Hey everyone! This fic kind of came along because I kept looking for cool Voltron X Steven Universe content out there in the interwebs and I couldn't find anything that fully scratched that particular itch. It was meant to be a 1k word oneshot, but, clearly, I have no self-control.

This fic also takes place in the larger MCU-based universe I've got going on, but it's so separate (for now) that you should feel free to enjoy it as a standalone work. I plan to leave this as a oneshot for now, but who knows? Maybe I'll continue it in the future. With all that said, enjoy!


It's kind of funny, how much of a backwater the Milky Way is considered to be. Pidge likes to think so, at least - how many humans throughout history have proclaimed Earth to be the center of the universe? It couldn't be further from the truth, of course, but that certainly didn't stop them.

The reality is that galactic civilization is practically nonexistent around these parts. There's nothing like the ancient Alteans, and certainly not like the universe-spanning Galra Empire here, and it shows; the Milky Way lacks any kind of hub worlds, or even designated hyperlanes. It's the Wild West out here - or, more accurately, the galactic equivalent of an empty Denny's parking lot at two a.m.

Still, it's nice to almost be home again. She didn't expect to be headed back so soon - heck, part of her didn't expect to return to Earth at all - but it seems Allura found herself a heart, and is allowing the Paladins of Voltron a brief, week-long window before they really take the fight to the Galra for them to let their families know they're, y'know, still alive.

For how much longer, Pidge has no idea. They're Public Enemy No. 1, but like, on an intergalactic level. That certainly doesn't bode well for their continued well-being.

In any case, they're a few thousand light years out - they're doing short jumps, so as to avoid leading the Galra back to Earth - when they catch an urgent sounding alien communication, one that makes Allura frown, and summon the other Paladins to the bridge.

"What's wrong, Princess?" -Shiro asks once he gets there, all armored up - first as always, if not for the fact that Pidge was already there, analyzing star maps with Princess Allura - confused at her expression.

"The Castle's short range sensors have picked up what appears to be a repeating distress signal. The language is...familiar, but I can't quite place it." -she admits.

Shiro crosses his arms. "Familiar how?"

"Yeah, we're super far away from ancient Altean space." -Pidge points out.

"Altean civilization became space-faring almost a hundred-thousand years ago. We explored most of the universe." -she says, as if it should be obvious. "We may not have colonized much, but we did visit."

Pidge deals with this mind-boggling fact the same way she deals with most things regarding Altea or the Galra. "...oh."

Allura looks smug, but only for a second, because Coran pipes up after only absently following their conversation. "Oh! That's Gem code, Princess."

Allura raises an eyebrow. "'Gem' code?" -she asks, on the verge of recognition.

"Yes! I guess it makes sense that they'd still be around." -he says, eager. "Gems are inorganic life forms - they don't eat, sleep, or drink, so they are effectively immortal. They were one of the last intelligent species we discovered before the war."

The Princess snaps her fingers - a gesture picked up from Pidge herself. "That's right! I remember my father leaving to meet with their diplomats."

Shiro interrupts the nostalgia train. "Then let's take a detour and see if we can help them out. Earth can wait just a little longer."

Allura doesn't seem like she appreciates the commanding tone, but she clearly agrees, immediately bringing up the Castle's controls. "Generating wormhole now."

Lance, Keith, and Hunk come together into the bridge as the starship accelerates into the rift. Seconds later, they re-enter realspace, only to find themselves staring at an ongoing space battle some two thousand kilometers in the distance.

"Well, that can't be good." -Lance says, helmet under his arm. He doesn't sound particularly worried.

"What the hell are the Galra doing so close to Earth again?" -Keith asks, crossing his arms. He, in turn, does. Angry-worried, at any rate.

Lance cringes. Pidge is fairly certain he didn't put two and two together. "Oh, yeah, that too."

Allura immediately takes command. "Coran, jam their comms. Paladins, to your Lions."

