(A/N: Apparently I thought that starting a new fic among all my other SU fics and schoolwork was a good idea. Well to be honest I've had this idea in mind for a long time and it's definitely going to be...very interesting. It follows a path different from Shattered Realities, in a completely different universe. Relationships in this fic are certainly going to be very different for sure. But I won't say how yet. I hope you all enjoy as much as I'll enjoy writing it~)
Jasper ascended the long stretching staircase to the tower of her Diamond. The yellow holographic steps fluttered as she stood on them unsteadily. She never did like using this staircase, but for some reason the warp pad that transported her to Yellow Diamond's quarters was down. Why did anyone need these many steps anyway? Yellow Diamond was so large she could climb the freaking tower in one step!
Jasper finally reached the top of the staircase and gazed outwardly towards the sky. From this height you could see everything. A clutter of ships and satellites occupied the spaces devoid of any streams of light from the functioning warp pads carrying their gem passengers to the next location. Jasper could see the Kindergarden facilities and the pods that harvested newly formed gems. Everything looked to be as it should.
"Hey! You! Intruding gem!" a bark came from behind her. "It is against policy to be in the perimeter of Yellow Diamond's establishment without an invite from Her Grace. Who is your manager so we can inform them of your insubordinate behavior?!"
Jasper shifted and the cloak on her back shuddered with a laugh as she barely turned her head towards one of the Amber guards that dared to have the audacity. "My manager?" she intoned, amused. The jasper on her face glinted in the light of Homeworld's sun. "Why don't you ask Her Grace that?"
All at once the color in the Amber guard's face drained to a pasty white as she yelped and cowered. "Oh my! Oh—General Jasper! Oh my deepest apologies, General. I had no idea! If I knew...!" The poor gem nearly kowtowed. "Please forgive me."
Jasper crossed her arms over her chest with a satiated smirk. This type of reaction was both one she was used to, and one she relished in. No gem dared to question her once they knew where she belonged to and where she stood on Homeworld's ranks. Watching them cower in fear was immensely satisfying. But there would be plenty of other gems to play with later on. Business came first.
"Best to get all the facts before you open your trap," was what she said instead and pushed past the Amber into the large hall.
"General Jasper!" a voice squeaked excitedly. Jasper practically had to look down at the floor to see the small plump gem scurrying up to her. She made a face. A Spinel. "It's u-uh nice to see you! Her Grace is w-waiting for you. I'll take you there!"
Jasper stepped onto one of the elevator lifts. The yellow disc glowed as it rose with them both. The General stood there with her arms crossed over her chest, waiting. Spinel shifted uncomfortably as the awkward silence carried on through the one minute trip it took to reach the top tier.
"So why is the warp pad down?" Jasper grouched. Her tone was fierce, but speaking through the tension was her way of trying to break the ice before the little Spinel fainted on the spot.
"Oh—uh...I'm not q-quite sure actually." Spinel shifted on her feet some more. "I think Yellow Diamond's Peridot was making adjustments to it and it, w-well... it kind of exploded. So she's fixing it!"
Jasper snorted. Peridots...they were more trouble then they were worth.
They arrived at the top of the tower, where the crystallized dome encirled the large floor of floating screens and control panels. It was the highest tower on Homeworld and floating rocks hovered outside of the sparkling glass. Everything in the control room was so yellow it hurt Jasper's eyes.
The large gem immediately fell onto one knee and her hands formed together to do the customary, royal greeting. "My Diamond. To what do I owe the honor of this summoning? I was informed you needed me for a special purpose."
The towering monarch tapped her fingers against the arm of her chair with a thin lipped smile. "Of course. But first how are your new troops? I know you were given a new batch of Citrines to train for the coming invasion of the planet Seltile. How has that been doing?"
Jasper repressed the urge to grimace or groan. Those worthless Citrines were among the slowest excuses for soldiers she had ever had the misfortune of training. It took the patience that she certainly didn't possess to resist the urge to break the worst of them under her boot. "Uh...it's been progressing, My Diamond." Well it wasn't a lie.
"Well good." The monarch swung her body around to face the glowing monitor that projected an image and lines of information. "I thought you might appreciate taking a break from training your troops to tackle a more important mission, and one that's going to take you off of Homeworld for a while."
Jasper's eyes widened in surprise. "Oh? Well I'm prepared for anything, My Diamond." She slapped her hands together in another salute. "Whatever you wish for me to do, I will execute it in the best of my ability."
The leader's eyes glinted as a smile slid across her face. "Good. I think this is a mission you'll enjoy immensely, General. It involves a return to the miserable planet that's caused us the most trouble in the thousands of years the Diamonds have reigned supreme." One large yellow finger punched a button on the floating keyboard and a bright image of the planet came up.
A malicious grin crossed the large gem's face. "Earth..."
