(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Your name is RIKISA STRIDER. It just so happens that today is the day of your ectobiological spawning! Though it was six long sweeps ago that you were given life, it is only today that you have acquired a bed! Your lusus has been fairly adamant about you sleeping in a pool of FILTERED WATER but that doesn’t mean you haven’t wanted to just LIE DOWN AND CHILL from time to time. Your MOIRAIL agreed, so you and she snuck out and stole one from the HUMANS so that you could ALCHEMIZE it. It was the perfect act of REBELLION, which you appreciate on an aesthetic level. GIEDEL says that you and ARADIA were just trying to get into bed together but he wouldn’t get relationships if ARADIA kissed him on the fucking lips. Hint, hint.
You have a variety of INTERESTS, mostly centred on your BITCHIN’ SIX-STRING and varying collection of SPEAKER SYSTEMS. You have an extensive collection of ROCK ALBUMS created by DECEASED HUMAN REBELS and consider yourself the sole spiritual successor of ROCK’N’ROLL ITSELF. You have a number of TATOO DESIGNS on your east wall until you or your friends manage to REVERSE ENGINEER the needle. You also possess a small collection of training equipment you use to practice with your CHAINWHIP, like the punk rock warriors of old. Your primary lusus understands your need to ROCK OUT from time to time you don’t exactly see eye to eye in terms of music, often leading to one of your CROSS-GENRE FATHER-DAUGHTER MUSIDUELS.
He doesn’t know it yet, but you’re not going to see much of him today. After all, you and your friends are now SIX SWEEPS OLD, the same age you lusus and his friends CREATING THE MOTHERFUCKING UNIVERSE. You’re pretty sure that means that today, none of you are GRUBS any more, and the TWELVE of you are going to have a AWESOME PARTY to celebrate. You don’t know what’s going to happen once everyone’s out of sight of their lusii, but you’re all six now, and you just know that it’s going to fucking RAWK!! ,\m/
In a bit of colour trivia, Rikisa's text (italicized at the bottom) was originally orange on the forums. It doesn't mean anything beyond that I liked the idea of the not-Grubs having their own colours to distinguish them from their originals, and Orange was the only colour I could find that was clearly unique and readable.
Chapter 2: Notes on the Rest
Some notes on what would have happened had I continued the story.
I mentioned to a few readers that I might consider continuing Not Grublings to show how all the 12 clones were doing. This wasn't because I had very detailed plans, however (well, for me. This write-up does cover 7 pages with the sample chapter I'll be showing in a bit), but more because I knew it would be pretty simple to do. The core idea, you see, was to write an entire story out of nothing but Introduction Pages. As we were introduced to more characters, we would learn more about their collective birthday party, as well as the society the surviving Trolls, Kids and adult ectoclones built up around them. Eventually, a metaplot would arise: it would seem some nitwit had stolen Sollux's poorly-planned backups of the Sgrub code and may be intending to use it at the party. So when someone asked me if I could continue the fic, my brain just went "Can I introduce 12 fantrolls drawn as kids of the existing characters? Yes, of course I can." It's been over a year. No I cannot.
Across the story we'd be introduced to fourteen cast members: the twelve Troll clones and the two oldest Human ecto-hybrids (the ones that appeared in Cold Grublings), with the odd mention of their "younger siblings". By the way, it pays to remember what I already wrote for Rikisa: Feferi's clone, she considers herself the embodiment of COUNTERCULTURE MUSIC and was raised by Dave and Vriska, in that order of primacy.
