Fallout, Part 1
Written by Kathy Pogge, Thomas F. Revor Jr. and Matthew Shelton.
Artwork by Aimee "Angela" Major.
"This just in at the Fox-5 Newsroom! An explosion rocks downtown
Manhattan! More details as we get them!"
"This is Jonathan Wills for CNN, here at the site of the explosion at
the Manhattan 23rd police precinct. This once majestic station,
topped by its gothic-style clock tower, is now in ruins. Earlier this
night, a terrorist attack destroyed the clock tower, leaving over 30 officers
injured but, thankfully, no fatalities. Witnesses claim to have
seen a plume of flame streaking towards the tower right before the explosion. No groups have claimed responsibility for this act at this time, but even as I speak the local men and women of the NYPD are rising from the rubble to launch an invesigation into this heinous crime."
"This is Nicole St. John for WVRN. Two people have been arrested
in the terrorist attack on the 23rd police precinct. They are listed
as Jason Canmore, alias Detective Jason Conover, age 32, and his
sister Robyn Canmore, age 28. Still at large is their brother Jon Canmore,
alias Jon Carter, age 25. Viewers may recognize him from his very brief stint as a reporter here at WVRN for us last week.
Jon Canmore has blond hair and blue eyes, is approximately five-foot-nine, and weighs about 175 pounds.
He is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, immediately report his whereabouts to the number below.
"With two of the human terrorists in custody and a third on the run, speculation runs rampant about how the police will handle the gargoyle involvement in this terrible tragedy. To date, local law enforcement has yet to acknowledge the existence of these creatures,
but we here at WVRN have in our possession an amateur video which shows that the urban myth of gargoyles is in fact
very real. Several of these creatures were at the precint house at the time it was attacked; you can clearly see the monstrous figures flying away from the scene
just after the explosion. Travis, do we have that tape ready...?"
* * * * *
Elisa set her copy of the New York Sentinel aside to check her watch.
The smell of burgers and fries filled the coffee shop and reminded her
how long it had been since she had her last meal. She looked out the windows.
Still seeing no sign of her father, she signaled to the waitress for another
cup of coffee, picked up her paper and continued reading the front page.
The waitress returned a moment later and refilled her coffee. Elisa
thanked the woman and just stared at the paper. She was dead tired
after the last couple of days and it didn't look like things were going
to settle down any time soon. There was a small television behind
the counter, and several of the patrons began to gather as the soap opera
was interrupted with another "Gargoyle News Update." She sighed
and dumped three sugars in her mug, figuring she was going to need the
energy to deal with the new day.
At least the Sentinel seemed to be giving Goliath and the clan a fair
shake, she thought as she finished the article. So far WVRN was acting like a large dog that had been given a particularly meaty bone.
The anchor, Travis Marshall, was as polished as ever. Straining
to hear over the sparse crowd of early morning patrons, Marshall finished
his comments. The scene cut over to a young, blond and willowy woman
who was standing slightly apart from the other reporters in front of the
mayor's office. She looked like she had been up for days, but was
trying to put across a pulled-together look. She'd seen a network
anchorman do something similar in Sarajevo once, but then heard later
from a friend who worked on the camera crew that he'd actually been carefully
made up to appear both disheveled and professional. From what she
heard about St. John, Elisa wouldn't put it past her to try something
like that. She put aside her cynical analysis and listened to the
"Thanks, Travis. This is Nicole St. John in front of City Hall.
We are waiting for Jose Hablar, New York City Chief of Staff. After a
rather profound silence, City Hall is finally making a statement about
the 23rd Precinct station bombing, the attack on the St. Damian Cathedral,
and the long awaited confirmation about the gargoyles. Long believed
to be just another urban myth, the fact that these monsters are real has
the usually unflappable New York citizens scared.
"Over the past year, stories of gargoyle attacks have been reported and
become more frequent in the past months, but much like the 'alligator
in the sewers', have largely been ignored by the police. City officials
have been promising an official statement since this horror began, but
have not yet released any information."
Elisa turned back to study her paper again; the contrast between the
back-to-basics newspaper and the biased television appeared starker than
ever. Finishing the article, she set the paper aside and picked
up the menu. After a moment, she decided on the half-pound green
chili cheeseburger and onion rings just as she caught sight of her father
pushing past the crowd of TV watchers and waved him over.
"Dad! Over here!" She stood and briefly embraced him before
calling for the waitress again.
The waitress ("Dolly," Elisa noticed mechanically) set a second mug down
in front of Peter Maza and refilled Elisa's cup before asking if they
were ready to order. Elisa rattled off her order. Her father
told Dolly to make it two. Picking up the coffeepot, she headed
back to the kitchen.
"Does your mother know you still order food like that?" Peter asked
his daughter, knowing how strict his wife was about good eating.
"More importantly," she replied grinning, "does Mom know that you're still ordering food like that? You know what she says about that..."
"Peter Maza, what do you think you're doing?" he said in a fair impersonation
of his wife. "That stuff'll give you a heart attack! Here,
have some nice low-fat, low-cholesterol food. You'll live longer."
His daughter chorused him as he said "If you die, don't you come running
to me!" They both looked at each other and broke up laughing.
"All right, kiddo," he said, sounding nothing like Edward G. Robinson
and wiping away the tears of laughter, "you got me. I won't squeal
on you if you don't rat on me, see?"
"Deal." She smiled at him, but could see the fatigue underneath
the cheer. She knew without looking that her father was examining
her with a critical eye. She feinted and changed the subject before
he could really start in on her. "How is Mom anyway? And Beth?
I haven't had heard from either of them recently."
"Your mother's on another book tour, this time for her 'African Tales
and Legends.' As for Beth, I got a call from her just last night.
She was so excited she almost couldn't get the news out."
"Really?" Elisa asked, her curiosity peaked. "What has my
little sister gotten herself into this time?"
"She entered the American Ethnology Society's essay contest. She
won first prize."
"Wow! Seems she took after Mom more than either Derek or me.
What'd she win?"
"They're going to publish her essay in their magazine. You'll soon
be seeing 'The Relevance of North American Mythology in Today's World'
by Beth Maza on a newsstand near you."
"That's wonderful! No wonder Beth was excited. I guess our
meeting Coyote in Arizona wasn't a bad thing after all."
Elisa knew she had blown it as the humor drained from her father's face
and a look of concern and worry replaced it.
"Elisa, when was the last time you got any shut-eye? You look like..."
"Well, looks like Hablar's finally letting us know what's going on,"
Elisa said, pointing to the television which was showing the reporters
jockeying into position.
The restaurant suddenly got very quiet as the very dapper Jose Hablar
took the podium. Elisa couldn't help but shake her head. She had
seen this guy pulled out of bed at three in the morning and he managed
to look just as turned out as he did at noon. Today he was clad
in a dark gray suit that made him look serious and yet at the same time
was cut to guarantee he would win another placement on the 10 best dressed
"Ladies and Gentleman of the Press, Fellow New Yorkers, I want to assure
you first of all that we are confident that this most recent terrorist
threat is ended. The police force is doing their utmost to ensure
the capture of Jon Canmore and eliminate this threat to the safety.
New York, once again, is safe. Now, any questions?"
"Mr. Hablar," A blonde woman in the front demanded, "what is the city's
reaction to the existence of the gargoyles?"
