The Fifth Triumvirate

Children of the Four Diamonds

A vertical slit shot up the wall, and the two sections that had been created slid apart, revealing the backs of the seated Diamonds. Reluctantly Peridot and Bixbite parted their hands, but just before they started to move, Bixbite took advantage of their unseen position to give Peridot a swift kiss on the cheek; the green Gem smiled up at her warmly. Then the pair followed as Shell and Apex led them to the side of the table opposite the Triumvirate.

Shell presented them to the Diamonds, received a formal acknowledgement, and then left with Apex.

“Bixbite, Peridot, take a seat.” Blue Diamond instructed them.

They did.

“Clearly, we’ve brought you back in here because we — and the council — have agreed on a solution to the problem you’ve presented us with.” Yellow Diamond explained. “The conversation we’re going to have requires your full attention, so I’m going to tell you from the outset that you’re not going to be shattered; either of you.”

They’d done it.

They’d escaped.

Their daring, or their honesty, or her way with words… whatever had secured it, they had survived the Fifth Triumvirate. Peridot felt like she’d just regenerated, or fought the three of them and won; she felt even better than she had after her first kiss with Bixbite.

She breathed an audible sigh of relief, which escalated into a quiet, breathy laugh.

“Thank you… Thank you! J—… I-I’m— thank you so much!” Bixbite babbled incoherently. If they were close enough, Peridot imagined that she would’ve tried to hug the Diamonds: thankfully the table was too big, and Bixbite turned to look at her instead. The expansive grin that Peridot’s mouth had formed grew even wider when she saw Bixbite’s face: her white teeth clearly visible against the red background of her skin.

Bixbite also started to laugh; first in a moderate kind of way, then much louder than Peridot had done, until it finally degenerated into startling, hysterical series of short exhalations. In an effort to calm her down a little, Peridot gently laid her fingers on Bixbite’s forearm, meeting her eyes with a look of concern on her face.

Her laughing became even more erratic and her lips began to quiver, she looked scared and elated at the same time, and Peridot strengthened her grip slightly. Finally, Bixbite couldn’t contain it anymore: she threw her arms around Peridot and sobbed uninhibitedly into her shoulder.

Reflexively, Peridot began to stroke her back, blushing with embarrassment when she found the Diamonds watching her. Yellow Diamond gave a small understanding nod and White Diamond smiled and slowly shook her head; Blue Diamond gave nothing away as she looked on, her face showing only the merest hints of seriousness as she waited for them to finish.

Finally, she went quiet and released Peridot.

“I am so sorry. I wasn’t… I don’t even know how I let that happen. But thank you, Empresses, so much… for not having us shattered…” Bixbite said sincerely.

“There’s no need for you to apologise; it’s natural that you’d be relieved after what you’ve been through recently. You should be able to concentrate better now, so we’ll begin.” said Yellow Diamond in a business-like manner.

“Peridot, most other spotters in your position would’ve taken one look at Earth’s planetary data and assumed that everything was as written, and on a few previous occasions that’s exactly what happened; that’s how it was supposed to happen. But as you’ve proved, just hiding something doesn’t guarantee that the resourceful won’t find it if they have an idea where to look.

Bixbite, you chose to take Peridot at her word and assist her with her task, even knowing the risks. Some might say that that was very unwise of you, but you’re a good judge of information and of character, and that combination has worked in your favour so far. Your actions speak volumes about your loyalty and your courage, and it’s clear that Peridot would only seek the help of somebody that she thought could handle all aspects of her problem.

…Gems with your skills… minds and qualities like yours: initiative, intuition, logic, subtlety, the drive to pursue what you feel is important, the will to do what is necessary… Gems like the two of you will always be of use to the Authority, and will always play a role in both the defence of Homeworld and the expansion of our race.”

Yellow Diamond held Peridot’s gaze for a long moment; instantly she knew that the Diamond hadn’t forgotten what she’d said about serving Homeworld. From way things were going, she imagined that she’d be following those words through sooner rather than later…

“The beginning of that expansion is approaching quickly, and its relative imminence is the reason that you’re still alive. From what the council has told us, every Triumvirate before ours would’ve had you shattered for knowing even the little that you’ve learned, because the time wasn’t right to apply that information. Fortunately for you, ours is the path that yours has intersected with, and we feel that now is the right time to begin re-establishing the ancient empire of the Gem race. The two of you are almost ideally positioned to play a role in that plan, which is why we’ve decided, unanimously, I might add, that your continued existence is of greater benefit to Gemkind than your shattering would be.”

