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To Live a Normal Life? How preposterous!

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Drats! I was so close! If only J@#n hadn't interfered!

Goddamn it! How long do we have to be here!? D@^# and the others are being idiots and won't wake us up, R0$#, what do we do?

We wait and do what we can in here.

As much as I'd like to disagree, our only option is as Miss Lavender says.

Is it really all we can do.

It seems so. Either we have to rely on J@#n and the others, C@77!0p# or even... @r@n3@'s plan.

Ah yes, the elder spiderbitch who's message was barely heard.

I'd like to see YOU doing it, it's harder than it looks!!!!!!!

How the hell did you even do that anyway????????

She had help.

Why the hell did you help her AA.

I had to. She'll be important later on.

はい、非常にインポータントです [Yes, very important.]

Also other me, too polite, not me. でも、少なくとも私はまだ人間としてセクシーだよ。[But at least I'm still sexy as a human, goddamn.]

Well it's a given since 'other you' was raised in a different setting than yourself. Though that leads me to wondering how she would react to meeting you.

Is anyone else concerned for the fact Moira seems to have remembered Mindfang ever so briefly?

I totally got it! Well, me and TZ did.

Why are we even preventing their memories? Wouldn't it be better to let the adults remember?

No, while we may have partial control over the adult memories of the trolls, we cannot let them remember. It would be too soon and letting them remember would be disastrous. Simply put, they aren't ready yet.

CRACK

Guys, incoming.

We need to move, they've broken through the barriers.

BOOOM

やっぱり、もう一度![Goddamn it, not again!]

HHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHOHOHOHOOOOOHOHOO

JADE, KANAYA, PORRIM QUICK.

On it!

Oh dear, some of them slipped by again!

Don't worry Tav, J@#n and the others will take care of them. They've been doing a good job so far!

Wait, isn't that?

It is. Quick, let them through.

WHAT???????? Why them? Why not us?!

Vr!%k@ we've already tried that, we can't send ourselves remember? Also I very much approve of this plan R0$#.

No sign of the big fish yet, only sir creepybass puppet man and his buff daddy version.

That's good, keep her away for as long as you can-

Oh no! Some drones got by!

That's fine, they can deal with the drones on their own.

A little help please!

Good luck you two, help them as best as you can.

HAHAHAHAHOOOHOOOHOHOHOHO YOU CANNOT HOPE TO STOP ME, WHEN I'M ALREADY THEEREEEE!! HAHAHAHAHA

Well it's fortunate you aren't awake like us then!

I WILL BE, HAHAHAHAHAHAHOHOHOHOHOHOHOOOHOOOO


Lime green eyes opened, a shuddering gasp escaping her mouth. Instantly, her old friend was by her side, worry and concern in her old fuchsia eyes. "Are you ocray? Was it another vision?" She asked her, helping her up from her slumbering position against the window. She didn't answer, for a moment looking out the window to view the planet she was on.

"Yes. I fear we must find them soon, or else He will get to them first." She finally answered, turning away and tugging at her black hood. Usually kind lime green eyes hardened, "We can't fail, if we do..."

"Don't worry, we won't let him win. We will succeed and you'll be reunited with your other friends!" The old but childish monarch cheered, "Will you tell me about them again?" She asked eagerly, gracefully striding towards her side, "Tell me again about the Life Goddesses. How the Maid became so strong and how the Witch conversed with the horrorterrors, how the Thief lead an army against Him."

The Muse softened and smiled at the Empress, "Alright." It was fortunate that the Empress had just finished her duties to make time to listen to the stories her oldest friend regaled her. Even after so many sweeps, she would never tire about the stories, and she eagerly awaited the day she could meet the Gods and Goddesses that filled her imagination and mind on days where she could relax with her dearest friend.

Hopefully it was soon.


John sighed as he and Dave wandered about their new base. 

