The Human With a Gem

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StabbyKobold
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The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Wed May 23, 2018 4:18 pm

Well, don’t I feel a tad bit overdue. It’s been the better part of a year since Project A.F.T.E.R. closed down, and what have I done with all the time? I suppose all I can say is that I’ve managed to get my life sorted out. That, and I’ve toiled with propping up a WordPress page, where I’ve archived my old mocks, and will continue to do so in the future. Anyway, I’m getting back to doing what I enjoy, hence why I’m posting this.

Since this is a mock I already started long ago, I had better do a recap for both newcomers and returning readers alike. This is The Human With a Gem, a Steven Universe fanfic starring a particularly annoying Gary Stu self-insert by the name of Maxwell Ignitus. By ingesting a made up corrupted gem by the name of Obsidian, he has attained a slew of ridiculous powers, which he so far has utilized to beat up most of the main cast; mostly just because he wanted to. Through seventeen chapters, nothing didn’t happen unless it had something to do with Maxwell, and his oh so troubled past became grittier as the plot demanded it. Max also ended up mentally snapping and started killing people, which amounted to nothing as the author pulled a status quo reset via time travel. Currently, Maxwell is travelling randomly through alternate dimensions together with Steven, due to contrived reasons and the author wanting to rip off other fanworks of the series. If you have any interest in reading the previous chapters of this mock, you can do so by following this link. If you’re already up to speed, or simply want to jump right into the thick of it, then enjoy.

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Chapter 18: Swap

Max was expecting a rough landing, but it seems like he sticks the landing this time.

Please tell me the punchline involves him being partially stuck in a wall or something.

"Yes! Safe...and no one around to see it. Say, where's Steven?" His question was answered as the boy in question falls right on top of him. "Ow."

"S-sorry Max, I can't really control where I land."

Image

We know, Steven. We know.

"It's okay, we're warping across space and time, we're lucky that we haven't been torn to shreds. Speaking of space and time, where are we now?"

"Well it looks like Beach City, and the temple is there."

And it looks like the author is skimping on the scene descriptions.

"Well, no dystopia here. Let's check the temple to be sure." The duo head inside the familiar house, finding everything to be very similar, albeit lots of protien mix in the fridge.

Are we about to see some kind of alternate universe Steven that works out?

"Has Amethyst taking a liking to this junk? Well she enjoys gasoline." Max closes the fridge before bumping into Steven.

"Whoops, sorry dude….Steven?" Steven stares at him with wide fearful eyes. Max was about to ask something before...Steven walks out of the bathroom.

"The bathroom seems the same but…" Steven looks to see Steven...two Stevens…

Well, better pull out the shotgun and find the real one, Max. You’re jumping dimensions willy-nilly; this should not be surprising to you.

"Okay, it's safe to assume this isn't our world." Max says unamused before the frightened Steven yells out for help.

"Burglar! Clones! What's going on!?"

"H-hey calm down, we're not gonna hurt you." He looks to see the gems' door open, as three gems come out. There was Lapis, Peridot...who is taller? And...some orange gem. Max didn't know why, but he felt his pulse race when he saw her, just feeling the warrior spirit emanating from her.

Ah, the “Mom Swap AU” universe. Basically, the premise is having Steven be raised by the three homeworld gems rather than Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. But I fail to see how this explains the protein.

"Lapis! Peridot! Jasper!"

"Wait Jasper?" Original Steven looks confused as he sees Jasper with the other gems. Max remembered when Steven told him the story of Jasper, Malachite, and her corruption.

"Steven? Why are there two of you? What is going on?"

Poor decisions and life choices.

"Okay! Enough! I will answer everyone's questions if we just calm down."

Everyone was silent. Max sighed as he explained the current problem Steven and him were facing, traveling to different dimensions revolving around changes to the Crystal gems.

"I know it sounds farfetched, but the proof is in the pudding. We got two Stevens here."

"What does pudding have to do with evidence?" Peridot asked confused.

The author thought he could inject humor, by having his protagonist spout a metaphor that he wouldn’t use under any other circumstance.

"It's a figure of speech, I mean the facts are in plain sight."

"Well, it sounds plausible…may I ask your name?" Lapis asked politely. Max could see she was different, more motherly in a way, possibly from further interaction with Steven.

"Me?... I'm Maxwell Ignitus." He explains his story involving Obsidian and Rose Quartz. In return they explain that they joined Rose in her rebellion against Homeworld, and stayed on Earth with Steven when he was born.

This begs the question, if they don’t know Maxwell, what happened to him in this dimension? Please, tell me he jumped off the cliff.

"I-I see, so this is a world where the Crystal gems are switched. Interesting. Well, we need a way to keep traveling in hopes to get back home."

"Well human, it's not that easy, interdimensional travel is mostly theoretical, the warp pad only teleports us on Earth, to another warp pad. Unless you have an item or substance that carries the properties of warping, you're stuck here because we don't have this 'Lion' you speak of." Peridot informs,

"Hmm, will this do?" He explains the way his weapon cloak works, with how it travels his hand to grab from his weapon stash.

It’s cute you think the two are even remotely the same thing, author. But if the cloak still works, and it can “travel” his hand, what’s keeping them from getting more than a hand through?

"Well, this may work, but I will need some time to work on it."

"That's fine, I'm sure we can entertain ourselves."

Lapis and the Two Stevens play and interact with each other while Peridot gets to work on his cloak. That leaves Maxwell and Jasper alone.

They’re going to fight, aren’t they? Figures, since Max doesn’t have an excuse to brood, I guess fighting someone is his only other source of entertainment.

"...so an Obsidian? I will admit, their cutting skills are on a different level, but when it comes to real combat, it won't be enough." Jasper remarks.

"Hehehe, is that so? Well I'm more than some oversized letter opener, I trained myself to be stronger than any human.

For no reason, might I add. Wish fulfillment doesn’t count.

That may not mean a lot to a gem, but it is an achievement I stand by." The tension was obvious between them, the perfect soldier and the man with the fury of a volcano.

"Pretty spunky for a human. Words mean nothing though, at least not without action."

"Oh? Then let's settle this. We're both powerful warriors, we can end this debate on the beach."

Of the two of them, Jasper is the only one justified in being a battle hungry warrior. She’s a perfectly grown gem soldier from an inferior production site – the equivalent of reaching into a gene pool of inbred rednecks and pulling out Captain America. Max only has the trait, because the author doesn’t view it as a character flaw.

"Sounds fine by me." Jasper grins as she cracks her knuckles, glad to finally fight once again.

The two walk onto the beach, both silently agreeing to not do anything to Beach City, at least not on purpose.

Sure, don’t spend the ten seconds it takes to use the warp pad to take this fight literally anywhere else.

"I will admit, it's different to fight without my weapons, but it's better this way. No obsidian bullets or anything, only our own skills."

"Just try to last more than five seconds, I want to enjoy myself."

"Phrasing." Max chuckles after saying that, but then gets into his proper stance.

On a scale from one to ten, how anime are we talking here?

He rushed at Jasper before jumping and putting all of his force into a spin kick at her gut. Jasper just catches him with incredible speed and hurls him into the ground.

"Gah!" Max grunts in pain the looks up to see Jasper summon her battle helmet. Before her attack could make contact though, Max blows smoke into her face and gets out of the small pit.

"Sneaky move, but you're gonna have to try harder!" She growls as she does a spin dash directly at Maxwell. Max closes his eyes as he focused as summoned his flame form.

Figures, without his cloak Max only has one place to pull out deus ex machinas from – his superpowered ass.

Everything seems to slow down as he sees her spinning. At the right time he sees her exposed body and takes aim. With a roar he throws hundreds of powerful punches, stopping her in her tracks and doing a considerable amount of damage. With Jasper stunned, Max focuses his fire into his obsidian hand, making it glow dangerously.

"Eruption!" He releases, striking her with a powerful uppercut, his obsidian hand literally exploding and sending her high into the air. He jumps hoping to catch her mid air and continue his onslaught.

That’s two entirely new super moves back-to-back. Do I hear a third? Come on, you know you want to, author.

Before he can attack though, she grabs him.

"Nice trick, but try this one on for size!" Jasper starts spin dashing toward the ground while holding onto Max, the pressure of going from so high and rocketing toward the ground making him dizzy and weak. Just before hitting the ground, Jasper stops spinning and suplexes him so his head hit the ground, enough damage to easily kill a human, and shatter some gems. Max coughs up blood as he lays on the ground, struggling to get up.

Jasper pants heavily, her eyes widening as she sees him still trying to fight. "E-enough, it was a good fight but you're in no condition to continue."

Oh, Jasper, didn’t you know? Losing a fight is a humbling and character building experience. The Marty Stu rejects such trivialities.

"N-no! I-I refuse to give up. F-fifty years of training. I-I wanted to become the strongest so n-no one can never hurt me. I-I will win so the pain can stop!" Max looks at Jasper with tears and desperation in his eyes.

Image

What pain?! As far as I can tell, Max, you are the only one causing any. You are the reason and instigator for every single battle in this story thus far. Every trauma, every conflict, every loss of life your Rubik-scrambled past purports; all of it has happened because you decided to indulge in, enable even, your own sociopathic personality and solely destructive gem superpowers. Even now, you’re fighting and getting hurt because it was something you decided to do. You want the pain to stop? Then fucking stop!

Jasper can only look at him with shock in her eyes. She slowly smiles and puts a hand on his shoulder. "You already proved you're to be powerful...I was wrong about you, I admit that...but you trained to be stronger than humans. That may be impressive for you, but there are still plenty of incredibly powerful beings, some stronger than me. Instead of giving up, you should try to grow stronger. I may have came out as a perfect Quartz, but I still had to grow much stronger...Rose taught me to become strong in so many ways, and in some ways, her child helps me learn more."

Nice pep talk, but it’s the wrong one. Max doesn’t need to be told not to give up and grow stronger, because that’s literally his sole motivation as a character. What he needs to learn – what Steven and his friends could teach him – is that conflict can be resolved with other means than just violence. This speech is just the author using Jasper as a sock puppet, to validate his protagonist’s complexes.

Max only looks up at her with surprise, then slowly smiles. "...I trained myself in beating humans…" He looks at his obsidian hand and clenches it. "I wanted to become more than human, so I cannot rely on just human weapons and fighting techniques, I need to train my gem abilities too, and combine them to create more and more powerful skills to beat my opponents."

You’ve already done that! It’s what your flame form technique is all about! You told us this while fighting Garnet, you numbskull!

With determination in his eyes, he looks to Jasper and smiles. "Thank you, even if we never meet again, I won't forget this."

With that all said and done, Max rests his aching body, glad for his quick healing by Steven, even it was gross.

Oh, quit being a baby. You’re lucky Steven didn’t discover his healing body fluids while treating jellyfish stings.

Peridot soon finished making the adjustments to his cloak and presented it to him.

"There, now if it works properly, you should be able to teleport to a new dimension as long as you activate the warp pad as well."

The deus ex machina dispenser got an upgrade. Yay.

"Thank you Peridot, we just need to keep trying until someone can send us home, or we get there ourselves." Steven and Max look at the gems and other Steven with a smile before they activate the warp pad and move on to the next dimension.

They’ve already been through more dimensions than Max has as a character, and I only expect the number to triple.

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I’m not sure what future alternate universes the author has in store for us. Honestly, the Mom-Swap AU here was the only one that came to mind, when the dimension jumping began. Whatever comes next though, Max is sure to find some way to have it validate his already staunchly ingrained obsessions.

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StabbyKobold
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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Mon May 28, 2018 1:50 pm

Max and Steven jump dimensions yet again, and they end up in someone else’s fanfic. A fanfic with hundreds of followers and more than a thousand reviews. Must be a good story, I guess. Too bad the author only tells us what fanfic it is, and not what happened in it. Enjoy.

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Chapter 19: A King?

Author's note: This AU is based off the fanfiction titled, "A Leader's Call" by skydarius11. Go check it out, it has all the heartache and love you could ever want and more. I swear, it made me cry a few times, now on to the story.

I’ll take your word for it. It certainly seems to be a lot more popular than your story.

A familiar scene appears as Maxwell opens his eyes. A sandy beach and a serene town.

I know dimensional travel should work like this, but would it kill the author to take us somewhere new?

"So far so good, this looks like home, but looks can be deceiving...Steven?" He looks around, then hears a groan as his Steven wakes up, rubbing his head.

"I-I'm okay, it's just that, the teleportation is about as bad as the teacups."

Going in nothing but circles? Sounds about right.

"Well don't go barfing on me, regain your bearings and we'll check out the temple."

After some time, the dimension hopping duo carefully walks toward the gems' household. They open the door and sneak a peek inside.

Ever heard of knocking?

"Nobody seems to be home."

"Best case scenario, this is home and the gems are out on a mission. Worst case scenario, zombie apocalypse."

I suppose it could fit in right after 'Maxwell murder spree' and 'Homeworld abduction'.

"Noooooo!"

"I'm kidding...mostly" Max just chuckles at Steven's multiple expressions of fear, relief, then fear again. Before they can take another step inside though, a loud yawn is heard. They look to see Steven in Steven's bed...wait what? On closer inspection, this appears to be an alternate Steven, one who looks...more experienced in a way. He definitely has a bit of muscle, yet Max couldn't help but feel a sort of...sadness emanating from him.

Is your thought process really, "But he has muscles, why isn't he happy?"

"Sooo...this isn't our dimension."

"I guess not, unless the gems somehow made a clone of you to compensate."

Nice of you to imply the gems would think Steven replaceable.

As the two converse, they fail to realize the sleeping Steven beginning to wake up.

"Uh….." The two gulp and look toward the now awoken Steven.

"Okay, I know this looks weird, but-" Max is cut off as he hears a certain roar. He turns and sees Lion growling at him, yet also gives a confused look to the two Stevens.

"Wait wait wait! I can explain!" Lion wasn't listening as he pounced at Max.

This is why you don't go into other people's houses unannounced, Max. Especially when you learn, like last chapter, that your existence isn't a constant in all dimensions.

"GAH!" Max scurries off the bed, running around in hopes of not getting his butt chomped off.

"Max!" Original Steven looks worriedly as the other Steven looks surprised."

"W-wait, you know him?"

Only in the loosest definition of the term, as his personality changes to suit the author’s needs.

"Yeah he's my friend. I know this sounds crazy, but we accidentally started traveling to different universes. Um, I'm Steven, nice to meet you."

"I'm Steven too." They shake hands while Mx gives them an unamused look as he hangs from the ceiling.

I guess Lion managed to chomp off his A.

"Well now that we are all acquainted, can someone help me!" The Stevens rub the backs of their necks embarrassed. Current Steven gets down from bed and goes to calm down Lion.

"Lion it's okay, he's a guest, I don't think they want to hurt us."

Just so long as you can prove you’re not made of tiny robots. Max is crazy like that.

Lion growls and somehow Lion and Steven communicate with each other with ease.

"Wow, you really bonded with Lion. Sometimes my Lion barely listens."

Clearly you don't have enough badges yet – Pokémon taught me as much.

"Well, we've shared an experience before." With Lion begrudgingly calmed down, Max hops down and sighs in relief.

"Okay, now what I was trying to say is-" Once again, he is cut off as the warp pad shines.

"Can I just say one thing?!" The light dims, to reveal 6 gems. Not only was there Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, but there was Lapis, a taller Peridot...and another Jasper.

Is there even space enough on the warp pad for them all?

"Steven, we're back and-" Pearl stops mid sentence as she looks at the scene of two Stevens, Lion, and a human with an arm made of volcanic rock.

Arm? Has Max been cutting off more pieces of himself?

"...were there always two Stevens?" Amethyst asked confused. In a flash, they all draw their weapons to fight the intruder.

"Oh come on." Max braces himself for a fight, with his Steven right next to him. Before anyone could clash though, the current Steven puts his fingers to his mouth and whistles loudly.

"Everyone stop! Please, no one needs to fight." Everyone listened calmly, almost as if his words held a spell over them. Even Max felt any will to fight, vanish from his body.

It's called 'making sense' and 'appealing to logic'. I understand these are foreign concepts to you.

"...thank you Steven. I'm sorry to have come here unannounced. I am Maxwell Ignitus, but Max is fine. I come from a universe where me and my Steven are good friends, and I happily became an ally of the Crystal gems. I understand my story may seem far fetched, but we plead for your help. Steven and I just wish to return home." With his speech finished, the gems looked at him cautiously, but the their Steven only smiles and goes to shake his hand. Max smiles and accepts the gesture of peace.

The fact that you couldn't display any of your own is unsurprising, Max.

"I'm sorry to hear you're far from home, but we'll do what we can to help."

"Thank you. All we need is to use the wap pad, then my cloak can…" He was going to show off his cloak but then sees how it is tattered and sparking.

