This is a transcribed copy of Paranatural: Chapter 5. Feel free to add to it, as long as the information comes directly from the comic.
|Previous: Chapter 4||Next: None|
Alt text: The kids scour the school for leads after learning one of their teachers is hiding a dangerous secret.
Voice: One of them...
Voice: It's one of them!
DuNacht: Look there, see?
Alt text: Look there, see? See the boy getting kissed by the train? Comedy gold. What a great webcomic.
DuNacht: A middle school-aged child—or small humanoid cryptid—jumping through a schoolbus.
Pleezdoo: O-oh, my—
DuNacht: Then we're agreed. We destroy this fiend before their crimes go viral and infect the student body.
Pleezdoo: W-well, I don't think... we have a rule... against jumping through buses.
DuNacht: You say that now, Principal Pleezdoo, but...
DuNacht: I'll just zooom in...
DuNacht: And enhance the image...
Max: (drawing) THE PRINCIPAL ISN'T COOL
Pleezdoo: O-OH MY LORD
DuNacht: Your shock reeks of concession. I'll begin the witchhunt immediately.
Pleezdoo: W-what? [?] way...
DuNacht: We'll find this bus-jumper or my name isn't the Vice Principal
Pleezdoo: B-but, that isn't y—
DuNacht: PUBLIC ORDER MUST BE MAINTAINED
DuNacht: Isn't that right...
DuNacht: ...Mr. President...
Alt text: *revolver ocelot voice*
Mr. Puckett: Oh ho! The son rises! How'd you sleep, li'l guy?
Max: Mmn. Briefly.
Max: I felt like I got hit on by a train.
Max: Hit by a train.
Mr. Puckett: Wow, Max, it sounds like you studied really hard last night.
Mr. Puckett: So hard, in fact...
Mr. Puckett: that I'D say
Mr. Puckett: YOU'VE earned
Mr. Puckett: a
Mr. Puckett: DAY TRIP INTO THE CITY THIS WEEKEND! TO SEE YOUR FRIENDS! WAH-HEYYYY!!!
Mr. Puckett: I called Sam and Darien's parents and they said there's some sort of gladiatorial deathmatch going on at the ... local zoo—
Max: I-I can't...!
Max: I can't go.
Mr. Puckett: Huh?! But yesterday you—Why not?
Max: ...I have to shower.
Mr. Puckett: Max...
Mr. Puckett: ...I don't think that's going to take all weekend.
Alt text: Yes Max owns custom ironic heart boxers, with pockets.
Zarei: It's a good thing you called me when you did.
Zarei: Had I arrived a moment later, it might have left a scab.
Francisco: Hmph. The fool already kicked the bucket once.
Francisco: ...You can never be too careful with spirit bites.
Zarei: You can be, and were
Ghost: Doc, I-I can't feel my legs...
Zarei: You dont have legs.
Zarei: ...This is not a new development.
Zarei: You lost them when you died.
Zarei: That's not new either. Here,
Zarei: This salve heals wounds like yours in no time.
Alt text: just frickin rub green goo on it. i'm a doctor
Francisco: If you're making house calls, little doctor, then the rumors must be true.
Francisco: Mayview's been sealed off at long last.
Zarei: You say that as though being trapped like rats here is a favorable development.
Francisco: I am not trapped. And the barrier was put up for the town's protection. Your loophole was a liability.
Zarei: Half your henchmen rode in on that looophole, old man. Will you lose your social life TOO now that you can't import friends?
Francisco: BWAH HAHA HAAH! THE LITTLE BOOKWORM MINA I KNEW HAS BECOME FEISTY, SO FEISTY!
Francsico: That lantern on your hip must be the train's tool. I didn't think it would be hard to pick out.
Francisco: Give it here. My student's energy is a better match than yours, and it will be safer in my custody.
Zarei: Hmph, I doubt that.
Zarei: This little bookworm has become more than—
Alt text: HAVE A NICE DAY AT SCHOOL, I LOVE YOU
Isabel: I-I can—
Francisco: Here. A new weapon to replace your lost tool.
Francisco: Will you take it?
Isabel: I-I will.
Isabel: Thank you.
Francisco: You may leave, little doctor. I have no further use for you. Keep that lantern safe.
Alt text: it's not possessed or anything but you can hit things with it, like a sword. so that's cool
Zarei: It only works on ghosts.
Zarei: The medicine you saw me use.
Zarei: Aso you took the wrong one. That goo sublimates flesh.
Isabel: AAAAH WHAT?!
Isabel: JEEPERS, lady, label them next time!
Zarei: ...Next time you steal from me.
Isabel: Wait, why do you own goo that sublimates flesh
Zarei: Is it you who i injured? Or another?
Zarei: I can help.
Zarei: What happened on that train last night?
Alt text: The beauty of the comics medium is that you'll never know if Ed is running through the field or doing the slowest most ridiculous Tai Chi
Isabel: Nothing. It's just a scratch—
Zarei: It's a bite. You may need stitches. You were keeping this to yourself?!
Isabel: I can handle it. And I didn't want Mr. Spender to get in trouble... with that new agent...
Isabel: Plus... Grandpa... likes him. As is.
Isabel: But, if he got me hurt—
Zarei: It's fine. I get it.
Zarei: I just hope our Richard has done something to earn this kind of loyalty.
Zarei: Hold still.
Isabel: It still hurts.
Zarei: Patience. And you're welcome. I accept payment in the form of lots and lots of dollars.
Zarei: But I'll make an exception in your case of if you'll tell me what on earth did that to you.
Isabel: ...I-I don't think I should. I don't know you.
Ed: Hey, Izzy! D'you wanna walk t'school with m—
Isabel: Can't, going somewhere else first.
Alt text: i'm so pointlessly tickled by how well last panel zarei fits over the copyright info/url
Isaac: It's just like,
Isaac: Max was supposed to be my friend, like how Isabel has Ed
Isaac: they're telling him things they won't tell me
Isaac: and everyone likes him...
Isaac: It's clear already. He's in the club, and
Isaac: ...and I'm still the odd kid out.
Alt text: ''Honestly I'd settle for being the odd kid in, like Ed''
Isaac: I'll bet Max already has like a million merit badges.
Isaac: In backstabbing.
Isaac: If only I knew what exact rule I broke.
Isaac: Who decided I'm not good enough.
Isaac: I could apologize, or,
Doorman: Your exclusion may not have been a ruling on your actions or character.
Doorman: The cold machinations of adult institutions can be cruel to a child caught in their cogs.
Doorman: I don't doubt that could be the case with you.
Isaac: We both know what I probably did to get punished like this.
Isaac: ...I just wish I knew for sure.
Isaac: But I can't even know the name of the faceless organization JUDGING my MISTAKES!!
Doorman: Young Master Isaac—
Isaac: And Isabel, Ed, now Max.
Isaac: None of them are on my side!
Alt text: *looms paternally*
Doorman: I have heard its rumbling time and again since first we met...
Doorman: Deep anger storms inside you.
Doorman: And you yourself have always been its lightning rod.
Doorman: For the one strike missed its mark, you've endured one thousand.
Doorman: Lacking means to clear the clouds from your sky, I have tried to channel that wild energy into reflection and moral discipline.
Doorman: ...Loosing bolts at your school friends will prove far less productive.
Doorman: Listen to me, Isaac. A raging storm can boom and burst, but only rainfall breaks it. Violent words and deeds are not the release you seek.
Isaac: ...You really like using weather metaphors with me, huh?
Doorman: Yes, you're right
Doorman: as rain
Doorman: Oh ho ho
Isaac: I won't do anything reckless, so don't worry, OK? I'll give Max a chance.
Doorman: Er... about that boy
Nin: Doorman, sir.
Nin: She wouldn't want us to keep the big guy waiting.
Doorman: Hm? Ah. Ah, yes.
Doorman: We will speak more later, Young Master, and see if we can't do something about those clouds.
Doorman: But for now, let's get you to school.
Alt text: But for(ecast) now, let's get you to squall.
Alt text: just a fast dog, doing normal dog things
Spender: Ah. Hello, Isaac.
Spender: Morning patrol is yours today.
Isaac: ...Yeah, whatever.
Alt text: you mouthless gray jerk
Nin: Jeez, Doomy. That was my favorite chair.
Nin: And mine. Why d'you keep that kid around, anyways?
Nin: I can't remember a single good thing that's ever come of mingling with humans.
Doorman: Isaac has a good heart.
Doorman: I can... do right by him.
Nin: Well why d'ya have to?
Nin: He led an enemy right to us, put you in danger—
Doorman: He didn't know.
Doorman: The other boy, Max... I sensed he, too, was unaware that he carries one of the s—
Doorman: No! The master, a message...!
Doorman: H-hello? My lady, 'tis I—
Nin: What're you even holding that up to?! Here, gimme—
Voice: My dear friends...
Alt text: talk about a mobile phone am i right haha ha
Voice: To hear your voices after so long... it is a gift beyond measure.
Doorman: M-MASTER...! THEY COULD NOT COMPARE—
Doorman: YOUR SIGHS PUT SONG TO SHAME, YOUR EVERY SYLLABLE A SYMPHONY—
Nin: Oookay, Doormy, pack it in.
Voice: Teehee... Nin, tell our friend his words are kind, but I do not deserve nor desire the title of "master"
Nin: She says—
Doorman: YES, MY BLESSÈD QUEEN.
Voice: Are we ready to welcome our guest back to Mayview?
Nin: Welcome back?
Doorman: Yes, m'lady! By now, Sir Forge will have built himself a door, and can send us its key through his locket.
Voice: I'm so happy. Forge will be our second chance... and we may very well be his.
Doorman: I'm opening the portal now, m'lady
Doorman: Forge? Sir Forge, it's Doorman—
Doorman: Oh dear
Doorman: Oh no
Doorman: Oh dear
Alt text: looks like doorman has something up his sleeve haha ha ha it's been a long day
PJ: Oh boy
PJ: Oh gee
PJ: Oh boy
PJ: So I know you said my special weapon is a secret surprise,
PJ: But your body language is really saying "lasers"
PJ: Is it lasers? Ohh gosh it's lasers.
PJ: OK maybe just give me the first six letters of—
Isabel: and that's why you steal the whole register instead of juts the money inside.
Isabel: Sell it online.
Zoey: You two know each other?
Max: Oh, where are my manners? This is Isabel, my school friend. Isabel, this is Zoey,
Max: my intern.
Zoey: I'M YOUR SISTER!!
Isabel: Nice to meet you, Zoey!
Isabel: Max is lucky, sisters are way cool!
Isabel: Haha, yeah!
Isabel: Um but could I have my change actually
Zoey: OH! UH, YES.
Alt text: Keep the change, just give me five. No, I mean five dollars. This is a robbery. Give me the register too.
Max: This thing followed you all the way here?
Max: It looks...
Isabel: It's official: after yesterday, all dogs are dead to me, including and especially the ones that can't die.
Max: About that.
Max: Thanks for having my back last night. When things got wild.
Isabel: We had each others' backs.
Isabel: That's what friends do.
Max: I'm sorry about your spider.
Max: She seemed, um,
Max: ...like a friend.
Isabel: Haha, yeah. Ouch.
Isabel: What does that make me, then?
Max: Also we were underground when your book fell out so it is sealed like a hundred feet down in solid rock.
Isabel: Yeah thanks Max
Max: If you weren't aware.
Isabel: Good talk.
Alt text: That spider of yours certainly was previously alive. Remember that time she talked about poop? Man, those were the yesterdays.
Max: Sooner or later we're gonna have to talk about it.
Max: Mr. Spender.
Max: What we saw last night.
Max: Why did Mr. Spender have a mustache?
Isabel: Haha, Spirit Fusion? That's normal, he does that all the time.
Isabel: Never looks the same twice, though.
Max: What about that thing that came out of him? Those...
Isabel: That I've never seen before.
Max: So what's the plan?
Max: What are we blackmailing him for?
Isabel: Um, nothing?
Max: You don't want to at least ask him for an explanation?
Isabel: Look, Mr. Spender's a good guy. I trust him.
Isabel: And I trust he keeps secrets for good reasons.
Isabel: So we drop it.
Isabel: If he wanted to talk to me about it, it'd be a different story, but...
Max: Is that why you participate in keeping secrets from Isaac?
Isabel: Max, that's a whole can of worms.
Max: I'm fishing for information.
Max: Open that can I need those worms
Alt text: Spirit Fusion is my favorite vitamin water flavor
Isabel: OK, so, preface—me and Isaac save each others' butts, like, bi-weekly
Isabel: his powers are neat
Isabel: and he is my friend.
Isabel: But let's clear the table of all that sweet stuff
Isabel: and get salty for a bit.
Isabel: 'cause I got a full plate of beef.
Isabel: Way back when he first joined the club, Isaac... did a bad thing, accidentally... to one of us...
Isabel: and then, well,
Isabel: He sort of... decided we were all mad at him for it? Which we weren't, really.
Isabel: I think Isaac tends to, like, play things out in his head too much?
Isabel: And then confuses that with reality a bit.
Isabel: Anyways, he's been mostly cold and snappy towards us ever since
Isabel: So we snap back with teasing sometimes.
Isabel: I'd talk it out, but we can hardly manage an amicable chat about the weather.
Isabel: well I guess that's a loaded topic for him but you get my point
Isabel: And, yes, like, Mr. Spender said we can't tell him about the Consortium and the dream hub or whatever,
Isabel: and I don't know WHY that is,
Isabel: but, like,
Isabel: because of ALL THAT STUFF,
Max: where are you pointing
Isabel: hasn't ever actually asked me for info?
Isabel: So I dunno if that counts as me keeping secrets from him.
Isabel: And, frankly, I'm not sure what I'd say if he DID ask me, at this point.
Isabel: He's kind of been self-absorbed and not the greatest friend.
Max: So what I'm hearing is "it's complicated"
Isabel: It's complicated.
Alt text: because of ALL THAT STUFF, specifically THAT DOG and THAT TONGUE,
Max: Hey, one last thing.
Max: That stuff you said on the train, about some ghosts using tools, or...
Max: or lasting a long time...
Max: Was that true?
Isabel: Yeah, it was.
Isabel: Um, but...
Isabel: I think that's only...
Isabel: in exceptional circumstances, for exceptional gho—
Max: H-hey, you feel that?
Isabel: Feel what?
Max: I've had this feeling for a while...
Max: Like we're being followed...
Max: No I mean by something else
Isabel: There are better ways to change the subject, Max.
Max: You're right, skeptical friend.
Max: It was probably nothing,
Max: least of all foreshadowing,
Max: and/or I am making things up.
Isabel: Max, one of these days you're going to cry wolf
Isabel: and there won't be a wolf,
Isabel: and then you'll be sorry.
Max: Yes Isabel that's exactly how that fable goes.
Alt text: *maintenance crew shuffles into foreground* where do you want us to put this maroon tree
Jeff: Hey Max!
Max: 'tsup, Jeff?
Jeff: Haha, you bet!
Jeff: I'm cool now.
Mr. Garcia: HEY! What do you think you're doing?!
Mr. Garcia: No dogs allowed on school premises!
Mr. Garcia: No scram, or I'll hit you with this plastic sword I confiscated from a nerd.
Jeff: I-if only I had my blade...!
Mr. Garcia: I...I'm getting mixed signals here...
Alt text: Maybe it's wagging its tail as a warning, like a rattlesnake. It is, after all, a very long dog
Johnny: Start squeelin', Jeff! What's the relation of your natureship with Max?
Ollie: Did you high-five 'im 'cause you think it's cool that he levi—
Johnny: We have an evidence, so you're NOT allowed to lie.
Johnny: Now spill your BRAINS into my EARS.
Jeff: I-IS THIS PERFORMANCE ART?!
Johnny: WHAT'S MAX'S DEAL?? WHO'S IN HIS CREW, AND HOW DO THEY FLOAT?!
Ollie: What's your favorite flavor of movie? Did you know that everything's going to be all right?
Jeff: (thinking) Good cop bad cop!
Johnny: How can I make this bullying experience more comfortable for you?
Ollie: What are your hopes, and also dreams
Jeff: (thinking) G-GOOD COP GOOD COP...??
Johnny: MAKE HIM TELL US WHAT WE WANT TO KNOW
Ollie: O-okay, whatever you say!
Ollie: (thinking) A-ADVANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES..!?!
Jeff: A-ALL RIGHT, I'LL TELL YOU EVERYTHING!
Jeff: B-B-UT, EVERYTHING IS NOTHING
Johnny: Wow dude that's deep
Jeff: NO I MEAN, I—
Jeff: I don't actually know anything about Max, or anything about anything you think I know!
Ollie: I think he's tellin' the truth, Johnny.
Johnny: Pssh, whatta waste of good violence.
Johnny: Leg's go find his real friens and rough them up.
Alt text: i'm sorry
Jeff: I should just go home
Jeff: Quit while I'm behind...
Jeff: sometimes it's,
Jeff: ...not very fun being me—
Alt text: THAT AIN'T DUST
Isabel: and so I go "AND THIS ONE'S FOR MAX" and then I'm like POW and kick it off the train—
Max: Haha, noo
Max: Tell me you didn't say "pow" out loud while avenging my death, cause—
Isaac: Ah ha HA! Right on, my dudes!
Isabel: Heyy, Isaac! Nice weather, huh?
Isaac: Run along, Isabel.
Max: ...What's up, Isaac?
Max: Last night's mission got pretty wild, huh?
Isaac: So what do you think of that flower lady?
Isaac: The one we picked up.
Isaac: ...Spender's friend.
Isabel: Well she certainly made a train kiss Max.
Max: ...What are you doing?
Isaac: Letterboxing. It's dramatic.
Alt text: I had my mom buy me two black notebooks specifically for this reason
Max: "That flower lady" saved my life. She's a good person.
Max: Also she loves kids,
Max: swims like a fish,
Max: and thinks pink cotton candy is the single greatest food ever made.
Max: Swears it tastes different than blue.
Isabel: Wha—How'd you figure all that out, you witch?!
Isaac: Hmph. As expected of Max. You're very perceptive.
Max: ...Unlike you guys.
Isaac: ............is that all?
Max: ...She likes cartoons...?
Isaac: You called her an agent last night, Max. Agent of what?
Isaac: Why won't you tell me?? Is it because she's here?
