Chapter 1: How They Got There
Standard "I don't own this IP please don't sue me" warning: This is a fanfiction based on Homestuck by Andrew Hussie. In fact, this is my first fanfiction involving Homestuck. I do not own this, and unless he emails me and gives me explicit permission to turn this into a non-canon novel that I can sell at conventions it's just for fun and practice.~ ~ ~
"It is said that you can't get what you want. But if you try really, really hard, you can get what you need." - Adam Smith~ ~ ~
Darkness. Welcoming darkness. Oblivion, nice and warm and safe. Nobody around to judge him for his freakish mutant blood color. Nobody around to annoy the hell out of him. Not even that John kid and his stupid derpy face.
He was told that the afterlife worked differently. He had seen it himself. The horrorterrors from beyond the veil had laid claim to their souls, providing a unique comfort and torture at the same time through the dream bubbles. But this was alright.
Karkat wasn't particularly religious. In many ways he was a product of his biology. He didn't believe in the ancestors because none were recorded with his mutant blood, and he clung to the belief that a troll was more then the sum of their parts. He didn't venerate the Empress or trust the hemospectrum because it was through her will and that belief that his society was made into the stagnate, ultra-conservative hellhole that would kill him on sight. He didn't know if his soul would pass on to another life, be reincarnated, stick around or simply cease to exist.
But this feeling... in certain human cultures, it would be referred to as zen. But he didn't come from a human culture. This emptiness was comforting to a creature plagued by his specie's dark subconscious. He wasn't angry, or ecstatic, or particularly emotional about his new found state.
He was okay with this.
The darkness would not last, however. He could feel heat now, not just warmth. One side was searing hot, while the other felt the grit of sand rub up against unprotected clothes and skin. Sounds, new sounds, the sounds of flying beasts squaking in the air and waves of surf lapping up against a beach.Feeling irritation, he looked up. He instantly regretted it, pupils dilating to adjust to the bright light of the surroundings. At first there was a dark shadow in the middle of his vision. Slowly but surely the shadow began to resolve itself, reveling someone who has reached godtier wearing their godhood in broad daylight.
And then he screamed.
~ ~ ~
In order for one to recognize the supreme difficulties in integrating humans and trolls into a society in which one species does not destroy another, or seek dominance over the other, one must first start with the very basics.
Humanity is the species in which the reader is most familiar with. If the reader is not familiar with humanity, please do not make contact with my species. It is a very bad idea and would not end well for either of us.
Humans are mammals who produce live young via sexual reproduction. (This will be important later.) Their two biggest advantages in the natural world are their cleverness, their innate ability to calculate ballistic trajectories in their head and their unmatched endurance. Though the latter trait is typically not seen in modern examples of the species, the former is put to great use.
Humanity has places special emphasis on relationships. Human relationships are complex and involve many different kinds and levels of love, hate and intimacy as well as genetics. If humans ever bothered to formalize their relationships, it would make the troll romance seem absolutely pedestrian.
Trolls, on the other hand, are humanoid psudoinsects. Troll reproduction is complex, involving two genders, three different types of trolls (the normal troll, the Mother Grub and the Imperial Drone), a diabolic incestuous slurry of genetic material and hundreds of thousands of spawn. Troll behavior exhibits signs of typically being sociopathic murderous jerks bent on galactic conquest, although they are capable of sympathetic behavior.
Troll society holds romance in special regard. This is because if they do not pay off their genetic debt to society the average troll will be killed, since trolls who cannot find romantic partners have no place in society. It is notable that troll romance is a formalized social institution with four recognized types, two of which serves to moderate a healthy troll's murderous impulses.
Under normal circumstances, trolls would conquer humanity, sparing it because unusually clever slaves are useful and they look more like mutant trolls than any other species the trolls have conquered. This would lead to the conquered species place in troll society slowly becoming formalized. After a period of several centuries, humanity would lead a rebellion with the lower castes, successfully enslaving the blue bloods and reorganizing society in it's image. At that point, the clusterfuck would well and truly begin.
These are not normal circumstances. In fact, these are exceptional circumstances.~ ~ ~
“Is he breathing?”
“He has to be, or else he wouldn't be screaming like.”
