Pink Agate: So, how are you feeling?
Corundum: Just.. ya know.
Pink Agate: Heh.. not really, that's why I'm asking.
Corundum: I know.. sorry. Thanks for checking up on me though ^-^ It helps me keep track of things when I talk to you guys.
Pink Agate: Well I'm happy to help. Gonna have to be on the ball for whatever Ceylon is asking our help with. Not sure what it is, but from her, it must be pretty important.
Corundum: Has to be if she managed to get something to me in here.
Pink Agate: Yeah.. about that. Where exactly is 'in here' for you? You've mentioned it a few times now, but never really elaborated. Are you trapped somewhere.
Corundum: No.. well I mean, maybe? I... it's hard to tell honestly. I can't really.. remember..
Pink Agate: Would you like to talk through it?
Pink Agate: Hello?
Pink Lace Agate sighed. It had been a good hour or so, and whenever Corundum was gone for that long, it almost certainly meant she was off on one of her silent binges.
She wished she knew what was wrong, that way she could help her out, but she didn't even know for sure if anything was wrong. For all Lace knew she could just be slightly weird and like that.
But she didn't think so. Much as she didn't like Olive and Zircon and Maxixe getting uppity about Corundum, she had to agree that something was definitely wrong.
"Is everything okay?" The voice of one of the Rubies Pink Lace had been tasked with training brought the Agate out of her thoughts, "Yes, apologies, was just checking on something." She said.
The Ruby nodded, heading back to the rest of her team, the five of them standing together, having seemingly lined up from shortest to tallest. Referring to them all as Ruby quickly became infuriating, and so, taking a page from some of her chat friends' book, decided to nickname them.
Heel was waiting patiently, hands behind her back sheepishly at her teammates having gone up to Pink Lace. Hip, the Ruby who'd done so, was standing next to her with a smile, seeming utterly unaware. Next to her, Grip and Core were too busy whispering to one another, making each other laugh every so often, too have noticed anything had even been said.
Lastly, Cheek simply rolled her eyes at Grip and Core's chatting, "Just fuse already, then you have all the talking you want without making so much noise."
The two slightly smaller-albeit the second and third tallest of the group-Rubies blushed slightly at this comment, but it brought a grin to Pink Lace's lips.
"Well, it isn't fusion, but there is something that I'd like to show the five of you now," She said, "Its.. not training exactly, but the Quartz soldiers do it all the time to keep their bodies relaxed."
Pink Lace left out that the quartz soldiers she was referring to were those from earth, and the 'activity' was one they had observed from the earthlings in Pink Diamond's Zoo. Doing so would just muddy the waters.
"Don't worry, it'll be fun~"
Maxixe took a few gentle breaths to calm herself down. 'It's just a mission report, it'll be fine.' She told herself.
Of course it would be fine. She was an aqua marine. Aqua marine's didn't get stressed out or nervous of course. She stepped out to the the Pyrope, the general of this particular quadrant of space.
"The initial reports were correct," Maxixe said, "There were organic lifeforms on the planet, four legged chitinous creatures with two grasping arms and an odd, viscous substance that dripped from their mouths.
There were several other species of course, but this seemed to be the dominant. Unintelligent of course, but very mobile. The mouth gunk seems to generate a new of their kind once injected into the body of another organic."
"Disgusting creatures," The Pyrope said dismissively, continuing to talk before Maxixe could say anything, "I trust they were no trouble for an aqua marine."
"Certainly not." Maxixe said with a scoff, as though vaguely offended even by the suggestion that it would be.
She decided there was nothing to be gained by mentioning how her zero point scope had jammed-as it so often did-and had required her Topaz fusion to fend off the organics with her dual war hammer until she'd been able to get the cheap thing working again.
She desperately wanted a more functional tool, like the wands that the more high class aqua marine's used.
But... no.. no she couldn't do that. In order to get new equipment, she'd have to give reasons why her current equipment wasn't working, and doing so would require her to actually admit that she couldn't make do with her scope. That would never do.
She'd be the laughing stock of the aqua marines, of the entire blue court. It was a miracle that her Topaz fusion said nothing on it; a behavior Maxixe attributed to either phenomenal stupidity, or complicity coming from her being a fusion.
