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“Off Color” (Steven Universe, Peridot)


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Note from author:   

I hope anyone still wants to read this!  I know Steven Universe is kinda an outdated “thing” but I just discovered it like, a month ago, for the first time...and BINGE WATCHED ALL OF IT!!  Weee!

Please lemme know if there is interest in my story.



Peridot is NOT defective!  She is already era 2, and she knows it.  She isn’t about to appear weak or defective on top of that!

Peridot struggles to be strong and do her job when she is really not functioning at her best.



Log date: 3 27 1


This is Peridot, reporting from the facet 3 kindergarten on planet Delta XJ-24.

There has been an unusual number of off colors produced at this location and I have been sent to... t-to... ggk- pause recordin- 



Peridot sneezed abruptly into her shoulder, and then sighed, exhausted.  Her lime green, glistening eyes gazed vacantly in the general direction of her holo-screen, but she wasn’t really seeing it.  Slowly, she refocused on the transcript she had been recording, she clicked just after the word “sent” and said in a thin and weary voice, “resume from mark point”


“To correct any technical miscalibrations that may be contributing to their malformation.  (Though I highly doubt it is due to a TECHNOLOGICAL shortcoming)

-Peridot, facet 3”


Peridot gazed blankly at her screen for another few seconds, as if she could not quite remember what her next move was supposed to be, then she slowly clicked over to a map of the kindergarten, where every exit hole from which an off color had emerged had been marked.  They seemed to be congregated mainly in the south-eastern quadrant of the kindergarten, which would likely make it a mineral deposit issue.  She would, of course, check the composition of the soil along with the injectors and main control panels.  As a certified kindergartener she was nothing if not thorough... and she would enjoy the kudos of finding the problem, particularly in her SECONDARY field of expertise.  Well, actually she never really got any “kudos” for preforming her tasks at above average efficiency... but a Peridot could dream, couldn’t she?


Peridot sniffed and frowned, rubbing under her scent sponge with one of her floating appendages.  She didn’t really like the feel of the cold, hard metal against her somewhat raw and sensitive physical form.  But as she didn’t have anything soft or yielding on or around her, her options were limited.

She began walking wearily towards the south-eastern quadrant of the kindergarten, bending at the waist twice to sneeze into the open air (well, there was no one else present),  and once having to steady herself against the granite wall and pause to recalibrate her balance.


The facet 3 kindergarten was actually in pretty good shape.  The walls were smooth and vertical, the exit holes were about equally spaced, injectors at the correct angles...


As she got closer to the active portion of the kindergarten there were more gems present.  Peridot straightened her back, quickened her stride, and tried not to sniff or lean on anything in the presence of the other gems.  They could tell just by looking at her that she was an era 2, but that didn’t mean she had to appear weak, or defective in front of them.


The other gems were all too busy with their own duties to pay her any attention, and it was only her own pride that made her feel that they were all watching when she stumbled, or that they even noticed she kept sniffing and rubbing self consciously at her nose and eyes.


Peridot ducked quickly into the first marked hole on her list.  Once hidden from view she leaned against the wall drawing comfort from the dark and cool interior of the tiny cave, then abruptly squeezed her nose shut for two barely stifled little kitten sneezes that nevertheless caused her tiny form to shutter within the relative stability of her limb enhancers.  She straightened up and wearily performed a routine check on all the basics, counting the steps to the rear, running a sample of the rock composition, checking for unused pockets of injector fluid- the usual.


The hole was a bit shallow implying a certain fragility to this gem’s stone. The bottom of the hole was smooth glass, but the top was rough rock, implying she was likely shorter then average, but strong and solidly built.  And there were pockets of magnesium which may deepen her hue...but those were all tolerable deficiencies.  She should have been a functional (tho not exquisite) specimen, but the records stated (Peridot pushed up her visor to rub at her bleary eyes, before clicking on the details of the 7-JC rutile).  Right, she had been considered “off color” to the point where destruction had been indicated.  Peridot dismissed her screen and sighed, looking around for any abnormalities she must have missed.  One disembodied finger hovered absently under her nose, while two others massaged at her gem which was beginning to throb and itching around the corners.


She was missing something, she HAD to be! But what?  

Peridot knew she was operating at less then peak capacity, and any false hopes she had been harboring of “kudos” were rapidly dissolving.  She wanted to remain in the relative cool and dark privacy of the now broken gem’s exit hole, but she had a job to do, and the sooner she finished, the sooner she could leave and get some rest.


Peridot moved from hole to hole in similar fashion, not finding a common thread... until she came to one in which she had to double check to make sure she had read it right: it said “no gem emerged”.  Further details indicated that witnesses had seen the explosion that would indicate a gem’s “birth”... and then... nothing.

Two functional rutiles had gone in to help her out, thinking perhaps this one was just shy, but the hole had been empty.