I actually wrote the intro for for Aradia Jr as a warm-up exercise, so here it is:
Your name is ARADIA VANTAS and if that name doesn't make sense before this is out, you will have failed in your calling as the world's FOREMOST ANTHROPOLOGIST (It's easy to be FOREMOST when you are a field of one). But you also have a PARTY to finish organizing, so it's a good thing you're such an accomplished MULTITASKER, in thought as well as action. Your trolltag is cripplingTallymaster and you tend to divulge into paranthetical digressions (More than most people find reasonable (Although frankly you don't agree with them - Most of the time)). Your friends inform you that they find it better to just treat your digressions as new sentences. It's not your fault they have such a limited attention span (Your SISTER has an excellent attention span, though you're of personal debate as to whether that encouraged you, you encouraged her, or if the traits developed independently). You suppose you will have to explain the SISTER thing as well. Well. Keep up.
Today, the twenty-first day of the fourth month, is the anniversary of your ectobiological spawning - Yours and pretty much everybody else's, that is. Thirteen years prior, your collective GUARDIANS played a certain game that brought them into a new universe, populated with CLONES, after a series of events you believe to be utterly true and historical, even the stupid bits. You and your fellows were the first batch of such clones, but were accidentally cloned from only one set of GENETIC CODE each. This happened as a result of a series of events which MRS. PYROPE calls "SH3N4N1G4NS" as they weren't really trying to clone anyone at all at the time (She insists you call her Terezi, but her name is Mrs. Pyrope. The distinction is not one of disrespect but a clear delineation of social lines, and that makes the distinction important to you.
(You see: after your cloning, you and your fellow GRUBS - Each a direct clone of one of your TWELVE TROLL GUARDIANS - sought out a guardian (This, as you understand it, is the standard practice on the lost Troll homeworld, called the LUSUS system (Your Guardians insist that this is a biological impulse but you're not entirely certain they aren't pushing cultural explanations onto the behaviour of twelve technicolour worms that reminded them a bit too uncomfortably of themselves)). Wild animals not being on-hand, it appears the lot of you clung to individual GUARDIAN PAIRS, each pair tasked with caring for TWO grubs (Coincidentally, in no case did a Troll play LUSUS for their own clone) (You personally are of the belief that this structure of paired-pairs may have not been the fault of the GRUBS been more the result of your HUMAN GUARDIANS forcing your TROLL GUARDIANS to nurture you and your fellow grubs against their instincts, causing them to band together in PAIRS, but it's just a theory).
Wait, shit, unrelated tangents. You've been meaning to stop that. Sorry.
When the LEGENDARY GAME was completed, it became necessary for most of your Guardians to separate geographically, and so you were all divided from your psuedo-SIBLING, each in the custody of only one of your GUARDIANS. Your now-SECONDARY GUARDIANS nevertheless continued to focus in your lives, if in a reduced fashion. Personally, your PRIMARY GUARDIAN is one KARKAT VANTAS (soldier, community leader, and proponent of mid-hallway ambushes designed to train his unprepared daughter for UNARMED COMBAT AT ALL TIMES). Thus the last name. Your SECONDARY GUARDIAN is one EQUIUS ZAHHAK (mechanic, amateur librarian (no, really) and proponent of mailing you large boxes of NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS that you're not sure are supposed to go into one person at the same time). As a result, you have no real attachment to Mrs. Pyrope, Karkat's matesprit, even if you have lived with her for your entire life. She's okay, you guess. Instead, you have a much stronger bond to Karkat and Equius' other DEPENDANT, who you consider your SISTER, even though you have never lived together, at all
(The complexities of your little society's SOCIAL BONDS are what inspired you to become an ANTHROPOLOGIST in the first place. Well, that and your research into your GENETIC DONOR and NAMESAKE, ARADIA MEGIDO (archaologist, doomsayer; permanently deceased). Most of you don't even have an attachment to your GENETIC DONOR, but you always felt a little empty not knowing anything about the young woman your GUARDIANS were upset enough to lose that they sort of preserved her in your name. (On the other hand, it's possible that your friends do have connections to their genetic donors, but don't realize it while the bond remains intact. It's another one of your THEORIES.
