We learned a few interesting things about the Gem homeworld in these past few episodes. One thing, the extremely rigid hierarchy, is something we already guessed at, but we learned some new interesting factoids about them as well!
Old technology still works
In Too Far we learned that despite huge leaps in defensive technology, the kindergarten injectors were only minorly cosmetically different from rebellion-era drills. Now we have another piece of technology that is not only identical in function but is still actually functioning: the diamond communication line.
Peridot was able to pick up a communicator from an old diamond base, activate it, and have a call with someone, despite it probably being almost five thousand years old. While there are certainly plausible explanations for how a new communicator could have been placed on the Moon well after the end of the rebellion, such explanations aren’t needed: by the time of the rebellion, the homeworld already had an intergalactic empire. The existence of the galaxy warps means they could always communicate by runner, but it would be feasible for long-distance communication to be a completely solved technological problem. If nothing ever improved on the old system, why replace it?
More of that hierarchy
It’s generally been assumed by the fandom that the homeworld was a very regimented place (especially after Back to the Barn), but it wasn’t really until The Answer that we got confirmation—and boy did it come in abundance.
First off, quite quickly, we see everyone’s fearful reaction when the common Gem Ruby stumbled into the aristocratic Sapphire. This accident was clearly a serious breach of etiquette that could have met with severe punishment had Sapphire been prideful rather than fatalistic. Ruby was clearly confused when Sapphire let this pass, so such mercy can’t be too common.
Of course the act of fusion with a different gem type was also reacted to with disgust by everyone assembled in Blue Diamond’s court. Despite the act of fusion being an accident that occurred as Ruby protected her charge, everyone was quite eager to voice outrage and Blue Diamond was in no mood to be merciful. We don’t know if the sentence of being “broken” was meant as a death penalty via shattering or merely a crippling by gem damage (as happened to Lapis Lazuli after she was placed into the mirror), but Sapphire clearly considered it to be cruel.
Plenty of Rubies
It was interesting (though not super-surprising) that Gems of the same type were revealed in The Answer to be essentially interchangeable. Now in addition to the fact that they’re only ever referred to by their gem type, we have Ruby’s testimony about how it feels to fuse her essence with other Rubies: it just feels like being a bigger version of herself. Until The Answer every fusion was very much her own entity, but the affectionately named “Rube Cube” doesn’t seem to recognize herself as a fusion (though we assume she does know she is, since she’d have the memories of the three Rubies that constitute her).
Ruby even goes further when she objects to Sapphire’s own act of self-sacrifice to protect her, saying that nobody should care if she was broken because there are tons of her. The Rubies didn’t seem to be acting as though they all thought of themselves as one and the same, since they were so competitive about who would punch the rebels, but Ruby clearly views herself as disposable so long as there are ample Rubies still out there to carry on the business of punching those that need to be punched.
In the bucket of assorted facts we’ve learned, the one that sits most prominently is that the Gem homeworld is in another galaxy. The law of averages (and the realities of geometric expansion) meant this was likely (otherwise the Gems would be colonizing a world in their own galaxy while having planets in other galaxies), but it’s good to know for sure. Interestingly, the Gems’ home galaxy is visible from Earth with the naked eye; this means that unless the Gems come from a fictional galaxy, there is a very short list of galaxies they could be from.
We also learned how Gems identify themselves to each other. Much like humans might have various ID numbers, Gems have facets and cuts that use both numbers and letters (interestingly enough, the lengths of Peridot’s ID numbers indicate a need of thousands of Peridots per facet, and the need for hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions, of facets.
Riddle me this: Why is it such a sic-fi norm that aliens come from another Galaxy?! There are plenty of stars close to home and with the whole lapis thing and the stars in “Ocean Gem” How?!
The post already alludes to why if you want the Gems to be intergalactic already, it’s fairly unlikely that they wouldn’t have reached Earth yet: intergalactic distances are very big, so to still be working on something in your own galaxy after you’ve already started work on other galaxies is inefficient.
No I mean, stars in our galaxy that aliens can originate from. Why are they always intergalactic in almost every form of media! Why?
I don’t think there are actually very many settings where the aliens are intergalactic.
But anyway, regarding Steven Universe, as I said there’s a very good reason for the Gems to be from another galaxy.
What is it? Also there are many many examples. Dare I say 90 percent of them…
I already mentioned it: because it takes so long to travel between galaxies, it’s pretty unlikely for the Gems to both be intergalactic already, and for them to have not finished things with Earth yet. Therefore, if the Gems are supposed to already be intergalactic at this stage, it makes more sense for them to be from another galaxy.
And now I know you’re mistaken if you think 90% of aliens in science fiction are extragalactic.
If the universe in the show is set up the same way as ours, then homeworld must be in the Andromeda galaxy. Unless the gems have telescopic like eyes….
whoops forgot about Triangulum galaxy
hey I have a question unrelated to your comment. How do you get a profile pic on this site??
I’m highly into analyzing the details of fiction, including SU, of course, but the astrophysics of this universe are basically impossible to rectify with our own, and that’s been true since the beginning.
In “Laser Light Cannon”, the Red Eye is heading straight for Beach City for several hours, but appears in the same position in the sky, while the Earth is rotating below it. It then sucks up stuff from the ground in a way that implies it must be absolutely enormous–the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs wouldn’t do that from 1 mile away; even Pluto would have to be within about 100 miles.
However far away Homeworld is, Lapis was able to get there in a matter of months, though she wouldn’t have been able to do it without flapping her water wings in the vacuum of space. You can’t even cite relativity here, because it’s less than a year from the perspective of Earth, which means that not only can gems communicate instantly across galaxies, they can travel much, MUCH faster than light.
So unlike trying to suss out details about the timeline of the series or the history of the rebellion, trying to identify the location of Homeworld may be a completely lost cause.