Lil Cal is a puppet featured prominently in Homestuck. Many iterations of him have been observed to exist, such as one in the possession of pre-scratch Dave's older brother, another acting as the supposed guardian of Dirk in the post-scratch universe, and even an identical one belonging to Andrew Hussie as given to him by Eyes5.
Lil Cal has been identified as a juju, and as such, his existence is an ontological paradox, meaning he has no true point of origin.
Cal is first introduced as having been part of Dave's upbringing by his bro; however it Derse's moon. The existence of this version of Cal is not explained at this point in the story, and was assumed to simply be a consequence of Dave's exposure to Cal while awake. However, Gamzee later that he has used his powers to give John and Dave nightmares about Harlequin Jack Noir and Cal, respectively. Their nightmares tangibly materialized in the Prospitian and Dersite dream rooms as a plush Jack doll in a clown costume and Lil Cal, giving Lil Cal his tangible form. Caliborn later explained that this method of entering universes would become Cal's fate: after being banished into the void by Roxy, “THE PUPPET'S ESSENCE WILL FLOP AND FLUTTER THROUGH THE SHADOWS FOR ETERNITY. SURFACING IN THE NIGHTMARES OF THE UNSUSPECTING.” It should be noted that this dream version of Cal contained from the beginning the combined souls of Caliborn, Arquiusprite, and Gamzee.that Dave is severely unnerved by the puppet. This turns out to be partly due to the presence of a copy of Cal in Dave's dream room on
Once the session begins, other characters become entangled in Cal's circuitous path through paradox space. During a visit to Dave's dream room, dream Rose becomes and throws him out of the tower. Rather than plummeting to an uncertain fate, Cal miraculously , which then that takes it to the ectobiology lab in the Veil. It is assumed that, shortly after, when the other Guardians were preparing for the ectobiology session to begin, . Cal is picked up by Baby Dirk, and travels with him on his meteor during The Reckoning. Due to the scratch, two iterations of this meteor, and Cal, ultimately come into existence: one which travels to the B1 universe, and another to B2. The first of these iterations arrives with Bro on pre-scratch Earth. This means that the real Cal who torments Dave in his waking hours is, in fact, a future version of the very same Cal who haunts his dreams.
Universe B1 (pre-scratch Earth)Edit
Initially believed by Dave to be thoroughly awesome, Lil Cal slowly began to both disturb and flip him the fuck out over time. In Dave's defense, Lil Cal has a rather unnerving aesthetic and initially seems to possess independent mobility, including the ability to appear very suddenly. This movement is, in reality, the work of Dave's bro flash-stepping around and moving Cal as he does so. However, this is later seen happening without the presence of Dave's bro, which has been suggested to be Dave's subconscious mind manipulating Cal in the same way that John and Rose's subconscious minds had them write on their walls. It is unclear how often Cal's movements are controlled by Bro, how often they are controlled by Dave, and how often they are controlled by other means.
The effects of Bro's mind games give Dave occasional nightmares in which Cal talks, causing him to wake up in a cold sweat. This is due to Cal's presence on Derse's moon, where he can seemingly move without external force. Cal possesses this ability there because that incarnation of him has (presumably) been animated by Dave's subconscious.
During strife, Bro uses Cal as a weapon, making Cal a part of his supposed puppetkind abstratus. Bro manipulates Cal so that it appears that Cal is fighting with incredible speed and maneuverability. This succeeds in delivering both a physical beatdown and psychological trauma.
During Bro and Dave's final strife, Cal is trapped between them and cut to pieces. These pieces are collected, along with a load of junk out of Dave's sylladex, by his seppucrow sprite and for the cruxite egg that must hatch in order for Dave to enter the session. Shortly after Dave enters, he is then faced with the task of second tier prototyping the sprite, which him to prototype something unsettling, which is unsurprisingly to be the pieces of Cal. However, this timeline is doomed by several factors resulting from John's death, so Dave is forced to go back in time. He then proceeds to his sprite instead, resulting in Davesprite, and thus averting Calsprite's existence. In this corrected timeline, Dave soon loses track of the pieces of Cal.
It turns out that the pieces have been retrieved and stitched back together by Bro, and Cal thus reprises his role as Bro's weapon in strife with Jack Noir in the Land of Wind and Shade. However, after Bro is defeated by the Becquerel-prototyped Noir, Cal is taken by the Archagent as a trophy. Later, when Bec Noir comes to his senses and discards his trophies, he cannot bring himself to throw away Cal. He can never stay mad at Cal, as Cal is a true friend; the only one he has ever known. He stores Cal in using first guardian powers.