Isabel: Yes, I am indeed right here.
Max: Step off it dude, that's not it. Lose the venom.
Isaac: Are you my friend or not?!
Isaac: I answered your questions, I showed you my secret shortcut...
Isaac: You OWE me! You—
Max: Yeah OK I'm stopping you there.
Max: If that's how you're framing things, I'm gonna need you to back up and try again,
Max: because that's not how being my friend or anyone's friend works.
Alt text: Max just read Agent Day's facebook is all
DuNacht: Stop right there.
DuNacht: Students aren't allowed in the teacher's lounge. No exceptions.
DuNacht: Unless, of course, they're on their way to the principals' office for commiting a serious violation of school rules.
Jeff/Hijack: ...Isn't that an exception?
DuNacht: SILENCE, WORMDOG
Jeff/Hijack: Tell me, then, baffling bipedal aardvark authority figure,
Jeff/Hijack: what exactly would constitute a serious violation of school rules?
DuNacht: Hm? Well, let's see... Wearing normal clothes on pajama day, injuring a fellow student—
DuNacht: I swear to various lessor demons, if you wear normal clothes on pajama day I will hunt you down.
Cody: Ah! There you are, Jeff!
Cody: What are you doing?? C'mon!
Cody: Just two periods and then we get to go to
Coach Oop: GYM CLASS!
Alt text: Silence, warm dog... what more could you ask for?
Max: why'd he just yell "gym class"
Coach Oop: Now, as you all know, DODGEBALL was BANNED in this school district by your awful parents,
Coach Oop: So today we'll be playing HITBALL.
Coach Oop: ('cause DODGING was never the IMPORTANT PART of the sport anyways.)
Coach Oop: Here to help me explain the rules of this ingenious loophole is my son, Ollie, my baby boy.
Coach Oop: See, this game is all about balls—
Coach Oop: you throw the ball, an' it hits your 'ponent? They're OUT.
Coach Oop: They go to the BLEACHERS to FEEL BAD.
Coach Oop: You throw, they catch? YOU'RE out. BLEACHERS. TO FEEL BAD.
Coach Oop: You throw, hit, but the ball's caught 'fore it eats floor on the ricochet?
Coach Oop: Then your hit doesn' COUNT, and you're OUT!
Coach Oop: Unless-a course the ball you nab is the GOLDEN SWITCH. Only thing happens when you catch this puppy is yer WHOLE TEAM gets OFFA THE BLEACHERS an' BACK IN THE GAME.
Coach Oop: NO. BIG. DEAL.
Fitzgerald: Why would we ever throw it at the other team then, Coach Oop?
Coach Oop: Good question, you impation buffoon.
Coach Oop: Score a clean hit with the Golden Switch, an' the chump you bonked SWITCHES TEAMS.
Coach Oop: Li'l tip: AIM FER THE ENEMY'S ACES.
Alt text: Also aim for their faces, sometimes you can poke their eyes with the little wings
Johnny: If this blob really is Max,
Johnny: then this'n's probably that electric dorkupine.
Coach Oop: Sun Tzu once said, "Wa—
Johnny: But who're the rest?
Johnny: The same oneszit drove by us in that fancy car? I didn't getta good peep at any of 'em 'sides Max an' the ginger.
Ollie: If only Stephen was here. I've seen him piece consipiracies together with even less evidence than this.
Ollie: Too bad he got suspended tryin' t'bust us out of detention.
Coach Oop: I NEED TEAM CAPTAINS!!
Coach Oop: Don' worry, I've saved you the trouble of voting or free will or whatever,
Coach Oop: an' picked out the alphas from your pack of bumbling betas.
Coach Oop: Get me Isabel Guerra!
Coach Oop: Get me Johnny Jhonny!
Johnny: It's pronounced "juh-hawny"
Coach Oop: That's how I said it.
Johnny: Oh, yeah?
Johnny: It was hard to tell for some reason.
Coach Oop: OKAY BABIES LET'S GO THESE BALLS WON'T HIT THEMSELVES!!
Coach Oop: Time for a good ol' fashioned DRAFT!
Alt text: ''War is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.'' -Sun Tzu
Johnny: RJ, get over here.
Coach Oop: Yeah, yeah, pick your besties. Nepotism makes the world go round.
Isabel: Okay, I chooose...
Johnny: C'mon up, Ollie.
Isabel: Cody, I choose you!
Isabel: Jeff, I guess?
Coach Oop: Alright, we have our teams!
Coach Oop: Pick yer team names, an' be sure to remember:
Coach Oop: WORK TOGETHER!
Coach Oop: There's no "I" in "HITBALL".
BURNHOUNDS VS SHOCKODILES
Alt text: burnhound versus shockodile is my favorite syfy channel original movie
Coach Oop: toot
Alt text: RIP angry band kid
Ed: Wah-ah! Thanks, Lisa!
Lisa: No problemo! We Burnhounds ought to stick together!
Ed: Ayup, that's, uh... that's how teams work.
Lisa: MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR GOD, HOTDOG FROTH, FOR THIS IS THE DAY HE DIES.
Isabel: Haha, YESSS! We're STACKED.
Angry band kid: WOO!
Alt text: Q: How many balls are there in the game of hitball? A: As many as I need to make an invincible ball golem feasible.
DuNacht: DAG, SONS!
DuNacht: These BARNHOUNDS are wiggity wiggity worse than homework!
DuNacht: Let's show them our pep, fellow youths! XBOX! HOOOOO!
Kid: That normal kid is right!
Kid: I think it's cool that he levitates!
Cody: Say, Jeff...
Cody: Are you okay? You seem a bit off today.
Jeff/Hijack: Who, me?? I'm he same ol' Jeff as ever!
Jeff/Hijack: Star Wars!
Cody: Ah, hey, don't look now, but...
Cody: SOMEone's been staring our way for a while now.
Cody: I think maybe he likes me.
Cody: Okay, Jeff, I have to go carry the team!
Cody: See ya later!
Alt text: so many normal children on this page
Isabel: HEY MATRIX, TRY CONTRIBUTING. THE GAME'S NOT CALLED DODGEBALL!!!!
Max: You want me to... not dodge the ball?
Max: You want me to...... hit the ball...?
Isabel: NO, I MEAN—
Max: No offense, Isabel, but you're kind of a bad leader.
Isabel: STOP DEFLECTING
Max: But clearly that is an important part of the spor—
Isabel: Hey, bozo. This might seem out of left field, but...
Isabel: Max, are we clear on what I meant on the train?
Isabel: I just want to make sure I didn't mislead you...
Isabel: That you understand most ghosts can't—
Max: O-oh, um! I think someone wants me... over there!
Suzy: HOW DID YOU KNOW??
Alt text: because i'm a weird psychic, and my dad loves me
Violet: Oh, what? I got hit with an invisible ball!
Violet: I just can't believe this.
Violet: Me, out? Of the game?
Violet: I'm so upset, about sports.
Kid: (Would that I could be so brave...)
Ed: Say, Muse.
Ed: Do you think maybe Isabel is mad at me?
Muse: What's that, Ned? I can't here you over the sound of how few muscles you have.
Muse: Now give me 50 of each kind of exercise or I'll give you bad advice on purpose.
Ed: Aw, what? People will see, though!
Muse: THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF EXERCISE, KID!!
Kid: N-no weak points...!
Alt text: who is throwing the balls that high
Muse: Good job, Ted. Now give me 50 more way less terrible ones.
Ed: I wish I knew for sure what Isabel could be upset about.
Muse: Maybe she's mad 'cause you clearly signaled you'd stick with here on a night when she was feeling particularly abandoned
Muse: and then ditched her like ten, twenty seconds later.
Muse: OR maybe she isn't mad, and you're just painting her actions that color 'cause deeper down you're mad at yourself for splitting.
Muse: Either way, Nedward, you can count on me
Muse: not caring in the slightest.
Ed: Should I have stood up to Isabel's grandpa? He was real scary, but...
Ed: Muse, did I... do the wrong thing last night?
Muse: Of course not! Are you kidding?
Ed: Huh? Really?
Muse: Listen, Nerdwad. Don't take this personally, but you're weak and a baby.
Muse: The old man isn't just stronger than you in a fight,
Muse: he's got a stronger mind and will, too. You can't stand up to him.
Ed: nice, uh.... nice facepaint...
Muse: Anyone who faults you for running is naive
Muse: and a baby.
Alt text: ''I think it's cool that he levitates'' -everyone watching Ed do spirit world chin-ups, probably
Johnny: Fever Pitch!
Johnny: Crying Phoenix!!
Johnny: Double Crying Phoenix!!!
Johnny: Throw Classic©™!!!!
Muse: Huh? Hey, what are you—
Alt text: i didn't realize this was the second time birds cried behind johnny until it was too late
Johnny: That shrimp, Ed... he's in the photo RJ took. One'a Max's floating friends.
Johnny: I recognized him... as soon as he left the ground.
Muse: Li'l tip, kid.
Muse: Without power is no virtue. For the weak and foolish, it's a liability.
Muse: Accept your place on the food chain or get strong enough to climb higher.
Muse: Otherwise you'll just keep making a monkey of yourself.
Muse: Get it?
Muse: 'Cause I'm a m—
Alt text: you're never going to be good at dodgeball if you don't achieve self-actualization, kid
Suzy: OK, Max, let's talk questions and answers.
Suzy: Tell me, Max. Do you see those shady whozits over there?
Suzy: Do you know who they are?
Max: Mr. Spender fanclub?
Suzy: No, that's wrong, Max.
Suzy: Try not to be so wrong.
Suzy: They're Student Council.
Suzy: Have you heard the rumors, Max?
Max: is that a band
Suzy: They say the Student Council is looking for someone.
Max: if it isn't i call that band name
Alt text: the purple bodysuit squad is terrible at hitball
Suzy: They say they're looking for someone who jumped through a bus.
Suzy: Oh Max, EVERYONE'S talking about it. You're like a folk hero or whatever probably.
Max: WHAT DID YOU DO
Suzy: Haha, well,
Suzy: I may have fanned the flames a little.
Max: ...Um, is that...?
Suzy: The paper, yes.
Max: Yes. The paper, singular. One sheet.
Max: Gosh, Suzy. I guess I just thought your talent would be at least somewhat proportional to your passion.
Suzy: It's proportional to our budget, buttlips. Shush up while I'm blackmailing you.
Suzy: Once our coverage hit the wrong ears, all heck broke loose.
Max: Do you have any marketable interests besides journalism?
Max: What are you marriage prospects
Suzy: The Student Council held an emergency meeting just to make bus jumping extremely against the rules.
Max: are there any lonely landed nobles in your life
Alt text: the Journalism Club's paper reads right to left because double sided printing is hard, and to tap into them sweet manga dollars
Suzy: You know what that means, Max?
Suzy: It means that jumping through a school bus is now punishable...
Suzy: BY DEATH
Suzy: LESS TALKING MORE BLOCKING, COLLIN!
Collin: I SAID ONE WORD, SUSAN!
Suzy: COUNT BETTER PAL, THAT'S SIX!!
Max: No, no! My Dad'll Kill me...!
Mr. Puckett: YOU HAVE SINNED, MY CHILD!
Suzy: AHA! See, Collin? I'm always right eventually.
Suzy: Now, now, Max, don't be so HYPERBOLIC.
Collin: THAT'S YOU—
Suzy: It's not like anyone knows YOU did it.
Max: ...Except for y—
Suzy: EXCEPT FOR ME!!!
Suzy: Take a look at this bad boy, bad boy.
Suzy: Isn't technology amazing?
Alt text: I'm sorry
Suzy: Journalism 101, Max: get everyone asking a question you already know the answer to.
Suzy: Instant leverage!
Max: I HATE YOU
Suzy: OK, so here's what I want.
Suzy: I want to know how the Acitivity Club gets funded without a stated purpose.
Suzy: I want to know why new members are invite only.
Suzy: And I want to know exactly what the Activity Club's activities are.
Max: We fight ghosts.
Suzy: Very funny!
Suzy: I didn't mean I want you to TELL me those things, fire pants. I meant I want you to wear a WIRE.
Suzy: And wow, look at that! The wire is attached to a RECORDING DEVICE!
Max: I NEED A PRIEST
Suzy: Look on the bright side, Max! No matter how much you sweat over this,
Suzy: or how bad you look,
Suzy: At least your wrists won't get moist.
Max: Wh-WRISTBANDS ARE IN STYLE. You're wearing LEG WARMERS
Suzy: Oh, Max. Max, Max, Max.
Alt text: The perfect mic for learning bees' secrets
Collin: Oh no...! I'm so sorry, Max, I—
Lisa: Hush, Collin. That's not Max. Not anymore.
Suzy: A little something to remember me by.
Max: I WON'T FORGET WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
Max: Huh...? That voice is—
Alt text: next page obligatory literal ghost duck appearance
Alt text: they really need to dust in here
Jeff/Hijack: I missed.
Violet: I'm getting Coach Oop!
Cody: Wow, Jeff! Nice throw!
DuNacht, Collin, Jud: READ THE MOOD!!!
Alt text: >:^U
Max: Was he aiming for ME?! I-I wasn't even across the line yet!
Ollie: Thas not technically against the rules.
Ollie: But shouldn't we be more worried about—
Ollie: THAT FREAKISH THROW! When did Jeff get stronger than me?! PUNK'S GOT SOME NERVE!
Max: ...Unlike you.
Johnny: THIS! IS A TACTICAL DEFENSIVE FRIENDSHIP FUSION FORMATION!
Isabel: (thinking) It went right through him?
Isabel: (thinking) Then Jeff's not possessed...
Isabel: (thinking) Not HOLDING anything possessed...
Isabel: (thinking) Still... there's definitely...
Isabel: (thinking) Something supernatural going on...!
Alt text: isabel looking like the dorkiest mime right now
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Hmph. This won't do. Everyone's suspicious of me now.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) I'd hoped to land a clean hit, enter the next phase of my plan.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Ah, well.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) If at first you don't succeed—
Isabel: WHOOPS, SORRY DUDE.
Isabel: Hey, they're all being thrown in the same direction!
Isabel: Go Shockodiles am I right my man
Isabel: (thinking) Yeah, GET mad, Jeff... if that's even still who's in there.
Isabel: (thinking) We can't match the brawn behind that throw sans tools and spectral energy...
Isabel: (thinking) but we can still beat you with brains!
Max: End the game...
Dimitri: Then we had the same idea.
Dimitri: As long as he's playing by the rules, we should too.
Dimitri: Best way this goes down is everyone walks away unaware and uninjured by whatever's eating Jeff right now.
Dimitri: Ideally, that means we'd stall until Coach intervenes, but the safest thing'd be to start de-escalating ASAP.
Dimitri: Defeat Jeff without provoking him into making even more of a scene.
Dimitri: Get him away from hitball, get him into the hands of adult authority... or alone with us.
Max: ...'tsup, Dimitri.
Alt text: that famous expression, ''If at first you don't succeed, YOINK! WHOOPS, SORRY DUDE.''
Max: And by "alone with us", you mean,
Dimitri: You, me, Johnny. We could handle Jeff without rules and eyes to worry about.
Dimitri: We're healthy boys.
Max: I... I am not a healthy boy.
Dimitri: It's cool, man, Johnny will pick up your slack.
Dimitri: He's a rough dude.
Johnny: I punched a snake once.
Dimitri: And I'm as smart as two people,
Johnny: yeah two ugly people ha ha ha
Dimitri: so I'll pick up his.
Johnny: HNPH, well, I tuned you out paragraphs n' paragraphs ago, but
Johnny: I JUST HAVE TO BONK THE SNOT OUT OF JEFF, RIIIIGHT?
Max: YOU FOOL! Don't be hasty!!
Dimitri: what why not he's entirely correct
Cody: Your opponent...
Cody: is me!!
Dimitri: ...None of us should be smiling about this.
Alt text: why didn't you just aim for johnny you nerd
Max: (thinking) U-unreal...! Johnny's going all out...
Max: (thinking) And Cody's brushing him off like cheap toothpast!
Max: (thinking) H-he doesn't even seem like he's trying that hard!!
Max: (thinking) It's not just Jeff... there are two monsters on that side of the field!
Max: (thinking) A tiger...
Max: (thinking) and a dragon...!
Serge: Student Maxwell Puckett.
Fish Spirit: GET OFF THE COURT, NIMRODS, I'M WATCHING THE GAME!!
Dragon Spirit: Ugh, my step-dad.
Serge: Don't turn around. Listen closely.
Max: Yup. Yup. Cool. Here we go. Love this town. Cool.
Alt text: so, max... you can see them too... their Fursonas...
Serge: This game of hitball... is no longer a game.
Serge: Games have rules, order. This game: does not have those things. Herego: disorder, chaos.
Serge: Student Jeffavorite Flavors to blame. Under surveillance since morning. Behavior: atypical. Threat of rulebreaking: extremely high.
Serge: However: cannot detain preemptively. Damaging bleachers arguably accidental. Weak case. Options limited, but extant.
Serge: Right now, your comrades are receiving the exact same information.
Student Council Member #2: Right now, your comrades are receiving the exact same information.
Student Council Member #3: I-I said don't turn around—
Student Council Member #3: Give me back my stuff!
Johnny: YOU give you back my stuff
Serge: Others: weak, afraid, unserious. You three: not those things.
Serge: The Student Council graciously demands your assistance.
Serge: Consider yourselves... DEPUTIZED.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) I. NEED. BALLS!!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) The Guerra child's caught on, she won't let me reach any!
Isabel: I'm using these
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) I have to finish this quickly...!
Alt text: right now, your comrades are receiving the same exact speech bubble, copied and pasted,
DuNacht: Heh hey, my brobe! What's going down...
DuNacht: BESIDES YOU??? KEHEHEHEHEHE
Max: It's starting... the Student Council's plan.
Johnny: Hmph HMPH. This PLAN ain't my small juicebox of iced tea.
Kid: can i pose too?!
Max: (flashback) Sacrifice ourselves?!
Serge: (flashback) correct. When target is restrained, your team creates "large stink", as it were–
Max: (flashback) gross, dude
Serge: (flashback) Make Derelict Cody Jones think you are main threat to his friend, take his attacks,
Serge: (flashback) and buy time for us to dispatch Jeff with our special technique!
