Karkat Vantas, enlistment number 6124601025, wasn’t particularly popular in his flaysquad. This didn’t surprise him. You couldn’t hide your blood colour once you’d begun basic training, so he’d been outed quickly, and ever since had had to learn to check his bed each night and sleep with one eye open. The sergeant, a blue-blood, had given him shit for it from day one. If no one else had done something to piss the guy off, Karkat was the one to do whatever stupid chore he thought up at that moment.
He could deal with that. He knew his blood would get him into trouble. He took solace in the fact that he knew, deep down, that he was destined to do something great. He just didn’t know what yet, that was all.
In their downtime, most of the low-bloods on Battleship 612 hung out at the tavern in the lower levels. Karkat took the opportunity to catch up with his old friends - Aradia, Tavros and Sollux, a gang that went way back. All twelve of them did, though with the complex system of relationships between any group of trolls it was rare to see everyone together. The bottom four, at least, got along well enough to hang out.
He had always been amazed that all twelve of them had survived to adulthood. Especially when the Imperial Drone came to them all before they left. Some emergency measures were taken - Eridan and Kanaya had suddenly decided they were completely sable until the moment the buckets got filled, and they weren’t the only ones. Tavros and Nepeta never seemed to be that into their matespritship. Eridan, again, had managed to rope some witless girl into his own red quadrant until he abandoned her to keep pursuing Feferi. Gamzee had somehow managed to present two filled buckets, the origins of which no one knew, including him. He put it down to “fucking miracles”.
Feferi had already been in hiding at that point. She was the only one who hadn’t managed or needed to make those sorts of connections.
Karkat himself had held together a good enough matespritship with Terezi, though they’d grown distant once she’d started her training to be a prosecutor. On the black side, his six-sweep-old self would have baulked at the thought of finding a kismesis in Nepeta. But a series of annoying and embarrassing shenanigans resulted in him being glad she spent most of her time in the blue bar by invitation of Equius, lest they both get in trouble for misdemeanour.
This is not, however, a story about romance.
So it behoves us to wonder why we now see Eridan eating an elegant dinner with a young lady on his own private ship. The ship was a relic of his ancestor Dualscar, modernised and fitted for space flight, and no one had yet been able to take it from him. It had the additional advantage that its blueprints existed nowhere in the Alternian archive. The girl was a blue-blood, he thought - he hadn’t been paying that much attention. She was one of many, a succession of affairs that had earned Eridan a reputation as something of a ladykiller, particularly when it came to long-haired, energetic women. It had taken him sweeps of blundering to finally manage to present himself as attractive, and he dreaded to think what would have happened if he’d tried spreading his seed earlier in life. Not that it mattered. He was eating dinner with a cute girl in his private abode, and it didn’t take a romantic progeny to figure out where this was heading. Or would have headed.
The ship’s bell sounded, indicating that someone was docking in the airlock. He was not formally expecting any visitors. But at the back of his mind he always expected the Inquisition. Quickly, quietly and efficiently, four of them entered the room and surrounded the table. Two of them, a man and a woman, had the gills of sea-dwellers; the other two men were land-dwellers of some sort. They took the girl by both arms and pinned her against a wall. She tried to struggle but couldn’t escape their grip.
“Do you mind?” Eridan asked, coolly. “You’ve rather ruined a private dinner.”
“You know what this is about,” the male sea-dweller growled at him, while the female stared down his date.
“Long hair, slim frame,” she described. “No gills, but she might have cut them off. Only one way to be sure.” She drew her sword and impaled the girl, twisting it in her gut. Blood splattered everywhere as the land-dwellers let her drop to the ground, writhing in agony.
“Blue,” the male sea-dweller said at Eridan’s ear. “You got lucky this time, Ampora. We will get you.”
The four of them left in silence. It would have been so easy to kill them while their backs were turned. Especially the land-dwellers. He would have gladly seen their disgusting blood smeared across his walls. But it would have only ended up in his own execution. He knew the only reason the empress let him live at all was in the hopes of drawing out Feferi. As long as he kept dating girls that vaguely fit her description, giving the inquisition the hope that this time they’d have the right one, then he’d stay alive, and they probably wouldn’t find her hiding in the bowels of his ship.
It did mean a lot of cleaning up, though. Food from the table had fallen to the floor, there was blue blood everywhere, and now he’d have to dispose of the body breathing its last at his feet, too.
He really should have learned her name.