Title: Giant Woman
Disclaimer: Steven Universe and all associated characters and concepts are the property of Rebecca Sugar and Cartoon Network. Mass Effect, its sequels, and all the characters and concepts that appear spanning them are the property of BioWare. Not mine, don't sue, and so forth and so on.
Summary: "I feel like I'm missing something here. Who or what is a Crystal Gem?" "I don't know what hole he grew up in, but if he really doesn't know… let's not spoil the surprise for him."
Joe's Note: This is the second major draft of this idea from me, and hopefully more of a winner than the first version. I think the entire discussion started while I was drunk and watching Steven Universe with a friend of mine who cosplays as Commander Shepard. We found ourselves pondering how awkward fusion would be for Shepard, what with her inability to dance and all… and then began spitballing ideas for a universe where the Gems are around for the return of the Reapers. This is what fell out. Enjoy.
Dedications & Thanks: To Nicholas, Alexander, Howard, MJ, Daniel, Christopher, Jason, Chris, George, Koby, Judedeath, Ken, Thyatira, William, Wil, Thomas, Jack, Pat, Chris, Mitch, and Jess for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
"You're Doctor Warren, the one in charge of the excavation. Do you know what happened to the beacon?"
"It was moved to the spaceport this morning. Manuel and I stayed behind to help pack up the camp. When the attack came, the marines held them off long enough for us to hide. They gave their lives to save us."
Nodding solemnly, Commander Yvonne Shepard let her eyes wander around the inside of the prefab, raising an eyebrow as her gaze came to rest on a slightly older man who was lying sprawled out on a cot. "How the hell is he managing to sleep through all of this?"
Doctor Warren let out a nervous chuckle before rubbing the back of her head sheepishly. "He's, uh, not asleep. He's unconscious. Manuel forgot to take his medication today and when all the excitement began, one of the private security consultants got a bit irritated with him. It's not how I would have handled things, but at least he's not going to get in any trouble this way."
"…right." Yvonne shot another look over at the man before shrugging. To be fair, it was probably what she would have done in the same situation. Well, maybe not. It would depend on how annoying the man was being. Glancing back over her shoulder and out the open prefab door, she grimaced. "I'm assuming they left you here and went out to help the marines? Brave of them, especially considering they were facing a completely unknown enemy."
Much to Yvonne's surprise, Warren shook her head in response. "No, they left as soon as everything began, before the attackers got this far. The Gems were being paid to guard the beacon, not us, and so that was their priority. I wish we'd gone with it; it's probably the safest place on Eden Prime right now."
Her first thought was to be offended that someone thought there was a place safer than around her. After all, she was an N7 Infiltrator, the Lioness of Elysium, and potentially the first human Spectre. Then the doctor's second sentence processed, and Yvonne's eyes went wide. There were Gems on Eden Prime? Why hadn't Anderson told her? For that matter, why hadn't they let her know they were being stationed there? Weren't they supposed to be… focus. Conflict resolution now, personal matters later. "This is probably going to sound terrible, but I hope they're still getting attacked when we catch up with them." Blinking owlishly, Yvonne looked over at Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams, who at least had the good grace to blush faintly. "Sorry. But… have you ever gotten to see one of the Crystal Gems fight? Because I haven't. And I want to."
Yvonne could only chuckle softly as she let her hand drift down to rest on her stomach. Oh yes, she'd seen one of the Crystal Gems fight before. She'd seen them all fight before. She'd trained against them, and fought alongside them to boot. The Systems Alliance must have done one hell of a job sanitizing her origins, she mused, if she could be in the presence of a Crystal Gems fangirl and not be instantly recognized. Thank God for widespread cosmetic gene mods; nobody even blinked at naturally pink hair anymore these days. "That's classified, soldier, but it sounds like you're about to get your wish. Lead us to the spaceport, Williams. And doctor? Neither the geth nor those… husks… can talk. Next time you hear a voice, stick your head out. The last thing you need is someone destroying the door controls while trying to hack their way in."
Suitably chastised, Doctor Warren nodded sheepishly in response and then Yvonne was back in motion, her ad-hoc squad forming up behind her as she spun around and marched back out of the prefab. "I feel like I'm missing something here. Who or what is a Crystal Gem?" Stumbling to a stop, Yvonne sent an incredulous look back over her left shoulder at Kaiden Alenko. "…what?"
"How do you not know-"
"Williams, wait." Turning to look back over her right shoulder, Yvonne shook her head at the flabbergasted brunette before smirking. "I don't know what cave he grew up in, but if he really doesn't know… let's not spoil the surprise for him."
Ashley nodded and chuckled before shooting a smirk of her own over at Alenko. "Yes, ma'am."
"All I wanna do is see you turn into a giant woman… a giant woman!"
