The Start Of A New Beginning is the first episode of the "Gem Past" series from Gem Tales.
A backstory of Rose before the Gem War on Earth.
Chapter I - Red Hot Chili
Lapis woke up earlier than usual that day, just before the sun rose. His mother and sister were still asleep. She didn't need sleep, none of them did. But they did it anyway, and soon it became routine. Her father was gone, travelling again. When she asked him where he went, he was always evasive, and soon Lapis learned not to ask further. She took a ladleful of water from the bucket and used it to wash her face and arms. She grabbed her satchel and left the shack, careful to stop the piece of aluminum that served as a makeshift door from clacking behind her. Outside, she could smell the salt in the air, a few hundred meters away, the slate gray waves. The tide was out, waves became gentle now.
Something lingered in her head, a noise, a strange sound, something whispering. It was saying words but in a language he couldn't understand. She tried to force the sound out, but it didn't go away. It just went somewhere deep in her mind, nagging at her.
She was wandering aimlessly, not really aware where she was going. She suddenly realized she was down at the shoreline. To the left, the coast was empty. On the right, far in the distance, were two or three fishermen. They didn't seem to be gems, more like humans as she was on Earth after all. They looked like they were trying to pull something in. Whatever it was, Lapis knew, would almost certainly be terribly polluted and taste of oil. It would be difficult to choke down. It was no longer safe to fish, Lapis knew even though she didn't need to eat to survive, but she felt bad for them. The sea was polluted and started to die, similar problems were working their way inland as well.
She'd heard her father talk angrily about it. Crops that even a few years back had been healthy and strong, now came stunted if they came up at all. The only safe food was the patented foods grown in factories by gem mega-corporations established on Earth. Food that only a few could afford. So if you weren't a gem, you only had two choices: Eat food that would slowly killed you or go broke on food no one could afford, while the gems went on destroying the world.
She started walking towards the fishermen, but Lapis suddenly noticed something on the deserted side of the beach. Or almost deserted. There was something there, something rolling in the surf. Driftwood maybe, she thought at first, but as she walked forward, it seemed too large to be a log. As she walked closer, it tuns out to be a worm monster, laying lifeless on the shore, spanning several meters long. But when it rolled to the side by the waves, she knew something was wrong. She knew it was very wrong.
Her pulse quickened as she approached toward the thing, trying not to listen to the whispers taking over her head.
Chapter II - Oranges
Rose rubbed her eyes and tried to look away from the holoscreen. Ever since she arrived on Earth, trying to find out the source of the corruption signal, which was also causing problems back on the Homeworld, she started having visions, sadness, death, blood and gore. Nothing she wanted to remember.
"That's strange." said Pearl, who was working with Rose on finding the main source and shared the same lab with her. They have been working together for centuries. Pearl stared across the room at Rose.
"Rose, did you get these same readings?"
"What readings?" Rose asked.
Pearl spun a copy of her holoscreen to Rose. It showed a 3-dimensional map of underwater crater, spanning almost 200 kilometers in diameter. The crater that had been struck by an asteroid 69 million years ago, if the records are correct. Pearl and Rose had spent most of her career travelling to various planets and systems, trying to pinpoint the main source of the corruption that isn't only present on Earth and Homeworld, but in other planets as well. It was slow and tedious work, but both of them seemed to enjoy it.
"What am I looking at, exactly?"
"Our instruments have detected something. Something inside the crater."
"What is it?" Asked Rose.
"We don't know for sure." Pearl said.
"Whatever it is, it seems to be broadcasting something. Some sort of signal."
"A signal?" She asked.
"It's almost like... " Pearl said.
"Like what?" said Rose.
..its trying to say something." Pearl replied.
"How is that possible?" asked Rose.
"We haven't seen anything like it." Pearl said.
"Probably just an equipment malfunction." said Rose.
Pearl shook her head.
"I doubt. These things don't just break down. I know an equipment malfunction when I see one."