Hablar began to look slightly less unflappable, but still was able to
maintain his composure with ease. "The mayor is hard at work formulating
a plan to study this Gargoyle situation with the detail that it deserves..."
Elisa turned her attention back to her father and the cup of coffee that
was cooling in front of her. She took a healthy swallow and noticed that
the look of concern never left her father's face.
"Dad, really, I'm fine!" she protested. "I've just been a little busy
lately, missed some sleep and a few meals." Not to mention falling
off a dam, being pulled several miles down river and almost dying, she
thought to herself. "I'll catch up when things cool down. Promise!"
She tried to look reassuring. "Come on Dad, every cop in the city
is on alert. We all look like this right now. It's not like you
didn't have some times like this before you retired."
She was saved for the moment from making further protests when Dolly
returned with a laden tray and began to distribute burgers and condiments.
They spent the next several minutes concentrating on the food in front
of them. But Peter continued to watch his daughter with a pensive look
on his face.
"I wanted to talk to you about that," he began tentatively.
"What? My work habits or your retiring?" Elisa asked around a mouth
full of ketchup-soaked onion ring.
"Both. You know, ever since I went back to help Beth with Xanatos and
that Coyote Carving and mended my fences with Dad, I've been thinking.
Maybe it's time to go home." He paused a moment. "To Arizona. All of us."
"What?!" Elisa stopped, stared at her father and slowly put her burger
back on her plate.
"I'm serious about this, Elisa. Maybe it's time to get out of New
York. It's always been a challenge living here, but now it's downright
dangerous. I want the family safe. I want you safe. Are you really willing
to continue to risk your life for these 'friends' of yours?"
The blood began to roar in Elisa's ears as her father looked at her pleadingly.
A small part of her mind thought that perhaps now was not the time to
tell her father about recent developments in her romantic life. Another
part of her thought that maybe he was right. Maybe a bit of normality
was what she needed. She understood that he was concerned for her
safety, but knew that she couldn't leave her life here. Even as
tired as she was feeling she knew that this had to be settled here and
"Dad, I have a life and responsibilities here. I can't just leave
it." She paused. "And what about Derek and Maggie? What
about all of those who depend on them? This is their fight too,
y'know. One of the things that you taught us was to never run away
from a fight." She sighed inwardly as she saw the look on her father's
face and realized she'd won.
"Looks like I taught you too well." He lowered his eyes.
"It's just so frustrating knowing that you're going to be right in the
middle of this thing and that I can't protect you." He looked straight
into her eyes, his pain evident. "I don't care if you're the best marksman
in the precinct or if you have Goliath to protect you. You will
always be my little girl."
"Oh, Dad." Elisa clasped her hands around his, giving him a smile she
didn't feel. "I wouldn't want it any other way."
On the TV, Hablar continued to take a beating. The questions were
getting more and more speculative. A short balding man from one
of the tabloids was asking if all gargoyle type statues were suspects
in the recent disturbances, and was it true that the effects of acid rain
were being studied, in relation to how these statues had come to life
in the first place. The unflappable Hablar finally lost it. He ignored
the man's question and announced that the Mayor's Office would reply from
now on with written statements only. He left the podium and walked
to the safety of the office behind him. Elisa recognized a figure
standing in the background: the new Sentinel Police Beat reporter
Jerry Pearson, frantically scribbling notes. She wondered what his spin
on events would be; the article he had written on the gargoyles was pretty
fair. He seemed like a pretty nice guy and his dusky good looks
certainly were easy on the eyes. The gargoyles were going to need
a friend in the media; maybe getting to know Pearson better wouldn't be
a bad idea, she mused. If his opinion could be swayed...
When she looked back at her father he had composed himself once more.
"It will be all right," she soothed. "Somehow everything will be all right."
She thought of the brief kiss she had shared with Goliath and hope she
wasn't deluding herself.
They finished their meal in hurried silence. Peter pushed his burger
around the plate as Elisa cleared hers. She glanced at her watch and groaned.
"Dad, I've got to leave now or I'll be late meeting Matt." She pulled
cash out of her billfold and signaled the waitress. Peter started
to protest, but she snagged the bill and pressed the cash into the woman's
hand. She kissed her father on the forehead quickly and strode out into
the dwindling afternoon sun. He watched her carefully checking the
street and the pedestrians around her as she disappeared from view.
Peter was thinking about leaving also, when the anchor cut back in over
the last few minutes of the soap opera. The crowd groaned, but like
witnesses to a train wreck, they crowded back around the television set.
He settled back in the vinyl booth and signaled Dolly for more coffee.
The scene on the screen shifted to the nighttime clip of the gargoyles
departing the scene at St. Damian's in a black unmarked helicopter.
He had a reasonable guess as to where the next feed would be coming from
and was rewarded with a view of the Eyrie building and Mr. Owen Burnett.
"Looks like the lackeys are out in force today," a familiar voice mused
Peter looked up startled. "Morgan, you old son of a gun! How have you
been?" He was genuinely pleased to see his old friend. But Elisa was right.
There wasn't a cop on the force that didn't look like hell, Morgan included.
He waved Dolly back over and started a fresh tab.
Morgan accepted the coffee and apple pie that Dolly brought over with
a shadow of his usual cheery smile. He must be a regular, Peter
thought, for her to know his habits like this.
He was confirmed two for two when Dolly pulled her order pad out of her
apron pocket. "The usual, Officer?" She said it with a familiarity
that suggested nightly routine.
Morgan nodded. "And Dolly, keep the coffee coming. It's going to be a
Peter had to admit that he was as curious as the rest about what Burnett
would say to the press. It seemed that the ties between David Xanatos
and his own family was going to get tighter and he was not particularly
pleased with the notion. They had gotten a phone call from the man
himself a week or so back. He'd never found out what the man wanted, though
-- Diane had answered the phone, listened long enough to find out who
was on the other side of the line then hung up, with a look that spoke
volumes. She had then hounded him to find the little book the phone company
had sent out that had instructions on how to block calls from specific
Morgan's attention had been drawn to the television as well, delaying
any possible conversation. He sipped his coffee and focused on the officious
blond man behind the microphone.
"Ladies and Gentleman of the Press, I have a short statement to make."
He straightened himself a fraction and prepared to speak. He was
interrupted by someone in the press corps. "Will you be answering questions
after you make your statement?" a baritone voice rumbled.
Burnett shot a withering gaze at a portly man in the third row. "Doubtful,"
he replied. "Now if I may be allowed to continue?"
The press corps settled down like a group of sullen children before their
schoolmaster. It was an interesting contrast to the circus that
had surrounded City Hall's press flack earlier. The camera closed in on
Burnett close enough to see the exquisite tailoring of the man's suit
and the glimpse of the red silk power tie.
"It has been speculated by some of the media agencies that Mr. David
Xanatos or employees of Xanatos Enterprises, Xanacorp, or one of the other
subsidiary operations was somehow involved in the escape of the creatures
known as gargoyles, during the events of the evening of October 26th.
I wish to categorically deny any such involvement. On October 24th, the
FAA notified Xanatos Enterprises of possible mechanical hazard related
to a defective rotor housing. This was the same defect that was responsible
for the crash that killed several members of the Cyberlink board of directors
approximately two months ago. Rather than risk a repeat of that
tragedy, all helicopters of the XE-2000 class were taken off-line for
a thorough inspection of system and possible repair. Copies of the reports
are available to members of the press at their convenience."
paused. "Further more, Mr. Xanatos has no personal desire to involve
himself with anything that might disturb the tranquility of his home.