Dimitri: Max, please don't waste time having flashbacks to things that happened seconds ago.
Dimitri: (flashback) Max, please don't waste time having flashbacks to things that happened seconds ago.
Dimitri: Cut that out.
Suzy: See? This is a much better vantage point for journalisming.
Collin: we came up here because you were scared
Suzy: SHUT THE HUSH UP COLLIN THIS VID'S GOING ON iREPORT
Alt text: if we need a reason why dimitri can tell max is having a flashback i propose that max is doing some puppetless ventriloquism and repeating back everything everyone just said but also retroactively giving himself better one-liners
DuNacht: Careful, pilgrim. My strings are wound tight around your boyflesh.
DuNacht: Struggle too much, and they may cut off your circulation...
DuNacht: or perhaps,
DuNacht: YOUR ARMS???
Jeff/Hijack: Tch... I underestimated you, hag. You're willing to harm this child's body to get at me?!
DuNacht: ......................Come again?
Jeff/Hijack: Wait, you mean you didn't know I'm—
Jeff/Hijack: Do you stalk and capture NORMAL students...?!
DuNacht: does it look to you like i haven't done this before
DuNacht: H-hold on...! It can't be, are you actually—
Jeff/Hijack: CODYYYYY!! HELLLLLP!!
Max: There's our cue!
Dimitri: ...not going to work
Dimitri: Their plan. It's not going to work.
Alt text: please see a doctor if your nostrils are glowing and/or imitating your facial expressions
Dimitri: Tying Jeff up isn't strategy, it's brute force with a bow on top.
Dimitri: And we've already seen why that's not a contest they'll win.
Dimitri: Forget the Student Council and forget their "plan".
Dimitri: Authority that lacks talent doesn't deserve blind compliance.
Dimitri: Sacrifice ourselves for them?! We'll sacrifice them for us, and let their failure distract the enemy while we set up my superior strategy.
Dimitri: C'mon! We need to get...
Serge: Fools!! Curse your individual agency!
Student Council Member #2: Sir! The formation is ready! What do we do?!
Serge: P-proceed as planned!!
Isabel: Dang it, Cody, figure it out! The Jeff you know can't make a throw like that!
Cody: I. Know. That! Of course I know that...!
Alt text: Dimitri you're mumbling, no one can hear your plan
Cody: But I also know...
Cody: my friend is calling my name...
Cody: and asking for help...
Cody: and that's all I need!
Isabel: (thinking) Th-the heck?! This strength...!!
Isabel: (thinking) Th-this guy is...
Cody: Jeff must've worked really hard to get such powerful arms!
Cody: Why can't you just be be happy for him?!
Isabel: (thinking) ...a dweeb.
Dimitri: THAT'S JUST A NORMAL THROW!!
Alt text: dimitri's plan is to move to the outfield and incessantly criticize the student council's plan
Collin: HOLY—HE JUST TORE THAT KID'S ARMS OFF!!
Angry band kid: WHERE IN ANY GOD'S NAME IS COACH OOP?!
Violet: WAKE UUUUUUUUUUP
DuNacht: G-grrnk... foul youth...! I'll cook you into a stew, I'll peel your bones like—
DuNacht: TH-THAT IS TO SAY,
DuNacht: Don't panic, yo, I'm perfectly f—
Collin/Suzy/Angry band kid: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Alt text: One Winged Angel and the Zoldyck family theme start playing simultaneously
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Honestly. All this extra trouble...
Dimitri: OK, we got all the stuff the plan nee—
Isabel: HEADS UP—
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) to kill two birds...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) with one STONE!!
Max: (thinking) Ah! He's aiming for me again—
Max: (thinking) No!! For Johnny's...!
Max: (thinking) S-sorry guys! Nothing I can do to—
Alt text: kill two birds with one stone more like four children with one ball ha ha ha oh god what have i done
Dimitri: (thinking) No choice...!
Dimitri: Someone catch the—
Alt text: this is exactly what real middle school dodgeball is like
Johnny: Dude! Are you okay?!
Dimitri: I'm fine.
Ollie: That last throw lefta crater, man, don't expect us to—
Dimitri: I'm fine. Just, listen—
Dimitri: None of you can take the kind of hit I just took.
Dimitri: You'll get hurt.
Johnny: Huh? But—
Dimitri: Don't think, you'll get hurt doing that, too. Just stick to the plan.
Dimitri: (thinking) That's right...
Johnny: Hey man, you good?
Max: I'm... it's fine.
Dimitri: (thinking) If we want to stop Jeff's rampage...
Student Council Member #3: Th-the VP's down! W-what do we do now?!
Serge: Keep it together! W-we just need a new strategy to—
Dimitri: (thinking) our real target...
Dimitri: (thinking) is Cody!!
Alt text: paranatural lesson #26: every good plan starts with a ridiculous Ginyu Force-esque team pose
Cody: (thinking) Sorry, RJ.
Cody: (thinking) Easy shot!
Cody: (thinking) Wait...
Cody: (thinking) Dang!!
Cody: (thinking) A distraction! The Golden Switch is flashy, they used it to grab my attention away from...!
Cody: (thinking) Heh. Cute, but...
Cody: (thinking) I'm still faster!!
Jeff/Hijack: Missed throw. BLOCKED throw!
Jeff/Hijack: That DOES it! I'm ending th—
Jeff/Hijack: Heh heh. Careful.
Alt text: jeff has to make an innocent child bleed from his eyes to get a chance at one throw but here's cody materializing a ball that matches his color scheme out of nowhere like it's no big deal
Isabel: You're not Jeff. Who are you?!
Jeff/Hijack: I'm usually pretty good at my job.
Jeff/Hijack: Sneaking in, sneaking out. Silent infiltration.
Jeff/Hijack: Turns out I'm in a really bad mood, though,
Jeff/Hijack: So today I'm playing the vengeful spirit.
Jeff/Hijack: The name's Hijack. Sorry, but I'm gonna borrow this body a little longe—
Jeff/Hijack: D-do you mind...?
Suzy: Not at all!
Suzy: Please continue.
Suzy: Actually please don't plus repeat whatever y'all were saying louder and without swears.
Suzy: No—with swears.
Cody: (thinking) Max blocking after doing nothing but dodge all game?
Cody: (thinking) Are they trying to throw me off?
Cody: (thinking) It's pointless, guys.
Cody: (thinking) I'll just slip through the cracks—
Alt text: i hope you enjoyed my political cartoon about how the media can serve as a watchdog and countermeasure against the destructive power of The Government, whose dark, supernatural powers control our pets and children
Cody: (thinking) Whoa, whoa. Scary stuff...
Cody: (thinking) Still, it's an easy dodge.
Cody: (thinking) ...So then why all the pomp and—
Cody: (thinking) WHERE WAS MAX?!
Isabel: Hijack... what are you doing there?!
Isabel: Why are you playing hitball?!
Jeff/Hijack: Heh. I'd say I got sidetracked, but...
Jeff/Hijack: I think this game can still be salvaged into step one...
Jeff/Hijack: Of my little mission here at Mayview Middle School.
Alt text: ball opens like a droideka to reveal it was the real max all along
Isabel: Mission? What missi
Jeff/Hijack: I think that's enough freebies. Now you're gonna help ME.
Cody: (thinking) There!
Cody: (thinking) ?!
Cody: (thinking) Did Max throw—Hold on, he didn't have a ball...
Cody: (thinking) A bluff??
Jeff/Hijack: I need this body sent to the office but I don't want the charges to stick.
Jeff/Hijack: Least I can do is keep the kid out of detention with the same punks he's tormented by.
Jeff/Hijack: I mean, I'm not evil.
Isabel: COULD'VE FOOLED ME!!
Cody: (thinking) No, he let me see his hands were empty so I wouldn't think he was a threat!
Cody: (thinking) A concealed weapon??
Cody: (thinking) But I don't see anyth—
Cody: (thinking) Wait...
Cody: (thinking) WAIT!!
Cody: (thinking) That's... that's no shadow!
Cody: (thinking) TH-THE BALL JEFF FLATTENED EARLIER?
Jeff/Hijack: Way I figured, there's no rule against throwing a ball hard in gym class.
Jeff/Hijack: But I think hurting someone a little in self-defense is fine too
Jeff/Hijack: and you're being AWFUL rough...
Jeff/Hijack: Sorry, Miss Guerra. Shouldn't have lost your temper!
Cody: (thinking) NOWHERE TO GO
Alt text: i think that's enough freebies. anyways, here's my plan
Cody: (thinking) ...but UP!!
Isabel: Sorry, Hijack, but YOU'RE the one...
Jeff/Hijack: Kindly release my arm... NOW.
Student: FORBIDDEN ARTES! FIERCE DEMON THROW RISING REVENGEANCE!!
Isabel: ...who's LOST!!
Alt text: CODY IS HAVING THE TIME OF HIS DANG LIFE
Cody: (thinking) Please. As if I'd...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) ...LOSE THAT EASILY!!!
Cody: (thinking) ...Hm?
Cody: (thinking) D-DISGUISING THEIR TRUE ATT [...] AS A DISTRACTION?! EV [...] WAS LEADING TO THIS [...] I GOT COMPLETELY W [...] UP IN THEIR PLAN... [...] I-IMPOSSIBLE...!!! [...] TH-THEY GOT ME!!!!
Alt text: a fun thing to do: mentally play back this whole planball scene at normal speed. that's over the course of, let's say, 5 seconds
Isabel: I won't let you—
Suzy: W-what?! S-stop staring at me like a weirdo and help me up!
Isabel: (thinking) Sh-shoot... he's not gonna give me another chance to get close...
Max: Wow gus, we really crushed it, and by "it" I mean mY FLIPPING SPINE
Cody: N-not bad, Burnhounds. You've earned my respect.
Cody: No... my allegiance!!
Alt text: *that one guy from scott pilgrim voice* he shoved the pigtails out of her hair. HE SHOVED THE PIGTAILS OUT OF HER HAIR!!!
Max: He... he offed Cody before he could switch sides?!
Ollie: S-still not technically against the rules...
Jeff/Hijack: I. HATE.
Jeff/Hijack: PEOPLE LIKE...
Alt text: PEOPLE WHO ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES!
Jeff/Hijack: AND YOU!
Jeff/Hijack: AND YOU!!
Jeff/Hijack: I know your type.
Jeff/Hijack: I saw it this morning. You're all just BULLIES fighting without a cause.
Jeff/Hijack: How do you JUSTIFY leaving a helpless kid on the ground and the verge of tears?
Jeff/Hijack: Oh, right: by never giving any poor sap you hurt a millisecond thought.
Jeff/Hijack: You're kind or cruel on instinct, protecting your friends and attacking anybody else.
Jeff/Hijack: Self-centered, without a scrap of AMBITION. Warriors of whim and base anger.
Jeff/Hijack: ...what a waste of good violence.
Jeff/Hijack: Your love fore your friends just proves you've yet to access your brains' higher functions.
Jeff/Hijack: Kindness without a code, cruelty that isn't calculating... Can't you see it serves no purpose?
Jeff/Hijack: I'll show you runts the true power of violence. Get ready to learn a lifelong lesson in pain!
Alt text: the screen shatters like glass, everyone starts bouncing rhythmically
Isabel: (thinking) C'mon, Isabel, think!
Isabel: (thinking) What would Gramps say if he found out you didn't exploit an enemy's monologue??
Francisco: (in Isabel's thoughts) Why didn't you exploit that enemy's monologue
Isabel: (thinking) That was a rhetorical question, but thanks, brain, good use of RAM.
Isabel: (thinking) I'll take a plan to bet Hijack now, please.
Isabel: (thinking) ...
Isabel: (thinking) Jeez, the field is a wasteland.
Jeff/Hijack: (empty speech bubble)
Isabel: (thinking) Almost everybody's out or pretending to be out 'cause they're scared of those explosive throws.
Isabel: (thinking) ...Wait, that's it!!
Isabel: (thinking) We don't need to beat Hijack to end the game...
Ball Golem Kid: HEY!!
Isabel: (thinking) ...We just need the other team to lose before his next attack!
Alt text: what should i do with this time i have while the bad guy monologues...? say, i know! i'll monologue!
Isabel: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
Isabel: I WAS GONNA END THE GAME, DIMROD!
Johnny: OH, SPARE ME THE SHOCKODILE TEARS, TOOTHPICK.
Johnny: I AIN'T JUST GONNA ROLL OVER FOR YA!
Isabel: YEAH, NOT BEFORE YOU STOP AND DROP. I'll BURN A HOUND! I'LL GIVE YOU THE THIRD DEGREE!!
Alex: this is why we don't have world peace
Johnny: Like HECK I'll go down
Johnny: b'fore I THRASH this wormy creep...
Johnny: for goin' after my friends!!
Jeff/Hijack: Ha ha ha ha!
Jeff/Hijack: Doesn't it feel nice to have a reason to hurt this body this time around?
Jeff/Hijack: You could do some REAL GOOD if you'd start thinking BIGGER than your pack of mangy pals, you know.
Jeff/Hijack: Now then, how to drive the message home?
Jeff/Hijack: A broken bone is persuasive,
Jeff/Hijack: but a scar is FOREVER...
Alt text: maybe if you'd start thinking BIGGER than your pack of mangy pals, and try volunteering at a local SOUP KITCHEN or sending letters TO YOUR STATE SENATOR, i wouldn't have to injure all these children
Johnny: ...Get outta here, you two.
Johnny: It's the rules. YA got hit, you're out. Don't make me insist.
Max: Since when did you care about rules?
Johnny: ...I don't.
Max: Hey, don't let Nega-Jeff get too deep under your skin, okay?
Max: Everything else aside, caring about your jerk friends isn't a flaw.
Max: It's your sole redeeming quality.
Max: That was a backhanded compliment, you're not supposed to like it.
Johnny: You gotta weak backhand.
Johnny: ...Don't you neither, Max.
Johnny': Let 'im get to you. You've been shaking in yer shews since his last throw like you got somethin' to'be afraid of.
Johnny: But you stood your ground against me, di'n'tcha?
Johnny: And I'm WAY more intimidatin' than Jeff.
Max: ...And then you beat the snot out of me.
Max: And broke my scooter
Johnny: Yeah, well,
Johnny: ...doesn't make standin' your ground against a bull any less of a victory.
Max: Ready to win this, Johnny?
Johnny: Let's show Jeff what
Cody: That's not Jeff.
Alt text: that's my wife!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cody: That's not Jeff.
Cody: Punish him.
Alt text: *vice principal voice* keep your elbows inside the comic box, you brats
Max: Hey Johnny, can I see that ball for a sec?
Johnny: Wuh? Sure.
Max: BACK UP!!
Max: BACK THE FLIP BACK!!
Johnny: WHAT?! HUH?! WHAS GOIN' ON?!
Johnny: YOU WANNA FIGHT?!
Ed: Dimitri...This whole game, everyone's been...
Ed: But I—
Ed: Um... are you OK? and listening to me?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Ball... I need a BALL! Just one, and I can finish this farce...!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) What the—?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) There's none at all?!?!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Curses, the Guerra girl! Ever a thorn in my—
Max: HEY, JEFF!!
Max: HEADS UP!!!
Alt text: thorn in your what?? THORN IN YOUR WHAT?!?!
Ball Golem Kid: Fool! I have no weak poi—
Isabel: (flashback) Thanks!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Why target HER? That's...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) ...just...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) EVERY LAST BALL ON MY SIDE!!!
Alt text: you may have defeated me, but that doesn't mean my strategy wasn't worth putting duct tape in my hair for! nyeh heh heh heh heh
Max: Stay out of the way, OK?
Ball Golem Kid: Buddy, you couldn't PAY me to play opposite that veiny freakenstein.
Ball Golem Kid: Meetcha on the bleachas, burphounds! WOOP WOOP! Ha ha because I'm terrified
Ed: I get it! Max got every ball on our side, so Jeff's completely disarmed!!
Ollie: All right.
Ollie: Now it'll be like shootin' fish inna barrel...
Ollie: ...of a GUN.
Voice: yooo nice
Alt text: One Winged Angel [Dubstep Remix] starts playing
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Did they really believe they could beat me this easily?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) What were they thinking??
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Their ideal plan must have had the Golden Switch sticking to that silly girl when it struck her...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) a foolish gamble.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Failing that, they'd spin fortune's wheel again, and pray they could both avoid this ball when I returned it.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) That's why they had that lug of a thug Johnny move all the way back,
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) so his pitiful cortex would have time to react.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Then they could just stall 'til the game was over, and I wouldn't have the balls to stop them.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Honestly, how anticlimatic.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) UNSPORTING, even.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) But my next throw, miss?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) HA!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Fat chance of that!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Er... or is it "slim chance"?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) I guess they mean the same thing?
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) That's weird.
Alt text: You're weird.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Regardless, they're playing some low odds...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) but on an open field, with nothing blocking their line of sight...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) they must think the odds are at least extant...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) ...and all they have left.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Heh.
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Heh heh. You have nothing left, fools...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) ...and there's no GAMBLING... if you can't pay the ante!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) The field has one blind spot left, Johnny Jhonny,
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) and an obsstacle I can count on getting out of the way!
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Your pathetic reflexes barely saved you at 30 feet...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) Let's see how you handle an ambush...
Jeff/Hijack: (thinking) From half that distance!!!
Alt text: that's right, kids, it's time for Math With Hijack! two ghost trains are approaching each other at 60 and 30 mph, respectively, and
Hijack: LET'S SEE HOW YOU LIKE THIIIIII
Alt text: STOP RIGHT THERE! If this is the first and only page you're reading today, you've missed TWO PAGES BEFORE THIS ONE! That's right, it's a triple update! Scroll down for more info, please!
Dimitri: (thinking) Simpleton, can't you see?? Not even a safe gamble is safe against an opponent like that!! He's not playing the odds like you are!
Johnny: (thinking) No...
Dimitri: (thinking) He's playing chess, Jeff!!
Max: Look up!
Alt text: pretty sure he's playing hitball, actually
Alt text: pretty sure he's playing hitball, actually
Jeff/Hijack: N-no [...] I didn't mean t—
Dimitri: And now...!!
Dimitri: Tch. Pawns.
Johnny: WELL WHATRYA WAITIN' FOR?!
