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Fanfic / Little Rebellions

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The Pearl Rebellion Salute
Not all Pearls have the chance to run off to another planet and take up arms. Not all fights are grand and romantic. These are the little rebellions — little, but just as defiant.

Little Rebellions is a Steven Universe fanfic CompletelyDifferent, a.k.a Dragon Elexus, that is on both Archive of Our Own and AO3 link, link.

The fanfic itself is part one of the Upheavals series, which details the buildup to the revolution, the war itself, and the aftermath of the overthrowing of the Diamond Authority.

Tropes for this work include:

  • Affably Evil: Some of the masters are perfectly affable to their Pearls while creating them intentionally defective or replacing them when they want a shinier model.
  • And I Must Scream: Apparently subverted. Abalone Pearl is Harvested; it seems that, most of the time, situations like what happened to Lapis aren't what happens.
  • Arms Dealer: Night Blue Pearl uses her master’s position to steal supplies for the rebellion.
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  • Ascended Fridge Horror: One commenter in Chapter 40 asked how many Pearls Spodumene owned who didn't got the chance to read the note and save themselves. Word Of God's answer: a lot.
  • Bad Boss: With little exceptions, the Pearls’ owners range from assholes who take them for granted, to monsters who will send them to be harvested just because they got bored and wanted a prettier one.
  • Benevolent Boss: Morganite, who actually apologizes to her Pearl for her insensitive experiment (she was trying to prove it was possible for Gems to specialize in something besides what they were made for), and Feldspar, who takes time to explain her dangerous request and gives her Pearl the option of refusing.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Blue Pearl a.k.a the Commander of the new Rebellion.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Pearls in general are so outwardly obedient and meek that their masters don’t even notice when they act out or collaborate with actual rebellions.
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  • Big Bad Friend: Inverted — while she's polite to her master, Blue Pearl is the commander of the New Rebellion and the story's Big Good.
  • Blackmail: Lavender Pearl gets the information she needs from a Bismuth by threatening with outing said Bismuth and her Pumice girlfriend (who was going to be harvested in first place).
  • The Bus Came Back: In Chapter 58, several characters from previous chapters make reappearances. All of them preparing to help kickstart the New Rebellion.
  • The Butler Did It: When the New Rebellion launches its revolt, Blue Pearl is the one who poofs and bubbles Blue Diamond, removing her from the equation.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Platinum Pearl is forced to give information about the rebels by rubbing sand paper on her gem. It's not shown whether or not she caved, but given that most of the rebels went undetected till the Rebellion truly began, it's possible she was rescued or didn't crack.
  • Dance Battler: The Starlight Dancers. They use their dances as a cover for their combat training.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Black Pearl. Her master, on the other hand, is a self-serving jerk.
  • Defiant to the End: Chapter 41 ends with Platinum Pearl refusing to give any information about the cause. It's unknown if she caved in in the end.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Yellow Pearl was so displeased with Yellow Diamond's treatment of her that she ran away and joined the new rebellion.
  • Domestic Abuse: Raspberry Pearl is regularly used as a punching bag by her master Red Zircon when she’s frustrated. This leads to a The Dog Bites Back moment during the Rebellion, when Zircon is poofed and her gem is left with Raspberry Pearl after telling her to "Not let them get her."
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: At the end of Chapter 58, after making preparations, the New Rebellion/Crystal Gem alliance announces itself to the Diamond Authority by simultaneously taking over every last screen in it and broadcasting their symbols: A star and a circle.
  • Doomed by Canon: We know every Pearl joining the old rebellion is going to end shattered or corrupted.
    • Actually averted in one case- she was a communications officer stationed in Proxima Centauri (another star system), and thus survived, even taking part in the new rebellion.
  • Downer Ending: Good lord, Chapter 18. Poor Bronze Pearl.