The five of them grimly fall into place, taking the chute to their respective giant mechanical familiars. The Paladins burst out into the void, supernatural roars audible even in the oppressive silence of vacuum.

"What are we looking at, here?" -Shiro asks everyone.

"Hands, mostly." -Hunk says drily. "It's not just me, right? Everybody else can see the multi-colored giant hands shooting at the Galra fleet?"

Hunk has a knack for summing up the crazy situations Team Voltron usually encounters, and this is no exception. Indeed, a fleet of massive, human-accurate, hand-shaped warships is trading blasts with a Galra dreadnought and about a dozen cruisers. They're about half the size of the Castle of Lions each, which means they're all dwarfed by the Galra capital ships. Pidge can make out green and yellow ones, mostly, but there's a couple blue ones in there, too. She also notices that, while they've obviously suffered some damage, the hand ships are all still more or less intact, while a couple Galra cruisers have already become superheated chunks, slowly falling towards the planet, caught in its gravity well.

Judging by the fleets' positions - the Galra are sandwiched between the planet and the Gem warships - the Galra got here first, and the hands are reinforcements for the Gems below.

"It doesn't matter what they're shaped like. They're outnumbered and we're here to even those odds." -Shiro finally says. "Allura, can you contact the Gems? We don't need them shooting us, too."

"I will try. I'm not sure the Castle's translator software includes Gem language."

"It included human, didn't it?" -Lance asks rhetorically. "Er, I mean English."

"No, it did not. English was just relatively easy to decipher. Gem language, on the other hand, seems to be a combination of computer code and spoken word. We'll whip up a message, but there's no telling if they can even recognize it for what it is."

"It'll have to do." -Shiro says as they enter firing range for the Lions' main cannons. "Lance, Keith, focus on the fighters - try to draw them away from the Gem fleet. The rest of us will take out the Ion Cannons. Stay on your toes, everyone."

The Paladins split into their respective groups - Pidge feels a bit awkward going with the heavy hitters, but her and Green are probably second worst at dog-fighting, so she gets it - and get to work. The Galra immediately begin attacking them instead, completely ignoring the Gem warships, likely overcome by their desire to please ol' Zarkon with a nice, Voltron-themed gift basket.

Pidge is pleasantly surprised; they've only been at this for about a month - just last week, they saved the Balmera and its rocky inhabitants - but they already fight like a coherent unit. Part of it is the Garrison's training, sure, but this newfound success is largely owed to the mystical link they all share as Paladins. She's aware that Keith just melted down a squad chasing Lance, that Shiro just took a Jaw Blade to the dreadnought's main battery, and that Hunk just spotted a cruiser's Ion Cannon targeting her. Pidge simply dodges out of the way at the last second, letting the overwhelmingly powerful blast tear through the cruiser behind her and Green.

With the final Ion Cannon disabled, the Castle of Lions moves in. Particle blasts pepper the Galra fleet, which wastes no time in retaliating, but these bolts come from point-defense cannons - they're meant to take down fighters and other such small ships, like the Lions technically are. The Castle's barrier holds steady against this attack.

"I am detecting a significant Galra field presence on the planet." -Allura says. "Several hundred Sentries, at the very least, possibly some Galra officers. They seem to be attacking a major Gem installation."

"Then we better finish this up quick." -Shiro says. "Everyone, regroup! Let's form Voltron!"

The Lions roar in unison, flying towards a relatively safe point in space, and begin the morphing process. Pidge has studied it before from the Castle's recordings, frame by frame, but in the heat of the moment, she can't quite tell what's going on - only that she's now not quite just Pidge Gunderson, or Katie Holt, but a vital component of the immensely powerful whole that is Voltron. There are no longer five Lions and their respective pilots, there is the titanic warrior and their collectively melded minds.

Well, that's what it's supposed to be like, she instinctively knows. Eventually. But they're all still rather new at it, so they still speak up like they're separate individuals.