Johnny: LET'S GET 'IM!!
Jeff/Hijack: I have to—
Alt text: i'd say about 50% of the "AAAAH" in that "YEAAAAH" is our friend the ball golem
Jeff/Hijack: W-what the— who're you?!
Lisa: Wow, you ARE an imposter.
Lisa: Well, since you're new here, some advice—
Lisa: you should be more careful in this school.
Lisa: There are some scary people here
Lisa: you really don't want to offend.
Alt text: get back in there and take it like a bean
Jeff: What the heck?!
Jeff: Where am I?!
Alt text: *isabel voice* the scene of a murder
Coach Oop: What in blue blazes is going on here?!
Coach Oop: Oh my god, kid, are you okay?!
Max: MRRRHRRG I'M TOUGHRR AAHBUHUH
Coach Oop: Sweet mother of—
Coach Oop: AAAAAAH!!! WHO DID THIS?!
Coach Oop: ...Dear god.
Coach Oop: They're going to ban hitball.
Isabel: Huh? Wait, where'd Hijack—
Alt text: more like coach Oops am i right you guys haha up high
Dimitri: Nice sacrifice, Max. That took talent.
Max: Huh? O-oh...
Dimitri: I told you anyone but me'd get hurt, though. How bad is it?
Max: It's... I'm fie.
Coach Oop: ...
Max and Dimitri: ...
Coach Oop: Like heck y'are, son, you were screamin' bloody murder 'til just a second ago.
Coach Oop: Yer comin' with me to the nurse's office!
Max: H-huh?! No, I'm fine
Coach Oop: And you. Whatever your name is.
Coach Oop: You're coming with me to the office office.
Alt text: i pulled an all nighter, alt text is too hard. um, um, thanks for reading you guys are really neat and cool and nice to me
Coach Oop: All right, people, quit gawkin' and start walkin'!
Coach Oop: Anyone leaves this gym 'fore I get back's gonna run laps while they eat their lunch!
Violet: Jeff, listen, Jeff— I know I give you a hard time like all the time
Violet: and I don't know what's going on, but
Serge: We're not detaining Flavors?? But we—
DuNacht: That one's small fry, and I have bigger fries to fry. Let the teachers handle him.
Student: Heh heh. The new kid cried
Student: like a baby does
Collin: I'm just saying, it's nice to see that at least on some basic instinctual level you can momentarily pass for a reasonable facsimile of a good pers—
Violet: If you need someone to take your side, that's me, OK? Even if it's wrong or I'm the only one.
DuNacht: Don't YOU have a bus jumper to find, lieutenant councilman?
Suzy: Max! Can you CONTORT IN AGONY some more for me for the photo for the front page? For me??
Collin: Aaand moment's passed.
Violet: if you can't think of me as a friend,
Violet: then just pretend I'm like,
Violet a really useless free lawyer, OK? Ok, Jeff?
Serge: Y... yes ma'am...
Collin: Oh, Dee.
Suzy: Ah, and don't forget—Here,
Collin: Um, good game.
Suzy: I'm blackmailing you! Say hi to your activity pals for me, 'kay?
Suzy: I'll know if you don't!
Alt text: coach oop would stop the vice principal's alter ego from leaving the gym but from behind she's essentially invisible
Coach Oop: ...Oy.
Suzy: Here, Max, hold still-
Coach Oop: Shoo, shoo!
Suzy: Haha byyyyyye~
Coach Oop: All right, kid, keep it movin'.
Johnny: That was my score you settled, Max. My fight to face. You should've stayed outta the way an' let me take what I was due.
Johnny: Payback. Expect it.
Max: Wow, great job finding a way to make "thanks, I owe you one" sound like a threat.
Max: Save it, Johnny, there's no debt there. I couldn't've done it without you, mushy mushy googoo etcetera.
Johnny: ...I feel bad you got hurt.
Max: What, by someone ELSE? Where was this remorse post-Leaping Headlock Ambush??
Johnny: that was the first time I used that move... on a human.
Alt text: remember how i punched that snake. yeah well that was just part of a much more elaborate combo
Page 86 Edit
Max: No, Johnny, what I'm seeing here is a clear example of the psychological phenomenon known as "projectence"
Johnny: ...That sounds like fake word.
Max: See, you're putting all your guilt on me when really it stems from another source entirely.
Max: You feel bad I got hurt because...?
Max: You think you deserve it instead because...?
Max: You feel guilty about...?
Max: being mean to...?
Max: Okay buddy write me a check we'll tackle this next session
Johnny: I don't get it, but...
Johnny: I'll make sure I learn somethin'from this mess. Y' can't tell me I don't owe you at least that much.
Max: Yeah, well—
Max: sir do you mind
Coach Oop: ...you boys quite done?
Johnny: I'M STILL GONNA—
Johnny: CAN I STILL BULLY YOU SOMETIMES??
Max: Heh. You can try.
Johnny: M! V! P!!
Alt Text: sir do you mind. my dad didn't pay for concert tickets and take a point blank blast from a t-shirt cannon to have you damage it thusly
Coach Oop: [...]umble frumble frikfr[...]sunnova piece of[...]
Isabel: Max, quick, listen careful:
Isabel: HIjack—the spirit controlling Jeff—he wants in the office.
Isabel: I don't know why,
Isabel: something about a mission
Isabel: but we have to stop him!
Isabel: Stall him if you're able, but get that arm looked at for real, got it? I don't know where you got that doctopus, but...
Isabel: they don't heal anything.
Isabel: We'll be right behind you as soon as we can be, so...
Isabel: ...so no more heroic sacrifices, OK?
Max: SIR DO YOU MIND
Coach Oop: Tell yer lady friend t'get her butt back in the gym before I revoke the overt favoritism her jock status affords her.
Alt text: well it's not so bad stretched out, max is the kind of nerd who would wear a hooded t-shirt anyways
Spender: And that, impressionable youths, is why Manifest Destiny can be conceptualized as a sort of loading bar for the best video game ever, the United States of America.
Spender: Ah, there's the bell.
Spender: Your homechallenge today is the funsheet I handed out earlier, don't forget!
Student: Did you hear?
Student: Oh my god, I knoww
Spender: Have a nutritious lunch, children!
Student: I can't wait to eat food
Spender: Lucifer, we need to talk strategy.
Spender: The events of last night... everything we know... there must be some clue in all of it...!
Alt text: hi taylor
Spender: The creature, Forge.
Spender: Like many spirits before him, he comes to this town seeking power he doesn't understand.
Lucifer: A power WE don't unDERSTAND, despitE ALL WE've seen, and despITE POKING ANd prodding the Shadow FOR YEARS.
Spender: EXCEPT! He's working for someone else, this "angel".
Spender: together with...
Spender: this locket...
Lucifer: Who are these draWINGS FOR.
Spender: ...we can deduce that Forge not only had a contact inside Mayview, but a means to open portals to the outside as well.
Spender: In other words...
Spender: ...the barrier has already been breached.
Spender: We're trapped in here with an enemy. Enemies.
Spender: And then there's those dogs. Their connection to Forge is unclear, but... They prove there's evil in Mayview.
Vile Spirit drawing: (untranslatable Cursed Words)
Lucifer: THERe has been evIL HERE For as loNG AS THEre's been power.
Lucifer: BUT KNOwing they weRE HERE, undiscovERED, UNTil last night... IT IS INdeed disturBING.
Spender: They're organized, Lucifer.
Spender: Well hidden.
Spender: It's not like 13 years ago.
Spender: Someone's pulling the strings.
Alt text: chalkboard drawings objectively superior to Isaac's whiteboard drawings
Page 90 Edit
Spender: But who?
Lucifer: We won't fiGURE THAT OUT SCRIBbling on a chalkboard.
Spender: But now we have a lead! This locket and key- we'll find a way to trace them back to the spirits who-
Lucifer: No, we will not. We'LL POKE AND WE'LL PRod and learn nothing. More fruitLESS EXPERIMENTS.
Spender: ...What would you have me do?
Lucifer: See a DOCTOR. You haVE A FOOTPRint burned intO YOUR GUt, for heaven'S SAKE.
Spender: it's not serious.
Lucifer: If you have ANY RESPECT LEFT for our partnership you won't LIE TO ME SO PLAINLY.
Lucifer: I share thE PAIN YOU're feeling, witLESS BOY!!
Lucifer: Well, you're in luck. Mina Zarei's stranded in Mayview, you can have her patch you up.
Lucifer: Heck, reCRUIT HEr. IT'S HIgh time you TWO startED WORKING TOgether.
Spender: ...I don't need her help.
Lucifer: Do you want to know
Lucifer: what your problem is?
Alt text: I mean, no, not really.
Lucifer: You get scolded, feel guilty...
Lucifer: you swear to keep blood off your hands and good in your heart.
Lucifer: You fall for a taunt, you're angry...
Lucifer: now it's no mercy, good's worth a sacrifice.
Lucifer: You're biTTER, you let a petty grudge keep you from aid and an old ally.
Lucifer: You're pRIDEFul, you enshrine SHALLOW REAson, ignore warnings and consequences, unleash our dARKEST SECRet on tWO CHILDREN—
Lucifer: They'll ask qUESTIONS, Richard!
Lucifer: You're SCARED, you cling to SAFE SOLUTIONS, knock on locked doors you should be KICKING DOWN!
Lucifer: You're LONELY, you start a SCHOOL CLUB
Lucifer: you start a FAKE LIFE
Lucifer: you live a FAKE PEACE in a
Lucifer: DOOMED TOWN!
Lucifer: I was TOO LENIENT. Your emotions don't DISTRACT you. They RULE you, pull you EVERY DIRECTION but FORWARD. You're the same trembling, terrified byou I fished out of the lake thirteen years ago, THAT'S your PROBLEM!!
Lucifer: ...Prove me wrong.
Alt text: this time on paranatural, fun with maps and the passive voice
Isabel: Come on, come on...
Jeff/Hijack: I didn't mean for things to turn out like this.
Jeff/Hijack: I'm sorry...
Jeff/Hijack: that you got hit.
Alt text: this time on paranatural, fun with maps and the passive voice
Jeff/Hijack: I was aiming for that Johnny Jhonny.
Jeff/Hijack: HE'S the one who needed to learn a lesson.
Max: ...Yeah, maybe he did.
Jeff: Do you want to come by my house some time and play Wii Sports!
Max: But not from you.
Max: If JEFF wants to give Johnny a smack on the face, he's earned it. But you're not Jeff. You think he wants you to go on a rampage in his name??
Jeff/Hijack: Hmph. People like him are too weak and too scared to fight back against bullies.
Jeff/Hijack: But I was born strong, so I can quell their senseless violence with violence of my own. I can wield the true power of v—
Max: OHH, THE TRUE POWER OF VIOLENCE LOOK AT ME I'M A FLOATING RAISIN WITH A BELIEF SYSTEM
Max: You're just hurting people, dude! It's not a just cause just 'cause you found a jerk to be your punching bag!
Max: Look what your good deed DID!
Max: I know what you are, Hijack, and you know what you feel like.
Jeff/Hijack: don't say it—
Max: A bully.
Coach Oop: OK babies save it for drama club. This is stop number one.
Max: ...Wii Sports.
Alt text: how do you think i got my bleachers-shattering overhand? that's right, wii bowling
Ed: Do you think Max
Ed: is Izzy's
Ed: new best friend?
Ed: D'you think 'cause he got hit by a ball in a cool and not embarrassing way
Ed: and because I am a scaredy-chicken
Ed: he took the job?
Ed: IS IT ALL IN MY HEAD??
Ed: I want to ask her,
Ed: but I don't want to know.
Ed: I don't want her to KNOW I want to ask her...
Ed: BUT I WANT TO ASK HER!
Ed: Phooey, I'm doing it. Any answer's better than all these questions.
Muse: Oh, boring stuff.
Ed: Are you mad at me?
Isabel: What?? No!
Isabel: ...I-I don't know.
Isabel: It doesn't matter.
Isabel: Can we not talk about this now?
Ed: That was...
Ed: too many answers...
Ed: Ohhh, what am I supposed to do now?
Muse: Just do what I do, kid:
Muse: Whatever I want.
Muse: so fifty push ups
Alt text: I am not not not yes maybe mad at you
Coach Oop: Well, son, I don't know how y'did so much damage with a rubber ball,
Coach Oop: butcha don't seem all bad, so. Little advice for ya.
Coach Oop: Accident or not,
Coach Oop: the stiffs 'round here don't let troublemakers go unpunished.
Coach Oop: Keep yer head down, yeah?
Coach Oop: From now on.
Coach Oop: Alright, kid, sitchurself down in the principal's office an' I'll be back t'sort this mess soon as I wrap things up at th' gym.
Mr. Spender: After you.
Alt text: my name is coach oop and my hobbies include leaving children unsupervised and shaking my jowls like a monster hunter enemy when i yell about sports for money
Johnny: ADULT SUPERVISIOOOOON!!!
Ollie: Hey bro, are you feelin' okay?
Johnny: Don't I look it?
Ollie: I'm just sayin', y'don't seem like yourself somehow.
Ollie: Norm'ly we'd be causin' more of a ruckus, given the circumstances.
Johnny: Hey, I didn't swing over here t'have you NOT push me back towards RJ at fifty miles per.
Ollie: Is it 'cause-a what Jeff said? Man, don't sweat it. I bet if we googled his speech we'd find the RPG he's quotin'.
Johnny: Like that'd faze me.
Ollie: Then what?
Johnny: What NOTHIN', that's what! I'm still the same Johnny I'll always be!
Johnny: The roughest,
Johnny: BUFFEST kid in
Ollie: So then what's the plan?
Johnny: ...What plan?
Ollie: Whatdja forget? Lightnin' legs, floatin' people. JEFF! We seen a lotta weird stuff in th' last 24 hours.
Ollie: What're we gonna DO about it??
Alt text: when ur main dude grabs ur butt and asks u if ur feelin' ok
Johnny: Same thing we've always done.
Johnny: Rough up a twerp for information.
Ollie: The kid from the pic RJ snapped...
Johnny: He'll talk quick n' eas.
Ollie: Heh, for sure. Just look at 'im
Johnny: Yeah? You think that'll be enough?
Johnny: I mean I'll beat 'im up if I gotta but that's good t'know.
Johnny: That it's an option.
Ollie: ...Well, if this plan's whatcha really wanna do... you know we're with ya.
Ollie: Except I got work next period, so,
Johnny: Hmph. Three's a crowd.
Johnny: And two's a tacticcal nerd interrogation squad.
Johnny: Les' go, RJ.
Forge: FORGIVE ME, BOY.
Forge: I USED YOU TO GET INTO MAYVIEW,
Forge: AND NOW I MUSST USE YOU AGAIN.
Forge: I'M AFRAID
Forge: WILL EVER BE THE SAME.
Forge: ...FORGIVE ME.
Alt text: Well thanks a lot Ollie now we can't try that Good Cop Bad Cop Morally Grey Cop interrogation technique we were talking about
Suzy: —spend lunch listening to Max from the doohickey in the club room and
Collin: Cool, Suzy, it's not like I need to eat or anything.
Suzy: Oh, no?
Suzy: That's good to know, for future reference
Dimitri & Isabel: ...
Coach Oop: OK I'm back what's broken.
Coach Oop: Wh—
Suzy: Let's go, boys!
Suzy: To the club room!
Coach Oop: HOLY—
Coach Oop: AH!
Coach Oop: Jeez lahWEEZ, what's the flippin' rush??
Ollie: Seems like they all gotta place they need t'be, pops.
Ollie: Generally a good location t'show up to.
Coach Oop: ...
Coach Oop: Those passive-aggressive genes came from yer mother's side of the family.
Ollie: I am frequently disappointed b your words and actions.
Coach Oop: Atta boy.
Coach Oop: 'EY! Which one-a you little poops let the rope down?!
Alt text: what are you even tussling coach
Ed: Muse... I've made up my mind.
Muse: That explains why it's so roomy up in here.
Muse: Make one up with a pool and DVD player next time, yeah?
Ed: Guerras are men of action.
Ed: Feeling bad and saying sorry won't cut it!
Ed: I'll prove I'm brave enough to be Isabel's best BFF forever!
Ed: This time, I won't leave her behind!!
Isabel: DANGIT ED!
Ed: Ah! Jeeeeez I'm sorry!
Isabel: STOP POPPING INTO YOUR SPIRIT WORLD IN PUBLIC!
Isabel: DO YOU WANT TO GET US ALL DISSECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT?!
Isabel: I'm going this way!
Ed: Huh? But the office is—
Isabel: Where you're headed! I gotta get some stuff, I'll meet you there!
Ed: THIS TIME I WON'T LEAVE YOU
Isabel: IT'S TACTICALLY ADVANTAGEOUS!
Isabel: DANGIT ED!!!
Alt text: that's right, folks, every spectral with a spirit is sort of The Flash
Ed: Ahh, so ISSAC was the stuff!
Isaac: Uhh, you guys know running in the halls is frowned upon by—
Isabel: Actually Ed I forgot he existed but I'll take all the stuff I can get.
Isaac: What's go you two all riled up?
Isaac: Is it club work?
Isaac: Spirit trouble?
Ed: It's an EVIL BRAIN, MAN! Controlling people's bodies!
Ed: It was in Jeff and then attacked all of us in gym!
Isaac: An evil brain man in Jim?! Who's Jim??
Ed: Our gym! The only gym there is!
Isaac: Dude, there are at least six Jims in this school.
Ed: WHAT? AND THE SCHOOL BOARD ALLOWED IT?!
Isaac: That's a weird prejudice but OK
Isabel: Let's go.
Alt text: isaac confirmed for pro-Jim's rights
Mr. Spender: Uhrrrrrghh...
Mr. Spender: Isabel?
Isabel: Mr. Spender! Where are you right now??
Max: WHAT'S UP TROUBLEMAKERS
Nurse: W-wait, you can't leave ye—
Nurse: MY BACK!
Mr. Spender': The main office. Why?
Isabel: Is Jeff there yet?!
Mr. Spender: I held the door open for him.
Isaac: Whoa, what's up with your arm??
Max: This is nothing, you should see the other guy five minutes from now.
Isabel: Where is he, what's he doing now?!
Mr. Spender: Um...
Mr. Spender: He's... flailing around? He looks confused.
