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The Great Crystal Authority

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The North wing of the Crystal Authority’s palace was silent, like it usually was. Her Clarity, Garnet, ruler of aristocrats and lower soldiers, was in her chambers contemplating, and no one was allowed to disturb her.

Garnet was a fusion of two ancient, natural gems of different types, and her existence alone was one proof of her great, strong mind. She was also gifted with the power of seeing the future, which required concentration. So, she spent most of her time alone in her chambers, contemplating the future and planning for the sake of the gem empire.

Her components were said to be two of the oldest gems alive, and she had been fused for so long that their individual identities were almost forgotten by all but a few historians. The moment they came together was a big event in Homeworld’s history, marking the start of the long process of unification that brought gemkind to an era of progress.

Garnet had a blue colored Diamond to assist her in more trivial matters. The petite blue gem had belonged to one of her components since before her formation, and was taught in the arts. Her sweet singing voice was praised by all who were lucky to hear it. But as Homeworld’s empire expanded, entertainment stopped being her main occupation, and she started doing paperwork and handling Garnet’s appointments. She would stand in the throne room for cycles with no breaks, filling forms, answering calls, and making sure that only the most important matters got to Her Clarity’s attention.

But her main task was something even more important. Once every few cycles, she was called to Garnet’s chambers, where she was one of the few gems allowed. That particular Diamond had the power of influencing a gem’s emotions with her touch. She used it to clear Garnet’s mind of all sadness, anger or any other feeling that could negatively impact Her Clarity, so she could remain fused and focused on her visions.

The West wing of the palace was loud as ever, filled with the sounds of weapons clashing, grunts and occasional cries. Amethyst, ruler of the warriors, was never fond of office work, and spent most of her time supervising the training of Homeworld’s army.

Amethyst had fought personally in many of the battles against gem groups who disagreed with the unification. Her victories were told and retold, and the warriors who got to see a demonstration of her strength never forgot it, half inspired and half intimidated.

Being a natural gem, Amethyst didn’t share all of the traits that fabricated Quartzes had. In particular, she was much shorter than younger warriors. She compensated it by wearing the most advanced limb enhancers in Homeworld, made by Pearl herself. They were made using the latest technology, as to not interfere in the precision of her movements or her strength in combat.

Amethyst was assisted by a yellow-colored Diamond. Despite not being built for fighting, the Diamond was taught enough to be able to defend herself should she find herself in danger when she accompanied the General to a war zone. Her services were appreciated by Amethyst, but she knew there could be a situation in which she would have bigger priorities than the Diamond’s safety.

The Diamond was the only gem besides Amethyst and Pearl who could touch the General’s limb enhancers, as she was responsible for basic maintenance for them. She could do basic check-ups and fixes, enough for the General not have to call Her Iridescence every time something acted weird, and to keep them working in an emergency.

Since Amethyst wasn’t fond of office work, most of it was left for the Diamond to deal with. She didn’t get to stand in an office like Garnet’s Diamond, though. Instead, she silently worked as she stood by the General in an Arena or training camp, one eye in her work and the other watching out for any disturbances.

Pearl, ruler of engineers, scientists, and technicians, wanted her Diamond to be a flawless, colorless one, but as soon as she received her, she realized she wasn’t so. The Diamond was mostly white, but she had the smallest tint of pink, which became more visible when she felt some intense emotion. Pearl wanted to get her replaced immediately, but was convinced not to by Rose.

She didn’t know how to say no to Rose.

So, the not-so-white Diamond stayed, but Pearl didn’t trust her with anything important. She was also ordered "not to feel emotions", so her flaw would be as hidden as possible. Pearl didn’t need extra hands to help with her work anyway, she had enough thanks to her ability to create hologram clones of herself. Only they knew exactly how she liked things. All she asked of her Diamond was to stand, be pretty and pretend not to be flawed.

