Outline by Rahsaan Footman, revised by Todd Jensen.
Written by Alan Coleman Waltrip.
An Undisclosed Location
He felt the need to quiet them all down, to call this meeting to order so that he could get on with his business. But he would let his colleagues go on for a few more minutes. He had learned long ago to block out the noise around him and not allow it to interfere with the inner workings of his mind. At this moment, he knew what they were speaking about. He knew that order must be kept, and that it was their job. It was the reason he had started all of this in the first place. He had done it for order. And for her.
If he could go back and do it all again, it would still be for her. Of all the things he had gained and lost in his existence, nothing could replace her. All the money, all the power, even all the order in the universe could not compare to her. The way her eyes stood out even in the lowest light, or how her pale skin only added to the features of her face. He would give it all up to be with her again, to see her smile the way she always had.
But she was gone. It was something he would never come to terms with, no matter how many friends he made or how many other loves he lost, she would always be in his heart. Even his current love did not compare, though she came the closest of any of them. And this one was his only love to know about her, to even begin to comprehend what she had meant to him. And he knew that she would be gone one day as well, and he would have to find someone else who would only begin to compare to what she was.
But enough about the future. More pressing matters were before him. As he allowed his mind to come back into the room, he began to hear the conversations going on around him. If most of the people in the world only knew what was truly at hand, and what he and his associates were doing to protect it.
Hector Duval stood. "I now call this meeting to order."
* * * * *
Manhattan, Grand Central Station
It was warm for this time of year, which was quite a change from having to endure a solid winter for almost two years. Even so, Matt Bluestone lifted the collar of his dark blue trenchcoat over his neck. He exhaled, staring at the mass crowd of people, thinking about the memories that were suddenly flooding his mind. "It's been forever since I've been on a train," he said.
"How long?" Sara Jasper asked, taking his arm.
"When I was a kid, I had an aunt who lived in Jersey. Me and my mom would always go down there on Thanksgiving to see her. We always took the train." Matt put his hands in his pockets.
"What is this all about, Matt?" she asked. A whistle in the background signaled that the train was closer. Matt glanced at his watch. He'd be gone in ten minutes, and he didn't know for how long.
"I don't know, but I can guess. I mean, how often do you get called to Washington to testify in front of a congressional committee? We both know how complicated my life is..."
"Our life," Sara corrected him.
"Our lives are... different than other people's," he said simply.
"I only wish I knew how long you were going to be gone." As a crowd began to gather around the loading platform, Matt drew Sara in closer.
"I'll call, I promise." His voice was drowned out by the train pulling completely into the station. "I've got to go." He pulled her into a kiss, and as the hydraulics of the train's doors made the eerily familiar sound, no one noticed the couple. The two pulled away from each other, and Matt bent to pick up his bag. "I love you," he said simply. The detective turned and walked onto the train, not looking back.
Sara watched as the train pulled out, a sense of fear in her gut that she had only experienced perhaps one or two times before. She had no idea what it meant, and she didn't know if she wanted to realize what it meant. When the train was out of sight and the crowd had dispersed, Sara Jasper finally left the platform.
* * * * *
JFK International Airport
She hated airports. The people and noise, brought together in such an uncoordinated manner as to drive a person mad, had never appealed. Elisa Maza didn't listen to the announcement over the speakers, or the random bits of conversation that went on around her. The police detective made her way to the gate that would soon release her parents from a flight out of Chicago. Being here had made her miss Matt's train departure to Washington, but he would call soon enough.
"I hate airports," she said to herself as the doors opened at her destination. Even though she despised these places, it always amazed her what getting off a plane could do to a person. As she eyed a middle-aged man pulling a much younger woman into his arms, all their cares and worries in the world gone from their minds for that one moment that they were together, she almost forgot about her parents.