From all accounts, involvement with these so-called gargoyles sounds as
if it would be anything but tranquil. Mr. Xanatos reminds you that he
resides with his wife and young son, and that their safety and well being
will always be his paramount concern." He looked up from his prepared
statement. "That will be all, ladies and gentlemen. Good Afternoon."
He left the podium without another word and the scene cut abruptly back
to the station's newsroom. The cook, however, had apparently heard
enough. "Dolly! Find me something that isn't the news or shut that box
off. It's upsetting my ulcer!"
The screen went blank and the counter patrons dispersed back to their
respective places. Dolly brought a brimming plate of hot turkey
sandwich and mashed potatoes and set it in front of Morgan. He smiled
at her gratefully and dug in.
"Morgan, how often do you see Elisa these days?" Peter tried to
ask as casually as he could muster.
"Checking up on your little girl again, aren't you?" Morgan's words made
it sound like Elisa was fifteen again, and Peter wished for a moment that
He looked away from Morgan's dark features and nodded. "I just worry
about her. She's managed to take on some pretty tough customers
during the past year or so. She looked..." Words failed him for
a moment, and he paused. "Keep an eye on her for me, will you?"
Morgan shook his head and laughed. The sound was low and musical and
only added to Peter's discomfort. "I won't promise anything, but I'll
do what I can. One overprotective father to another."
Peter nodded his thanks. "I owe you one."
"Take it out of all the ones I owe you," Morgan said as he looked at
his watch and donned his cap. "Time to go make the streets safe."
He sighed and stared into the last of the dwindling afternoon sunlight.
"I can't imagine things getting crazier then they have been, but I never
had much imagination. Take care, Peter." He traded a few remarks
with Dolly who was now behind the cash register, settled his tab and departed,
leaving Peter to his own thoughts.
* * * * *
Elisa frowned as she listened to the matter-of-fact tones of Owen Burnett.
Despite the assurances she had given her father, she was bone-weary and
her patience had frayed to the breaking point.
"Well, you can tell Xanatos to keep his security system, because I don't
need any of HIS help!"
Owen's tone was infinitely calm as he replied to her protestations.
"Mister Xanatos is afraid he must insist in his offer. He still feels
a debt of gratitude to a 'mutual friend' for his helping to save young
Alexander." Owen droned on, his calm and monotone voice filling
Elisa with frustration and anger. "He feels that you are presently in
danger, and Mister Xanatos only wishes to help our `mutual friends' by
seeing to your safety."
"Tell him he can save it, and do me the favor of not hurting them any
further than he already has!" Elisa erupted. "HE'S the one who created
The Pack, HE'S the one who forced them into leaving the castle in the
first place... HE'S the one who paid Sevarius to..."
Elisa broke off, the words choking in her throat. The silence on the
other end allowed her the momentary hope that Owen might empathize with
her. But the moment ended and he began again. "Detective Maza, make
any preparations you wish. However, Mister Xanatos plans to have your
new safety features ready to install within the week."
"Can't you get it through your thick skull?!" Elisa yelled into the phone.
"I said `NO!'" Without waiting for Owen to say more, Elisa stabbed
at the button, and hung up the phone. Leaving the headset on the table
instead of back on its cradle, Elisa picked up the keys and got up to
leave for work, locking the door behind her. She had no time to
sit there and argue with Burnett. She had just meant to dash in to pick
up a thing or two after her talk with Dad at the coffee shop, and now
it was off to work for the night.
That is, if you could call chaos "work."
It was nearly six o'clock by the time she reached the station. The firemen
had jammed stakes into the street and strung fencing across them, with
police tape wrapped all over it. There was stone debris everywhere. For
an idle moment, she wondered if any of the small bits might be pieces
of stone gargoyle skin.
"Aw, come on! You don't understand! There's a reason it was in the safe!
You'll dig out the chief's files, but this could be just as important!"
As Elisa pulled into a nearby parking spot, she could make out Matt's
pleading voice, filtered through all the sounds of the traffic and noise
on the street. The fireman he was talking to seemed to shrug at all the
complaining, but surrendered to go do what Matt asked him anyway.
"Bluestone! There's another person on the phone for you about the Gargoyle
Task Force!" Chavez's voice floated clearly above the noise.
Captain Chavez was about, as usual, desperately trying to oversee the
crisis of losing her station building. The way she was still limping
around made Elisa sure that the doctor had not authorized her mobility.
Morgan was here too, hauling boxes. It looked like none of the firemen
were allowing anyone inside the building -- probably too dangerous. Water
was being sprayed right and left both to put out the small fires that
kept cropping up, and to keep the dust down as they tore the place apart.
How much police work was being done? How many of them were on the beat
Elisa threaded her way through wreckage and co-workers, watched her partner
pick up a phone, speak briefly and drop the receiver back onto the cradle.
He didn't seem happy.
"Hey, Matt. What's left?" Elisa called out.
The look on her partner's face spoke volumes and the slight whine in
his voice confirmed her instinctive take on the situation. Matt was not a happy camper.
"I'm really gonna hate this, if this is what I have to go through to
get my files, let alone my computer!" He ignored her question utterly,
intent on the recovery of his precious paperwork.
"Well, worry about them later, right now we gotta go talk to Robyn Canmore."
Matt shrugged, dropped a small pile of papers on a makeshift desk over
by the trailers that had been brought in, and walked over by Elisa and
"Captain letting you back onto the night shift early?"
Elisa looked away. "What partner do I have during the day? All my partners
are nocturnal." She paused and looked about at the wreckage as she
controlled her anger long enough to share her news. "I got a call
from our 'Lord of the Castle'."
"Mr. X? What does he want?"
"He wants to upgrade the security in my apartment, and he 'insists'."
Matt seemed to be more than a little sleep-deprived himself and not really
listening. But he picked up on the word "insists" and raised an eyebrow.
One look at Elisa's face, eyes still burning with remembered rage, was
all it took to tell him where that conversation had ended up. He
abruptly changed the subject to keep her focused on the matters at hand.
"My news is worse than that. If we're back to working together, then
we're both in charge of this 'Gargoyles Task Force'."
"Ironic, eh?" She surveyed the damage around her and thought about what
could happen if the task force ended up in the hands of someone who had
self-promotion in mind. She shook her head to clear the thought away and
gave Matt a wry smile. "At least we're the good guys. What does
the task force do?"
"Well, the Captain said we first had to ascertain what the clan--" He
paused and corrected himself practicing for the press corps briefings
to come. "Uh...what the gargoyles are capable of and stop anything like
the blast at the clocktower or the old cathedral from happening again."
"It wasn't their fault!" Elisa protested automatically. "If we could
catch Jon Canmore, between him and the testimony Jason's given us, I'm
sure we could give the court a good case. It'd give us a chance to shift
the focus away from the clan. If only we could do something about Demona..."
