Chapter Four: On the Beach
Even though he had seen plenty of magnificent structures in his lifetime, Sam couldn't help but be impressed at the sight before him. From where he stood on the beach he had a great view of the Rebel's homebase. Or, to be more specific, the giant, ramp-shaped hill that hid their homebase.
Based on what he had been told, the Crystal Gems' base, or Temple, as they called it, was actually hidden inside the hill itself. Though it was still easy to find since the cliff face facing the sea had been carved into the statue of a giant woman with multiple-arms and faces who bore more than a passing resemble to a number of Hindu deities.
Yeah, that's not conspicuous at all, Sam thought, sarcastically. You'd have to be blind not to notice it.
It still amazed him how the Rebels had managed to live out in the open for decades - heck, for centuries - without arousing too much attention. Sure, the people of Beach City were probably used to them by now, but certainly somebody else - the governments of every nation on Earth, for example - would be more than a little curious about them. But the lack of response from any officials made it clear that no one around here had ever been alarmed enough to alert them to the fact that a bunch of extraterrestrials were living in spitting distance of their town. Otherwise, someone, whether they were scientists or armed troops, would have stormed the house a long time ago.
Speaking of the house, he gave the rest of the statue a quick glance before he focused on it. It was a wooden saltbox-type beach house with a deck wrapped around it along the front and side. Altogether they didn't sit on the beach itself, but were held up by pylons erected on a ledge that stretched out from the statue's rocky base. To get up the house one had to walk up a sandy path that rose uphill before twisting left to meet a staircase that led up to the deck. Sam found just the sight of the whole structure amusing.
"Cute," he remarked to himself. "You'd think they would hide that cave behind something other than a house, though."
Indeed. Sam knew that, based on it's location, the house hid the entrance to a cave that itself most likely hide the entrance to the Temple, and that was all he knew. No one other than the Crystal Gems had ever been inside, so who knows what kind of an entrance it was. He would, he knew, have to somehow get inside and find out for himself. But first things first.
Since the rain had stopped - though for who knows how long - he had swapped his poncho for his beloved B-3 bomber jacket, which was keeping him warm on this unusually cool spring day. Its spacious pockets were also useful for storing a couple of equally useful items.
He reached into his left pocket and withdrew a slender glass vial, like those used in a laboratory, and a tablespoon. He kneeled down, unscrewed the cap off the vial, shoveled sand into it with the spoon until it was full, resealed it, and slipped it back into the pocket it came from.
He stood up, drew a digital camera from his right pocket, and started taking pictures of his surroundings, including the beach, the statue, the house, the sea, etc. He even took one of himself, grinning, with the house and statue standing in the background behind him.
Last but not least he drew a pocket-sized notepad and a pen from his right pocket, and made a few notes. He slipped them back into his pocket, took one more glance at the Temple, and started walking back down the beach from where he came from.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed two figures standing on the porch watching him leave. Even from a distance of a couple hundred feet he could tell they were not Amethyst and Steven...
There you are, he thought with amusement. Well, now you've seen me, and I've seen you. If your going to do something, do it.
But despite mentally daring them, the two leaders of the Crystal Gems, for that is who they were, never left the porch, and just kept on watching him walk away until he was out of sight.
"Who was that?"