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As Rose entered the chamber, a gem dressed in blue smiled politely, nodding as she took her seat. The one in yellow, which Pearl knew as Yellow Diamond sat across from Rose’s seat. Pearl, however, was aware that her common name, the one she had before she took the title of counselor, was Citrin.
Against the wall were pearls, each perfectly stoic and serene. Pearl took her place beside them, attempting to mask her anxiety with a similar countenance.
“I see you brought your pearl as well- that’s good because something has come up and we wish to vote on the matter today,” Yellow Diamond was smiling, but the action seemed dangerous. The glint in her eyes set Pearl on edge, though her counterparts either didn’t notice or didn’t mind, “and you may wish to have notes taken.”
Rose sighed softly, but straightened in her seat, “And what issue would that be?”
“An issue that I feel you will find very interesting, Pink Diamond,” she used her title, and Rose’s composure changed to match, “regarding the production of new gems and the procedures for disposal of defects.”
Pearl tensed- this, of course, was noticed by the pearl closest to her- noticed and recorded, for this pearl belonged to Yellow Diamond.
She did her best to relax, and Rose, no, Pink Diamond, glanced at her in a motion that was not ignored by her antagonist.
“Is something that matter, Rose? It seems you wish to say something to your pet.”
Yellow Diamond’s pearl smiled, just barely, just enough that Pearl could notice it, but Rose stared at the gem directly across the table from her, who she outsized by no inconsiderable amount and said, “Pearl. Take notes for tonight’s session. I want every detail.”
“Yes, Pink Diamond, of course.”
Her training over rode her nervousness in that moment as she snapped to attention to answer her Master’s order. She began cataloging all the information she could, from the derisive nature of the pearls besides her to the seating arrangement of the counselors, to the way the sun streamed through the windows that sat far above and scattered light down through the chamber. Pink Diamond (Rose?) could sort through the information later; her gem glowed faintly as she took in the room, and her eyes glazed as she stood by, so as not to catch her own self in the recordings.
Pink Diamond sighed. Pearl recorded it with no contemplation for the action.
“Let us continue, then, and get to the bottom of this issue. Some of us would prefer to be home, rather than surprised with a sudden proceeding with no preparation.”
“Is there a reason you would rather be home today, Rose? Or do you just find your duties tiring?”
“Not tiring, Citrine, just unexpected. As you see, I lacked the foresight to prepare, unlike yourself and Blue Diamond did,” at this, she motioned to the stacks of paperwork the other gems had beside them- Blue Diamond studied the table top, embarrassed, while Yellow Diamond smirked, “and I am now required to vote on an issue that I can not reference or argue the legalities of.”
Pearl recorded, Citrine sat back, cockily, and Blue Diamond cleared her throat uncomfortably, “In any event, we should at least discuss the issue. As you know, gem population growth is in decline- more and more gems are…” she glanced at Pearl, who recorded but didn’t notice, “created with defects. We think it would be wise to dig deeper into the crust, and to use the defects that arise to learn from.”
“Learn from how, exactly?”
“How to find use for them, of course! We wasted resources creating them, why shouldn’t we try and get value from them?” Yellow Diamond leaned forward, calculating.
“Because, firstly, I believe that the mass production of gems is precisely what is causing the issues you claim are happening, combined with diminishing, lower quality resources, and secondly, because life doesn’t need to be valuable to have value.”
“Yes, yes, romanticism aside, do you keep a machine when it no longer functions? Or do you replace it?”
“And of my first point?”
“You would have us decline our numbers? Refrain from growth?”
“Our resources are no longer sufficient to sustain a population growth- I have been doing research and it seems that we have used up most of our planet’s ability to create new life. It would be in our best interest to keep from wasteful consumption.“
"And of the resources our scouts bring back from their trips to other planets?”
“The metals and minerals are nice, but they can not be a long term solution. It is expensive and time consuming to ship these materials back, only for them to be used in one quarter of a cycle.”
“So what you’re saying is that we should move gem production to those planets, as opposed to shipping those resources back to ours?”
Rose opened her mouth, closed it and then looked to Pearl who was straight backed against the wall taking in the scene, “Pearl, please tell me the number of uninhabited planets that have resources consistent with our needs.”
“There are 1,435,896 planets within 1.5 light years that fit that criteria, Pink Diamond.”
Rose’s gaze lingered a little longer on Pearl, who didn’t seem to notice. Yellow Diamond’s pearl, whose gem was perfectly round and smooth, had a look of contempt. “Thank you, Pearl.”
Pearl did not respond, instead remaining still, her pale complexion a stark contrast to the grays of the rounded walls.
“Pet, how many of those planets are capable of sustaining life?”
“1,823, Master, if life is defined as requiring dihydrogen monoxide and an atmosphere to protect against radiation, as we know is common is most worlds.”
Yellow Diamond’s pearl was definitely smirking now, and Pearl felt flicker of annoyance stir under her affected calm.
“There are far fewer planets capable of supporting life than there are random balls of rock floating around space, and you know that, Rose.” Rose remained silent, so Citrine continued, “We have known for eons that the planet must have at least a history of life in order to incubate new gems.”
“So, we must vote then. Continue incubating on planet or seek out new worlds for their resources."
"Between the two, I have no choice but to vote for the latter, under the provision that any planet hosting advanced life forms is spared."
"And on the second measure? Regarding what to do with gems that you deem…defective?” The word sat in the air between the two gems for a moment, Citrine gloating and Rose disgusted, “You had said we needed to vote on that issue today as well."
"Perhaps that one can be tabled for another day, since we accomplished so much in such a short period."
"I look forward to conferencing with you on who is best to head the exploration team. Same time next week?"
Yellow Diamond, who was followed hastily by Blue Diamond and their respective pearls left as quickly as Rose herself had come.
She glanced at Pearl again, who was still focused on her prescribed task and sighed.
She could help but feel as if she had been played even more than she had thought.
She looked up at the winodws far above and watched the dimming light.
Only time would tell, she supposed.
"Come on, Pearl, it’s time to go home.”