This is chapter 19 of Fission, a fanfic which explores the possibility that two Gems can not only fuse into one, but a single Gem can also be split into two. For more chapters, please explore the fanon main page.
Chapter 19: Yellow Pearl's Bargain
"So, you guys took a prisoner," Lapis said. She tilted her head at Yellow Pearl, who was still unconscious, but was now unconscious on top of a pile of blankets in front of the meep morp display. Lapis narrowed her eyes a bit and her lips turned up in an only-slightly-devious smile. "Cool."
"For the last time, she is not a prisoner," Peridot insisted, making sure her tablet was in proper working order before heading out to the ship. "When she wakes up, she is free to do whatever she will. Unless 'what she will' involves threatening us, in which case, encase her in a water bubble until I get back."
"You mean imprison her?" Lapis clarified.
"Yes. Exactly. Glad to see our thoughts so in sync."
Lapis nodded. Then she took a few steps around the Pearl and shivered a bit when she got a better look at her wings. "She started becoming corrupted?"
Peridot waved off the concern. "Steven seems to have taken care of it." As she said it, however, one of the Pearl's scaly wings flickered. Her eyes flew open and her head jolted up. Lapis and Peridot both braced themselves for an attack. (Well, Lapis braced herself. Peridot helpfully ran behind Lapis to back her up.)
"Where am I?" Yellow Pearl snapped. "Who are you?" She looked desperately around the room. It occurred to Peridot that the Pearl had been in such a frenzy during her corruption, she might not even remember talking with Peridot at all. Now she was in a barn with at least one Gem she'd never met before. Peridot had every reason to be at least somewhat sympathetic to her situation. Then again...
"Oh, it's you." Yellow Pearl peered behind Lapis with an air of disgust to her voice. "If you're thinking of holding me for ransom, you're out of luck. I'm useless." She attempted to stand all the way, but her wings shuddered again, throwing her off-balance. She braced herself against the toilet bowl that composed Peridot's latest meep morp, and spread her wings wide. Peridot thought for a moment she might try to take off, but instead, she held them open until they stopped quivering and then carefully folded them back down before pulling herself to her feet. She stood with her back to Lapis and Peridot, taking slow, deep breaths (probably trying not to pass out again) before turning to face them.
"Case in point," she said bitterly.
Peridot didn't have time to deal with this. "I have no intention of holding you for ransom," she said as she tucked the tablet proudly under her arm. "I am off to retrieve some information from your ship. If you'd like to say something useful, like perhaps how inhabited that ship is right now, feel free to do so. It might save you some pain later." She added on that last bit as an afterthought, but figured it couldn't hurt.
"She's lying," Lapis said in a near-monotone. "She wouldn't hurt you. She's actually terrified of you."
"I am not!" Peridot snapped back, which only caused Lapis to generate the devious smile again.
Yellow Pearl stared unblinking between the two of them for a few moments as if she couldn't decide whether to find the situation terrifying or hilarious.
"I'm afraid I'm still confused," she said. "I didn't think there were any other Gems on this planet right now aside from my owner and her targets. Certainly not a Lapis Lazuli or a Peridot. So who exactly are you and how did you come to be here?"
Her owner and her targets? So the Yellow Pearl hadn't come to Earth alone then. That did make Peridot's task a bit riskier, but certainly not impossible. She just had to figure out the right way to get more information out their not-a-prisoner. Perhaps a show of force was the best approach? Peridot straightened, trying to make herself look as tall as she could with her limb enhancers still on permanent hiatus.
"Well, if you want to know, you happen to be in the custody of the great and lovable Peridot, genius beyond measure and newest member of the Crystal Gems."
Yellow Pearl did not look impressed. "Wait, you're a Crystal Gem?" she asked.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am." Peridot crossed her arms and flashed a rebellious smile. She had to say, confessing her status on this team had been nerve-wracking when she first told Jasper. But after getting it out once, she rather liked the feeling it gave her. Yes, she was a Gem to be reckoned with. A force of danger. A name that drove terror into the hearts of Homeworld--
Yellow Pearl burst out laughing. "Please! You think I was made yesterday? The Crystal Gems haven't existed for centuries! We wiped them all out."
Peridot's smile faded. She was being mocked. By a Pearl. This felt less rebellious and more humiliating. "In fact, you did not wipe us all out," she said. "On account of, you know, some of us are still here."
Yellow Pearl held up a scolding finger. "I may be incapable of engineering, but I am most capable of storing information. When the Crystal Gems did exist, there were absolutely no records of a Peridot anywhere among their ranks."
Peridot gritted her teeth. If she had felt sorry for this Pearl at any point in their conversation, all of that sympathy had vanished. "Oh, yeah?" she snapped. "How about records of an Amethyst? Or a Ruby and Sapphire fusion? Or a Pearl? Or-- Oh. Opps." Peridot winced. She had just spilled critical information to an enemy. Her emotions would be the death of her one day. Or of her friends. Or possibly all of them.
"That wasn't very smart," Lapis observed.
"I am aware," Peridot agreed, making a poor attempt to massage her forehead with her visor in the way.
