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To See Yourself Differently

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Unknown Islands aren't normally found everyday. 

Sure there were a ton of uninhabited islands all around the world but discovering new islands wasn't that common anymore, not since humanity managed to evolve and develop their technology and transport to go all over the world, exploring what they can and trying to see what their planet has in store for them- or to re-explore what was forgotten in the past, i.e. ancient civilizations, hidden temples of old and the like.

There were tons of them, all over the world, discovered by humans, by those seeking adventure and exploring the unknown- it was a fascinating and exciting thing. To those who sought out the unknown, who answered the call of it and paved their way for others to follow in their footsteps or to seek it out on their own and discover it themselves for the first time. Ancient areas, temples, civilizations buried underneath the ground was an exciting dream come true.

And not only that, the things they discover from them are truly magnificent. Near-forgotten cultures, clues to secrets or other places hidden in another place, treasure beyond comprehension- that was another cause that fueled adventurers and explorers alike. 

It was a cause of excitement whenever something new was discovered within an old place, an overlooked secret text, a clue that was missed but was now reconsidered, crumbs of mystery left to be solved by modern humanity or to be left speculated when time worked against them and they couldn't solve it completely. Yet.

But back to the main topic here; unknown islands.

They weren't common, not anymore, not since the olden age where boats were mostly made of wood and manned by sailors who used the stars as a guide and believed that there were mermaids and sirens and other fantastical mythological creatures that swam in the oceans that they were in. When Gods were more believed in, water deities that would cause havoc unless given sacrifice or worshipped accordingly. 

But now, it was a rare sight to see a completely unknown island, one that was unexplored by any human life- or at least by any outsiding human force other than the locals that kept on their island. 

Suddenly though, there were news of a new island found. One completely new and uncharted whatsoever from whatever map there was. 

It's like it came out of nowhere.

Appearing within the middle of the ocean.

Uncharted territory.

Ripe for the exploring.

When that was known and realized, there was certainly a fuss over it.

But the one to come victorious over it was one single billionaire that managed to have them all beat to it.

And that one single billionaire was Jake Harley.

A thirty year old entrepreneur, single father, billionaire, adventurer.

He had gotten the company of Skaianet from his grandfather, a previously multi-million company that he turned into a multi-billion company through hard work and more. 

It was actually because of him that they had found the island and he had managed to claim it so he, himself could explore the unexplored island. Though not without a cost, the government had interest in it and were quite annoyed by Jake's bold claim, they pestered the man until he reluctantly agreed to report his findings to the government just so Jake could have them off his back and be able to explore the magnificently mysterious island.

And now, he was going to explore that island.

But he wouldn't be doing it alone.

Oh no, he brought his friends with him to the island- after building a place for them to stay and live in of course. A base of operations that doubled as a mansion for them all, a vacation mansion since it was the beginning of summer after all and they had brought their children along with them.

Not only them, a lot of his own crew, the ones he had hired to help him had brought their children along as well, and he certainly didn't mind, the more the merrier and the children could get an exciting summer! And perhaps learn a thing or two, maybe learn or gain the love for adventure- he certainly hoped so.

And so, the newest unknown, unexplored island was now being explored.

Though what they may find on the island...

Green eyes behind circular glasses sparkled as they took in the surroundings that were around them. A bright grin on the owner of the those bright green eyes. 

"Oh my god, this is so cooool~!" "Careful Jade pumpkin! Don't go anywhere without us!" 

Jade Harley giggled as she looked back at her father, "Don't worry Dad! I'm not going anywhere!" She shouted back, bouncing in place from where she was. The thirteen year old girl cheered from the bottom of the stairs of the boat that she and the others had arrived on. Her father, the infamous billionaire Jake Harley, was at the top of the stairs, smiling down at her. "Come on, come on!" She urged, wanting her dad off the boat as well as everyone else.

