As many of you have noticed, this story is dead. It's been dead since last year, after I was dealt with a serious blow to my personal life that I have no plans to publicly divulge. Do I wish that I at least finished to Post Enies Lobby? Yes. I actually had practically the entire final chapter of this written with planning on the ending extending as far back as four years ago (for reference, the change that I made to AGITR that nobody picked up on was Uncle Grandpa's phone, which was originally written as disappearing into nothingness but was modified to it being tossed out of the window). The plan was for Ronaldo to literally read the story as it was still booted up on the phone as seen in that story's final chapter. He even left reviews on it… which I left years ago under the fake name KBCW back in 2016 as a bit of meta narrative. It would have culminated with Ronaldo, Sadie, the Maheswarans, and Vidalia going to the Grand Line to bring back the Crystal Gems and Straw Hats before The Cluster emerged. That will not end up being published, although I am sharing one short scene that I wrote: how the Straw Hats reacted to discovering the Baroque Works Trio's canon names.
This story and it's predecessor were something that I truly enjoyed writing, but it was intrinsically tied to a time in my life and feelings I don't want to be associated with. Right now, all that is important to me are my three daughters and their well-being. I have no time for updating a story, regardless of how I hate leaving it hanging.
I will say this: thank you to everyone who believed in this story and enjoyed it. Thank you to those who found either Steven Universe or One Piece through this story. Thank you to everyone who left a kind word or offered a critique. Thank you to those who took part behind the scenes in making this story happen:
Thank you, jmr46718: for the ideas, advice, and support. I'm sorry that our plans aren't coming to fruition, but it was a hell of a ride.
Thank you, CyanideOreo: for the amazing artwork, conversations, and ideas. I still have the wood-burning I made of your cover and I will appreciate the fact that you thought enough of my writing to create artwork of it to begin with.
Thank you, SecondaryShade: for the critiques, comments, discussions, and probably being my biggest source of support in some dark times. I appreciate all of your writing advice.
Thank you, F*ckthesystem125: for enjoying the story so much that you literally let me play with your character.
Thank you, Emma Iveli and Un Don Nadie Aburrido: for making YouTube videos about these stories for a wider audience to view.
Thank you, to you: for taking the time to read, comment, and like this story. You are wonderful and you matter.
I leave you with the promised small snippet of Gems Without Measure; A Pirate's Treasure.
Until the next time… be well and stay safe:
"WHAT?!" the Straw Hats shouted in unison. All eyes were immediately on the Baroque Works trio, who were alternating glances from the wanted posters to their friends.
"I have so many questions!" Steven weakly raised his hand.
"As do we all," Nami flared up. "If you don't have a good explanation for this, we WILL have problems."
"Could it be possible that the Marine's information was faulty?" Pearl asked, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.
"Eh, not for me," Damian sighed, crumpling his poster. "Yeah, my birth name is 'Gem.' And yes, I am deeply aware of the backlog of jokes that could very easily be made at my expense given the circumstances. As it stands, I'd rather you not reach the low hanging fruit for those kinds of jokes, but I'm not going to stop you. It's part of the reason why I was not initially on board with you, kid..."
"But then why the deception after the fact?" Nami pressed. "Was it because you didn't trust us?"
"Look, I can't lie and say that I trusted you all immediately. One just can't switch sides and expect everybody to be forgiving... well, unless they are the kid," Damian pointed to the bandaged Steven. "But I don't go by 'Gem' anymore... not in a long time."
"Because of Baroque Works?" Connie posited.
The bomb-man shook his head. "Because that's the name my mother gave me. When she left and my father died, I decided that I wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of keeping the only thing she left me. 'Damian' was my father's name, so I took that. That's who I am in this world and in Beach City... that's how it is going to be. Does that answer your questions?"
The silence that followed was all he needed. "Good... now it's your turn, 'Mikita.' I'm legitimately curious since I know you talk in your sleep."
