"Isn't this great?!" Steven cheered, stars in his eyes. He held either side of his face with his hands, the silly grin he was wearing threatening to split his face.
Peridot and Amethyst shared a questioning glance, with Amethyst shrugging. Currently, the shorty squad were trekking through an unexplored ruins that Steven found in first mate Buddy's Journal. Although Pearl had reservations after Steven's begging to go there, Garnet suggested he take Amethyst and oddly enough Peridot with him. He wasn't complaining though. This was the Shorty Squad's first mission since bubbling Jasper. Steven figured it would help them unwind and have fun together.
"What is this place?" Peridot asked aloud, silently observing many of the fixtures scattered on the ground as they walked past. There were crumbled walls that were obviously a part of buildings millenia ago, though they were missing roofs and doors. One could see the "interior" of these buildings from outside. There wasn't really anything noteworthy about it, however, at least to herself and Amethyst.
The purple gem shrugged in response. "I dunno. It was one of those places in that journal that the picture of the palanwhatsit was at. You know, where Blue Diamond kidnapped Greg."
"Blue Diamond was on Earth..?" Peridot asked incredulously.
"Oh, we might have glossed over that detail, huh?" Amethyst shrugged. Peridot shook her head in disbelief.
"Glossing? More like didn't even mention..." Peridot mumbled, a bit put off by Amethyst's nonchalance of a Diamond of all gems.
Amethyst shrugged again, unbothered by the accusation.
The half-Quartz was found orbiting the decayed structures, closely examining tables in flat shapes ranging from diamonds to hexagons and even pentagons.
The group's walk didn't have a specific destination in mind, so the Quartz and Peridot closed in on where Steven was rummaging through what appeared to be cabinets.
Steven pulled random objects from the cabinet and tossed them carelessly behind him, Peridot watching in half interest.
Amethyst laughed at the scene, a hand on her hip. "Where's another of those?" she asked, looking around. "I wanna throw stuff and junk too."
"What fun can be found in throwing things?" Peridot questioned, confusion clear on her face. She picked up one of the recently tossed objects, some cylindrical object that contained engraved trim lines. The whole thing could fit in her palm, and the lines glowed softly. It was active, Peridot could tell, but for what purpose, she couldn't begin to guess.
Amethyst strided over to Steven's side, observing some of the discarded objects. "It doesn't have to make sense, Peri," she explained, picking up something and tossing it before she could even tell what it was. There was a satisfying crash. "It just is."
There was a small pause before another crash interrupted it.
"Wow, this is fun," Peridot's voice could be heard behind the two Quartzes.
"So, find anything interesting?" Amethyst asked, peering over Steven's shoulder. Steven was hunched over, rummaging through the cabinet. His eyes lit up in excitement, and he removed a flat rectangular object.
"I think I found a space phone!"
Steven held the object up for Amethyst to see. It did look like a smartphone; in fact, it looked a lot like an earPhone, one of the newer models.
"You sure that's a phone? Why would there be one of those in the middle of ancient ruins?" Amethyst aired her thoughts.
"Because it's not a normal phone," Steven retorted in mock frustration, causing Amethyst to snort. "It"s a space phone."
"Homeworld doesn't have "Space Phones"," Peridot stated, needlessly making air quotes. "May I see that?" she asked, nearing the duo. Steven acquiesced, handing it over to her.
"Hmm..." Peridot turned the object over in her hands repeatedly, staring hard at the device. Steven and even Amethyst were awed into silence at the intense focus she was displaying.
"This is old," Peridot observed aloud, for the two Quartz' benefit. "I've never handled Gem technology this ancient, but it seems to me like an Interface of some sort."
Steven and Amethyst looked at her, blank faced, as if expecting her to continue.
"What?" she asked, oblivious.
"So it is a space phone?" the purple gem asked what Steven was thinking.
Peridot frowned lightly, realizing her analysis went right over their heads.
"It opens something..." she sighed. Her two companions' eyes widened in realization, uttering a long "Ohhh."
"It's a space key..." Steven declared, completely serious. Peridot rolled her eyes.
"We should find what the heck this thing opens!" Amethyst declared, more out of boredom really, then an actual sense of adventure, but it was worth it to see the eagerness on Steven's face, and even the interested curiosity on Peridot's face.
So the three began to search. Ground was being covered more quickly now that there was a specific goal in mind. Peridot was the first try and see if she could turn on the oddly phone-shaped device, for obvious reasons, while Steven and Amethyst would look for anything that resembled a locked door.
