The best way to ensure no one stopped you was to walk like you belonged there. Even a gem as tall and perfect as a Diamond could pass unquestioned if they walked unflinchingly. It was a lesson Yellow had learned shortly after she had first emerged, White looking on with a knowing smile after Yellow had been caught trying to sneak out to look at the newest Colony one too many times. To look at the new gems and to marvel at how small they were. White had always been so careful about letting Yellow out of her sight back then, it had been stifling.
But White’s caution had been for a reason, as shown by the Green Faction’s Emerald, her three gems still shining clear in Yellow’s mind. The gem had smiled down so coldly at Yellow, multiple eyes blinking out of sync.
Her happiest memory was still the moment White had rescued her from the fusion, but had it happened like Yellow remembered? What if it was nothing but a cruel lie?
This was the problem with doubting White and her loyalties. If she was lying about one thing, where did the lies end? What if Yellow looked too closely at the cracks and her whole world crumbled around her?
So it was easier to ignore, because White was everything. Yellow had learned everything from her, hearing stories about White in the passing. Her loyalty. Her strength. Had that all meant nothing? Were there cracks in Homeworld that Yellow had missed?
But this was the main lab for the White Court. If there was any information that could reassure White, it would be here. Yellow would be able to access any of the documents that had been kept away from her. That is unless Peridot 1 interfered… Coming to the labs was a risk, it was a move that was far more blatant than Yellow would risk otherwise. But White wanted to see Pink and Yellow needed to make sure that White was going to hurt her.
Not that White would, because she was loyal to Homeworld. Even if she lacked the coding that guaranteed her loyalty…
No. This trip would put her worries to rest. It had to.
The lab was a radiant white, its overall design old fashioned. Yellow moved through the corridors as if she had walked them before, pausing once only to glare at an old mural on the wall. White and yellow. Why had no one ever updated the murals in this building? Yellow rubbed a thumb over it and it flaked, showing the lack of maintenance.
Yellow kept walking, ignoring the sole Peridot who had tried to question her. She was a Diamond, a leader. If Yellow wanted to look at the White Court’s information, she would. And she didn’t need a mere Peridot’s permission.
She walked right to the main computer which held all of the lab's information. All Homeworld labs had one, designed to hold all the information of that specific lab, in case something happened and the information network was lost. Like the loss of Peridot 1.
Such an event would never happen though, she was housed safely in one of the most secure parts of Homeworld and that gem would never allow herself to be shattered. She was too stubborn to allow such a pathetic end.
She fought back a sneer at the old technology, but activated it with a quick flick of her wrist.
The screen flickers to life and Yellow stares as old files are brought to life, all dated pre Yellow Court. Her eyes flick to look behind her nervously, seeing the gems float behind her innocently. So many different types of gems, all trapped in those bubbles. Experiments? Prisoners? Yellow began to open the files as quickly as she could. She suddenly regretted not bringing her Pearl, but what if she’d been injured in this crazy plan? What was Yellow going to do, fight against White?
...Yes. If it would protect her Court, her Gems, Yellow would fight. And Blue would as well, even though her Court was still small, only spanning three Colonies.
The first file opened to Yellow’s shock. Wasn’t Peridot 1 monitoring them? These files were marked as top secret, above even Yellow’s clearance. And that shouldn’t be possible. She was a Diamond. With that, she returned to reading the information that she could barely understand.
Experiment; Recording of coding degradation
Underneath were pictures.
Awful, awful pictures. Horrors that Yellow could never have imagined.
Grey eyes that could no longer see, hard light bodies that had cracks running along the limbs and faces. There were attached audio files, where the voices had degraded to static that could barely be understood. The gems looked… worn. Old. Tired.
Yellow turned to look at the gems behind her, wondering if any of them were the gems in the document. She… she had to tell Blue. But there was no way to copy the files, and she couldn’t risk taking any of the gems with her. Yellow turned to start looking at the next one, titled ‘Cure progression’ when it disappeared with a small chime. All of the files disappeared one after another in front of Yellow’s eyes.