"Form Shoulder Cannon!" -Shiro commands, and Hunk immediately complies. The Cannon materializes, targets the remaining cruisers, and fires, swirling ribbons of deadly light tracing wild paths for a second or two before reaching their marks, burning through thick hulls and the decks within. Cataclysmic explosions tear some of the vessels apart, while those that survive are left like wounded beasts, venting atmosphere and spitting out plasma.

The dreadnought is mostly undamaged still, and its repair crews have managed to get the Ion Cannon somewhat operational again - they probably should've ripped it off instead of just slicing at it - and so it fires at them.

Before Shiro can call it out, Pidge is already forming the shield. It's just in time, too, snapping into place as the beam reaches Voltron. Purple energy flares out around them, dissipating into harmless, free-floating ions a couple dozen miles out.

Voltron's wings return to their original position, and Shiro bellows: "Form Sword!"

"Wait!" -Allura calls out. "Incoming energy signature!"

They turn, and sure enough, a massive shape warps into the battlefield. It's a complete yellow right arm, a little longer than the Galra dreadnought, and its fist is clenched. It zips past Voltron at ramming speed, completely heedless of the fact that the dreadnought is charging another shot.

"Why aren't they dodging?" -Lance asks the question on everyone's mind.

The answer is apparent as soon as the beam washes over the yellow hull, and does absolutely no damage.

"Jesus." -Hunk says. "What the heck is that arm made of?"

The arm then smashes into the bow of the dreadnought, sending it backwards in spite of its powerful engines trying to compensate. Voltron boosts towards the two warships, but stops in its tracks just as they're about to reach them, as what looks like a large, yellow bubble - about the size of Black's protective particle barrier - sprouts from the arm's surface.

"Is that a woman?" -Lance asks, dumbstruck, as the bubble disappears, leaving behind its single occupant.

Pidge is not as impressed by the person's apparent gender, as she is by their sheer size - they're about as tall as the Black Lion while sat on its haunches. Their skin and helmet-shaped hair is the same yellow shade as the arm ship, and they're wearing what looks like a short tailcoat, olive pants, and brown boots. A square, equally yellow gemstone about as tall as Shiro protrudes from their chest - and, strangely enough, it's the only part of their body showing up on Green's sensors.

"I...I guess that's a Gem." -Shiro says, his usual stoic composure broken up a bit by the sheer awe this being provokes. Judging by the off-the-charts telemetry Green can make out on them, Pidge is more inclined to label them as some kind of pseudo-divine being.

The giant person spares a brief look for the stunned Voltron, before becoming enveloped in a crackling electric aura, raising their left hand, and blasting the Ion Cannon.

The superweapon briefly becomes incandescent, then explodes, and so does the superstructure beneath it. The Gem then leaps, seemingly unaffected by the lack of gravity, and smashes into the burning wreckage of the Cannon, plunging into the dreadnought's innards.

"Should we help?" -Keith asks, uncertain.

Lance scoffs. "Help!? Let's throw her at Zarkon!"

Shiro shakes his head as small, fiery holes begin to violently blow through the warship's hull. "Let's leave them to it. I know for a fact the Galra don't have anything inside that can actually put up a fight. Split up and head to the surface, instead."

Voltron breaks apart into its constituent Lions, which begin the descent into the Gem world. Pidge notes, somewhat uncomfortably, that the hand ships have moved in, literally grabbing onto the wrecked Galra warships. It reminds her of Facehuggers, which, now that she's an intergalactic traveller on the regular, she can only hope exist solely in movies.

The planet below isn't really one to write home about; it's a lifeless rocky world, not unlike a large Mercury, its thin atmosphere is primarily nitrogen-based - but the mixture is unbreathable for most life forms, humans included - and its soil is rich with aluminum oxides. Why the Gems would choose to settle here, Pidge has no clue. Maybe they like inhospitable worlds? They're inorganic, so...maybe they're not all that bothered by them?

