Challenge #01318-C223: Gem Daycare

1) Steven likes to visit Centi. She and the others have sort of adopted him as an honorary crewmember at this point.

2) From -

Teaching kindergarten is like being an ambassador to beings from another planet and teaching them how to assimilate to our culture.

“No, we do not LICK water fountains. Perhaps that is acceptable on your planet, but here on earth we prefer to DRINK from water fountains.”

“Physics might be a little different on your planet, but here when you throw things they typically fall and break.”

“Grabbing people and shaking them violently is not considered a proper greeting on this planet.” -- Anon Guest


There wasn't much he could do for the Centipeedles. He'd come to accept that. His healing saliva didn't quite get them back to sanity, and the effects were both short-lived and on the shady side of torturous.

But he could keep them company and bring them a few things.

So, every Sunday evening, he loaded up his Wacky Sack with snacks, drinks and cheap comics. Then he warped over to the crashed Gem ship, and visited his monstrous friends.

He always made sure to be singing the Chaaaaaaaaps jingle as he opened the door. The Centipeedles were easily frightened and had a tendency to spit acid at anyone or anything that scared them.

What he thought of as the ready room was changing, over the weeks. The Centipeedles had figured out ways to plaster bits of paper and wrappings onto their walls and they were... well... it was a sort of art. Some of it was messages, but they were making a story across one of the walls as well.

Steven had learned quickly to warn them when he was taking a picture. The light of his flash alarmed them, and sent them screaming and spitting into their safe corners.

And once everyone had settled down with their chips and juice boxes, they would let him tend their hair. Who knew that Centipeedles liked getting their hair combed?


There were two surprising things about Amber. One was that her gem took over the place of hair and dominated most of her head. The second was that she was bigger than Garnet and had the attitude of a nervous toddler. Minus the parts where she might be prone to wetting herself, of course.

"And this is where my Dad stays. He's got more than enough money to buy a house, but he likes the van."

"Van," repeated Amber. Then she made a rumbling noise with her lips. "...brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbr..."

"That's right! Just like a car. Vroom, vroom." Steven knocked on the side of the van. "Hey dad! Wake up."

"Over here, Stoo-ball. It's been a good-- Whoah! Where'd she come from?"

Amber blinked owlishly at Dad. Then she said, "Steven got me out of a tree. I wasn't this big, before, though." She landed in a sitting position on the parking lot tarmac and pointed at him. "Dad?"

"No. He's my dad. You can call him Greg. Or Mister Universe." Steven grinned. "She -um- hasn't had much in the way of socialisation."

"I was in a tree for five thousand years," said Amber. "The bad gems didn't like me. So they threw me out."

"She's... kind of like a little kid," said Steven.

"Oh boy," said Dad. He immediately panicked and said, "No! No... We don't put seagulls in our mouths. It's unsanitary."

How she managed to grab a seagull was a mystery for another day. "Pretty bird," said Amber. "Nice for tree."

"Yes. Very good. Now you can let it go so it can be nice for other trees." Steven smiled desperately as he mimed opening a grasping hand for Amber. "I'm not ready for this. The Gems don't know how to handle her and... well..."

"Bye bye pretty bird!"

Dad could guess where this was going. "You want me to try?" His face went pale. "What about the other two in the barn?"

"Da-a-ad... Lapis and Peridot can barely look after each other. Can you imagine them with Amber?"

Now all of him went pale and all of his remaining hair stood on end. "Yikes. Yes I can. But... I gotta be honest, I'm not as fast as I used to be. I might need a lot more help with this..." He gestured at Amber, who had half of a tyre in her mouth. "...big little problem."

Steven sighed. "And the Maheshwarans are moving out in a couple of weeks. And Amber kind'a scared Connie's parents... Get that outta your mouth, Amber. It's not good."

"Chewy," said Amber.

"Maybe," sighed Greg, "I can teach you all how to deal with her. Part time."

"Dad," Amber drawled, and snatched him up in a hug, petting his hair.

At least she knew how to be gentle.

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