But instead of celebrating her victory, the Pearl merely stared at Peridot as if viewing a new species. "Wait. Wait. You're telling me... the Crystal Gem Pearl. The renegade Crystal Gem Pearl... she still exists?"
"Um, no...?" Peridot said. If she could keep her friends safe despite her screw-up, she wouldn't mind doing so. But she didn't see how even a Pearl could be that stupid. "I mean, maybe? I mean--"
"You're serious," Yellow Pearl said, eyes wide. "You're actually serious. Where is she? Can I see her?"
To Peridot's surprise, the refusal came from Lapis. The blue Gem tightened her fists, a dangerous look in her eyes. It might have been true that she wasn't fond of all the Crystal Gems, most especially Pearl, who had first found her mirror. However, she was even less fond of Homeworld Gems.
Yellow Pearl did not act upset at Lapis. In fact, she barely seemed to hear her. She walked in a circle, wings twitching as she paced and rubbed her chin. "I can't believe it..." she whispered to herself. "But that was thousands of years ago..." Her eyes shot up and met with Peridot's. "How old is she now?"
Peridot scoffed at the question. "Well, logically speaking, she would have to be thousands of years old, now wouldn't she?"
"An antique!" Yellow Pearl said in awe. "A genuine antique!"
"How do you know so much about her anyway?" Lapis said, still with an dangerous edge to her voice.
"I told you. I am most capable of storing information. And my Diamond has a particular interest in the Rebellion. I know every little detail, from the moment Pink Diamond and her first crew landed to the day we corrupted all the useless clods that rose up against the Diamond Authority." A wide grin spread across her face. It was, Peridot had to admit, a little scary. Even with everything corruption had done to her, the Pearl still took delight in the thought that her Diamond had used it against rebelling Gems.
"H-hey!" Peridot said, face flashing green. "You can't say 'clod'! 'Clod' is my insult! Think of your own!"
The Pearl smirked and ran a clawed finger along the edge of the meep morp's toilet lid. "Forgive me for intruding on your... what did you rebels call it? Creativity?"
Peridot's cheeks puffed out. That did it. She didn't care what Steven said about how Homeworld Gems might be reasoned with. Or how corruption might damage their thinking. Or how they should try to make friends. She wasn't putting up with one more word of this. That Pearl was getting poofed and going in a bubble, and nothing anyone said to Peridot right now was going to change her--
"Wait," Peridot said, her hand halfway up as she prepared to summon some chunk of metal to act as a weapon. "You said you know everything about the Rebellion?"
Yellow Pearl rolled her eyes. "Obviously."
"Is... is there anyway I could download that data?"
Yellow Pearl looked insulted. "Assuming all your technology here isn't complete junk, yes, I think that's more than possible."
Peridot stiffened. She had it. She finally had the data she'd been looking for all this time, literally standing right in front of her. True, this wasn't the ideal Gem to strike a bargain with, but Peridot was certainly better off dealing with her than marching off to hack a potentially inhabited Homeworld ship. "Okay, I'm offering you a deal," Peridot finally said. "I want everything you have about the renegade Pearl and the Gem Rose Quartz. Can you do that?"
"Rose Quartz?" Yellow Pearl asked. She titled her head to the side. "Oh, my. That is some sensitive information you're after. Funny. You're supposed to be a Crystal Gem, and you're asking me for information about your supposed leader? Why is that, I wonder?"
"I don't have to give you reasons," Peridot said. "You give me the data, and I'll make sure you meet Pearl. Is it a deal?"
Lapis gave a small grunt of disapproval, but didn't object directly. Yellow Pearl thought for a moment. At least, she stopped drawing long, thin scratches into the sides of Peridot's meep morp. Her gaze fell to the tablet in Peridot's hand.
"That's the device?" she said, motioning towards it.
Peridot nodded and handed the tablet over. Yellow Pearl turned it side to side, then placed her hand on top of it. The tablet glowed with energy.
"Primitive," she said. "But sufficient. I can store everything you need on here. You may need some Homeword technology to decompress it, though."
Peridot thought back to the waterfalls in Pearl's room. If she could trust this Pearl at all, she'd have her relay all the information there. But she had to be cautious. She'd taken enough risks having this conversation to begin with. "Not an issue," she replied. "So do we have a deal?"
The Pearl hesitated only a moment before her face broke into a wide (and decidedly uncomfortable-looking) smile. "We have a deal." She closed her eyes, and the tablet glowed once again. Peridot could hear the hum of energy as Yellow Pearl connected herself to the device and poured the data into it. Lapis glared at her like she had just made a very terrible decision, and Peridot tried her best to keep her focus on pretty much anything else in the barn. This wasn't like last time. She would tell Pearl and the others about their agreement as soon as they returned from... wherever they'd gone off to with the Rubies. Plus, in keeping Yellow Pearl around for a bit, she could potentially learn more about why she had come here, and more importantly, who she had come here with. She still had to choose a time to inform her what the function the toilet served. Or maybe she wouldn't tell her. Served that nasty Pearl right for defacing meep morps in the first place.