“Question of the eternity, John. If we can find it, we can do anything. Cure cancer. Make more money then we could ever know what to do with. Flirt with aliens.”
“MoThErFuCkInG mIrAcLe, MaN.”
“Okay, you. You aren't allowed to talk. Ever.”
Karkat was in Troll Hell. This was the only reasonable explanation. Trolls only had one true commandment as a society. One ancient law which trumped all others, which survived throughout the tens of millennium of existence as a civilization. “Be fruitful and multiply.”
If you don't fill your pails, you must go to Hell. It was that simple.
“Uh... Terezi... you were... um... you know... with him... could you... um, if you don't mind...”
Karkat stopped screaming and became aware of his surroundings. Everyone was around him in a circle. Sgrub, Sburb. All of the players.
All of them.
This was both a good thing and a bad thing. Oh, you wouldn't believe how bad it could be.
“WHAT THE FUCK, TEREZI?! WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT?!” Karkat yelled.
“Jegus H. Gogchild, just look at yourself. You're the most pathetic sight I've ever seen!”
“WELL FUCKING HELLO TO YOU... wait. Don't you mean smell?”
The young troll knelt down before the other one, lifting the trademark red glasses away from her eyes. Amazingly, they were the sunken, yellow eyes typically found in troll kind.
Which meant that she wasn't blind.
“Whoa,” Karkat said, amazed. “How could that happen?”
“I'm TeLlInG yOu MaN, iT's A mOtHeRfUcKiNg MiRaClE!” a clown painted troll with huge horns said near the beach.
“AND HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU HERE!?” Karkat yelled, pointing accusingly at the troll.
“FUCK YOU, AND FUCK THIS! IT'S OBVIOUS WE'RE IN HELL! IT'S ALL BRIGHT AND SUNNY AND PLESANTLY WARM! LET ME TAKE A FUCKING GUESS AND SAY THAT THERE'S PROBABLY AN INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO THAT EXPLAINS HOW ALL THIS HAPPENED AND WHAT WE'RE EXPECTED TO DO!”
Everyone just stared at him blankly.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!”
They then all pointed in the same direction, behind him. Understanding the nature of the genre of the work that he finds himself in, he looked behind as well.
“Was that always there?” Karkat asked.
“It is now,” Dave replied.
~ ~ ~
There are many similarities in human and troll cultures. One of them is the concepts of movies. From this concept springs forth the idea of the open aired movie theater. In truth trolls used open aired theaters for the political indoctrination of their armies with such classics as “The Birth Of An Empire Through Enforcement Of The Hemospectrum By Upright Subjects Who Opposed A Dangerous Social Experiment And Did The Proper Thing By Enacting A Campaign To Save All The Sensible Trolls From The Savagery Of Unchecked Lowbloods And Eventually Prevailed Even Though The Degenerate Anarchist Pretenders To The Throne Opposed Them”, but it could still be found in a purely entertainment driven function on some quaint worlds and lower blood neighborhoods.
Jade was the one messing with the projector. She seemed to know what she was doing, so everyone left her alone. Instead they found seats among the conveniently set up chairs, waiting until the projector system began. Jade then quickly moved to the already set up recorder, waiting until the countdown to let the needle touch the spinning disk.
“Is the device recording?” a rather cultured voice asked.
The voice presumably came from the being projected on the silver screen. They could not see it's face, but they could clearly see it's torso. It was incredibly tall, judging by the objects in the background. It was also possible that it was incredibly thin and the camera was simply too close, but the former was more conducive towards keeping one's sanity. It wore a green tuxedo, though, with a shabby green felt coat over it. The inner edges of said coat had many different bands, each one of them alternating between one of literally every color a being could imagine.
“Good day, players. I must admit that I am unaccustomed to speaking to beings as limited as you. This is not meant to insult, although certain parties among you will be insulted by this simple statement of truth from a being who is omnipotent and therefore nearly omniscient. I will therefore be careful in my dialect, to ensure that everything I say can be understood in a manner that is reasonable for beings such as yourself.
The way it pronounced it's name caused everyone but Rose and Gamzee to cringe, even if it was every so slightly in Dave's case.