Mr. Spender: Poor kid seemed fine when he came in.
Mr. Spender: I wonder what—
Isabel: It's in somebody else.
Mr. Spender: Huh?
Isabel: A spirit that puppets people's bodies, Mr. Spender!
Mr. Spender: What??
Isabel: Who else is with him?! Who else is there?!
Mr. Spender: A-a few teachers, but—
Isabel: One of them...
Isabel: It's one of them!!
Alt text: TAKE THE SHOT, MR. SPENDER
Isabel: Okay boys we need a plan
Isaac: We needed one going in!
Ed: Guys, dudes, don't panic.
Ed: This exact situation was in the 1982 The Thing remake when they're tryin' to figure out who's the meat alien.
Mr. Starchman: is this a "flash mob"
Ed: We'll just tie the teachers to some chairs and use their blood to—
Principal Pleezdoo: ...
Alt text: okay in my defense i didn't mean ALL their blood
Mr. Spender: That sounds like...
Mr. Spender: a spirited game of dodgeball.
Max: It would've been a lot less spirited if the only club member with invisible wind powers had bothered to show up.
Principal Pleezdoo: Feeling better, young man?
Jeff: The yelling's inside instead of outside now.
Principal Pleezdoo: O-oh.
Isaac: Uhh, why would I show up to a 7th grade gym class??
Max: Because... you're... in 7th grade?
Isaac: I'm in 8th grade, Max. I'm thirteen.
Max: You're... older than me?
Isaac: Yeah, so, maybe, like, show some deference from time to time.
Max: ...a teen?
Isaac: What's with the face?
Max: I'm sorry, it's just... that explains so much.
Max: The angst, the mood swings,
Max: the smell,
Mr. Spender: Please focus, children.
Max: Does "children" include known adolescent Isaac The Eighth Grader?
Jeff: I keep skipping ahead to different places.
Jeff: Am I in a montage
Principal Pleezdoo: Nothing odd about that.
Isaac: YOU NOW, IT JUST MIGHT FOR ONCE.
Alt text: please focus, children, i just made a great pun and none of you noticed it. ''spirited'' game. spirited. do you get it children? the joke is pay attention to me
Principal Pleezdoo: W-well, Rick, as far as your students go, I think we can chalk this up as a "no harm, no foul" situation.
Principal Pleezdoo: I trust you'll provide them with more positive outlets for their energy than 80s movies and bursting into rooms without knocking in the future?
Mr. Spender: Y-yes, of course. Your lenience is much appreciated.
Principal Pleezoo: Oho, well. Discipline may be carrot and stick, but you know what they say.
Principal Pleezdoo: "Too many sticks spoils the broth."
Max: And you can hit people with carrots, too, so there's really no need for the stick at all.
Principal Pleezdoo: This way, child, I have cookies in my office.
Mr. Spender: Right, down to business.
Mr. Spender: What do we know about this body-snatching spirit?
Isabel: He has fun hurting people, so his evil heart tells him he's doing it for a good cause.
Isabel: I'll be the one to take him out.
Mr. Spender: I-I see...
Mr. Spender: Anything else?
Max: He has a house, and likes Wii Sports.
Mr. Spender: Really, who doesn't, though?
Isaac: Um, the homeless, sir, have some tact.
Isabel: Good job on the wack intel, Max.
Max: What, you don't think that's strange???
Mr. Spender: Wii Sports is a good game, Max.
Isabel: It's five good games.
Max: Can we please stop talking about Wii Sports
Alt text: there's only one way to figure out who's the real hijack: a wii sports tournament
Suzy: TIME IS DIRT, MEN, GO GO GO!
Isabel: They're your colleagues. Can't you tell which teacher's acting strange?
Mr. Spender: I doubt it. As you said, we're colleagues, not close friends.
Mr. Spender: No, it won't be that easy.
Suzy: TURN IT ON, TURN IT ON!
Dimitri: Cut the green wire, Collin.
Collin: PLEASE BE QUIET, I NEED TO FOCUS!
Dimitri: Save us all.
Isaac: What's... that noise?
Max: Nothing I'm not mostly at peace with.
Max: Did I mention I'm not being blackmailed?
Mr. Spender: You didn't, but that's good to know.
Collin: IF YOU'RE NOT GONNA APPRECIATE ME, I'M GOING TO LUNCH
Suzy: It's working, I'm hearing something!
Collin: I HAVE OTHER FRIENDS Y'KNOW
Isaac: You're awful calm about all this, sir.
Isaac: You do realize w'ere in a huge pinch, right?
Suzy: Huh? The sound cut out, wh—
Dimitri: My bad.
Mr. Spender: I'd say the events of last night prove this club can handle a pinch or two.
Suzy: It cut out AGAI—
Suzy: WHAT ARE YOU DOING??
Dimitri: Help me Suzy
Mr. Spender: Besides, I have a plan.
Suzy: That voice...
Alt text: ...It's really dorky
Mr. Spender: But first...
Mr. Spender: Max, are you doing OK? How's your arm?
Max: It's fine.
Isabel: It's broken.
Max: It's not broken, it's fine. I'm fine.
Mr. Spender: That's a relief, but even so
Mr. Spender: I am so sorry you came to any harm at all. I won't let that happen agai—
Mr. Spender: That should hold that fickle critter in place while you're in my company.
Mr. Spender: Rrgh, what a mess...
Isabel: Mr. Spender...
Isaac: A spectral energy construct that isn't attached to you body?! B-but Master Guerra says only a master like him can pull that off!!
Mr. Spender: IPSO FACTO...?
Mr. Spender: No but in all honesty it's much simpler with energy stretched into as fine a thread as possible.
Ed: Did Gramps teach you that?
Mr. Spender: Hm? Er, no...
Mr. Spender: That trick I picked up from...
Mr. Spender: ...an old friend.
Suzy: is this code
Alt text: but can a doctopus eat its own pain
Zarei: Let's begin.
Zarei: Patchworm, if you will.
Zarei: Get me King Milk, the antiseptic, and a vial of whatever it was we decided to call that blue goo.
Zarei: The energy coagulant.
Zarei: Gauze and a bandage, too.
Alt text: DOCTOR ZAREI EVERYBODY. LET'S GIVE HER A HAND, TO DO SURGERY ON
Zarei: That will be all, Toolbox.
Zarei: You can go and join the others now.
Patchworm: it was nice of you
Alt text: NO TIME FOR ALT TEXT I'M GOING TO THE BEACH
Patchworm: helping isabel
Zarei: Hmph. It was an investment.
Zarei: If she won't warm to me, the spiteful ginger boy may.
Zarei: I can work with spite.
Patchworm: must you deflect all of my praise
Zarei: Try praising my pragmatism, Patchworm.
Zarei: IF Mayview's chosen Richard Spender and his toddler squad as the epicenter of its latest conspiracy, I'll want as many friendly eyes in their midst as I can get.
Patchworm: you don't need to spy on him, mina
Patchworm: talk to him
Patchworm: he is still your friend
Alt text: patchhweeyerm
Zarei: You saw how he was last night. Distant, guarded. Hiding a wound.
Zarei: Hiding the truth. Hiding why I lost my best spirit.
Zarei: He's shut me out.
Patchworm: and you, him
Patchworm: you're holding him responsible
Patchworm: for yesterday's tragedy
Patchworm: does he deserve that?
Zarei: I suppose we'll find out, won't we?
Zarei: In the meantime...
Alt text: ...we're going camping.
Patchworm: controlling a tool like that
Patchworm: won't be easy
Patchworm: the ghost train's energy was teal.
Patchworm: yours is yellow green
Zarei: Please, Patchworm.
Zarei: It's chartreuse.
Zarei: And if she could do it...
Zarei: ...so can I!
Alt text: zarei confirmed for steampunk
Alt text: very fast cocoon, very loyal
Zarei: S-see? There's no need to be so jumpy, Patchworm, I have everything under contr—
Patchworm: we both know
Patchworm: it was your fear that broke the connection just now,
Patchworm: not your wit
Patchworm: you can ask hotwire for help. they all live to make you happy, you know
Zarei: I can handle it on my own.
Patchworm: ...it won't be like last night—
Zarei: I can't lose any more assets!!!
Patchworm: "assets", hm? ufufufu...
Zarei: W-what's so funny??
Patchworm: she may hve wrapped herself in a hard shell, but,
Patchworm: the soft mina I adore, who feels so deeply, is safe and warm inside
Alt text: B///-U
Zarei's mother: Mina, Mina, what are you doing in the dark like this?
Zarei: I'm working
Zarei: You are killing me with a heart attack is what you are doing.
Zarei: I come down the stairs, and what do I see?
Zarei's mother: That is right, a huge mess!
Zarei's mother: For shame, Mina, you have been here less than a week and your room is a sty.
Zarei: The basement isn't my room, Mother, it's my laboratory.
Zarei: And I'm busy, so if you don't mind—
Zarei's father: Mina, I made peanut butter sandwiches! Come have lunch with your father!
Zarei's mother: Do you see how we spoil you? Like a famous rock star, and you trash the hotel room.
Zarei: I-I can't today, Dad, I—
Zarei's father: Oh, Mina, why not?
Zarei's mother: Your father will cry, Mina
Zarei: I already have plans!
Alt text: it's always ''so clean you could eat off the floor'' if you lower your standards enough
Spender: OK, team, here's the plan.
Spender: We won't figure out who's up to no good watching them eat,
Ed: That is literally the only way I can judge someone's character
Spender: so step one is to get them out of the office.
Spender: We'll let the body-snatched teacher think they're free to complete their mission, whatever it is...
Spender: and catch them in the act.
Isabel: What are we gonna do to make them leave?
Spender: Heh. I was thinking we could try...
Spender: turning out the lights...!
Spender: OH, WHAT? A BLACKOUT, LOCALIZED TO THE OFFICE?
Spender: I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS, BUT I'M WILLING TO FOLLOW ANY SET OF RULES WITH A NAME AS AWESOME AS "FIRE CODE".
Spender: WHAT SAY WE EVACUATE TOGETHER?
Alt text: YOU CAN READ THAT WITH WHICHEVER DEFINITION OF THE WORD GETS YOU OUT OF THIS ROOM FASTEST
Isaac: D-don't look at us, doofus!
Isabel: Ms. Baxter probably thinks, we're, like,
Max: ...Let's hope she's Hijack.
Ms. Baxter: What was THAT about?
Mr. Garcia: Who knows?
Max: What is it?
Spender: J-just a feeling.
Spender: The spirit's puppet...
Spender: is definitely among those three...
Isabel: OK, sure, but what's the plan once they're free to roam the school?
Spender: So glad you asked!
Alt text: starch, bax, and the garsh just walking down a hallway to the afterlife here in panel 4
Spender: One thing we can count on is that, before lunch is over, the enemy will either:
Spender: attempt to complete his mission,
Spender: attempt to switch bodies,
Spender: or attempt to flee the school.
Ed: Wuh? How do we know that?
Isaac: They're controlling a teacher. Next period they'll have to teach a class. Which means...
Isaac: If their teaching doesn't give them away,
Isaac: ... their absence will.
Spender: Exactly! Well reasoned, Isaac!
Isaac: Huh? Oh, thank you
Isabel: That means lunch is our time limit, too.
Isabel: If Hijack escapes, we lose.
Max: Really basking in that compliment, huh.
Isaac: Shut up shut up I hate you shut up
Spender: We know he'll make a move. As long as we're watching when he does, it's our victory.
Spender: To that end, we'll split up!
Alt text: whichever teacher brings the rolly tv in and tries to make us watch shrek or finding nemo is our guy
Spender: Each of you will pick a different teacher.
Spender: Follow them, watch them, don't get seen.
Spender: This is a stealth mission.
Spender: If you find out that your mark's the puppet,
Spender: send out a group text,
Spender: and we'll all converge on your location.
Spender: Also, since there's more of us than there are of them...
Spender: Isabel, you'll be paired off
Spender: ...with me!
Isabel: Wuh—for real?
Alt text: Spender just pausing to take a quick selfie
Spender: Heh. Don't act surprised.
Spender: I'm a member of the Activity Club, too, and it's the Activity Club's job to—
Max: Y-YEAH YEAH WE ALL KNOW THAT, NO NEED TO SAY IT OUT LOUD!!
Ed: Say, are you alright, Max? You seem kind of jumpy, like a coward would be.
Max: I DON'T KNOW
Max: WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.
Ed: Well so am I dude. By your weird behavior.
Max: HOW HAS THIS CLUB SURVIVED THIS LONG??
Dimitri: OK it's mostly static but I'm pretty sure I heard the words "burning" and "the governor" and "in effigy".
Suzy: HOLY GOD
Spender: As for Max...
Alt text: THOSE VEINS! MAX CONFIRMED CONTROLLED BY HIJACK
Spender: I'm sorry,
Spender: but you're sitting this one out.
Spender: There's no sense to exacerbating your injuries further.
Spender: Instead, rest.
Max: ...Fine, whatever.
Max: I had my own plans for lunch anyways.
Alt text: like if u dotted every i with an open circle but only because u were 2 shy 2 draw hearts
Spender: All right, kids, this is it! The mission starts now.
Spender: There's no need to worry!
Spender: I have the utmost confidence
Spender: that everything will go
Spender: according to plan.
Alt text: i think everything's going to go according to plan you guys
Suzy: What's that look, Dee?
Suzy: Overhear something juicy?
Dimitri: Huh? Uhh, no, they stopped talking.
Suzy: Drat. Well, taking inventory, that leaves us wiiith
Suzy: a laundry list of garbled threats against state and local governments,
Suzy: six full minutes of maniacal laughter,
Suzy: and some extraneous twaddle about "special energy".
Suzy: Not much, but it's a start.
Suzy: OK, now let's play the recording in reverse and see if we can pick up slash fabricate any hidden overtures to Voldemort or the devil.
Suzy: That thing records audio, right?
Dimitri: Yeah, you just press this button.
Suzy: ...Did you press the button?
Text box: FIVE MINUTES OF SCREAMING LATER
Suzy: You know, on the bright side,
Suzy: There was ONE interesting thing I got out of all that snooping...
Alt text: *mr. spender voice* BLACK SPECIAL ENERGY?! THAT'S... the least special kind
Suzy: I definitely heard the voice
Suzy: of the history teacher, Mr. Spender.
Dimitri: ...Is that strange? We knew he's the Activity Club's faculty advisor.
Suzy: Yeah, and I didn't think advisors did anything besides, like,
Suzy: meekly protest when you blackmail their ham radio club for cool spy equipment.
Suzy: But I'm certain Mr. Spender was giving them orders.
Suzy: Just what kind of club ARE they, Dee...?
Dimitri: I dunno, a study group? Not every advisor's as hands off as ours, you kn—
Dimitri: S-sore subject?
Dimitri: Well, I did my part. Have fun.
Suzy: Ah! You're leaving??
Dimitri: Gotta eat, man
Dimitri: Sorry dude. Food's cuter.
Dimitri: Yeah I'm immune to that venom now. See you at lunch.
Suzy: WHY NOT SKIP STRAIGHT TO DINNER? SINCE YOU'RE IN SUCH A HURRY TO DESERT!!!
Dimitri: I'll miss you too.
Alt text: *collin voice* NO ONE MADE PUNS WHEN *I* LEFT
Ollie: What's up nerdbreath. Lookin' real sharp in that outfit.
Max: And same to you, Fantastic Four's The Thing.
Ollie: Hold on, I gotta pat you down.
Max: I hate you, you know.
Ollie: You got a tail.
Max: Excuse m—
Serge: INITIATE 100% STEALTH FORMATION!
Ollie: I take it you did somethin' to tick off the Student Council.
Max: Cool stunts.
Alt text: gotta check those cheeks boyo
Max: But they shouldn't have any reason to suspect me unless SOMEONE isn't holding up tHEIR END OF THE BLACKMAIL!
Ollie: ...You're a weird dude, dude.
Ollie: Well, you can rest easy while you're here. Part of my job is makin' sure the Student Council doesn't get in.
Ollie: And I'm good at my job.
Ollie: And this rope barrier makes for a mean pair of nunchucks.
Max: um, OK, not to sound ungrateful, but why on earth would you need to keep the Student Council out of the—
Lisa: Ah, Max. I've been expecting you.
Lisa: Welcome... to the School Store.
Alt text: next time on paranatural: ollie oop straight up murders a dude
Ed: (thinking) How'm I supposed to tell if Mr. Starchman's acting strange...
Ed: (thinking) ...when Mr. Starchman's ALWAYS acting strange??
Alt text: like if your feet go ''tup''
Ed: (thinking) He stopped...?
Mr. Starchman: ...
Ed: Okay, now that's suspiciou—
Ed: (thinking) Well that proves it! Something's definitely up. ...What's he digging in his pocket for...??
Ed: (thinking) Oh man, oh man. Hijack or no...
Ed: (thinking) I'm about to see a Starchman Secret!!
Alt text: gotta watch out for those Alert Twigs
Ed: (thinking) WHAT?! A tiny skateboard?? THAT'S INCREDIBLE!!!
Ed: (thinking) W-wait, what's he doing with it...?
Ed: (thinking) No...
Ed: (thinking) N-no, you can't! We...we just met!!
Ed: (thinking) NOOOO!
Ed: (thinking) Amazing.
Ed: (thinking) Nothing could sour this moment.
Alt text: no one can know
Mr. Spender: ...Anything yet?
Isabel: She's still just sitting there on the computer.
Isabel: The Bax is a real slob without an audience.
Isabel: Or it's Hijack, and he's emailing his evil brain friends for backup.
Isabel: Bring it, creep. Give me an excuse.
Mr. Spender: SO, Isabel—
Isabel: This is a waste of time.
Alt text: another peek inside the school's structure, which is definitely not labyrinthine and ever-shifting, as suits my needs
Isabel: We should just bust down this door and force Hijack's hand. End this before he hurts anyone else.
Mr. Spender: I-Isabel, is there...anything you maybe want to, er...
Mr. Spender: ...talk about?
Isabel: ...Now you care, huh?
Mr. Spender: Well you're clearly quite bloodthirAHEM UPSET AT THe moment and I, um, don't want to interfere with the MISSION, so—
Isabel: So it's not even me you care about.