You're telling me the deus ex machina dispenser was broken, and you only tell me these wonderful news now?!

"Damn, the transportation must have been too much. The Peridot from the earlier universe modified the transportational abilities of my cloak so…" He went rambling on about the scientific properties, confusing everyone except Peridot who was taking many notes on her holopad.

You could just invent techobabble, instead of covering up your own lack of scientific vocabulary, author.

"I see, well if you give it to me, I should be able to fix it. If one peridot can do it, then I certainly can fix it." Peridot boasts.

"Thank you, maybe we can exchange stories as we wait."

Why don't we start with you, Max? How about that time you slaughtered your family and home village?

"Yeah! Story for Steven!" Original Steven waits excitedly as the gems and current Steven share the long, over 40 chapters worth of an adventure.

Maybe you'd like to give us the cliff notes? I'm not going through forty chapters just to know what's going on in this dimension.

After some time, everyone was tired from such a tale and had some dinner together, although it was mostly the half humans who took part in the glorious feast of pizza.

Amethyst wasn't invited?

It was late at night as Maxwell walked outside to view the stars and moon. It was funny how similar it was, yet so different.

Ha-ha funny, or Max-thinks-he’s-being-deep funny?

"Hey Max...you okay?" The current Steven of this universe asked as he sat down next to him.

"Yeah, I'm just a it worried. Not just about getting home, but keeping my Steven safe. He's strong, kind, but so many things out there can hurt him. Infinite universes, infinite possibilities...I won't stop until I get him back to the gems safely."

Yes, back with the gems and as far away from your psychotic ass as possible.

After speaking, he looked at Steven, who looked exhausted. Max's eyes widen as he remembered from Steven's story, he was able to absorb the negativity from others and fight it.

"Steven stop! My negative emotions are too much."

Image

"N-no, I've done this a lot, it's okay."

"No it's not! I'm not from this universe, I'm not your concern, I won't let you risk killing yourself for me." With a heavy sigh, Max focuses on his obsidian hand. His eyes flash purple for a second, showing the insanity that resides within.

Thanks for proving my point.

With one swipe he knocks away Steven and takes out a black demonic looking creature, made entirely of his negative emotions.

"Steven, this monster is only a small fraction of the horrid storm that resides within me. I appreciate your help, but I cannot let you do this. This is the pain I suffered to become who I am, and I will solve it in my home, I can't let you hurt yourself for me." Max crushes the beast with his hardened hand.

Image

Max sure is full of himself, isn’t he? “Don’t help me with my problems, you couldn’t possibly handle it, what with I’ve been through.” This macho martyr bullshit is not just unhealthy, it’s downright moronic. Rant incoming, excuse the indignant outpour.

First off, Max has issues. Yeah, I know; grass grows, sun shines, and Max is fucked up, what else is new? The thing is, he is mentally unstable, struggles emotionally, and is a potential danger to people around him because of it. He is aware of all of this. And instead of allowing people to help him overcome these issues, he handles it all like a cross for himself to bear – as if psychological problems is a trial for him to prove himself against. But Max proves nothing by making this, once again, all about himself. The author clearly wants to paint Max in some kind of impressive light by having him “protect” Steven from the danger that helping him would pose, yet his unwillingness to receive help paints him as nothing but a prideful and self-destructive asshole.

Secondly, this whole “bringing out negative emotions and turning them into monsters to fight” thing. I have no idea how it was presented in the fanfic the author is ripping off, but the way it’s presented here is more than a little uncomfortable. Max isn’t a supernatural creature, nor is he possessed by demons; he’s insane, if not just suffering from depression in the given situation. For Other-Steven to conjure creatures of manifested negative emotions forth from Maxwell’s psyche completely denigrates emotional problems as something that they are not. Much like how the author handled Psycho Max, he provides hostile agency to something that should be without – just to turn it into an enemy that can be easily fought. But neither psychosis nor emotions work like that. Moreover, the proper way of actually combating them is to get help. But Max won’t allow himself to receive any, because the author thinks that will make his self-insert weak.

Steven shakes his head as he gets up. "I-I didn't realize there was so much...how come you don't want my help, doesn't it hurt?"

"...It's torture. But it helped me grow. I use this pain to grow stronger and wiser, and learn to smile wider. I'm really thankful for your help Steven...but trust me when I say I know what I'm doing."

But you don’t, Max. The stuff you are saying are the confessions of a future suicide victim. You even attempted it!

Max smiles as he hugs Steven close. Steven only nods with a heavy sigh.

After some time, Max's cloak was repaired and the duo get onto the warp pad. "Steven, gems, Lion, you're all wonderful beings."

And you are not. Thanks for low-balling the punchline for me.

Now for a song, it's cringe worthy, sorry to everyone, including Jacksepticeye and Schmoyoho

You are self-aware about it, yet you still include a song? Alright then, let’s see what you’ve got?

Hello everyone my name is Max Ignitus

My name is Max Ignitus.

Max Yes Max Yes MAX YES!

All the way

To freaking victory town

All the way

Feels good to be a winner

Every now and then

I believe in you

I believe

I believe in you!

I believe

I believe in Steven

In Steven!(oh yeah)

In Steven!

Grab the glory

All the way to victory

All the way(keep on a dancin)

All the way(keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, you got this)

All the way way, all the way (keep on a dancin)

All the way (keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, keep on)

(Keep goin, keep on)

AAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Simple challenge?

Life is nothing like that

Stand tall on your feet

You're all we need

Feel your heart beat

Life is nothing like that

Feel your heart beat!

Great, great Steven

You're great at being you

Great, great Steven

You're my best friend in the world

Great, great Steven

I hope you never die

Die, die, die, die

With any regrets

Oh yeah!

All the way(keep on a dancin)

All the way(keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, you got this)

All the way way, all the way (keep on a dancin)

All the way (keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, keep on)

(Keep goin, keep on)

AAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Hey there little potato boy

You're the one getting involved with magic?

See, you hanging out with those gems don't you?

You're cool, so cool

You have a shield?

Whoa!

Little potato boy, you were always my favorite

AAAAHH!

I believe (I believe)

I believe in Steven

In Steven!(oh yeah)

In Steven!

Grab the glory

All the way to victory

All the way(keep on a dancin)

All the way(keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, you got this)

All the way way, all the way (keep on a dancin)

All the way (keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, keep on)

(Keep goin, keep on)

AAAAHH!

All the way(keep on a dancin)

All the way(keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, you got this)

All the way way, all the way (keep on a dancin)

All the way (keep on flyin)

All the way (keep goin, keep on)

(Keep goin, keep on)

AAAAAAAAAAHHH!

I can't exactly fault a Steven Universe fanfic for including a song. However, I can fault the author for his poor lyrical choices. The original song is nice, a catchy tune too, but to have it be presented here with just a thin coat of Ignitus paint ruins the purpose that Steven Universe gives it’s musical segments.

Songs in Steven Universe are something special. Through them, we learn more about the characters and their personalities, often through direct interpretation of the lyrics. Aside from a few outliers, the songs express and exposit the singers’ emotions and motivations. Strong in the Real Way? Pearl's desire to be a good parental figure, and Steven's need to be a credit to the team. That Distant Shore? Lapis Lazuli's struggle with crippling fear and loneliness. It's Over, Isn't It? Pearl's grief over losing Rose's affections and later Rose herself, and her inability to move on more than a decade later. What did this chapter give us? An amateur edited rip-off that, while it expresses Max's faith in Steven, rings entirely hollow, as Max won't let the kid help out or fend for himself. It’s entirely wasteful and provides nothing to the story. I would end it here by saying, “Just like Maxwell”, but unfortunately everything in this story is about him; even this fucking song. It’s not about Steven. It’s about Maxwell’s thoughts on him. And they are condescending and insultingly simple. Just like Maxwell.

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I’m not sure what made the author think it was time for a song. Hardly anything noteworthy happened, and we already knew everything it tried to get across. I suppose it’s because the author couldn’t have Maxwell do or change anything in the current dimension, since Other-Steven seemed to have things well in hand. Still, not sure I’m keen on the well-intentioned mind control angle, but I’m not going to knock a story I haven’t read. I’ll just move onwards with the current disgrace of literary expression.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by GorillaGamer » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:29 pm

The mocks looking great as always Stabby, keep up the good work. I found something from an old friend of yours you could tackle once you're done with this fic.

Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/40960 ... rs/9227032

If you ever need a helping hand with it, I could pop in to mock a chapter or two.
Jesus man what is up with you and all of those waifus! Are you secretly the "Ultimate Pimp"?
An old quote from Project PATREON.

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StabbyKobold
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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:46 am

@GorillaGamer: Thanks, GG. I'll take that story into consideration for once I finish with this one. It's certainly tempting, but no promises.

Here comes yet another chapter of Max and Steven jumping between dimensions. And while I’m growing impatient with this nonsense, apparently so did the author, since we go through about a dozen dimensions in this chapter. No, it doesn’t make this chapter longer than the previous one, why would you ever think that? Enjoy.

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Chapter 20: This is Ridiculous

I’m sure I’ll be echoing the sentiment.

Warp

Max and Steven look around as they seem to be in Beach City but...everyone was either Max or Steven.

"Okay, this is weird. I know I said infinite possibilities but this is just strange."

It doesn't make a lick of sense either. Infinite possibilities does not mean the impossible is suddenly possible.

"Y-yeah, let's go find the warp pad and leave." They hurry to the temple and to the warp pad.

Warp

Feel free to put some whimsical montage music on, I can imagine no other time for it.

Max was about to say something, but then noticed the severe lack of oxygen and the water filling his lungs. Steven was about to panic before he summoned a bubble for them, complete with fresh air.

I'm pretty sure Steven can't do that last part. I'll just pretend the author decided to give new powers to someone else for a change.

"Gah!" Max pants heavily and coughs up the water as he tries to figure out what happened.

"W-why is there so much water?" Steven asked as he looked through the bubble, seeing Beach City submerged in the water.

"This seems to be a universe where Earth has been flooded. How are we gonna be able to get to the warp pad now?!"

Who knew global warming would be a bigger threat to humanity than the magical alien empire?

"Hmm….can you warp with just your cloak?"

"Well, maybe, but who knows what will happen?"

"It can't be that bad."

It's bad enough that the cloak is now a deus ex machina in itself instead of just dispensing them.

Max only sighs and activates his cloak.

Warp

They were on dry land...but everything seemed different, less ... animated. Max looked around and at his body. Steven looks at his hands with a scared look.

Your chapter also seems different, author; less written, if you will. If your dimensional jumping hijinks humor relies on a visual gag, maybe you should use more than two words to describe it.

"Okay I admit I was wrong, lets leave."

Warp

Max and Steven appear to be somewhere in space. Steven puts a bubble around them as they look around.

Did the Cluster emerge in this dimension, or is the cloak really this shitty?

"Where are we now?" Before Max could say anything, something knocks into the bubble.

"Gah! What the heck?" He looks to see a strange blue phone booth, labeled police box.

Sure, let's just ignore the physics that would have the two of them speed away from a collision with another object without gravity or friction to stop them. The author wants to make a reference, so making sense takes second priority.

"Sorry about that!" Said a british sounding voice from within the box before it spun around and flew off.

"...was that…no it can't be. Let's go."

Warp

They appear to be on a beach...but not the one they want.

"What is this place...and why do I have a bad feeling about it?"

I think its the overuse of ellipses.

"Hmm…" He looks to see boats loaded with soldiers coming from the sea. He then looks to see soldiers armed with machine guns and with swastikas on their uniforms. "Oh **** no"

Image

"Hey, no swearing."

" I don't think you understand Steven. We went back in time. This is World War II, D-Day!"

"What's that?"

"...remind me to tell Pearl to let me teach you human history."

Maybe you should attend a lesson yourself, Max. Because World War II has been confirmed not to have happened in Steven Univers' continuity. The show's writers weren't being thoughtless. They knew that making the Earth and its early civilization subject to alien colonization would irreparably change the course of the planet's history. And the signs of this are scattered throughout the show, from small things such as the symbols on money bills, to the vast geographical differences like half of Russia being underwater. But hey, since you’ve decided that dimension jumping and time travel for some reason are the same thing, why not go to a time and place with similar gravitas and effect on the lives of everyone in the show – like the Gem War, you schmuck!

That's when the guns started firing.

"AH! WE GOTTA GO!"

Warp

"Agh, we're getting nowhere!"

Neither is this story.

"Let me try, we'll go super fast."

"No wait!"

Steven grabs his cloak and starts warping them rapidly.

Warp

"Badoop badoop Banana Bus"

Warp

"Cowabunga!"

Warp

"Reality is an illusion, the universe is a hologram, buy gold. BYE!"

Warp

"Don't lose your way!"

Warp

"Yare yare daze"

Warp

"You gotta look inside yourself and say, what am I willing to put up with today? NOT FUCKING THIS!"

I couldnt have put it better myself. The author has now decided that making random pop culture references is somehow funny or counts as storytelling. It’s not a good idea to remind people there are more entertaining things out there than your own story.

Warp

"Grasssss tastes bad."

Warp

"Steven stop! This isn't working, I just feel like I'm gonna vomit."

"I already did a few dimensions ago."

I'd say the author has been vomiting on his keyboard since line one.

"There has to be some way to do this, maybe we're looking at this the wrong way."

"What do you mean?"

"Hmm...we warped with the warp pad at first, and we remained within stuff similar to the gems. When we relied only on my cloak, we went to those alternate worlds that had nothing to do with the gems."

Begging the question of how the cloak is related to these realities. The answer is its all nonsense.

"You're right…"

"We need an anchor or something to help us get home."

"An anchor…" Steven looks at his gem and gasps. "I got it! We use my gem! Maybe then we can go to our world."

Thank you, Steven, for further proving that Max has no connection with your reality.

"...you're right! Let's try it." He puts the cloak around Steven and the young boy focuses on his gem. A bright light covers them both, soon vanishing with them.

Warp

"...d-did we do it right?" The two look around the beach, seemingly near Beach City and the temple.

Do we dare hope the author ran out of crossover ideas?

"Well, there is only one way to find out." The two head into the house and see the gems huddled together."

"But we haven't seen him all day, what if he ran away, or was kidnapped!?"

Considering it was Max that got Steven into this mess, I’m sure you know which of those fit the crime.

"I promise you everything will be okay."

"How will everything be okay?!"

"This is the second time some human with a van has taken away my reason for living!”

Garnet just smiles and looks to Max and Steven who were at the front door. Pearl looks in surprise before smiling and jumping to hug Steven.

"Steven! You're safe, what happened? Did Max do this?"

"I haven't done anything to him, we've been trying to get home for so long."

You wouldn't have ended up lost in dimensions if you hadn't decided to try and upstage Pearl and Garnet. You fucked up, at least you could own up to it.

Max explains the story of how the warp pad backfired and transferred the duo across the multiverse. After some time reuniting, everyone went to rest, the large adventure finally over.

I would hardly call that an adventure. The author spent several chapters hiding his own ability to create an entertaining plot by reaching out to whatever meme he found popular. And it changed nothing about the plot – the only thing that got any kind of development was the fucking cloak!

------------------------

Hopefully that will be the last we see of that nonsense. It was just as I predicted. All that the last four chapters contained was consequence-free hijinks, a narrative detour of the author trying to support his story with the works of others. We’re now back to stomaching Maxwell’s presence in whatever time-bubble the author has fashioned out of the point in the show he injected his self-insert. It’s really annoying that the author keeps re-establishing status quo, when Steven Universe is all about constantly changing it.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:37 am

Now that Maxwell and Steven have returned home to their rightful dimension, it’s only a matter of time before the next disaster of Max’s own making rears its ugly head. Until then, we must indulge in exploring Max’s personality. By that, I mean the author decided to add more angst to his Marty Stu’s backstory, even though it makes no sense. Enjoy.

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Chapter 21: Love

Can broken hearts be restored?

Ask your local taxidermist.

Max was sitting with Steven and Amethyst, sharing some popcorn as they watch the newest Lonely Blade movie. Max found the combat to be repetitive, but overall the movie wasn't too bad, Steven sure seemed to be enjoying himself, Amethyst on the other hand seemed satisfied eating 90% of the popcorn.

It's still sharing if everyone gets some of it, right?

The only thing that really made Max cringe was the newly introduced romantic subplot between Lonely Blade and Single Sword.

Something about their names makes me doubt it’s going to last.

"Aw, it's so cute. I really hope they can get together." Steven was deeply involved with the story and relationships. Soon came the weirdly animated kissing scene between the two characters, making Max feel sick as he got up and walked away from the TV.