Base Skaia, as they decided on the name. Actually they didn't remember when they decided to name their base Skaia but they couldn't really think of anything else that seemed to fit. Not even Dave who had shrugged and half-heartedly suggested 'Fort Kickass', which had sounded okay but not entirely right for their base, so Base Skaia it was. 

It was nearly a week since the mall fiasco and John's family was even more paranoid now. It was endearing in nature and John was really touched on their concern but he could hardly go anywhere without Jane, his uncle and his father trailing behind! Or even Dirk and Bro since it seemed that Bro had teamed up with the Fatherly Twins in keeping an eye on their children and keeping them safe. 

"I know they're only trying to keep us safe but they're being so, paranoid about it!" John said as he and Dave finally, finally managed to get away from their families overprotective sights. They had fibbed and told them they were heading out to the park, thankfully Dave didn't have to use his time powers since most of their family were busy today.

Dave nodded in agreement, "I tried skateboarding on my own in the park, got my ass chewed to me by Bro after Dirk reported me to him." It had been weird being lectured by Bro like that.

Today it was only John and Dave at the base. John was doing a bit of spring cleaning for the base. Using his wind to pick up dust from most nooks and crannies of the old laboratory. They've managed to finally explore the whole lab, see all of its rooms and what it could provide them. 

Roxy even checked for hidden rooms, going through most of the building and found practically nothing aside from the hidden paneling that just revealed hidden control sequences and emergency codes for the building. Nothing dark or alarming at all. 

After the mall, Roxy and Karkat had worked double time on the healing coons, trying to upgrade them as fast and much as they could without consuming all of their grist, they now had five completed healing coons, one for each of them. It was decided that each coon would be assigned to one person, Roxy even going as far as to engrave and paint their Aspects into the glass tube of the coon. 

Their grist supply had gotten fairly low as a result but there was enough left for whatever else they decided to alchemize as long as it didn't consume everything. Karkat's alchemized sopor slime was actually pretty neat paired up with the healing coons that could now automatically filter the slime within the coons, though they still had to manually replace the slime which was fine so far. 

Their infirmary had been supplied a bit as well, Roxy appearifying some comfy hospital beds with the help of Jake, alchemizing some medicine and first aid, it was really on it's way to becoming a fully functional place of healing. And their base was on it's way on becoming fully functional as well, it was slow since they couldn't spend all their time in the base, they had their own new lives after all but they did what they could. 

Being honest though, the place felt a little... 

Empty. 

Even with all the cool stuff they'd manage to equip their nifty new hideout, it felt somewhat empty for the quintet of veteran Sburb players. It was a nice place to hang out together but the quiet stillness of the rest of the place was kind of disturbing. They were used to background activity or activity in general, what with Karkat and Dave's time on the meteor that consisted of them, Terezi, Vriska, Rose, The Mayor and even Gamzee.

John had gotten used to the background noise and movement of the consorts, Davesprite, Nannasprite and Jade on the Prospitian Ship. Roxy had grown with the carapacians flittering about her life, some making noise as they snuck into her home while Jake had grown with quiet growls and noise from the lusii of his island. 

So yeah, it was a bit uncomfortable for them.

But like it was stated, they couldn't spend all of their time at the base. 

Even though it was their base. 

Anyway, with everything happen and the disuse of the other rooms, they'd gotten kinda dusty again so John decided to clean the base again. Dave was accompanying him, keeping him company and both having some quality 'them' time. 

Thing was, while they were dating... They had yet to their family and friends about it. It's not like they don't want to, it just, kept slipping their minds. When they began dating, it didn't really change their routine relationship aside from the added sexy moments and sloppy makeouts, though ever since they were in the new universe they had no sexy moments much to Dave's disappointment but he understood, they had other things to focus on. 

Like keeping each other sane and grounded in this new life, save the populace from attacks that came from mysterious glowing rifts of space time that came from gog knows where, keeping the others safe by keeping the them clueless and try to not let them remember anything from the game while trying to live as normally as they could without giving themselves away.

They had their hands full.

