Chapter 1: Prologue
It was a race. A race to the finish. How had it come to this? The two species had once cooperated, trying simply to stay alive. Now they were fighting each other, battling for the same goal. Two lead the way. Once they were friends. Once they had built a bond complicated with time loops an backwards time trolling.
It was a struggle between the two. The door was right in front of them, but one last minute slip brought luck to the one who shouldn't have any. The grey hand was the first to land on the door knob.
There was a flash of light. Everyone around was blinded. When they could open their eyes again, they in surrounded by white. Although the trolls were still as they were before the flash, the humans had disappeared.
"Congradulations team Alternia. You've won." The voice was toneless, echoing around them. "Your planet will be restored to what it once was, and your lusi returned, for better or for worse."
"Where are the humans?" Nepeta mewed, getting on all fours with her nose to the ground.
"Over there." Although there was no visual signal to any direction, everyone turned their heads to see the four pink aliens lying far from them. Nepeta bounded toward them when her finger hit air instead of ground. Skidding to a stop, she felt a straight down cliff in front of her, though it looked like everything else. Backing up, she stared at them from a distance.
"Hey! They're all sleepy!" She giggled.
"They will be returned to their planet, though it will not be restored," the voice stated. "No need for goodbyes. You will meet again." Before anyone could question, everything around them, even their friends, quickly faded to black.
John knew he had screwed up. He really knew it when he found himself sitting up, surrounded by dust. The middle of a desert? Not likely, since it didn't seem that hot. Next to him, his three friends stirred awake. Above him was a bright blue sky, with one sun and plain white, puffy clouds. No pictures in them, no foreshadowing doom. Just a normal Earth day.
"Where are we?" Jade asked, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
"Home, I think," he responded. She inhaled sharply, throwing her into a coughing fit from all the sand around them, being stirred up in the slight breeze.
"So this is the aftermath..." Rose said. "One big desert."
"Not totally." Dave was standing, looking at something in the distance. The others stood up beside him, looking to see what it was he saw. Sure enough, in the distance glinted something metallic, large enough to be some type of building.
"Let's go!" John yelled excitedly.
"John, wait! It might not- Bluh!" his paradox sister was cut off with a face full of sand that he had kicked up. Sighing, she and the other two followed after. As they approached, it was some kind of NASA structure. Not only because of the giant NASA symbol, but also the size and stereotypical appearance of a really large airplane hanger. John turned the handle to the door. It easily clicked open. He took a dramatic breath, placing one hand slowly on the door...
"Cut the dramatics Egbert. Just open it," Dave ordered.
"Way to ruin my moment!" John huffed, but opened the door. Inside was pitch black, and it took a minute for their eyes to adjust enough that they could make out a light switch. Rose flicked it on, and what they saw was more disturbing than most anything they had seen in the game.
People, lying all over the floor. Not a single body stirred at the light. A rotting stench rose up from each one, overwhelming the four new arrivals. Jade put her hands over her mouth and nose. What they could see of the floor was stained red. Rose closed her eyes and took a deep breath, though she nearly gagged on the stench.
"This is horrible!" Jade's voice was muffled. "What killed them?!"
"Not what, who." Dave was as calm as ever. "These are knife and bullet wounds. Who ever killed these people was deeply messed up."
"Who wouldn't be after watching their entire world be destroyed in front of them?" Rose asked. "This place must have been some kind of strong hold in case of a disaster."
"It was turned into a refugee camp..." John stepped into the room further. "There's children in here." Jade trembled slightly.
"The attacker must have had more reason for this slaughter than just because he was insane. There had to be a goal." Dave looked around, while John stepped in deeper.
"Over here! There's some kind of secret chamber!" John called excitedly. "Someone jammed it open!" Dave followed after him, while Rose guided Jade through, who kept her hand over her face and her eyes squeezed shut. Sure enough, there was a circular opening in the floor, a ladder leading down to it's depths, where lights were flickering below. The boys climbed down first, followed by Jade, then Rose. At the bottom, John ran off like a kid in a new candy store. The smell was considerably weaker, and Jade was able to follow after him on her own, still trembling. Dave and Rose continued together.At one side of the room was a big computer, glowing a pale blue. John was typing away at it.
"Generator. Power source one low. Proceed to source two?" The generic female voice came clearly from the computer. John typed a bit more, and the voice came again. "Generator. Power source switched. Recycling: 98%".