Mr. Spender: I'm sorry, Isabel, I'm not very good at—
Isabel: No, I'm sorry.
Isabel: I don't know what's—
Isabel: ...I'm sorry.
Alt text: :<:/// hang in there!
Mr. Spender: ISABEL!!
Mr. Spender: If you want to talk about
Mr. Spender: WHat happened last night, specifically—
Isabel: Don't worry,
Isabel: I'm not gonna tell anybody.
Mr. Spender: Hm?
Isabel: That you're secretly a medium for some freaky shadow spirit.
Isabel: Like I said,
Isabel: I'm not gonna tell anybody.
Alt text: spender's Stealth Tipz™: yell the name of your comrade-in-sneaking, very loud
Isabel: Honestly, though, I'm not too surprised.
Isabel: I always got the sense you were hiding something,
Isabel: like a quest or tragic backstory.
Isabel: You're constantly going off on your own, keeping people at a distance, brooding about who-knows-what...
Isabel: Just like a cool action hero! No wonder Grandpa respects you.
Isabel: I'll bet you've been tracking some serious bad guys this whole time, right?
Mr. Spender: ...
Mr. Spender: That's right.
Mr. Spender: I don't know their true identity yet,
Mr. Spender: but...
Mr. Spender: I know the pain they've caused.
Isabel: ...What are you gonna do when you find them?
Mr. Spender: Heh, well... I'm a teaher, aren't I? I'll do my job, and teach them a lesson.
Isabel: All by yourself?
Mr. Spender: That's right.
Ms. Baxter: ...Hello?
Isabel: But why?!
Alt text: stealth tip: yell
Isabel: You have friends, and people who care about you, don't you??
Isabel: So why do you have to do anything alone?!
Mr. Spender: B-because! It's dangerous work, and I can handle it on my—
Isabel: I'm asking why you HAVE to!
Mr. Spender: Because if I can take care of it myself, then no one has to get hurt!
Isabel: YOU got hurt!!
Mr. Spender: It's... it's bandaged properly.
Ms. Baxter: I dunno, some jabronies yelling in the hall. 'Sup?
Isabel: What were you thinking, trying to hide something like that from me...?
Mr. Spender: ...
Mr. Spender: Didn't want you to worry, I suppose.
Isabel: No, birdbrain, I mean why'd you think you COULD hide it?
Isabel: I know you well enough to notice when you're not okay, OK?
Alt text: Bandage Eater, the most vile of spirits
Mr. Spender: ........
Mr. Spender: Nothing, I just...
Mr. Spender: had you pegged as the type who only expresses sentiment through, like,
Mr. Spender: samurai combat.
Isabel: Yeah, well...
Isabel: I didn't get to tell Eightfold not to be a big dang hero before she was gone, so...
Mr. Spender: Right, your lost tool...
Isabel: ...I thought maybe you hadn't noticed, you were so out of it.
Isabel: Ha ha
Mr. Spender: You two... were close, weren't you?
Isabel: M-more than I realized, probably.
Mr. Spender: We—
Isabel: We what?
Mr. Spender: Um, nevermind, just a silly thought you don't want to—
Isabel: Say it.
Mr. Spender: Well, we...
Mr. Spender: We have a lot in common, don't we?
Alt text: see you're just proving my point
Mr. Spender: I'm being serious.
Isabel: I know, gross. What exactly are you getting at, sir?
Mr. Spender: ...How's your shoulder?
Isabel: That's different, it's—
Isabel: H-how did you—!?
Mr. Spender: Do me a favor.
Mr. Spender: Start looking out for yourself at least as much as you do for this silly old man,
Mr. Spender: and I won't let me get so much as another scratch on my face for you to worry about.
Mr. Spender: Cross my heart.
Isabel: ...You're a big dork, Mr. Spende—
Alt text: spender you're twenty six
Ms. Baxter: I knowww, ninety percent of the job is pointless meetings, it drives me—
Ms. Baxter: Oh!
Ms. Baxter: Um, hang on one second.
Ms. Baxter: Can I help you?
Mr. Spender: No.
Ms. Baxter: Hey, I'm back.
Ms. Baxter: Ha, did they REALLY say "formal attire"??
Ms. Baxter: ...RIGHT? This is a middle school, not a se
Mr. Spender: I-Isabel...!!
Mr. Spender: What do you think you're doing...??
Isabel: what we came here to do.
Alt text: HACK the MAINFRAME
Mr. Garcia: —looking lovely as usual.
Lunch Lady: Oh hush, you, we both know I'm not your type.
Isaac: (flashback) Max!
Isaac: (flashback) Are you...
Isaac: (flashback) still mad at me...?
Max: (flashback) No.
Max: (flashback) But that doesn't mean we're square.
Isaac: (flashback) ...So?
Isaac: What now, then...?
Max: (flashback) That's my line, dude.
Isaac: (flashback) ...I've got a mission to do.
Alt text: the intense symbolism in surrounding isaac with corn
Lunch Lady: Jeez, is the food really that bad?
Isaac: Huh? Oh, um...
Isaac: Well, yes, but,
Lunch Lady: Here, hon, have an extra warmdog on the taxpayer.
Isaac: OhohohoNooo thank you, ma'am.
Isaac: I may be a hunter,
Isaac: ...but I don't eat meat.
Lunch Lady: You have to pay for that
Isaac: He's going outside...?
Isaac: Here, have an extra helping on me.
Student: Wow! Thanks, weirdo!
Alt text: I don't know about you but I would sleep easy at night knowing the bulk of my tax dollars were going to a warm dog
Page 140 Edit
Isaac (to King C.): It's not fair, King C.
Isaac: No one else gets angry like I do.
Isaac: Max gets mad and he's back to joking around in no time.
Isaac: But I get mad, and it buzzes in my head for hours and days and weeks. Forever. It just stays.
Isaac: So now, what, he wants me to apologize? Yeah. Him and EVERYONE ELSE.
Alt text: the name of his spirit? no, no, the C in King C. stands for Cool... and Isaac is talking to himself.
Isaac: Well, it's not that easy. And it won't fix me.
King C.: STOP TALKING.
Isaac: NO! If you won't pay RENT you can DANG WELL LISTEN TO MY PROBLEMS!
King C.: You MISUNDERSTAND. Your speech HINDERS my FOCUS. It is HARD ENOUGH using your NEGLIGIBLE HUMAN BABY NOSE.
Isaac: What are you talking about?
King C.: I… SENSE something… AMISS.
Alt text: Mr. Garcia smells TERRIBLE
Day: Doctor Zarei!!
Day: Did I keep you waiting?
Zarei: Why do you ask?
Day: N-no reason.
Zarei and Day: ……
Zarei: (Overlapping with Day) Shall we–
Day: (Overlapping with Zarei) How do you li–
Zarei and Day:
Zarei: A-after you.
Alt text: Hello my name is Doctor Zarei and I am good at people. I brought a lantern to lunch in case it gets dark
Penny: Hi! Welcome to Lakeside Lunch! My name's Penny and I'll be your server today~
Penny: We'll give you ladies a moment to get situated and then I'll be back to take your orders, m'kay?
Zarei: Um, sure.
Day: I wanted to thank you again for the ride to the motel last night, Doctor.
Zarei: Oh, er… it was no big deal.
Day: But it was! It's not easy getting around a town like Mayview without transportation. And nowhere near as fun!
Zarei: How'd you make it down here, then? Taxi?
Day: I walked.
Zarei: BUT WE'RE…! AND YOU'RE…!
Zarei: In sandals!!
Day: Oh, you noticed, yay! I bought them this morning.
Day: Also the rest of my clothes. Since I didn't bring any. Besides my uniform.
Alt text: the good thing about wearing a suitsie to go clothes shopping is there's nowhere to go but up
Day: I brought lots of money, though! I've been saving up for this trip~
Zarei: Then your mission isn't some spur-of-the-moment inquiry after all.
Day: Oh, we both knew that already! I wasn't going to bother with pretext.
Day: Naturally, the Cousinhood's hunters claiming there may be corrupted humans–monsters–inside Mayview's barrier… it's a piece of the puzzle,
Day: but the real mystery is the town itself.
Day: Agent Spender's secrets.
Day: The disappearance of the Doctors Burger.
Day: Mayview's abnormally high population of ghosts and spirits.
Day: And, of course, the incident involving yet unexplained supernatural phenomena that took place here 13 years ago.
Day: They are all related by and to this location,
Day: and I, for one, strongly believe there must be a hidden truth that ties them all together.
Day: is what I truly came to Mayview to investigate.
Alt text: The Disappearance of the Doctor's Burger is my favorite sherlock holmes story
Day: But right now, at this moment, the mystery I'm most focused on…
Day: …is you.
Zarei: …Me, a mystery? How do you figure?
Day: Well, for one, you were living in Mayview during the incident 13 years ago.
Day: And you were close friends with Agent Spender back then.
Zarei: That's history, not mystery. Ancient history.
Zarei: We've not kept in touch, and I haven't spent any significant stretch of time in Mayview in years.
Day: Still, there's a connection there, and one I'm curious about.
Day: But let's try this, then:
Day: You're a member of the Consortium's paranormal research division,
Day: but you're never shared your work or any of its results with any of your colleagues.
Day: Which begs the question…
Day: What is it, exactly, that you are researching?
Alt text: oh god they're going to find out i'm a fake scientist who just likes to wear labcoats and labeled her bedroom door "biohazard" to keep her parents out
Day: Don't worry, Doctor. My interest doesn't necessarily make me your enemy.
Day: In fact, I find mystery to be quite an alluring quality in a woman.
Zarei: …Hmph. I hope you feel the same way about danger.
Day: What omg
Day: Was that meant to be intimidating??
Zarei: I-Isn't that obvious?
Day: HEEHEE NO NOT REALLY
Day: THAT WAS THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER
Zarei: S-STOP!! Saying that internet word out loud!!
Zarei: O-oh no
Zarei: dropped something
Alt text: *gets flustered on a date and ducks under the table to call my mom*
Patchworm: you're being ridiculous
Zarei: I am not! The girl is DANGEROUS, Patchworm, this merits a huddle.
Patchworm: you are hiding under the table from a blind woman
Zarei: It's a REASONABLE PRECAUTION!
Zarei: She found me in the plaza, didn't she??
Zarei: She! assembled! a very flattering outfit!!
Zarei: We don't know what she's capable of!!!
Patchworm: i know you are gay, but try to keep your composure
Zarei: WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING???
Zarei: L-listen, if she's really here to investigate my research, then we need to start moving to protect our assets immediately!
Patchworm: …you're doing her thing
Zarei: H-huh? What thing??
Patchworm: my god, pull yourself together
Alt text: it's cool we can have a lengthy conversation under the table, in real world time it will just sound like an especially frantic sneeze
Zarei: then we need to start moving to protect our assets immediately!
Zarei: H-huh? what thing??
Zarei: That's just it. They're all secure at my lab, except for–
Zarei: Well, if I'd known she was looking into me, I wouldn't have!
Zarei: It's been a few hours, sure, but…
Zarei: You don't think…?
Zarei: Patchworm, if Boss Leader finds out about what I've achieved… what I HOPE to achieve…
Zarei: No, I won't let that happen. I'll head there as soon as we're done here.
Venus: Well, well…
Alt text: DROPPIN'. THOSE. EAVES!
Venus: Thou hast thy proof. The doctor doth VERILY hide a secret!!
MAN-EATING SPIRIT PLANT
Venus: Hideth a secret?
Venus: REGARDLETH! THINE QUEST PROGRETHETH.
Venus: Gather ye the secrets hidden in their hearts…
Venus: and their sum shall be the town's hidden truth…!
Alt text: oh man i don't have an alt text. uhhhh reference, uhhhh um, um, Guytrap Threepwood?? this is hard
Venus: And it seemeth the doctor's heart doth falter with but the slightest teasing. Nary a Love Arrow required!
Venus: Still, remain thou vigilant, lest thine OWN affections betray thee. Placed upon a pedestal, thine opponent commandeth the high ground!
Venus: Remember that thy heroes both have grown up, mine darling patroness. With age cometh the burden of knowing the world, and in that burden's shadow corruption doth take root. When their hidden hearts are open…
Venus: …thou mayeth not liketh what thou see-eth.
Venus: But! Thou rejecteth such cynicism, I'm sure! And would say so, would speech not reveal thine eavesdropping. Prithy, forgive me. I shan't bring thee to darkness, thou whom doth bloom so beautifully in the light!
Venus: Oh right here let me read the menu for you AHEM
Alt text: they might secretly be horses
Day: I'll have the wurst sandwich.
Penny: Well that's subjective!
Zarei: WAIT come ba c k
Alt text: that's MY ketchup packet!!
Penny: EWWWWW!! GROSS A BUG
Day: Is everything all right…?
Zarei: Huh? O-Oh, uh,
Zarei: I just think… all life is precious?
Alt text: first on-screen character death, historians take note
Penny: And what can I get you, Miss?
Zarei: I will have a salad.
Zarei: A normal salad.
Day: Interesting taste.
Zarei: Um yes hopefully
Zarei: We used to come here, you know. Richard and I.
Alt text: SHE CAN'T BE TRUSTED! *she giggles at me once* My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I-
Zarei: To the mini mall, I mean. When we were younger.
Zarei: Despite the circumstances… it's nice to be back.
Day: Oh! Are you alright…?
Zarei: A-HRK!!! HMMK MMSCUSE– e-excuse me
Patchworm: mina… you're letting your guard down
Patchworm: i'm happy.
Patchworm: 13 years of armor around your heart…
Patchworm: and one day home
Patchworm: is all it takes
Patchworm: to make cracks.
Patchworm: is it nostalgia? or something new…?
Patchworm: if this was your legacy, little one,
Patchworm: you'd be happy too… wouldn't you?
Alt text: drink that fly water zarei. you forgot but we remember
Day: Well, since you so kindly shared a little something about yourself,
Day: how about you make this a real date,
Zarei: WHO SAID THIS WAS A DATE
Day: and ask me something about me?
Zarei: …How do you know so much about us? About this town?
Day: All business, huh? That's no fun.
Zarei: Please answer the question.
Day: Mr. Walker is my teacher,
Zarei: My sincere apologies.
Day: Boss Leader trusts me,
Day: and you and I share
Day: a mutual friend.
Max: I don't understand, like, any of what's going on right now.
Alt text: Please, answer the question, so I can riff your response, MST3K-style.
Lisa: Not to worry, Max, I'd be ever so delighted to explain.
Max: Oh I'm sure
Lisa: You're in the School Store, which, under my deft leadership, has transformed into a hip student gathering spot slash combined bar and café.
Lisa: Or Barfé, if you will.
Max: Wow appetizing
Max: How much for a water on the rocks?
Lisa: Well normally it'd be one Starchman Star, but for the big hitball hero? It's on the house!
Lisa: Incidentally, how much is your house worth?
Max: The drinks cost stars? (to Violet) So you're downing, what, like six months of academic achievement right now…?
Lisa: Violet is a friend! She drinks for free.
Lisa: For everyone else there is an additonal Sippin' Charge™ per sip per drink, or we can set up an installment plan for our premier Gulp and Chug packages.
Lisa: If you can afford the base beverage rate, though, you're more than welcome to stare longingly at any menu item.
Kid: Some day…
Lisa: Would you like to open a tab?
Max: Sure, I'm feeling fatalistic.
Lisa: That's two stars.
Max: So's this place am I right? Aha ha
Alt text: violet's shirt copyright me don't steal. tab soda not copyright me don't sue. please everyone be nice to me
Max: So? Why'd you call me here?
Lisa: Hm? Whatever do you mean?
Max: The note in gym class.
Max: That was you, right?
Lisa: I'm afraid it wasn't. But I imagine I could tell you who it was…
Lisa: FOR A PRICE.
Max: is this just my life now
Lisa: You see, here at the School Store, we traffic not just in refreshments and dangerous contraband,
Lisa: but also rumors and gossip.
Max: Are you really going to make me trade you a dang star?
Lisa: But of course! Information may want to be free, sure, but then, so do most prisoners.
Max: I'm familiar with the definition of capitalism, thanks.
Lisa: I'm sure you can understand, then, how we at the School Store feel about those who not only seek to obtain our hard earned hearsay without paying,
Lisa: but also recklessly share it with the entire student body in a free newspaper with poor grammar and no graphic design sense SUZY
Lisa: I do believe we may be able to help each other, Max.
Alt text: the doctopi is just eating this up. i mean that literally. this alt text, like all art, is an expression of pain
Max: Suzy I just want to let you know,
Max: that I'm sorry I'm not sorry about this,
Max: and that we could probably be friends if you had a different personality and appearance, XOXO Max.
Suzy: DON'T DO THIS, MAX!
Suzy: YOU CAN'T TRUST HER!
Suzy: I'M THE LESSER EVIL!
Suzy: THE LESSER EVIL
Lisa: Whatever dirt you have on Max now belongs to me.
Lisa: Which is to say, if you release it without my permission, I will cease to sell you the information that makes up 100% of your interesting articles,
Lisa: and I just might let slip that one embarrassing secret you work so hard to keep hidden.
Lisa: Are we clear? You don't release the dirt you have on Max…
Lisa: …until I say so.
Alt text: advanced blackmail combo
Lisa: Got it? He works for me now.
Max: I WHAT?
Lisa: Oh, how I love being a job creator! Say, do you have any experience collecting debts?
Max: Will you please just tell me who wanted to meet me here so I can stop talking to you
Lisa: Sure, if you pay me.
Max: WHA–WE HAD A DEAL! YOU SAID WE'D HELP EACH OTHER!!
Lisa: Right, I got Suzy off your back and in exchange I get to ride on your back. Done and done!
Max: DOES AAAANYONE HERE WANT TO TALK TO ME??
Violet: Wow, desperate much?
Cody: I do.
Alt text: a real you scratch my back, i ride yours and maybe even scratch it a bit because i'm wearing cleats for extra grip situation
Johnny: OKAY, NERD, you know the DRILL.
Ed: TH-TH-TH-THE DRILL?!
Johnny: YEAH! Answer my questions or I'll make you look like a bowl at a party… FULL OF PUNCH!!
Ed: Oh that's much better than what I was imagining. What do you want to know?
Ed: Omnipotence, then. You would surpass even the gods…?