"And that should be the last room." John smiled at Dave who had opened the giant glass window to let John blow the dust out. Boy, cleaning was hard even with godly wind powers, mostly because there were so many rooms in the old laboratory. John preferred to have every room clean, not wanting to leave a single room covered in dust despite the fact they weren't really most of the rooms yet, they hadn't planned for every room but still.

John liked keeping everything clean. 

They'd eventually find use for the extra rooms anyway. 

Dave smirked at him, "So... Sloppy makeouts?" He suggested with an eyebrow wiggle, John snorted and laughed at him but laced his hands around Dave's neck as his Knight of Time came closer, his smile taking a flirtatious turn that had Dave grinning wide.

"Sloppy makeouts.


Dirk sighed in frustration, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he stared at his screen. 

Nothing. 

Months of work and-

Nothing

Ever since that weird chat from months ago happened, things have been... weird. He couldn't exactly describe it but there was just this, off feeling he had whenever he looked back to the chat-something he had saved and meticulously tried to find out. Trying his best to trace back the origins of the mysterious-messed up handle that pestered him. 

Which ended up in a complete dead end, no matter what he did, it ended up as a dead end that he couldn't get out or look over. It was like it didn't even exist! Which was near-impossible since he still had the chat saved, whoever was behind it was skilled, too skilled, freakishly skilled. 

And then there were the bizarre codewords that the guy gave him. 

'413 rise up'

For some reason this just made him feel, strange. Like there was something he should know but didn't, but no matter how much he stared at the words it did nothing but just give him this irritating migraine. He tried looking it up but ended up even more lost and confused since there was really nothing specific about the wording at all, '413' and 'rise up'. 413 could refer to the area code of the western third of Massachusetts, or something else, or even John and Jane's birthday? Which was already very creepy that the hacker, he was sure that the other guy was a suspicious trolling hacker, knew about his name and where he'd been and about Jane. And the 'rise up' thing, he couldn't make sense. 

'612 shenanigans'

This one didn't strike him as much as the first codeword, but the numbers still didn't add up. Another area code? Something else? And 'shenanigans' was just, random to put with it. 

'1111 batterwitch'

This one, it felt just like '413', it struck him as important but at the same time, not. It was frustrating, to look at it, if he looked at it too long he felt like his head was going to explode. And he wasn't just talking about the number or the word, it was both, like he should know about it but he couldn't connect it at all! It was, disturbing to say the least, he tried not to stare at the codeword for too long. 

'461 we won' 

Won what? It had to be a prank. But, for some odd reason, it didn't really feel like a prank. Like there was a significance to it. Importance. 

He should tell his Bro, or Roxy who could help him but, for the very same odd and off reason... he didn't. And he got Jane to keep it a secret as well. 

The youngest Strider groaned, palming his tired eyes as he turned off his computer.

That was enough of that for one day. 

Getting off of his chair, he flopped unto his new bed, staring up at the his new ceiling with frustrated and tired eyes. 

Moving to a new place, and a house at that-not an apartment, was... alright. Though the fact he lived near one of his best friends helped, it was still a little weird though. 

At any rate, he was getting used to his new room, it was a little roomier that his old one. He wanted to change the color of the walls though, the white of the room was... a bit much, he wanted to change it to a more comforting color, like orange, or red, or-

Maroon and pink. 

He sat up and felt puzzled, maroon and pink? Damn, he was more tired than he thought. Weird, usually he was alright even though he skipped sleeping an entire two nights or so. Usually. But then again he was trying to figure out the weird chat message thing. He sighed and shook his head, laying down again to look at his ceiling. 

Really though, a change of... color would... be... nice...

His eyes fluttered close and he began to dream. 

...

It was not a nice dream


Dave frowned, phone buzzing insistently in his pocket and just interrupting the very nice mood that was going on between he and John. 

The Heir breathed through his nose, lips disconnecting, "You better answer that, could be important." He murmured quietly, feeling a bit disappointed as he leaned against Dave. They were on one of the comfy hospital beds in the infirmary, with their clothes still intact and on their persons much to Dave's inner lament. And things were just getting good too!