The South wing of the palace belonged to the youngest member of the Authority, Rose Quartz, ruler of common gems. Despite being a Quartz like Amethyst, and thus suited to be a warrior, Rose didn’t share her passion for war. Instead, she was deeply involved in gem production and in looking after the gems the other Authority members didn’t care much for. She was the ruler of the heavy workers, the servants, and even of the many faceless mass-produced gems.

Her door was open to any gem who had a request or needed help, but her wing was often empty. Despite her constant reassurances to her subjects, no gem felt they had the right to bring their problems to their ruler, or to complain at all about anything, when they knew they lived according to what the Authority had planned for them.

Rose’s staff had a minimal amount of gems needed to keep things running, and she didn’t care for displays of wealth and power. Her subjects admired her humbleness, while among higher gems there were malicious whispers of Rose lacking any real power or important role in the Authority.

The center hall of the palace was used to hold important meetings and luxurious balls. Outside of these special occasions, it was often empty, and very few gems knew of the many secret rooms that could be accessed from it.

One of these rooms was small and empty except for the green gemstone that powered its automatic door and its lights. It was meant to be a shelter for important gems in an emergency, but emergencies never happened in Homeworld since the Authority rose to power. Instead, it served as the place where the three Diamonds that lived in the palace stayed when their presence wasn’t required anywhere else.

It was the blue Diamond that showed it to the others. She would sneak off to it when she could, as she preferred doing her work there than in Garnet’s cold office. The yellow Diamond also preferred working there, where it was peaceful and she could truly focus. The white Diamond was glad for simply being out of Pearl’s (or her clones') sight.

But the best part of having a place like that room was that when the stars aligned they could be together.

The moments they spent in the room was the closest the Diamonds had to a rest period, even though they were not supposed to ever actually rest. The point in them being as resistant as they were was so they could do much more work than any other gem, be it physical or mental or even the repetitive chore of checking reports and signing forms. In theory, they should never get tired, and their productivity should be constant.

In reality, the yellow Diamond was relieved when she could just lay on the room’s floor, her legs aching from the nonstop walking for cycles and cycles. She opened her screen on that position and worked on her files from there. However, that rest didn’t relieve the stress of having to guess what decisions the General wanted to be taken, knowing she would be punished if she got anything wrong, yet most times being unable to ask anything to the General herself.

The blue Diamond sat on the floor next to her, also feeling her body tired, but not as much as her mind. Her power of influencing emotions was taxing on her, and she always ended up absorbing in herself some part of the negative emotions she took away from Her Clarity. And Her Clarity’s emotions were not a small deal, they were intense and at times overwhelming. Yet, she was not supposed to express any emotion herself, so she bottled everything up and only let go in the privacy of the room. As she worked she wiped the tears from her eyes, spilled over things she didn’t know and events she didn’t witness.

At this particular moment, she was replying to requests of permission for cross-gem fusion. Once upon a time, her Clarity replied to each of them personally, but the task was passed to her Diamond as the answer to all was always the same: no. Sometimes she would hum a few notes, which her companions appreciated.

The white Diamond, as always, had no work to do, except for keeping an eye on Her Iridescence’s schedule so she would be with her when her presence was required. She sat away from the others, not wanting to disturb her colleagues. She used her free time away from Her Iridescence to read. She read anything that she could get her hands own, historic records, scientific reports, tech manuals. Part of her wished she could learn enough to one day make herself useful to Homeworld.

The biggest weight she had to carry was the order to not feel anything. It was an impossible order, but she had to do her best. Her blue colleague had once offered to use her power on the white Diamond, but she couldn’t accept it, not when she knew those feelings would trouble her instead.

Hidden in that room was the only place where she didn’t feel ashamed of her pink tint. The only place where she didn’t need to pretend to be perfect.

There was always the chance the Crystal Authority would find the Diamonds hiding in that room, or that they already knew about it. Between Garnet’s future vision, Pearl’s holograms, and Amethyst’s soldiers, it was like the Authority had eyes everywhere. No transgression ever went past them. The Diamonds had no illusion the room was a safe place, or that a safe place even existed, but they treasured the calm moments they had together in there, even when they were silent, each doing their own work.

You never know how long calm moments will last.