White. White had entered and was looking at her sadly, her features growing even softer as Yellow flinched away from her. The Matriarch of Homeworld, their saviour, looked at the bubbled gems and reached out to touch one mournfully, regret clear in her eyes. When Yellow didn’t move, White pulled down a bubble and cradled it in her hands.
Fight. Yellow needed to fight. She had to get away so she could tell Blue. But White was blocking the only door out and White had always been stronger than Yellow.
She had to…
White released the bubble, still not meeting Yellow’s eyes.
“What was that in the files? White, what are your gems doing?” Yellow demanded. “Have you seen them? The experiments!” She waved at the empty screen, all of her evidence gone. Yellow had to fight, to save Homeworld.
White sighed. “They all agreed Yellow, every gem in this room. To help Homeworld and the White Court.” She didn’t look happy though, merely resigned. Like this wasn’t a betrayal and… and… “You didn’t understand the last time I tried to explain either.”
How could White do this to her?
How could White do this to her gems, who had supported her for so long? Who White was meant to protect until the end?
The memory faded as Yellow lunged forward, arm sparking wildly.
Why did it feel like this had all happened before?
Yellow blinked rapidly, before looking at the empty screen. There were no files, not even on the research being done on the organics. Was the research being done a lie? What would anyone gain with such a pointless deceit? Or was the problem something simpler, something so basic…
Like a connection. Could the computer be disconnected from the main server?
The Peridot who had first greeted them had also struggled to retrieve information. So what if the problem was the same here? She tried a few searches, but nothing changed. She couldn’t access anything.
Yellow focused on that, because she didn’t want to turn to look at the empty room. What had happened to the gems? What were those pictures?
What had White done?
Yellow could have wept. She wanted to.
But she wasn’t Blue and she wasn’t Pink. She had to be strong for her Court.
Yellow couldn’t fall apart now.
She needed to -
She needed -
The train of thought stopped itself before it could go too far, her coding ensuring she couldn’t act without thinking. A Diamond always did what was best for Homeworld and her Court, even if it was the opposite of what the Diamond wanted. For the first time since the loss of Pink, Yellow welcomed the forced restraint. She couldn’t lash out without thinking, and that was a good thing. But stars, did she wish she could. Anything to stop the feeling of betrayal that burned inside of her.
Yellow wiped her eyes. She needed to do what was best for Homeworld and for now, that was to leave so she could think. Whatever White was doing, it clearly didn’t have a time limit. Homeworld had run smoothly for hundreds of thousands of years, and one day to mourn in peace would only help.
Volunteered? For that?
White should have thought of a better lie, but she hadn’t needed to. Yellow’s memories had been removed, and she wasn’t sure why she had them back. Were there conditions for their return? Was White starting to weaken for some reason? Could Pink’s aura be the cause? Or had she been remembering things before this, such little and inconsequential memories that she hadn’t even noticed.
“My Diamond?” Ah, the Peridots. All working for Peridot 1 and White. They were the Peridot’s who’d worked here first. A source of information, if Yellow could take one without earning White’s ire. It would be a simple act, to capture the Peridot for interrogation.
A spark ran down Yellow’s arm before she stopped herself. White would notice immediately. And if she didn’t, Peridot 1 would.
“Peridot, I want to see the results from this lab’s experiments.” The Peridot immediately panicked, as expected. No Peridot wanted to admit they didn’t know something, it was a weak spot that Yellow had used more than once. “The information from this lab could be vital to solving the resource crisis. I need to examine the information from here and the Zoo. Then, I need-“ Yellow kept giving her orders, easily projecting the aura of a powerful Diamond. One who was in control, and not ready to lash out at everything around her.
If you don’t want to be questioned, you need to act like you belonged. And Yellow had been left in charge of Homeworld enough times to know that sometimes you needed to gather the information yourself. Gems had become used to Yellow appearing, impatient that her orders hadn’t been answered quickly enough. So her searching for this research wasn’t out of character.
She just had to not break until she left.