Well that was just blatantly impossible.


Peridot climbed into the hole to investigate.  Despite her growing exhaustion and throbbing head, this one peaked her curiosity!  Gems simply did not vanish, and dud holes did not explode as if with new life.


The first thing Peridot did was run a routine diagnostic of the exist hole.  It was nice and deep, smooth and symmetrical.  The mica deposits implied she was likely intelligent, with a streak of limestone which could cause mild brittleness, not much glass, friction only went half way... 

there was nothing wrong with this hole.  This gem was going to be more smart then strong, but Peridot had first hand experience that that was NOT a disadvantage.


A wave of exhaustion and dizziness hit her all at once and she leaned against the back of the cave, sliding down to a sitting position, tucking her knees against her chest and wrapping her arms around them.  Her gem throbbed... stars, she was tired!  Her eyes slid shut, but she forced them open.  She was NOT defective! 

Her eyes slid shut again...

She forced them open....

...And then she saw it!


Under a ledge, angled such that it would never have been visible, save for Peridot’s coincidental angle from her seated position on the ground, was a small hole leading deep into the unknown darkness.  Peridot crawled over to it and activated her gem to glow (which seemed to make it itch even more, and her nose itch along with it causing her breath to hitch twice before she was able to temporarily quell the impending sneeze)


Even in the pale green illumination cast by the glow of Peridot’s gem, she couldn’t see into the hole.  It was too dark, too deep, and her little light only served to cast long shadows across the small opening.  Peridot frowned.  She really, REALLY didn’t want to do this... but if this was the solution that would quickly end this assignment so she could go home and get some much needed rest then what choice did she have?


Peridot twisted her mouth into a tight line of determination... then, trying hard not to think too much about it, she pulled off one of her arm enhancers and plunged her tiny, vulnerable, naked arm deep into the foreboding darkness, closing her eyes tight...


...A moment passed...

So far, nothing has bitten her unprotected, exposed skin.  The rocks hadn’t collapsed crushing her small, fragile limb.  Yellow diamond hadn’t appeared out of thin air to chastise her. The missing gem had not MELTED her touch stumps off with sulfuric acid spit (hey, it was theoretically possible!).


Peridot began to feel around the interior of the cavity.  It was much larger then she had initially assumed.  Her small limb couldn’t reach the end of it in any direction.  What she could reach of the walls had a tunneled out feel, not the jagged randomness she would have suspe—

“Hih’ISSH!  C’sSh!”

Peridot sneezed twice; jerking her arm unintentionally against an outcropping of jagged rock near the entrance for the cavity.  With a hiss of pain she withdrew her limb and examined it.  Not too bad.  Stupid.  It’s what she got for taking off her limb enchantment and stuffing her exposed extremity into a creepy dark hole in the wall, in a kindergarten where gems were going wrong, in an exit hole where a gem had disappeared, on a day when Peridot felt she was going to collapse just from preforming the ordinary functions for which she was created!  Ugh!

Stupid!  She was being a CLOD!


She twisted her arm enhancer back into place, and flexed her robotic fingers a few times to re-synchronize.  Then she drew herself to her full height and leveled her arm at the hole, transforming her finger into a makeshift plasma cannon.



There was a much more sensible way to go about this.

Peridot wasn’t defective.

And she wasn’t a Clod.


She took aim... and FIRED!


(To Be continued)

Edited by Medowsweet
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The kick back from the blast knocked Peridot into the opposite 

wall.  She emitted a sound halfway between a squeak and a groan as the back of her head came in to abrupt contact with the unyielding granite, and her gem light went out.

She didn’t have time to get her bearings before she was pelted with an array of small, sharp rocks and dirt that had exploded from the blast sight like a thousand bullets!  Peridot blocked her gem with both arms and closed her eyes against the onslaught.

The dust and debris did not help her condition, and she sneezed convulsively, tightening herself into a smaller and smaller protective ball with each paroxysm.


Eventually the assault stopped.  Peridot held her defensive position for several more seconds before opening first one eye, then the other, and finally slowly uncurling.


That had been... considerably LESS pleasant then thrusting her naked arm into a foreboding hole in the wall.


She activated her log:


Note to self:

When attempting to blast a hole in solid rock, remain at least 20 feet from the blast zone, preferably behind  something solid- and plant your feet.

Peridot, facet 3


Slowly, painfully, Peridot stood and took assessment of her physical form.  

She was alright.

Well, she was as alright as she had been before the blast...

Well, the back of her head hurt now...

And her limbs were marred with various abrasions...

And her limb enhancers were mildly dented, and her visor was scratched, and her eyes burned, and her gem hurt, and her nose was running, and she was physically exhausted...

But she was functional.

And her gem was intact.

