Fan Fic: 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. The author also plans to write a second intermission fic by the time Chapter 24 is finished.
This trope page is currently in progress.
Like One Sundered Star contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: While none of the guardians are all that good at being parents, Dad Egbert beats out all the rest.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bad Black Barf: John vomits up black, oily sludge in his mind space while being tormented by the Trickster. It's unclear whether this was a hallucination or not, but the presence of said oil seems to be a manifestation of deep depression and self-loathing.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Rose's conflict with Leviathan takes place primarily within her perception of her mind space. Later, the confrontation with the Trickster takes place primarily in John's 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: Die's got his claws in a substantial chunk of the cast at this point.
- 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.
- The Scratch Kids have also been subjected to the Felt's brainwashing though Roxy and Dirk have both managed to retain some autonomy.
- And now, with Chapter 19, we find out that Samuel Egbert was a synchronized Felt agent long before John's meteor arrived. Therefore, John has been brainwashed for the entire story.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The story itself is shown to be written by the author's fantroll, Zachal. This becomes very interesting when Bro Strider and Oriole stumble into her apartment in the middle of a fight with the Midnight Crew in chapter 21.
- 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.
- Cryptic Background Reference: In Chapter 18, Doc Scratch muses on the rumor that Leviathan once 'paid court to the Lord Azathoth himself,' and Leviathan confirms this rumor later in their conversation. The Fridge Horror really kicks in when it's hinted that by Lord, they might well be referring to a Lord English-esque Horrorterror, with all the destructive power that entails. Not to mention that in the Cthulhu mythos, Azathoth is called 'the Lord of All Things' and is the predecessor of many of Lovecraft's deities.
- 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 20, the fic itself (not counting SLBTH) is over 890,000 words long, the longest Homestuck fanfic on AO3 and the 17th longest fic on the entire site...and the combined SBURB session hasn't even started yet. With SLBTH included, the series stands at over 990,000 words, and will probably break a million before chapter 20 is finished. 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. (As of last count, she has at least 34 chapters planned for the main fic.)
- 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.
- Eldritch Abomination: Horrorterrors, both grimdark and grimlight, qualify by default. Rose and Rue repeatedly describe them as "many-angled" and "blood-brined".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Diamonds Droog goes rogue after seeing that Doc Scratch has brainwashed Clubs Deuce.
- Evil All Along: Dad Egbert, of all people.
- Faking the Dead: Jo Egbert is not dead, a fact first established through her rendezvous with cyborg!Grandpa Harley in chapter 9. In chapter 19, we see how she survived first the meteor strike, and then her son's sudden but inevitable betrayal.
- 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, or at least end up in some form of caretaking profession.
- 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.
- Forceful Kiss: John's Trickster mode inflicts several of these on Karkat in an I Have You Now, My Pretty scenario.
- 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. And then Doc Scratch turns up and it becomes obvious that there WILL be a SBURB session in this 'verse.
- Healing Factor: All players seem to be unnaturally resilient and quick to recover from major injuries, but John, Jade, and Karkat stand out from the pack: John and Jade have some innate Supertoughness, while Karkat's blood powers allow him to heal almost any soft tissue damage, or at least scab over the wound until he has time to focus.
- 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 vs. Dirk who is haplessly trying to keep his team from fully succumbing to Die's brainwashing, and John's Trickster Mode against his cover identity.
- 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.
- Horrifying the Horror: Gamzee to Malā'ikah. The mere sight of him is enough to send a full-fledged Eldritch Abomination fleeing in terror, much to Eridan's disgruntlement. Which raises the question - what did Gamzee do to it to deserve that kind of reaction?
- 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.
- A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: While the kiss probably wasn't required, Malā'ikah still pulls one of these with Eridan to seal their new tanglebuddy status.
- Man in White: Doc Scratch for the bad guys, and Dad Egbert on the heros' side. Well, until he reveals his true loyalties.
- 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.
- Meaningful Name: The reveal of the ominously titled Sburb Omega. Also qualifies as an Oh, Crap moment for the audience.
- 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.
- Necessary Fail: One of the reasons why the future Dave delays Karkat and the others from rushing immediately to John when they realize the latter is in danger is that while John being forced into Trickster mode by his father and having the last of his sanity shattered in the process is bad, any attempts to change this key event lead to doomed timelines where Dave (and presumably many others) die horribly. Aradia has mentioned dealing with this as well.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Spectacularly averted with all of Dave's time traveling selves - they freely interact, though sometimes they omit vital information not just to avoid altering key past events, but also as way to spite themselves for past/future grievances.
- 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...
- Ominous Message from the Future: Any time future Dave is on screen.
- 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 the Puppeteer 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.
- Power Born of Madness: It has yet to be determined whether Gamzee's Rage powers stem from his own madness, or are just enhanced by it.
- 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.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The Trickster may qualify as a Type C.
- 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?
- Word of God seems to have Jossed the theory that the alpha kids will be players, but we're still dealing with a Lying Creator, so it could simply be an attempt at misdirection.
- Sadist: Some of the other villains may qualify, but the Trickster's whole-hearted glee at being free to emotionally and physically torture John borders on the sexual.
- Shout-Out: Abundant pop culture and meme references (especially in Dave's sections). The most prominent examples:
- The Chicago chapters are essentially a crossover with an AU of Hannibal.
- One account on the supernatural forums Rose visits has the handle huntersAnonymous.
- John quotes the Joker in his POV sections for several chapters before his trickster mode finally activates.
- More recently, an Arch-Deaconstructor and Siege Titan (giant war-carapacians the size of large buildings, piloted by smaller carapacians) are their way towards the icy coastline to potentially duke it out with a giant alien sea monster...
- 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.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Gamzee appears to employ this casually; Jade, whose space powers can usually detect bodies near her, is spooked when Gamzee abruptly shows up without warning in a previously empty room, doubling as a Mirror Scare.
- 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.
- Superpowered Evil Side:
- Grimdark/grimlight corruption brings out the worst in everyone. Just ask New York, Los Angeles, and potentially Washington DC.
- So does brainwashing in someone already capable of a highly dangerous Trickster Mode.
- Tears of Blood: People affected by Die's mind-controlling grubs tend to suffer from this, along with extreme nosebleeds. John's repeated nosebleeds whenever the game is mentioned may have been an early warning sign of his being brainwashed, or been the result of his abusing the Eye of the Storm fraymotif.
- 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 minutes.
- Troubled Fetal Position: John in Chapter 20.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Chapter 20, Dave swears fealty to John, activating the fraymotif [I Pledge Myself to Thee]. Future!Dave's voice collar is sky-blue to indicate his allegiance, and he implies he may have made other pledges for further bonuses.
- 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.
- Wham Episode:
- The first instance is the Gut Punch in Arc II/Chapter 4, when Rose goes grimdark, John freaks out at Bro so badly that he teleports halfway across the country, and Doc Scratch's presence confirms that there WILL be a SBURB session.
- Chapter 11: Feferi is being influenced by Gl'bgolyb and the Felt have been brainwashing their operatives with mindgrubs.
- Chapter 14: The Post-Scratch players appear for the first time...as villains controlled by the Felt. Dave travels back from after the start of the session with ominous tidings.
- Chapter 17: Ms. Paint's "upstairs neighbor" is Andrew Hussie and he's being influenced by Zachal Kynaia, Oriflamme's Author Avatar.
- Chapter 19: Samuel Egbert is a "synchronized" Felt operative and has also subjected John to brainwashing.
- World of 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.
- 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.