Pesterquest: Volume 8, entitled Team Charge, is the eighth installment of Pesterquest, a Homestuck spinoff visual novel. The befriendable characters in the eighth installment are Tavros Nitram and Aradia Megido. Volume 8 Route 1 was written by David Turnbull while Volume 8 Route 2 was written by James Roach. Volume 8 was released on December 4, 2019.
Volume 8 Route 1: Glimmering Gold And Cold Iron
You were enjoying an evening stroll when you see a wheelchair-bound troll whizzing down a hill, the bronzeblood unable to control his descent whilst on the phone. You rush to his aid right as he tumbles gracelessly onto the ground, helping him retrieve his wheelchair so he could get back into it. After doing away with introductions, Tavros explains that he'd been trying to catch a rare Fiduspawn Go monster, but it's hard going uphill while on a wheelchair.
You offer to help, but he rejects your idea as he wants to grow as a troll independently. Even though you understand his wishes, you still don't relish the idea of watching him struggle needlessly. Right as you're about to tell him that accepting help from others is alright, he takes you up on your offer. With your assistance, he manages to get the monster and thanks you happily. Zapping to his hive, the two of you begin talking about Tavros' various interests and the reason why he's disabled.
At one point, Tavros decides that dwelling on painful memories isn't the way to go, and offers to teach you how to play his favourite card game. You realize that the person who'd hurt him not too long ago was Vriska, and you are horrified with the revelation. Vriska barges into Tavros's hive, interrupting you both. Vriska goes on a spiel about wanting to make Alternia a better place, and needs everyone to be on board with her plan. Irritated, Tavros spits on her offer, frustrating Vriska. She turns to you, hoping you'd back her up.
- If you choose to not take a side, you berate yourself for being so spineless and try again.
- If you choose to side with Vriska, she crows triumphantly while Tavros wilts into his wheelchair. Getting bored, Vriska insists that you and her ditch Tavros. Tavros bids you a hesitant farewell. FRIENDSHIP + 8
- If you choose to side with Tavros, Vriska screams at you in outrage but you stand your ground. You insist that just because she'd been hurt in the past doesn't mean she gets to hurt other people, prompting her to storm off in a huff. Relieved with her departure, Tavros thanks you for helping him. To dispell the awkward silence, he begins teaching you the ins and outs of Fiduspawn. Despite being thoroughly clueless with what's going on, you deduce that you're faring better than he is in-game. Ignoring your apparent win, you ask Tavros whether he's actually alright, since he looks pretty upset. He begins talking about the person he used to be, and expresses a desire to be able to come to terms with the conflicting feelings he has for Vriska. Since this isn't something you can fix immediately, you inwardly wonder if there's something you can do for him as a welcome distraction.
- Should you choose to help him fly, you tell him you'll be back in a moment and pop on over to Prospit. You find his sleeping dreamself easily enough, but have some trouble rousing him from his slumber. Tavros wakes up soon enough, and is beyond startled when he can fly around without assistance whatsoever. You cheerfully inform him that Prospit's a strange dreamland where he can fly around, but he's understandably nervous about the whole setup—all his life, everything he did had a consequence. Your attempt to convince him falls flat due to a cultural misunderstanding, but you remind him that being able to fly is more interesting than his past worries. Tavros gets the hang of floating around in no time, clearly enjoying the experience immensely. Soon the both of you are zipping all over Prospit, though you get tired faster than he does. After getting his fill of fun, Tavros thanks you for bringing him here, but you are a little unnerved with the vacant smile on his face. You decide that maybe it's time to head back to the real world, since the two of you have probably spent an inordinate amount of time on Prospit. You are suprised with the forceful way Tavros outright refuses to wake up, since he'd much rather spend his entire life in a place where he can be happy and blissful. You try to remind him about his friends and responsibilities, but he isn't swayed by your reasoning. Even though he's still adamant about returning, you notice the nervous glint in his eye, the troll worried that you would drag him back against his will. Not wanting to take him away from his newfound source of happiness, you wave goodbye and vanish.
- Should you choose to stay grounded, you ask if there's anything you can do to help him spread his metaphorical wings. Sighing, Tavros informs you that he'd like to be more independent and be able to take charge of his life. He goes on to explain that his friends, well-meaning as they are, are just too far away to help, and there is no way he can afford a better wheelchair or move into wheelchair accessible hive. While you are currently unable to provide funds for him, you bring Kanaya to his place so you both can begin renovating his hive. Touched with the act of kindness, Tavros is beyond grateful with the help and starts planning a new design for his hive. In the meantime, you and Kanaya go about preparing the items needed for construction. While the process of reconstruction isn't all that difficult with three heads instead of one, Tavros' indecisiveness regarding certain furniture placements frustrates Kanaya to a certain degree. In the end, Tavros' hive is revamped to his liking, and he asks whether Kanaya would like to stay awhile. Kanaya declines his suggestion, citing that she has a dress in the oven, so you send her home. Once she's gone, Tavros wonders if Kanaya has any potential red feelings for him, judging from the smile she gave him moments earlier. You let him down gently, and he takes the news well. You are quite happy with his newfound confidence, and are more than eager to play another round of Fiduspawn with him. VICTORY
Volume 8 Route 2: It Is Pronounced Ah-RAH-Dee-Uh
You walk around the countryside aimlessly, unhappy with your inability to remember anything with absolute clarity. Suddenly feeling very tired, you decide to lay down on the soft grass and close your eyes for a moment. When you open them again, however, you find a troll girl staring down at you with a blank expression. Startled with her sudden appearance, you back away and wonder why she's still staring at you from her precariously balanced squat. She proceeds to beam at you, approving of your choice to nap in a digsite. After introducing herself, she goes on to explain why she's hanging around the remains of the deceased, talking about her fascination with death and archeology.