She cut herself off abruptly as the desk sergeant walked past carrying
a box of paperwork. She noted with alarm that it seemed to be smoking
Matt leaned against the hood of the car and feigned nonchalance that
he didn't really feel. He looked past the damage and watched the
last rays of the sun disappear from the cityscape. He nodded his agreement
but knew it was an uphill battle. Best to let Elisa know now how
hard the climb was going to be. "I gave a statement to the press about
the Hunters, and they quoted me on the air as chastising the press for
jumping to conclusions about the attack and about being soft on the gargoyles."
Elisa sighed and frowned as she looked out over the skyline.
Matt saw the concern that lined his partner's face. He placed his
hand on her shoulder. "You know they couldn't stay a secret forever."
Beneath his hand, he felt her shoulders droop as the truth of it set in.
But that moment of weariness lasted only a moment as she shook off his
hand, squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye as he continued.
"All I know is that I intend to prove the Hunters destroyed both the clocktower and the cathedral. I need Robyn before I can do that. Jason says she
launched the missiles. And I think she flew the ship into the cathedral
Elisa shook her head. "No, that just doesn't add up. The way Robyn was
acting..." She trailed off mentally reviewing the events after her arrival
at the church. "I doubt it. More likely it was Jon, he was really...
unstable that night."
Elisa unlocked the car and rolled up the window against the evening chill.
She gunned the engine to life and waited to clear the parking lot as one
of her coworkers roared out of the parking lot on a Code Three call. As
the sirens diminished into the night Matt put a hand to his chin and stared,
scowling, out the window. "This city is about to explode, Elisa. Today
alone, there have been three attacks on statuary and other pieces of art
because some fool thought he saw them move."
Elisa didn't reply. There were only seven pieces of 'statuary' she cared
about at this point.
"All it's gonna take is one gang to call a person 'gargoyle-lover', and
there's gonna be shootings -- even riots."
Matt's words were striking closer to home than he realized and Elisa
shook her head, fresh determination steadying her against the battle ahead.
"I'd sort of gotten used to only telling half-truths on my reports, but
now what do I do?"
"Tell them the truth, Elisa. Maybe it's time to let the world know just
what has been going on. It'll set the Commissioner's Office on its ear.
Not to mention the Daily Tattler.... But it has to be done slowly.
This is gonna upset a lot of people."
"A little truth at a time," Elisa agreed. "And you can forget the Daily
Tattler." She knew there was going to be a day soon when she wished they'd
crawl under the rock they came from. And she wondered how she should break
the news to Goliath.
* * * * *
"Even with all the changes going on," Matt thought to himself, "at least
this place will always remain consistent." Rikers Island had been
around for... one hundred years? At least it felt that way.
Men and women incarcerated in eight by eight cells, serving time for their
crimes. They spent their lives pacing like caged animals.
But then again, most of them were. He tried to compose himself for
their interview with Robyn Canmore, but the atmosphere was getting him
down. The atmosphere always got him down.
He set his shoulders and ran a hand through his short red hair as his
partner came out of the Processing room -- a determined, almost angry,
look on her face. But who could blame her?
"God, I hate coming here." She straightened her jacket over her
now empty holster and pushed her hair away from her face.
"Heads or tails, partner?" she asked, pulling a coin out of her pocket.
Bluestone always dreaded this part. "Tails."
Elisa flipped the coin off of her thumb, as both watched it flip end
over end before she caught it again and looked at it. " Heads.
"Why does it seem like I'm always the `good cop'?" Matt said.
"Because, Bluestone, you're such a nice guy that if you tried to be the
`bad cop', the perps'd probably laugh themselves into submission."
Matt chuckled as the walked towards the interview room.
The guard at the door nodded her head in silent greeting and verified
their identification. With a prisoner as important as this one,
the warden wasn't going to take any chances. Elisa paced just a
bit as the guard unlocked the door and escorted them in. Robyn Canmore
was already sitting down, handcuffed to the chair. She didn't look
up as the two officers entered the small room.
"Why can't this ever be easy?" Matt thought as he sighed.
He grabbed a chair and sat down. Elisa simply paced back and forth.
"Jason's out of surgery, now. The prognosis is good, but he'll
never walk again." Matt said, keeping his voice low in sympathy.
"There's still no trace of Jon. Jason was worried something might
have happened to him."
"Why did you do it, Robyn?" Matt leaned forward. Out of the
corner of his eye, he noticed Elisa had stopped pacing and was just waiting
in the corner. Good. Try to keep herself out of the picture
until necessary. "All those people could have been killed."
Silence greeted him. For all the response, she might have been
a statue herself.
Over in the corner, Elisa said, with just a touch of scorn in her voice,
"Jason told us your plans. Last night, right before he went into
surgery. He's trying to take the rap himself. We have enough
on you, though, to make sure you never see the light of day again."
"Robyn," Matt said, "the charges against you include multiple charges
of assault on a police officer, destruction of public property, and use
of weapons within the city limits. There's even talk of federal
charges of terrorism being brought up against you, not to mention the
international charges." Matt put on his best innocent look.
"C'mon. We only want you to help us help you."
Silence. Elisa walked over and grabbed Robyn by the shoulders.
"You tried to kill a building full of police officers! You've spent
your life full of murder and death! How many people have died because
Robyn's eyes grew cold and hard, but not a word was said.
Elisa could feel the rage building inside of her. "How many 'accidents'
have you and your brothers caused? How many people weren't lucky
enough to have survived your 'mistakes'? How many people have you
killed?" Elisa was almost screaming now. Good. No one
could play the 'bad cop' like Elisa Maza. But now for the coup'
Matt stood up and grabbed Elisa by the shoulders. "Elisa!
Get a hold of yourself!"
"Get out of my way, Bluestone! She has to pay! If I have
to do it myself, she's going to pay!" She started to struggle to
get out of his grasp. Matt didn't dare look back to see if there
was any reaction. The look on Elisa's face was murderous.
In one quick motion, he took his hand off of Elisa's shoulder and slapped
her across the face.
Elisa was stunned. He just pierced her with a gaze. "Get
out of here, Maza. Now!"
She held her hand up to her face. "You'll regret this, Bluestone,"
she said with an icily cold tone. Without a second glance, she turned
around and knocked for the guard to let her out. After a moment,
Bluestone was alone in the room with his prisoner.
Matt sat down again, then reached over and hit the stop button on the
obvious video camera. "This is off the record, Robyn. You
know who Elisa's friends are. She cares very much for all of them,
enough to step outside of the lines. I'm trying to help you."
Canmore's remained impassive. Matt could tell he was going to get
nowhere with her. "I'm sorry to see you feel that way, Robyn."
He pulled back, got up and knocked on the door to be let out. He
offered one more appeal Canmore. "Robyn, if for no other reason,
help us out for your brothers' sake. Jason's going to need family
around him now, and we're eventually going to get Jon. It's better
if he comes in now, rather than compound his problem." Her face
was a brick wall.
Robyn didn't even look back as the officers took her back to her cell.
The complete lack of empathy in her gaze made his skin crawl. He looked
in vain for Elisa. It wasn't until he neared the check-in area that
he caught up with his missing partner. One ear was glued to her cell phone
and from the expression on his face the conversation was not going well.
She slammed the phone with a snap just as he was allowed clearance back
into the "free zone."
"Wonderful. Just wonderful."
His question and her declaration were spoken almost simultaneously.
"Bad news, Partner?"
He watched her as they walked to her Fairlane, as she fumed quietly while
unlocking the door and starting the engine.