Universe A2 (Alternia) Edit
Bec Noir then enters the trolls' session by way of de-appearifier, after storing himself in, and emerging from, the Lotus Time Capsule. On arrival, he is held at bay by the Aradiabot army, at which point he throws Cal to entangle one of the attacking robots - the same one who came from the where Gamzee authored the honk HONK code. That particular Aradiabot then travels in time, taking Cal with her. They are promptly hit by a meteor, and carried with it into one of Skaia's defensive portals.
The meteor lands on Alternia, near Aradia's hive, before the creation of Sgrub; Cal and the Aradiabot are ripped apart upon impact. The crater reveals one of the troll session's twin Frog Temples, which Aradia investigates, at which point she finds the remains of her “biizarre robot doppelganger” and Cal.
Aradia gives Cal's remains to Sollux, who in turn passes them on to Kanaya. Kanaya stitches Cal up again and makes him a new Felt-style outfit, but decides to put him away in her respiteblock when she too becomes unnerved by him, just as Dave was. Unbeknownst to the trolls, their session's Black Queen then targets Cal, as well as with the Magic Cue Ball, with an appearifier, in order to ectobiologically create Doc Scratch. The soul contained within Cal is the reason for Doc Scratch's being the host of Lord English in the B2 universe.
Later, after the trolls conclude their failed session of Sgrub, Cal once again slips off the radar. He eventually turns up in the possession of a sober and murderous Gamzee on the trolls' meteor. It is suggested that Doc Scratch transported him there, having presumably retrieved Cal from Kanaya's possession at some point prior to Bec Noir's arrival. After finding Tavros murdered by Vriska, he makes out with the corpse for a while, then has a conversation with a past version of Dave. At this point, he that he used his “dark ancestral chucklevoodoos” to create both the Jack doll in John's dream room, and the original dream version of Cal in Dave's dream room.
Gamzee subsequently proceeds to use Cal to taunt Terezi after tricking her into falling into the secret room of the base. Due to John's retcons of Terezi's timeline, Terezi notices Gamzee, and captchalogues the puppet before ascending to confront Vriska over the deaths of their fellow players. She removes Cal from her inventory at some point before the , during which the now-blind Sollux mistakenly aims his confused feelings for Gamzee at the puppet. Following this, Cal sits in Gamzee's lap as they fondly regard and talk to Doc Scratch at the Critical Moment. At this point, one of them is referred to as “the most important character in homestuck”; since Cal was at this point containing Caliborn's soul, it is likely that this description referred to him.
This iteration of Cal remains in Gamzee's possession, and is laterwith him on Derse in the post-scratch B2 universe's session. Cal rather disconcertingly , in reference to the fact that this iteration of him contains Caliborn's soul.
At the time when the Alpha players lie in their Quest Crypts, Gamzee arranges the delivery of B1 Cal, along with Crowbar's crowbar and an assortment of knives, to B2 Jack Noir, in a pumpkin with a "YOU'RE MOTHER FUCKIN WELCOME" note from Gamzee. When Jack stares into Lil Cal's eyes, they gradually turn into flashing pool balls. Jack becomes hypnotized by Cal (or, rather, by the soul of Lord English inside of him), which compels him to saw off his leg and gouge out his own eyes, so that he may replace them with a Prospitian spire and Cal's eyes, respectively, resulting in a resemblance to Lord English. Cal's power creates a massive explosion on Prospit, freeing Jack, and likely destroying what remained of that iteration of Lil Cal. Jack is wreathed in an aura of rapidly varying colour, complementing his new resemblance to Lord English.
Presumably, this marks the destruction of B1 Cal, thus completing the inevitable enforcement of the rule that there can only ever be one permanent version of any given juju.
Universe B2 (post-scratch Earth)Edit
The scratch produces a new iteration of the humans' universe with altered destination times for the meteors carrying the ectobiologically-created players. As such, the appearance of a "second iteration" of Cal emerges, despite the fact that he is a juju. This Cal, however, does not contain Caliborn's soul—it is the version of Cal that will later have the souls sealed inside of him. When he later comes across it in person, Caliborn describes Cal as “HOLLOW. NOT YET FILLED WITH BAD JUJU.” He elaborates that “HE IS EMPTY RIGHT NOW. BUT [...] HE WILL NOT BE EMPTY FOREVER.”
Lil Cal still arrives with Dirk on the meteor, but now lands on Earth four centuries later. Unlike the B1 universe, Dirk has not given him a "CAL" shirt, at least by the time he is 16. This is possibly due to the lack of resources on post-apocalyptic Earth. Dirk is guardian.to Cal, even referring to him as the closest thing he has to a real
In Caliborn's first conversation with Dirk, he first identifies Cal as a juju. Caliborn at first believes that Cal is cursed and tells Dirk that he should throw Cal off his roof, referring to the puppet as a nightmare that curses all who live in the same universe as it. He then reconsiders, speculating that Cal is free of a curse and its eyes look "dead." This ultimately is revealed to mean that this version of Lil Cal has not yet come to contain Caliborn's soul.