‘In your faces, you clods! This is why you should listen to me when I’m telling you something!’ thought a triumphant Peridot.

She’d proposed a number of outcomes to what she and Bixbite had done, some more likely than others. Helping to rebuild an empire was not one she had given much thought to. She was hardly going to complain though: five minutes earlier she had been convinced that she was going to die.

The ruler Diamonds had recognised her (obvious) worth, she’d somehow managed to end up in a relationship with Bixbite and now she was going to change the world.

‘You can’t even buy skills like these…’ she smirked momentarily, feeling more smug than she’d ever felt before.

“The planet Earth is one of a few strategically chosen worlds that will serve as the foundation of this new empire, but before its colonization is officially authorized there are certainloose ends, that must be tied up. Since you two already know as much about it as you do, you will be doing the tying: after all, you two possess all the ingenuity required for work like this, and that means we don’t have to introduce any more potential risks during these delicate first stages.” Yellow Diamond paused for a moment, allowing her words to be processed.

She looked into Bixbite and Peridot’s faces, gauging their reactions so far. The yellow glow of her eyes had an almost hypnotic effect on the pair, who watched her in silence; they looked a little tense, but focused on her — eager to find out what was coming next.

She went on.

“But we can hardly expect you to do anything useful, when at the moment you know almost nothing of the world you’re going to be working with. ...It’d be idiotic and dangerous to try and leave you in the dark, and so, we are going to re-educate you. You sought answers; and answers you shall get.”

Finished for the time being, the yellow Shard representative leaned back in her chair, placed one leg across the other and interlocked her fingers.

The confident voice of White Diamond then refocused their attention.

“Indeed.” she said, giving a nod of acknowledgement to Yellow Diamond. “Now, my fellow Triumvirs have nominated me for the task of illuminating the two of you. I suppose it’s only fitting that such a thing should fall to me, given that I am of the white Shard…” she finished slyly.

Neither Peridot nor Bixbite quite understood what the Diamond meant by that, but they kept respectfully quiet and waited for her to continue.

“Before we were promoted to the Triumvirate, we were convinced by the version of history that we had been taught: the story of the Third Inorganic War made near perfect sense, and at a superficial glance, had reasonable evidence to support it.

But the truth is, the war as we were led to understand it — that pivotal part of our race’s history... is an illusion; artifice most intricately crafted, a fabrication of simply awe-inspiring scale.”

Essence sighed internally, wondering why she had agreed to let Corona give the history lesson.

‘Because she’ll sell it best.’ the blue Gem reminded herself.

She didn’t feel that Corona was as serious about their job (or anything else for that matter) as she should be, but as frivolous as White Diamond could be, she had a way with words. The story would undoubtedly be shorter if she or Pavilion were to tell it, but Corona’s more elaborate approach to conversation would go far in persuading the Gems before them that they were privileged to have such knowledge, and not burdened by it. Bixbite and Peridot’s involvement in the situation had saved the Authority a great deal of time and effort: if Corona’s verbose way of telling the story would allay their concerns and guarantee their continued interest in the matter, then Essence could put up with it.

“Like we were, and the vast majority of people still are, you’re under the impression that the Third Inorganic War was fought against three distinct inorganic races, in whichever star system it supposedly took place in. Unlike the majority, you two know of the planet Earth, and suspect that something is amiss with the way it fits —or fails to fit in with established Gem history.

It may be difficult at first, but you’re going to have to dispense with the idea that there were two wars, because the Third Inorganic War and the war for the Earth are in fact one and the same.”

'What!? But that... that doesn’t make any sense. Why would they need to lie if… if —oh my Gem!’ Bixbite wondered, clapping her hands to her mouth as she realised something that she and Peridot should’ve picked up on before.

“It all begins with a rose quartz; Rose Quartz of Pentagonal Facet, of the House of Quartz, of the Town in the Cove Favoured by the Third Moon. At that time she was a planetary spotter, first class; and it was she who discovered the planet. But more than that, she was the representative of the Fourth Shard.”