Maxixe wondered occasionally what this complicity must feel like, but she cut that train of thought off just as quickly as she felt it start. It was of no concern to an aqua marine. Fusion was for the soldiers who were too weak to complete a task on their own.
"Still there?" The pyrope questioned, annoyed.
"Y-yes, my apologies, was simply... musing on how unfortunate the organics are to have not been born gems."
"Hm, yes, it is a rather rough roll of the dice they've been saddled with isn't it," the Pyrope chuckled, "But nevertheless, its their role to play, and ours to roll over them."
"Indeed." Maxixe agreed, agreed, mentally kicking herself for letting herself get distracted.
She just needed to get through this report, then she could go back to the ship and wait for whatever the sapphire was planning to start. It was meant to be happening in just a few hours.
Perhaps she'd chat with the Spinel a bit to lift her spirits while she waited.
Green Spinel came up above deck with a smile on her face. She'd gotten Maxixe to laugh, which was always an accomplishment.
No word from white corundum in a bit, bit she did always have a tendency to go quiet for long stretches. She had been hoping to chat with her before this thing Ceylon was planning got underway, but she presumed they'd be able to stop and talk during it. Hoped so anyway, still wasn't sure what Ceylon was planning.
But she had been asked to inform her Emerald that she'd be busy for a bit, and couldn't be interrupted. They'd presumably just assume she was working on her next routine.
She... did, but wasn't the least bit happy about it. Of course she wasn't, she was an Emerald being told something by a Spinel. In retrospect, she could likely have gotten the same response from her by walking up and smacking her in the face with mud.
The Nephrite crew all looked away as their Emerald started to absolutely go off on Spinel, who couldn't even bother committing to memory what was being said.
Mostly insults about her status, which she didn't need to hear again, having committed them all to memory by this point. She stood still and let Emerald do her thing. It was her right after all.
But Spinel still needed the time, and... her hands were starting to shake a bit as she was berated. Taking a deep breath, Spinel figured the best way to get the time alone without further questions.
"Alright, alright I'll level with ya Emerald, I just need a little time away from all these Nephrites' ugly mugs. I mean seriously, look at them! I know pilot gems can get a little messed up, but usually that happens after a shipwreck."
A moment of silence, during which all the nephrites' shoulders dropped. Then, mercifully for Spinel, her Emerald burst out laughing.
"I feel sorry for you honestly," Spinel added, "You're too important to take time off, so you have to be around them. I was just hoping I'd be low enough in the crust that you'd spare me a few hours out of sight."
Through cackling laughter, the Emerald waved her Spinel off. Spinel made a beeline below deck, letting out a sigh of relief, and taking a few moments to calm herself down. Wouldn't be any help with her hands shaking like this...
The communicator buzzed with messages, both from Pink Agate and Spinel, but White Corundum couldn't find the energy to respond to them.
She had so little energy on offer, she had to ration what little she had. Ceylon's... whatever it was, would be starting soon, and she had to do something before it did, before she forgot to do it.
She sat against the wall of the odd room she'd existed in for longer than she could remember, trying to... well, remember.
Her fingers rubbed her temples. When had she put on this helmet? Why? Was it.. just a part of her form like her clothes? Why had she formed with it? She closed her eyes and grit her teeth.
She couldn't usually muster up the energy to genuinely try, but she was not, if only for the moment. She strained her gem with the effort of casting her mind back, back before this room.
She remembered... darkness.. and.. the smell of rock and dirt. The ground around her had been so warm, so.. comfortable. Then... light... bright.. light... but that's it.
She exhaled, any traction she'd made with her mind lost like a rope she'd been pulling had suddenly been yanked from her hands. She couldn't even remember what she was trying to remember.
Looking up at the bubbled gems above, she figured it was probably those she was thinking about. They were so very weird looking after...
Next chapter will be the first chapter where there's a difference between the M and T versions of this story, so if you wish to avoid, now would be the time to head over to either on webhead11233 on FF or Karwin on AO3. Also just another friendly reminder that all characters have ref pics on the sinfulnature1123 patron page. No spending, no nothing, they're just there because there's nowhere else I can really put them, lol.