"I think it's time we re-visit our old friends, The Crystal Gems. I want Rose Quartz found and I know you are just the gem to do it. It's been far too long since I've had a reunion with Rose..." She typed something else into the database. "It's about time to check on the progress of the Cluster. The last report made on it was over a thousand years ago. The Red Eye Shuttles we sent out never had a chance to survey anything on it since those miserable Crystal Gems detonated it."
The warrior gem nodded along, but her features tightened in concern. "I understand, My Diamond...but you know I'm not...adept to this type of work at all. I don't think I would be able to do the necessary requirements that you need regarding the Cluster."
Yellow Diamond rolled her eyes. "Yes, well I never said you will be going alone. You will be escorting a gem to the planet with you. As you are specialized for attacking and defending, you will be in charge of protecting it—at least until it fufills its mission."
Jasper grimaced internally but she knew it couldn't be helped. She was clueless when it came to piloting a Homeworld vessel so it wasn't like she was expected to make the trip alone anyway. "I understand, My Diamond. Does the gem have any experience with fighting at all?"
"Unfortunately no." Yellow Diamond wrinkled her face in disdain. "In fact, the gem so far has not even been able to activate her weapon or use anything in her gem, and shows no sign of getting any closer to doing so."
Jasper looked disgusted. "Well with all due respect My Diamond, why in the stars hasn't she been recycled yet?"
"I thought of that," Yellow Diamond admitted. "But her manager has informed me that she is the most advanced of her entire division. She's picked up what we've taught her immediately and seems to compensate for what she lacks in knowledge. If there's any gem that can get this task completed efficiently it should be her. And then we can finally move on to the next step of planning Homeworld's future."
Jasper bowed once more and saluted. "I'm ready. So where is this technologically enhanced gem?"
"My Diamond!" came a nasally, squeaky noise from the inside of one of the chambers of gears and machinery. "The warp pad is now up and running, I apologize for the inconvenience I caused attempting to connect a base to Seltile for the gems to land."
"Just don't let it happen again." Cold eyes scowled at a small green gem that barely came up to Jasper's knee. "Peridot, meet your escort, General Jasper."
Jasper wrinkled her face up at the sight of the tiny green bean. She was so small Jasper was pretty sure she could crush her with a mere finger, and that annoying voice alone was enough to make her want to. "This...is it?"
The green gem in question didn't seem to look any more enthused at the idea of being paired with the giant gem but she respectfully saluted anyway. "It's a pleasure to meet you, General Jasper. I appreciate the fact that on this mission I will have a gem so wonderful as yourself guarding me."
Jasper just stared, tilting her head at all angles, surveying the small thing and scrutinizing it. "...It's so...small." She looked repelled. "...Where's the rest of it?"
Yellow Diamond gave a guffaw but the Peridot gave a sound of indignation and anger. She stamped her foot. "Well, I-!" She looked up at Yellow Diamond and bit back on the insult she wanted to release. She couldn't speak so disrespectfully in front of her superior. "You're...right. I am small. Astute observation, now should we get started?"
"Well size isn't important, of course!" Peridot exclaimed. "Not that your size isn't impressive—and My Diamond's size, of course!" Awkwardly, twiddling small fingers, Peridot looked up at the large monarch.
"Peridot, warm up the ship's engines," Yellow Diamond ordered. The tiny gem saluted and hurried off.
"This little shrimp is the gem I'm going to be guiding?" Jasper groaned. "I mean-with all due respect, My Diamond. I don't question your authority."
"She's the best one that's come out of the Kindergarden so far," Yellow Diamond said. "And has made leaps and bounds in her class that no other Peridot has come close to in the past three months."
The war gem had to resist the urge to twitch an eye. "She was just harvested three months ago?" She was a newborn gem? She was going to be an escort to a newborn gem? Sure on their planet there was technically no such thing as age. Every gem was harvested knowing what they should. They were picked from the earth as a lump of clay to figuratively be molded to what Homeworld needed. Still with a gem so young, there was the lack of experience, lack of knowledge, and the lack of maturity that normally came from freshly picked gems. And to top it off this one didn't even know how her gem functioned yet!
I am not a babysitter.
"I'll take care of her, My Diamond," Jasper gritted out as respectfully as she could. "We'll be there and back as soon as we possibly can."
"Good. Before you leave however, there is one more gem that will need to accompany you." Yellow Diamond leaned over in her chair. "An informant that knows where the remaining Crystal Gems reside. She was a former member of Blue Diamond's court, left on earth. And she knows some things that will be of value to you, especially Peridot." Yellow Diamond's eyes narrowed viciously. "I suspect she knows far more then she's letting on..."