And she was NOT defective


Cautiously, she went to examine the hole that she had (less then carefully) created in the wall...  It opened into a large connected channel of tunnels that had been DELIBERATELY carved out  of the deep granite behind the facet 3 kindergarten!  But these tunnels were clearly unauthorized!


Peridot checked her screen:

This exit hole had been INTENDED to belong to an aquamarine, a higher ranking gem who would have likely been afforded a full spectrum of abilities despite the resource shortage.  In theory, she could have shrunk to something small and slipped away through the underground tunnels...

...or she could have been gem-napped by whatever had created these tunnels: Poofed moments after her emergence and carried away.


This problem was bigger then one small Peridot.  Perhaps she should report it to her superiors.

Of course if she did, she would have to call them from the kindergarten’s main computer.

They would hear her thin, congested voice, see her scratched visor and many abrasions, detect her weariness, perhaps even catch her coughing or sneezing...

Perhaps they would think her defective...

Defective gems were... disposed of.


...Era one gems didn’t fall ill...


If Peridot was successful in her mission she would prove her value.

Then she could retreat into her gem to recover...


Peridot squared her shoulders, straightened her stance, and boldly entered the tunnel.




It took 2 or 3 tries to get her gem light back on.  Emitting a glow had a very low energy expenditure... but an energy expenditure none the less.  Peridot found even that to be mildly taxing, and it continued to cause her gemstone to throb and itch.  Her screens offered no map of the unauthorized tunnel system, so she had no guide, and when she came to a cross road she had no idea what to do.


Peridots were smart.  Peridots were problem solvers.  So think this through like a Peridot, no more cloddy bad ideas! Right.


Peridot called up her holo-screen and clicked to a map of the kindergarten.  The -tunnels- weren’t marked, but Peridot had come in from exit hole 3-DM, and had traveled mostly east and down from there.  That would mean she was likely around column 4 or 5, perhaps row CQ... maybe CR?  the left tunnel lead towards what would be pretty close to one of the injector sights (if she had her bearings right) and a tunnel under an injector COULD cause uneven distribution and flow of the injector fluid, which in turn could lead to the production of off color gems!


Peridot dismisses her screen and looked around.  The left tunnel showed no sign of recent activity, but the RIGHT tunnel had foot prints in the rock-dust leading down into the darkness.


She hesitated.  So, the left tunnel may hold the solution to the malfunction in the kindergarten, but the right tunnel may hold the rouge gem.


Peridot considered briefly, her eyes taking on a shiney, distant look before fluttering closed, one limb hovering vaguely a few inches from her face... “Hih...hi’isSHHI!”

She swayed on her feet, but managed to remain mostly vertical (though her light went out again). 

...With more effort then it had taken the last time, she got it glowing again.


Her mission was to “discover and repair the malfunction in the kindergarten”, NOT to retrieve a missing gem. She headed resolutely down the left tunnel.




Somewhere down the RIGHT tunnel an orange sapphire clasped her hands over her mouth in alarm.

“Oh no!”  She exclaimed, “a peridot is going to be assigned to our kindergarten and she’s going to discover a way into the tunnels!”


“That must be what that explosion was!”  Rhodoniteexclaimed, clutching her hair in fear.  “We’re not safe!  We have to find a new hiding place!”


“Calm down” said a tiny, colorless aquamarine.  “Padparadcha, which way did- I mean WILL, she go?”


“Oh!” Padparadcha said, as though it hadn’t occurred to her to look, “oh!  She’s going to go down the LEFT tunnel!”  Then her small, sweet face took on a look of concern, or compassion, “Oh!”  She said again, as if seeing a new revelation.  “There’s... there’s going to be something -wrong- with her... she’s... I think she might be.... off color!”

Edited by Medowsweet
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10 hours ago, MeForever said:

Oooh I like this! I'm exited for the next part as well.

I am so glad!  I was a little worried that as an “old fandom” people may have lost interest.

(although often when I find sweet stories from a once beloved fandom I am often like “oh cool!  THAT!”)

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Tried to post the next chapter and hit the wrong button,



Edited by Medowsweet
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“Off color?” Everyone repeated (more or less in unison).


“I’m not sure.  There’s.... going to be something WRONG with her.... but I don’t... know how to describe it”


“Was she hurt in the blast?” One of the rutile twins asked


“...No- Well, yes, some, but she will have been already in her defective condition BEFORE she arrives at the kindergarten!”


“So... she’s off color, but a functioning member of society sent here on a mission?”

“How can that be?”

“Have the authorities changed their mind about off colors?”

“Do the authorities know she’s defective?”


Padparadcha wasn’t used to -trying- to use her future vision on purpose.  Usually she just let the visions come to her, and announced them as she saw them.  But she liked the feeling of being useful.  No one had ever taken her predictions as seriously as they were being taken now.

She closed her eye and did her best to follow the streams and pools of likely futures.