Would you look at that, the immortal gem-creature of sixty-eight is made uncomfortable by romance in an anime. Are you telegraphing the contrived conflict of this chapter, Max, or are you just that immature?

"Max? You okay?"

"I-it's nothing really."

"No, Steven's right. Your face looks like Steven's when he tried motor oil."

"You said it was delicious! How was I supposed to know it'd make me sick?"

How dumb do you think Steven is, author? He's fourteen, he damn well knows what things he shouldn't put in his mouth, unlike your gem swallowing Gary Stu.

"And that's why either Garnet or Pearl have to check anything new you want to eat. So why do you look sick dude?"

"...it's just...I don't think love exists."

Amethyst looks at him a bit, before starting to laugh loudly. "Oh you're serious? I'm gonna laugh even harder, AHAHAHA!"

Stolen jokes and unnecessarily abrasive behavior aside, I can't take this seriously either. What previously inexistent maladjustment has Maxwell manifested this time?

"Why would you not believe in love? It's everywhere!"

"L-look, I understand that Garnet is a literal manifestation of love, and Rose and Greg were a beautiful couple who made a wonderful child….but for the human race, I can't help but feel it's just a big lie."

Is this a 'love is just a chemical' argument, or a 'waaah, no one loves me' argument?

Steven puts a hand under his chin, deep in thought.

"Hmm...do you love me?"

"Steven, that's a loaded question. I guess I do, I think of you like a brother."

"See, brotherly love! And you probably think of the gems as family right?"

Sure, let's make all his previous acts of violence count as domestic abuse.

Max blushes furiously as he looks away. He at first viewed the gems as goddesses, beings who were far too beautiful and powerful for him. Yet after coming back to them and living with them and Steven, he viewed them in a different light. They all had their flaws, but were still amazing.

Because they struggle to better themselves and overcome their flaws, Max. When was the last time you tried improving on something that wasn't your super powers?

Garnet can be mysteries, not very talkative, and a bit hardheaded, yet she was also powerful, protective, smart when it comes to relationships, and an all around great leader.

So why don't you ever listen to her?

Pearl can be a uptight, a perfectionist, and a tad judgemental about humans, but she is also very graceful, intelligent, a master of cleaning, and really sweet when she wants to be.

Don't mistake her being judgmental of you with being judgmental of humans, Max.

Amethyst can be a slob, can be rash, and not very brainy, but is very fun to be around, all around super funny, very friendly with humans, and sticks up for those she cares about.

Case in point, her rude laughter just moments ago.

And all three of them are very physically attractive, great dancers, and really care about those they call family. So with time, Max couldn't help but grow to become very attracted to the gems.

If he wants to get his rocks off with a gem, why doesn't he just ask Obsidian for a handjob?

"W-well…"

"Steven of course he like us, we're awesome." Amethyst says jokingly as she finds the bowl of popcorn empty. She shrugs and goes to her room. "Thanks for the free popcorn, I'll talk to you guys later."

Once she left, Max let's out a sigh and lays down.

On the floor, I imagine, as Max's current location is a nebulous 'away from the TV'.

"Max?"

"I'm okay, it's nothing."

"...so you never answered my question. What do you think of the gems?"

"...I think they're wonderful." Max replied with a massive blush on his face.

I'm not so sure the feeling is mutual, Max. At least it shouldn't be. You're still the cause of all the problems they've had as of late.

"Hmm, I got an idea!"

After a hour or so, Max was put into a tux and was sitting at a table where a fake candle is put up.

You rent a full tux, yet the candles is where you spare the expenses?

"I really don't think this is a good idea Steven."

"Trust me, this will help restore your faith in love."

I know candle lit dinner is the cliché, but where would Steven get that from? His father seduced Rose Quartz with music and dance, and he watched Lars and Sadie give in to their emotions after being stranded on an island for weeks. I'm just saying this is rather uncreative.

"But Steven-" He cut himself off as he sees the gems come in beautiful dresses, Garnet stoic as ever, Pearl smiling awkwardly, and Amethyst just scratching her head with a lazy smile.

"You all look perfect! Now we can start." Steven was dressed up like a little waiter and a drawn on mustache. He puts out a large pizza for them to share. "Bon appetite!"

Exactly what does Steven imagine that a triple date with all the gems will result in? Why isn't this just a date between Max and Alexandrite?

"T-thanks Steven." Max was nervous as hell as he carefully takes a slice.

Steven pretends to play the violin as he actually had a recording of romantic music playing from his phone.

Connie owns one. Has she really slipped so far out of this story that Steven couldn’t borrow it?

Amethyst happily starts eating without any table manners, Pearl doesn't eat, and Garnet seemed to stay quiet until looking at Max. "So Maxwell...what spurred these feelings?"

"Not beating around the bush huh? Look, I tried to explain this to Steven. I do think you three are beautiful and attractive-"

Image

"I'm flattered, but do you really think it's love?"

"I never said it was love I just-"

"Oh right, you don't believe in it, you think it's a lie."

"It's more complicated than that!"

Not from the way you were saying it. It's a simple logic equation. If love doesn't exist, then its false; a lie. Just like your likeability.

"Then what is it? Love is not something you play around with, it takes time and-"

"I FUCKING KNOW! JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME TALK!" Everyone stares at Max with wide eyes. His eyes were filled with tears as everything spilled out.

So this is why the author had the gems automatically agree to this farcical date. How else would Maxwell be justified in having a hair-trigger emotional outburst, if not for the three of them obnoxiously interrupting him constantly with, mind you, perfectly valid points against his nonsensical position on the subject. And now we're going to get a sob story about Max's terrible love life. Yay.

"I-I wanted to believe in love, I really did...but I was hurt...so many times…"

Everyone listened intently wanting to hear him out.

"I was 23 when I met my first girl. I was in college and trying to expand my knowledge, but then I met her.

And just like that, all blood flow was diverted to your other head. Anyway, you're telling me that after getting Obsidian stuck inside you, you then decide to go to college? I hope this at least leads into your theoretical physics bullshit.

She was beautiful, smart, kind, and I believed nothing could go wrong. We were together for two years, which may seem small to gems, but it felt like a life long journey for me. We were about to graduate in a few months, and I was going to propose to her...but then she came to me and said she wanted to break up. I asked why, and she fucking said it's because I was too slow. I wanted to take my time before asking if we can be…'intimate' but apparently she hated it.

You were dating this college chick for two years, and you never had sex or even broached the topic? What are you, a Catholic?! Who in their right mind would blame her for leaving you?

She said she found a man who took charge and made her feel like a woman. I was astonished and asked 'what about all those times you said you loved me?' And she just said 'honey, love doesn't exist.'"

That sounds rather contrived for her to say, given that she found someone else to love.

They were all in shock to hear about this. Garnet removed her visor and looked at him sadly. "Max, I'm sorry this happened to you, but you cannot let one horrible event stop you from-"

"It was far from just one bad experience. I've had my heart broken so many times."

Image

By all means, Max, carry on in your attempts at garnering my sympathy. I will relish withholding it as well as your misery.

"30 years old, still looked the same, yet I was mentally different. I was in a bad place. Sure I was making a lot of money with my job, but I had a bad drinking problem. Every day, trying different wine, swigging enough beer to kill an average man.

You have fucking superpowers, and you get a job and a drinking problem? What the hell happened to carving a name into history, to exploring land, sea and sky, to training your body and gem abilities with Obsidian cheering you on? Why is the author suddenly retconning your adventure years to be full of misery that was never a plot point until now?!

Eventually sweet girl found me. I tried hard to push her away, but she insisted on helping me. She helped me to her home and listened to my story. For 2 weeks she cared for me, listened to me, I thought everything would be wonderful. One morning though, I woke up strapped to a table, gagged and blinded. I tried screaming for help, but my blindfold was removed to show my captor was the girl who I thought loved me. She used a strange syringe on me, I was too weak to break free.

This is the same guy we were told broke doors by opening them too fast. How do you want us to take any of this seriously, author?!

I was her slave, helpless to do anything as she did...horrible things to me. She whipped me, raped me...just made her plaything.

One man's nightmare is another man's fantasy, Max. Kinks aside, are you sure you want Steven listening in on this conversation?

Eventually the serum wore off, and then I broke free in a terrible frenzy of rage, tapping into my abilities as a half gem. I'm not proud of killing her...but I don't regret it either."

I'd be shocked and abhorred, if I didn't already know you were an unrepentant murderer, Max.

They were horrified by his tales but he kept going.

"36 years old, I decided to give the dating scene a try, but this time it was a guy. I will admit, time made me a little bicurious, albeit the female form is still more appealing to me. It didn't matter to me at the time, he was nice, willing to give me the time of day.

Dude, you're being defensive about same-sex attraction in a Steven Universe story. No one cares.

But soon his father found out. Apparently his dad absolutely hated homosexuality.

Okay, so the identity-lacking strawman the author made cares. I stand corrected.

In order to avoid getting in trouble, he pinned the whole thing on me. He went so far as to call me…many awful names concerning homosexuality. His father bought it and used a gun on me, trying to kill me. It was that incident that helped me learn of my defensive powers, my obsidian hand blocking the bullets.

In lieu of praying the gay away, he turned to a more proactive alternative. Hold on, it took you 18 years to figure out the powers of your hand? What the hell have you been doing with your time?!

I retaliated and beat up his father, making sure to give that traitorous bastard the same treatment."

"Then so many more, a woman who was secretly a prostitute, made her pimp try to kill and rob me. Then a girl who only wanted my money….so many of them who hurt me. A minuscule part of me keeps begging me to try and find love, but every other part of me knows it's futile."

I'd be feeling sorry for you, Max, if it weren't for you being such a terrible judge of character. I'm sorry, but more than six disastrous attempts at love, and none of these sociopaths raised a red flag with you? Do you even try getting to know them before deciding they're the one?!

With his story over, he looks at the four. They had tears in their eyes, sobbing sadly before all hugging him close.

"I-I'm so sorry Max! I-I shouldn't have done this, I-I should have never set up this dinner date."

"N-no Steven, you were just trying to help, I appreciate it..but it's too late for me."

You're immortal, Max. It will never be too late. Get a grip. Speaking of grip, why aren't you dating your left hand, aka Obsidian? It's been ages since she had any kind of presence in this story.

"M-Maxwell, I-I was wrong to judge you, I had no idea."

"It's fine Garnet...don't blame yourself."

Garnet rarely didn't know what to do, her future vision was failing her, and Ruby and Sapphire were conflicted.

About fucking what; that love exists?! And how the hell is Max's failed relationships messing with basic causality?

She looks at Max and lightly puckers her lips, going closer to his. Max just smiled and put a finger to her lips.

"Thank you Garnet, but I do not want a kiss of pity. Just...lets hug for a bit more...it's nice."

It’s almost like this love thing does exist, huh?

Garnet just smiles and nods. Everyone agrees as they hold Max to comfort him.

After some time, Max lets them off. "I'm sorry for all this drama and stuff, I should just keep my mouth shut."

No, Max, you need to talk with a counsellor, and to get personality that doesn't attract villains at every opportunity.

"No Max, it was good that you told us. We think of you as a true friend, family too." Pearl smiles at him softly. "If you ever want to talk more about it, we're here for you."

"Y-yeah dude, we stick together," Amethyst gives a wide smile and thumbs up.

The guy literally confessed to murder just now! How are you all just fine with that?!

"...thank you all. This helps a lot, you don't know how much better I feel."

"Yeah….I'm just sorry I couldn't help you find some love."

"It's okay Steven. I don't need romance to be happy, just being with you all is more than enough."

Maybe because you've been looking for the wrong kind of love all along, Max. Actually, what kind of love were you looking for? In the first chapter, you narrated that you weren't looking for these kinds of bonds. What changed?

Soon everything is cleaned up and everyone heads to bed. Max lays down, thinking over what happened. He still had feelings for the gems, and they knew about it, but it would probably be better not to act on it. Maybe with time, things could get better for his heart.

That would require Max to be capable of character development that isn't retroactive.

Author's note: I'm really sorry if this was too intense. If it is too much for a T rating and should be M instead, feel free to say so.

We've had grizzly murder by immolation, psychotic rampages, and forcing lovers into a game of Russian roulette, but this is where you suggest increasing the rating? Mentions of rape and an absent swearing filter? Author, I'll give you props for acknowledging the severity of the topic, but Steven Universe handled abusive relationships and forced consent more maturely than you ever could.

If enough say the rating needs to change, I'll change it. I hope you all manage to continue to enjoy my bad story.

Low quality will appease those with low standards. Trust me, author, someone out there enjoys your story. Just don't take their admiration as something to be proud of.

------------------------

It’s really annoying when an author makes up a character’s background and motivations up as they go. I don’t usually rant in a chapter outro, but I’ve got to speak my mind about this fluid backstory crap. Mind you, having a time gap in a character’s past for important plot elements is not a bad thing. Heck, the gems themselves have five thousand years worth of it, and the show steadily reveals to us what happened during it. But unlike the gems, Max’s personality and actions are inconsistent with what we learn about his past. At the start of this story, Maxwell was just your typical archetype badass with something to prove. Then he suddenly had an abusive childhood. Then he was suddenly insane. Then his childhood was suddenly full of torture and murder. Now we learn his love life has been a cavalcade of breakups, rape, violence, and emotional abuse. And none of these things impacted his character until we were made aware of it.

Consider Amethyst for comparison. We learn long into the series, that she is a product of Homeworld’s colonization of Earth. Her entire existence is a result of the hostile occupation of the planet and the abuse of its resources, and she was made explicitly to perpetuate this cycle. Ever since she joined the Crystal Gems, she knew that what Homeworld did was wrong. She came to identify with it; viewing her existence as a mistake. And the result of this can be seen in her personality. She displays self-esteem issues, utilizing her shapeshifting powers to reinvent herself as anything but herself. Her issues with Pearl stemmed from Homeworld’s demonization, and thus Amethyst’s existence by extension. We see these symptoms long before we know the cause, but when we learn about this cause, we suddenly understand her character and recognize the symptoms to match her motivations. Maxwell on the other hand? With what we have learned thus far, he should have arrived to Beach City as a non-functional mess of PTSD and anti-social neuroses. Every badge of misery tagged onto Max’s past doesn’t help to make us understand his character, they make us wonder how it wasn’t affecting him before now. Any which way the author forces the plot of this story, he’ll wedge whatever cause of it somewhere into Max’s multiple-choice background story and call it a day – never considering if it matches up with what’s been established. Why would Max be motivated only by a dreary existence in the first chapter, when later we learn he murdered his family and burnt down his home town? Why, if his love life was so traumatic, would it not be one of the bullet points in his time travel plot fix? If he spent the last fifty years training to grow strong to “make the pain stop”, how the hell does he fit in college, jobs, drinking problems, and eighteen years of not knowing his hand can stop fucking bullets?!

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:59 pm

Are you ready for Maxwell to once more be the cause of everyone’s misfortune? Right, as if he ever stopped. There really couldn’t be a more apt description for this story. In this chapter, we have a reintroduction of a previous character due to the only popular demand that matters – the author’s. Enjoy.

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Chapter 22: Delirious

With time things became less awkward, everything seemed to be going back to the regular routine of training, hanging out, and missions of stopping corrupted gems.

No overarching threats, no looming conflicts, nothing of what the show featured so prominently. Author, ever since Peridot showed up, the main concern of everyone living in the temple has been Homeworld. Why are we ignoring it?

Max enjoyed his place with the Crystal Gems, he felt like a real part of the team, someone they can rely on… All it takes though, is one accident to possibly sever those ties.

Even if we weren't served this heavy-handed foreshadowing, I would still have to act surprised, since I expect nothing else from this story.

"Okay, now a little left, a little right, I said right, WATCH OUT!" Max yells for his life as Amethyst almost crashed the car into a tree.

"Amethyst, when you asked me to be your driving instructor, I didn't know you were gonna ignore me the entire time."

Driving instructors are actually trained for the job, Max. I'm sure Amethyst scrounged a license from one of her junk piles, but where did you get your certificate?

"I'm not ignoring you, I'm just filtering out the boring stuff."

"That sounds close enough to be ignoring me. You gotta focus when driving, if you're not careful you can easily end a life."

And steal your thunder, Max? I think not.

"Dude i'm like 5000 years old, I got this." She grins as she floors the gas pedal, making Max freak out.

"Gah! We're going too fast!"

"This is awesome!" Amethyst whoops and hollers as they drive on the wrong side of the road.

Sure sounds like a lot of reckless endangerment, even for Amethyst. I hope this is her revenge for the shotgun incident.

"Amethyst please just- LOOK OUT!" They were on a collision course with Buck, Jenny, and Sour Cream who happened to be driving as well.

"Wha? WHOA!" Amethyst swerves out of the way, but crashed instead into a brick wall.

