THE INVASION WILL COMMENCE IN: 276 ORBITS
The first day of training could not come soon, or end fast enough for Jasper. The day started out so perfectly. And maybe it ended perfectly as well.
Jasper roused the warriors just as the day's orbit was beginning, and they marched behind her while she kept up evenly-timed steps ahead of them on their way to the arena. She held a destabilizer at her side, just in case there were behavioral issues. The weapon itself was probably 70% of the reason why her own battalion back in Quadrant Y was so obedient.
"You'll be experiencing a different type of training under my command, pebbles." Jasper barked as they marched to the arena. "Your strength will be tested. Your weakness will be revealed and you will be vulnerable to everything. Your very limits will be tested. But by the time the next 200 orbits commence, you will be ready to face anything."
The burly gem enjoyed her position of power. It was what fed her and her ambition. She felt it was her duty as a quartz, after all, to uphold her gem type. A warrior was nothing if they did not live up to the expectations given, and Jasper was not one to disappoint. As she took wide, powerful steps and reveled in the day's plans, she heard but the slightest whisper and she immediately turned to peer over her shoulder. Every gem was stiff and upright, except for one. A tiny, red gem, who was straightening her posture behind a blue one.
"You! Red! Come up to the front." Jasper smirked, beckoning to the ruby. Begrudgingly, she gave the sapphire the slightest side-eye and did as she was told. Jasper had to crouch to be level with the gem, and stared her hard in the eye. She still had to look down the length of her sharp nose at the tiny, bold corundum. Pathetic.
"You wanna sass me in front of your little partner today Red? You wanna be tough? We'll see how tough you think you are." Jasper gripped the destabilizer noticeably enough to make the ruby glance briefly at it. "You're gonna spar with me at the arena. We'll make an example out of you real quick." Jasper snarled the last couple of words in the ruby's face, taking pleasure in how her brow furrowed and the way she stared at her with unwavering fury underneath her headband.
Another plan began forming in Jasper's mind. She straightened up and continued on to the arena, where she chose the partners for each gem. She made sure the sapphire was was paired with the largest and most aggressive-looking onyx in the group. She was an impressive being; almost as tall as jasper, large in girth, her face smooth, round, and dark with sharp yellow eyes. She gave the initial impression of being mouthless, but once she looked at how harmless her partner was, she grinned with gleaming-white razor teeth. The ruby stayed by Jasper's side, trying hard and failing to keep her eyes off of the sapphire under Jasper's gaze, struggling to hide her worry.
"Today we'll be focusing solely on offensive combat," Jasper announced to the gems. "Prepare your weapons and watch my demonstration closely." Jasper summoned her weapon, the large, solid helmet that covered her head and shielded her face, staring the ruby down while she summoned her gauntlet. Before the gauntlet had even formed completely, Jasper landed a blow to the side of the ruby's face, bringing her to the ground quickly. The smaller gem sat on the ground blinking, trying to recover, fumes rising from her head.
"Rule number one: don't even give the enemy a chance to find your weakness." Jasper boomed, smiling triumphantly. "Proceed."
The ruby made her way back to Jasper's side, rubbing her cheek as smoke began curling from the crown of her head. They both watched as a scene of intense violence ensued- every gem in the arena was trying their best to gain the upper hand over their partner. Out of all the sparring, pitch chalcedony engulfed flashes of light blue. The onyx was hitting the sapphire particularly hard when the smaller gem wasn't ducking and dodging out of her way, and the ruby was watching with bated breath. Jasper was quick to stop the chaos. Perhaps she was soon to find the ruby's limit.
"All wrong!" She yelled. "There's no organization to your offense, no thought! Time your movements! Place your feet correctly!" Jasper faced the ruby again. "Use tactics and land your blow precisely. Weaken- your- enemy!" Jasper aimed for the ruby's stomach, but the red corundum ducked out of the way and sprung her arm upwards, catching Jasper square under the jaw. Jasper's teeth clacked together painfully and she stumbled. Rage overtook her for a split second before she grinned, rubbing her chin. She wasn't expecting that.
"Nice job, Red. You're growing a few facets. Soon you'll be stronger than any fusion, don't you think?" She had hit another nerve. The ruby's expression grew hard as she furrowed her brow, not saying anything.
Jasper overlooked the battling in the arena. The blows were well organized and timed now, but out of all, the onyx seemed to have only one objective, and that was to beat the sapphire back into the ground. The sapphire had well-timed and precise hits and could evade like no other, but the onyx was bigger and bulkier than her. Black bludgeons covered in spikes covered her forearms and fists, more dangerous than the sapphire's little glove. The blue gem's skin was split in several places due to the spikes, but they would be insignificant compared to the injurt she'd get if the onyx got one square hit to her head or torso with the blunt of her bludgeon. Soon her well-timed ducking was barely protecting her. The ruby's fists were clenched tightly.