‘Huh?’ thought Peridot, frowning slightly before she worked out that White Diamond was probably talking about the pink diamond that appeared in the old version of the Authority’s seal.

‘I knew it!’ she said to herself. The nameless rose quartz did have a name, and she was right to suspect that she’d had something to do with the Authority.

Things were getting more interesting by the second…

“For obvious reasons, the first power structure to emerge from the Technicolour War was composed only of diamonds, and the three victorious Shards sought to retain their new power for as long as possible. The regime that they created was seen as needlessly oppressive and rapidly became unpopular: within a few centuries Homeworld was facing another war, this one involving all varieties of Gem. To prevent that war and ensure the white, blue and yellow Shards retained a measure of their control over the world, the decision was made to reduce the number of diamonds in authority, and introduce a greater number of Gems from other varieties. The leader of this ‘Fourth Shard’ was made an honorary Diamond, with status equal to the actual Diamonds.

Rose Quartz was the last representative of the Fourth Shard; the Blue Diamond of that age suggested that she apply for the position, and she won it with overwhelming support. However, she’d only discovered Earth a few years before, and when the time came for those that were working on the project to explore it first-hand, she wished to go with them. The other Diamonds agreed that even though she was going offworld, she would keep her rank and continue to rule upon her return.

But that return would never take place…

The ground samples that the spotting department probes brought back from Earth contained an abundance of microscopic organic creatures, and upon arrival the planet was found to be ideal for seeding, exactly as predicted: their first hours on Earth revealed that much larger organisms were living there as well; a promising start, as I’m sure you both understand.”

‘Yep, we understand.’ Bixbite thought, nodding in confirmation.

She tended to think of organics as an indication of a sort of ‘fuel quality’, when it came to world seeding. If the ground was the fuel, then its quality was measured by the sizes of organisms that dwelt on the surface: larger life forms meant that there was an abundance of energy at every level of life, right down to the ground, and more energy within the ground meant more Gems per unit area.

‘Simple transmutation theory!’ she thought proudly.

“However, there was one species on that world that would change everything.”

At that point White Diamond paused for a moment, looking thoughtful.

“The data you uncovered at the Icosahedron makes no mention of the human race, does it?” she asked after a few seconds.

“No, Empress.” Peridot replied as Bixbite vigorously shook her head.

The pale Diamond smiled briefly.

“Well, humans were the dominant species on Earth —which can’t’ve been all that difficult, seeing as they were the only species on the planet that could pass as intelligent; and they fit that description by a very narrow margin…” she quickly informed them, her voice full of disdain.

“Anyway, like the rest of the vermin infesting that world, they were organic… category eleven life forms according to your classification system, I believe. The most interesting thing about these creatures was the resemblance that they bore to Gems; the similarity between them and us in our default forms, was simply disturbing: if not for our gems, one could easily mistake us for the same race.”

Peridot moved her head slightly to look at Bixbite, wondering if she was wondering if they were going to be shown an image of a human; if they were then that would come later, because White Diamond went on:

“The team led by Rose Quartz was fascinated by these beings to the point of obsession. They seemed to forget that despite the physical resemblance, they were still just organics —detritus of the lowest order. They failed to remember, or rather ignored the fact that they were there for a specific purpose.” she spat viciously, her face the picture of acute revulsion.

There weren’t many things that could provoke Corona, but organics were something she found truly disgusting. The thought of Gems willingly demeaning themselves for such dirty, meaningless creatures… was quite frankly embarrassing: an irremovable smear on their history.

“Instead of commencing with kindergarten operations, Rose Quartz contacted her fellow Diamonds and explained to them that the spotting department had opted not to seed the Earth: using her guile and status within the Authority, and her relationship with Blue Diamond, she actually managed to persuade them to come to Earth and see her new favourites with their own eyes.” White Diamond said in a way suggesting that even now, she couldn’t quite believe that had really happened… that she didn’t want to believe that it had really happened.

Peridot could totally sympathise with White Diamond’s attitude toward the subject. Organic species were almost pointless, something to be exterminated on every world on which they existed —if you could even call what they had an existence: their nasty, imperfect little bodies were so fragile that even if they did manage not to get killed by some mundane occurrence, they’d eventually die on their own... naturally! Something with such a major defect built into its design was clearly not supposed to last, and what could they even hope to accomplish with such short lives when they never even cooperated anyway?