They passed the ruins they were just exploring, which favored the aesthetic of a residential home, to structures that looked more sterile and laboratory-esque.
"Oohh, heheh..." Peridot cooed, briefly looking up from the item in her hands. "This place looks much more interesting," she compared, thinking back to the earlier ruins they wandered around in.
"It does look nerd-ier here," Amethyst observed dryly, snickering when Peridot gave her an oblivious glance. Steven half-smiled at their usual antics. He could agree that the structures looked less like ruins here, and more like an abandoned set of buildings. The walls ahead of him seemed metallic as opposed to the stone ruins from before.
That meant there had to be an automated door here somewhere.
"C'mon, guys!" he beckoned, waving his hand towards himself then breaking into a jog. Amethyst and Peridot wasted no time following suit, but the green gem was distracted by the sudden vibration of the interface in her hands.
"Huh?" Peridot brought the device closer to her face, noticing the screen was now lit and running some sort of diagnostic.
Peridot resumed running after the others, a bad feeling weighing on her. "A simple door shouldn't need such a complex diagnostic..."
Her observation was accompanied by the ground beneath her rumbling violently, temporarily scrambling her thoughts. Steven and Amethyst must have felt it too, as they had stopped moving, allowing Peridot to catch up with them.
"What in the stars-" the tremor returned and everyone stumbled. "Was that?" she finished, holding the interface tight in one hand.
"It feels like it's coming from over here somewhere," Amethyst supplied, walking towards the closest structures. This area looked even more maintained than the labs they were poking around in.
The object in Peridot's hand began to vibrate a bit, startling the green gem.
"Guys, I think we should come back with Garnet and Pearl," she suggested, the bad feeling not having went away.
"I'm sure it's nothing!" Amethyst assured. The ground shook again, this time accompanied by what sounded like a muffled roar. All three gems hesitated at the new noise.
"I have to agree with Peridot, Amethyst... I don't think this is a good idea," Steven tried to explain.
"Ugh, you too?" Amethyst groaned. "It's just a little earthquake!" she said, hands on her hips. Peridot and Steven still looked unsure.
Amethyst sucked her teeth. She could protect them just fine! She'd show them. They didn't need Garnet or Pearl. She frowned, beginning to run towards the new building and hopefully the source of the tremors.
"Amethyst! Wait!" the other two party members yelled in unison.
"Why is she running towards the building and not back to the warp pad?!"
Steven's face fell at Peridot's question. "I- I don't know," Steven answered, running after the Quartz with Peridot.
Amethyst reached the door to the building, her whip already drawn. Correctly assuming the entrance would be jammed, she cracked her whip, slicing an X into it, and shoulder tackling into the building.
She knew she was being petty in response to Steven and Peridot's concerns. But she was a Quartz soldier! They should be able to rely on just her on this mission and not need backup. If she had just came out right-
"No," Amethyst stopped her train of thought right there. She was over this. Jasper was bubbled, and she was right here. She could handle this, no matter what size she happened to be. She broke into a run, deeper into the facility. Not because she was in a rush to find what was causing the earthquakes, but more so to keep distance from the other two. She acted out of line, and she really didn't need to be confronted about it right now.
She realized that the farther in she ran, the building looked newer somehow. Lights were still on in the hallway, and power lines ran across the walls on both sides, reminding her of that space phone. Maybe she was close. It'd probably be some old gem tech, and she'd shut it down, and she'd tell them they had nothing to worry about.
The muffled roar sounded again. Was it a gem monster? She could handle that no problem!
The tremors seemed to be coming from a nearby area now, and she turned a corner. She thought she could hear Peridot and Steven's voices, but she ignored them.
"That's a big door..."
Just a bit farther down the new hallway was an extremely large door, one that even a Diamond could fit through with ease.The doors front resembled the space phone, with the "screen" being a gem destabilizer field. It crackled if she stood near, and briefly she wondered how the place still seemed to have power.
Another tremor, the quakes higher in magnitude, nearly managed to knock her off her feet, but she stood her ground. "Ok, what is causing all that?"
Nearing the barrier as closely as she dared, she peered through the yellow energy field, but couldn't spot anything. Whatever it was, monster or machine, it was going down!
Hefting her whip in her right arm, she scanned along the wall and saw a console mounted on the surface. It looked like those elevator buttons on the Human Zoo. She didn't know the input commands. Besides, she was doing this her way.
The whip collided with the console in a shower of sparks, bits of the screen hitting the floor like broken glass.
The yellow field fizzled out like a broken TV.