"Well that's not hard to break," Jasper smirked. She looked over as the lift came to a stop in the room. Amber guards were on either side of the hunched blue gem. Specialized chains clamped to her wrists and arms, which each guard pulled from either side. Dirty blue hair shaped a small blue face and a scowl as fiery as the body of a ruby.
"A Lapis Lazuli," Jasper mused, smirking as she came near to stand in front of the delicate blue thing. "I haven't seen one of these pretty little jewels in centuries!" The Lapis fixed her with a look of murder. "A fiesty one too." It was impressive how the tiny blue thing didn't cower at the mere sight of her. It usually just took one off look.
The Amber guards released the chains and Jasper swooped them up immediately, tugging Lapis toward her.
"I hope the prisoner will prove to be useful to you, General," Yellow Diamond said. "We'll have no use for her once you return, but how she behaves on your trip...will determine if that delicate little gem of hers stays in one piece." She smirked.
Jasper nodded, slightly unnerved. "Well I'll keep you updated, My Diamond. It will bring me immense joy to bring to you the shards of the traitorous Crystal Gems." Holding Lapis's chain, Jasper jerked the blue gem in the direction of the ship.
The hand shaped vessel hummed as it charged and started to rise into the air. Peridot was at the control panel, struggling to reach the buttons with her tiny little form. Stubby fingers clawed at the air and found nothing but disappointment.
Jasper rolled her eyes at the newborn gem. If she was this damn helpless now then this mission was looking rather bleak and tedious. She just knew it, it was going to be up to her to do everything around here. She was going to have to learn how to pilot a ship and do everything this gem brat was supposed to do.
"Hey, Tinydot," Jasper called. She smirked at the way the small one bristled at the address, green eyes sliding over to scowl at her. "Yellow Diamond left you some sort of weird robotic crap to try out. It'll make you taller."
"Taller?" Peridot jumped off the floating chair and scurried over to where Jasper was pointing to, like an eager child about to rip into the world's best present. Which for a tiny gremlin like Peridot, Jasper supposed that's what it was.
"Ahaaa, this is amazing!" the small gemling chirped excitedly. Jasper watched her abandon the feigned mature composure to give a couple of excited bounces as she reached for the prosthetics. She marvelled at the metal and touched the green digits in excitement. "This is perfect, but...how do I assemble it?" She looked over at Jasper.
Jasper rolled her eyes. "Do I look like a techie, brat? I have no idea how those things work. Figure it out while I deal with Lapis." She unhooked the chains around the blue gem's arm and they dispersed into pixels into the air.
Lapis looked at her in confusion. "You're unchaining me?"
"Yeah. Well it feels like having you chained in a cell would be a bit of an overkill," Jasper snorted as she grabbed the startled gem's arm and started to pull her down the hall of the ship. Lapis was prepared to fight back however and pulled back on her arm with all the strength she had in her. Her water wings flapped furiously, trying to propel her backwards. "Let go of me!"
Jasper was impressed at this delicate little doll's strength. Quite a fiery minx, she was. This fearless personality wasn't something she was used to. But right now it also wasn't something she felt like dealing with. "My Diamond has ordered me to keep you locked up," Jasper grunted as she pulled the gem towards her. "So that's what's happening-whether you like it or not!"
Reaching the cell, Jasper pushed the gem into it and turned it on before Lapis was able to get out. The gem gave it her best shot though. Growling, Lapis threw herself against the gem proof barrier again and again, to no avail. Jasper rolled her eyes. "Keep it up and you're going to wind up cracking yourself."
She left the fiery little prisoner to her rage and futile attempts as she made her way back to the control room. Peridot was just finishing clicking on her new limb enhancers. "I think I figured it out! Some of it anyway. This suit is equipped with an entire database for both Homeworld and it seems like they've included some documents on earth as well!"
Jasper nodded, not really caring. "Fascinating. At least you're less of a shrimp now."
Peridot ignored the insult. "It seems there's also weapons installed into this! A laser and a canon! Ohhh, how exciting! I'll have a way to blast at those Crystal Clods when we get there! They'll think twice before breaking my stuff again! Why? Because they'll be dead!" She examined her suit. "Only...I'm not sure how to work them."
"Well be careful when you try," Jasper snapped at the newborn. "We don't want you to blow a freaking hole in the side of the ship!"
Peridot searched around on her new armor and shook her head. "I don't know what to do. Can you...can you help me?"
Jasper growled. "I already told you, brat, I don't know anything about those things, and I have more important things to do then helping a newborn gem learn to shoot stuff." She stormed off, away from the Peridot who she was pretty sure was glaring at her back.
She made her way to a different corridor, below the control room where there were separate doors. Certain vessels were made with more rooms then others, for longer trips. In this case it was separate quarters for gems to design to their liking. "I guess I could put my feet up for a bit." At least she'd escape the madness upstairs for a while. All she could do was hope that in this time Peridot didn't destroy the ship.