Dirk decides to bring Cal to the roof regardless. After he defeats )(IC's Imperial Drones, Dirk stands towards the edge, contemplating the situation on Derse. Once his dream self is knocked out by falling rubble on Derse, his waking body is knocked out as well. Dirk drops Lil Cal into the burning ocean below, to which Caliborn repeats his claim that .
It turns out that B2 Cal was not destroyed, and escaped the Red Miles when to its new orbit in an unknown universe. He was therefore along with the rest of the planet.
While aiding Caliborn in session, Gamzee excavates B2 Cal and gives him to Caliborn, who abandons his original juju and, despite his previous fearful thoughts about the puppet. He explains that he previously feared the curse Cal contained, but he became relieved and excited when, in his communion with Cal, he realized that the curse would be brought about by himself. He is ultimately proven right, when Cal becomes a vessel for his own soul, as well as those of Arquiusprite and Gamzee.
Cal remains in Caliborn's possession, appearing in A6A6A5 along with Lil Seb and Gamzee as Caliborn celebrates the fanfare of defeating Yaldabaoth. John zaps himself and the other 7 kids to Caliborn's location, and a lengthy fight ensues, during which Gamzee is cut in half, and Caliborn is knocked out by Jake's Hope powers. Near the end of the fight, Arquiusprite shows up and restrains Caliborn. Dirk then uses his Prince of Heart powers to rip Caliborn's soul out, catching Arquiusprite and one of Gamzee's corpse halves in the crossfire. Due to necessity from his weakened state, being unable to destroy them, he seals the three souls inside of B2 Cal. Roxy then banishes the puppet into the void, and Caliborn explains the following: “THE PUPPET'S ESSENCE WILL FLOP AND FLUTTER THROUGH THE SHADOWS FOR ETERNITY. SURFACING IN THE NIGHTMARES OF THE UNSUSPECTING. WEASELING ITS WAY INTO THE HEARTS OF YUCKY SHITTY CHILDREN. AND WHEN ITS INFILTRATION IN THAT UNIVERSE HAS TAKEN HOLD, THE SEED WILL HAVE BEEN PLANTED. AND IT WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR MY EMERGENCE, TO WREAK MY BADNESS.”
In other words, the original B1 Cal that Gamzee conjured into Dave's dream room is the end result of this battle all along, remade from the void, whichwhy every iteration of Cal seemed possessed from the beginning. His conjured appearance is cleaned up and now has a purple hat.
- Lil Cal shares his name with a character that Andrew Hussie created ages ago.
- Whenever Lil Cal moves, a black shadow can be seen briefly sweeping across his location. This is due to Bro using his immensely cool speed to move Lil Cal around without appearing to be there other than a silhouette.
- It has been shown that Cal's eyes can cause insanity, with both un-stoned Gamzee and Jack Noir (B2) went insane after staring into his eyes.
- When a cherub engages Trickster Mode, they look like Lil Cal as seen .
- Lil Cal's namesake is Caliborn, seeing as Cal became
hence, Lil Cal.
- It is that Lil Cal is also a vessel for Arquiusprite, so the name could be interpreted as a combination of Lil Hal and Caliborn.
- In Cascade, Cal was shown to be sitting on Gamzee's lap during a certain This scene was described as being watched by "the most important character in Homestuck", meaning either Cal or Gamzee. The title fits the former well, as he seems omnipresent and has connections to multiple universes and characters, not to mention two major antagonists taking a liking to him, and two others heavily referencing him, with shared traits like head shape, eye shape, candy-red cheek symbols, and a single gold tooth.
- Only his head is the actual juju, as most of his body has been torn apart and put back together multiple times.
- The color of Cal's various garments reflect the souls contained within him. His original purple Dersite pajamas roughly match Gamzee's blood color, while the blue t-shirt made for him by Bro in the B1 Universe matches Equius'. The green Felt tuxedo tailored by Kanaya in A2 for Cal matches Caliborn and Lord English's text colour. Lastly, the orange material of Cal's original pinstripe suit (worn underneath the t-shirts) fits with Dirk's (and the Auto-Responder's original) text colour (along with his appearance as Calsprite).
- It is that B1 Lil Cal had a contributing influence on Dave's Bro's behavior and personality.
- As of
, the likelihood that he is the most important character has been increased.
- He the most important character in Homestuck.
- A doll resembling Lil Cal appears in the background in Charun Krojib's hive.