‘What a waste of resources.’ she thought disapprovingly.

Essence found it petty — the way that most Gems seemed to passionately hate organics, simply for being organic. Personally, she found their persistence as admirable, and every so often their struggles to survive yielded something of use to Gemkind; people, especially people like Corona, seemed to overlook that.

As long as no good reason was found to commit xenocide on an organic species, she thought that they show be allowed to continue existing. A few of the scientists on Earth had shared her opinion: one of the projects there that she was particularly interested in concerned Gem-human hybridization. A project like that could open all kinds of doors that the small-minded would never even consider…

However, if any partnership was to occur, then Gems would have to make sure that the organics didn’t gain any advantages of tactical significance; that would be asking for trouble.

And anyway, it was the other inorganic races that had to be watched most vigilantly: they were a lot harder to kill…

“In time, each of the three Diamonds warped to Earth and saw the fabled humans. More than anything else, they were amused by our unlikely copies; those… flawed creatures. As a species they didn’t consider humans a threat to our race, and it would’ve taken a series of very improbable events for them to even start worrying about the Gems that had landed there with Rose Quartz. They chose to allow the scientists to continue with their xenobiology experiments, and cultural interactions with the humans: reasoning that they could always change their minds and contest the spotting department if the situation changed.

But they weren’t just going to leave Rose Quartz on Earth with her crew, totally unsupervised, with three starships worth of transmutation equipment… Each of the three diamond Shard representatives controlled a section of Homeworld’s military, and between the three of them they made sure that a proportion of the army was sent to the planet, in case the Fourth Shard representative was formulating her own plans for Earth. At the same time, a comparable number of ordinary Gems were encouraged to go to; so as not to arouse Rose Quartz’s suspicion if she had gone rogue.”

Peridot felt the room get a little colder as White Diamond’s voice took on a more sinister quality, darkening the mood.

“As is the case now, the yellow Shard representative was the overseer of colonization back then, even though Rose Quartz’s unique affiliation with both the spotting department and the Authority was blurring some of the lines between the two roles. Because of her position, Yellow Diamond’s portion of the military was larger than that of the others, and in addition to the regular forces she sent to Earth, she arranged for a special selection of Gems to go as well; separate from the main group…

Time went by, and eventually the inevitable authorization to seed the Earth was given; a decision brought about by two important factors:

Firstly, the human race proved to be as useless to us as any other organic species: anything we could’ve wanted them to build, we could build better and in a fraction of the time, and though their bodies were capable of self-repair, they were still too fragile to do most the things that they might’ve assisted us with.

Secondly, and most disturbingly, it appeared that Rose Quartz was gaining a significant personal following. Gems of certain dispositions: those denied fusion permits, the obviously defective, many of the older kindergarten created Gems… ne’er-do-wells, and those that held some grudge against the Authority; these outcasts and misfits were embracing their ‘new home’, and Rose Quartz. The more lenient way that Gem activities were being conducted on Earth held allure for a lot of people, and the planet had unofficially become an offworld colony; one that seemed largely under the control of the honorary pink Diamond.

A colony occupied by Gems, infested by organics, and under anything less than the full control of the Authority, was not a colony that Homeworld would allow to persist. Activating the kindergarten was a move meant to destroy the organics, reminding the Gems on Earth that they were still answerable to Homeworld, while at the same time redressing the balance between potential renegades and those that would fight to defend a civilized existence, if it came to that.”

Although things had ended in the worst possible way on that occasion, Pavilion thought that the Authority had acted in quite a reasonable fashion, knowing what it had at the time. It wasn’t that she had anything against the organic races — to her, they held the same status as gas clouds, or asteroids, or stars: just another part of the universe which Gems happened to inhabit — but if they got in the way of Gem affairs then she would take issue with them, as she would with anything else that did.

The reality was that the universe was a harsh place, and Gems could survive conditions that would’ve ended the humans, which were few in number anyway; therefore it made more sense for Gems to occupy the Earth, even if that meant the human race died out faster. It would’ve been unfortunate, but the deaths of the humans wouldn’t have been needless.

It angered her to think of Rose Quartz’s short sightedness.