“I am normally not inclined towards benevolence. I am a destroyer of universes, after all. What does one, or a dozen, or a trillion lives matter when reality itself could collapse under it's own weight if I fail my duties and allow the multiverse to get too cluttered? Either way they are going to have a bad day, but that bad day does not necessarily have to mean the end of all existence. But I ramble, and shall return to the topic at hand.
“Your particular plight and the way that you have managed to prevail has moved me in a way that I have not thought possible. Because of that I have opted to use my omnipotence to create a world for your use within the universe created by your successors. It is a relatively minor act for one such as myself, and one that will lead to no true consequences that were not meant to happen in the long terms. Still, the act of actual creation, much less resurrection and healing, is one that does not suit my nature, even if it is within my power.
“You shall find everything on this world that both groups shall need in order to survive. Food, water and shelter foremost, and eventually you shall discover a repository of knowledge and a means of artificial reproduction that does not end in a partial process or horrible inbreeding.
“What you do with this world that has been gifted to you is entirely up to you, and if you succeed or fail in continuing your species shall be based upon your own merits and failings. I no longer have an interest in this enterprise, beyond the passing fancy one has to particularly clever beings that are not one's own kith or kin on occasion. On that note, I shall wish the salutatory 'good ventures' and bid you farewell.”
Chapter 2: The Basics
Jade has a chat with Karkat. Karkat discusses the idea of division of labor. Tasks are assigned to the group.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
A good head and a good heart is always a formidable combination.
~Noted South African leader Thomas Edison
It was getting late. Well, late for the humans. It was approaching a more gogly hour for the trolls. As the sun was beginning to set the energy levels between the humans and the trolls began to shift.
Karkat sat back, eating on the fruit found by Kanaya and Jade while the other trolls tried to find some sleep. He wasn’t among the sleep seekers, though. His period of zen lasted long enough for him to actually feel rested.
The fruit tasted horrible. It wasn’t toxic to either species, so he ate it anyways. He kept track of the other people while he sat along the edges. He was part of the group, yet also separated from it. Like a leader should be, at least in his own mind.
Equius and Nepeta found a pile of leaves and had an impromptu feelings jam. It was almost indecent how they were doing it in public, but he supposed that they really needed it. Even though he and his peers obsessed about filling their quadrants, Karkat knew that finding such a serendipitous relationship rarely happened this early in life. Those two simply found each other when they needed to. Had not then there would of probably have been a much higher murder rate on Alternia than there normally was to begin with.
Kanaya and Rose were interrogating Gamzee. Why Rose had taken an interest in the creepy clown Karkat couldn’t even begin to guess. It did seem academic and slightly malicious. Kanaya was also helping to act as his jailor, so he let the whole exercise slide.
There were others, but he found himself paying attention to one particularly annoying human.
“Mind if I sit here?” Jade asked, indicating a spot next to him.
“If you’re just going to take a seat anyways then why do you fucking ask?” Karkat asked, more then slightly annoyed. Jade took it in stride and sat next to him.
“You seem to be thinking rather hard. What’s it about?” she asked.
“Being a leader,” Karkat replied. “You wouldn’t really understand, Harley. Derpface over there was your leader. You were always supposed to fulfill your role in the game, just like he did his.”
Karkat drew his attention to John and Vriska. Sure enough they were flirting right now. Karkat knew that there were red feelings there, although there was potential for it to evolve into an ashen relationship if things didn’t go just right. Sure enough Vriska was performing the “say something sickeningly sweet to your potential matesprit” maneuver. John responded positively at first, and then confusion became apparent on his face, followed by horror.
And then Vriska pulled away with the most oblivious look of glee on her face. Classic.
“So you’re not going to listen to me?”
“Oh, I’ll listen. Your ideas are actually pretty good sometimes, even if you’re pretty fucking annoying most of the time.”
“Thanks,” Jade said flatly.
“No fucking problem,” Karkat replied. “So, what do you need? If it’s a feelings jam I’m not going to be very good at it.”
“No, not that,” Jade said, before smiling a little mischievously. “Although I may take you up on that offer later.”
“Fuck! I walked right into that one, didn’t I?”
“Yep,” Jade said with all too much cheer. “Anyway, we need to talk about our survival.”
Karkat rolled his eyes. “Okay, I get that you’re conserned, but what makes you such a great expert on living alone on an island.”
“The fact that I lived alone on an island for 10 years of my life.”