Johnny: Everything about last night. We were in the woods. I saw you floatin' through the air!
Johnny: Don't try to deny it! We have photographic proof.
Ed: But I'm not even in this–
Alt text: the number of famous photographs ruined for spectrals by photobombing spirits... you wouldn't believe
Ed: OK, I understand now. I'm sorry. I can't tell you what you want, so you'll have to beat me up.
Johnny: Wha– Huh? Really?
Johnny: There's, uh… no way I can change your mind?
Ed: I mean, beating me up might work.
Johnny: You gettin' smart with me? Y-you know who I am, right??
Ed: Sure, you're Johnny. We're in a bunch of classes together.
Johnny: Th–… THEN YOU KNOW WHAT I'M CAPABLE OF!!
Ed: Beating me up, I assume? You've never bullied me before, so
Johnny: I haven't? But… you're a nerd.
Ed: Well yeah, but, like, the fun outgoing kind with lots of friends.
Ed: You mostly go after the nerds who're less popular since they're awkward or sensitive or whatever. I assume 'cause they give you big reactions without any repercussions, and you crave that attention plus the admiration of your bully friends.
Ed: Anyways, go ahead.
Alt text: everyone knows the tactical advantage to playing dead is making your enemy feel guilty for potentially desecrating a corpse
Johnny: C'MON MAN, AT LEAST DEFEND YOURSELF!!!
Ed: I mean, I'll try–
Ed: (thinking) HWOAH! THAT FELT GOOD!! LIKE IN THE MOVIES!
Ed: (thinking) Hm?!
Ed: (thinking) An opening?!?! I'LL TAKE IT…
Ed: (thinking) AND HIS LIFE!!!
Alt text: Johnny's shirt is a hazard in battle because it shows your enemy both the location of your heart and the identity of the woman you love
Ed: So this… is power…
Ed: (thinking) ALL MY TRAINING IS PAYING OFF!!
Johnny: WHAT WHAT WHAT
Muse: Good job, Ed. Even the small amount of fighting experience earned from beating up children can get you to level 99 if you grind enough.
Muse: Let's beat up one million children.
Alt text: ed you've killed him
Max: So. You two are, like, friends?
Cody: Is that surprising?
Max: I mean a little
Max: For one, I didn't know Suzy allowed her toadies friendship.
Collin: WHAT'S THAT??!
Max: It's like a mutual connection you form with another human being
Max: so contracts with demons don't count.
Collin: SAY THAT TO MY FACE AND NOT WITH YOUR BUTT
Max: I also didn't know your leash had the slack to be this far away from her to begin with, so
Collin: PISTOLS AT DAWN!!
Cody: Now, now…
Max: Oh, sorry, was I bugging you?
Max: Because you wERE LITERALLY BU
Collin: I KNOW. WE GET IT. WORDPLAY. IT WASN'T MY IDEA.
Cody: Gentlemen, please.
Cody: Much better.
Alt text: the pot calling the kettle contractually obligated to a demon
Serge: S-Student Maxwell Puckett–!
Ollie: Sorry, boss. Slipped 'tween my legs.
Lisa: No easy feat.
Violet: Haha yeah
Violet: because of how tiny his legs– because of how low to the ground his torso is
Violet: ha ha ha
Lisa: I'd have you give your president a message, Serge… but your failure should suffice for that.
Serge: Meddling outlaw…! Mark my words, your reckoning approaches!
Max: This is all way too melodramatic for middle school.
Cody: Right? So embarrassing.
Collin: …It wasn't always like this.
Collin: At least the Student Council wasn't. They used to do normal stuff… planning bake sales and field trips, those kinds of things.
Collin: That is… until last year… when the latest Student Council President was elected.
Max: Oh yeah? And who's that?
Cody: No one knows. It was a secret ballot.
Max: …I don't think that's what that means.
Alt text: sure, they do bake sales still, but it's all black and white cookies and we're all really tired of the unified branding (but not the cookies)
Cody: Now the president rules from the shadows with an iron fist, serving an unknown agenda.
Collin: The sitting council has become a mere cipher for his will. They pass rule after arbitrary rule at the president's command.
Collin: And the Vice Principal happily exploits the bloated Code of Conduct to fill detention with innocent students.
Cody: The only real resistance is the middle school's criminal element, with our favorite bully-wrangling information broker Lisa as the de facto leader. But they're hardly freedom fighters.
Collin: She doesn't run her nerd protection racket like a charity, that's for dang sure.
Cody: Still, even a power as great as Lisa's faces an uncertain future with the Student Council President's Twelve Black Saint Councilor-Generals moving to–
Max: SHUT UP, SHUT UP, STOP TALKING
Alt text: can't wait to delve into each of these guys' individual backstories
Max: Look, I have a lot on my plate right now, I think I'll get by sans an extra helping of middle school power struggle trivia.
Max: Frankly, I don't know what compels you guys to give this stuff any brain space in the first place.
Collin: …I'm a reporter.
Cody: And I'm a member of the Student Council!
Cody: N-not actively, though! I joined way back before things got out of hand.
Cody: I'm one of the good ones, promise!
Alt text: max: i'm cool and above all of this. also max: i produce gas when stressed or surprised
Violet: If you're so good, why don't you use some of that scary Student Council authority to help your BFF Jeff.
Violet: We both know he won't last a second in detention.
Cody: It's not that simple. You forfeit your power when you don't act the way they want you to.
Violet: Is that all you have for him? An excuse?
Cody: Well, if you care so much, what are you doing for Jeff? Besides wallowing in your addiction to sugary drinks.
Violet: I'm brainstorming. And I'm not addicted to anything, I just have poor impulse control in general.
Collin: So what you're saying is you won't accept criticism that fails to grasp the breadth of your problems.
Cody: …You weren't there. What do you know about anything?
Violet: I know Jeff. I know he wouldn't hurt anybody. Whatever happened in gym, I know he doesn't deserve to be punished for it.
Cody: Then who does? Point me in the right direction. You can't, and that's all I'm good for, so just leave me alone, OK?
Alt text: so there's this evil brain,
Max: It's not something I can really explain,
Max: if you're willing to take me at my word…
Max: I can say that…
Max: …that Jeff wasn't in control of his actions
Max: and the one who was
Max: will definitely be held accountable, so
Max: I dunno, rest easy I guess.
Cody: Is that so?
Cody: I'll leave it to you, then
Max: I mean I'm not gonna do anything
Cody: and find a way to handle things myself if that proves insufficient.
Violet: What are you guys even talking about? Am I missing something here??
Violet: Jeff flipped out in gym class. We don't need to round up a posse, we need to ask him if he's freaking OK!
Violet: Ugh, whatever. I've decided, I'm gonna be there when Jeff gets out of the office
Violet: …but that should be your place.
Violet: He likes you more.
Alt text: if you're willing to take me at my word... i can say that... ghosts are real and make crimes happen, and all of your interpersonal problems are caused by a slimy puppet man
Isabel: Dang it, dang it!! I'm not finding anything!
Spender: We're not dealing with an amateur, Isabel, he's–he's not going to search "tips for convincingly puppeteering your human host"!!
Isabel: YOU DON'T KNOW THAT!
Isabel: Come on, come on.
Isabel: Ugh this is all just weird adult stuff!
Isabel: Mr. Spender, how much time do I have??
Isabel: Mr. Spen–?
Alt text: that olive is a grape and that beverage is water
Flipflop: Aww man oh jeez
Flipflop: D…DO OVER
Flipflop: H-hey! The name's Flipflop. N-nice to meet you, boss!
Flipflop: I'm 23 years old, and–
Alt text: my name's Flipflop and i'm here to say, my name's Flipflop in a major wayT DO OVER, DO OVER
Flipflop: SORRY, I'M SORRY! DON'T BLAST ME PLEASE!!
Isabel: …I'm not gonna.
Flipflop: Thank you, I owe you a life debt.
Isabel: No you don't.
Flipflop: R-regardless, for what they're worth, my powers are at your disposal! As you can see,
Flipflop: I flip things.
Flipflop: I'M SORRY, PLEASE BLAST ME!!
Alt text: they should call me Flopflop, because that's wHAT I AM TIMES TWO, FOR EMPHASIS
Flipflop: It's okay, I understand! It's true, my abilities are nothing next to those of my sworn brothers.
Flipflop: And all three of us pale in comparison to our wise and wonderful teacher.
Isabel: N-no, it's not that, I'm just, uh…
Isabel: Trying to figure out your shtick.
Flipflop: My what?
Isabel: Your shtick? Like, your shtick.
Isabel: Like you're not very thematically coherent.
Flipflop: O-oh, no? Oh no
Isabel: You're a turtle?
Isabel: That flips things.
Isabel: And your shell is a box.
Flipflop: My shell is a hat.
Isabel: No, I know that.
Flipflop: I outgrew it.
Flipflop: So now I have this box.
Isabel: And you're in an umbrella.
Flipflop: …For now I guess.
Isabel: And this is… a subway?
Flipflop: …it's a stage!
Alt text: No… it's a wrist-saving abstract color background!
Isabel: Ah, I get it now
Flipflop: Oh wait my box
Flipflop: Oh, uh, thank you.
Flipflop: Your warm applause is a welcome if fleeting replacement for the comfort of permanent shelter.
Isabel: Hey, SOOO
Isabel: I'm gonna go
Isabel: 'cuz you're slowing the internet way down
Isabel: But… you can stay in here as long as you want. It's not a, um, traditional residence, but it's something, right?
Flipflop: I'll… try not to be a burden.
Alt text: my name is flipflop and i have to defeat the evil dragon hooktail to avenge my father
Collin: –right onto the principal's head!!
Cody: Oh, that somehow reminds me.
Cody: Max, why IS the Student Council after you? Did you break a rule?
Lisa: Oh, yes, do tell. We'd all like to know.
Max: Shoot, could be any of many things, the way these last few days've been, i.e. mondo punk hardcore.
Max: It'd be irresponsible to speculate, since I trust literally none of you.
Max: Oh, that somehow reminds me.
Max: Cody, what's the deal with that note you slipped me? "I know your secret" and all that.
Cody: I didn't slip you a note.
Max: Huh?? But you said you wanted to talk to me!
Cody: No agenda besides friendship.
Max: Then who's this thing from??
Alt text: okay guys my bet's on lefty what're my odds
Max: Who are you again?
Alex: you don't recognize me? i'm in most of your classes.
Max: Sorry, I'm not good with faces.
Alex: you drew mine in art and got an A.
Max: Vaguely recall.
Alex: we played that duet in music and you told me to never stop chasing my bliss.
Max: Drawing a blank.
Max: it's okay, i understand… my character design has been changing a lot lately, after all.
Max: Your what?
Alex: how's your arm? does it hurt?
Max: My arm? OHH, right, my arm. Uhhh, yeah, why wouldn't it?
Alex: …that's kind of a weird answer.
Alt text: you wouldn't happen to be lying about ghosts being real, would you
Alex: i'm glad.
Alex: i was hoping you'd be a little weird. since i'm a little weird too.
Max: ……………YOU DON'T SAY?
Alex: that's sarcasm. i can tell.
Alex: you're good at sarcasm.
Alex: you're good at sports, too. i'm jealous. you got to help everyone in hitball today. and you're already friends with cool kids, like isabel guerra.
Alex: i'm impressed, too. i think you have to be, to be jealous. just a little.
Alex: i was also impressed
Alex: when you jumped through my bus
Alt text: i am also impressed at the elasticity of your face and the responsiveness of your sweat glands but that's not exactly the kind of thing you can tell a person outside of alt text
Alex: i'm curious… where'd you learn to do stunts like that?
Alex: i.e. "recklessly and unnecessarily".
Max: I learned it from TV. Shred Eagle Extreme?
Alex: i'm not familiar.
Max: It was on public access when I was little.
Max: This guy Shred Eagle and his friends, they'd, like, jump and ride and flip all over NEO PITTSBURGH, fight evil bad guys and stuff… There were game show elements? It was rad. Anyways, Shred did all KINDS of cool tricks… "and he didn't do drugs!" Dude was my hero.
Max: He'd always say "Don't try this at home, kids!" So me and my friends would go around the city and copy his moves in much more dangerous places. And I guess we got pretty good.
Max: Uh but then the show got cancelled after some gruesome accident on set.
Max: To this day I aspire to be half the stunt champ Shred Eagle was.
Alex: sounds like you came away with all the right lessons.
Alex: i wanted to try it out.
Alt text: and i wanted to try having huge squid eyes, i'm glad we got to exchange comfort zones for a panel there
Alex: excuse me, bartender!
Alex: can i get an eraser and a glitter glue?
Max: Am I about to get blackmailed again?
Alex: that is certainly a possibility.
Alex: you know the student council has a bounty out for the infamous bus-jumper, right?
Alex: platinum diamond hall pass, extra credit, the works.
Alex: and lisa buys information, too.
Alex: for starchman stars.
Lisa: Here you are!
Alex: thank you.
Alex: do you know how many drinks i could get by turning you in?
Alex: like 3 or 4.
Alex: that doesn't sound like much but i want to emphasize that it is still a very real temptation for me.
Alt text: the platinum diamond hall pass lets you run in the halls and also hunt your fellow students Most Dangerous Game-style, a deadly combination
Alex: i'm not going to turn you in.
Max: WHAT?! THEN WHY'D YOU GOTTA CALL ME HERE AND GIVE ME MY FOURTH DANG HEART ATTACK OF THE DAY?!
Alex: to meet you, and…
Alex: to let you know i can be trusted with big secrets…
Alex: that i won't use them to get what i want,
Alex: and that it's your choice to believe me or walk away.
Alex: i've noticed… you're the new kid, but everyone already wants to talk to you. like they can tell you'll eventually be friends. it's like you have a…
Alex: magnetic personality?
Alex: like i said, i'm jealous. it's hard for me to connect with people… to get them to see my best qualities. if they're there.
Alex: but, i'm trying
Alex: because i need your help. you and your activity club friends. and i want to get it the right way.
Alex: because the real secret i know
Alex: is the word before "activity".
Alt text: it's like you're the protagonist or something
Alex: that's right…
Alex: the extraterrestrial activity club!!
Alex: the secrecy, the mysterious late-night meetings,
Alex: the shady undercover fbi agent-looking club advisor,
Alex: the quirky but lovable alien companion doing its best to fit into human society…
Alex: i've put all the puzzle pieces together!
Max: Yeah in a blender. You're way off base.
Alex: it's all right. i'm more than just a curious outsider. you see,
Alex: i've been abducted by aliens, too!
Alt text: attempting to legibly caricature david duchovny is a humbling endeavor. i have much to learn.
Alex: i know that face.
Max: We're… not an alien club.
Alex: i… i don't believe you.
Max: I'm serious though.
Alex: ok i believe you.
Max: Definitely same.
Alex: i blew my shot, didn't i?
Alex: you think i'm weird now. the bad kind of weird.
Max: What? Nahhhhh.
Alex: well there's the first sign. polite dishonesty.
Max: Actually I was going for sarcasm again but thank you no one's ever called me polite before.
Max: I should go,
Alt text: you got this drink for me, right? i'm just gonna assume you got this drink for me. i'm just gonna drink this. i'm just not gonna ask if this is for me outside of the alt text.
Max: I didn't dislike talking to you
Max: if you talked to more people like this…
Max: I think you'd make friends, too.
Alex: can i join your secret club, then?
Max: Uhh it's invitation only.
Max: Hey, I know you have a high opinion of me and my friends for some reason,
Max: COUGH projectence COUGH
Alex: i'm not sure that's a real word or a real cough.
Max: …but we're really nothing too special
Max: and we're not exactly close-knit.
Max: Anyways, I–
Alex: please, at least ask me my name!
Alex: even if you can't help me with my alien problem, i know you're the main characters in some kind of story! i might not deserve better, but… i don't always want to be in the background! so please!
Max: …You could just tell me your name.
Alex: I'm Alex.
Max: Nice to meet you, Alex. I'm Max.
Alex: i knew that already but i appreciate the gesture.
Alex: thank you for talking to me and please forget any weird or bad stuff i said.
Max: You're ruining my exit.
Alt text: *max voice* that's right, alex. i know it's hard to believe, but... cool people are people too
Johnny: I don't get it, man. I usually love fights. But this time?
Johnny: Not so much.
Ed: I'm sorry to hear that Johnny.
Ed: Do you think that could be…
Ed: …because you lost?
Johnny: No, that's not it.
Alt text: This didn't clear my sinuses.
Johnny: It's like… up 'til t'day, I made my true hearts foreverboys just actin' naturally. The more Johnny the better.
Johnny: But now I see the same stuff't makes 'em swoon makes other people HATE Johnny.
Johnny: An' I don't know which way this new guy I'm all respectin' and junk will 'ventually fall. If I should be more, or less Johnny…
Johnny: and if the Johnny I've been
Johnny: really is who Johnny is
Johnny: or the only Johnny I can be.
Ed: (thinking) Oh man, he's totally expecting me to say something helpful or inspiring…
Ed: (thinking) But I'm no good at that! W-what should I do??
Muse: (imaginary) Squats. Ten billion squats.
Francisco: (imaginary) The dishes. Also squats.
Isabelle: (imaginary) Never talk to me again. Unfriended.
Ed: (thinking) NO GOOD, I HAVE TO DIG DEEPER! WHAT WOULD MY FICTIONAL MENTORS SAY IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS??
Alt text: is the greater revelation that ed thinks of isabel as a mentor, or that he doesn't think of mr. spender as one
Ed: Believe in yourself.
Johnny: Y-you're right. If I bury my true self to impress other people, at best, I'll always be livin' a lie.
Johnny: I got dogs that dig the real me… and who says Max won't too?
Ed: …Wait, Max?
Johnny: I'm a bully, and that's okay.
Ed: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh okay.
Johnny: Hey man, I owe ya one. I think I was at a real crossroads there. Coulda turned out way different.
Johnny: But thanks to you,
Johnny: it didn't.
Ed: Mmmmm the power was inside you all along?
Johnny: I don't think so. But, I ain't exaggeratin' when I say
Johnny: you're single-handedly responsible for this turn of events.
Ed: (thinking) SO THIS… IS THE WEIGHT OF CREATION…
Alt text: we wouldve waited if you wanted to google "inspirational winnie the pooh quotes", man, there was no rush
Ed: Say. Speaking of owing me one…
Ed: Do you think you could ask your ringwraith friend to curb his bloodlust?
