Fanfic: Like One Sundered Star
Like One Sundered Star
is a Homestuck
fanfiction based on a superhero
Alternate Universe fanfiction called Real Men Wear Tights
. Like One Sundered Star
follows Real Men Wear Tights
until the latter's eighth chapter, when it branches out into a continuity of its own.
The story focuses on the four B1 kids plus Karkat as they navigate the secret world of masked vigilantes and superpowers. Along the way, they get sucked into a sinister plot by a gang called the Midnight Crew, and must fight desperately in order to protect their families and various hometowns and defeat the Crew. Despite the formidable threat that the Crew poses, they are smallfry compared to the dangers from the SBURB universe that begin to make themselves known, including grimdark and grimlight Horrorterrors
, rogue players from the trolls' session, and the lingering after-effects
of having endured significant mental trauma
in a past life. Dysfunction abounds
Oh, and the countdown is on to the end of the world
. No biggie.LOSS
has an intermission fic, Like One Sundered Star - Shit, Let's Be Troll-Heroes
, which follows the heroic (and villainous) adventures of the eleven other trolls. Like One Sundered Star - Our Lady of Pain
is another spinoff, but is nearly completely divergent from the main plot starting from the second chapter.
This trope page is currently in progress.
Like One Sundered Star contains examples of:
- Almighty Janitor: The character with the most comprehensive understanding of events? The one pulling a surprising number of strings from "outside the main storyline"? Ms Paint.
- Alternate Universe: The story is an AU fanfic of Real Men Wear Tights, itself a superhero AU fanfiction of Homestuck. LOSS parallels RMWT up through chapter 8 of the original fic, then branches out into a completely separate and much wider continuity of its own.
- Our Lady of Pain is an AU starting from LOSS's second chapter. Which makes it an AU of an AU of an AU.
- Apocalypse How: Class 5, as in canon. The Reckoning's meteor bombardment will destroy all multicelluar life on Earth. In an ordinary session, this would be the prelude to repopulation with carapacian Exiles. In the broken session, however, the carapacian arrival took place hundreds of years too early and they may die along with Earth's humans and trolls.
- Author Avatar: A Moebius Double-Reacharound example. Not only does Hussie's canon Author Avatar from Homestuck appear as Ms Paint's mysterious upstairs neighbor, but his output is being affected by the writing of Zachal Kynaia, Oriflamme's fan troll Author Avatar.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Diamonds Droog, hands down.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Rose's conflict with Leviathan takes place primarily within her perception of her mind space.
- Berserk Button: When Dave's without technology and has to rely on ASL for communication? Don't grab at his hands. It's the equivalent of shoving a gag in his mouth.
- Black Speech: The voices of the Horrorterrors are painful and harsh even to those comparatively immune to their influence. For Derse dreamers, however, they are a full-on psychic assault complete with headaches and nosebleeds.
- Blood Oath: Karkat and Spades Slick appear to have a blood contract linking them that has carried over from the troll Sgrub session, and Spades has recently renewed it without explaining to Karkat exactly what the terms or side effects might be.
- Brainwashed: Apparently, every single non-ace member of the Midnight Crew is chemically conditioned by mindgrubs to remain loyal to the Crew. As of Chapter 17, the ace members have realized their minds have been tampered with as well, with as-yet unseen consequences. Not to mention the Scratch Kids, who have also been subjected to the Felt's brainwashing though Roxy and Dirk have both managed to retain some autonomy.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cue ball in Kanaya's apartment.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Sollux appears briefly in the main narrative to help track down Rose's white-text computer stalker. He suddenly becomes much more prominent when he helps Terezi and Vriska escape to Canada, and SLBTH reveals that he and Aradia are the only players with awakened dreamselves.
- Cooldown Hug: Between John and Karkat on numerous occasions, as it's a standard moirallegiance technique.