Whoever left their brick wall in the middle of the road needs to be more responsible with their things.

"Phew, well this isn't so bad." She helps as the airbags deploy and hit her in the face. "Ow, you okay Max?"

"Um, no."

"What do you mean?" She moves the airbags out of the way and her eyes widen to see some of the wrecked car pierced through his chest, and he happens to be bleeding a lot.

"I've been impaled." He says in a state of shock.

Help me understand this, author. When crashing into a vertical surface, what exactly between the front bumper and the dashboard do you imagine will be shoved into the passenger seat for this to happen?

"Oh shit! M-max, y-you're gonna be okay, we can get help."

"N-no just, help get this out of my chest, I-I may pass out but I promise I will be-" he cuts himself off as he loses consciousness, his face pale from blood loss.

And he will be losing even more blood if the foreign object is removed from his body. So go ahead, kill him at his own request.

Amethyst gasps before getting him out of the wreckage. She hurried to the temple, tears in her eyes as she tries to think of how to explain that she just killed a good friend.

Tell them he fell in love with the car and it betrayed him; they'll buy it. Wait, whose car was it? And why did the cool kids just drive away from an accident?

Yet before she can knock on the door to the temple, Max starts to stir.

"Max! I-I knew you'd be okay." She lays him down, looking to see his wound seems to have closed, yet he was still a sickly skin tone.

Which is so much different from the normal never-fucking-mentioned color of his skin.

"...Max?" She asked cautiously before Max's eyes shoot open. He smiles wide and his eye color seemed to have gone from his average black to a dark shade of purple.

Clearly he knocked out his contacts during the crash. Or they where knocked in. Either option is a better explanation than what is obviously coming next.

"HELLOOOOOOOOO BEACH CITY!" He yells at the top of his lungs as he gets up with a spring in his step.

"Um...Max, did you hit your head in the crash?"

Replace 'crash' with 'infancy'.

"Hmm? Who's Max? Oh right, his new name. I keep forgetting that. And it's a pleasure to see you again Amethyst. Oh wait, we never met in this timeline, allow me to introduce myself, I'm Zero!"

Goddammit, author, why do you do this? Who was clamoring for you to bring back Psycho Max?! And yes, I’m not going to call him Zero, he’s Psycho Max, because it’s really just Maxwell with an insanity-excuse mask on. Why even give him that name? Even alternate universe Maxwell wasn’t called that, and when they mentioned the name ‘Zero’, it wasn’t acknowledged as their name, but what their family had called them. But never mind that, how about the fucking bullshit of Psycho Max remembering what happened prior to the time travel reset?!

I can’t say there is a “correct” kind of time travel ruleset, but no matter how you look at this, Psycho Max knowing what he does makes no sense. He went back in time and then destroyed the hourglass he was using, this resulting in him, word for word, “disappearing from existence”. He was gone. The events he altered made it so Psycho Max never got loose. Maxwell has not expressed any knowledge of those events, so why the hell would Psycho Max alone know? And you know what, I’m not done yet. We are told that Psycho Max is an entity that has existed since Maxwell’s childhood. That is prior to him bonding with Obsidian. Whatever these bullshit meta-knowledge insanity abilities are, they are not gem powers – so what the hell are they?!

Amethyst looked at him, for some reason feeling very cautious of this "Zero" and his strange attitude. Soon the ruckus had attracted the others as they look at him in bewilderment.

"Amethyst what's going on?" Pearl asked concerned.

"I-I don't know, we were driving, we crashed, Max was injured and I was bringing him here, and now he's acting weird."

"I'm not weird, I'm fabulous~" Zero said while posing dramatically. "But allow me to explain. This happens all the time. Whenever a gem is fatally injured, they return to their gem, but Max doesn't have this luxury. Instead his body is out in the open as it tries to heal whatever damage has happened. Unfortunately this takes a lot of energy so he can't protect himself or even speak. But that's where I come in, I'm the part of him where all of his despair and insanity accumulate. I take over whenever he is fatally wounded or is so mentally/emotionally traumatized that he cannot function properly. You can call me Zero, it was Max's original name before he left his awful family and legally changed it to forget his past, got a document and everything!"

Max isn't a gem. He's a human. Humans just fall unconscious from heavy injury – they don’t have suppressed split personalities that take the metaphorical wheel for them. Having Max’s alternate persona take over makes no sense, since the cause of its existence predates his super powers. How can Psycho Max even do anything, if he is reliant on the same heavily injured body that Maxwell is using?! Why isn’t he just setting himself on fire to heal, like we know he can do?! The author simply wants a cooky villain that can cause needless conflict, while still elevating his protagonist.

Author, if you want to do this, here's my suggestion. Forget Psycho Max, have it be Obsidian instead. Let me paint you a picture. Young, lost, traumatized boy wants superpowers. Young edgelord swallows corrupted gem creature and bonds with it, and it gives him gem powers. He then has what he always wanted. Here's the catch; ingesting a magical, unstable, sentient alien rock is a really bad idea. It would fight for control of his body, adversely affect his mental health, and worse yet, it might just be loyal to Homeworld and want humanity gone. There's your conflict. There's your unreliable insanity excuse villain. There's your Marty Stu's fucking reason for angst and emotional despair. It might not make the story better, but at least it would make sense!

With his explanation over, he smiled and pushed the confused family to the side as he walked inside.

"Don't worry about me slaughtering you all or something, Max the lovesick puppy won't allow me."

I guess Max wanted everyone dead the last time Psycho Max took over.

"W-wait, Max is still there?" Steven asked hopefully.

"Sorta, he remains in the body with the biggest influence, so I kinda have to not break his morals or whatever. If I do then he'll disconnect me from any control and risk letting the body die. He obviously cares more about all of your well being than his own life."

Which is exactly why Maxwell "Danger Magnet" Ignitus refuses to get help or take steps to prevent himself from causing needless drama.

"He...cares that much?"

"Oh yeah, poor guy sees Steven as like the best little brother ever. As for you three, his heart is always beating faster, he's completely love struck and even trusts you all."

But guess who's not going to trust him after this.

Some blushes can be seen from that fact being revealed until it is replaced with fear as they see Zero juggling knives nonchalantly.

"What are you doing? Shouldn't you rest?" Pearl asked while shielding Steven from any possible interaction with the sharp cutlery.

How whacky and random, I totally see the point of this character's existence now.

"Probably, but I haven't been in control for so long that I want to have some fun. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to burn anyone alive, so I'll settle with entertaining myself like this." He then engulfs the knives with fire while laughing wildly as he continued juggling.

If that's all needed to entertain him, why not just light some keys on fire and jiggle them in front of his face?

"Gems, as much as I would prefer not to harm Maxwell, Zero is a threat and he needs to be contained."

"Maybe we can talk to him?" Steven asked, always hoping for a more diplomatic solution.

"That's a nice thought Steven, but he seems…" Pearl searches for the right word.

"Crazy? Insane? Cuckoo?" Amethyst suggests.

"I was going for more, unstable."

The word you're looking for is cliché. I'm surprised his hair hasn't turned green yet.

As they discussed their plan of action, Zero gets nosy and pops his head into the huddle.

"What are we talking about? Favorite movies? I was always a fan of the Saw movies, but that Deadpool movie really speaks to me, I don't know why." The gems jump back in surprise.

Image

This is what you’re going for, author? Uncle Grandpa but with pyromania and worse jokes? Really?

"I'm sorry Zero, but in order to keep Max's body safe, we will have to detain you." Garnet said as she and the others summoned their weapons.

"Well isn't that cute, you all care about him. Or is it pity because of his little sob stories? I swear he is so overdramatic about them. Personally I hate the idea of romance." He continued to talk as if he were on a morning stroll while dodging any attacks from the gems effortlessly.

Insanity is the best superpower, kids! Kill your family today!

"I mean, you gotta use all of your money to get some chick some presents and fancy dinners so she'll like you." Ducks as Garnet tires to grab him, and rolls between her legs. "Then you gotta do all this mushy talking and promises to stay together forever." Parries Pearl's spear with one of the knives he used for juggling before disarming her. "Then once you do this ridiculous marriage thing, you have some fun in the bedroom, forget to use protection, and get stuck with ungrateful brats who bleed you of money, and the girl would easily choose to let you die if she had to choose between you or the children." Amethysts whips take away his knife before the three finally jump in him and pin him down. "Personally I don't see the appeal."

I could talk at length of how dumb this cynical view of relationships is, but I think Garnet put it best.

Image

They put a bubble around him, making him pout like a child. "Let me out of here, I wanna speak with my lawyer."

"Sorry Max, I mean Zero, but everyone says you're too dangerous, and I kinda agree."

"Plus, you're acting like a cartoon character. Who does that?!"

"You too Steven? Well I guess that's to be expected. Considering I almost killed everyone you love."

"W-what are you talking about?"

"Well, no one remembers but me. In fact, I'm surprised I remember.

That just makes it an even bigger plothole, you dunce!

What happened is that you accidentally released me from Max when you went into the dream world. Being without chains, I had some fun by killing everyone in Beach City, even forced little Ruby and Sapphire to aim a gun at each other. But then you tricked me, licking your fist so your punch would heal me. So using an hourglass I stole from that flooded chamber, I basically changed time so I was never freed and you all kept being friendly with Maxwell.

Here's my problem with that. Zero, Psycho Max, fucktard extraordinaire, is Max’s alternate personality. A mental manifestation, a bundle of malignant memories and an even worse character. If he remembers that Steven healed him, why isn't he still healed?!

I thought it would be too much of a dick move to leave him to clean up my mess. But when changing time, all memories should have been replaced, but it still left a seed of doubt. That fear when you look into my eyes, knowing that in one timeline I almost won."

Its not that memories should have been replaced, they just never existed in the first place. What bogus time travel rules are you working with, author?

They all looked in fear, their care for Max transforming into fear of Zero.

"It's okay to hate me, I'm used to it."

"...but you shouldn't." Steven said with a kind smile.

"What?"

I concur. That response doesn't fit the grammar of the previous sentence. He shouldn't what?

"You're only like this because you're so used to pain, but that can change. Max has been happier here, making friends and having fun. We can do that for you too, so you don't have to be hated, but have love instead." Steven and the gems all smiled, no longer in fear of him.

I know Steven is a good motivational speaker, but the gems are a bit more complex than emotional flip-floppers. Write them like actual characters!

"...hehehe, ridiculous. You're a good kid, I see why Max is happy...but it won't be as simple as that."

He stared into space before sighing.

"Who knows, maybe with time I can be a hero… until then, I'll leave the spotlight to Max."

It has never left him. Not for a single nanosecond. EVERYTHING in this story is about HIM!

He grins before his skin returns to a natural color and his eyes close. A few seconds pass before he opens his eyes and looks around.

"Um...why am I in a bubble? Did Zero act up?"

Did you never think to tell the gems what to do if he did?!

"Max!" The four smile wide seeing him back to normal and undo the bubble before all hugging him.

"We missed you!"

"Um, t-thanks, I'm sorry for not letting you all know about my recovery system."

Recovery system? What? Were you ever actually human, Max?

"It's okay, we're all here for you."

Max just smiles as he stays in the group hug.

Author's Note: well I haven't seen any death threats or pitchforks yet, so I guess I'll continue with the new romantic subplot for my story.

You mean the one that was entirely absent from this chapter, or was I right about the car?

I will give a heads up, if I get even more in love with the idea of giving the characters happy love lives, I may start writing nsfw sections of the story. I'm currently planning on putting any nsfw stuff in a separate story so I don't have to change my rating or put up warnings, but if enough followers say they want the smut here, I'll do it.

Author, I'd bet you that the people most vocal about you putting smut in your fanfic aren’t old enough to fit the rating.

Until then, I'll continue brainstorming ideas for the story in the safety of my negativity proof pillow fort with watermelon Stevens guarding the front. Feel free to send suggestions and ideas. *puts on helmet* Let's hope I don't have to suffer much of a shitstorm.

I suppose my mocking could be interpreted as such, but I'm not angry with you, author. You writing this fanfic shows your appreciation of the show and your love for the characters. I'm disappointed and annoyed at your lack of talent and entirely selfish characterization of your protagonist. Max doesn't offend me because he's been injected into Steven Universe, his mere existence is enough to warrant that.

------------------------

And like that, the genie goes back in the bottle, until the author decides to wish for more edge and fourth wall breaks. What was this chapter, really? A lesson about driving without a license? A justification for Psycho Max’s continued existence? Another super power handed to Maxwell?! All of the fucking above. Max was there, Max caused a scene, and Max escaped all blame for it. Max, Max, Max-Max-Max. Max. Fuck Max.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:10 pm

It’s been a while since this story had a villain. Aside from the one prancing around pretending to be the protagonist, I mean. Last chapter’s focus on “personal problem" could be seen as a conflict, but it wasn’t something that Maxwell could punch. And we know how he gets, if he doesn’t get his violence fix. Fortunately, this chapter takes care of that – hilariously so. Enjoy.

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Chapter 23: Level Up

Warp

Max and Steven step off the warp pad as they look around a familiar field of strawberries.

Did Max come here to swallow yet another corrupted gem?

"So Garnet said this would be an easy mission, just gotta deal with some small corrupted gem minions. She said that she couldn't see the true corrupted gem in her future vision, so this won't be really life threatening, but always stay on guard."

After all, you're here, Max. Steven has every reason to be worried.

"Right!" He takes out his ukulele to give some nice music as they traverse, Max helping to keep any butterflies off him.

"Hehehe, walking around, looking for monsters, it kinda reminds me of my old training style."

I think you're confusing it with your dating style.

"Old training?"

"Well yeah, when I got better control over my abilities, I couldn't help but feel as if I was part of an rpg."

You treated your life like a game? As if you were the protagonist of a story revolving solely around yourself? As if everyone around you were NPCs for you to exploit? As if the only means of progression was to grow stronger through repeated combat? It's not your old training style, Max – its old news.

"Oh! Like a role playing game?"

"Exactly, it's kinda why I have names for my attacks, victory poses, and cool quotes like 'Prepare for Maximum carnage.' and stuff like that."

“I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of gum.” – Duke Nukem

“Hahahaha, X-men, welcome to die!” - Magneto

“Ow! My spleen!” – Maxwell Ignitus

When the hell did you ever say anything cool, Max? Fucking when?!

"Cool! Maybe we can do that here, there are some monsters, we're on a quest, a perfect scenario!"

"You think so?...Yeah, why not. Two buds voyaging on the sea of adventure!"

More like taking a leisurely stroll across a barely detailed landscape. We’ll be lucky if we’re even told the time of day or the color of the ground.

"Yeah!" He strums his ukulele happily until they heard a small growl.

"Hmm...what was that?" Max sneaked quietly as he saw a bush tremble. With a look of determination, he jumps into the shrub...and runs out screaming as ugly moth like creatures with oozing mouths bite and pinch him. "Too much adventure!"

Here comes a thought, maybe if you didn't jump into bushes like you jump into relationships, this wouldn't happen.

"I can help!" Steven runs too Max and summons his bubble, pushing the moths back and freeing Max.

"Thanks, didn't expect so many."

"No problem. You think those were from the corrupted gem?"

Nah, those were just wild animals native to the area, truly majestic creatures that you would find in any decent zoo. What do you think?!

"No doubt about it. But you know something common in rpgs? Bugs are weak to fire." Max smirks as he gets in a battle stance as the swarm of moths come flying back.

They aren't bugs, though. They are gem creatures. They could have looked like gasoline canisters and oily rags, yet that wouldn't imply the elemental weaknesses of sentient hardlight constructs.

"We got this Max!" Steven stands beside him, ready for action.

As one moth flew ahead of the others for a divebomb, Max focused on his obsidian hand and summoned a small lava rock before chucking it directly at the monster, making it poof from contact.

Fantastical rock throwing powers; what will he think of next?

"My turn!" Steven summoned his shield and threw it at the swarm, making it ricochet off a few and effectively take out a total of four, yet the rest were still closing in.

"I think it's time we try a special team attack!"

"Special team attack!? What should we do?"

Maybe practice them beforehand?

"Hurry and summon your bubble." Steven nods as he forms his bubble around himself. "Okay, now when I say so, I want you to focus on trying to make your bubble explode."

Sure, okay, lets just assume Steven can do that. Why don't you try to block bullets with your fire, Max? I'll get the shotgun.

"Got it!" Steven braces his body as Max grabs a baseball bat out of his cloak and swings with all of his might, launching Steven into the swarm.

"NOW!" Max yelled at the top of his lungs. Steven grunts as he focused on his bubble, spikes forming onto it before it finally pops and sends multitudes of pink thorns out in every direction and taking out every last moth.

Apparently they were weak to impalement. Personal experience should have told you as much, Max.