    • Chapter 26 ends with the human soldier dying and Olivine Pearl being more affected than she lets on.
    • Chapter 41. Platinum Pearl is horribly tortured and we never learn if she is rescued or not.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Champagne Pearl's predecessor ends her warning note to future Spodumene's Pearls with a last message to her master:
    And if by chance the one reading this is not a pearl, but my Master Spodumene herself:
    Go die in a black hole.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While it's stated by Word Of God that a great deal of work will be needed to move past their old society's beliefs and restraints, Earth is safe, the Civil War has ended with the Crystal Gems/New Rebellion victorious, the Diamonds imprisoned/bubbled, and there is indeed hope for the Gems to move on from the imperialism of the Authority.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Blue Diamond sees Blue Pearl betraying her as this, saying that she was a "good master." Blue Pearl tells her that she saw it as her having no choice in the matter.
    Blue Pearl "Kindly? You did not shatter me, I suppose. Or Harvest me, or hurt me. No, you just had me stand there. Hold things, open doors for you, sing for you, dance for you. Had me suffer through every single one of your ridiculous emotional breakdowns..."
  • Friend to All Living Things: Matte Blue Pearl loves birds and sea life.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: While one of the chapters has a quote pertaining to this at the beginning, but it seems to be subverted in the chapter itself, as there are plenty of gems who aren't interested in going this route.
  • Fusion Dance:
    • The two Red Pearls in Chapter 10 end up accidentally fusing.
    • Navy Pearl and Prase (a soldier whose platoon ran into Rainbow Quartz) are forced to fuse for an experiment, creating Aqua Quartz.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Violet Pearl becomes one when she starts to repair machinery for the rebels to entertain herself.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The rebels are trying to free Homeworld from its cruel government and caste system and aren't particularly sadistic to their enemies , but they don't have problems blackmailing or kidnapping other gems to get their way.
  • Gonk: Plum Pearl feels more comfortable when she shapeshifts into what she describes as a predator.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: There are minor “signs” in Chapter 58 that something is happening in the Gempire. The Authority mostly doesn’t notice.
  • Heroic Suicide: Grey Pearl throw herself into a volcano to protect the rebels' secrets.
  • I Have Your Wife: A rare Anti-Hero variant; Blue Pearl blackmails Blue Diamond into giving her word to help quell riots started by the Diamond Authority's supporters after the New Rebellion has taken over. Namely, by showing that they all have Yellow Diamond and White Diamond prisoner.
  • Imagine Spot: Light Green Pearl has some increasingly violent ones regarding her master.
  • Impoverished Patrician: By the time Blue Diamond is released from her bubble, her name and powers are all she has left — Blue Pearl, in a sort of Rags to Riches scenario, informs her that she is the leader of the New Rebellion, and makes it clear that she no longer has any power over her.
  • The Jeeves: Several of the Pearls will get back at their masters in the most subtle ways. Most of them don’t notice it, since they think Pearls are too obedient and dumb to do such a thing.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Crystal Gem Pearl’s detractors. A Pearl rebelling has actually had negative consequences for other Pearls, like Lilac being made mute and Black being forced to fight.
  • Kick the Dog: The many mistreatments Pearls suffer. Also in chapter 39, where Blue Diamond executes most of an Onyx squad for failing a mission.
  • The Klutz: Navy Pearl is rejected by her master because she is too clumsy to do her chores.
  • La Résistance: Aside from the canon rebels (who some of the Pearls belonged to), later chapters show there is a new rebellion sprouting from the older one, involving other Pearls and commanded by Blue Diamond’s Pearl.
  • Literal-Minded: Pearls pretend to be this to troll their masters, following their orders to the letter in the most ridiculous fashion.
  • Living Legend: Crystal Gem Pearl. Even after the rebellion ended, there are still rumors about her.
  • Motif: Circles for the new rebellion.