"So cool!" John exclaimed.
"Hey, if your done geeking out, I think I found our criminal," Dave called, looking down at something in the corner. John walked up behind him, followed by Rose. Jade held back, but slowly peeped at the scene, quickly withdrawing again.
"Eesh..." There was a man sitting in the corner, half sprawled everywhere. Across one side of his body, one hand held a rusty knife. The other had a fully automatic shot gun. The blood was fresher than any others upstairs. All three could tell he had killed himself. Rose turned away, putting a hand on Jade's shoulder, who was trembling again.
"What are those?" Rose spoke up, pointing at some kind of cloth covering some kind of lumps. John walked past the girls and moved the cloth. Underneath were five metalic orbs, about six to six and a half feet high. John tapped one, and there was a rush of air. Some kind of door opened. Studying it closely, he suddenly stood up and walked over to the computer, starting to type again. Dave stood behind him while Rose tried to calm Jade down, who was muttering to herself.
"These could be useful," Dave said. John smiled.
"Good thing we still have our things from the game!" he said, walking back to the spheres. Walking into the open one, he found some buttons inside. Pressing them, the inside glowed an electric blue. "It works!"
"What are they?" Jade asked, having pulled herself together.
"Space ships!" he grinned. Rose raised an eyebrow. "They were a special NASA project in case they found something from another planet! If you put an item in, it takes you to where it came from!"
"You mean..." Rose started.
"We can find the trolls."
Chapter 2: Karkat
Let's get going! 8)
Karkat felt his hive shake as a fiery ball landed just outside his door. Gog, if it was another stupid micro meteor left over from the Reckoning he was going to fly "off the handlebars" as the humans said. It had almost been two sweeps since the game ended and he was sick of listening to everyone talk about it and the small meteors and common shooting stars that were all signs of it. He was one of the few who tried to forget about it. At first the others talked about little besides what happened to the humans and how it could have been different. Deciding he needed some fresh air anyway, he went to check out how the meteorite looked, make sure no new wrigglers appeared, the works.
Outside, he was surprised to find a ditch in front of his door, instead of the hole he was expecting. Looking down to where whatever it was had stopped, he saw a giant metal ball. Approaching it, he jumped as one side opened, spewing dust and gas. As he peered inside, there was only a small red light illuminating one side. There was a click, and just as he was about to look closer, a large shape jumped out and tackled him.
"Karkat!" A familiar voice exclaimed. But it couldn't be...
"Egbert?! What the hell are you doing here?!" he asked more out of anger than shock.
"Aw, aren't you happy to see me?" John asked, standing up.
"No! You don't have the right to ask questions! I'm asking questions here!" the troll demanded. "Now, why the hell are you here?"
"Because I can be!" he smiled through his usual buck teeth. "And I don't think Earth is a good place to be anymore. The Reckoning wiped it out..."
"Okay, so are the other pink freaks with you?" Karkat continued.
"Well, kind of," John said nervously. "I wonder how they are..."
"Don't get off topic! What do you mean by kind of?!"
"They should be on Alternia, but they're at other hives. I know Dave's with Terezi, and Rose is with Kanaya... Jade said something about a legendary gun... Is it breezy here?"
"No, your just an idiot wearing clothes that are too small!" Karkat retorted. John looked down at himself, realizing that his shirt and shorts had gotten much too small. He felt rather awkward.
"Wow! How long did I sleep for?" he peered back inside the pod, looking at the red light. "Woah..."
"Woah what?!" the troll demanded, trying to see around the human.
"I slept in this thing for four years straight!"
"Um, I slept since we left the game. I think its most of two sweeps for you guys?"
"Yeah, that's how long it's been since we left, shit sponge!" Karkat huffed irritatedly.
"Hey, do you think we could check on the others?" John asked.
"Fine. Come inside."
"Yay! Thanks Karkitty!" John was decked faster than he could say "ectobiology".
Dave stood just outside his pod, feeling rather awkward in his obviously too small clothes. Apparently it was possible to go through growth spurts while you slept for four years. In front of him was a giant, old fashion scale. One side held what looked a broken egg. Suddenly, he heard a crunching sound behind him.
"Dave?" came a familiar voice. He turned to see the female troll.
"Hey." Terezi ran over to him, and directly proceeded to lick his face. "Okay, that is still gross." She laughed.