But you've gone off track. Where were we? Oh, right:
So there's going to be a party, is what you've been trying to say, and you're in charge. It hasn't been easy, what with all your distractions, especially from your MOIRAIL. She is starting to get on your nerves. You're starting to think that the problem comes from her being one of those socially inept grublings in your group that can't tell the difference between MOIRAIL and BEST FRIEND, though you guess you are still her BEST FRIEND but it's really getting TRYING to keep up with both (Just this morning she had you out stealing a bed! A bed! (She's a seadweller! She doesn't need a bed! You do understand her wanting one, but if she thinks she's going to get any RENEGADE points for "once stole bed" she is gravely mistaken). And to make things worse, you were caught by Mrs. Leijon, who has been happy to keep the lot of you in line since ever since you were in COCOONS (Suffice to say, you were glad to get home in one piece, and without Karkat catching you)). You swear, if RIKISA does one more STUPID THING this week, she's going to learn what it means to be PITIED by someone who doesn't LIKE you. That's why you would have done the party planning even if no one had asked you. Because SOMEBODY is going to do something STUPID before it's over, and all you can hope to do is make sure it's not Rikisa, and that none of your GUARDIANS realize what's up. You can't stop something stupid from happening entirely. SOMEBODY will make their move. SOMEBODY like... oh... this guy.
You'll notice that Aradia hemotypes: that wasn't the intent originally, but when I posted the above "chapter" to the forums, I got lazy with my colour selections, meaning to fix it later. Heh. Sure.
Here's some short bits of what I was planning for the other kids, not necessarily in the order they were going to be introduced.
The next person to be introduced, alluded to in Aradia's entry, was going to be Giedel, Gamzee's clone and the first of Nepeta and Eridan's kids, but I think I'd rather have put him off a bit in favour of Nahnos or Ascell, below. That said, let's talk about Giedel. He is aware of the crush Aradia may-or-may-not have on him (alluded to in Rikisa's section), but isn't really interested as he's too busy being the LAST SURVIVING EMBODIMENT OF LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISM (Eridan's fault, long story). Unfortunately, like everyone else, he doesn't really understand the element of lost culture he's chosen to embody, and it comes out as a weird mix of Smith, Rand and, yeah, Marx. Sort of off-base.
Seguing off of Aradia's accusation of people not understanding moirallegience, whoever came next was going to spout off some other definition of moirallegience taken from the fandom. As we toured the remaining characters, it was going to become painfully obvious that, while they've probably had some parent-to-child sex ed, they somehow got a pretty choppy understanding of how the quadrants work, and would later proceed to misunderstand kismesis, auspistice and at times even matespritship.
Zubene, Terezi's clone and Giedel's sister via Nepeta and Eridan, would talk briefly about her adopted lusus pair being an actual couple, unlike everyone else in the arrangement. When I was writing my M-rated-but-cancelled-before-anything-much-M-happened fic Your Weight in Candy Corn Liquour, I didn't really want to included Nepeta/Eridan to avoid the repetition, but sort of figured that no one had actually read Cold Grublings and so gave myself a pass. I never worked out anything for Zubene (except that she's adopted her clone-donor's love of stylish eyewear, which Zubene wears in teal) and was probably going to stick her near the end so that she could help me mop up any missing bits of plot.
Feferi and Tavros' Ascell (Equius' clone) grew up to be a bully, but is perfectly behaved towards his lusus pair, and seems especially daunted by Tavros, in spite of the fact that his brother (Tavros' primary child) implies that Tavros hasn't changed all that drastically. Ascell's field of misunderstood interest is DEMOCRACY, which he intends to revive via pummelings, if and when necessary. Blue-bloody Kansas. I always got the feel I had more lying around for him, but nothing's coming for me now. Has a crush on the bashful Sam, but has no idea how to admit it. He's mutually baffled by Subraa, given their clone-donors' lifelong relationship hampered by the fact that he and Subraa have nothing in common whatsoever.