- Continuity Cameo: Karkat is registered as a rustblood, not a mutant, thanks to "the most gracious, forgiving jadeblood in the history of trollkind". Word of God confirmed this to be The Dolorosa.
- The Corruption: What's been happening in Novaya Ukraine since the grimlight influence arrived.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Crichton - he's Diamonds's minion of choice when running misinformation and smear campaigns by inserting himself into criminal investigations, but he's too violently obsessed with Diamonds herself to be useful for other work, particularly guard duty.
- Darker and Edgier: Even in the early chapters, LOSS focuses much more on the dark side of superhero culture, the effects trolls have had on human history, and the kids' internal turmoil than the relatively light-hearted RMWT. Later chapters involve a great deal of violence and Body Horror.
- Determinator: This universe's Clubs Deuce is a cheerfully villainous version, completely unrelenting in his transcontinental pursuit of Jade. Scratch counted on both Clubs' ineffectual combat and his dogged pursuit, as his real goal was to delay Jade making contact with the other kids, not to actually capture her.
- Die or Fly: Future!Dave pulls this on his own past self in order to activate his time travel powers. Past!Dave's only previously managed brief time-stops but learns to travel backwards when Future!Dave throws him out of a 13th-story apartment. (His trajectory is into the building's empty dumpster, so Dave rewinds to when it was full of trash to cushion his fall.) Learning to step forward in time, instead of back, requires being cornered by the Midnight Crew while protecting Oriole and PM.
- Doorstopper: As of chapter 18, the fic itself (not counting SLBTH) is over 700,000 words long and the longest Homestuck fanfic on AO3 and among the top 30 longest fics... and the combined SBURB session hasn't even started yet. The author plans for a second intermission fic after chapter 24, and expects that the main fic won't even be close to ending at that point.
- The Dragon: Diamonds Droog to Doc Scratch. She chafes within the confines of the Midnight Crew-Felt merger, but recognizes that the Crew wouldn't have survived a prolonged turf war against the Scratch-backed Felt.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Never wholly loyal to begin with, Diamonds begins to sacrifice her usual professionalism in favor of subtly sabotaging Scratch's plans in Seattle after her interactions with Sharpshooter bring her pre-existing discontent to the fore. In Chapter 17, she goes outright rogue when she discovers that Clubs Deuce has been fully brainwashed. Suuuuuure he's not your moirail, lady.
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: Jo Crocker may have remembered the most about the kids' origins thanks to her dreams of her past life in addition to her ectobiologically detached harlequin hands. Karkat also has particularly nasty nightmares that center on John's in-game deaths. The White Queen mentions that it's extremely abnormal for Knights to have Seer-like dreams, but there's so much else going on that none of the main characters have really stopped to wonder about it yet.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Diamonds Droog goes rogue after seeing that Doc Scratch has brainwashed Clubs Deuce.
- Eldritch Abomination: Horrorterrors, both grimdark and grimlight, qualify by default. Rose and Rue repeatedly describe them as "many-angled" and "blood-brined".
- Faking the Dead: Jo Egbert is rather not dead, having rendezvoused with Grandpa Harley in chapter 9.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Kanaya faces a great deal of prejudice as jadeblood trolls are expected to cloister themselves at adulthood and devote their lives to tending the Mother Grubs.
- Karkat's blood mutation has to remain a carefully guarded secret, lest he face immediate culling.
- Humans and trolls alike are often prejudiced against carapacians, leading to the xenocide of this world's Holocaust.
- Gut Punch: Arc II, the definitive point of divergence from RMWT, opens with John's gale-force freakout at Bro and then shifts almost immediately to Rose's grimdark possession and rampage through New York City. We're not in the Medium anymore, Toto...
- Heroic Safe Mode: John keeps his civilian self separate from his identity as the Heir of Breath for his mental health. On the villainous side, we have DS-2409, who obeys Felt orders, and Dirk who is haplessly trying to keep his team from fully succumbing to Die's brainwashing.