  • Mundane Utility: Matte Olivine Pearl uses her skills to control dust to sabotage her bullies and help the Quartzes who are nice to her in the tournament.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In-Universe. One of the Pearls in Chapter 17 thinks that Crystal Gem Pearl doesn't deserve any praise, since her treasonous actions have only made life for other Pearls worse.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Not all the Gems are horrible to Pearls. Chaorite and the Quartzes from Chapter 30 are good examples.
    • Surprisingly, a Pearl fulfills this trope with a Coral (a Gem whose caste is even lower than a Pearl's). She's not nice, but she still helps her.
  • Ninja Maid: Deconstructed with Black Pearl. She's well trained, but she doesn’t want to actually fight, and is overridden with fear when confronting a Crystal Gem Fusion. Even when she joins the rebellion, she asks for a non-combat oriented role.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Bronze Pearl thought the rebellion was wrong, yet she decided to warn them about the Corruption Bomb because she felt they didn't deserve it. She ended up getting caught in it and couldn’t save anyone anyway.
  • Non-Action Guy: From the Pearls in the rebellion, Matte Grey Pearl is an communication officer, Listener is the unofficial therapist and Black Pearl is this by choice.
  • Not So Similar: While they may both lead their respective sides, Blue Pearl tells Blue Diamond after the latter is unbubbled as a prisoner that there is a difference between them.
    "That is the difference between you and I. When you are sad, you cry and wail about the unfairness of it all. When I am sad, I do not cry. I get things done."
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. All the Gems of the same kind have the same name. In Chapter 37, there are four Emeralds, their Gem positions being the only way to tell them apart. Played straight and lampshaded in Chapter 39 though, with only the canon Pearl being called that, while the other three rebel Pearls have their own nicknames.
  • Original Character: About 99% of the cast is this.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Matte Gold Pearl risks being shattered to help a Coral she didn’t have any business with.
    • Morganite apologizes for using her Pearl for her experiment without her knowledge- and reveals that she's this close to being executed for suggesting that Pearls have any use other than as servants. She even offers her Pearl a job, designing the newest type of gem, which would eventually become Peridot.
  • The Mole: Matte Grey Pearl is a Crystal Gem informant in Homeworld, who later joins to the current rebellion headed by Blue Diamond's Pearl.
  • Rich Bitch: A lot of the higher ranking Gems we see are this.
  • Sand In My Eyes: Olivine Pearl after the human soldier dies.
  • The Speechless: Lilac Pearl was intentionally created to not be able to talk.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The premise. Pearls can’t do a lot to change their situation, but most of them won’t just roll over and gladly take it. Especially the ones in the rebellions.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Bismuth and Pumice. Being different kinds of gems was already a problem, but Pumice was going to be harvested in the first place, and was saved by Bismuth and hidden away.
  • Straight for the Commander: When the New Rebellion begins, they capture all of the Diamonds within the first day of fighting to cripple Homeworld's ability to reply.
  • Survivor Guilt: Onyx in Chapter 39.
  • Taking You with Me: With shades of Best Served Cold. Matte Green Pearl stores all her knowledge of her master’s corrupted deeds in an online account that will send everything to her master’s superiors if/when her master get rids of her.
  • There Are No Therapists: Surprisingly averted with Matte Light Sapphire Pearl/Listener, who does all the therapy in the rebellion. She's obviously not a professional, but she is very good at it.
  • Trojan Horse: Light Purple Pearl sneaks several rebels into an important reunion by hiding their poofed gemstones in the presents her master sent to Benitoite.
  • Troll: AwesomePearl666, a Pearl whose means of rebellion is posting insulting comments in the Diamonds’ propaganda videos and whom nobody seems able to catch. She turns to be Yellow Diamond’s Pearl, of all people.
  • True Companions: Frequently seen. One of the tags in Archive of Our Own is "Pearl Solidarity" after all. Chapter 4 is all about this, and the Pearls in Chapter 32 band together to cover for their defective friends.
  • The Voiceless: Blue Pearl, mostly for lack of habit and because she doesn’t want to get caught leading the new rebellion.