Max pumps his fist into the air in victory as Steven laughs happily and floats down slowly.

"Amazing job Steven, that's a lot of EXP for us."

"Hehehe, who knows, maybe we grew stronger and learned new moves."

I like RPGs as much as the next guy, but could the DM at least not play his own over-leveled character in the adventure he's written to fit only his backstory?

The two laugh and enjoy their small victory until a loud shriek was heard.

"...what was that?" Steven asked nervously.

Something Max will make into a problem, no doubt.

"...an upcoming boss battle." Max smirks as he starts walking to where the noise came from.

"Wait, shouldn't we get the gems, I mean, maybe you can beat it on your own and show off to them, or in case it's too strong, they can help."

"...Steven...I don't want to show off to the gems."

Hence the second thing Steven mentioned. Last time you didn't have backup, you fell into a different dimension. Learn your lessons!

"Why not? Don't you want them to think you're cool and stuff?"

"I mean, a part of me does...but it wouldn't be right."

"What do you mean?"

As always, clever for you is nonsense to everyone else, Max.

"...I have feelings for the gems, I can't deny that, but what I don't know is what these feelings are. Those three are absolutely wonderful, but I don't need future vision to know it won't work in the end. For one, Garnet is already a relationship, and I don't want to risk ruining any of it, plus she seems more like she pities me, and a relationship shouldn't be built on feeling sorry for someone. Amethyst is fun and all, but I can tell she has some issues that need to be worked out, and needs friendship more than a silly romance with a human. As for Pearl, I don't think she really wants anything to do with a human, also I feel she thinks I'm just an inexperienced self proclaimed gem, I don't think it will be easy to prove to her that I'm not just a human who got lucky and is now a host for a corrupted gem. Hell, I doubt I have anything in common with them besides wanting to protect you with my life. Any feelings I have, are better off sitting in the bottom of a tar pit."

While you are absolutely correct, Max, I must point out a simple flaw in your whole exposition of self-pity. Steven suggested that you show off, not that you put on a mating display. There's a difference between impressing to gain recognition of your abilities and attempting seduction.

Steven looks at Max sadly, wanting to help him have a happy ending with love, but knowing what he said is true. What he didn't expect though, was for Max to look at him with a smile.

"I'm okay with that though, I don't want to do anything with romance, not at least until I'm 100. Who knows, maybe with time we can make a relationship grow.

Who knows, maybe you will have become a mature adult by then.

All it takes is just some bonding together as allies. For now though, I'm more concerned about being good friends with the gems, and being an awesome big brother. And after what I've seen so far, I'm more than sure the two of us can deal with what's ahead."

What have you seen, Max? Because all I've seen is a vainglorious fool, who causes chaos wherever he goes. Everything you have been involved in has ended in nothing but a mess!

"...yeah, you're right Max, we can do this." With a quick hug, the two run off to investigate.

Max and Steven sneak as they hear the shrieking getting louder as they move closer. They look to see a strange being wearing a dark red hoodie with an image of three white claw marks emblazoned on the back. The being was armed with a crowbar and a submachine gun.

Someone else than Max wielding a gun and wearing head covering clothes? This must be our new villain.

It was fighting the true corrupted gem, a massive moth with violet eyes, sickly green body and gem on its forehead, orange wings, and black carapace. The monster shrieked as it was riddled with bullets, spitting a silky black substance onto its attacker, yet the figure broke through with ease and brutally bashed the beast with its crowbar. Once the moth was down, it cried out in agony as the hooded figure used its crowbar to try and pry the gem off its forehead.

For fuck's sake, its obviously a person, so just describe them as such. Hoodies and human-made weapons aren't indicative of unknown creatures.

"HEY! Leave them alone!" Steven runs out angrily, pushing the hooded figure aside with his arms out protecting the corrupted gem. "I won't let you hurt them."

Sure it's a cruel method of poofing it, but that's no reason to try and kill-steal, Steven.

The hooded figure only stays silent before raising his crowbar, about to strike Steven. But it stopped halfway as Max put a hand on its shoulder. "Attacking a child? That's bad. Attacking my brother? That's even worse."

Lacking any identity when up close despite wearing casual clothes, now that's the worst.

Max's grip tightens as he tosses the hooded figure away and blasts waves of fire at the enemy. The hoodie itself was burned, revealing a middle aged man with a stubbly beard, eyepatch, black crew cut, and wearing just a tank top and blue pants.

Image

You're killing me here, author. What 90's comic book or cartoon did you dig up this guy from? He hasn't said a word yet, and already I know he's going to be an unironic parody of a bad guy stereotype. Wait, wait, let me guess his name. It's got to be something cliché and generically macho. Killmeister? Striker with a 'y'? Maybe he's got an alliterative military rank too; Sergeant Slaughter or Major Mayhem perhaps? Oh, wait, I bet 'blood' is part of his name, isn't it? The 90's absolutely loved to use that word. Bloodstrike, Bloodwulf, Bloodhawk, the list goes on. Whoever this character is, he's going to be amazing for all the wrong reasons.

"Ugh, this wasn't in the job description. I better get more money for this." The mystery man takes aim and fires rapidly, only for Steven to summon a bubble shield around Max.

Even the first words out of his mouth are cliché. The only thing this guy needs is a facial scar, and he'd be a trope personified.

"Thanks!" Max chuckles as he runs in the mobile bubble, using it to tackle the mystery man.

"Stupid kid, now I gotta hurt you." The man tosses aside his gun and holds the crowbar with one hand.

How was he holding it before if not with one hand?

"Oh please, your little tool isn't gonna break a magic bubble." Max was proven wrong immediately as the man swings and smashes the bubble, his crowbar glowing eerily.

Magical crowbar? Unless he plans to burglarize the sorcerer supreme, why not just use magic bullets?

"...okay, this has gotten more interesting." Max dodges each swing of the crowbar, but this man seemed proficient in fighting as he managed to get some powerful kicks and punches past Max's defenses and deal considerable damage.

And Steven just stood on the sideline twiddling his thumbs, I assume. Why is this suddenly Max's fight?

"You're out of your league kid, leave now before I have to kill you."

Max just growls angrily as his obsidian hand shines. "I'm gonna hurt you."

You know, Max, maybe you shouldn't be too hasty. I mean, he was basically doing what you guys came here to do. Sure, his method was rough and he seemed uncaring of people getting in his way – oh wait, five-o'clock shadow and an eyepatch. EVIL!

"Wait, a gem?" The man is cut off from thinking as Max retaliates with a flurry of punches, then doing a somersault kick and launching the man into the air.

"Time to end this." Max grabs his bat before jumping into the air. "ROCKIN SMASH!" With his subtlety game referenced attack named, he swings and blasts the man into the ground, possibly breaking several of his bones.

Here's my subtly conveyed criticism of your writing ability, author. Fuck you.

His crowbar glows brightly before vanishing completely.

Was it actually a health bar?

"Next time, stay out of gem business." Max leaves the unconscious man as he goes to check on Steven and the corrupted gem. "Is everything okay here?"

"Yeah, we're alright." Steven smiles as the corrupted gem nuzzles Steven thankfully for protecting them before glowing and poofing into it's gem. Steven bubbles the gem before sending it off.

Corrupted gems act like wild animals, author. In a stress situation, they would sooner chew Steven's face off than self-poof, no matter how much kindness he's showing.

"Well, now that is dealt with, time we see who our little friend is." Max glares at the mysterious man as he struggles to get up.

"Y-you kids aren't human."

"Close, we're half and half."

You're still not half anything, Max. Obsidian is still a full gem inside you, unless her absence is due to you assimilating her.

The man only glares at him before reaching for something in his pocket, then puts it in his mouth. "Heed my warning! You have made an enemy of the White Claws! The Crystal Gems will die, and you two along with them!"

Oh, great, he's a member of a shadowy cabal with a nonsensical name too. Why the hell is he proclaiming these things, when neither the Crystal Gems nor Max and Steven's connection to them has been mentioned?

The man began to convulse violently, foam coming out of his mouth.

"What the, crazy bastard took a suicide tablet!" Max was about to run and help, but then the man's body began dissolving, his entire body and clothing seemingly gone from existence, no trace left.

Author, as ominous as you want this to be, this is utterly hilarious. Suicide pills are usually meant to prevent vital information from being extracted from captured agents through torture. The guy wasn't a prisoner, nor did Max or Steven even suspect that he had any affiliates. The guy in fact revealed more about his associates and their intentions by throwing a speech and killing himself, than had he simply shut up and waited for an opportunity to escape.

"W-why would he do that?"

"It's a last resort move used by soldiers and assassins, killing themselves so they can't be interrogated or tortured for information. They would rather die with honor, than live in shame."

You think Eyepatch "I-better-get-more-money-for-this" McGee had an honor code? Really?!

"...What do we do now?"

"We have to report this to the gems. That guy said he was part of some group...the White Claws. Whether they are enemies of the gems for centuries or are relatively new, they may be a threat."

Max and Steven walk back to the warp pad and temple, ready to give the news to the gems.

"...Sir! We have lost all trace of agent Blood.

Image

His name was Blood! Agent BLOOD! My fucking sides! Oh, sweet prince, you were taken from us too soon and yet decades too late.

We can confirm he kept his promise to the oath and didn't reveal any valuable information, only a warning." The small soldier says while still saluting to the tall, powerful, and wise human leader.

What are you talking about? He revealed your existence and that you wanted the Crystal Gems dead. They'll see you coming now. He fucked up royally!

"Good soldier...prepare the Delta Squad. It is time we eradicate this nuisance." He chuckles as he holds onto a familiar crowbar.

The most powerful of clandestine artifacts. The wise human leader discovered its secret power by holding aloft the magic lever tool and saying, "By the power of larceny! I have a criminal recooooooord!"

Author's note: well look at that, a new threat to the team. So many questions, who are the White Claws? Are the gems safe? Will Max conquer his past and move forward to find love? Will Cookie Cat reunite with his family!?...I don't know about the last one, but answers may be revealed next chapter.

Author, unless you decide to actually play with these tired tropes you've dug out of your parents' VHS collection, then myself and everybody reading this already know the answers. The White Claws are villain stereotypes with no sensible motivation. The gems are safe, since you’ve already showed your lack of balls by doing a time reset the moment you upset status quo. And no one fucking cares about Max's love life because romance B-plots suck.

Hope you all enjoy...and let's hope America's future president doesn't ruin everything.

If one madman elected to office could ruin a nation, it would have happened long ago. Unfortunately, it only takes one madman to ruin a story, and it never stops.

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Given how shadow organization mooks are a dime a dozen, I’m expecting more stubbly bearded jerks to be arriving soon. Here’s hoping they’ll be just as entertaining as Agent Blood was. But seriously though, a magic crowbar?! I’m all for diversifying weapon options, but it’s just a bent piece of metal. It couldn’t have been any less inelegant or crude, than had it been a piece of enchanted two-by-four.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:15 am

A new threat has reared its eye patched head, subsequently committed suicide while revealing the existence of further threats, and now we’ll see what comes of that. Enjoy.

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Chapter 24: Hunted

"...The White Claws?"

Ridiculous name, I know!

"That's what he said. Do you know anything about them." Max and Steven just reported of their mission, successfully bubbling the corrupted gem, and fighting the strange man. Currently he was talking more so to Pearl since she was around longer than the others, but was willing to get as much information as possible from the others.

Exactly why do you assume relevant information about them has to lie five thousand years into the past?

"Well, it seems impossible that they would still be trying to fight."

"So you do know them?"

"No, but if they kill themselves when losing a fight and decide to go on solo missions to boot, then that problem should have fixed itself long ago."

"It's not that simple. They were a clan of humans back in what you called the Middle Ages. They held this belief that gems were demons in disguise."

Magical shapeshifting rock-people capable of summoning weapons and transform into sixty-foot, multi-limbed monstrosities? Where is the disguise part?

"Well, humans were pretty religious heavy at the time. Go on."

"Rose would try to settle things diplomatically, never wanting to hurt a human, or any life on Earth. While she was able to convince few of them to not fight...they were immediately killed by their clan members, calling them traitors. They called themselves holy warriors of Earth, but they seemed more like egotistical savages."

"...I don't think I have ever heard a term more defining of human nature than "egotistical savages", I gotta write that down. Sorry, please continue."

Here's another word for you to write down, Mr. Human with a Gem – irony.

"Well after seeing that, Rose made a decision to fight the clan leader. If she won, they were to disband and leave the gems alone. But if they won, she said she would give them her gem."

"Whoa, sounds like a risky gambit. But after seeing her in action, I'm guessing she won with ease."

Her hand dismembering skills were top notch, after all.

"Not exactly, while she may have had the advantage as a warrior, she couldn't bring herself to kill him, not wanting to break her oath to protect all life on Earth.

Why should she need to kill him to win? At eight feet tall, Rose could have just lifted the guy off the ground by the collar until he said uncle.

The leader took advantage of her mercy and struck her gem. While it thankfully didn't crack, an attack on any gems'... gem, is extremely painful. We thought for sure that Rose was in trouble and almost stepped in to fight, but she stopped us before we could. She dropped her sword and raised her shield. With concentration I haven't seen since the war, she deflected every blow of the leader's sword before disarming him completely.

Not to belittle my own species, but from everything the series has shown, humans are woefully inferior when compared to Gems. Where are these super powered humans coming from? And yes, that includes Max, because Obsidian may as well be an afterthought by now.

The leader was astonished, then went rambling on about how he felt like a disgrace for losing. He said that the only way to preserve his honor and dignity was through death. Rose would not grant him his wish though, so he took his own life by cutting out his own heart.

Unless he had a split personality to take over once he made the initial cut, I don't think it was a very successful attempt.

Rose went to try and heal him, but the clan members refused to let her help. They carried off his dead body, and we never saw the White Claws ever again."

So, despite being a crazy cult who are honor bound to commit suicide on defeat, the thing they didn't honor was the promise to disband when Rose won? Okay.

"Until today… but why now...after so much time."

It’s almost like the author made them up just a chapter ago in order to create conflict.

Max ponders what the White Claws were planning while Steven lets the story sink in.

"...I don't understand, why would they think you are all evil?"

"Steven…a lot of humans in that time hated anything they didn't understand. They were unintellectual, savage, and blindly thought that whatever they believe, is fact. Sometimes I see that in humans today.

Gee, why does that sound so familiar? On a totally unrelated note, how's that whole 'dealing with your inner demons on your own' thing going, Max?

There is sin evident in all hearts of mankind, but it's up to people like us to help stop that evil and bring hope to those who need it." Max smiled and pet Steven's curly hair, making him smile and nod.

Image

Do you ever not put your foot in your mouth when trying to be profound, Max. You just told Steven that humans are inherently evil, thereby insulting his family and everyone he knows in Beach City and beyond. Steven shouldn't be okay with this, he should be disgusted with you for demonizing humanity.

"Yeah...but what do we do now?"

"We wait." Garnet said while leaning against a wall. "They seem to be after gems, they will come after us. And we will be ready."

"Haha! Yeah! We can take those claw guys no problem." Amethyst said excitedly.

I don't need future vision to see an obvious setup for dramatic timing. They're already outside, aren't they?

The team seemed prepared for whatever came their way….except for a small object to break through the window and start beeping rapidly.

"GET DOWN!" Everyone dives for cover as the object explodes, shrapnel tearing the room apart. Two heavily armed soldiers wearing all black including the masks on their faces, and three white claw marks on their backs.

They're somewhere, doing something, I think the author is trying to imply.

"This is Delta member 5A, no sight of the targets." One said as they looked around. Pearl was under a couch, holding Steven close while trying not to let dust bunnies get near her. Amethyst shape shifted into a lamp, Garnet was on the roof, and Max was behind the kitchen counter.

I don’t think you know the difference between a 'roof' and a 'ceiling', author.

He looks to Amethyst and Garnet, signaling them to take out the soldiers on the count of three. One...two...three!

Amethyst changes into a bear and swipes at a soldier, making him smash into a wall. Garnet drops on the other on and punches him square in the face.

Now you can just wait for them to take their suicide pills and call it a day.

"Nice, but there may be more outside. Pearl, please watch over Steven and find Lion if you can. Garnet, Amethyst and I will take out the rest of the soldiers."

He says without knowing if there's two or twenty of them outside. Why not just go on the warp pad and regroup with Peridot and Lapis at the barn for backup?

He looks to see Steven's concerned eyes. "Don't worry, we'll be safe, and we'll be sure to take them out non lethally. Speaking of which, if you get the chance Pearl, take away any suicide tablets the soldiers have.

But not any of the weapons that they could potentially harm themselves or others with.

Alright, let's move!"

It was strange seeing Max act like a leader, but this was human territory, his expertise.