“At that time Earth’s new kindergarten was state-of-the-art: it boasted the fastest production rates of the age, flash-learning equipment, more intelligent injectors and most importantly, the whole facility was concealed underground. The place was built, initialized and maintained in total secrecy by Yellow Diamond’s additional forces: a group of the finest scientists and warriors that she commanded. Away from the other Gems on the planet they grew and trained those that would go on to fight in the war for the Earth. When the number of kindergarten Gems outstripped the anticipated number that were loyal to Rose Quartz, the Diamonds requested her presence on Homeworld to inform her that full colonization of the planet was going to commence. They debated at length about the humans: whether it was right or wrong to eradicate their species like that, the possibility that they might continue to live in harmony together, and all the rest. But ultimately the Pink Diamond was outvoted, and saw that she had to relent.

Only she had no intention of complying with their decree.

One of the greatest underestimations in the history of our race was of the feelings that Rose Quartz harboured for the humans. Very shortly after the meeting of the four Diamonds a letter was sent to the Authority, a final, audacious plea for Homeworld not to colonize the Earth. The reply was swift and to the point; telling Rose Quartz that if she did anything to oppose the plans they had set in motion, it would be considered a declaration of war.

A message to the effect of ‘so be it’ was all Homeworld received in response, shortly before losing contact with Earth through the standard channels, and being unable to reach it from any planet on the interplanetary warp grid. Fortunately, communications with the kindergarten were unaffected by whatever the traitorous Gems had done: the situation was explained to the General in charge—”

“Lieutenant General.” Essence corrected her.

Ordinarily she wouldn’t have bothered commenting on the small mistake as everything was there for Bixbite and Peridot to read in detail later, but the Gem that Corona was referring to was an inspiration to Essence; it was fitting for her to be discussed accurately.

The enthralled pair noticed the minute twitch of White Diamond’s mouth after she’d been interrupted. They both wondered if the Diamonds were going to have a dispute in front of them… but no, the white Gem’s expression turned to one of amusement and she carried on.

“Sorry, the Lieutenant General in charge of the base… was notified of the developments and told to accelerate production in preparation for the coming war.

The relatively small force that had been sent with the civilian Gems, had either been overwhelmed by or joined Rose Quartz’s army, because there was no sign of them when the first wave of soldiers reached Earth to engage the rogue Gems. The kindergarten products were merged with the forces from Homeworld, and the war for the Earth began.”

She chuckled.

“Funny, isn’t it? How the Third Inorganic War really was fought between inorganics, just not the ones that we’ve always learned about… Whoever would’ve guessed that one of our greatest offworld conflicts would be against members of our own race… Gem against Gem.”

‘That’s not funny, that’s just awful!’ Bixbite thought, reminded again that she was afraid of the three Diamonds (well, not so much Yellow Diamond; she had the scariest face, but had turned out to be the nicest of the three of them. It was really lucky, because Bixbite got the feeling that she was the leader… ’wait… can there be a leader _if they all have the same rank?’).

She didn’t like the idea of exterminating a whole race of intelligent beings, it seemed… wrong. That said, organic races generally had short lives which they had been known to go to extreme lengths trying to prolong; if they weren’t doing that then it was because they were trying to destroy each other (their other favourite thing to do), almost exclusively over some insignificant difference between different groups within their species, or over land (which there was always enough of anyway)… Gems had some marked differences between certain varieties, and they didn’t even destroy each other as often as the organics did.

The fact Rose Quartz was so willing to fight with them, for them... she just couldn’t understand it.

’She’d destroy her own kind, other Gems... for those sort of people... Why? Who could even do something like that!?′

“It was expected that the fighting would be over quickly, but that was miscalculation… to say the least. In the time it took Homeworld to send its troops to Earth, Rose Quartz had turned her crowd of followers into a very respectable army. With the advantage of being on familiar terrain, and the strength of the purpose that drove them to fight, the ‘Earth’ Gems did considerable damage to Homeworld’s forces in the first stages of the war. The Diamonds had once again underestimated Rose Quartz; if you take a closer look at the events of the war it very quickly becomes apparent that she was a magnificent tactician… she would’ve been an asset to Homeworld if she hadn’t sworn allegiance to that filth.

But the kindergarten remained operational, and despite the time it took to transport them, more soldiers were deployed on Earth. Gradually the armies of our home world were able to reverse their misfortune, steadily securing positions all across the planet. That said, the commanders of our forces noticed a worrying trend of desertion as the war progressed.”