"That was the Captain on the phone. The Commissioner has approved the
final Task Force assignments."
"Yeah so... what's so awful about that?"
Elisa threw the car into reverse and began to head out of the parking
lot. "You've been confirmed as team leader. Also there's Maguire,
from the 26th, Hernandez from the 14th, Tanaka from the 22nd, Smith from
Matt nodded in recognition at the names that she was reciting. All good
cops, although Maguire could be a pain in the neck and Hernandez was a
stickler for procedure, but good cops all the same. "So what's the problem?"
he finally asked, interrupting Elisa's litany.
She paused, taking a deep breath trying to collect her thoughts. "I've
been stricken from the Task Force roster. We're still officially
partners on other cases, but..." She paused. "The official
reason is they only want one detective per precinct represented."
She glanced at him sharply, pulled the car into the first available parking
space and cut the engine.
"And the unofficial reason?"
She just shook her head. "I don't know. And Captain Chavez didn't seem
to think it would be a good idea to fight this one."
"Let it go, Elisa. I'll do what I can. Besides, someone's gotta keep
the streets safe while I'm battling bureaucrats and newshounds."
She smiled at that and restarted the car. "Promise me, Matt. If
you hear anything that concerns the guys that I'll be the first to know."
The Fairlane sped off into the night.
* * * * *
Darkness, both within and without, surrounded Jon Canmore as he finished
packing. After what he... after what those monsters had done,
the darkness suited him just fine. He would have much rather taken
more time, but who knows what they would do to his family? Jason,
lying wounded at their feet; Robyn -- poor, sweet Robyn -- held hostage
by those creatures. If he were to have any success at rescuing them, he
would have to hurry.
He turned on his television to see if there any had been any word on
his family. He instantly recognized the blond hair and plastic
attitude of Nicole St. John. "Police have apprehended Police Detective
Jason Conover, alias Jason Canmore, and his sister Robyn Canmore on suspicion
of the terrorist attack upon the 23rd Precinct police station. Still
at large is their brother, former WVRN reporter Jon Carter, alias Jon
Canmore. Police also want to question the creatures known only as
'gargoyles' about their involvement with the attack. However, the
statement from Jason Canmore seem to clear the gargoyles of all involvement
with the bombing."
"NO!" His anger consuming him, Jon drew the .45 at his side and
fired repeatedly into the television, leaving it in pieces. He collapsed,
despair overwhelming him. "No, no, no..."
"A bit of a sticky wicket, what?"
Jon looked over.
There was a man standing in the corner of his room. For the fraction of a second he seemed composed of shadows, but as he stepped away from the wall, Jon realized he was merely clad in black from head to toe. As the man continued forward, palms raised, his lapel pin caught Jon's notice: a golden pyramid capped with an eye.
Jon aimed the gun at the intruder. "Who are you? How did you get in here?!"
Ignoring the gun, he continued to walk towards Jon. "A friend.
Someone who believes the way that you do."
Aim never wavering, Jon sat down on the bed.
"Tell me more."
His visitor gestured to a nearby chair. "Please," Jon said
flatly. "Be my guest."
"I represent -- shall we say -- a consortium who believe that the Gargoyles
are a threat to humanity. We have certain plans in action, but need
someone to head the operation. Someone strong and decisive.
Someone who knows the threat of these demons. The people I represent
feel that someone is you."
"I'm flattered," The youngest Canmore snorted. Then, after a moment of consideration: "...What would I get out of if?"
"A regular salary, people working for you, legal counsel to help your
family, and most of all, the opportunity for revenge."
A perfect offer for a man in his position; Jon was naturally skeptical. "Sounds too good to be true. Of course
there is the little problem of recognition, I can't exactly blend into
the background, what with every television station and newspaper showing
my picture all over the place."
A thin, tight smile creased the stranger's face. "We'll also give
you a new identity. And don't worry about your face. We have
a very good surgical staff. You could almost say that they work
Jon started to open his mouth again, but the stranger interrupted
him. "We've been following the Canmore family for some time now.
We actually had thought about having your brother as our top man, but
what with what happened to him..." He leaned forward and stared
straight into Jon's eyes; Jon felt as though the man was peering into his soul. "He fought the good fight, but now it's
up to you to continue on." The two stared at each other. Jon
felt his tight expression smoothing, his worries and fears dissipating like mist.
Smiling, the dark-clan man straightened up. "But go ahead
and take your time; think about it. The offer will be open for the
next 24 hours." Reaching into his jacket, he pulled out a card and
a pen and wrote something on the back. "Call this number if you're interested." Setting the card down on the arm of
the chair, the stranger strolled out out of the room. The door clicked shut softly behind him.
Jon sat for a long while in the darkness staring at the card.
As dawn broke, he finally reached over and picked it up. As he started
towards the phone his finger traced the embossed logo -- a fist holding a
* * * * *
The last rays of the setting sun backlit the awakening gargoyles as the
air was filled with a roar and a rain of stone chips pelting the castle
parapets. David Xanatos leaned safely out of harm's way and took in the
view. "You know, Owen, I've missed this."
"Mr. Xanatos, you are aware that their continued presence here is going
to cause a substantial risk. The press cannot be stalled forever, and
there are other considerations as well..." He trailed off, not sure how
close he was to crossing the new boundaries that seemed to have cropped
up when it came to the gargoyles.
"I'm aware of the situation," Xanatos replied just a touch more sharply
then he intended. "Besides, life itself is risk." he said, carrying
more than a touch of his old ironic humor.
"Yes, Sir." The matter was evidently closed and Owen took the hint
not to pursue it further. "Will there be anything else?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. I want Goliath and his clan to be afforded
every hospitality. This is their home as much as ours. I'm sure that some
adjustments will be required to make them comfortable. See to it that
nothing is overlooked. " He paused and thought a moment. "And Owen, that
includes Detective Maza. We may want to make her our 'special project'."
"As you wish, Mr. Xanatos. She seemed quite adamant in her refusal of
your assistance this afternoon." Owen replied.
"I know, Owen. But it's the challenge of the situation that makes it
so very interesting. How do we get the detective to do what's best for
her despite all of her objections?" Xanatos noted the dour look
on Owen's normally bland features. "Don't worry," he soothed. "It'll be
"Yes, Mr. Xanatos." Owen's tone and demeanor indicated that he shared
a very different definition of fun.
"That's all for now, Owen. I believe that Alexander will be needing your
attentions soon and I want to review the quarterly statements and project
lists for the Robotics Divisions, so if you could have those on my desk
in say... thirty minutes." He glanced at his watch then stepped
out of the shadows to meet the clan.
Xanatos looked around at the gargoyles. He never thought he'd see
a night like this one month ago, much less a year ago when the 'feud'
was at it's highest. But even with the debt he owed Goliath, he
couldn't help baiting Goliath in even more subtle ways now. "Ah,
Goliath," he said, approaching the clan leader. "Sleep well? You looked
remarkably... content tonight."
It was difficult to tell in the diffused light but it appeared to Xanatos
that the big gargoyle was blushing. He was also quick to note that Goliath
scanned the terrace behind him and looked faintly disappointed when he
realized that Xanatos was the only human present.
"Your hasty departure from that church in front of all of those people
had quite an effect on our little city. I'm afraid that the police
are more than slightly occupied attempting to restore order." He
noted the look of concern that immediately filled Goliath's broad features.