Because even when one of your team members can see the future, everyone of course follows the advice of the oh so wise and competent Marty Stu. These are war veterans he’s commanding; human territory isn’t a goddamn excuse!

The trio look carefully to see three more soldiers out on the beach.

"Okay, stay on guard, they may be human, but the mystery guy I met had a crowbar that broke Steven's bubble easily, they could have similar weapons.

If I see a magical tire iron next, I will lose it.

"Got it." Amethyst summons her whips before using them to grab the soldiers' rifles and bringing them back for Garnet to smash.

Two whips, three rifles. How's your math, author?

"This is Delta member C9, we have confirmation of the targets, engaging now." The three on three battle began. Even without their rifles, they were definitely well trained. Max and one soldier were stuck striking and deflecting each other blow for blow. Amethyst's whips couldn't touch the soldier she was fighting, yet the soldier couldn't land a punch either. Garnet had a bit of trouble too, the soldier surprisingly strong as he stood his ground against Garnet as their hands were interlocked in a power struggle.

How dramatically convenient. Well, they’re obviously not human if they display this kind of strength, so what are they?

"Max! They aren't human!" Max looks to see Steven holding the mask up as Pearl shows the soldier was some disfigured mix of a human and gem. He would possibly pass for human if it wasn't for the gem shards that were fused into his skin, with glowing veins and cracks all over his body.

Image

Honestly, I’m pleasantly surprised by this. The author has managed to craft a credible threat to the gems and their superior-to-humans power. My problem is that it’s all a little sudden. Agent Blood didn’t have any gem shards in him, yet he was doing fine against the corrupted gem. This means the White Claws somehow had a task force specially outfitted for the sole purpose of being equals to the Crystal Gems, despite not having clashed with them since medieval times, which stood ready to attack the temple within fucking minutes of Agent Blood being killed; as if that was the necessary catalyst for the attack. Also, the location of the temple was somehow known to them, but not the existence of Max and Steven since Agent Blood didn’t recognize them – as if they haven’t bothered to update their intel in twenty years. I like where this is going, but I can spot a last minute hack job when I see it.

"What the fu-" He's cut off as the soldier finally kicks Max in the gut and launches him into the temple.

"Maxwell, I believe it is time we stop holding back." Garnet summons her large fists as she uppercuts the soldier, making him flash and poof into a naked man and several gem shards.

Wait, what? That can’t be how this works. Can it?

Amethyst wraps her whips around her soldier and squeezes until he poofs as well, naked human and shards.

"Alrighty then." Max goes on fire as he rushes the soldier he was fighting and dashes through him with one punch. A few seconds pass before the soldier falls onto his knees, poofs, and falls onto the ground, naked and with gem shards.

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Are you serious, author? Humans with force-fused gem shards on their skin go poof and separate when injured, but Maxwell “Psychopath Recovery System” Ignitus doesn’t?! You literally have antagonists here that are just as much gems as Max is, except their gems are shards. What are the fucking rules, you absolute numbskull?!

"I just don't get it. What are they?" Max inspects the human and shards before he hears a faint beeping. "GET AWAY FROM THE HUMANS!" Max yells out as the human bodies glow brightly and violently explode.

Beeping and lights again? Can we just for once have a bomb go off, without it necessarily having to give itself away through everything that a regular bomb wouldn’t fucking have?

He looks up, his vision hazy and ears ringing. He sees Steven come to him and gently kiss his forehead, healing him from the blast.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah thanks, what about you?"

"Don't worry, everyone is okay...except for those soldiers."

"No need to feel sad Steven, I don't think they were human."

But, I don’t, we just – they were separated from the gem shards. They were human! We were told they were human! WHAT?!

"Huh? What do you mean?" They all look to Max questioningly as he looks over the debri of where the bodies exploded. He looks through the ash and sand and finds some pieces of metal and synthetic fiber. "They seem to have been androids...but why mixed with gem shards?" He looks over the shards carefully, looking to see that the shards dulled and look lifeless. "Oh thank goodness, they're not real gems. These are natural gems on Earth, not like you four. If I had to guess, I'd say this was an experiment."

Image

Androids?! Not real gems?! What the hell is going on?! It feels like the author can’t decide whether he wants the plot to actually have any gravitas; pussyfooting with the severity and consequences of the conflict. He set this up for body-horror victims created by human thirst for power, an actually interesting premise, yet ended up with a goddamn censorship cliché twist of “don’t worry kids, those people that were just killed were robots”. There are no actual casualties now. This is the mansion murder mystery all over again!

"What do you mean?"

"...They are trying to see if they can use the energy of gems to create super humans. I'm guessing these androids were just test subjects before they would decide on using real humans. If they were this strong with average gems, then what would happen if they were to use live ones?"

Here’s the thing though, author. Are you paying attention? Because I want you to understand the next words I’m going to write, and you better understand them well. Natural gems from Earth are just rocks! Inert, non-magical, pretty but fucking useless rocks! The Crystal Gems are magical aliens, you dumbass! The powers they possess are a testament to their alien origin, not a result of their likeness to earthen silicates. And yet you took androids – the existence of which was never established in this story and certainly not in the series itself – slapped slivers of jewels onto their skin, and it somehow empowers them and makes them poof upon incapacitation, as if they were gem creatures. And yet they couldn’t be further from being that. Embedding terrestrial minerals into artificial humans should have no goddamn effect – how and why would you ever think differently?!

The question was heavy in the air as Max got up and looked at the Crystal gems. "We need to stop them before it's too late, who knows if they possibly have corrupted gems and humans ready for their sick experiment."

Who knows, maybe they’ll try to force feed a human with a corrupted gem.

"We're with you Max...but um, does anyone know where their base is."

"...GOD DAMN IT!"

Author's Note: hey everybody, just wanted to say sorry for using the word 'gem' a lot, but it is literally the name of their race, and I have no idea what else to call it.

Funnily enough, I don’t think I’ve been using the word ‘idiot’ quite as much as I should.

Crystal maybe? I don't know, I also wanted to say thanks for so much support on my second story. I'll make sure to update both regularly. I hope you all enjoy.

------------------------

Dammit, I dared to get my hopes up, and immediately I was let down. As much of a contrived asspull it would be, to have anti-gem zealot soldiers with stolen gem-powers suddenly appearing in this story, at least it would be an interesting spin on things. Finally we have antagonists in this fanfic that doesn’t have a direct interest in Maxwell, and better yet they are humans. Members of the species the Crystal Gems have sworn to protect, and thus would be conflicted in combatting. They even abuse corrupted and shattered gems for their own ends – yet another deeply nested conflict of the series. And what happens? The first real confrontation with them has neither! How can Max even claim that the White Claws were testing the effect of gem shards on humans, when the people they fought weren’t humans and they didn’t have gem shards?! At least they didn’t have any enchanted car jacks or hacksaws on them.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:47 am

The new enemy of the Crystal Gems have made themselves known as a threat, so it’s time to hunt them down. At least we don’t have to wait for Max to get an address in the mail, because he apparently has intel resources to pull from this time. Here’s hoping they don’t also trigger another psychotic episode for Max. Enjoy.

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Chapter 25: Information

"So why are we in the bad part of the country?" Pearl asked as the five of them were currently in a more ghetto and sketchy area.

I’m guessing it’s because Max wants you to meet his ex-girlfriend – or maybe three of them.

They were each in their own respective outfits, looking particularly 'gangster'. Dear lord I am not good at describing this kinda shit. Basically, this is the kinda place where you can get shanked and mugged by anyone that thinks you're too weak or stupid.

Oh, high school! Why didn’t you just say so?

"I know this isn't a very likable place, but I know a guy here who can give me all the info I need about gangs, clans, pimps, anyone that I can take out for either profit, or to get in good with the police. He should have some information about the White Claw if they've been active.

Because that’s where you want to get your information about an ancient holy order with suicide honor codes devoted to the annihilation of Earth’s resident alien protectors; a narc in a random ghetto. And of course we’re going to wedge in freelance vigilantism into Maxwell’s rubber band backstory. How could we not?

Just remember to stay close to me. Oh and don't take anything they sell."

"What kinda stuff?"

"I can't say the exact names unless I wanna be suspected as 'nark'. Just don't take any drinks, food, blue candy, or coke."

"What's wrong with candy and Coca Cola?" Steven asked innocently.

"Ugh, why are you so precious. Just don't, trust me when I say it's bad."

Stop it, author. Just fucking stop it already with this babying of the series’ protagonist. Do you think Steven goes through each and every episode like a doe-eyed, oblivious toddler? You’ve set this story after Bismuth – Steven was forced to shank a bitch! Also, he may not have had the benefit of a regular education, but he is exceptional at picking up on social cues. Even if the show has never explored drug related themes, I’m pretty sure he’d understand a simple “drugs are bad, m’kay.” Heck, a simple allegory about Amethyst and tuna burritos would be enough. Please, stop portraying Steven like he hasn’t matured since the first episode.

Max leads them through crowds and alleyways. Anyone who looks at them funny, Max just shows them his glove on his left hand. On the back of the glove was a small image of a flaming raven.

I guess muggers and thieves just doesn’t like his merch.

"Why do they look so nervous about your glove?" Amethyst asked.

"It's not the glove, it's the insignia. I made a reputation for myself, calling me by different names. Some call me Firecracker, Hunter, but mostly the call me the Burning Night. Probably because I mostly attack during the night and use fire based weapons and explosives."

Image

Is that so, Mr. Punisher – I mean Batman – I mean Anti-hero Stereotype Nr. 6321. You mean to tell us that your ghetto street-cred is based solely upon two common forms of destruction available to everyone, rather than any unique identifiers that you would have as a human with gem powers? And you just so happen to adopt an icon of a raven on fire, rather than the mythical phoenix of which you’ve named one of your powers? Why would you attack mostly at night, anyway; busy with day jobs and drinking problems? What’s the time scope necessary for this urban romanticization of what should be considered terrorist attacks by the authorities? You only have fifty years of super powered leeway, Max, and I think about twenty of them have already been used up. What I’m trying to say is, this asspull is neither clean nor impressive, and I’ll continue this mock after I’m done laughing at it.

"Hey sexy, why don't you and I find room to ourselves?~" Some sleazy looking drunkard was hitting on Amethyst. Before she could pull out her whip, Max shows off his symbol and the man's eyes widen. "S-sorry! I-I didn't know she was your bitch." Max knocked the guy's lights out with a quick punch.

"Don't talk about women that way, scumbag."

Exactly what kind of ‘gangster’ clothes did Max put Amethyst in, because that might have something to do with the man’s vernacular.

"...I could have easily kicked his butt."

"Yes, but you're better off staying out of fights. Last thing you need is to make a name for yourself here."

You mean like you did, you hypocrite?!

Amethyst just pouts and looks away, not wanting to let him see her blush. Soon the five of them finally make it to a strange looking house.

Brilliant descriptions, I can certainly see how ghetto all of this is, wherever that may be.

He knocks on the door and some bearded guy holding a hunting rifle comes out.

"I said I'll pay my rent when I get it!"

Pawning off a hunting rifle for cash is out of the question then?

"Calm down Chuck, it's just me."

"Firecracker? Well happy birthday to me. What are you doing here?"

"I needed some information, for old time's sake."

How old are these “old times”, exactly? You know this guy from your college days or something, Max?

"What do you need? Some dickhead slap one of your girls? Pick on your son there?"

"T-they're not, I mean, s-shut up!" Max blushes furiously.

If only there had been even a passing mention of what Max looks like, maybe I could give thought to their resemblance.

"Hehehe, still as easy to tease as when we first met. I don't need to get into your business. So what who you hunting now?"

"We're looking for some group called the White Claws."

"White Claws? Let me look, you all come in and sit down." Max nods and smiles, leading everyone inside. As they wait, Chuck brings out his dusty laptop.

Who’s ready for twenty hours of Windows updates?

He searches through any files and interactions that mentioned the White Claws. "Hmm, says here they were some ragtag group of weirdos in the Middle Ages. They went into hiding because of their leader killing himself in a drunken stupor."

"Or so it says...keep going."

"Apparently they had an oath to stay together even as years pass, passing down their teachings to their children. In recent knows, they've been robbing museums and stores for some of the finest gemstones, and even taking military grade technology. Some scientists and surgeons have been reported as kidnapped. Whoever these guys are, they have definitely been busy."

You needed this weird man’s old laptop to know about recent events?

"Interesting. But what about their base of operations?"

"Hmm, no exact coordinates, but there has been reports of missing detectives and others searching for the White Claws in this area." He shows a highlighted circle of where they may be.

"That will do. Any captured gems we will be able to sense." Garnet said, ignoring the confused look from Chuck.

How? Through what means? What are these abilities you speak of?

"Alright! We got a plan!"

"Well good luck Ignitus, I know you can-" He's cut off as a loud bang was heard and his head comes off. Max looks out the window to see a sniper wearing the White Claws uniform.

You mean his back was turned, or did the guy have his hoodie on backwards?

"Fucking sniper! We gotta get him!" Max busts through the window and chases after the sniper, the others following behind. The sniper packs up his gear and flees, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Max follows after the sniper and dives at them, only for the sniper to put something into their mouth and dissolve into dust. Max lands on the ground and pants heavily.

Does Max teleport now, or is fantastical wall climbing abilities now part of his repertoire?

"Damn it, lost them."

"Max!" He looks behind and sees Pearl has caught up with him. "What happened?"

The author once more refused to have anyone but Max contribute even a token effort to resolving a conflict.

"He took a suicide tablet. What is it with these guys and killing themselves so easily?"

"I don't know, we better go back to the others."

“We drew straws to decide who of us were going to meet up with you. And I pride myself on not being a sore loser.”

"Good idea." They were about to go until Max hears gunfire and looks to see some White Claw members were there to ambush them, armed with Gatling guns. "well shit." Max and Pearl run as fast as they can, trying to lose their pursuers. Soon they go into an alleyway and hide, seeming to lose them.

The only thing you’ve lost is narrative coherence and general scene descriptions.

"Looks like we got away."

"I can't believe this, they see me to be everywhere! Why do they want to kill us so bad?! Rose did nothing to them, she was sweet and kind and they attacked us. What do they want now, Rose is gone…"

"...is that what you believe?"

"What are you talking about?"

Once more, I concur. Please, vomit your reasons out in the most nonsensical way possible, Max.

"I personally don't think Rose is gone. I think in a way, she still exists. Maybe not physically, but in her gem. She is there guiding Steven, and helping him grow strong and wise, but most of all loving."

And you are basing this on what? No, really, what are you basing this wild-ass and fucking unrelated-to-the-situation theory on?

"..."

"Tell me, do you love Steven for himself...or only because he has Rose's gem?"

Image

Max, I swear, you have absolutely no idea what you are about to say. You never do. You just asked Pearl, Steven’s mother in anything but actual genealogy, whether she loved Steven because of who he is, or because he’s Rose reincarnated. This is not a question you ask a parent without the risk of violent reprisal.

"I-I, why do you ask?"

"...don't tell Steven...but it's a secret he told me. He thinks you all don't really love him, you only think of Rose whenever you see him. A few times he has nightmares of you three leaving him, or killing him in an attempt to get Rose back. He doesn't show it, but deep down he hates himself because he believes he is the reason Rose isn't here and why you all went through such heartache. I try and help him, make him understand what happened wasn't his fault, and that you all love him, but he still thinks that everyone would be happier if he never existed."

Lies. That’s what all of this is, Max. Lies, because when the fuck did any of this happen, and how has it not been displayed by the happy-go-lucky child that this story has been portraying? Your little moment with Steven was seventeen chapters ago, and even then it was only about his insecurity surrounding the vacuum of leadership left in the wake of Rose’s absence. A very valid concern, which is now being blown out of proportion by your nonsensical and spur of the moment guilt-mongering. This fanfic has shown nothing of what is being mentioned here; the nightmares or Max helping Steven with his feelings on the matter. You reveal these deep-seated issues of Pearl’s adopted son to her face, and you have the audacity to preface this by questioning her love for the kid. Do you even know what it means to have feelings?!

"..." She had tears in her eyes as she tries to stifle her crying. "I'm so sorry, I never wanted him to feel like that. I will say this with all my heart, and I will tell Steven later…he is absolutely precious to me. I did love Rose, but if given the choice, I would keep Steven. Rose made her choice for Steven to exist, and I will respect that. And after so many years living with Steven, I knew one thing...I love him. I still remember when he was little and tried to call us all mommy...we told him to stop because we weren't his real mother...but deep down I loved it. I never want to lose Steven."

"...I'm glad to hear that. It really makes me happy to know you all truly care for him."

Meanwhile, none of you are caring for the militant cultists that are hunting you down, or the possible safety of the topic in mention.