"All I wanna be is someone who gets to see a giant woman…"
"What about you, turian? Don't you want to see them turn into a giant woman too?"
Nihlus Kryik grimaced as he looked from his captor to her incredibly exasperated companions and back. If there was a single part of his day that was proceeding according to plan, he couldn't think of it. He'd been aboard the Normandy to observed Yvonne Shepard and evaluate her suitability to become a Spectre. Instead of getting to watch how she handled interaction with civilians across a variety of occupations and species by supervising a transfer of a Prothean beacon into Citadel custody, they'd flown straight into a war zone. Instead of encountering any expected enemy, they'd run afoul of the geth. Instead of… well, he honestly didn't know who he'd expected to be leading them, but his own mentor wasn't it. And now Saren was dead after attempting to betray and kill him, and Nihlus was trapped from the neck down in a giant bubble of water. Trapped at the hands of an unnaturally powerful, strange blue adolescent. "If I say yes, will you release me?"
Tilting her head to the side, Kyanite regarded Nihlus thoughtfully for several seconds before shaking her head. "I'm pretty sure you're better off where you are right now. I mean, if we hadn't come back across the tram when we did, your brains would be splattered all over the deck and I'm pretty sure my Mother said that's something that can kill an organic." Turning back to the two women who were still fighting with the geth, she bounced on her toes lightly. "Giant woman! Giant woman!"
"Kid, the day I need to fuse to beat an enemy this pathetic is the day I retire and buy myself one of the farms on this mudball." Growling lowly, a towering orange and red Gem with white hair whirled and slammed her massive fist into the head of another geth trooper, destroying it utterly. Nihlus had tentatively identified her as Jasper, the largest known Gem save for the mysterious Rose Quartz. She didn't look quite like the file imagery from Shanxi, but that was to be expected when dealing with a species of shapeshifters. "And I swear on the stars, Lazuli, that if you ever want to have another gemling with me, you're going to give up this stupid 'working mother' thing of yours. 'Oh, we don't need to raise her ourselves. Steven will do a great job taking care of her.' Well look how that turned out!"
"What, are you saying there's something wrong with her because she remembers all the songs he taught her when she was growing up?" Watching her single-handedly fight a half-dozen geth at the same time, it was easy for Nihlus to understand why Lapis Lazuli was the Gem that his people feared the most. While incredibly powerful, most of the Gems could only engage a single target at any given time, sometimes two. Lapis's hydrokinesis, on the other hand, gave her… well, more hands. While she sometimes guided her constructs with gestures the way biotics shaped and directed their attacks, it was clearly wasn't necessary because she was currently attacking four watery arms while using her physical arms to dual wield a pair of unfamiliar - but very lethal looking - pistols. "I think it's adorable. Now if you want to talk about badly raised children, there's always Hyalite…"
Jasper let out a bark of laughter as she picked up one unfortunate geth by its legs and began swinging it back and forth, using it to beat other nearby geth into submission. "Has she stopped burping warp fields yet? I told Amethyst that it was a terrible idea to let her kid try eating eezo."
Sending her water arms arching up into the air before bringing them crashing down on top of the geth, Lapis giggled softly as she put a shot through the head of each remaining geth and then used her arms to sweep the spaceport decking clean. "See. Parental involvement clearly isn't everything when it comes to gemlings." As much as Nihlus wanted them to stop bickering and focus on the battle, especially given that his continued safety and survival was dependent on them… it was somewhat fascinating. Even after being granted an embassy on the Citadel, the humans had remained remarkably tight-lipped on the subject of their… client species, for lack of a better term. There was a very real chance that he was the first non-human to learn anything about Gem relationships, reproduction, and life cycles. Unfortunately for him, their unintentionally informative argument was brought to an abrupt halt as an insect-like geth dropship swooped by overhead, stopping just long enough to disgorge another round of troops. A significantly larger round of troops at that. "Oh for the love of… do they think numbers can make up for the fact that we're just plain better than them?"
"Probably. They're a bunch of clods. Tried to hack my robonoids, so I returned the favor." Entering the spaceport perched comfortably on the shoulder of a bright green geth of a new and far larger model than anything Nihlus had seen thus far, a youthful-looking Gem with lime green skin and greenish-yellow hair pulled back into what he believed humans called 'pigtails' surveyed the battlefield critically. Thrusting her arm out, she painted a cluster of geth troopers with a laser designator projected from her omni-tool and then cackled maniacally as her mount destroyed its kin with a single pulse cannon blast. "Yes! Feel my unbridled rage!"
…did he even really need to be here anymore? Did the galaxy even need him anymore? Nihlus watched in stunned disbelief as the three Gems - and their hijacked geth - proceeded to engage an army of opponents that he would have hesitated to tackle with a Cabal or three at his back. But just as the Gems seemed to be making headway against their numerous enemies, the geth decided to try and tilt the odds back in their favor. A faint whistling made Nihlus look up just in time to track a large object as it came crashing down out of the sky, obliterating Saren's corpse in the process. As it whirled and unfolded into some sort of massive quadrupedal geth, Lapis looked over at Jasper and chuckled nervously. "So… giant woman?"