"I'm sure Detective Maza is safe, just... busy. No doubt she'll
contact you as soon as it's practical." He paused as he gestured
towards the door. "In the meantime, you might want to glance at
today's paper or the evening news. It looks like a good night to
stay home, Goliath." His voice quieted as he talked to the large
gargoyle. "The best warrior knows when to take time to regroup and
Goliath's emotions continued to play out on his craggy features. He seemed
to be weighing duty against personal desire. Duty won out.
"I suppose spending some time appraising our new situation would be best,"
"Good." He smiled and held out his hands in a gesture of welcome.
"The castle is your home, once again. I have instructed Owen to make sure
you want for nothing. All you have to do is ask."
Goliath only grunted impassively.
Xanatos looked around once again, hoping to find a friendlier recipient.
"Brooklyn, Lexington. Undamaged, I see. Excellent."
He skirted around Bronx. The beast looked as if he couldn't decide whether
to lick his hand or tear out his throat. Actually, most of the clan seemed
to be having the same problem. He noted with interest how Broadway blocked
his path as he attempted to pay his respects to Angela.
Time for a strategic retreat. "Well, I just wanted to welcome you home
once again. If you need anything at all just let me know."
He crossed back over to Goliath, who seemed to be measuring his clanmates'
responses. "I nearly forgot to mention, I've had Owen prepare quarters
for you in the West Wing. We're still setting up of course, remodeling
takes time, but there's a study, entertainment center and hospitality
suite where the furniture is built a little more `generously', shall we
say? Of course, the entire castle is at your disposal. We
just thought you might like some personal space."
The conflicted look crossed Goliath's features again. He started
to say something, reconsidered and gave a slight bow. "Your concern for
our comfort is most kind. I'm sure the others will feel the same way...
Goliath studied Xanatos's departing back, conscious of Hudson's presence
at his elbow. "The lads and lass are getting rather impatient and
want to know what your instructions are. Will we be going on patrol tonight?"
He took the few steps required to look over the edge of the balcony and
stared out into the night. The lights of the city gleamed with a particular
intensity, the result of nervous citizens and more nervous police officers
out on the street. His gaze drifted towards Elisa's apartment complex
and then toward the ruins of their own adopted clock tower. He sighed
and wondered where it was going to end. He continued to gaze out
at the city apparently lost in his thoughts. Hudson harrumphed softly
at his side and brought his attention back to the moment.
"No, not tonight. It might be best if we stayed in." He stalled Hudson's
objections with a glance. "Our revelation to the world requires that we
do a little reconnaissance prior to resuming our patrols. I believe that
in this instance that television of yours might be of some use.
Xanatos mentioned that many of the news programs were carrying stories
about Demona's attack on the church last night. We should see what they
are saying about us before we reemerge before the public. Besides,"
he said as he looked towards his charges, "I think they need a little
time to absorb all the changes."
Hudson noted that Goliath was looking inward again. And despite all of
the previous night's terrors his face was strangely content. Sometimes
there was no understanding the younger generation, he thought to himself.
"As you say, lad. Actually a night in might do these old bones good."
The younger males were clustered around Angela pointing out various features
of the castle's architecture. She smiled prettily at all of them but favored
Broadway with a special gaze of affection. It was good she had made a decision, he thought. It would mean less bickering between the trio now, and a chance for the clan to continue in the future. Dependable, considerate, and able to stand by her side in battle, Broadway would make a good mate for her. He wondered what Elisa would have to say on the matter; humans often viewed pairings in a different light than humans, and the one time they had discussed the trio's reactions to Angela joining the clan Elisa seemed sure that Brooklyn would be his daughter's choice. His attention wandered away from those around him and out
into the city where his beloved roamed, and he wondered when they would
be able to continue what the last sunrise had so abruptly ended.
"Goliath? Goliath!" He heard his name called from far away and it wasn't
until Brooklyn put his hand on his shoulder and nudged him slightly that
he finally snapped back to reality. "Are you all right? You looked
kinda spacey there for a minute."
It took him a few seconds to translate Brooklyn's slang and he nodded
his head. "I was just..." He trailed off. "Thinking," he concluded abruptly.
"Xanatos has cleared the west wing for our use. Take the others and
make sureit is secure." The others had gathered around as well
and were waiting for their assignments.
"Broadway, why don't you take Angela and see to supper? But attend
to Bronx first, will you?" The beast, who had begun to pace nervously,
looked up at Goliath gratefully. "Lexington, you were getting information
off of that... 'EnterNet'?"
"Internet." The young gargoyle corrected helpfully.
"Ah. See if Owen can provide you with computer access. Xanatos
said we only had to ask if we needed anything."
The Trio and Angela with Bronx in tow dispersed to attend to their assignments.
He listened to their excited chatter fade away and realized that Hudson
was still standing at his elbow. His need for privacy to think over the
events of the night before was growing intense. "Hudson," he began. "Old
friend. Xanatos said that there was an entertainment area set aside
in our new quarters. Why don't you monitor the news broadcasts to see
what you can find out? I'll be in the library reviewing the newspapers."
* * * * *
Brooklyn and Lex whistled in unison as they surveyed the quarters that
Xanatos had assigned as their personal space. The delicate antiques that
had occupied most of the wing had been replaced by sturdy and comfortable
modern furniture. Lexington noted the trick double door that separated
their wing from the hallway. "Check this out! Close the inner door and
it looks like nothing but a plastered up wall. Slick!" He ran his talons
over the faux plaster admiring the workmanship. "Xanatos couldn't
have possible done this for us since last night." A touch of the old suspicion
crept into his voice. "I wonder what he really meant these rooms for?"
The question remained unanswered as Brooklyn called his attention to
the pile of computer boxes stacked next to a Lexington sized work station.
"Looks like he's anticipated a few of our needs. I think that these must
be for you."
"Wow..." Lex regained his kid-in-a-candy-store face and lovingly poked
among the boxes. "This stuff is newer than new. It makes the laptop
that Elisa bought me look like a baby toy." A melancholy look clouded
his features as he thought about the loss of his previous computer and
their adopted home.
Brooklyn noticed the shift in mood and tried to bring Lexington back
to the now. "Suppose you can get that thing running tonight? Goliath did
say he wanted as much information as we could gather without leaving the
"Maybe, but there's an awful lot here to unpack." He began to sort through
the boxes admiring the various components. "Whoa," he muttered excitedly.
"A 15 gig hard drive!"
Brooklyn left his rookery brother to unpack his toys and checked out
the rest of their quarters himself. It really was amazing what money could
buy. Once Hudson saw that overstuffed chair and entertainment center
they knew they would never get him to fly another patrol. Huge TV screen,
VCR, satellite system, laserdisc player, and a CD changer that carried
more discs than he'd seen in a lifetime. And while the hospitality center
would never rival the main kitchen, it looked more than capable of handling
the clan's culinary needs. Broadway, after a year of cooking on a hotplate,
would be a very happy camper.
He supposed he should probably quit looking at the gadgets and stick
to the important stuff. The mock door they had already discovered. Lex
was right, it was good work and it would pass a careful inspection unless
one knew exactly where to look. The windows had been modified against
forced entry, but were large enough to allow even Broadway easy access.