“I saw you then. You had a devilbeast first guardian and everything you could have possibly needed.”
“Okay then. How about the fact my grandpa was a world famous explorer, hunter, soldier, scientist and general great guy all around? Or the fact that I read all of his diaries and his library of books? Or the fact that I actually practiced field craft, marksmanship and agriculture? Doesn’t that rate on your little ladder of leadership?” Jade honestly looked a little bit smug as she backed Karkat into a corner.
He supposed he could get used to this.
“So the human girl wins a prize,” Karkat said, throwing up his hands. “I am completely in awe of your knowledge and expertise, clearly garnered from your weird lusus ancestor thing. If only my own ancestor wasn’t so shitty! Oh, right, he isn’t. Because he doesn’t exist. So, what do you want?”
“I just want you to listen,” Jade said.
“That’s it? You aren’t going to take my position of leadership away in one of your schemes.” The fact that Jade was glaring at him made Karkat regret letting his mouth get ahead of him. “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re not spiderbitch, I get it.”
“And you’d do well to remember it,” Jade replied. “Besides, you know your friends better than I do. We’ll need to work together in order to get what we need.”
“Okay, I can handle that.” Karkat said. “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s getting a bunch of murderous fucks to not kill each other and get the job fucking done. So, what will we need?”
“Food, shelter, and clean water,” Jade said simply.
Karkat just looked at her. “That’s it?”
“For now,” Jade nodded. “It sounds simple, but it’s probably going to be really hard.”
“Simple things always are,” Karkat said, groaning a little bit and rubbing his eyes. “Why’s fresh water so important, though?”
“A normal human can’t survive more than 3 days without water,” Jade said, before looking at the group thoughtfully. “Not sure about trolls. Do you know?”
“No fucking idea. The game took care of all that for us, and the Veil was just part of the game too.” Karkat replied. “I forgot how ridiculously fragile your whole pathetic species is. We’re going to be spending a whole lot of time just making sure you don’t die.”
“And your species gets so caught in itself that you’d probably kill each other before dying from your own stupidity,” Jade replied, before leaning in closer. It wasn’t just the violation of personal space that was making Karkat uncomfortable, though. It was how damn inquisitive she looked. “You don’t mean any of what you say. Not in that tone, at least. It’s like you’re not even trying to be a jerk. What’s wrong?”
“I’m… not sure,” Karkat said. “Oh gog you’re trying to rope me into a feelings jam aren’t you?”
“I’m just trying to talk to you,” Jade replied. “Something’s wrong with you. And it’s more than your usual being a crazy troll in general. What’s going on?”
“I… Okay, this is going to sound really weird but, fuck, you’re a human so everything’s going to sound weird,” he said. “I had the best day’s sleep in my life.”
Jade was silent for a few seconds. “What?”
“Yeah. Freaks me out too. Even with the sappor slime in my respericoon I never really got sleep as good as that. A dream about nothing. No creepy symbolism, no black emotions, no fear for being a mutant freak. Just… nothing. Best damn sleep of my life.”
“Well, I can’t say I really understand it,” Jade said.
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Karkat replied.
“Buuut, if you feel like it’s a good thing, then maybe it is.” Jade continued. “I wouldn’t really know that much about it though.”
“Thanks a lot,” Karkat said, obviously disappointed. “Anything else?”
“Not really. So, Mr. Leader Troll, what are you going to do now?”~ ~ ~
It may be noted that because of the Troll reproductive cycle, Trolls do not have a true understanding of what it means to have a parent. This is likely for the best, as Trolls have a tendency to see their young (known as wigglers) more as an annoyance and would likely neglect the wigglers if given the opportunity. The undead Eternal President of Troll North Korea Troll Kim Il Sung has a tendency to see wigglers as delicious snacks and enjoys the indigos ones the best, but that is beside the point.
Instead, Troll society have two figures which are similar to the human parent. The first is the lusus. The second is the Ancestor.
When a troll emerges from their pupation, they must pass a series of dangerous tests in the brooding caverns which are designed to kill the weakest examples of their species. Once this exercise in eugenics is completed, the young troll is adopted by a creature known as a lusus. The lusus, instinctively compelled to parent the troll, acts as a bodyguard and a guardian. The young troll in turn must learn to act as a sort of zookeeper and breadwinner for the lusus. This relationship can be simple or complex, loving or abusive, much like its nearest human equivalent.
