover. A small fortune's worth of very expensive recording equipment is dropped and promptly shattered on the ground in the ensuing scuffle. The instantaneous loss of such a large sum of money causes a substantial drop in the ambient air pressure and conjures up a stiff breeze.

Tucked inside of a small yet accommodating shrub, Harry Anderson worries that he might be forgetting how to breathe. He takes a series of gasps, in and out, just to be sure, and clutches his scissors very tight.

The stiff breeze comes in at a cheerful 5 on the Beaufort wind force scale — "Fresh".

Tavros wishes he had chosen a bigger gnome.

Bullets continue to fly stupidly wide, and Vriska tosses her dice into the air without even looking. In a single beat of her fairy wings she zips over to a nearby car, reaches underneath the front fender, and LIFTS. The fluorite octet tumble end over end, and the gunshots seem for a moment to coalesce into the sound of a thunderous roulette. Vriska is now holding the car end-on above her head, its burglar alarm wailing in protest. In a dance-like motion she spins in space once, twice, before loosing the vehicle skyward like an olympian might a hammer.

The press are fleeing for their lives, their professionalism and trashed equipment abandoned. As one of the snotty-faced and terrified reporters attempts to hide in his shrub, Harry gives her a cautious jab in the leg with his scissors. Then, he curls into a shaky ball and tries to remember the advice John gave him. "Don't panic..."

The dice land. A booming, wordless voice pronounces:


The car approaches the apex of its trajectory, and as it slows it appears to hang in the air, in a manner quite uncharacteristic of motor vehicles yet to be fitted with hover technology. It winks coyly in the afternoon sun.

Far away, in her lair, Jane Crocker grabs the two sides of her computer monitor with enough strength to snap it in two. She can't believe what she's watching. Behind her, from a shadowy corner of the room, there is an agitated growling noise and the rattle of chains.

The ground begins to shake, as a battery of naval cannons materialize in flashes of cerulean light and drop into formation behind Vriska. She cracks her knuckles one-by-one with each impact. The vibrations cause Tavros' gnome to fall over.

The enfilade is halted without recording a single hit. The Secret Police, perched strategically in trees and behind mailboxes, are now doing a synchronized slowly-take-off-your-badass-shades-and-gawk-at-the-sky type routine.

The car seems to regard the laws of gravity as mere suggestion.

"Don't make a scene..."

Vriska Serket laughs.

The guns roar.


To all of this and more, Vrissy is blissfully ignorant. She doesn't register the tearful and snivelling faces of the hapless journos as they beat a hasty retreat; nor the bruised and bloody faces of the ones writhing about on the ground, their purpling eyes and gasping mouths giving them the look of particularly wronged fish. In the mayhem, she doesn't notice Harry, or Tavros, or even the toppled gnome; all these details and more sail above her head like a home run over an especially stubby shortstop.

The only thing that registers to Vrissy Maryam-Lalonde in this moment is a pair of brilliant orange eyes, framed by azure tinted lashes and cut under with a sharp smirk. The sounds of gun- and cannonfire soak half-heartedly into her auricular sponge clots. The world beneath her is shockingly still. And all the while those eyes seem to burn something deep into her, leaving pitch-black scorch marks in parts of her psyche she didn't even know existed.

In all her life, Vrissy has never seen anyone look so cool. And it drives her nuts.

As the blossoming fireball above wilts into an angry, smoky cloud, and flaming bits of ex-car begin to absolutely pelt it down all around her, she feels someone grab her wrist. It's Harry Anderson, wearing a expression of animal panic. His mouth moves to form words she can't hear, but the message gets across all the same. It's time to get the fuck out of here.