"It's really you! What brings you to Alternia?" she asked, giving her pointy toothed grin.
"Besides this messed up space ship? The fact that most of Earth is currently a wasteland and probably not exactly the ideal home for us anymore."
"Oh," was all she could say. "So the others came with you then?" The blind troll didn't smell anybody else around them.
"Yeah, but they're at other homes. Bee hives. Whatever you call them. I'm pretty sure Rose is with Kanaya, but I have no clue where Jade is, and John is either at Karkat's or Vriska's."
"He's are Karkat's," she replied simply. Her glasses projected the message she had just received into the air in front of her. Dave stood next to her and read the chat so far.
CG: HEY, TEREZI. I HAVE THE JOHN HUMAN HERE. HE SEEMS TO THINK DAVE IS WITH YOU.
GC: WH4T? 4R3 YOU FOR R34L?
GC: OR 4R3 YOU M4K1NG FUN OF M3 4G41N? >:[
CG: NO, I'M SERIOUS. EGBERT IS CURRENTLY IN MY HIVE AND I'M TRYING TO KEEP HIM OUT OF TROUBLE. IDIOT ALMOST WOKE UP MY LUSUS.
GC: W3LL, 1 H4V3N'T SEEN D4V3.
GC: SOM3TH1NG JUST CR4SH3D N34R MY LUSUS H4TCH PL4C3.
CG: THAT MIGHT BE HIM. GO CHECK.
GC: WH4T DO YOU TH1NK 1M DO1NG? >:/
CG: SO IS HE THERE?
GC: Y34H, H3S H3R3. >:]
GC: WH1CH 1S GOOD FOR YOU, B3C4USE 1F YOU W3R3 LY1NG 1 WOULD B3 CULL1NG YOU MYS3LF.
CG: OH SURE. ANYWAY, JOHN WANTS TO KNOW IF HE'S OKAY.
GC: Y34H, H3S B31NG NORM4L COOL D4V3.
CG: OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO CHECK ON ROSE AND SEE IF WE CAN FIND JADE.
GC: F1N3 BY M3.
Rose tugged at her shirt. Her clothes had grown much too small while she had slept, and not only did she feel awkward but cold in the night breeze.
In front of her was a large tower that was highly similar to Jade's home. She was going to knock on the door when she heard something moving behind her. Turning, there was a large insect, a bit larger than herself, approaching behind her.
"You are Kanaya's lusus, correct?" she asked. That stopped the mothergrub straight in her tracks. "She told me good things about you. Do you mind if I talk to her?" She wasn't sure if the white beast understood her, but she had to hope.
"It's okay," came a voice behind her. "Rose is my friend." She turned to see Kanaya, leaning in the door post, looking quite shocked despite her calm voice.
"Yes, darling," her lusus said, flying away.
"Well, this is quite the surprise," the troll said.
"Good to see you, too" Rose smiled. "It's been awhile, I guess."
"You guess?" she raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I've been asleep most of the time since the game ended," she said. "It seems like only yesterday the game ended, but it was actually quite a while."
"Don't worry, it feels the same for me, though I haven't been sleeping for so long," the troll grinned. "Anyway, please come in! I think I have someone looking for you."
"Karkat and John correct?" Rose guessed.
"Good guess," Kanaya laughed lightly. "He said Dave is fine with Terezi."
"Lovely. Any word on Jade? I'm rather worried for her."
"None that I know, but I haven't inquired yet." At the computer, Rose scanned the previous conversation, and ascertained that John and Dave were fine. Kanaya typed the question, and the reply was as expect.
GA: Any Word From Jade? Rose Says She's Worried.
CG: NO, WE HAVEN'T TRIED REACHING HER YET. APPARENTLY NEITHER JOHN NOR DAVE ARE SURE WHERE THE HELL SHE IS, BUT I THINK SHE MAY BE WITH ERIDAN.
GA: Rose Says That's Correct. And If So He May Be In Trouble.
CG: WHAT? WHY?
GA: We Need To Talk In Person.
Eridan peer out his window, bored out of his mind, as usual. Once he was finished feeding Feferi's monster lusus, there wasn't much for him to do. Just then, something flashed by the front of his hive. Finding nothing else better to do than check it out, he walked down stairs to his front door. Opening it, there was a huge gash in the ground. At one end of it something was smoking.