As the detective focused her attention back on the exit gate of her parent's flight, she saw them both finally emerge. She smiled to herself. Her father was dressed in his normal garb, an old work shirt underneath his ageless jacket with a simple pair of blue jeans on. His gray hair was combed back like it had been since Elisa had been a teenager. Her mother wore a simple purple dress; with a pair of earrings Elisa remembered giving her on her birthday one year. She walked towards them both, her arms outstretched.
"Elisa, how have you been?" her father asked in his gruff yet soothing voice. She smiled, pushing her dark hair out of her eyes.
"It's... it's like I said before. A long story, one that's going to wait until we're all together. And that's going to come later. What's been going on with you guys?" Elisa said, quickly changing the subject. She had never been good at that, but the news she had for her parents was going to have to wait.
In all honesty, Elisa had felt guilty about holding back the news about her and Goliath's engagement for almost seven weeks, after her love had announced the event. Both her and her brother's clans had been there, along with Matt and Sara, after a harsh battle with the Yakuza. Now her parents, and her sister Beth, were the only ones who hadn't heard about the news. But they would later, and that was what mattered.
"Elisa," her mother said in the all too familiar voice of accusation. "What is going on? You're glowing."
Elisa eyed her mother. "Glowing? I am not glowing. What is that anyway? How can someone glow?"
"Quit trying to change the subject, young lady," Diane said. Elisa hated it when her mother called her "young lady."
"All right. But it has to wait, okay? Let's go find Derek," Elisa said, ushering her parents out of JFK International Airport. She had never liked it here, and all these questions were making her nervous. It would all be off her back tonight though.
If only she could make it until then.
* * * * *
"So who is this guy?" the woman asked, handing her pair of binoculars to the man next to her. From their vantage point, the couple had a perfect view of the small grocery store in Manhattan.
"Ian Jaffe," the man said. He took the binoculars, taking a better look at the store and the owner inside. "Report says that he's been running that store for about thirty years. He got in the middle of a turf war with Anthony Dracon and some other goon a few years ago. And get this, he is the proud godfather of one Matthew Bluestone." The man adjusted the focus on the binoculars.
"Really?" the woman asked, now giving her full attention. "Well, now this could be interesting."
"That's the plan," the man said simply. As the door to the store opened, Mr. Jaffe stepped outside with a broom, sweeping dust and various debris off the sidewalk. The lenses of the binoculars focused a little more.
* * * * *
"You all know that at our last meeting," Duval began, "we were discussing the event involving the war between the other races. True, we were able to contain most of the information, but it's still floating around. It's been six weeks since then, and we still have problems."
He looked at the people around him sitting at the table. They all stared at him, waiting for him to say something else. Duval motioned his hands, indicating he wanted someone else to speak.
"Why can't we just keep using the smokescreen effect?" a gruff-sounding man asked. "With the aliens and all that mess. It's kept us at bay for almost fifty years, I don't see why it's still not any good." Duval noted the man's question as he sat back in his chair.
"It's because we've been doing it for fifty years that it's a problem. A thousand years ago, people would have attributed it to their myths and legends, that the gods were punishing them for their disobedience. But we live in a different age. Excuses of UFOs and crop circles simply aren't working any longer, and they are definitely not going to work this time because we don't know the precise details of the attacks," Duval completed.
"What about mass hallucinations? That's worked in that past," somebody else noted, a woman this time.
Duval nodded. "It's worked in the less populated areas. But if we use that for certain in Manhattan and London, which were the mystical ground zeros of the attacks, there is too much of a chance of somebody breaching the cover-up. We have to be particularly vigilant, especially now, to make sure that the rest of the world doesn't find out about the Unseelie menace. That's our purpose -- to maintain order in the most horrible acts of chaos.
"But, I think I might have a solution. We have a member who was at one of the ground zeros," Duval continued, filling through some papers in front of him. "In fact, he was directly involved in the battle. This is Matt Bluestone, one of our lower-ranking members." He pulled out a photocopied picture of the Manhattan detective and showed it to the group.