"How about you? You say you see him like a brother, but is that true?"

"Absolutely...he showed me the happier things in life that I grew blind to. He is an inspiration, and so are you, Amethyst, and Garnet. All of you helped me learn to smile."

And Obsidian has now officially become chopped liver.

"...Max… I'm sorry that we haven't, said anything about your confession."

"It's fine, I know things won't work out. I'm too human for your tastes, Garnet is a relationship, and Amethyst has some stuff to work out."

With your entire lack of empathy just now, I don’t think you’re human enough for anyone’s tastes.

"...well, Garnet may be a relationship, but she is also her own gem in a way, she is free to do as she wishes. Amethyst may have some troubles, but it never hurts to be there to listen and help. As for me...my dislike for humans may have stemmed from how Rose would sometimes have relations with them.

Image

Author, I think you missed a vital part of the episode you’re doing callbacks to.

I was jealous, but I never showed her my true feelings, so she was never mine to lose. After spending time with Steven and Greg in this fancy hotel, I learned not to put my hatred on them, their is still so much in life.

The episode was not about Pearl’s dislike of humans. In fact, I doubt she ever viewed humans in a bad light. It was about her tense relationship with Greg due to Rose choosing him over Pearl, and the grief of her loss. It was about Pearl and Greg trying to move on through their shared love for Steven. Believe me, Pearl had all the time in the world to show Rose her feelings. Rainbow Quartz is proof that she did. And still, Rose chose Greg in the end, and that makes Pearl’s loss even greater. Why do you keep interpreting the show with a shallower mentality than the target audience?

Maybe I can move on, and...I thought...maybe-" she's cut as she hears footsteps. Max looks to see the White Claws looking around again. They were coming closer to their alleyway.

"Shit, this isn't good."

"What do we do?!"

"...human nature is that we are very uncomfortable to public displays of affection."

Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me!

"Huh?" She squeaks as Max holds her close and kisses her passionately, making sure they looked hidden but were obviously making out. The White Claw members check the alleyway.

"Oh uh, sorry for disturbing you two." The two soldiers awkwardly all away, allowing Max to immediately pull off of Pearl.

Author, the only reason that worked between Captain America and Black Widow in that movie was because it was in a crowded place, you idiot! Here, it was in an empty back alley, Pearl is a pastel-colored matchstick figure with a gem on her forehead, and the soldiers already knew what the two of them looked like. Why are Max and Pearl even trying to stay hidden instead of fighting them? None of this makes sense!

"Y-you can kill me later, for now we gotta go." Pearl just nods, trying to put on a poker face as they finally find the others.

"Pearl! Max!" Steven cheers as he hugs them both. "Where were you two?"

How about we turn that question around to the three people, who decided rooftops were off limits, after a human dropped dead in front of them? Come to think of it, Steven is taking that rather well, isn’t he?

"We had to lose these White Claw soldiers, they were part of this ambush. We can't stand around anymore, we gotta go to the base and finish them off."

The base you still don’t know where is, you mean? All you were told was that investigators were turning up missing at some unspecific coordinates. You’re banking on this whole “sensing other gems” thing, aren’t you?

"Alright! Let's rip those punks apart...must have been some chase, you two look all flustered." Amethyst noticed.

"Y-yes, they were very persistent. Now let's move on." Pearl said in a panicky manner as Garnet just smiles slightly.

"Well then, to the warp pad!" The Crystal Gems get onto the warp pad as they go to look for the White Claws and finish them off.

Maybe you’ll actually get a victory this time, instead of the enemy suiciding or turning out to be disposable androids.

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Alas, poor Chuck, we hardly knew you. Nor did we particularly care about you, and I’m pretty certain Max didn’t either. The guy gets his head shot off, and his death isn’t even remarked upon. Instead, Max is forcing Pearl into a kiss just minutes later, while heavily armed soldiers are left to walk the streets in search of gems to shoot. Even though we were told bullets don’t hurt gems. I really hate this story.

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Re: The Human With a Gem

Post by StabbyKobold » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:27 pm

Where oh where could the White Claws be hiding? Hell if I know, the author still isn’t describing locations outside of general terrain types. At least Max and the Crystal Gems find them in this chapter, so we’ll finally be done with this nonsense plot. Enjoy.

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Chapter 26: Maximum

"GAAAAAH! I hate flies! I hate dung beetles! ALL OF MY HATE FOR BUGS!"

Given how much of a shit character you are, their attraction to you comes as no surprise, Max.

Max continued ranting as he looked through the forest. When the team went to the area that was hypothesized to be the White Claws' home base, they came across a forest and split up to cover more ground.

By splitting up, I bet you mean that Steven and the gems went one way, and you marched off on your own to feed your ego.

Unfortunately no matter how old Max got, his hatred of insects would not dwindle. Especially since some mosquitos were currently using Max as an all you can eat buffet.

"Step off!" He finally grew to angry and went on fire, making the mosquitos fly away. "Haha! Max 1, Bugs 0." It was too early to celebrate though as his bright flames attracted some moths. "OH NO!"

Because, as we all know, moths are fireproof.

He ran as fast as he can before tripping over something and falling into a pond. He slowly rises up with a lily pad on his head. "Now how did Rose Quartz see the beauty in this place?" His question was answered as he looked to see Steven currently whistling a tune as cute forest critters sang with him, making the forest seem happy and alive.

A Disney princess gag? That’s how you want to play off Rose Quartz’ affection for Earth’s beauty? Her motivation for betraying her people and starting a civil war? The very reason humans exist at all and that the Earth isn’t just another gem colony? You might as well have told me that Rosa Parks fell asleep on the bus.

"Oh hey Steven!" Max called out and waved to the musically gifted boy.

"Hi Max!... What are you doing in the water?"

"It's a long story."

And if you told it, I’m sure it would somehow grant you another super power via retcon.

He walks out and quickly heats up his body to evaporate any wetness on his person. "Find anything?"

"No sign of the White Claws, but they have been here. Some of these animals were really hurt, but I sed my healing spit to help them."

Image

"Interesting, but why would they attack woodland animals?"

"I don't know, but I don't like it."

I’ll tell you why. The author wants to hammer in how totally, amazingly, completely cartoonish and irredeemably evil these guys are. All of them. Not a single one of them being different from each other, all with the same cruel and self-serving agenda. After all, there’s no need for the conflict to somehow become complex or, heavens forbid, believable.

"Well we should try to find the others, maybe they have some information we can use." Just as they were about to leave though, the animals ears perked up and they all scattered. "...We need to hide."

“Are you sure, Max? Pearl told me how you did it with her, and I don’t think Connie or anyone else would approve.”

"B-but where?"

"Uh, the pond! Bubble us so we can breathe though."

"Got it!" Steven puts them both in a bubble as they go inside the water.

They try to stay quiet as they see a team of White Claw members carrying a cage with a mother bear and some cubs trapped inside.

Now would you look at that? They didn’t separate the mother from its cubs. These guys aren’t so bad after all.

Steven wanted to jump out and free them, but Max held him back, knowing that this was the only chance they had of finding the base. They followed them from far behind, not wanting to get caught. After a few minutes, Max and Steven come across a clearing, but the White Claws are nowhere to be seen.

"What the heck!? They couldn't have disappeared."

Really, Max? You’re in a dense forest trying to track down a clandestine, militant order of G.I. Joe inspired villains, and you expect their base to be above ground?

Max looks around frantically, but Steven stays in one place, staring in front of them. "Steven what are you looking at?"

"It's just, we've been in this forest for a while, suddenly we find a clearing with no trees. If you look straight ahead, the trees don't seem to move at all even though there is a breeze, like it's just a picture."

Max stood next to Steven, and sure enough he was right. They gingerly take a few steps forward until they touch something that feels like metal.

"Something is invisible here...but how?"

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What the hell? An invisible base disguised as a forest clearing?! Why does this author constantly jump way, way, waaaaay past the necessary clichés and go for the most unnecessary and unbelievable option with his villains?! First off, the technology necessary for this base to be invisible is unexplained, and much like the miniature robots from the previous villain, I bet its existence will never be justified. Secondly, instead of doing the safe thing of hiding the base underground, they instead invest in space-age technology that would serve as a much greater benefit for their soldiers than their base. Third, when you have the option to masquerade or otherwise hide stationary things from sight, the worst thing to make it look like is empty space – any hiker looking for a camping spot would walk face first into the walls. Fourth, and this is just a small aside, why the fuck did they not discover the base by sensing captured corrupted gems, like it was predicted in the last chapter?!

Before they could get try to figure out what was going on, a loud siren starts blaring. They look to see an invisible door slide open and White Claw troops come out armed with heavy weaponry.

"This is soldier I-8, we have confirmation of two humans. Permission to eradicate?"

"M-Max, what do we do?"

Regret every dumb decision that brought you here, I hope.

"We run." Max puffs up his cheeks before blowing smoke and ash into the air, then grabs Steven and rushes into the base. The soldiers fire and chase after the duo, but Steven summons his shield and deflects any shots. "Keep it up Steven, I see an elevator!"

Oh, an elevator? Great! You know what would be even greater? Not running into the enemy base without any plan or backup! What are you even trying to do; head in a straight line until a boss appears?!

The elevator ahead of him opens and two soldiers come out with rifles ready. Max glares before igniting his hands and throwing two blasts of fire at the soldiers, them pushing them out of the elevator.

"Max hurry!"

"There's no buttons!" Max panics as the soldiers get closer so he takes a chance and uses his obsidian hand to pierce through a keycard slot, making it fortunately activate.

Because it’s not like keycards carry data for verification or anything. Nah, they might as well be plates of copper connecting a circuit as simple as this author’s brain processes.

The elevator doors slide shut, and leave Max and Steven safe for now.

"Oh dear lord, we made it."

"Yeah, but where are we going?"

"My best guess? Deeper down the rabbit hole."

"...but rabbits don't have claws."

"It's a figure of speech."

It’s also an opportunity for the author to make Steven act like a dumb child in a high stress situation – and have him be factually incorrect, because rabbits do have fucking claws! What do you think they dig their holes with; their teeth?!

Soon the door open to reveal a dimly lit corridor. Max and Steven cautiously walk out and search around. Max summons a small flame and brightens it in order to reveal more of the room, yet he almost wishes he didn't. What they see are multiple humans, animals, and corrupted gems of all shapes and sizes, caged and mutilated.

Steven covers his mouth in fear and his eyes water. "W-who would do this? Why would anyone hurt them like this?"

And why would they leave them all out in the corridor and not keep the light on for others to navigate it properly?

"...they're experiments. Each one used as a guinea pig for their sick tests." He flinches as he sees a claw reach out for him from behind a cage. He uses his fire to see the monstrosity as some weird deformed combination of a human, animal, and gem. He can see a foggy and obviously corrupted gemstone on the head of human. The human eyes were milky white and looking around frantically. The upper body was human and male, yet the lower half and arms resembled some strange bird like features. The legs were scrawny and clawed, where his arms used to be were now black feathered wings. The being looks at Max, trying to talk but only makes horrid screeching noises, like a strangled crow.

And here comes the million dollar question. If all these creatures are humans fused with corrupted gems – or animals fused with corrupted gems, because why the hell would they do a triple mix and expect any improved results – then how come Max isn’t like them? He’s playing host to a corrupted gem. Why isn’t he half smoke or something? He’s the proof that a human can benefit from the attachment of a gem – so what are the space-age technology mad scientists missing to make this work? If Garnet were here, I’m sure she’d have an answer for me, but this is the story of Maxwell Ignitus, so fuck that.

Max looks at the creature sadly and pets his head. "I promise you, I will stop the ones who did this to you...I swear it." This seems to comfort the being a little as it walks to the back of the cage and tries to sleep.

"...I know this is hard for you Steven but-"

"No...it's okay Max...I try so hard to see the good in people, but where is the good in this?... I understand that you will have to make a decision...if you think the best choice is to kill the leader...I won't stop you."

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Author, you just had Steven Quartz Universe condone murder. The kid who believes in the best in everyone. The boy whose entire character revolves around non-violent resolution to conflicts unless given no other alternatives. The Crystal Gem who, when offered a weapon meant to shatter even the Diamonds in a single blow thus putting an end to millennia of horrible war, refused with such intensity that he turned a disagreeing friend into an enemy. You’ve already abused Steven’s character to the point of ignorant parody, but now you have in fact murdered it too. Steven would never agree to this. And he didn’t need to for your story to work.

I get why you did this, author. Steven is the embodiment of the show’s moral fiber, the example that the show puts forward to display action and consequence of goodwill to the audience, and a genuine inspiration when it comes to empathy. But you handcuffed your Marty Stu to him under the weak pretense of friendship, and for whatever reason you don’t want to endanger that. And since the will of the Marty Stu, your own by extension, is what directs this plot, you needed Steven to agree so that Max wouldn’t alienate him. You are of the opinion that whoever would do these horrible things is evil and deserves death. I doubt you’ll find many who would disagree, especially after the lengths you’ve gone to make them out as a complete monster. But Steven would, even after all that. You simply disagree with his character. And instead of turning this into an interesting conflict, you warp Steven’s personality for the easy way out. But you didn’t need to do this, and here’s why. Unlike your over-powered, oh so tormented, emotionally scarred, psychopathic egomaniac of a Marty Stu, Maxwell “anything-you-think-is-cool” Ignitus, Steven is allowed to be wrong.

Steven is an idealist. His ethics stem from the desire to find solutions that benefits everyone and harms no one. He wants conflicts solved without violence, without the need to harm, and without the loss of life. No matter how severe the conflict, he believes that understanding and consideration is what will ultimately solve it. This is what you may have interpreted as childish naiveté, and perhaps it is in part to his youth that he lacks the jadedness that experience brings. But he knows, from harsh and disappointing experience, that you have to make compromises in certain situations. Sometimes a hand extended in friendship is refused and confrontations become unavoidable. One thing is certain, though. He would never give up on his ideals. But he could be wrong. So convince us that he is wrong. Have him disagree with Maxwell, maybe even to the point where he’ll defend the evil military leader from Max. Because this is the kind of conflict the show is built upon. Not the blatantly immoral wickedness of irredeemable monsters, but the clashing of ideas – the discussion of what is right and wrong, the motivations the lead to actions and the consequence be they good or bad. You could have had your story – this exasperating pittance of a self-aggrandizing wish fulfillment fanfic – actually mean something! You could have turned to your readers and asked them, “When are we justified in taking a life,” the very same question put forth by the show, when mentioning Rose Quartz shattering Pink Diamond. Instead, you had Steven give Maxwell a permission slip. No dilemmas, no difficult questions, no hard feelings. Your story disgusts me, author. I hope you understand why.

"Steven...I-" He's cut off, surprise, as he hears soldiers coming. "We gotta go." Steven nods as they find a stairway and run up. "Something isn't right, these soldiers are everywhere."

Do you stick your finger into a beehive and question the presence of bees too?!

As soon as they breach through a door, they are blinded by a bright light.

Once the light fades and their eyes adjust, they look to see they are in a coliseum of sorts. In the stands were many cheering figures with the White Claws symbol on their clothing. It wasn't just soldiers, but regular looking humans, parents, children, elderly.

So nice of them all to turn up at this point in time, at this exact place, just as Steven and Max has managed to navigate through their base. It was all part of their plan, I’m sure.

Any time you want your story to make sense, author. Any time! Please!

In the center was a tall muscular man with a bald head and a white beard. He had cold blue eyes and was wearing a long white robe with claw marks emblazoned on it.

"Hello little humans, you have fought well to make your way here, but I'm afraid your journey has come to an end." The coliseum roars in agreement, cheering him on.

It might not have been a straight line, but I know a boss when I see one.

Max clenches his fist before shouting out in a rage. "ENOUGH! Who do you think you are? Kidnapping and experimenting on living beings, killing innocent people? Tell me why I shouldn't go up there and kick your butt?!" The audience heckles Max but he just sneers at them.

The robed man holds up a hand and everyone went silent. "Who am I you ask? I am the leader of this clan, I am Cedric Eisenhart, and we are the White Claws. Our ancestors wished to protect the human race and lead them to prosperity.

“Which is why we withhold our androids, invisibility technology, and magical crowbars from the general public.”

Our mission today is no different. As time passed we have built our own community of humans, who will soon leave and guide the human race into becoming the most powerful species in existence. We shall grow to the point where no animal, alien, or god could stand before us."

I can’t help but feel this honor bound holy order has undergone some disillusionment since last they met the Crystal Gems. At least they’re going for plain old megalomania rather than religious zealotry.

"Figures, a bunch of egotistical neanderthals with a superiority complex.

And here I thought they were trying to copy only your powers, Max.

What does this have to do with the gems, why are you experimenting on them?" Max questions.

