Sollux rubbed his temples, taking his glasses off as he glared at the screen in front of him. He had struggled with this code for months; it was an upgrade to Trollian. It had seemed simple at first; create a code that could allow video interfacing between three or more trolls, but as Sollux delved deeper and deeper into it he realized just how complicated the coding was. He had always loved writing random codes to send to his friends and freeze their computers or various other pranks, but now he was attempting his first serious code and he couldn't get it right. He gave up, shutting down his program in frustration and opening Trollian; searching for a friend he could rant to.

apocalypseArisen [AA] began trolling twinArmageddons [TA]

AA: hi my name's aradia
AA: im 0ne 0f terezis flarping friends
AA: i have a c0mputer pr0blem she said you could fix

Sollux stared at the chat, raising an eyebrow. He vaguely remembered her name from talking to his moirail. Terezi had then gone on to mention her computer troubles, but he thought that conversation had been months ago. He never left his hive anymore so he was never sure of the passage of time. His hands hovered over the keys, hesitant. He eventually typed back.

TA: 2o you're one of TZ'2 friiend2?
TA: ii'll 2ee iif ii can help
TA: my name ii2 2ollux
AA: thank y0u s0 much
AA: s0 d0 y0u need t0 c0me t0 my hive 0r
TA: ju2t don't touch your computer for a few miinute2
TA: ii can fiix the problem from here
AA: 0kay

Sollux tapped a few keys and bypassed her firewall. As his computer scanned hers for any problems, he sat back and replaced his glasses on the bridge of his nose, thinking about this troll. Aradia. Her troll tag was interesting; apocalypseArisen. It wasn't often that Sollux met someone else who even cared when he talked about the end of the world; let alone shared his interests. The thought made him smile. Maybe they could become close friends.

He didn't have many close friends. Only Karkat and Terezi. Sure, he had a friend list of various other trolls, but he didn't talk to them as often. Terezi was a pretty "kiicka22 moiiraiil" but she found his coding and doom-bringing "COMPL3T3LY PO1NTL3SS 4ND 4 B1T OF 4 BUZZK1LL." Of course, Sollux then told her he would rather go blind before he sat through another mock trial. Terezi had gotten a kick out of that.

A message flashed on his computer and he leaned forward to read it. Something had detected him trying to check Aradia's computer, and it had kicked him out. He frowned at the code. It wasn't a security program that had denied him access. Somehow the virus had a way to protect itself. This would be a hands-on job.

TA: iit 2eem2 that ii can't fiix the problem remotely

TA: ii'm going to need to go to your hiive

TA: and deal wiith thii2 iin per2on

AA: alright

AA: where is y0ur hive situated

As Aradia gave him directions to her hive, Sollux couldn't help but smile. She lived off in the middle of nowhere; very secluded, away from the more populated parts of Alternia. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the city got to him and he wanted nothing more than to just leave and never come back. This would be like a sort of vacation, and for that he was grateful. He closed his husktop and carried it with him to his window.

Red and blue energy crackled around him and he floated out of his hive, rising high above the hive stems below. He grinned and headed off in the direction of Aradia's hive.

As Sollux neared Aradia's hive, he was sure he'd gotten lost. Below him on the ground were nothing but ruins and caves. Old cities and hives, long forgotten in troll history. Just when he was starting to get worried, a few brown canopies caught his eye, marking her hive. He descended slowly, landing at the front door. He knocked and was answered by a sound which he could only assume was her lusus.

He waited, tapping his fingers on his husktop nervously. She knew he was coming, so where could she be? He rocked on his heels and knocked again.

"Hang on! I'm coming!"

Sollux let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. He shifted his weight and adjusted his glasses, waiting patiently. He peered around at the scenery; there was something off about the ruins, but he couldn't quite place it. They didn't look undisturbed, and maybe even a little clean. The door swung open and he jumped slightly, turning quickly to Aradia.

The troll in the doorway wasn't who Sollux had expected. Then again, he wasn't exactly sure what he had expected. She was covered in various spots of dirt, from her bare feet to her beautifully curved horns. Her hair was an untamed, curly mess on her head, but it was far from unappealing. Her skirt and shirt hung at awkward angles from her body, as if they had been put on hastily. He felt a slight twinge of pity; what a shame for her to be so low on the hemospectrum. He had always found the caste system a bit ridiculous, but not everyone felt that way.

Aradia smiled and stepped back slightly into her hive, inviting Sollux in.

"Sorry for making you wait. I was digging all day and I thought I could wash off before you got here." There was an unspoken question in her eyes; how could he have gotten all the way out here in as little as ten minutes? But she didn't ask, and he was glad, since he wasn't sure he wanted to answer.

"You were digging?"

"Oh yes! I love exploring these ruins and the caves around here. I swear I find something new every day. It's so interesting what I can learn just by poking around a few skeletons and their possessions." She grinned, regarding this statement fondly with a dreamy look.

Sollux's mouth twitched into a smile. He was sure he could talk to Aradia for hours, but he had come for a reason. "That sounds fun. Sorry to seem rude, but where's your computer?"

"Right! It's over here." She led him up to the second story and into her respiteblock. He looked around at the room, as if searching it would tell him more about her personality and who she was. "Here. It's been acting up. It's really hard to get any work done when it's like this."

Sollux sat down in her desk chair. It groaned under his weight and he glanced at it as it fell silent again. He smirked and tapped a few keys on the keyboard, pulling up a new window. "This should only take me about ten minutes…"

"Take all the time you need." She disappeared from the room and Sollux got down to working. The virus was complicated; it had wrapped itself around her protection software, allowing more viruses and making it hard to find and terminate it. Eventually, he isolated it and downloaded his homemade virus protection, getting rid of it completely. He grinned at his handiwork, sitting back in the chair. It creaked again, but he could have sworn it was just impressed with his work.

He spun the chair around, looking around Aradia's room. She had various posters, just like everyone he knew. Hers mostly included FLARPing, and a few troll Indiana Jones posters. A whip sat next to her husktop. Her lusus was sleeping quietly in the corner, much tamer than his lusus, Bicyclops. He smiled and stood to search for Aradia just as she walked through the doorway.

She looked considerably cleaner and her hair was hanging limply down her back, dripping with water. It dripped on the carpet but she didn't seem to mind. "Done already?"

He nodded. "If it gives you anymore trouble, just tell me."

She grinned. "Thank you so much, Sollux." She hugged him. Sollux tensed up slightly. It was unnatural for trolls to touch each other so personally unless they were very close; it was really only acceptable in the case of moirails and matesprits.

Aradia felt the change in his muscles and let him go. "Sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable." Her cheeks were flushed a dark red. Sollux cleared his throat.

"It's fine. I'll just, erm, go now. But I'm sure we'll see each other again," he said, walking towards the staircase.

"Right! Bye, Sollux!" Aradia grinned and sat down in front of her improved husktop as he made his way downstairs and out the door. He smiled slightly as he rose into the air. He couldn't wait to talk to her again; they had so much in common and at the same time, he wanted to listen to her talking about things he didn't know for hours.