He wondered what these quarters had really been remodeled for, but let
the question go as he heard the heavy steps of Hudson enter the main chamber.
Hudson found the television as easily as if a homing beacon had been
sounded. Brooklyn smiled to himself as he heard what could only be the
sound of the clan's mentor sighing happily. A moment later the evening
news began to drift into the chamber. He knew he should go in and see
what was being broadcast, but the curious euphoria that had infected his
clanmates was catching and he didn't want his good mood spoiled yet. His
stomach growled and he wondered if Broadway had started dinner yet.
He decided to reacquaint himself with the rest of the castle until suppertime.
* * * * *
Bronx loped along happily rediscovering his former home. Angela and Broadway
trailed behind trying to keep up with the stocky gar-beast. He stopped
at the door, recessed into an alcove and waited impatiently for the pair
to catch up.
"Wait until you see what we have here." Broadway opened the door with
a flourish and Angela gasped in amazement.
"Oh!" Angela gasped as she tried to take in the lushness of the arboretum.
"I've never seen anything so lovely." She stepped into the chamber. The
gardens on Avalon were just as beautiful, but it was their nature to be
beautiful. This was beauty by design... She circled in place
awestruck at the wonder of it.
Bronx barked his approval and loped off to roll in a patch of grass on
the opposite end of the garden.
"I have," Broadway spoke to himself as he gazed at his companion.
"Did you say something? I didn't quite hear you."
Broadway blushed. He hadn't realized he'd spoken out loud. "No! Uh, I
mean its amazing what they've created here isn't it? It wasn't anything
more than an enclosed courtyard in the old days. Humans used to
wait here before they were admitted inside to see the prince." He congratulated
himself on a quick save, then shifted his attention to Bronx who was sniffing
the ground in search of prey. He remembered that Goliath had assigned
him a task and he decided he'd better get with it.
"I should probably get going... to the kitchen I mean. Bronx looks hungry
and..." He trailed off suddenly conscious of her nearness again.
Bronx at the mention of the word "hungry" pricked up his ears and loped
out of the arboretum with a happy howl.
"All right." Angela agreed. "I'm a little hungry myself. "And I'm dying
to see more of this amazing castle."
Broadway sketched out a court bow that would have his old tutor, Brother
Edmund, beam with pride, then shyly took Angela's arm. He began to point
out other changes that had been made to the structure since its American
* * * * *
Owen pressed the save key to store the invoices from the household expense
report he was compiling and moved quickly to the next stack of items.
He paused long enough to remove his glasses, wipe his eyes and remove
an imaginary speck of dust from his lenses before resettling the frames
on his nose. It had been a long day and promised to be a longer night.
He closed the household bookkeeping system and was about to open the window
to begin the business briefs for the morning, when Alexander's insistent
wail came over the baby monitor.
He rose from his desk and traveled the short distance to Alex's nursery.
As he entered the room he noted that Fox had arrived first and the baby,
despite his mother's best efforts, refused to be quieted. She bounced
him futilely once or twice and then crossed to the changing table. She
waved off his offer of assistance before he could voice the question.
"I've got this end of things covered, Owen. Could you see to his dinner,
"Of course, Madam. Will there be anything else?"
"Actually, yes. Do you know where Alex's stuffed fuzzy is? David had
it earlier when he was playing with Alex in his office. I looked there,
but I can't find it. And you know how this little tyrant is without his
favorite toys at bedtime." Fox began to tickle the baby and he responded
with coos and giggles.
"Yes, Ma'am. Find the fuzzy. Very good. I shall be in the kitchen." He
withdrew from the nursery and noted the dull ache that was beginning to
grow behind his temples.
The ache turned into a roar as Owen surveyed his once pristine kitchen.
Every cupboard door was open and there wasn't a single free inch of counter
space. The beast Bronx was in the corner lapping at a dish of something
unidentifiable with such gusto that it sprayed the walls and floor in
a three-foot radius. The female, Angela, was perched on a stool
a safe distance from the chaos with a doubtful expression marring her
"What exactly did you say you were making again, Broadway?" She tried
not to let the doubt on her face creep into her voice and was only partially
"It's called a smorgasbord. Basically, it's a little bit of this and
a little bit of that. It seems like everyone's going to be busy tonight
so this way they can grab what they want and get back to whatever they're
doing. Great idea, huh?"
"It seems awfully complicated. Do you really need all of those pots and
pans?" She got off of the stool and tentatively began to try to restore
Owen chose that moment to make his presence known. "I see you remembered
where the kitchen was." Then he remembered Xanatos's new courtesy edict.
"Have you found everything you required? I could send out for additional
supplies if necessary." A trace of sarcasm lingered in Owen's tone. Angela
picked up on it and started to give him a disapproving look but then she
glanced around the room, saw his point, and smiled apologetically.
"I'm sure that Broadway has more than enough here to work with. Don't
you, Broadway." The last was a statement, not a question.
The gargoyle gourmand finally realized that maybe he had gone a tad overboard.
"Well, I supposed that some of this could be frozen for another night.
It's just been so long since I had a real kitchen to work in and I had
all those recipes from the cooking channel I wanted to try out.
Do you suppose I'm going to get in trouble over this?"
Owen thought of his household budget figures, revised it upward by 45%
and tried to ignore the pounding in his head. "I'm sure that Mr. and Mrs.
Xanatos will appreciate your enthusiasm. However right now I need to prepare
dinner for Master Alexander and since I don't see anything appropriate
Broadway looked apologetic again and started loading the prepared food
onto a pair of dinner trolleys. "I'll just get this out of your
way, then come back to clean up." He looked at Angela and she smiled back
at him. The pair departed with the food-laden carts and Owen tried to
clear enough space to warm Alex's baby food.
There was a mournful whine at his feet and Owen looked down into the
pleading face of Bronx. "Haven't you had enough?" He looked at the floor
and wall surrounding the empty dish. They had been licked spotless. But
he would still have to scrub the gar-dog drool off the surfaces. He considered
bringing Alex in for a moment and maybe telling him a story like the "Sorcerer's
Apprentice" complete with visual aids, but then he thought about the wrath
of Oberon and rejected the notion. "Go on back to your friends. The kitchen
is now closed." The microwave pinged and Owen stirred the tiny portions
of mashed turkey and bananas to distribute the heat. Bronx gave him one
more wistful look, then padded silently out of the kitchen leaving Owen
in the midst of chaos.
* * * * *
As promised, Xanatos had left a stack of newspapers in the library. Goliath
thumbed through the stack noting the titles: The Globe, The New York Post,
The Sentinel, The Los Angeles Times, all the major U.S. metropolitan news
papers and several foreign ones were represented. All had one thing in
common: the gargoyles had made page one, in large type.
He shook his head and gathered up the pile of papers to examine in more
detail. He settled himself in a comfortable armchair and tried to
concentrate on his information gathering, but the different recountings
of the night's events only drew his memory toward the evening's conclusion.
"You know how I feel about you...right?"
"How... we both feel. Yes."
And then the touch of her lips against his, as he was frozen in stone.