Nahnos, Karkat's clone and Ascell's brother, appears at first to be his brother's weedy bully backup. In actuality, he has more depth than that, being the inheritor of SATIRE AND DEADPAN SNARKING, which he seems to understand well enough. Nahnos is the kind of guy who needs a big plan or goal for him to take control of (preferably behind the scenes) to guide his actions in life, but just hasn't found the right one. As a result, for the time being, he's latched on to the fic's metaplot, and we get some of our first clues as to what's happening from him. Unlike the other kids, he seems to actually be good at the satire and deadpan snarking thing, but this is misleading. He's actually quite out of touch with others and only comes off as impressive because some of the other teens are (written intentionally as) being as shallow as his snark implies, while others are putting up masks. If pulled into Sburb, he would be the Heart player, since he's so out of touch with everyone's real identities: the game would want to point him in the right direction. I'm not sure how that was going to be conveyed via introduction – I might have resorted to a First Guardian intro page for stuff like this.
Terezi's Hyaden (Tavros' clone) is still a bit spoiled, which gives him a somewhat poor perspective on feasibility. At least he has some reasonable ambitions – he wants to be an astronaut. Yes, very feasible. I admit, Tavros' horns in an astronaut's helmet is hilarious but he's probably talking about old Alternian technology. Has no concept of budgeting, and thus was also drawn into the metaplot as he doesn't realize how dangerous unleashing Sgrub would be. Because he's co-lusused by Jade, we get some of the information about the Humans and Human clones during his intro. From Hyaden, we learn that those Trolls raised by at least one Human tend to call both their guardians "parents", even down to calling them "Mom" or "Dad", instead of "lusus".
Jade's Samuel (Sollux's clone) has been raised with more kids than most of the clones (the two ecto Humans about his age, not to mention Rikisa). He and Rikisa don't get alone in spite of Rikisa's almost monthly attempts to be friendly, as she genuinely likes him and his interests, but they simply just don't get along. Sam is quiet (his pesterquirk is all lowercase, short sentences), introverted and bookish, which has distanced him from his extroverted lusus pair. I intended to abuse Sam's intro section to hide several clues about the metaplot, while making up that he was only there for me to explain the Humans' lives in detail. If led into the game, he would become Prince of Time, which would seem fine… until we meet Sam's Dreamself, who is extroverted, excitable, and very quick to anger in the realm of revenge fantasies (he is a Dreamself, after all). Naturally, Time itself would be shattered before the end of the game. While this would sadly lead to the destruction of time itself, within the session at least, in the end, it would probably turn out to be just another one of paradox space's machinations, as this disaster would ultimately lead to the paradox Trolls being cloned in the first place.
I never came up with any personality for the two Human hybrid ecto-clones, Gabriel and Dustin. One of them was going to be the annoying younger hanger-on to a main cast member and I had nothing for the other. I also considered introducing their younger sisters, just a year younger than them and made from Jade/Rose and John/Dave, because genetics.
Gamzee's Shaula (Vriska's clone) has become a bit of a wallflower in spite of her attempts to make friends in Cold Grublings. She's now capable of talking to people, but can't seem to stay with them. She's at the point in her life when she would probably do best to have a crop of close friends, but has proved somewhat incapable of getting past the level of "normal friend" with anyone. She has a particularly poor definition of moirail and auspistice that have led to her considering many people as quadrant-crushes, but doesn't crush on them them seriously enough to act and even admits so in her intro paragraph. After Sam's accident, she eventually become best friends with Gabriel and his sister as they ended up together to try to find a way to the others/Sam himself, but for the time being she wears her heart on her sleeve, and begins to lose track of her caps and punctuation when she gets nervous. Thanks to her primary lusus, Shaula is well on the track to becoming the world's poorest educated PHARMACIST.