The chocolatier blushed before groaning. "Do I have to go any further than saying I go by an alias ever since an incident with Celestial Dragons for fear of retribution? I picked the name of an actress in a magazine and reinvented myself. I trained myself every night for years and years to force myself to think of myself as 'Petrea.' I always considered 'Mikita' to have died that day. Having to hide my real identity for Baroque Works helped as there are no records for my new name... and I guess there still won't be thanks to these updated wanted posters."
"What are you talking about?" Steven cocked his head in confusion. "What's a 'Celestial Dragon?'"
"I'd rather not talk about it," Petrea grew sullen. "You don't want to know about them..."
"You encountered them?" Zambai asked, looking serious. "The World Nobles were after you and you got away?!"
"Oy! She doesn't want to talk about it!" Sanji slapped the Franky Family member on the head, finally snapping out of his own funk about not having his picture taken. "I know what happened to Petrea-chan and that's all you need to know! She shared it with me in confidence... in private!"
"No, no it's..." Petrea started before getting cut off by Luffy.
"Don't worry about it."
Surprised by his interjection, Petrea locked eyes with her captain. "What?" she asked softly.
Luffy gave a smile to her. "You're my nakama. You can be free to be whoever you want to be."
The chocolatier started to tear up. "'Straw Hat'..."
Finally, all eyes were on Genevieve. The painter was lost in thought, staring at the name "Marianne" in confusion. After several minutes of silence, the girl nodded. "Oh yeah. That's my name."
"Yeesh, not so loud," the painter winced, covering her ears.
"Explanation! Now!" Nami demanded.
"First off, calm down..." Genevieve began before Nami coughed something that sounded like the amount of money she was owed. That caused the color in her cheeks to fade. "Fine, okay... so 'Genevieve' is my middle name. I kind of started going by it to, you know, keep my parents out of the whole 'bounty hunter/ partner to an assassin' thing. After a while of just telling myself that, I honestly was too lazy to bother to remember my name to the point that I just internally called myself 'Genevieve.' I just never cared to think beyond that until just now. Go figure."
Again, the room was quiet as they took in her explanation. It was Pearl who found her voice first. "Aren't you a painter who prides herself on consistency?"
"And isn't knowing your own name something one might call 'consistency?'"
"It might be."
The Gem went to further argue the point before Garnet put her hand on her shoulder. "Don't bother trying. It's a losing battle, Pearl."
"But... but... it doesn't make sense!" Pearl announced in a flustered manner.
"Remind me, Peridot... what was the first rule of the Grand Line?" Nico Robin called over to the Gem who had not spoken a single word minus continued groaning.
"...nothing makes sense... like my bounty..." she lamented, still staring at her 100,000,000 Berry bounty.
"Quite right," Robin nodded, ignoring her friend's shame. "Besides, it was quite important to maintain secrecy in Baroque Works. Keeping additional aliases was quite commonplace, like Miss Doublefinger as 'Paula.'"
Nami glowered at the archaeologist and narrowed her eyes. "Did you know about this, 'Miss All-Sunday?'"
Stoically, Robin allowed herself a genuine smile. "To be fair, you never asked and I saw no need to divulge information that wasn't mine to share. Still, it's nice to know that all of our secrets are out in the open. Would you rather us refer to you by your birth names or your given names?"
The three gave each other a nod before coming to the same conclusion in unison. "We're good with our names here."
"That's good, 'cuz I wasn't gonna call you anything else. That's, like, a lot of work to do," Amethyst admitted. Then the Gem looked over at her comrade, observing Pearl seemingly reflexively putting her hands over her mouth. "Pearl, what are you doing?"
"I… err…" Pearl stammered. Finally, she gave a small cough and removed her hands from their position. "Nothing, just a reflexive cough from the battle."
"Would you be offended..." Steven began, alternating between chuckling and looking worried at the bespectacled fireman. "...if I said you were my favorite Gem?"
The bomb-man grunted and then smiled. "Only if that means that I get bragging rights back at Beach City."
"Suck it, Garnet," Damian chuckled.
"You can have Steven say anything, bomb-man. We all know what the real answer to that statement is," Garnet smirked.