"I should probably feel insulted that you don't think I can take that thing on my own… but I'm not sure I can take that thing on my own either. Giant woman. Peridot, cover us." Jasper thrust her arm out, waiting for Lapis to take her hand before pulling the smaller Gem toward her. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Lapis let out a soft giggle as she twirled, coming to rest with her back against Jasper's chest. Shifting the blue Gem into her other arm, Jasper dipped Lapis before leaning down and gently pressing their lips together. The pair abruptly exploded with light, their forms wavering and shifting as they merged together into-
"Eww! Mothers! Was the kiss really necessary? I'm right here, you know!" Kyanite shuddered in disgust, the lapse in concentration causing the bubble restraining Nihlus to pop. Dropping to the ground, he groaned and then rose to his feet, his eyes going wide as the glowing blob of white light began to stretch upward. Taller and taller it grew, before eventually solidifying into a massive sea foam green woman with four eyes. "I mean, woo fusion. You're still gross though."
Hunching forward, Malachite extended a quartet of watery wings from the gem on her back before straightening up with a grunt and enveloping them in some sort of glistening, bright orange material. "I still don't understand why you think we're gross but you're perfectly fine with Ruby and Sapphire being affectionate…"
Those were two names that Nihlus was familiar with. To date, they were the only Gems to visit the Citadel, the only Gems to have spoken directly with the Council, and the sole observed instance of fusion outside of the Relay 314 Incident. The fact that they were a couple - like Jasper and Lapis evidently were - was not part of the record, although Nihlus wasn't sure that- "First of all, they're not my mothers. You are. So yes, you're gross and they're not." Then Nihlus discovered something else about Gems: they were enough like humans and asari to be able to blush. "Secondly, I could never think Sapphire is gross. I'm still planning to court her and steal her from Ruby so we can become our own awesome love-powered fusion. I just need to wait another six thousand years so I'm mature enough, she said."
"That's so adora-"
"It is not! No child of mi-"
"Will you two pipe down before we defuse?" Malachite let out a loud grunt and stumbled backward as the newest arrival unloaded a powerful plasma blast into her chest, her massive right foot just barely missing Nihlus and Kyanite. Lunging forward, she retaliated with a powerful right hook to the side of the colossus's head that sent it stumbling back several yards on its four spindly legs. "Oh, don't think I forgot about you." Opting to ignore the smaller platforms for the time being, Malachite engaged in what was a decidedly one-sided fight, bobbing and weaving around all of the large geth's attacks with a nimbleness that belied her size. Suddenly, she paused with one massive fist around the geth's neck and looked around curiously. "I sense something. A presence I've not felt since-"
"If you're evil and you're on the rise, you can count on the four of us taking you down! Cuz we're good and evil never beats us; we'll win the fight and then go out for pizzas!" A translucent pink and blue shield went whipping past Nihlus's face, ricocheting off a handful of geth troopers and knocking them back before burying itself in one of the larger red units and detonating. Striding across the decking, her unusual lilac and white armor gleaming in the sunlight, Shepard held her right hand over her stomach for a few seconds before pulling a massive pink cutlass out of… somewhere… and then generating a new shield over her left forearm. "We… are the Crystal Gems! We'll always save the day! And if you think we can't, we'll alwa-" Shrieking, Shepard brought her sword up just in time to bisect the geth that Malachite had donkey kicked at her, sending the two pieces tumbling past on either side of her. "Really, Mala?!"
Having evidently grown tired of her game, Malachite curled her wings around her body so that she could stab them deep into the colossus's body before flicking them outward, tearing the automaton to pieces. As the remains tumbled to the spaceport deck in a series of crashes and screeches, she shot a smirk back over her shoulder. "Less singing, more sword swinging. And don't call me Mala." Rolling her eyes, Shepard made a rude gesture at Malachite's back before dashing forward and throwing herself into the thick of battle.
As he watched geth after geth fall to Shepard's sword, Nihlus was peripherally aware of the biotic Alenko and the unknown brunette they'd picked up along the way moving over to join him and Kyanite. Pondering this latest turn of events, he found himself… conflicted. Nihlus wasn't sure which was most disturbing: that the Systems Alliance had managed to fool the Council so thoroughly when it came to their newest Spectre candidate, that his sources hadn't been able to discover that duplicity… or that he was going to be evaluating a woman who - at least according to the sparse records humanity had been willing to part with - had access to a teleporting pink lion and directed energy cannons capable of shooting down starships.
Quite possibly the lion. He wasn't terribly fond of animals, especially felines.