The atmospheric burn doesn't last long, even with the added challenge of dodging the falling debris caused by the battle above, and soon they're diving through the thin cloud layer. Several artificial structures dot the landscape on the way to the battlefield - enormous columns beaming with light, intricate spires reaching towards space, and colosseum-like buildings floating between the clouds. The ground battle is taking place near a massive canyon network, inlaid with Gem machinery. This is where most of the Gems on the planet are concentrated, if sensor data is to be believed. Then again, their sensors can only pick up the individual gemstones on their bodies, so it's really anyone's guess.

"So, what's the plan? A bombing run, maybe?" -Lance suggests.

"Negative. Some of the Gems seem to be fighting hand-to-hand with the Galra." -Shiro says. "We'd be risking hitting them, too."

"So, let's join them. Let's fight on foot." -Keith says. Of course he does.

Hunk groans. Pidge winces to herself, too. Neither of them are too into the pedestrian portion of Paladinhood. "Let's land nearby and try to find their commanding officer. They'll probably know where we'll be the most useful." -Shiro says, finally.

The Lions come in hot, dust blowing as the massive mechs trot to a stop. Pidge readies herself, manifesting her bayard and hoping against hope that she won't have to use it.

She runs out of Green's mouth, meeting up with the others. All their weapons are out already. Shiro leads the way, approaching a small outpost from which a dozen Gems seem to be observing the nearby battle. None of them have anything she can identify as a gun; she spots some spears, a warhammer, several swords, and a bow and arrow. The weapon selection seems highly paradoxical, given their apparent technological prowess, but, then again, Keith's bayard turns into a sword, too, and that's über-advanced Altean techno-sorcery.

The next thing she notices is that the Gems are...eerily similar. Even the Balmorans were easier to tell apart; there are three types, all completely different from the last. The smallest are a head shorter than her, all colored in similar shades of red, with thick but stubby arms and legs, and a sort of blocky afro for hair. Their gemstones are all over the place - back of the hand, knee, chest, forehead, nose. Same goes for the other two kinds; one is about as tall as a full grown Galra, their stone an upright rectangle in the middle of their chest, with a poofy head of cheddar-colored hair, orange skin, a red jumpsuit, white gloves and boots, and a glittery yellow-red cape, and a green colored Gem with a triangular gemstone for an eye, a perfectly square head of light yellow hair, and odd, free-floating fingers manipulating some kind of hard-light screen.

"Greetings. We are the Paladins of Voltron." -Shiro announces, following protocol because he's, well, Shiro. "We picked up your distress signal, and have come to help."

Pidge half expects to hear gibberish back from the Gems, but when the tall, orange one replies, it's in perfect english. "Oh? Is that so?"

Their tone takes all of them aback. It's the condescending 'it's cute that you think you know better than me' kind of voice Pidge knows very well from years of...overachieving in academic endeavors. It's also far from the way you'd expect a Commander in trouble to sound like. "Uh...yes? We're at your service. Where do you need us?"

They languidly turn to the green Gem. "Peridot, where do we need the Paladins of Voltron?"

Pidge vaguely remembers something about the mineral peridotite coming from the Earth's mantle. Peridot's voice is kinda nasal, and she sounds...bored. "Ruby squadron theta is requesting assistance, my Hessonite."

Judging by the way the small, red Gems worriedly fidget at the mention, they're Rubies, too. Now the colony makes sense; aluminum oxide forms corundum, a mineral real life rubies - and sapphires, which Pidge is guessing is another type of Gem - are found in.

Hessonite hums. "Well, there you go. Go, go! I'd love to watch."

The Paladins look at each other in confusion, but silently decide not to think about it too much. They rush towards the nearest fight, which is definitely going in the Gems' favor.

The Rubies may lack any sort of projectile weaponry, but they don't seem to be fazed much by the Galra Sentries' laser blasts. They wince and yelp when hit, but otherwise continue charging. They're also surprisingly strong, taking down the drones in a single punch more often than not. Still, the Paladins join in, blasting and slicing away at the robots. Again, their teamwork has experienced a marked improvement. They're hardly commandos, but they cover for each other's weaknesses fairly well. Most of the Rubies ignore them, but a couple of them cheerfully greet and thank them - with the absolute cutest voice ever - before moving on to the next skirmish.