The bright red-eyed Time player huffed before fetching his phone out of his pocket. John just giggled before hugging Dave closely, tucking into his side with closed eyes.

Though when Dave suddenly sat up with furrowed eyes he blinked questioningly at him, peeking at what got his boyfriend's attention.

1:34 pm. prospit park. bring karkat and roxy.
~future you
ps. get ready for more next week, we got company

"Future you sent you a message?" John asked with puzzled but calculating eyes. He frowned, trying to figure out on what to do, "Are you sure Jake and I can't come?" He asked him, not a moment later Dave's phone buzzed. 

no john its good. you and jake arent scheduled to be at the park till next week.
~your future boo

John snorted, "Dork." He He kissed Dave's cheek as the blonde Time player sighed. "Go on, I'll be here in the meanwhile." John told him with a sweet smile, Dave sighed but nodded. It was nearing 1:00 and he needed to nab both Roxy and Karkat on the way to the park.

The Knight changed into clothing before saluting John goodbye, disappearing in a red cog. John waved him goodbye before flopping back to the bed with a disappointed breath. And here he thought he and Dave could spend some alone time together.

John looked at the far ceiling and closed his eyes, a nap kind of sounded nice for now.

...

John opened his eyes, the dream that happened was very confusing and concerning.


Azdaja Knelax was stumped.

Which was unusual for him. The Prince of All Goldbloods, no he was not 'self-proclaimed' shut up Kuprum he was a goddamn Gemra dammit which was highly superior to the lowly Gemnius, didn't do stumped. Currently he was working on the materials that some trolls brought back from various points of when the human, or suspected human at least, hero group's -yet to be fully named, each individual hero had a name but the group in a whole remained nameless or have yet to confirm a group name- fights.

Specifically the materials that burst out when the heroes defeat the 'imps' and monsters that come out of the rift.

It was insane.

It consisted of both material that existed and yet did not, it showed properties that it shouldn't and was entirely unbreakable! Every single one!

The material he was staring at was one example, it was the size of his entire being and yet even a normal rustblooded grub could lift it effortlessly, the physics around it were impossible! It's structure was hexagonal and according to his scanners it seemed to be made out of... ruby. As in like the gem ruby, and yet at the same time; it didn't. His scanners flipped from identifying it as a ruby ore as well as something unidentifiable. And this was the tenth scanner he used, each time was the same! Ruby or not ruby.

And finally the indestructible part... It really was unbreakable. They couldn't get any sample from the material, they couldn't break a piece off it, not even a speck. They had used all the destructive tools they could get their hands on, it was just impossible to break!

Pinching the bridge of his cartilage nub, he groaned and held his hands up in surrender. "That's it! I'm taking a break!" He declared with flourish, turning away from the impossible material and getting out his lab. He needed a break, if he spent more time on it he was going to lose it

He needed his moirail. 

He would have gone to his matesprit but currently she was out exploring. 

The Gemra stalked through the halls of their base, rolling his eyes as he ignored the jabbering nonsense that Gorjek was spouting in another room. Honestly the tealblood could give Galekh a run for his ceagars when he would go on and on about something. And that was Galekh! 

The goldblood shudders to think of a third chatterbox out there that was on par of Galekh and Tagora, surely not. 

Kankri Vantas sniffed and sneezed, pausing from his lecture and giving Karkat a chance to slip away much to the older brother's dismay.

...

He just got a shiver down his vertical vertebrae column.  

Azdaja shook his head, why was he thinking such trivial things when he could go pester his moirail? 

Storming to his moirail's office, he barged in, "Tegiri!" He called out with a huff, not even flinching as he used his superior psionics to stop the incoming barrage of throwing stars. "Oh, so close." He mused with a grin, throwing the sharp eastern Beforan weapon back at his moirail who dodged it expertly. 

Tegiri Kalbur scoffed at him, eyeing him warily, "Azdaja." He greeted in a deadpan but Azdaja could see the small smirk he hid beneath his expression. He grinned at him in return. 