While Corona’s disgust was directed at the organics, Pavilion’s was fixed squarely on the ones that switched sides. To be a member of the Gem race was a wonderful, improbable thing: she was outraged at the notion that one might even consider turning their weapon against the planet that gave them life, and using what they were in the service of another race.

“At its most basic level the problem was easy enough to solve: those that were caught were interrogated and shattered; Gems unwilling to fight for the interests of their race were clearly unworthy of being part of it.”


Peridot knew that she would never feel the same way about the word again: even the mention of it was enough to make her feel tense...

“At a higher level there were much greater concerns… like where, when questioned, the deserters revealed they were going. You see, Rose Quartz’s message was striking a chord with some of the very Gems she was fighting; they were willing to betray Homeworld for the sake of her misguided ideals.

Twice the Diamonds had underestimated their pink adversary; it was not a mistake that they would make again…

The Gems that were on Earth knew exactly what was happening, but the Gems on Homeworld and the other offworld colonies knew only of Rose Quartz’s little expedition to the planet. From the reaction that even trained soldiers were having to her ideas, the Diamonds could only imagine the division it might cause among Gems if they were to learn the details of Earth’s war. Thus, the Third Inorganic War was presented in its place.”

White Diamond smiled wickedly at the two of them:

“A faraway war for resources, fought against inorganic enemies… It sounds terribly familiar doesn’t it? …Which is precisely why it worked so well. The First and the Second Inorganic War had started for almost identical reasons; it wasn’t difficult to imagine that a third would occur in much the same way. History, as they say, has a nasty habit of repeating itself…

The standard procedure for an offworld war was to move everyone to the most secure colonies, or Homeworld itself, and take the warp grid offline in case any of its planets were invaded. I’m sure you can guess what this meant with regards to Earth…”

It only took a moment for Bixbite to work out what it meant, and White Diamond’s silence told her that either she or Peridot was supposed to say something; her lips were moving long before she had worked out how to say it.

“Umm, well… nobody would be looking for it —I mean the Earth, I mean… Uh, yes! Sorry… What I mean is that if all the colonies were inaccessible, then nobody would find it weird that the Earth’s warp pads weren’t working… yes.”

“Exactly. If the same thing has happened everywhere, then something unusual becomes ordinary, and ordinary rouses the least suspicion: those that weren’t fighting in it had no idea that the war was being waged against Gems, and the Diamonds intended to keep it that way.

Back on Earth, Rose Quartz’s scouts were being apprehended closer and closer to the kindergarten: the exposure of its location would’ve made it a constant target until its destruction; an outcome that it was imperative to prevent. You read that the kindergarten was destroyed before it could be commandeered, but those in charge dealt with the threat in a far more effective way: operations were shut down, all personnel reassigned to different fronts, and the still incubating Gems left to burn themselves out. The resulting damage to the kindergarten had the appearance of being significant, but was merely superficial; it was made to look as though there had been some kind of accident because really, if Rose Quartz’s forces thought that it was inoperable, then they’d have no reason to do any further damage to it.”

Peridot had already deduced that if the Third Inorganic War and the Earth War were the same thing, then the dates in the Icosahedron records had been shifted backwards by several hundred years. Hearing that the war had broken out before the kindergarten was ‘destroyed’ confirmed her newest theory that the record had been altered further to make the war look a lot less serious. Someone, at some point, had done an incredible job in spreading misinformation…

“With Homeworld’s main source of new troops unavailable, the war, which was already taking far longer to win than expected, became increasingly difficult. The armies of Rose Quartz took full advantage of the situation, and before long they had regained an equal footing with Homeworld. Neither side was able to overpower the other, and so a stalemate set in: one that would last the best part of five hundred years.

It was brought to an end by the Gems created in Earth’s kindergarten, in a way that was absolutely detrimental to the very cause they were supposed to be fighting for. …Our ancient predecessors called this planet Homeworld, and for a lot of Gems it is that in the purest sense of the name: we were formed here, we were raised here, taught to be Gems here; wherever we go and whatever we do, the fact will always remain that we are each a literal part of this living world. But kindergarten Gems have no such reason to call this their home, though many of them choose to; it’s understandable if they aren’t as attached to Homeworld as we are. Had the armies of Homeworld understood this better, then perhaps the war may’ve had a different outcome. You see, as it dragged on, those Gems that had been made on Earth matured, as did their understanding of who they were, what they were doing on Earth and why they were doing it; many declared that Earth was their actual home, and that the humans had as much as of right to exist there as they did. It didn’t help that kindergarten Gems weren’t treated as… favourably as they are now; with hindsight it’s no surprise that they defected: who would care to fight for an army that viewed them as impure, owing to the circumstances of their formation?