An Ancestor is the troll with whom a troll shares the most genetic material with. Trolls who have strong emotions are better represented in the genepool, so it is not uncommon for a troll to identify with a particularly famous historical personality who was able to get the best deal the great reproductive bingo. Ancestors are seen as figures of legend for the trolls, whose legacy the decedents can inherit to continue or finish the work once started by their ancestor.
Highblooded trolls (those that have found themselves at the top of their blood colored based caste system) can find their own ancestors fairly easily, and venerate them with the same reverence as some might for religious figures. Lowblooded trolls (those who find themselves near the bottom of said caste system) do not treat their ancestors with the same reverence. Their ancestor’s exploits are not considered notable since their castes are railroaded into social irrelevance.
That does not mean that Lowblooded trolls are not capable of incredible feats. Sometimes, they could change society. One such “lowblood” was known as The Sufferer.~ ~ ~
It was a new day. Since the sun was actually bearable to the trolls, and since the world apparently lacked moons to provide illumination, the trolls found themselves up with the humans. Even though they were experiencing the cool sea breeze, the trolls still found themselves a little uncomfortable.
Well, except for Kanaya. Nobody was quite sure if she even sleeps anymore, considering how everyone found her silently hovering over them at certain times during the night.
“Listen up, nooksuckers,” Karkat began. “As Harley pointed out to me, we basically have jack and shit. So, we’ll be needing food, water and shelter. But before we get to any of that, where the fuck is Eridan?
Feferi was the first to pipe up. “He went out to sea. He couldn’t stand the feelings he harbored and decided to live like a hermit crab.”
“Well, that’s one loose cannon out of the way,” Karkat said, before noting that Feferi was on the verge of tears. “Fuck, okay. I’m sorry about being insensitive. I know he was your moirail and everything. But he also killed three of us and I’m not letting that go.”
“I got better,” Kanaya noted.
“Yes, Kanaya, and now we can’t turn your epidermal layer off. So, we’re going to need to set up work details. Just like the real adults…
“You mean Thresacutioners,” Terezi pointed out.
“Well, fuck, Terezi. I guess I’m caught. Okay, yes, like the goddamn military because fuck it, does anyone else have a better idea?”
“I agree with it,” John said, smiling.
“Fucking fantastic. So, who here wants to go up against our local wind god? Anyone?”
“You’re making youthelf look like an idiot,” Sollux said. “Of courth we agree with you. TZ ith jutht puthing your buttonth.”
Terezi then just laughed. It was that incessantly mirthful, highly annoying laugh that Karkat most certainly does not like anymore.
“Moving on,” Karkat began. “We’re going to need food, water, and shelter. Any ideas?”
“Well, me, Vriska and Aradia can fly,” John began. “I’m pretty sure Rose can too.”
“My connection to the Horrorterrors have not been severed, although why I do not know. So yes, I am capable of flight,” The dark skinned girl noted.
John nodded. “That makes four right there. We can fly out and see if we can find any rivers or whatnot.”
“Okay, scouting party. I like that,” Karkat said. “That would also help with the water, and maybe with the shelter. Okay, so how about food?”
“The furrocious kitty wouldn’t mind hunting fur her furrends,” Nepeta said with a smile.
“I can help too,” Jade replied. “So can Kanaya, she’s good with plants.”
“And that leaves our immediate shelter problem,” Karkat replied. “And keeping an eye on Gamzee.”
“HeY mAn WhAt WiLl It TaKe To GeT sOmE MoThErFuCkInG tRuSt AlL uP iN hErE?” the clown asked.
“Not anything that you can fucking do,” Karkat offhandedly replied. “Okay, the rest of us will tend to camp and try to not fuck up the shelter situation. Anybody got any problems?”
A moment of silence. “Good. Let’s get to work.”
So, I'm working off of the suggestions and trying to fix the whole "Rose Syndrome" thing. Wish I could get "The Elements of Style" or some other book to help, but I don't have any money. Its hard, being a wordy physics student with an overabundance of liberal arts education. Its hard and nobody understands.
Focus is going to shift from Karkat to the rest of the assemblage.