"What the..." he muttered, approaching it slowly. A shadow appeared in the dust, with a slightly familiar outline. Glasses glinted, and the person came into better view. "Ja-" he was cut off with sudden shots fired at him. Barely dodging in time, he recognized his own weapon that he had sent her. "What are you trying to do?! That almost hit me!" Another shot came, and this time it barely missed his ear and hit his coat.
The smoke cleared enough that he could make out her face. Her mouth was half open, and the usual whites of her eyes were red. Her black pupils were so large he could barely make out the color in them. There was some kind of wild, but scared look about her. The large gun in her hand left little room for sympathy though. Another shot skimmed his hair.
"Jade! Calm down!" he yelled.
"Dead..." she finally spoke, her voice quavering.
"What?" the troll asked, thoroughly confused.
"They're all dead!" Jade let out another shot, which skimmed Eridan's hair. Finding this was quickly going down hill, he made for the door, slamming it shut behind him and running for hims room. The list of trolls scrolled through his head, but when he reached his computer someone had already pulled up a chat.
CG: HEY IDIOT. I HAVE THE JOHN HUMAN HERE, AND WE THINK JADE MIGHT BE AT YOUR PLACE. HAVE YOU SEEN HER?
CA: seen her? shes tryin to kill me!
CG: WAIT, SERIOUSLY? YOURE SURE?
CA: hell im sure! she wwas shootin at me wwith my owwn gun!
CG: ROSE SAID YOU MIGHT BE IN TROUBLE.
CA: understatement! i think shes comin up here noww! gog savve me!
CG: UH, OKAY. I'LL SEE IF WE CAN FIND A WAY OVER THERE BEFORE YOU DIE.
CA: do it fast! im about to get fried!
-- caligulasAquarium's computer was shot--
Chapter 3: Rose
Okay! Explanation time! 8D
Kind of a short chapter though. 8/
Rose climbed on the back of the dragon lusus, helped up by Kanaya and Dave.
"Thank your lusus for me, Terezi," she told the blind troll, sitting the farthest up on the beast. The whole dragon seemed to move as it huffed through its nose.
"No problem," Terezi translated. Second later, three kids and three trolls were flying up into the air, making quick progress towards the island in the middle of the ocean.
"Now, why is Eridan is trouble from Jade?" John asked, looking back at Rose.
"Jade's not exactly in her healthy right mind," she told him.
"Translation, she's gone psycho," Dave interrupted. "We got that part. Tell us something new."
"Well, then how about she didn't fall asleep four years ago?"
"That's new!" John exclaimed. "Do you know why?"
"It was a combination of several things, namely a distressed mind and an immunity built up on an island isolated from the outside world. Whatever gas was used was not strong enough for her. So she ended up awake for four years straight in an enclosed space, nothing to do, and just barely alive."
"So what was she thinking of that was so horrible that it kept her awake?" Karkat growled.
"A lot of dead humans," Dave told him simply.
"Well, she saw you die in the game, plus a lot of people died back then. Why was this different?" Kanaya asked.
"This wasn't a game," Rose replied, only just loud enough to be heard over the wind. "The people there, men, women, mothers, children, babies, all killed indiscriminately by another human being. None of them would be able to come back."
"So? Dying is dying, you can't change it!" Karkat growled. "If it's not you, it doesn't matter!"
"Humans aren't like trolls, Karkitty!" John told him solemnly, receiving another punch to the face, which was ignored. "We don't deal well with death, even if we don't know the person, and especially when the people are innocent!"
"So she was awake for four years with nothing to do but think. How do you know all this?" Kanaya inquired.
"I woke up a bit early in my pod. Apparently she had messaged me continuously after I had fallen asleep, and it turned almost into a journal. Of course I skimmed a few, but they continuously got worse. By the end she sounded like some b-movie super villain."
"We're here!" called Terezi. Peeking past the neck of the dragon, an island was rising in front of them, with some sort of castle on it. A scar was visible even from the large height. The lusus landed on the little bit of free space, and immediately the party became aware of the sound of gun shots.
"Got a plan?" Dave asked Rose.
"Stop her, don't hurt her, make sure she doesn't kill anything or anyone, and try to talk sense back into her."
"Close enough, let's go before fish face gets his ass kicked," Karkat sighed, taking the lead into the mansion.