Suddenly hungry, you wonder how long you had been asleep. Aradia casually informs you that she'd been observing you for several hours, since she'd mistaken you for a dead body. While you are glad to be alive, you are confused with how Aradia can determine the number of times you've died in the past. To better illustrate her point, she begins drawing a diagram on the dirt but you're only half listening. While you have seen quite a lot of crap on Alternia, you don't believe in ghosts. A bit hurt with the way you brushed the topic off, Aradia concludes that you're not someone she can confide in and begins levitating.
- If you choose to keep your mouth shut for once, she eventually turns around and you're stunned to realize that she's a ghost. Horrified with this secret of hers, you decide to high-tail it out of here. Aradia is vaguely upset with your decision, but you don't pay that any mind. BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME...? Then time rewinds itself back to when you found Aradia peering at you. (The rest of the route is identical to the one detailed below).
- If you choose to give in to your need to feel like you know better than anyone, you ask whether she's actually ok with you not believing in ghosts. Aradia appears to ignore you for a few moments, but when she finally turns around, you realize that she's a blank-eyed ghost. Mortified, you apologize for not believing her, then hastily excuse yourself. Aradia is vaguely disappointed with you, but you don't stick around. BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME...? Then time rewinds itself until you're back to when you first found Aradia staring at you. You hear her entire spiel about death again, and she asks whether you'd like to hear a secret
- Should you choose to ask whether she actually said 'ghosts', Aradia gets upset with you. The whole route then proceeds to loop on itself again.
- Should you choose to hear her secret (you've never wanted anything more in your life - this one!), you kick it up a notch by adding that you'd probably die if you don't find out what her secret was. Beaming, Aradia's form changes into the older, god tier version of herself and states how happy she is being alive. She adds that they won't be able to find the two of you here, but isn't sure how much time had passed since she last met you in person. Instead of focusing on key matters, you instead ask questions about why Aradia looks older and how she does her makeup and hair. Attempting to steer to conversation back, Aradia informs you that you and her are now outside canon but you cut her off before she can explain further. While she approves of your blatant disregard of canonity, she informs you that you're something Paradox Space had not forseen and therefore made a real mess of the timeline you're in. Even though you're quite confused with what's going on, you try your best to follow her reasonings, hoping you didn't embarrass yourself too much in the process. Aradia offers you her hand, and eager to be her friend, you take it. Almost immediately you see your dead past selves fly into your body; with each fragment of yourself you relive the memories you made during your previous time on Alternia. Exhausted with the overload of memories, you collapse onto the ground to catch your breath. While you are happy to regain your memories, you notice a few inconsistencies that don't match up, like how Karkat and Sollux mentioned that Mallek's caste sign hadn't been used in a long while. Aradia tells you that her powers can't go beyond the current narrative; she's just here to give you back your memories. She then asks whether you'd just like to go off the rails for once.
- If you decide that it's way past time to pick up your punk rock alien daughter at the mall a century ago or whatever, you try to take Aradia to Alternia in the past, to your old friends. Your first try doesn't get you anywhere, and you cuss out the T-posing person in the dark corridor you're sick of seeing. Focusing on the shame you felt when you sniffed Marvus'armpit, you find nothing but black void awaiting you. Unwilling to give up just yet, you try several more times until you come to grips with the fact that your friends are just gone. Aradia tries to comfort you in her weird way, but you're not too keen on talking about the dualities in life at the moment. Knowing how upset you really are, she offers you a chance of trying again, but you won't remember anything. You realize that rewinding the past is your only option, but you implore that she let you spend a few more moments out here in space with a horrorterror cuddling you. OK. Time rewinds itself.
- If you decide that sickle, Aradia takes you on a tour of Alterina, dropping seemingly random objects here and there without being seen by anyone. Together the two of you create a large crack in reality, Aradia quite happy with the work you've both done. Still, she warns you that you still have a few more friends to make before bringing the whole place down. While chatting with her, you notice that the giant crack sealed itself, reaffirming Aradia's suspicion that something's afoot. Either way, you sit for a moment, enjoying her company in the sun. GOOD END, YOU GUESS... , you get up and kick a pile of bones to emphasize your eagerness. Initally Aradia is upset with the damaged bones, but later rearranges them into a vulgar pattern for laughs. Retrieving Karkat's
- The game Fiduspawn Go is a direct reference to Pokémon Go.
- In Tavros' first bad ending, the arcade game the MSPA Reader is playing is named Grub Invaders; a direct reference to Space Invaders.
- When the MSPA Reader asks how they can help Tavros grow as a person, they internally scoff at the idea of trolls being able to grow literal wings. This is a subtle refence to the Summoner, a troll that had wings due to a mutation.
- The devices Kanaya borrowed from a friend are an item that converts raw materials into grist and an alchemiter with a holopad extention.
- Kanaya mentions that troll culture had placed an emphasis on home construction a long time ago, all to prepare the batch of trolls that would one day play Sgrub (though playing said game is no longer an option due to outside inteference).
- When the MSPA Reader attempts to put some distance between them and Aradia, they do a youthful sideways roll.
- Aradia mentions that it isn't her first time meeting the MSPA Reader, referencing how she and Sollux bumped into the player in one of Jade's bad ending in Pesterquest: Volume 4.
- Aradia mentioned that she's asked an old friend's ghost to get an ancient space squid to burp up a meeting spot.
- Choosing to ask whether Aradia actually said "ghosts" three times will cause Aradia to react in bewilderment, and will send the player back to the main menu, as well as unlocking a secret achievement.
- When Aradia attempts to cheer the player up by coaching them to laugh, it is a subtle reference to .