Cedric just smirks softly as he presses a small button and behind him, a cage with Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl are tied up with strange ropes that glowed a sickly yellow.

Congratulations, author. You’ve now resorted to turning the gems into damsels in distress for your author avatar to rescue. Not only did you have them be captured off-screen, the fact, that their capture coincide with the staged colosseum cliché, is so contrived, it requires that the White Claws possess the future vision you keep ignoring that Garnet has. I loathe giving you advice on this, but if Steven and Max had discovered the gems’ capture rather than that of a bear and its cubs, it would justify why they dashed into the base, and why the entire clan has gathered for their execution. You’re just throwing clichés around without even attempting to make sense of them.

"The gem race are the enemies of humans. They not only humiliated my ancestor, but intended to destroy all life on Earth for their own gain. Every gem is a monstrous beast that humans must tame and control.

If it wasn’t because this story continues to ignore the existence of the Gem Homeworld as a threat, then Big, Bad and Bald would actually have a point.

Their abilities are unfit for their weak forms. So my greatest scientists have found ways to take the energy from the gems, and grant it to us, making us more powerful than ever! Of course, there have been some errors and some humans ended up deformed, but sacrifices are needed. With this power, we will shape the Earth the way we wish. We will be titans of a new world order, we will be powerful, we will be immortal and youthful, WE WILL BE-"

"Insane...you're all insane.

Max, you’re projecting again.

The gems may have initially intended to use Earth for their own purpose, but rebellion began. A gem named Rose Quartz and many others chose to instead fight and protect the Earth. Even today those gems fight to let the humans and any other life on Earth live how they want. You call them monsters, but the corruption you have seen are the battle scars they have gained from the horrible war to protect this planet. You don't have to hurt so many people for your cause. Maybe we can work together differently, we can make the world better, but not with a war, but with peace. Please end this bloodshed, by working together we can make this world better." With Max's speech done, Steven looked at him with a wide smile.

As much as Max tries to emulate Steven’s diplomatic abilities, I wish he’d just let the kid do his thing – because Max sucks at it. What he just said were things that the White Claws would either already know or not care about. When Steven makes speeches, he not only illuminates the situation by expressing his understanding of the conflict, but he also offers and argues for a peaceful solution. The White Claws‘ mission is to harness, or rather enslave, gems and abuse their powers for human prosperity. There aren’t many ways that this could be led in a positive direction, and yet Maxwell is in fact the very example that Steven would have put forth, if he was doing a speech. Max and Obsidian’s bond shows that a corrupted gem and a human can bond easily with each other, achieving power and eternal youth in the process. Max is everything the White Claws aspires to be, and yet no one acknowledges this fact. The story has come full circle back to everything being about Maxwell again, and the author doesn’t even know!

He was about to hug him but then heard a slow clap from Cedric.

"Amusing, you think we can all work together? The gems are an inferior race, and I will not let them live anywhere but underneath our mighty feet. This farce is over, kill them both." The crowd cheers as a gate open, showing two soldiers holding onto chains as they bring out a hulking beast. It seemed mostly human, except for the blue crystals surrounding it's left eye and the gem where the eye should be. The being had massive muscles and a stance similar to a gorilla. It snorts as it looks at Max and Steven. "Behold! This is Goliath, our first fusion of gems and humans. Goliath, attack the naysayers!"

I hope the King Kong rip-off is wearing pants, and that mean, old poopy-head Cedric can come up with better insults than “naysayers”.

Goliath snarls and throws aside the soldiers before bounding after Max and Steven.

"Max, h-he's getting closer, what do we do?"

Max was silent before remembering the fusion he met earlier, the bird boy stuck in the cage.

Sure, yeah, what a moving and memorable experience that was. Shook him to his core, I’m sure.

He walks forward slowly as Goliath only charged faster. Max stood still with no expression on his face. Steven only decided to trust him as he walks next to Max. The Crystal gems struggled to try and tell the two to run away, but they didn't listen. Goliath was about to ram into Max until Max put out his obsidian hand.

Goliath abruptly stopped and sniffed his hand. The crowd and Cedric were absolutely shocked by the scene.

If I find so much as a black spot on a steak, I ain’t touching it – what’s so surprising about this reaction?

Max gently moved his hand and put his hand on the gem where his eye once was. "Your name...it used to be… Thomas, right?" The beast's eye widens in surprise, staying still as Max continued. "You and the gem...you're both in a lot of pain...let us help." Goliath, or Thomas, stayed still as Max and Steven smile.

"I am Maxwell Ignitus, my gem is Obsidian."

"I am Steven Universe, my gem is Rose Quartz."

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I know Steven himself says that he has his mother’s gem, but that’s not what you’re having him say here, author. You’re basically implying that Max and Steven are the same. But they’re not. Steven is a gem/human hybrid, and therefore his gem is a part of him. There is no separation of identity, unlike with Maxwell and Obsidian. To say that Steven’s gem is Rose Quartz would be the same as saying that Max’s right hand is Obsidian. You may tell us it is, but its not. His actual right hand has been lying at the bottom of a ravine for the last fifty years, because he needed a place to stick the parasitic symbiote he’s been using to fulfill all of your power fantasies.

"And together we wish to set you free." They say simultaneously as they hug the fusion. Steven licks one finger and presses the healing spit to his chest, while Max holds onto Thomas's head. His obsidian hand and Steven's belly button gem shine brightly. The glow enveloped the fused being before they floated gently in the air. Goliath's form split into two before settling on the ground. Before them now was Thomas the human, peacefully asleep, and a gem to rest.

"W-what is this? What have you done!?" Cedric demanded.

Pulled the power of friendship out of their asses without prior establishment of foreshadowing.

"Goliath was hurting, he never wanted this pain you forced on him. Thomas and the gem only wanted freedom, to live as they used to. Steven and I are half gem, half human, we knew exactly how to heal their heart and mind… thanks for trusting me on that Steven."

First off, why would this cult of suicide prone humans not use volunteers for their experiments? They’re trying to create super soldiers, having them be loyal to your cause would be a fucking benefit. Secondly, you’re still not half of anything Max, and even if you were, that doesn’t mean you would know how to help Thomas. It’s almost like you’re implying, that you know how to separate not only yourself from Obsidian, but also separate Steven from his gem. What the actual fuck?!

"No problem, I didn't even know I could do that, it just felt natural." He smiles as he goes to pick up the gem and bubble it, but then the gem is blasted and shattered in his hands. Cedric had a furious scowl on his face, his arm raised as he takes aim and obliterates the sleeping human.

Are we going full on Dragonball Z now? I kind of assumed we would get here sooner.

"WORTHLESS CRETINS! HOW DARE YOU TRY AND RUIN MY LEGACY!? You're pathetic attempts of peace mean nothing here. YOU SHALL DIE BY MY HAND!" The crowd didn't know how to respond, seeing their leader kill in cold blood, and their supposed enemies heal Goliath, it was as if their world was upside down.

Oh, fuck off! We just saw them all cheering for the world conquest speech, they heard Cedric talking about gems and the experiments that required sacrifices, and they’re all members of the same crazy cult that kill themselves for showing weakness. This isn’t a cause for world changing revelation – this is a regular Tuesday to them!

Cedric jumps down from the stands and removes his robe, showing his chest was fused with several different gems of many shapes and sizes.

"I don't think diplomacy will work now, it's time to fight Steven." Max pulls out his shotgun from his cloak and takes aim.

Bullets, Max? Really?!

"You got it dude." Steven summons his shield.

Cedric attacks in a blind rage, thrusting out his arms to deliver powerful blasts of energy.

Because it’s not like a villain could show restraint or precision – that would make them effective, after all.

Max and Steven dodge out of the way as they rush toward Cedric. Max fires his shotgun rapidly, but they have no clear effect. Steven throws his shield but Cedric just smashes it with his bare hands.

"USELESS!" Cedric grabs Max by the collar and throws him onto the ground. He was about to stomp on his head but Steven rolled under and summoned his bubble pushing back Cedric.

Maybe Max should follow Steven’s example and actually use some of the gem powers he has, against this enemy clearly powered by gems.

The White Claw leader roars and repeatedly attacks Steven's bubble. Steven tried to hold it up as long as he can but Cedric was too powerful. He smashes the bubble and went to attack Steven, but Max recovered and pulled Steven out of the way.

"Let's get cooking." Max goes on fire as he rushes at Cedric with a flurry of punches, only for Cedric to grab onto his head with both hands and tries to crush his skull. Max yells out in pain before dissipating into ash, then reappearing behind Cedric.

I have never before gone from pleasant surprise to crushing disappointment this fast.

He has his obsidian hand glow and blast fire hot enough to burn down a two story building into nothing but ashes in a few seconds. Yet Cedric is barely fazed as he walks out of the fire and kicks Max away.

"Don't you see now, your little crusade was pointless. You are nothing compared to us, just a child who deserves nothing more but to rot in the pits of hell."

What are you even talking about, Cedric? You don’t know this guy! Please, don’t elevate the Marty Stu by making this personal all of a sudden.

"That's not true!" Steven runs and protects Max with his body. "Max is a great person. He trained all his life to become stronger and he did. He is an amazing gem, human, friend… and a fantastic brother."

"Steven…"

"Useless worm, you boast about him but it means nothing. You hold the gem of Rose Quartz but look at yourself, a weak kitten who could never live up to be the proud lion you once were."

If you say so, Jasper – I mean, Cedric. Continue explaining how much you fight for Homeworld – I mean, for humankind. After all, you're building an army of corrupted gems – I mean, human/gem fusions – and are holding them here in the Beta Kindergarten – I mean, your coliseum. Keep badmouthing Amethyst – I mean, Maxwell – for being such an inferior warrior. Yeah, by now it’s pretty clear the author is just mimicking the climax of Steven and Amethyst’s fight against Jasper at the end of season three. And the fact that Steven and Amethyst fused during that episode does not make me look forward to the resolution.

"Leave him alone! Steven doesn't have to be Rose, he is perfect the way he is. He's funny, kind, strong...and I couldn't ask for a better person to call my brother." Despite both being beaten down, the two stand close together, unwilling to back down.

"Well then, you two can bond more..IN THE AFTERLIFE!" Cedric rushes at them but Max and Steven stand strong.

"WE'RE FAMILY!" A bright flash is seen, followed by a massive explosion that knocks back Cedric. As the dust settles, everyone looks to see not two, but one person there.

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I’ve been dreading this ever since the author almost made Steven and Max fuse during a car commercial. The fact that he has it happen over nothing but compliments and sentimentality is still proof, that he has no idea what fusion is about. And now we have to gaze upon the creature, which the author probably imagines is a much cooler version of Smokey Quartz. I’m expecting an edgy color scheme and muscles.

*insert epic music*

I suggest Ave Maria on kazoo.

Standing there was a new fusion, skin crimson red with dark pink stripes across his upper torso. A familiar gem rested where his belly button would be. His arms and legs were covered with a powerful black superheated rock. Speaking of arms, they seem to have four, all powerful and ready for action. His eyes slowly open to show eyes that tell many stories. This fusion was someone who was created with the kindness and encouragement Max and Steven gave to each other.

Predictably, he looks like a badass. Author, listen, Steven and Amethyst’s fusion is a mess, but Smokey Quartz is a mess that perfectly blends their personalities – an outgoing and self-confident jokester with a crippling dose of self-doubt. What can we expect from this cocktail of edginess and dimples you’ve concocted? What gem are they even supposed to be, since they’re a combination of Rose Quartz and Obsidian? Given the color scheme, I’m guessing Cuprite, but that name is probably not cool enough for you.

"W-what are you?" Cedric asked in fear.

"..." He was silent until crossing his lower set of arms, and his upper right arm used his thumb to point at himself.

"I am Maximum Quartz."

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Welcome to the Maxwell Ignitus show, starring Maxwell Ignitus, his psychotic alter ego, his alternate dimension double, and his new gemsona which has just been named. Author, you are an idiot. A hack, pillock, bellend, knob, and absolute nonce. I’m using my British swears, because if I used the rest of the English language, I’d be here all day. You have Max and Steven form a fusion by utilizing the gems of Rose Quartz and Obsidian, and everything but Max himself is just an afterthought; even the fact that every gem fusion the show has presented are named from actual real world gemstones. This isn’t even a new character. This is just Maxwell with another mask on!

"I-I don't care what your name is, you're still nothing!" Cedric goes to punch him, but Maximum just grabs the fist with his left hand from the upper set. His lower arms grab onto Cedric. His eyes glint as he reels back his right arm then delivers a devastating punch, creating a shock wave that everyone in the audience can feel. Cedric was too stunned to move as Maximum tucks in all four arms.

"Time to end this. Centennial Star Punch." Maximum Quartz then starts punching rapidly with every arm.

From the makers of “punching-really-fast” attacks and the “what-the-fuck-does-this-move-have-to-do-with-that” naming convention.

Cedric was being absolutely pulverized by the fusion's blur of punches. If someone were to look closely, they would see he stopped after his 99th punch.

And according to the attack’s name, it should have taken just a many years.

His upper right arm glows bright, a pink bubble surrounding it as the fist glows brightly. "Grand Finale!" He throws the punch as the bubble explodes into an inferno, launching Cedric into the air who was unconscious and covered in soot. Maximum catches Cedric before they hit the ground. He lays him down before glaring at the White Claw audience "Turn your lives around for the better, or no mercy will be shown."

Yet by sparing Cedric, you’re showing that this kind of behavior will result in mercy. I’m happy you’re not roping Steven into committing murder with you, Max, but you need to know a thing or two about setting examples.

He goes and frees the Crystal gems, but before they can celebrate, they look to see Cedric trying to get up.

"P-please I beg you, I-I can't go to jail now. I can still help make the world better. If y-you heal me, I swear to do something better for everyone."

The suicide cult leader doesn’t commit suicide upon defeat? So much for having the villain maintain the only thing that was consistent about them.

"Wait! Don't trust him, he won't follow on his word." Pearl said warningly, wanting to just leave.

"..." He sighs as he goes to Cedric and licks his finger. "I can't leave someone like this. Steven is a part of me."

And yet you display no personality as a new character, as if Maxwell simply assimilated another gem to add to his skill set.

He puts the finger to Cedric's head, healing him before walking away.

"Y-you healed me...maybe this is a second chance...maybe I can make a difference...maybe…I was wrong….NO!" In a flash of rage he blasts with all of his might.

Do you do nothing but rip off other battle scenes, author? This is the second time you have a villain blatantly steal lines from Freeza from DBZ – from a parody of it, at that! Have some originality, for fuck’s sake.

Maximum looks back and clenches his teeth before roaring loudly and destroying the blast with column of fire, and incinerating Cedric completely.

And thus, Maxwell has taken care of yet another villain, while all the gems simply stood on the sidelines reduced to helpless spectators. Again. And he made Steven an accomplice to murder. I should be mad about this, but it was really only a matter of time.

Days later, the White Claws were arrested, and the gems helped bubble away any corrupted gems. With Maximum Quartz, any forced flesh and gem fusions were separated. But after their victory, Max and Steven didn't unfuse for a while. To have killed someone, it was a lot for Steven to handle, but as Maximum Quartz, Max was able to comfort Steven until he was ready to come out. Everyone was a bit worried until the fifth day. The door was opened and Steven slowly walked in.

Author, hear me out here. Fusions only stay fused so long as the people fusing are in harmony. The strength of the fusion weakens the less they are in sync. This is especially true when it comes to situations of distress. For Amethyst and Steven, Smokey Quartz unfused the moment they realized Jasper was getting corrupted – Steven’s desire to help Jasper clashing with Amethyst’s apprehension. Steven and Max should have unfused the moment he realized they killed Cedric. Maximum Quartz staying fused is not a way for Max to comfort Steven – because there is no Max or Steven. What happened here is that the Marty Stu held Steven hostage until they shared the same mindset, instead of letting him go and discuss the events with his family and friends and learning how to move on.

The gems rushed out and hugged him close. Max stood in the doorway silently, watching them all reunite. They wanted to include him in the hug but he denied it, just wanting to sleep. He gently lays down, but all four of them get on the bed with him, a small little sleepover that helped him smile. It wasn't easy, but now they can rest, they won this battle, and they will win any other battle in the future.

They already won the battle against physics, if they can all somehow fit in Stevens bed without shapeshifting.

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Another evil villain arc is over, and what are we left with? Marty Stu empowerment and red herrings, mostly. All of the technology used by the White Claws, including magical crowbars, gem-incapacitating rope, androids, and corrupted gem hybrids – none of that is likely to have any impact later. Heck, through a simple word search, I can see that outside of a brief mention in the opening of the next chapter, even Maximum Quartz will be absent for the rest of the story. I should be relieved, but all I’m wondering is what madness the author will cook up next.

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