Aquilla, Eridan's clone, likes obscure strategy games and often talks in chess notation about perfectly normal things like party planning (oh, hey, remember the party? I have sort of verged from the party here). Like everyone else, he's kind of shit at his chosen skillset and his metaphors get so complicated that he'll confuse himself and start to make illegal moves in the middle of them, like capturing straight forward with someone he's declared a pawn in the business of cake-making, or castling with a bishop. We get the impression that he used to be overprotective of his sister (Shaula) after the Cold Grublings incident but is now just frustrated with her. He's desperate to have a kismesis, which he seems to understand as a form of rivalry. Since I happen to think that's a fair definition, I'm going to have to screw it up some other way for the sake of the running gag…ah, yes, he doesn't seem to have made the mental leap to the "sexual relationship" stage of things and doesn't understand why everyone thinks he's hitting on them when he's really just running xiangqi fantasies in his head. Sollux has taught him a good deal of coding, and its in his introduction – probably one of the last if not the last – that we finally learn that the metaplot has been talking about Sburb/Sgrub all along, though I would have hoped the audience was already chasing that conclusion.
Vriska's Subraa might very well have ADHD, and never, ever uses periods or commas, or stops to listen to other people before she's finished typing EVERYTHING, though she once stuns everyone in an memo by properly using a semicolon (again, that joke's from her intro page. I don't want to give the impression that the fic was going to outstep its bounds just because I have free reign here in my notes). The introduction would also note that she and Aradia would soon hold conversation in a memo "and a friend would go insane" (coincidence, but one would understand) and also that Subraa would later discover that Trollian has a character limit. But while Subraa cannot control when she changes her train of thought, she is in complete control of every bit of data involved in those trains of thought. To keep her friends organized, she precedes any line on Trollian with a number indicating the subject she's currently addressing.
SUBRAA: okay 1) cake which has to be vanilla with chocolate swirl icing except on gabe's piece because he's lactose intolerant which shit
2) pudding's bad too meaning no
1) okay maybe we can go with strawberry but you never know because I don't think nahnos likes strawberry but I haven't talked to him since
3) hey do you remember that time we were at riskisa's and she played that song about teen spirit and we were all sitting around having chips and
2) you know what go with chips we can deal with chips
3) and then rikisa's dad showed up and started saying…
Subraa is intimately involved in the metaplot and thinks it's a great idea. She has not thought it through.
In the latter half of the fic, we're introduced to Zeniah: Aradia Jr's sister and Kanaya's clone. Besides Rikisa (who looks so much like Meenah I was shocked to see Meenah), Zeniah was the only character I had ever pictured much in my head, with a long ponytail and comfortable clothes good for movement. She's chosen to stand in as the sole inheritor of LAW ENFORCEMENT, and has cast herself as a combination cop and private eye, though the game would accelerate that in an odd direction… that I hadn't decided on. Unlike the others, Zeniah is good at her job… just not good enough, and with someone trying to replay Sburb, that is maybe the worst possible failing. I considered breaking the intro page format for one chapter to give Zeniah a pesterlog with Kanaya, who is still a bit of a hermit in the mother grub caves but keeps in contact with her clone thanks to a bond they formed during/after Cold Grublings. The pesterlog would have collated information on the metaplot to this point.
In the end, during a second intro paragraph, we discover that it was Rikisa, the first Troll we were introduced to, who was responsible for the metaplot and the unleashing of Sburb. She teases the audience by alluding that of course it was one of Vriska's kids behind the mess (in fact, both), who else would be that clever? She echoes her earlier mention of rebellion by saying that getting through the same game as their parents would prove to them that the kids are now fully independent of them: the ultimate and final REBELLION. She has not thought this through very well either. The story then refers in an off-hand fashion to the events that follow: Sam's accident, the death of at least one guardian in this poorly planned declaration of personal independence, and God-Tier Zeniah finally catching up to her God-Tier perpetrator for a dramatic showdown before the final dramatic showdown (and one last misunderstood quadrant joke).
The story ends with Rikisa alluding to the meteors having begun falling and how this is "going to be the best party ever! ,\m/" It then adds one last introduction page.
"Your name is DAVE STRIDER and you are going to kill your daughter. You are going to kill her with your god dammed bare hands!"