He allowed himself to savor the moment a little while longer, then pulled
himself away from the memory so that he could concentrate on the task
at hand. Starting with the New York papers he skimmed the stories rapidly,
relieved to see that beyond the barest details they carried very little
actual information. They noted the events at St. Damian's and recorded
that two suspects had been held for questioning both in the destruction
of the church and the bombing of the 23rd precinct, were now shown to
be linked. One suspect -- Jason Canmore -- was being held in medical lockup
due to injuries sustained during the incident. Robyn Canmore was being
held at an undisclosed location pending psychiatric review and the filing
of formal charges. A third suspect, believed to be their brother
Jon, was at large and wanted for questioning.
The further away one got from New York the more speculative the reports
became. There was even one story from Los Angeles that attempted
to explore the urban myths of New York, including alligators and mutant
turtles living in the sewers. He skimmed the story, chuckling despite
himself as he read and finally put the paper aside to share with Elisa.
He compiled several other editions that seemed to have relevant stories
and departed the library to see the rest of his new home.
* * * * *
The returning clan members converged almost simultaneously on the west
wing. Brooklyn arrived in time to relieve Angela of the over-laden dining
trolley she was pushing, and helped her set the table. She smiled at him
warmly, but he couldn't help but notice the proud looks she bestowed on
Broadway as he unveiled each of his creations. If it hadn't smelled so
good and he hadn't been so hungry, he would have lost his appetite. Instead
he pulled Lexington away from his boxes, and wires, and cables and was
about to do the same with Hudson, when Goliath returned with a stack of
newspapers in hand. The dopey expression he had worn earlier was replaced
by a look of concern. In response to the unasked question he handed Brooklyn
He scanned them a minute and whistled. "Looks like we've still got that
PR problem." He read a moment or two longer. "The Hunters got a fair amount
of ink though, and Demona got away without so much as a word." He looked
as disgusted as he felt. "How does she do that?"
Hudson came out of the rec room and joined the conversation. "We made
the news, that's for sure, lads. Top story on every channel."
Broadway called dinner at that moment. Despite their worries they were
all hungry and Broadway had done a wonderful job. Plates laden with steaming
meats and vegetables, hot breads and noodles, they gathered round the
table and shared their findings. Goliath suddenly realized that
it was the first peaceful evening they had shared in a very long time.
Perhaps somehow things would work out after all.
Goliath helped himself to another spoonful of something Broadway called "potato
salad" and marveled at the flavors. Back in the old days, burdock roots,
the closest thing to potatoes, came boiled and mashed, or maybe cut up
in a stew. But serving roots of any kind, cold and mixed with other ingredients
was quite an innovation. He wondered if Elisa liked potato salad.
The meal concluded, Broadway persuaded Lex and Brooklyn to help him with
the kitchen patrol and the trio departed. Angela trailed after Goliath
and Hudson back into the recreation room to see what was on the television.
It was getting late and except for one particularly persistent station,
the programming had resumed the normal schedule breaking in occasionally
with a special update interruption. Hudson flipped the channel to David
Letterman, who was reading his Top Ten list.
Tonight they were The "Top Ten List". They listened to the countdown
("And the number one way to tell if you're infested with gargoyles --
two words: Gargoyle guano!") and Goliath began to growl low in his
throat. Hudson took the hint and switched stations. The hockey game
he was hoping to find had been preempted by a special news report.
On screen, a zookeeper at the Washington Park Zoo was speculating on what
gargoyles really were.
"Well, Kent," He was saying to the in-studio anchor. "Without having
a specimen to actually study, it is difficult to speculate, but if we
go by the stories that have been reported, stone by day, able to fly by
night I think we are talking about an entirely new species, a very exciting
Goliath motioned for Hudson to flip the channel. He landed on one of
the free access cable stations. A woman, calm and utterly rational in
appearance, was delivering a prepared speech. Hudson, who up to this point
had rather enjoyed the hopeless nonsense they had been watching, glanced
up at Angela who had been standing quietly near by. The color was draining
from her face. Goliath was struggling to control his growing rage.
"...It is obvious that these creatures are a sign. The arrival of the
Apocalypse is imminent. For why else would hellspawn such as these come
to live among us? It is rumored that they have done good deeds, have helped
people in their time of need. But what other way could ones as hideous
as these gain the trust they need to lead the corruption of those who
have strayed from the true path to salvation...."
Goliath roared in true anger. "What do these people want from
us?!" he bellowed and stormed out of the room. Angela ran after
her father, terrified at what he might do in such a dangerous mood.
Hudson shook his head, thumbed the television off and looked down at
Bronx who had been settled at his feet. "We're in for grave times, lad.
Grave times indeed."
* * * * *
The warehouse was a bustle of excitement. People moving and unpacking
crates, lining up the gunmetal gray hammers in one corner, polishing the
armor in another. In a corner a tall dark-haired man conferred with a youth.
He pointed to the man at the center of it all, a tall blond, his eyes
sparkling with infectious zeal as he talked with a handful of men and women. The boy nodded that he understood and
headed towards the group, holding up a clip board. "Mr. Castaway?"
he asked tentatively, unwilling to interrupt the speaker.
The blond caught his eye and held up one finger as he finished giving orders. As the group disperesed, he turned towards the newcomer.
is it, son? How can I help you?"
The boy offered him the clipboard. "Mr. Byers wanted me to verify the schedule with
Castaway studied the printouts on the clipboard. "Tell him that
we need to move the rally up by a week and that the meetings need to be
weekly rather than bi-weekly."
As the teen walked away, Castaway turned his attention to a stack of folders on the desk behind him. He was studying the roster of today's new members when a voice came from just behind his shoulder.
Jon looked up. "Ye- ...I'm sorry, I don't believe I know anyone by that name," he caught himself, but he knew it was too late.
The man who had left the calling card stood before him, frowning.
"Reacting to the Canmore name can be a fatal mistake," he said.
"It might bring down everything we've started here."
"Don't worry," Castaway assured him, "it won't happen again."
"You must not react to that name as if it was yours," he stressed.
Castaway shook his head, as if to clear it, then whispered, "I can't
believe this setup. Even with the support my family had, we could
never have accomplished anything like this." He swept his had across,
encompassing the entire warehouse.
His benefactor's mouth tightened in a grimaced smile.
"And just think, my friend. This is only the tip of the iceberg."
Castaway looked over at the line of hammers. "I'm still not sure
about these hammers. Wouldn't a laser gun be more effective?"
A black glove reached out and took one of the hammers off of their rack.
"A gun would instill fear amongst the humans as much as it would the gargoyles.
That would defeat our purposes. The hammer is as much a symbol as it is
a weapon." He paused. "Plus, lasers can't do this."
Using only one hand, the stranger cocked the hammer's grip as if it was
humming emanated from the hammer's head as energy cascaded around it.
Reaching back, he threw it into the middle of the warehouse, where it
seemed to explode. When the dust and debris cleared, they saw the
hammer, resting comfortably in the deep crater it had created.
All activity had stopped in the warehouse. Castaway walked into
the crater, grabbed the hammer and hefted it over his head.
"Friends, hear me! Like this hammer, we will strike hard and strike
fast. The demons that seek to destroy humanity shall
be no more!"
As Castaway basked in the cheer from the people around him, his mysterious
benefactor slipped out the side into the night. As the sounds of
the warehouse grew distant behind him, he drew a mobile phone out of his jacket pocket and dialed a number.
"I just checked in on project Castaway, sir," he said when the line was answered. "I think you will be most pleased with the results."
TO BE CONTINUED...