“She...” Padparadcha said uncertainty, “she is going to keep it a secret from her superiors as long as she possibly can.”


Many of the off colors knew what that was like, hiding what you were, afraid of being caught being defective... afraid of being caught being YOURSELF!


Rutile had gotten so interested in the story that she forgot for a moment that Padparadcha couldn’t really see into the future.


“Does she get caught?”  She asked breathlessly 


Padparadcha tried to see but...

“I don’t know” she admitted sadly, “I can’t see that far ahead.”


“Oh.” The rutile flushed, she felt bad for bringing up Padparadcha’s disability “Right. Sorry for asking.”


Padparadcha didn’t know what she meant by “sorry for asking” so she didn’t respond.


“If she’s off color....” Fluorite began slowly 


“We have to help her!” Aquamarine interrupted 


“We off colors stick together” Fluorite agreed.


“Are you all crazy!?” Rhodonite demanded, “She was probably sent here to find us!  And BREAK us!  Do you all wanna be shattered?!”


“But if SHE gets found out” said one of the twins, “then SHE’LL be shattered.” Finished the others


“Better her then us!” Rhodonite tried to argue, but every other gem fixed her with such a look that she withdrew her complaint at once 




Peridot followed the left tunnel using her map to approximate her location relative to the -official- portion of the kindergarten.   Her head swam as she trudged with ever more difficulty down the dark shaft.  Somehow, this didn’t feel like an ordinary cold.  Could her gem have been chipped in the explosion?  Her light went out twice along the way, but with an ever increasing effort she managed to get it glowing again. 


In the distance she could hear a faint, irregular dripping pattern.  Well made kindergartens should NOT be built near water as water could wash away or dilute the injector fluid.

That was another potential lead.  At this rate she wouldn’t even HAVE to check the facet 3 central control panel (and risk exposing her condition to the other gems).

Peridot wondered down the dark, winding shaft until she came to the source of the sound: 

A thick, fuchsia liquid was dripping from the rock above into a small puddle below.  Peridot had a pretty good idea of what this liquid was, but for the sake of being thorough, she took a sample and analyzed it with her portable chemical analyzer.


It was confirmed to be injector fluid.


Peridot opened her log (making sure to angle her camera AWAY from her partially damaged form,) and pointing it instead at the puddle of injector fluid pooling on the cave floor.


“Log date: 3 27 1


I believe I have found the source of the malfunction at the facet 3 kindergarten on  on planet D-Delta- eh p-pause recor—-eh.. h’KTCH! (Ugh).”


 “Resume, Delta XJ-24.  Unauthorized tunnels have been carved behind the... the south eastern quadrant of the.... of the KINDERGARTEN. Pause.”


Peridot hesitates, waiting to see if she was going to sneeze, but the urge had left her.  She struggled to regathered her thoughts, which felt muddy and sluggish...


“Resume:  This is interfering with the flow of the injector fluid, causing uneven distribution and defective gems.”


Well, that was half her job.  The other half would be more difficult.  She had to actually FIX the problem.  

Ordinarily, at this point she would have called for back up.  A powerful gem, like a topaz, or a Jasper would be helpful in the event that she ran into any of the misformed abominations that had been reported here- or worse, whatever had the power to carve out these caves in the first place.


And to TRULY fix the problem, she would need to somehow FILL the holes, which, as a single peridot, she just didn’t have the physical ability to do.  The most effective thing she could do on her own would be to disarm the injector directly above her, then call for back up to seal the holes, solve the mystery, and round up the missing gem.  None of which was HER job.  She was a simple technician.  She would do her part, then leave and recover.  The rest was someone ELSE’S responsibility.


She activated her log, “I am going to temporarily disable the...” her light went off again, and this time she couldn’t get it back on.  She slid to the ground as a sudden wave of dizziness brought her to her hands and knees.


Without her light it was pitch black in the deep cave tunnels.  She must have traveled half a mile or so from the entrance at exit hole of 3-DM, and given her dizziness and disorientation she didn’t even know which direction to try to walk in!


Don’t panic, THINK.  You’re a Peridot, not some brainless ruby or irrational pearl.  She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Her log screen emitted a faint glow, maybe that would be enough to guide her out.  She activated her  her screen and it bathed the rocks below her in a dim light... but she couldn’t see down the tunnel in any direction, and the stones beneath her hands and knees were all identical, it told her NOTHING useful!


The injector fluid!  Peridot held her breath to listen for the drip... drip... drip.

It was coming from the left, which meant the exit was somewhere to the right!  and as long as she kept the dripping noise behind her she would be headed in vaguely the right direction...


She got uneasily to her feet and began to stumble blindly towards what she hopped as the exit.

drip... drip... her guide was becoming fainter, harder to hear over her own stumbling foot steps... 

drip... drip... and then an ominous scraping and gurgling, and ragged liquid breathing completely drowned it out.  


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