What we learned from Space Race

Space Race was a very handy episode. Not only did we get a Pearl episode, with a healthy dose of Greg, but we got to uncover a bit more of the series. Some of it was hinted at in previous episodes, but at least one fact is totally new. Plus, we may just have seen a bit of foreshadowing for later…

This post will only cover what we now know for certain. Tomorrow we’ll have our usual post speculating about what secrets might be in store for us later.

The Galaxy Warp

It appears that we have seen the Galaxy Warp that Pearl mentioned in Mirror Gem, a mere three episodes (and just two weeks) later. There appear to be sixteen smaller warp pads, all centered around one large pad. According to Pearl, the pads can take them to the Gem homeworld (presumably the large central pad) and other Gem-controlled worlds.

We don’t know how the warp pads are linked; we know that the warp pad at the temple can take them to many other pads. It doesn’t look any different from the other pads, so they may very well all be linked into the same network and able to travel between one another as well. If this is how warp pads are constructed, the Galaxy Warp could easily lead to hundreds – if not thousands – of other Gem worlds. Even if the temple warp pad is special and most warp pads link to only one other pad, that would still mean there were seventeen worlds with a direct connection to Earth, with one of them presumably having links to almost all other Gem worlds.

The warp pads are all disabled though. We’ll certainly be speculating on why, but right now all we know for sure is that the Crystal Gems are worried that they might reactivate.

The time since the catastrophe

One thing implied by the disabling of the warp pads is how long ago the catastrophe likely was; considering the nature of the catastrophe, the two events were probably coincident—they were at least not separated by more than a hundred years or so. If they had been disabled for thousands of years, that means the catastrophe was likely thousands of years ago as well.

This is also a subject for speculation, but a time estimate for the catastrophe just hundreds of years in the past doesn’t seem even remotely possible anymore with the Galaxy Warp being disabled for thousands of years.

The scale of Gemkind

When describing the Galaxy Warp’s capabilities, Pearl mentioned that Gems have expanded through the universe. This is an important piece of information: until Space Race we didn’t know if Earth was an anomaly – a rare example of Gem colonization – or if the Gems had spread far and wide. Now it seems that Greg, in issue #2 of the comic, was right to call the Crystal Gems intergalactic warriors.

Incredibly primitive propulsion-based space travel

Another thing Pearl sneaks in is a reference to propulsion-based space travel. It’s clear from what she’s saying that Gems have a different way of getting around the stars. Not that being stuck with propulsion stopped Pearl: she was somehow able to whip up a ship capable of accelerating to a minimum of a sixth the speed of light at least twice on a single internal tank of fuel. Presumably a proper Gem ship would be even faster.