Oh how proud he was when his moirail was chosen to be the leader of the section by Her Benevolence herself! 

"What are you doing here?" He asked as he snatched the throwing stars from their embedded place on his wall, "I thought you were testing out the mystery material again today." 

The goldblood sighed, self-suffering, "That's what I want to complain about." He told him as he went over to the loungeplank in Tegiri's office, it was a comfy thing, "Months of work, and still nothing!" He gruffed, no he didn't whine shut up dearly beloved Tegiri he will not hesitate to take away his sword. 

His tealblooded moirail rose a brow at him and sighed, "Again? Azda, this is the second time this week. If you're not getting anywhere then just put it aside for later." He told him, using the rare little nickname he had for him. It secretly warmed his the pale part of his bloodpusher whenever Tegiri did that, not that he'd freely admit it. It reminded him of his beloved Konyyl calling him 'Daja'. 

Though outwardly he growled, psionics sparking in frustration, "You knowcan't, Teri." Tegiri wandered over to him, sitting besides him to lounge back and let Azdaja lay his head on the other's lap. "It'll fuckin' bother me if I just push it aside without figuring it all out! Besides, Her Benevolence is awaiting a report on the materials again. I can't just tell her I found nothing, again!" He didn't want to disappoint their empress, their kind and benevolently beautiful empress. 

Tegiri understood completely, they both knew that Her Empress wouldn't mind but no troll didn't want to disappoint their monarch. She was too kind in her words but they just felt guilt whenever they couldn't get something done in her name.

She had ruled over Beforus for thousands of sweeps, keeping a gentle but firm hand over her kingdom. Beforus was essentially a peaceful planet but don't think that they were weak. They were actually very strong and could easily take over planets with force but their empress was mostly too kind for that, she liked to settle things diplomatically.

Sometimes they'd think she would be too kind, too weak to decide on war but they'd be reminded that even though she was called Her Benevolence, she was monarch for a reason and not just because she was a fuchsiablood. 

She had earned her position, fighting her own battles in the distant past that no living troll could really remember. 

For all that she was kind, she could equally be cold and cruel. 

Such as what happened sweeps ago. 

Azdaja had to shiver as he remembered on what he'd read about what happened. It was... almost unbelievable to think that the Empress was someone who could smile gently at someone, guiding them and have them flourish underneath her rule but then turn into a cold merciless Empress when needed.

It just reminded them all on how thankful they were that Her Benevolence was a kind ruler with that kind of power and attitude. 

Though it puzzled the troll as to why she had decided to send troll to Earth in secret, have them gather information about the species dominating the Earth. That was until they found out she was looking for specific humans, humans that wore the True Signs, the very first Signs of Trollkind history. 

At first it seemed... both easy and complicated, turns out that humans had something called 'Zodiac Signs', based on the same astrological signs that started the Signs on Beforus bizarrely enough, but they hadn't evolved it into more, staying at the measly but very respected 12 signs. It had been jarring, to see that humans that were born underneath the zodiac stars' sign were considered the sign instead of being assigned at birth by the lusii and fate. 

But unfortunately Her Benevolence revealed that they were looking for really specific humans. Ones that were actually somehow related to the original line of the True Sign Bearers. Like The Excavator, The Psiioniic, The Summoner and such. It was, crazy to think but they trusted their monarch's words, she had yet to lead them astray after all. 

Not to mention she had the support of... The Muse

The Muse was... a mysterious being that had been in troll society since the beginning. Or so it was implied, no one was old enough to confirm, not even Her Benevolence who had grown and raised in The Muse's presence! She was an ancient figure, but before she had only been regaled as myth since she rarely showed herself before the old rulers, she only truly confirmed her existence by raising their Empress from when she was a grub, a juvenile and finally an Empress and stayed by her side as an adviser.

But again, the Empress had rightfully earned her throne regardless of being raised by the Muse. 

Azdaja and Tegiri have only seen the Muse once, and that was when they were chosen for the mission towards Earth. 