That's when the first Galra tank pops up over a nearby ridge, points at the departing Rubies, and shoots.

The plasma burst explodes at their feet, and when the smoke clears, one lays groaning face-down, while only a circular, soot-covered gemstone remains of the other. "Lance, Hunk, cover fire!" -Shiro barks out. He dives to cover the Ruby with his body, while the Paladins distract the tank. Pidge and Keith follow suit, bringing up their particle shields, since a squad of Sentries has taken aim at them.

"I'm...sorry about your friend." -Shiro says, gravely. A large, striped, yellow-orange Gem with a mane of white hair roars past them, and absolutely demolishes the Sentries shooting at them. It'd be funny, if someone hadn't just died before her eyes.

The Ruby - her gemstone is on her right knee - seems very confused. "What? She's fine, she's right there! Not even chipped or anything." -she says, all earnest and adorable, pointing at the gemstone on the ground. "Haven't you guys ever seen a Gem poof before? It happens to us Rubies all the time…"

Ah. Pidge thinks she gets it, now. That's why Green's sensors and her armor's onboard systems can't make out anything but the actual gemstone: the humanoid body is some kind of light construct. The gem is the Gem.

The Gem blanks out for a second, then looks at them with guilt. "Um, listen, I have to go." -she say. "We've been ordered to defend the western entrance to the Kindergarten."

Keith balks. "You have children here!?"

The Ruby doesn't seem to understand that word. "No? We have a vein of potential Sapphires, though, so we can't let the organics anywhere near there." -she explains, then grabs the other Ruby's gemstone from the ground and hands it to a very surprised Shiro. "We're supposed to leave poofed soldiers behind, but...she's my friend. Just...take care of her until she reforms, please?" -she pleads.

Knee Ruby doesn't wait for an answer, just bolting - well, more like hup-hup-hup-ing - towards the western side of the canyon network. Hunk and Lance return, fresh from taking out the Galra tank. "Oh cool!" -Lance says, catching the glint of the scarlet gemstone. "That's gotta be worth like, a cool million."

"This is, apparently, a person." -Pidge says, rolling her eyes.

"Wait, what? I thought they were just really into body mods."

Keith shakes his head. "Were you not paying attention to your Lion's sensors?"

Lance scowls. "Don't sass me, Kogane. I've got Earth on my brain right now and not much else."

Shiro puts his flesh and blood hand on Lance's right pauldron. "We all do, but we need to focus for now." -he says, understanding, rising as he cautiously pockets the gemstone. "Let's try to find the Galra commander."

Pidge pipes up. "Oh, let me." -she says, then closed her eyes. She finds that thread in the back of her mind and pulls on it, grabbing Green's attention. Their connection is nowhere near as good as it could be, one day, but this is more than enough for now.

Green is more in tune with life than any of the other Lions - as in, she can sense living organisms better than any of the others - so Pidge asks her to scan the horizon for living Galra combatants. Green roars, and a quick scan later, the actual Galra on this world are marked, and their location relayed to the Paladins. Disturbingly, Green detects none in orbit.

Shiro takes a moment to strategize. "Okay. There's three groups of Galra soldiers. One seems to be established at their FOB, and lightly guarded - Pidge and Lance, you take those out, and see if you can figure out why the Galra are so close to Earth in the first place. Another squad is establishing static defenses nearby - Keith and Hunk, that's you. I'll join the Gems in taking down the ones fighting alongside the remaining Sentries."

Pidge grimaces. She's no stranger to taking lives by now - Galra warships may be mostly crewed and defended by robots, but there's still an organic element in command, and she's taken down several - but killing up close is an entirely different matter. Something tells her that her mantra of 'one less Galra is one less obstacle between me and my family' probably won't cut it this time around.

Goddamn it, she's fifteen.

Lance winks at her. Pidge doesn't think much of it, considering he flirts with pretty much every being that could be argued to be sapient. "Think you can keep up, Pidge?"

