"I think that's the most we can manage for now," Olive said, looking at the little over half finished machine they'd built, looking half like a sculpture and half like a broken cybernetic enhancement, "Ceylon said the remaining necessary resources won't be obtainable until we've started."
Rhodochrosite nodded, "Better get going before anyone notices how long you've been down here. Don't want the scandalous news out."
She said the words in a joking manner, though Olive wasn't sure why considering that was a legitimate risk.
Olive nodded, heading out of the cave, "Be safe. Ceylon said we'll be starting here soon, but there's no telling how volatile things will be during this.. Whatever it is."
"I've made it this far haven't I?" Rhodi said with a confident smile, "See you on the other side."
Olive nodded, hoping her friend was right as she made her way back out of the caves.
Ceylon sat quietly and calmly as her Carnaliens.. Well, mostly killed time and fooled around really, but she enjoyed watching them have their fun as they pretended to be on patrol.
They were really just flexing or showing off their combative skills. Ceylon made an active choice not to put any thought into why she enjoyed watching them do this, as it was ultimately no matter; even if the effort of suppressed such thoughts was resulting in a small frost buildup at the edge of her dress.
Small price, little effort.
She perked up suddenly, her thoughts stirred away from her Carnaliens as she realized it was time. She sent her Carnaliens to do a sweep of the grounds, acting as though she had foreseen a potential security breach.
When the quartz guards were out of sight, Ceylon took out her communicator and set to her task, sending the information to all twelve… well, twelve technically, gems that would be participating.
What they would be doing was to be, for the sake of simplicity, considered a game. She stressed that it was to be taken seriously, and was really a game more in concept than execution; as the reality of the situation was far more crucial than the title of 'game' made it sound.
They were to keep their communicator, weapon, and their 'guide item', a living or non-living item they trusted, near them. She would send all players a link to this 'game', and once started, the first player to join would require the help of the second player to actually start.
The third would then help the second, fourth then help the third, and so on and so on until the final player was helped in by the first.
Ceylon: Time is crucial. Once the first player is in, it will become more and more dangerous for those not yet in. I will repeat that the danger of this 'game' is legitimate, and to be taken seriously. If more than six minutes pass between the first and final player entering the game, all participants, myself included, will be shattered. The game cannot be stopped once started, and if not started, all participants will be shattered within the following cycle. Be careful, but be quick. Things will become more self explanatory once all players have safely entered. Everyone. Do your best.
Ceylon hit send, and took a breath, calm and quiet, hoping for the best.
River read the message several times, making sure she understood it all.
She didn't understand how it could all be possible, how their lives hinged on whether or not they successfully started a game. But then, River supposed she was just a pearl. Perhaps it made more sense to the others. It certainly seemed to make sense to Ceylon.
"I'll need time to myself my Morganite," River said calmly.
Morganite looked at her pearl with confusion at the tone, River gulping and quickly adding, "U-under orders of a sapphire, my Morganite, I am needed for a task."
This seemed to placate her, and the scholar gem nodded, giving a dismissive wave to send her off. River nodded, making her respectful diamond sign and heading off to a nearby room to begin.
She would have to ask Ceylon or perhaps her Morganite to explain this situation to her later.
Olive returned to her residence, making a beeline for the work space without taking notice of things having been rearranged at the front. It made more sense to set up there, as that's where all her equipment would be.
She already had the communicator out and, as such, the link to begin the game, just waiting for someone to press it and be the first player. She nearly sent the device flying into the air in fright when the gem who'd entered her work space before her cleared her throat.
"Awfully jumpy for a Peridot." The Hessonite said sternly.
Were Olive an organic life form the blood would have drained from her at this. The tall, powerful, general gem explained that Olive's frequent trips below ground had been noticed.
"It's not out of line for a peridot to be interested in the old kindergartens from which the first gems emerged of course, but the amount of times you've left your obligations for them and the time frame you've spent down there has lead some of us to wonder if there isn't… more going on."
Olive fumbled for a response, glancing down at her communicator in the hopes she could subtly send an SOS to Ceylon, the only gem of high enough rank to send the Hessonite away without question. But upon looking to the screen, Olive's horror increased by several orders of magnitude.
While she'd not jumped and thrown the device across the room, her startling had lead her to instead grip the communicator tighter; one of her fingers accidentally hitting the screen. Specifically, hitting the link to begin the game.
Olive had made herself the first player. There were now six minutes in counting. And the Hessonite stood not six feet from her, arms crossed, scrutinizing her every move and still waiting for a response.