"We need to find him as soon as possible, and find out exactly what he knows. Now, on to other business..." Duval continued with his meeting, trying to keep his goal of order and unity for the world.
* * * * *
He had spent years here before, but it had been a while since Matt had been in Washington. Memories of his years in the F.B.I. flooded though his mind, and Matt forced himself to push them back. Too many bad memories, and he had to focus on other things. Such as why he had been called here.
As Matt raised his hand to hail a cab, a female voice interrupted him. "Excuse me, can you come over here, Mr. Bluestone?"
Matt turned to his left and saw a rather tall, skinny women standing there. She had on a baggy pair of blue jeans and an American University sweatshirt, which was about two sizes too big for her. Her bright red hair was obviously dyed, and Matt wondered briefly how she could get a job like that.
"Yeah? How do you know who I am?" he asked her.
"Oh, you know why. We know everything." She stuck out her tongue, which had a gold Illuminati symbol imbedded in the middle of it. Matt almost stood back, but decided to stand his ground.
"Right," Matt said, more to himself than the woman. Actually, Matt realized, she was young enough that he could probably away with calling her a girl. Illuminati, he thought.
"If you would please come with me, we have room and board prepared for you," she said, motioning towards a small limousine parked a few yards away. Matt swallowed hard, and decided to go with her.
The girl crawled in the back with him, and Matt threw his luggage inside, getting in after it. The limo was low lit and cold inside, the complete opposite of the light and heat of Washington, D.C. As the limo pulled away, the girl said, "I'm Lee."
"Matt," the detective stated. "Of course, you obviously know who I am already."
"Of course." Matt heard a horn outside. Lee tapped on the stained window between the back and the driver. It slid down a bit.
"The hotel," she said, and the window slid back up. Lee reached to a compartment in front of her and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lighter. "You want one?" she asked Matt, who was still giving her an odd look.
"No thanks. I... don't smoke," Matt stumbled out. This was starting to become confusing, and Matt decided to don a cool and steady guise in front of his new friend.
"Bad habit, I know. Don't hold it against me, okay?" Lee asked him.
"Thanks," she said, being as sarcastic as she could without fully insulting her assignment. "So, let's get down to business," Lee recommended.
"Which, amazingly, I'm still trying to figure out. Do you know that I have absolutely no idea why I'm here?" Matt said.
"Yeah, well, neither do I. All I know is that I'm supposed to deliver you to your handler -"
"Handler?" Matt cut her off.
Lee raised her hand. "- and then you'll be informed of your position." She took a drag and let the smoke out slowly.
Matt turned his head and looked out the window. He'd lived in D.C. before, and no hotel was in the vicinity of where they were going. "Why are we heading into Maryland?" he asked Lee suspiciously.
"The hotel is a quaint little manor by Chesapeake Bay. As I said, the Society has arranged your lodging and transportation for your stay here."
"I don't want to go to Maryland," Matt said. "Turn around." he tapped on the window. It rolled down. "Turn around, please," he demanded out of the driver, whose face he had not seen.
"Don't!" Lee raised her voice. The window rolled back up. The car continued going straight. "Look, Bluestone, I don't want to be here, and I'm fairly sure you don't want to be here. Pardon me for being cliché, but we can do this the easy way or the hard way." Her tone was surprisingly harsh, and Matt sank a little into his seat.
"Fine," he said with ill grace. He considered trying to escape from the car but decided to wait. Better to learn just what the Illuminati wanted before rushing blindly into things.
The two didn't speak for the rest of the trip.
* * * * *
Family Night. It was something that Goliath looked forward to on most occasions. This night was a bit different, though. His love's parents were coming tonight, and they had no idea about what he and Elisa had decided to do with their lives. Elisa was nervous about the revelation as well, he knew. But they would get through it.