"Doesn't sound like I have much of a choice." -she replies, deadpan. Pidge turns to Shiro. "I might not be able to interface with their tech without your arm, just so you know."

"Try it anyway. If you can't, just destroy their outpost." -he says.

They split up, and head towards their targets. It's a short hike, made only a bit sluggish by the debris from the battle. Pidge spots several dormant gemstones among the broken Sentries.

"So, why do you think they all look like girls?" -Lance asks.

"Let's not assume their gender." -she says. "We don't even know if they have one."

"No, I get that. I'm just saying, they do present themselves as feminine, more or less."

"Well, it's not like we've met them all. Maybe those Sapphires the Ruby talked about look different."

Lance hums. "And the big one? What kind of Gem do you think she is?"

Pidge jet-boosts past a Galra hovertank that looks like it's been physically crushed. "A Topaz, maybe? I don't know that many yellow gemstones. Could be a Yellow Diamond too, I guess."

"Yeah, that sounds pretty regal." -he says. "She's gotta be like, their queen or something, right?"

"If they're the leader of Gemkind, fighting on the front lines would be a very poor judgement call. There's a reason Zarkon's lived to rule ten thousand years. He just spits out orders from his throne room."

"Well, that plus magic, right?"

She sighs. As much as she'd love to say that 'magic is just really fancy tech they don't understand yet', she's seen enough weird Altean and Galra bull to recognize that the phrase is worthless in reality.

"...yeah, that too."

Her HUD flashes red in warning, just as they're about to crest the hill overlooking their target. She looks up, and sees a fragment of burning Galra hull falling towards their general vicinity.

"Uh...Pidge? Is that headed for…?"

"Us, yeah!" -she screams, grabbing his arm and punching her thruster pack to the max. They zoom away just in time, as the artificial meteor slams into the hill, the shockwave sending both of them careening across the landscape. The come to a tumbling stop a couple hundred feet away, groaning. The Paladin armor takes the worst of it, for sure, but Pidge is already dreading the bruises she'll find when she hits the showers later today.

"Are you okay?" -Lance asks.

She shakes her head, more to check for concussions than to say no. "I'm alive."

He steps into her field of view, offering a hand. She takes it and rises. "Are we still keeping score after this? I'm pretty sure the save is worth a lot."

Lance smirks. "No, no, I'm pretty sure this just makes us even."

"What? For what?"

"Sendak, remember?"

"Oh. Yeah, I guess that's true." -she says. If not for his clutch save, the cyborg might've taken them out, instead of the other way around. "I'm pretty sure the game is over anyway, they're probably all dead by now."

Lance raises an eyebrow. "What makes you say that?"

"The fragment that almost hit us, it exploded in midair. The other piece should've landed right on top of the Galra base."

As if to confirm her hypothesis, an explosion shakes the ground on the other side of the hill. Lance winces. "Alright, let's go check it out."

They nearly crest the ridge, before they're stopped in their tracks. A Galra soldier pops over the hill, running towards them. Pidge brings her bayard to bear, but it's ultimately unnecessary. It's the briefest of moments, and the most terrifying sequence of events she's witnessed in this little space opera she's on: a blinding light appears behind the Galra, catches up to him, and consumes him. As in, when the glow subsides, the alien has completely vanished. Disintegrated, presumably.

"Oh my God." -Lance says. Funny, Pidge didn't peg him for a God-fearing man. Teenager. Yikes, she's already rambling.

The Galra's killer soon becomes apparent, as the massive yellow Gem they'd seen in space nonchalantly walks toward them, each step shaking the ground beneath their feet. Pidge can't quite nail why it's so different from staring up at the Lions; the height is similar after all, but the approaching Gem is so much more intimidating. Maybe it's the humanoid shape. Maybe it's their irritated frown.

It's probably the fact that their electric aura still crackles as they approach.