Suddenly the lashes were too strong. A shield of ice formed in front of the tiny blue gem, acting as a shield to buy her some time- but the onyx was quicker than that. One mighty thrust, and the bludgeon crashed through the ice towards the sapphire's head.
"SAPPHIRE!" The ruby darted forward. Jasper grinned maliciously, brandishing the destabilizer. It hit the ruby square in the back, and she disappeared in a red cloud. Her gem clattered to the ground.
"RUBY!" The sapphire screeched, attention drawn completely. She bolted away from the onyx, barely missed a sharp lash to the head again. The bludgeon smashed into the ground, creating cracks in its wake. Jasper blocked the blue corundum's path, and held the destabilizer up threateningly.
"Rule number one," Jasper repeated, reveling in how the sapphire's breath came out in icy puffs from her open mouth, anger turning her cold and unyielding. "never give the enemy a chance to find your weakness."
"I will show you weakness, you brute!" the sapphire growled. She lunged at Jasper, just as the larger gem lifted the destabilizer.
Suddenly, a hand gripped her wrist. Tight.
Jasper looked back. Soft, dark eyes stared into her smoldering ember ones. There was a moment where it seemed as if everything slowed. Something in those eyes moved Jasper. Sternness held her, something… something else, unrecognizable, created a strange feeling within her. It was as if a flame was ignited, a small one, but the smoke was rising more fervently and dipped and moved, consumed her with the desire to obey. It was not the passion that usually drove the orange gem- but it was commanding calmness. The fire within her was extinguished.
"That's... enough, Jasper." Pink lowered Jasper's arm while the entire arena was watching them carefully. The larger quartz bent down and picked up the ruby's gem, laying it gently in the sapphire's hand and bending down to whisper something to her. The sapphire looked beyond upset, but nodded knowingly and carried the ruby tenderly in her hands while walking away from the scene.
"This training session is over for today." Pink Diamond announced. "Jasper, come with me."
The gems departed. Jasper looked at Pink incredulously, fire rekindling with anger. How dare she undermine her power? Undermining Jasper was to undermine Yellow Diamond, and without this in consideration, no one crossed Yellow Diamond's fiercest commander. "Over?! I didn't say it was over! There's still much to learn for these weak-!"
Jasper furrowed her brow and followed Pink into her quarters. When they reached the debriefing room, she advised her pearl to leave them be, and the door slid behind them quietly.
"What were you doing out there, Jasper?" Pink inquired gently, face full of concern. "Why were you pitting those gems against one another?"
"They're weak, Pink Diamond!" Jasper retorted. "With all due respect, I believe they've grown soft. Have any of them even retreated into their gem before? We were built to fight! You're a Quartz for gem's sake- you should know this!"
"Jasper." The gem's voice was so quiet, it made Jasper grow quiet with apprehension. "What you did today was unacceptable. If you are to continue to train my gems, you must not treat them like they are less than warriors."
The orange gem shut her mouth immediately, remembering her true loyalties to Yellow Diamond. What was a gem warrior if she wasn't broken down only to be rebuilt? Even Jasper understood this perfectly, and she had burst from her incubation cavity ready to jump into war and fully equipped with the means to do it. Why couldn't Pink see that? "And what of the ruby and sapphire? Am I do just let them continue their… perversions in public?"
"They are much stronger than you think." Pink replied, her calm demeanor still present. The placidity of her attitude infuriated Jasper. "If I hadn't stopped Sapphire, you would have gotten quite injured."
"By that defective little rock?" Jasper scoffed. "Do you forget my history, Pink Diamond?"
Pink cast her eyes downward. "It is not history that matters, Jasper. The future will always hold your true self... at any given time."
Jasper peered at her superior in confusion, but Pink dismissed her. Jasper retreated to her quarters in mild annoyance, coming up with ways in which she could alleviate her anger. Clearly this was not a true quartz, not at all. Pink Diamond was a special case- something must have happened during her incubation period in which her mindset became completely twisted in the process. That had to be it. And that would thereby make her defective.
And defective gems could not be allowed to live.
Jasper pondered. How long until she could carry out her mission? She was almost positive that her hands would be covered in pink shards and dust the moment she stepped onto the new planet. In approximately 276 orbits, the planet, and all of Pink's troops, would be hers. Until then, she had to bear with Pink's insufferable tactics. But it would be worth it- worth the ridiculous sympathy of a false leader. One less spoiled gem. The gem race should be pure, wholesome, strong. Jasper was the cleanser.
Defective gems cannot survive.