The lore train does not stop! When it Rains was everything we wanted: a good lore drop combined with some wonderful bonding between Steven and Peridot. So, who wants to know about the Cluster? We do! So we’re going to take stock of what we learned this week.
DESTROY US ALL!
Yes, that makes two weeks in a row we’ve used the same quote from Billy to open up our pondering of the Cluster. It turns out we were right about it being a single large enemy, but very, very wrong on scale: the temple fusion may indeed be powerful, but with the power of five gems it’s no match for a monster larger than the planet and formed from millions of shards from at a minimum tens of thousands of gems.
How it will be stopped is, as ever, a question to speculate on. The sheer scale of the Cluster does tell us something about the size of the armies the Gems are able to field. Earth, a planet of no particular significance, was still able to warrant a large amount of troops to attempt to quell the rebellion. Rose Quartz’s leadership of the rebellion may have made it worth sending more soldiers than it otherwise would have warranted, but unless the homeworld was sending gem shards from other battles to Earth to be used in the Cluster many Gems must have died fighting for Earth.
It would make the most sense for the Cluster to have been made from loyal homeworld soldiers, for ease of control (a weapon on that scale would be worth every possible effort to control), so even if the majority of deaths were from homeworld soldiers that still means that 50,000 or more Gems could have died on Earth, or more if the homeworld bombarded the planet without pulling out their soldiers.
A few hundred years of reports
Peridot wasn’t around during the rebellion (giving us an upper limit on her age of 5,000–5,500 years old), but was able to read a lot about the Cluster project. Apparently the experiments and preparations leading up to the Cluster lasted for hundreds of years.
It’s still difficult to get a feel for how long the active stage of the rebellion would have lasted for. The pyramid temple, in the strawberry battlefield, depicts fighting between Rose Quartz and who we have now decided is probably Blue Diamond and shows that when it was built there were only three rulers of the homeworld.
At this stage we are more likely to learn about what the pyramid temple by learning about the rebellion than the other way around. If the battle happened then the war raged for hundreds of years, we can assume that the pyramid temple is like the desert glass, either corrupted on Earth and left to its own devices or locked into an artifact and dropped onto Earth to form a strong point. If the battle was the first and last instance of open warfare, only happening after the Cluster was nearly complete (perhaps, quite sinister, to provide the shards for the Cluster) then the pyramid temple would have been built after Rose Quartz had already been cast out for conflict short of open warfare.
The fusion experiments
It’s a relatively small detail, but the control room shows the status of 180 forced gem shard fusions on its monitors, giving us a bare minimum for how many cluster fusion monsters are at the Kindergarten. Some have a yellow bar on them, while others have just the image of the monster’s cluster gem. Given the erratic appearances of these monsters, this is likely an indicator of whether the experiment has emerged or not. It appears that roughly as many have the yellow bar as don’t, so we can assume that half of the cluster fusions have hatched.
You must have been made here
A nifty thing to note: Peridot assumed that Steven, having a quartz gem, must have been made on Earth. Amethysts are a type of quartz, and jaspers have quartz in them. (At this point it’s interesting to note the similarities between Amethyst and Jasper, especially their hair and possession of a spin-dash attack.)
Peridot is also willing to believe that Steven was grown on another planet, meaning that quartzes can almost certainly be grown on many worlds, but it’s interesting to know that planets can be so specialized in the kind of Gem that will come out of them. How many properly cooked Amethysts did the Crystal Gems shatter during the war?