Ed: For soon I will die.
Johnny: Sure, we're cool. And it's "their", not "his". RJ's nonbinary, yeah?
Ed: Oh, sorry. Um, what's that mean?
Johnny: For them? It means they decided they're not a boy or a girl.
Ed: What! You can do that? No one told me.
Johnny: Yeah man they don't tend to.
Johnny: But RJ's rad cousin took 'em to an Insolent Children concert? And this band ANARCHYOPTERYX was opening. Best night of slash changed their life.
Johnny: Thanks t'some edu-taining lyrics,
Johnny: and a zine, hurled into the audience,
Johnny: RJ returned to me n' the boys wealthy. With a greater understandin' of themselves…
Johnny: AND of the transformative power of music. A power… they now seek to wield.
Ed: Dang, an origin story? I want one!
Johnny: Wait there's more.
Johnny: From that day forward, RJ swore a vow of song an' silence… t'only use their voice for that which is truly metal.
R.J.: That's right.
R.J.: Irony is extremely metal.
Alt text: because, because it has- it has the word "iron" in it, so
Johnny: Hey, and your name's Ed?
Johnny: Cool. We've all learned so much about each other!
Johnny: Man, it is true what they say… the best friendships really are forged through fights violence.
Ed: Are we friends?
Ed: Do they say that?
Ed: Who's "they"?
Johnny: Dude, I'm all fired up! I wish I had somethin' to PUNCH!!
Johnny: Or like, interrogate. Or a mystery to solve?
Ed: (thinking) This is it! My chance to channel their energy into something constructive… to set them on the right path! Think, Ed, think…!
Ed: Do you want to help me stalk and hunt a teacher?
Alt text: POSITIVE! INFLUENCE! POSITIVE! INFLUENCE!
Max: What now?
Max: I know you've been following m–
Serge: STUDENT MAXWELL PUCKETT.
Max: HOLY JEEZ–!
Alt text: I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET YOUR AUTOGRAPH FOR AN ETERNITY, PLEASE,
Serge: Query: Did you think we would not notice?
Max: Is that a rhetorical question?
Serge: That we would fail to make the connection?
Max: That's cool don't answer mine was too
Serge: New in town. Acrobatic. Risk-taking, thrill-seeking behavior?
Max: I like this circling thing we're doing. Very fun, very Lion King.
Serge: there is a 75% chance
Serge: that you are the bus jumper.
Max: Oh? And what proof do you have?
Max: I mean uh
Max: The what?
Serge: You miscalculate. Proof? Unnecessary. I am not here to establish guilt.
Serge: No. I am here…
Alt text: and a 25% chance it was Starchman. that's a constant, he does some weird stuff. he is never not a suspect.
Serge: …to recruit you!!
Max: Am I like, REALLY handsome, or
Serge: The Jeffavorite Flavors threat? Neutralized: efficiently. By: you. Performance as Student Council deputy ultimately exceeded expectations.
Max: Defied them even.
Serge: Precisely. Every police force needs a loose cannon.
Max: booo demilitarize
Serge: In return? Direction. Purpose. A leash to unleash.
Serge: Why, with your talents,
Serge: you could even become one of the six dozen Vice Black Saint Sub-Councilor Lieutenant Generals.
Serge: if evidence linking you to criminal acts IS found…
Serge: you will want us on your side.
Serge: You will want to be on our side.
Serge: Well? Your response? Will you join the Student Council?
Serge: Put your skills to good use, as I did?
Max: Look, Serge. Serge? I would, but… my heart belongs to vague punk rock skater rebellion,
Max: you guys seem like weird fascists, so… no. No thanks.
Serge: …Is that your final answer?
Max: Sorry dude. Han Solo and Darth Vader don't team up.
Serge: That would be sick though
Alt text: max's favorite insolent children song, "Parents Are Bad And Maybe So Is The Government, But Not In Any Specific Way We Want To Articulate Because Look At The End Of The Day We're Just Trying To Bring Home The Bacon"
Serge: This choice? A mistake. Regrets: imminent.
Serge: War is brewing, Maxwell Puckett. Between order and disorder. Chaos and dischaos.
Serge: The sidelines? Not a neutral position. Sooner or later, you will be involved…
Serge: …or wish you had been.
Max: You know what, Serge? I think… I think I needed to hear that.
Max: The sidelines ARE no good. I don't want regrets.
Max: I can't waste time listening to stiffs who wear sunglasses 24/7! My friends need my help and my foes need my hurt! You've opened my eyes!
Serge: But… I was going for "ominous pseudo-threat".
Max: One man's trash talk is another man's treasure talk. Thank you, Serge. You're not half bad.
Max: You're, like, 98 percent bad.
Max: And half of the good 2 percent is that you can front flip. Which I respect.
Max: Anyways, if you don't mind, I gotta go see a brain abou–
Alt text: thank you, serge. i was looking for that little extra push... so i could blame you if something goes wrong and also tell a teacher you pushed me
Max: Who was tha–
Serge: He's a…
Serge: Local business owner.
Serge: But why? Why is he here?? Something must have happened. Something must be happening.
Serge: Listen, Max. Make sure you stay away from–
Max: I DON'T CARE!
Alt text: careful. you wouldn't want to break your arm or somethi- oh jeez, oh gosh, oh my gosh i'm sorr-
King C.: It's closer now… Thick in the air. Even with your DULL SENSES, it's unmistakeable. Nearby…
King C.: a HOSTILE SPIRIT.
Isaac: The target?!
King C.: No, something ELSE. Darting between trees. …Two of them. I know this smell.
King C.: IGNORE it. Focus on–
King C.: …
Isaac: What?! What is it??
King C.: We are MISSING something… We MUST be. This stillness… this PRESSURE…
King C.: …it's the CALM before a STORM.
Alt text: This smell... it's FORESHADOWING.
Ed: There he is…!
Johnny: The Starch Man.
Ed: …What's he doing?
Unknown: Tying his shoe?
Isabel: C'mon, c'mon.
Isabel: One last–
Alt text: FRIENDSHIP FUSION MK. 2: STEALTH LANCER
Max: Hey, if you're sticking around, you're gonna need a name.
Max: Hmm, Doc Ock? …Dr. Numb Numbs? Maybe… oh i'm disgusted with myself now. PAIN KILLER??
Max: Yeah that's it. PK for short.
Isaac: Man, what is Mr. Garcia up to?
Isaac: Where's he going? There's nothing around here!
King C.: FOOL
Alt text: say it don't spray it
King C.: He LED you here, away from the HERD!!
Spender: She's coming back!!
Ms. Baxter: Yeah I washed my hands! Jeez!
King C.: YOU'RE NOT THE HUNTER...
King C.: YOU'RE THE PREY!
Alt text: you FOOL! mr. garcia is going to EAT YOU
Alt text: YOU MESSED UP, YOU'RE DONE/ IT'S STARCHMAN WITH A GUN
Isabel: No traces!
Alt text: 2 LATE 4 ALT TEXT. 2 LATE 4 MAX???? FIND OUT NEXT TIME ON PARANATURAL
PJ: I-I've! Got your back!
Alt text: YOU MESSED UP, YOU'RE DONE/ IT'S PJ, MAX'S SON.
Max: I thought it was you! What are you doing here?!
PJ: AAAH NO TIME MUST MOVE!
Max: YOU again?!
Alt text: this will lead to yet another friendship fusion improvement meeting and johnny will definitely get those velcro light up shoes he's been pining for as a tax write-off
Spender: Oh! H-hello!
Spender: S-say, would you like to have a staring contest?
Ms. Baxter: What? No. What??
Alt text: the perfect plan... i can stall forever since she can't see if i blink through my sunglasses. why are you calling the police
Max: I'M NEW AT THIS, OKAY?!
PJ: New at what??
PJ: AAAAHH IMPROVISE!!
Alt text: i put a roller skate on the wrong foot in panel 2 but we're gonna pretend i didn't and i'm gonna pretend i'm sleeping for the next 12 hours
Ms. Baxter: So, um… what… exactly… are you doing here…?
Spender: I have been asking myself that question for some time now.
Alt text: THAT NOISE? UMM PROBABLY JUST A GHOST, WHICH ARE REAL. WAIT UH
Ed: (thinking) Look at me, teacher…
Ed: (thinking) I learned this… FROM YOU!
PJ: AHHH MAX!! GET THE BAT!
PJ: THE OTHER BAT!
PJ: BUT THEN THIS BAT!
Alt text: HELLO MY NAME IS PJ AND MY SKILLS ARE TACKLING AND YELLING ABOUT IT
Alt text: Now… Drink Your Orange Juice…
Ed: My momentum…!
Isaac: Just a little… I don't have a choice!
Alt text: *king c as voiced by james earl jones voice* yes, isaac... good... what's a little lightning between friends...
PJ: MAAAAAX! Do something!!
Max: I-I can't! You're too high up!
Spender: C'MON, C'MON!
Ms. Baxter: That's strange. I could have sworn I heard
Ms. Baxter: some
Ms. Baxter: thing–
Alt text: AHO HO DON'T MIND ME, JUST A-FIXIN' YOUR DOOR MA'AM
Alt text: wow way to ruin the victory streak ISAAC
Mr. Garcia: OK, kid.
Mr. Garcia: Let's talk.
Ms. Baxter: Is there… something you want to talk about?
Ms. Baxter: I mean, not with me, but, like, with someone who'd want to talk to you.
Alt text: the ol' splish and skwish: ultimate interrogation technique
Max: Yeah you BETTER scurry! JERK!!
Max: Good freakin' teamwork!
Max: No, that's–
Max: Here, just–
Alt text: starchman confirmed for eating starchman stars
Ms. Baxter: It's just… you've been acting a bit strange.
Ms. Baxter: Yeah, and then there's your face.
Spender: W-well, it's… my burden to bear.
Ms. Baxter: I meant that cut.
Ms. Baxter: I guess what I really want to ask is… Gosh, there's no easy way to say this–
Ms. Baxter: You're not… getting beaten up by children, are you?
Spender: AT THE MOMENT?
Spender: I SHOULD GO.
Alt text: "Listen, Spender, it happens to the best of us. Well, no, it doesn't, it only happens to the worst and weakest of us. But it's *okay* if that's what you are."
Johnny: Haha, yeah! We did it!
Johnny: Why'd we do it
Mr. Starchman: I'LL tell you why!
Mr. Starchman: The same reason EVERYONE chases me between classes.
Mr. Starchman: You want my STARS!
Student: It's true. We, too, were in pursuit,
Student: just off camera.
Student: You've succeeded where we've failed, for centuries. Claim your prize. We won't interfere, because of honor.
Mr. Starchman: Go on, you bandits. You've EARNED them.
Johnny: Sweet, positive reinforcement!
Ed: (thinking) I-if that's why he ran… and no evil brain's poppin' out… O-OH NO…
Ed: HEY SO I'M GONNA GO
Johnny: Oh, word? Hey well it's been fun hangin'. Let's do it again!
Johnny: Man I'm definitely forgettin' somethin'.
Alt text: ed no he needed a father figure
Isabel: I guess Ms. Baxter wasn't Hijack after all…
Isabel: Since she knows about the whole beating you up thing.
Spender: Um. Right.
Isabel: But hey! Things went better than bad, didn't they? Thanks to teamwork!
Flipflop & Spender: I didn't really do anything.
Isabel: Let's both ask for help
Isabel: next time we're in trouble, OK?
Isabel: That Doctor Zarei lady… she's your friend, right?
Spender: Y-yeah! Yes.
Isabel: And Ms. Baxter's? Or… they know each other? THAT'S weird.
Spender: Wait, what?
Isabel: She helped me with my shoulder this morning. It feels a lot better.
Isabel: And, well, I think she's creepy, but,
Isabel: since you're friends
Isabel: and you're in trouble…
Isabel: maybe you should–
Spender: I'll talk to her.
Spender: I've been reckless. Let my emotions get the better of me. But I get it now. There's more at stake than what's mine to gamble.
Spender: Thank you, Isabel. You're a good kid.
Alt text: i think we can all agree the real character arc resolution on this page is flipflop finding a new box
Isabel: I'm gonna go find the others! Call your freaking doctor, OK?
Spender: O-OK! I'll catch up!
Spender: Well that went…
Spender: Man… who do you think you're fooling, trying to play the inspiring teacher?
Spender: You've got more to learn than any of these kids.
Spender: Heck, THEY'RE teaching YOU.
Spender: …What are you going to do now?
Spender: I want to go home.
Spender: I don't want…her to get hurt.
Spender: …I don't…want anyone to get hurt.
Spender: But it's too late for that,
Spender: isn't it?
Spender: Saving the day by myself… that was always just a fantasy, huh?
Spender: Isabel was right… I need Doctor Zarei's help.
Spender: She might kill me first,
Spender: she'll know what to do.
Coach Oop: …Nice.
Alt text: "bandaged properly"
Max: You've been following me all day?
PJ: That's right! Watching your back!
PJ: From the shadows.
'PJ: Cause that's what friends do!
Max: Well you're half right.
PJ: And it paid off! I SAVED THE DAY! And I didn't die!
Max: …Well you're half right.
PJ: If this is me now, just THINK about how useful I'll be with my special weapon!
Max: Your wha–
memory!Max: Special weapon.
Max: Th-that's not important right now! We need to focus on helping the others catch Hijack!
PJ: Right, the brain thing that jumped out of that long dog.
Max: Wuh– Hijack was in the dog?!
Max: PJ, you didn't also see which teacher he jumped into, did you??
PJ: Oh, no.
PJ: I was mostly just watching
PJ: Oh no.
Max: Dang… I wonder who he's puppeteering…
Alt text: thE BEE IN YOUR POCKET!! ALL ALONG! RUN MAX RUN
Zarei: –and then the bartender says: "That's not my wife… I'm DIVORCED!"
Zarei: Ah, excuse me one moment.
Zarei: Heavens, is that a footprint?! Rick you catastrophe what have you gotten yourself into THIS t–
Alt text: max realizes he still has a flip phone and zarei realizes spender has her number
Patchworm: mina, listen to me–
Zarei: I have to go.
Day: H-huh? Go where?
Zarei: That's none of your concern.
Day: Wait, Doctor–
Zarei: W-watch where you're going!!
Penny: That's MY line, lady!!
Day: Well, fudge. What's the point of walking down a whole mountain… if I don't get a ride home on a cute doctor's cool bike??
Day: *Sigh*… She didn't even pay the bill.
Day: Hey, you two!
Day: You're getting this, right? Since you enjoyed the show!
Day: I'll take a ride, too. Wherever she's going ♡
Alt text: the ol' Karma Konk
Isabel: Yo! No luck?
Ed: Well there was luck involved but not the good kind. Starcho's clean.
Isabel: It wasn't Baxter either. What about you, Isaac?
Isaac: Mr. Garcia… isn't the puppet.
Isabel: But then who–
Isaac: First things first.
Isaac: Isabel. Prove you're you.
Isabel: HUH? Is that a joke?
Isabel: What makes
Alt text: i was watching battle royale while making this page
Isabel: Ok, guys, let's all just calm down and ask each other questions only the real us would know. Infighting is what the evil brain wants.
Isaac: How would you know what he wants… unless… YOU'RE HIM?
Isabel & Ed:
Ed: 'Kay I'll go first.
Ed: Izzy… are you… still mad at me??
Ed: Ha ha OK it's the real her.
Isabel: My turn. Isaac, what's your favorite anime?
Isaac: Pff. Like you'd know that.
Isabel: Yeah, actually I would.
Isabel: You had three tabs and a wiki open for "Chivalry X Romance" on the club room computer while you gushed lies about how much you loved Rules & Order to get the energy out indirectly.
Alt text: *de-escalation voice* maybe the real lesson here is that we're all a little bit hijack
Isaac: THAT'S! NOT MY FAVORITE! THE SEQUEL'S BETTER– DON'T MAKE FUN OF ME!!!
Isabel: Wh– I'M NOT! You're just SENSITIVE!
Isaac: Well I can't HELP IT! So try being MORE CONSIDERATE of my FEELINGS instead of RAGGING ON ME for HAVING THEM all the time!
Isabel: Then don't TREAT them like SECRET YU-GI-OH TRAP CARDS and THINK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE'S FOR ONCE! I can't STAND being SCOWLED AT CONSTANTLY!
Isabel: I'm not TRYING to feed your precious grudges, I just don't READ MINDS!!
Isaac: …Well, the puppeteer MIGHT, so this whole proof parade is moot. Any of us could still be the puppet. But…
Isaac: You only need two people for a cowboy standoff.
Alt text: i was TRYING to challenge you to an OLD TIMEY DUEL
Isaac: rrrgGH FINE! I get it already!
Isaac: I'm not one of you. How could I be??
Isaac: I joined too late… and broke up the club! I ruined my chance to ever really belong.
Isaac: But NO ONE will ADMIT THAT to my FACE!
Isaac: Just say you resent me! I know what that looks like! Say I deserve it! I know I do!
Isaac: Max fits in fine while I'm busy spoiling the first blank slate I've had in forever… I GET it, OK?!
Isaac: I'm tired of being teased and left out and left in the dark! Even Mr. Spender–!! Even Mr. Spender…!
Isaac: I HATE it! I hate YOU!
Isaac: If you hate me
Isaac: tell the TRUTH!!
Alt text: *hijack voice* haha jk
Isabel: I won't. I don't.
Isabel: That's not FAIR!!
Isabel: No one– You never asked…
Isabel: You never cared how I felt!!
Isabel: We all got hurt! We're all dealing with it, so just let me…! Just!
Isabel: Stop picking at the scab!!
Alt text: isaac is desperate to let everything out and isabel is desperate to hold everything in and both are probably impossible tasks. either way they end up hurting each other without meaning to, which is one manifestation of a theme i wanted to explore in this chapter. beneath all that, however, the two of them possibly have the most in common of any two members of the activity club. also i'M THE ALt TEXT and i'M SUUUuuUUPER WAAckY
Isaac: I'm not healing.
Isaac: If you want me to leave you alone, I will. I don't need your help.
Isaac: I don't need the Activity Club.
Isaac: I'll finish this on my own.
Alt text: gassy