"I had not realized that humanity had achieved spaceflight." -they say. Their voice is definitely feminine, their tone that of someone who knows themselves to be superior. There's an undercurrent of weariness, too, but Pidge is all but certain it's not of the physical kind - they move like they're on a leisurely stroll, as if they hadn't just dropped from orbit and atomized someone. "With the amount of technology Homeworld left behind, it's a wonder it took so long."

The being squints at them. Pidge notices that their irises - yellow, of course - have diamond-shaped pupils.

Ah. Yellow Diamond, then.

"Then again, that armor is hardly of Gem make. Too...flimsy. Much like the rest of you organics."

Well, that certainly sounds like an insult.

"Not just any organics." -Lance says. He's afraid, and covering it up with bravado. Classic Lance. "We're the Paladins of Voltron, ma'am."

Yellow Diamond seems...unimpressed. "Is that what you call the waste of quintessence I saw in orbit, Blue Paladin?"

"What do you mean waste? Voltron is like, the most powerful weapon in the universe!" -Pidge says. So she's feeling defensive of Green and her little found family. So fear makes her lash out a bit. Sue her.

"I mean that the amount of quintessence powering your so-called Voltron would create enough Gems to conquer every planet in every galaxy. And yet, its makers chose to concentrate all that power into five vulnerable little puzzle pieces, and then put them in the hands of humans."

"Jesus, lady. Calm it down, will you? We wouldn't even be here if not for your distress signal. We came here to save you from the Galra." -Lance says. Pidge isn't sure if it's intentional, but he's protectively stepped in front of her. Not that it'll do much good once Yellow Diamond tires of this conversation and vaporizes them, but it's, y'know, a nice gesture.

"I assure you, your assistance was neither needed nor wanted. These Galra may be a threat to your kind, but as you can plainly see, they are mere annoyances for Gemkind."

Pidge grabs Lance's arm. "It's okay, Lance. Maybe we should just go back to Shiro and the others." -she suggests, rather urgently. "We're obviously not welcome here."

"Good. I thought perhaps I was being too subtle." -Yellow Diamond says, disdainful. "Take your mechanical pets and leave my world, Paladins of Voltron. Return to that doomed mudball you call the Earth."

The Gem's aura subsides, and they turn to leave. Pidge breathes a sigh of relief because yeah, Yellow Diamond was definitely considering offing them. Green and Blue fly towards them as the massive arm ship pokes through the clouds above. The Gem matriarch leaps onto its palm, and disappears into its depths. The ship then points towards the sky, elongates impossibly, and disappears in a vortex of warped space-time.

"Yikes." -Lance says.

"Yup."

"That could've gone better."

"Could've gone worse, too." -she points out. "We're not exactly great at diplomacy."

"True." -he says, as their two Lions land beside them. "Hey, what do you think she meant by calling Earth doomed?"

Pidge shrugs. Her nerves are a bit too frayed to really think about it. "Global warming? I dunno, Lance. I just hope we never get to ask her. At least, not in person."

"Yeah, no argument here."

They board the Lions, and head towards their fellow Paladins. They're already taking off, and it's not hard to figure out why.

"Gems are nuts, you guys." -Hunk says when they join them. "Like, not even the fact that even their tiny Ruby guys could toss me around like I weigh about half a Pidge…"

"Hey!"

"...they turned on us the moment the Galra were done! We didn't even have a chance to give them their buddy back!"

Pidge's eyebrows shoot up. "You kept the Ruby!?"

"I did." -Shiro says, gravely. "Which means this won't be the last time we deal with the Gems. We'll have to figure out a way to approach them safely, now that we know that they aren't exactly friendly."

"Earth first though, right?" -Lance asks, hopeful, then amends himself. "I mean, I don't know about you, but I desperately need some strictly human comforts. Pizza, videogames, beautiful human women…"

Pidge laughs to herself. Trust Lance to ruin a somber moment, even if it's his own. The internal laugh is, admittedly, a little hysterical - they did just meet a space goddess, after all.

Shiro smiles. "Earth first, Lance."