"Yeah, move it old man, we're not getting any younger here." A masculine voice said from behind, Jake Harley looked behind him to see a blond man with triangular glasses perched on his nose and an orange hat secure on his head, he wore a lazy smirk and was carrying a smaller blond underneath his arm. The smaller blond didn't seem to mind and was more focused on his phone. "I got precious cargo with me right now, I wanna put it down on the dock soon so I can get the rest of the equipment down and set up?" 

The green-eyed man scoffed but stepped aside, "Dirk, I'm only a few years older than you, I am not an old man!" Jake jokingly said with faux-offense. Dirk Strider merely rolled his eyes underneath his shades and stepped down the stairs while carrying his son- Dave Strider. "And good morning to you Dave, how's Dirk's armpits?" Jake asked the distracted blond young just-teen that was one of his daughter's and son's best friends. 

"Amazingly horrible, I'm going to smell of Dad's axe and orange deodorant. He should switch to apple deodorant immediately." Dave replied with a small smirk only to let out a laugh as his father jostled him up and down, Dave kept a tight hold on his phone as Dirk started walking down the steps. "Hey, watch it!"

Dirk merely snorted at him, "Little shit, I retake my 'precious cargo' comment. Clearly this is a pack of sass and apple obsession." He said nonchalantly as he made his way down. Jake laughed at the Strider duo, though he looked back when he heard three pairs of footsteps behind him, he blinked and beamed at the three incoming people while Dave complained.

"I never asked for you to pick me up and call me anything!" 

Bright young laughter was heard from the boat and Dave flushed slightly before looking up to see his best friend leaning against the railing on the boat to see him being carried around by his dad. "Wow, that looks like fun! Hey Dave, is it fun?!" A boy his age, maybe a bit younger, called out to him with grinning buck-teeth and sparkling blue eyes behind square-framed glasses. John Egbert grinned down at him as his older brother and mother came to look behind him.

Dave smothered his flush and sent him a grin, "It's pretty cool. Perks to having a strong dad, kind sucks that I'll stink of orange after this." He commented before grunting when Dirk finally let go of him- he had been somewhat ready for it and ended up stumbling slightly. Behind him, Jade laughed, it was similar to John's and that was a given since they were brother and sister. "Woah, a warning would've been nice dad." 

"Nah, you ended up doing okay."

"Dirk, Dave's right, a warning probably would've been more appropriate- or rather, not dropping him period?" A feminine voice called out to the orange-eyed Strider from the boat, right beside John was his mother, Jane Egbert- Jake's ex-wife. Though they were divorced, they were still quite close friends. Jake gave her a fond grin, something the light blue-eyed woman returned as she shook her head when Dirk just sent her a smirk. 

John snickered before turning to pester the older male that was his other side, "James, James- pick me up! Carry me like Uncle Dirk did to Dave!" He pleaded to his older half-brother. Jane's first born who had came from Jane's first husband who had died. James Egbert had clear dark blue eyes and brown hair, he hadn't gotten the gene which required him to wear glasses twenty-four seven much to the envy of the rest of his family but did tend to wear them when he was reading. 

James snorted, shaking his head, "Now now John, that looked a bit dangerous. I don't think I like the thought of carrying you that way." He said much to the disappointment of his younger brother, but, if James had any significant weakness it would be John. John just gave him wide innocent eyes and a begging pout and like that James' will crumbled and he continued, "I'll just carry you another way I suppose." John yelped as James scooped him up, laughing when the older Egbert physically handles him and maneuvered him to sit on his shoulders. 

"James!" Jane Egbert said with a scolding tone, though her face was a bit amused. "John!"

"Don't worry mother I have him." "Yeah Jimmy has me! You know he's like, super careful and strong! He won't let me fall or drop me or anything! Kinda boring if you ask me." "Hush John and enjoy being carried."

Jane sighed, then looked over to Jake for any help. Her ex-husband could only give her an amused smile as he stepped back to let his step-son and actual son down the stairs so they could join the rest of their friends and family on the dock. "Oh you--" She started but then shook her head and followed after her sons, Jake laughed as she lightly slapped his shoulder as she did. 

"What is John doing?" 