Lurking in the background, observing in silence, dressed in black robes with a white spiral on her chest and stars underneath her cloak, her features hidden underneath the black hood. No one knew what the Muse looked like, no one but the Empress. 

"Sitred's group have reported they've found the bearers of the True Signs Le and Taur, or at least suspected bearers. Nothing is for certain yet." Tegiri told him, expression unreadable. 

Azdaja sat up, looking at him in disbelief, "Really?"

His diamond nodded, "Diemen reports on seeing one of the suspected bearers of the True Sign of Ar as well..." This would either lead to good or bad news to report to their empress. 

Hopefully it was good news. 

The goldblood grinned at him, "Do you think we'll find the bearers of Gem and Lib?" He questioned excitedly. He'd always been a fan of the last True Gem Gemini, the Psiioniic. He was so powerful, and he had been the Empress' old moirail! A goldblood! With the top caste! 

Anyway, if these humans were the human incarnate of the Gemini then he'd be ecstatic to meet them.

He wondered just wondered on how The Psiioniic was in real life...

Dexter sneezed, blinking incredulously only to hold back a scream of rage as his sneeze messed up the block chain he had been in the process of making. Great, now he had to start over.


Karkat sighed in relief as he had managed to slip away from Kankri's lecturing from a sneeze. That was damn lucky of him. He hid behind his house, looking around before changing and flying high up above the clouds.

He didn't know what he did this time to incite Kankri's lectures but now wasn't the time to get lectured. 

He got a text from Dave. Or well, future Dave.

karkles, get ready. 1:34 pm, prospit park. daves gonna pick you and roxy up
~future dave

It was 1:25. He didn't have much time. 

He scowled before making a decision as he thought back to Kankri. He tapped into his phone, sending a message just as Dave appeared from a red cog, "Sup Karkles."

"Don't call me that asshole, what's this about Prospit Park?"

"I don't know, wanna find out?"

"I don't exactly have a choice douchebag."

LOOK I'M GONNA CALL IN A FAVOR. I MESSAGED KANKRI I'M AT YOUR PLACE, SO WHEN HE TEXTS OR CALLS YOU CAN YOU PLEASE SAY THAT I'M THERE WITH YOU? THANKS.
~ KK

Sollux frowned as he read the text from Karkat, what? Why would he say that he was at his place when he wasn't? Just what was up with Karkat lately. Unfortunately he did owe Karkat a favor so reluctantly conceded.

He'd ask Karkat later on.


Dirk didn't know where he was, what he was wearing, or what the hell he was doing. 

His vision was blurring in and out and he couldn't focus properly. 

The youngest Strider was wearing something maroon, he couldn't tell, everything was glitching around him like a video game glitch. His surroundings were pixelating randomly and he could barely spot the circular figures in the distance, they looked... smashed together. 

"Dirk?"

He whirled around, and suddenly his vision was clearer but not much. 

In front of him was a figure in bright glowing blue, his sight too messed up to see who it was in front of him.

He squinted at the mysterious person, "Dirk, what's going on? What happened?" The figure asked, coming closer, were they both flying in a black space? "Dirk, talk to me."

"Who the hell are you." 

"You don't remember?"

"I-No, who are you."

"...

"Answer me!"

"You're not-, why are you here if you don't remember? In fact why am  I here? There hasn't been a dream bubble in, months I thought they didn't exist anymore?" Blue asked themselves, their voice was familiar but the pixels made it hard to focus and hear him. "I mean we didn't experience the dream bubbles ever since we got here...Hold on, you splinter, right? J-He told me about that. Is that what this is? A remaindering splinter that you managed to remember? But again, why would I be here with your splinter?"

Dirk glared, "What the hell are you talking about." He snapped, paranoia, irritation, confusion in his tone. He didn't know where he was but he didn't like it.

Blue looked like he was going to answer only to pause, looking around cautiously.

"... We need to leave."

Suddenly they weren't alone anymore.