The Crockerite fuzz has more pressing things to worry about than giving chase: the good fortune keeping the kids safe from the deadly automotive volley does not seem to be contagious. So they flee. Through the suburbs and into the spindly checkered streets of the central Carapacian Kingdom, the four of them tear their way towards the belltower in the distance. Vriska flies out in front—a polestar the color of carrot. Immediately behind her is Tavros, whose many years of morning jogs (with his father) and emotional torment (his mother) have given him a frankly stupid degree of endurance, though you wouldn't think it to look at him. His glasses are beginning to slip, and bounce on his slickening nose with every stride. A short way behind him is Vrissy, who is hanging back a little: Harry, still clutching her arm, is starting to lag. He has his eyes squeezed shut as he runs, and Vrissy thinks she can hear him muttering something to himself over and over between staggered breaths: "Don't get caught," GASP, "Don't get caught," GASP. Vrissy turns away as a mixture of pity and embarrassment threatens to join the worsening stitch in her side.

Nobody gives chase. No one shouts "stop those kids!" in a commanding voice, or implores some poor taxi driver to step on it. But they dare not slow. Tavros feels as though some dark and sinister shape is lurking just out of sight—it reminds him of the nights at home when he would sprint through tall, imposing trophy rooms and mirror-walled hallways, racing for the miserable safety of his bedroom's glow after turning the kitchen light off. What he wouldn't give to be back there now. With their old lives quite exploded, he's unsure whether they're running out of the danger or into it; the brightness radiating off of Vriska has all the safety and comfort of a supernova.

Vrissy, meanwhile, is considering growing her hair out.

After a stomach-churning amount of frantic hightailing, the kids turn a corner and an esophageal road vomits them — finally! — out into the central plaza. Compared to the cramped city streets, this wide open space feels agoraphobic, exposed. The belltower thrusts itself into the clear sky from the other side, all gnomonic and pointy, and its lengthening shadow beckons them to safety. Between, in the center of the large and perfect square, is the familiar Dirk Strider memorial statue, standing stoic and still. Surrounding his plinth is a circular fountain, and around the circumference dozens of knee-high cherubic figures piss angelically inward. His affect is unreadable. Is it apathy? Boredom? Contemplation? As the kids hurry past, the shimmering particles shaken from Vriska's wings dance in the polished bronze of his shades, and for a moment his reflective face is suffused with an aura of conspiracy. Nobody pays him the slightest bit of attention.

The four stop a while at the tower's base, chests heaving for air. Nobody says anything, they just sort of stand there and ache in each other's company for a bit. Vriska alights on the ground, rakes her throat, quietly spits out a little wad of blue, and wipes her mouth unceremoniously. Tavros pats Harry Anderson tentatively on the arm. Vrissy tries to be badass and cough up something too but she doesn't really make it work. Harry simply rests his hands on his knees, doubled over and shaking his head. Tavros looks at Vrissy over Harry's arched back and puffs out his cheeks with wide eyes. She gives him a tired half-smile in return. Vriska quietly massages a crick in her neck and rolls first one shoulder, then the other.

It's unclear who cracks first, but someone does, and in an instant all of them are dissolving into a bout of relieved giggles. It starts off as a light, bubbly kind of mirth, before the sheer enormity of what they've just done sets in, and they progress to full on belly laughing; the adrenaline in their blood turns to helium and begins to fizz, and all at once they feel lighter than air. They survived. They're fugitives. Tavros has to take his glasses off to wipe his eyes. Vrissy laughs so hard she thinks she might be sick. Harry Anderson has to go and be actually sick, which doesn't so much kill the mood as vaguely envelop it in the smell of puke. He has a wobbly grin on his face as he wipes the spittle from his chin though. Vriska shakes her head, getting rid of her smirk like a wet dog would its water, then puts her hands on her hips and huffs loudly up at the tower.

VRISKA: Well, I'm not hauling all three of you up there.

She walks over to the little oak door set into the bottom of the campanile. Before she can grab the handle, Tavros pipes up.

TAVROS: Ah,,, we won't be able to get in that way,,,

He starts to recount how. ever since the Incident, the little oak door to the helical staircase which runs from the bottom of the tower to the belfry has been securely locked—to prevent copycats, he speculates. Vriska gets bored halfway through the explanation though, tries the latch anyway, and is the only one who isn't surprised when the door swings politely open. Everything's coming up Serket. She bows theatrically, gesturing for the others to make their way inside, and then leaps into the air with a beat of her wings.

VRISKA: Last one to the top is a clownfucker!

They run like the wind.