As his stone barrier broke away from his flesh, Goliath roared and stretched to life for the evening. The first thing he saw as he turned from the skyline of his city was the face of Owen Burnett, the current human guise of the trickster Puck. Goliath gave the fay trapped in a man's body a small nod of greeting, which was all that was needed between the two.
"Your guest has arrived," Owen said simply.
"Thank you," Goliath responded. "Tell her I'll be with her shortly. I must assign patrols so that the clan can rendezvous at the Labyrinth later."
"Of course," Owen said, in his natural curt manner. He turned to leave, just as Brooklyn was coming up to meet Goliath in his roosting position. His Second also gave Owen a nod as the two passed each other, but there was more there than was apparent to even Goliath.
"Big news?" Brooklyn asked as he approached the larger gargoyle.
"Only slightly. I think we only need short patrols tonight," Goliath said -- really more of a question to Brooklyn than an order to him.
"Agreed. Any preferences on the teams? Hudson said he wanted to take Bronx and go down to the Labyrinth a bit early to see his... students. And Lex said something about wanting to go see Liz."
"Why don't you take Sata and the twins downtown? Have Lexington go with Broadway and Angela to make sweeps around the docks. He can visit his friend tomorrow night," Goliath said sternly. He looked off in the distance. "Actually, why doesn't he invite her tonight?"
"Don't know if Liz'd want to, but I'll tell Lex to ask her," Brooklyn told him. Goliath nodded. Brooklyn continued, "What are you planning to do before tonight?"
"I have to... see to a guest," Goliath said.
"Okay. And who would this 'guest' be?" Brooklyn asked suspiciously.
"A friend. You will all find out tonight, I promise," Goliath assured him.
Brooklyn grunted his affirmation. "Well, be careful," he added as he turned to leave.
"Do not worry, Brooklyn," Goliath assured.
"I'll try." Brooklyn left to find Sata and his children.
* * * * *
Night had finally fallen, and Matt's mind oddly went to Goliath and his clan. He worried immensely how they were doing, and if Elisa would be okay without him. He had arrived at his hotel about an hour ago. It had turned out to be a quaint little place by the bay, just as Lee had told him. He had unpacked his luggage and lain down on the bed.
And, most importantly, they had cable.
Matt had caught the end to an old war movie he hadn't seen in years, which had almost helped to clear his head. He took a shower and changed his clothes. He didn't know if he would be contacted again tonight, but he didn't want to answer the door in his underwear.
He heard a knock at the door. Matt glanced at the alarm clock to the side of his bed. 7:45 P.M. A little late for company. As Matt went to the entrance and looked through the peephole, he saw a bellboy holding up a tray.
Dinner? Matt thought. He unlocked the door and opened it wide. "I didn't order dinner, my friend," he said calmly.
"Courtesy of the hotel, sir," the man stated. "May I?" he asked, motioning if he could come inside.
"Yeah, sure," Matt said, moving out of the worker's way. He couldn't have been more than eighteen. At his age, Matt thought, I was trying to find secrets in the government.
The boy set the plate down, taking the lid off. "Lobster?" Matt asked, astonished.
"And oysters. The best in the bay," the bellboy said.
"You really know how to treat your guests," Matt said idly.
"Of course, sir." The boy held out his hand, which was covered in a spotless white glove.
"Oh, yeah, right." Matt went back to his bedside to find his wallet.
"That won't be necessary," a voice said from the doorway. Matt glanced at his gun holster on the floor between the bed and the wall, and cursed to himself that he hadn't put it back on.
Matt turned around slowly. A rather large man in a dark suit blocked the light from the hallway, and Matt wasn't quite sure what to make of him. He held a hundred dollar bill in his hand, and motioned for the bellboy to take it and leave. The boy rushed towards the man, grabbed the bill, and was gone.
All this took place in about two seconds.
"Can I help you?" Matt asked, retaining his cool.
"To the point. I like a man like that, Mr. Bluestone," the man said. He made his way to a chair on his end of the room, and sat down.
"Let me guess," Matt said.