Over the next two hundred years, roughly a third of those kindergarten created would leave, or attempt to leave the imperial army for that of the Earth’s, critically impairing Homeworld’s campaign.

Feeling that the war had gone on for far too long already, with little to show for it, the three true Diamonds resolved to personally put an end to Rose Quartz and her rebellion. They made their second and final trip to Earth, an event that marks the beginning of the end of the war. The last few years of the conflict are simply astonishing; the arrival of their supreme Generals boosted the morale of the troops like nothing else, and the ferocity of the fighting ascended to levels previously unseen. Any mercy or restraint that had previously been shown by Homeworld evaporated: the weapons and tactics employed... many must be seen before they’re believed…”

“Ah.” was the response Corona remembered giving when they’d told her to use the pyramid (a prism, they’d called it) to summon the army.

’Because it’s just so easy to summon ‘the army’… With no instruction…’

She’d had nothing worry about, because it really was that easy to summon the army: all she’d had to do was pick up the prism, and the first of the… monsters had appeared in front of her. It stomped closer to her and she thought briefly about attacking it (despite its enormous size), but it didn’t look like it was going to attack her so she left it alone. Thinking she was finished, she turned back to the panel, who watched her impassively; no, apparently she wasn’t finished yet.

Reasoning that no idea was a bad idea, she cleared her throat theatrically and spoke to the creature:

“You will bring forth the army.”

And her wish was granted. The white being split into seven coloured creatures, each as threatening as the original; abruptly, the panel told her to return the army to the prism, after which she was free to leave.

Then she’d ascended to the Triumvirate, and the council told her that every Gem powerful enough to wield one would’ve done so during the later stages of the war. The light prisms were just a small part of all that was to be seen; Apex had shown them many other things: the heavily armoured war machines, powered by the gems of the Gems that operated them, explosives that would throw those nearby into the warp, strange, modified injectors capable of reactivating volcanoes… and even she hadn’t seen everything.

A while ago, when she, Pavilion and Essence were being educated, she thought for the merest fraction of a second that she might be out of her depth as a Triumvir. But Pavilion seemed nearly as awestruck as she was, and even Essence looked humbled by the last parts of the war. Then she remembered that the three of them were equals, no matter what they had or had not come across before; should anything like Rose Quartz’s rebellion happen again, they owed it to the pre-Triumvirate Diamonds to fight any enemy, with any tools they had available to them.

And she owed it to her Shard to look amazing while doing so.

Bixbite noticed Blue Diamond give White Diamond a subtle but serious glance; it looked to her a bit like a warning, which White Diamond seemed to accept because she quickly continued speaking, leaving no room for any questions.

“But for as many gains as their renewed vigour brought them, Homeworld was losing control of the Earth. The Diamonds predicted the loss of the war, and with it the demise of the Gem race if the attitudes of Rose Quartz were allowed to affect Homeworld and the other colonies. Thus, on the back of the Third Inorganic War, the greatest contingency plan in the history of Gemkind was conceived.

The war had taught the Diamonds many things: about the natures of different types of Gem, about warfare, about the drives and motivations of the people, of what they supported and why. They saw the future of our race being very different to its present reality, and because of the way events had come to pass their vision could be realized. Tremendous sacrifices would be made, but they knew that the rewards would ultimately make them far more than worth it.

In the final battle of the war, Blue Diamond fought Rose Quartz to the death. She felt that it was largely her fault that the pink Diamond had become what she had, and was determined to solve the problem she had created, or die trying. Evenly matched in their skill with a weapon, the two turned to their magic: the idea that Blue Diamond went missing during the war is partly true: nobody knows where she is, because the object Rose Quartz used to defeat her is said to have literally wiped her from the face of the planet in a beam of pink light. None of the survivors of the war remember seeing anything like it before, and have never seen anything like it since.—

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