jessara40k_lj: (Dresden)
[personal profile] jessara40k_lj
Title: In the Seasons of Conscription Part 10

Fandom: Homestuck

Characters: Sollux/Eridan, Sollux/Feferi, Eridan/Karkat

Rating: NC-17

Warnings: Consent issues, discussion of slavery, mpreg

Feferi leaned back against Sollux's shoulder once he'd done that, silently wishing she'd been allowed to read the letters first. But she'd seen how Eridan had barely glanced at the offers before passing them over to Sollux.

"Oh." Sollux had opened the 'summary offer' at each link. "It looks like Captain Iceheart's offering less." She couldn't hide her disappointment - she'd liked Ashakaya, even though the breeder had more or less ignored her at the interview. "And she's asking for more." At least from Eridan - and he'd said breeders liked to shift costs to their harem when they could.

"No, Captain Coldfire's askin' for more." Eridan smiled at her, seeming to ignore Karkat's contemptuous snort. "One regeneration's wworth a lot more than servvicin' my captain twwenty-three times."

"How much more?" Sollux sounded oddly amused.

"I...sort a feel that I shouldn't be provvidin' bulge servvice to Captain Coldfire more than a symbolic four times a swweep if her offer's otherwwise equivvalent to Captain Iceheart's."

"Question is how does her offer compare." Karkat threw the letter he'd been reading down on the table, a look of disgust on his face. "Iceheart's offer's pretty scant on details."

"Especially compared to Coldfire's, yes. But I figure Ashakaya wwill havve outlined wwhat she considers her duty to me under this contract in the supplementary terms. Sol, wwould you pull that up for me?"

"Open your huthktop, and I'll put it on the dithplay."

"Don't trust me wwith your owwn machine?" Eridan sounded amused - not that Feferi could blame him, he'd bought Sollux's husktop for him, she'd been upset that he'd got there first. "Or do you wwant to showw off your ability to get into mine?"

"What do you think?"

"I think it doesn't matter." Eridan was outright laughing now as he opened his husktop and turned it on. "Should probably put Coldfire's supplementary terms up there as wwell wwhile you're at it." Sollux just grunted, looking disappointed for some reason as he pulled up the requested links.

Eridan was silent for a while, and so was Karkat, the two of them focusing on the screen of Eridan's husktop, and Feferi decided to follow their example, reading what Sollux had on his display. Captain Iceheart's supplementary terms read a lot more like what Eridan had negotiated with Captain Coldfire. But not exactly like them; there were bits that Eridan had missed, and he'd negotiated for some things that Iceheart wasn't offering.

"The offers look more equal now, don't they Erifin?" She hesitated about being the first to speak, not quite looking at Eridan, not after Karkat had been so amused when he'd corrected her before.

"Yes...they do. Hmmm...Captain Iceheart didn't set a schedule for vvenom doses, or evven a minimum number of doses per swweep."

"How important is that? And if she doesn't give you much venom can you make it up in other ways?"

"It' knoww wwhat Kar, I'm not too sure howw important it is compared to bein' good at fightin' generally - if I can avvoid gettin' bit I don't need to wworry about howw potent my opponent's vvenom is, and the potency a my owwn vvenom wwon't matter if I can beat them wwithout it. Still, it's a wweapon - one point in Coldfire's favvour is that I'm guaranteed fifty doses a vvenom a swweep wwith her." Eridan paused and looked up at Sollux. "I don't remember seein' any information on just howw potent their vvenom is in those files you gavve me. Did I miss it?"

"No, that'th not on record."

"Is there even a way to measure that, other than testing it on another breeder?" Karkat was scowling as he spoke. "Not that that would give you more than a general idea."

"There has to be some wway - I'vve had to givve samples a my vvenom evvery fifty nights since it came in. But I havven't had access to the results." Eridan shrugged. "Captain Coldfire's roughly half again Captain Iceheart's age, isn't she? Logically that means her vvenom should be more potent."

"But didn't you say there were other things that affect your venom?"

"Yeth, Coldfire'th about thix hundred thwweepth, Athhakaya'th about four hundred." Sollux spoke almost at the same time she did, and this time it looked like she'd caught something Karkat hadn't.