Jake jumped in surprise at the sudden young feminine voice that sounded from behind him, "Dear me- Rose sweetie, you must stop appearing out of nowhere, I'll have a literal heart attack one day I swear!" He complained, whirling around to face the owner of the familiar voice.

It's owner was one Rose Lalonde, twin to Dave Strider and the fourth and final friend to John and Jade's adorable little group of friends. It reminded him of when he, Jane, Dirk and Roxy were younger- only these children were much closer in age then the four of them had been, with him and Jane being much older than Dirk and Roxy. It was a shame but they still got along nonetheless. 

Rose smiled serenely at him, dark lavender eyes glinting with a hidden tone of mischief that Jake tended to be wary of. Despite her acting so polite- she really inherited her mother's mischief. "I do not appear out of nowhere Uncle Jake, I merely silently saunter." She mused before continuing on, "My question still stands though, what was John doing?" 

The green-eyed billionaire sighed but smiled at the young Lalonde, "Oh nothing much, he just wanted to mimic the way Dirk was carrying Dave around with James- though James is doing a better and safer job at that." He informed her, cocking his head, his smile grew. "You excited to see your mom again Rose?"

"Ah, I should've known. I was there to witness Dave be picked up by daddy dearest... Excited wouldn't be the word I'd use however yes, I am looking forward to see mother soon." Rose answered with a soft smile as she went towards the stairs to join her friends and family down at the docks. 

Jake smiled, chuckling as he hears the chorus from the children on the dock- "Rose! Hey!" "Finally sis, I was wondering when you'd show up." "Rooose! Come on! We have to explore the island!" 

"Not until you settle at the manor sweetie!" Jake told Jade from the boat, "You all go ahead towards the manor- Roxy should be waiting there for you, I'll be right behind you!" 

Shouts and calls of confirmation and excitement answer him and he grins.

Looking out to the beautiful and wonderfully mysterious island before him, he was looking forward to pilfering whatever secrets that were lying in the shadows. His team had been the first to discover this island and it would be the first to explore it.

There was an adventure and journey on the horizon- Jake just knew it.

"Ugh, I can't believe Mom had us ditch our summers just to go on this stupid stupid island thing!"

"Meenah please, Feferi couldn't leave you alone all summer." 

"Bullcrap! Ma' could've just left me, Aranea and the others-"

"With no one to supervise you? No, it was for the best we took you all with us Meenah. And don't say you could have supervise yourselves, who here was the one who got suspended for brawling in the cafeteria?" 


"That's what I thought."

Aradia Megido said with a sigh as she watched the daughter of her dear friend huff and grumble to herself. Her own daughter was somewhere within the house, she was currently escorting Meenah back towards said house- or rather the mansion really since it was so big. Meenah had tried to sneak off and steal one of the boats on the dock, impulsively deciding to 'head home' back by herself. 

Meenah Peixes was one stubborn and impulsive girl, though she probably got that from Eridan, he had been just as impulsive and stubborn when he had been younger but at least he hadn't been so troublesome. The fact Vriska, the Vriska they had known when they were younger, was her role model probably didn't help one moment.

"At least you're not spending your summer in summer school Meenah, isn't that a perk?" She questioned tiredly, handling her friend's children was always an exhausting experience, handling her own daughter was tiring but at least Damara didn't actively look for a fight! Even though it was guarantee that she'd finish one if she had to, something Aradia was secretly proud of. That's her girl. 

Meenah shrugged, still pouting and grumbling, "I would'a skipped out on that anyway." She mumbled causing Aradia to sigh once more. What a rebellious teenager Meenah had become. 

Aradia thought carefully before telling the punk girl, "Look, if you behave and at least be polite to our boss and his incoming friends and family, I'll try to convince your mom to take you with her during scuba diving trips and or whatever water-related adventure that'll be involved?" She bargained, if only so Meenah wouldn't do anything reckless in the face of her and the other's boss Jake Harley, the top time billionaire and their current benefactor, boss and etc.

Braided black hair whirled in the air as Meenah turned to look at her, face blank and searching, her fuchsia-colored eyes stared at her firmly before she smirked, "Give me a split to whatever treasure you guys find and we'll have a deal." She replied with a greedy and mischievous grin. 