- Hive Mind: Horrorterrors again - the grimdark ones tend to be picky about assimilating new minds, but the grimlight variety are characterized by massive feeding frenzies in which they swallow the minds of anyone unfortunate enough to be killed by them.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Everyone ends up making awful puns at some point or another. Dave fights it as long as he can, but between John and Jade's influence he's using vaguely suggestive puns as a way to troll Karkat within days.
- Knife Nut: Spades Slick, by a landslide.
- Literary Allusion Title: The title itself comes from Charles Algernon Swinburne's "Atalanta in Calydon"; in addition, every chapter starts with a quote from other works by Swinburne.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Even just in terms of POV characters, there are a LOT. The fic has 5 main POV sections each chapter—one for each of the B1 kids plus Karkat. In addition to these main sections, various other characters get their own POV sections: all the carapaces, some Crew members, guardians, and some OCs; even Gl'bgolyb! All in all, there are over a dozen POV characters not even counting the SLBTH intermission, which includes POVs for all the A2 trolls not yet mentioned in the main fic (Word of God says they will crossover into the main plot eventually).
- Mad Scientist: Die qualifies, experimenting with chemical and surgical behavioral conditioning.
- Man in White: Doc Scratch for the bad guys, and Dad Egbert on the hero's side.
- The Masquerade: The civilian identities of superheroes seem to be protected more by social convention than by foolproof security measures (as discussed in more detail under Paper-Thin Disguise), but even the exceptionally lax Dave and Bro have a basic code of silence regarding their powers and other heroes' identities. The few individuals who remember the B1 game are maintaining a Masquerade within the superhero Masquerade to conceal the impeding Apocalypse How.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The recap of the B1 SBURB session. The B1 players (and Kanaya and Karkat) are now young adults instead of children, and much more capable of comprehending the moral implications of their actions and experiences. Grown-up John, who is mindful of his responsibilities to others to the point of neurosis, is horrified at his previous incarnation's blithe dismissal of the Reckoning and the destruction of Earth.
- Never Was This Universe: Though there is no set point of divergence from Universe B1, trolls and humans evolved presumably around the same time, and this has drastically affected the course of major historical events. The arrival of the carapacians may qualify as a case of AlienSpaceBats, leading most notably to Hitler expanding the focus of the Holocaust to include xenocide.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Diamonds Droog to Hemogoblin. You don't fuck around when Diamonds Droog is in town...
- One Bullet Left: The Black Queen subjects Dave to a Fake Kill Scare to ensure this trope. There is only one bullet left in the pistolkind she gives him, so if he turns it on her, he's got no way to reach god-tier. Dave being Dave, he still manages to lose the pistol at exactly the wrong moment, but his future self destroys the roof of the crypt so he dies on the quest bed anyway.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The mutated abominations in the remnants of the Ukraine are horrifically twisted corpses puppeted by Gl'bgolyb's will.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with throughout the story.
- John as Heir and Karkat as Hemogoblin, but only with each other. Practically everyone else figures it out within minutes of meeting their civilian identities.
- Dave likes to pretend that taking his shades off when superheroing actually fools some people, although he also doesn't put up much resistance when they ID him as Flashstep. Bro doesn't even bother pretending his identity as Puppetmaster is a secret.
- Rose has to keep a very low profile after the incident with Leviathan, lest anyone realize that Dark Star looks exactly like a half-dressed Seer of Light. Kanaya has to drastically redesign Rose's costume so that it really does obscure her identity.
- Parental Abandonment: Rue Lalonde left Rose alone for three years to try and throw the Midnight Crew off her trail. When they finally reunite again, their relationship has not only gone down the tubes but into the Marianas Trench.
- The Power of Blood: Karkat's super powers are in his blood, which he can exploit to harden shed blood into sharp weapons or heal injuries of varying severity. Spades Slick has now exhibited limited blood manipulation thanks to his pact with Karkat.