"You like Captain Iceheart better then, Sol?" Eridan directed an oddly gentle smile at his kismesis. "So do I emotionally, but wwe can't go by that, no matter howw tempting it is." Then he looked at Feferi. "And yeah, there's other things that affect our venom, but age is the only thing wwe havve clear information on." He shrugged. "Evven though there's a record a howw many challenges each breeder fights wwe can't tell if that affected their vvenom. And wwe don't knoww if they had arrangements wwith elders to get doses a their vvenom."

"They didn't make the arrangement you're trying for, and neither of them had a dam." Karkat glanced at Sollux for confirmation, then tilted his head up to look at Eridan. "For what it's worth Eridan, I liked Captain Iceheart better too."

"Somehoww I got the feelin' that makes four a us. But if Captain Coldfire's proteges generally do better than hers I can't put you at risk by takin' Captain Iceheart's offer."

"Ashakya agreed to train you like a breeder of her line though - that's what her offer says - so shouldn't the comparison be to breeders of her line that she's trained?"

"You'vve got a point there Kar, I hadn't thought about that. But I'm not sure howw many a her line she's trained."

"Shorely she wouldn't teach her blood less than strangers though?" Eridan had always talked like that trumped everything else for breeders.

"She...wwwouldn't." Eridan had a frown on his face again. "But I'm not evven sure if she's had any breeders a her line to train yet - neither a them - they're both fairly young after all. Sol, can you check their careers, wwhen they both reached captain status, howw many they'vve trained, and if they wwere proteges or breeders a their lines."

"You'd be the tenth for Athhakaya, and the twelth for Captain Coldfire. Athhakaya wath promoted at two hundred and thirty two, Captain Coldfire was two hundred and twenty eight."


"Erifin, what's wrong?" He'd barely reacted to anything else, so why was he so upset about this?

"Nine proteges in less than twwo hundred swweeps mean she can't havve had them for that long. So I wwouldn't havve that much time to train wwith her - wwe tend to end up cyclin' at the same rate as wwhatevver elder breeder wwe're around most wwhen our seasons start, unless wwe're only around you sterile types, usually half a swweep to a swweep later than they do."

"The average time for her protegeth ith eighteen thweepth. Captain Coldfire'th protegeth tend to thtay with her for about twenty-one."

"Ah...not too much of a difference then." Eridan smiled at Sollux. "Thanks, havve any a them got their owwn ships yet?"

"Only Coldfire'th firtht protege - he wath three hundred and fifty theven when he got it."

"They're not reel good teachers then, are they Erifin?" Not if it had taken the one protege who'd earned an independent command almost twice as long as they'd taken.

"Did he take a long time, or is that more normal than how fast those two got their commands?"

"I think that's probably closer to normal than the rapid ascent Captains Iceheart and Coldfire made." Eridan shrugged and nuzzled at Karkat's throat - why did that look wrong? "Howw many a their proteges stand second right noww Sol?"

"Three from Athhakaya, four from Captain Coldfire." Sollux didn't sound pleased about that, and Feferi could feel a whine building in her throat - it was looking more and more as if Eridan would have to accept Captain Coldfire's offer.

"Howw old are they - I mean the range for Captain Iceheart's proteges and the range for Captain Coldfire's, and howw long havve each set been in their place on avverage?"

"Mean average, or median?" Karkat looked confused by Sollux's question too - but Eridan nodded like it made sense.

"Think mean wworks best here - you'd be doin' a mean wwith Captain Coldfire's proteges anywway."

"Yeth, I would." Sollux paused to pull up some more information and do calculations in his head. "Athhakaya'th protegeth are one hundred and thirty-eight thweepth to one hundred and eighty-one thweepth and they've been that rank for an average of twenty-theven thweepth. Captain Coldfire'th are two hundred and forty-two thweepth to three hundred and twenty-nine thweepth, and have held their ranks for an average of eighty-three thweepth."

"Right then. Unless any a you can givve me a good reason Captain Coldfire wwould be a better choice wwithin a night I'm goin' wwith Ashakaya." He stood, lifting Karkat easily. "But right noww...I wwant to relax. Sol, you can find a 'coon if you wwant, I'd evven let you share Fef's if that's wwhat you like, or just let yourself out wwhen you're finished wwith her."
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