Aradia's eye twitched before she released a third and final sigh, "I'll see what I can do." She finally answered with a defeated tone. At least now Meenah would be calmer, somewhat complacent and hopefully be on her best behavior. She and Meenah paused as they heard a certain noise, looking back towards the dock, they spotted an far-off figure of an incoming boat. 

That was him, Jake Harley was nearing the island.

"Ah, there he is, come on Meenah, let's get back to the mansion." Aradia urged, wanting to be there so she could join Roxy Lalonde in greeting them when they came- they would've considered the dock but after some message from Jake, Roxy decided to just greet them at the mansion instead. 

The Harley Mansion was a big place, tall, wide and more than enough for everyone that was on-board for this exploration mission. The expedition itself would take place soon after everyone was settled within the building and nice island area that they were situated in. Said island was absolutely magnificent as far as Aradia could tell, it had plenty of flora, exotic and lovely. The fauna they've encountered so far were harmless, mostly amphibians, avians, some small mammals and such, they hadn't seen any major predators on the island but they were plenty equipped and ready for any possible animal that may be on the island.

Nepeta Leijon was in charge for that, one of the best animal handlers out there though she loved working with felines the best. She was possibly the strongest woman Aradia knew.

Kanaya Maryam was their florist and gardener, in charge of looking after the farms that would provide them their organic foods and such. Not to mention she was an excellent seamstress, she would be able to fix up their clothing or whatever else need be.

Equius Zahhak was one of their top mechanics, Aradia heard that another big shot mechanic and technologist was coming with Jake and she was curious if this Dirk Strider would be able to handle Equius and his mastery of technology- not to mention his, rather strong personality. Roxy Lalonde wasn't too bad herself at machines but she admitted that she was better at coding.

Terezi Pyrope was the head of their security, and was also trained to handle various situations like animal attacks and such, the fact she was legally and almost actually blind meant nothing. She had an extraordinary and somewhat unnatural sense of smell, taste and hearing.

Sollux Captor was one of their top programmers, and was-is Aradia's husband, he was in charge of collecting digital data of whatever they found. He'd run the needed programs they would need for a few things, historical recognition, physical scans, photo screening- you get the picture. 

Vriska Serket was a friend and a treasure hunter, she would be doing a lot of the physical explorations and was an expert when it came to traps and the like. 

Tavros Nitram was also an animal handler, but instead of handling animals like Nepeta, he was better at identifying them, taming and domesticating them. However on this trip, it wasn't planned that they'd tame or domesticate any animal, so Tavros' main job was the identify the fauna of the island.

Eridan Ampora and Feferi Peixes were marine biologists and professional underwater adventurers, they were great for scuba diving adventures, Feferi especially since she could handle the depth pressure of the seas better than her ex-husband could. Eridan was also a damn good sailor, so he was in charge of ships and such.

Aradia Megido, that's her obviously, was an adventurer and an archaeologist. Her job was very obvious, she'd run around with Vriska and recognize whatever ancient architecture there was and whatever type of ruins was laying about.

Gamzee Makara was another gardener of the team, and also a cook. A lot of them could cook but none really better than Gamzee, he was also ridiculously strong so whenever there was heavy lifting to do, he was on the job for it.

Karkat Vantas was their manager, their leader, or rather their glorified babysitter. He made sure they were all kept in line and made sure things ran smoothly. He also wasn't too bad in fighting to he had a hand on security and more, secretly they always considered him the mother hen of the group, even more than Kanaya, which was really saying something. 

They were a full team, with kids, and a complicated past entangled with each other.

But they were a stable team of friends and family.

Aradia would look between her friends and laugh, feeling lucky. Really lucky.

As new people arrive on the island, something lied in wait in the background.

Aradia and Jake were right to suspect on ruins and adventure over the horizon and on the island. 

Though, what they might find within those ruins- the contents of the journey and adventure on the horizon...

It certainly wasn't going to be a simple summer.