- Reincarnation: A necessary side effect of the Scratch - literally everyone is a reincarnated version of themselves. While carapacians do not reincarnate in the traditional sense, they tend to repeat personalities and actions according to the whim of paradox space, and each ectobiological clone has the capacity to spontaneously recall their past clone counterparts' lives. However, even the Queens rarely remember more than the last 2 or 3 sessions in any detail. Clubs Deuce is the only known carapacian with constant access to memories from almost all of his past lives. The current Spades Slick can recall his life in the trolls' session but little more.
- The Reveal: This is a post-Scratch universe, right? So doesn't that mean there should be player versions of the B1 guardians? Turns out that Jane, Jake, Dirk, and Roxy DO exist, but all four are under the control of Doc Scratch. Which suggests a very dark answer to the second question: what happened to the B2 guardians?
- Shout-Out: Very, very many, including numerous pop culture quotes, the appearance of Hannibal guest stars in Chicago, and an account on the supernatural forums Rose visits that goes by the handle huntersAnonymous.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Grimdark/grimlight corruption brings out the worst in everyone. Just ask New York, Los Angeles, and potentially Washington DC.
- The Speechless:
- Dave is mute and relies on a voice-synthesizer collar for speech. When it's broken, he has to fall back on typed Pesterchum messages and American Sign Language. The only people around who understand ASL are carapacians and Bro. Dave was not always mute; Bro recalls listening to his first words in chapter 16. Whether or not Dave's lost voice has something to do with Diamonds Droog's kidnapping attempt or with his previous incarnation's throat being slit at age 13 has yet to be seen...
- WV also qualifies as his carapacian telepathy/sign language is no longer functioning, likely due to whatever is also causing him to spontaneously erupt into green flames. Efforts are being made to teach him regular sign language but the efforts are being made by Dave so they're about 90% trolling.
- Stuff Blowing Up: All the damn time, to the point that Seattle is on the brink of being declared either a war zone or the site of ongoing terrorism.
- Telepathy: All carapacians communicate using a combination of sign language, telepathy, and verbal clicks. All three elements have to be present for the message to get through clearly but the method seems to work across all human and troll languages, including signed ones.
- That Man Is Dead: Reincarnated Davesprite gives his name as "Oriole". Dave calls him out on this, as they're both obsessive enough to know that his wings are from a different bird species. Oriole replies that the past associated with "Crow" is better left buried.
- They Fight Crime: What do you do when you're born with magical abilities from a world-destroying videogame you'll one day have to play? Why, vigilante justice, of course!
- Took a Level in Badass: According to future!Dave, Oriole takes a pretty big one after Bro decides to train him up.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: John's god-tier ability to dematerialize into a gust of wind first manifests itself when he's driven to the emotional brink by Bro's taunting. He travels from Seattle to Houston in a matter of a couple minutes.
- Undying Loyalty: Knight-class players function best when protecting others from immediate harm. This is taken to its logical conclusion, with a sizable outright stat bonus for pledging service to another character (especially a Prince or Heir). In Karkat's case, this takes the form of a Blood Oath, such as the one that binds him to Spades Slick. Future!Dave implies he's used this buff at least once and possibly several times.
- Karkat was never going to be able to defeat Diamonds Droog in their fight, but he only really got curbstomped after sending Jade and John away.
- In the battle against Dark Star, Dave holds up just fine while ushering a group of schoolchildren to safety but falls under Leviathan's influence as soon as they're gone.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Oriole and Dave walk around Houston together without drawing much attention from anyone except the Midnight Crew. This despite the fact that Dave is carrying multiple swords and Oriole is orange from head to toe, including his massive wings.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- Diamonds Droog had no qualms about being assigned to kill 3 year-old Dave.
- SBURB as a whole. Karkat finds the most disturbing element of his dreams about the game to be the extreme trauma inflicted on children.