"Yes, you're right. The Society sent me. I would be Mr. Singleton, your handler."
"Handler?" Matt asked, having heard the term for the second time in the same day.
"I'm here to make sure you don't get in trouble. And to take care of any that might come your way," the man said, standing again. Singleton straightened his tie.
"I've never needed a handler before," Matt told him.
"The Society believes that this time you do," Singleton said. He headed towards the door. "I'll keep in touch." The door slammed, and the man was gone.
Matt tried to shake the after effects of the encounter, but could not. This was getting to be bigger than he could ever have imagined. He quickly devoured his meal, and tried to go to sleep. After some struggling, he finally did.
Matt Bluestone would have a great deal to do when he awakened.
* * * * *
Every time she saw him, she was amazed. She wondered if her sister felt that way, even now. Goliath strode through the Great Hall of Castle Wyvern, and greeted Beth Maza with a warrior's handshake. He was huge, and Beth felt like a newt in front of the elephant.
"How have you been, Beth?" Goliath asked in the otherwise quiet hall.
"Great, actually," Beth said in her normal chipper voice. "I graduated from the university, and I think I'm going to stay in New York. You know, help where I'm needed... maybe where I'm not."
"Indeed," Goliath said. "I'll get to the meaning of why I called you here.
"Since we awakened five years ago, out clan has not had a historian. The last we had died in the Massacre, and with her all of the clan's stories. So much has happened since our arrival here. I do not want it to be lost."
Beth was silent. "Wow. Um, I'm not sure I understand," she said finally.
"If I understand correctly, your major at the university was cultural anthropology. You have a degree in it, correct?" Goliath asked her.
"Well, yes, but..." Beth stopped for a minute, gathering her thoughts. "What you're asking for is a big responsibility. It would require a lot of time. Goliath, this would have to be my job."
"I realize this. I've spoken to Xanatos. He'd be willing to hire you under his company to assure that you're paid in full for your services," Goliath stated.
"Xanatos?" Beth asked, clearly stunned. "I don't know if I'd be comfortable working for a guy who's, you know, evil."
"I know what he has done to your family in the past is not easy to forgive. But he is a changed man. The fact that we're standing in this hall is proof of that."
"You have a point," Beth said. "What will this involve?"
"In the clan, before the Massacre," Goliath started, "this role was usually appointed to the eldest of the clan."
"Why not ask Hudson?" Beth interrupted.
"I have. Hudson is a warrior. He always has been, and will be until the day he leaves us. In fact, it was he who suggested you for the job. As I was saying, it would involve listening to our stories, what we remember from our past. I would like the stories saved in computer files. Lexington could help you with that," Goliath stared at her contemplatively.
"This is a big responsibility. Why haven't you charged anyone in the clan to carry on this tradition?"
* * * * *
"I believe I just have," Goliath's voice came through the speaker connected to the color view screen.
As he watched the gargoyle and the human, David Xanatos turned to his assistant, Owen, and simply said, "See, I told you it would work out."
"Of course, sir," Owen stated.
"And you? What do you think of all this?" Xanatos asked the third party in the room.
"He's... incredible. I'd seen the video captures on the news, but..." the woman said. Her honey-blonde hair came down to her shoulders, groups of strands hiding the beginnings of wrinkles, which were more from stress than from the fact that she was quickly approaching forty.
"That seems to be the general consensus," David agreed. "You get used to him."
Doctor Emily Gray nodded to herself. David reached out to his console and turned off the volume to the screen that featured Goliath and Beth Maza, and turned his attention to the woman.
"So, you'll accept my offer, then?" he asked her.
Emily breathed in. "This is... too much."
"That's understandable," David said.
"It's just that so little is known about them, historically or physically. This... recorded history the girl is doing, I'd have to have a copy of it," the doctor said, regaining a very professional demeanor, which she had let slide the first time she had seen the creature.
"We might be able to work something out," David said, nodding towards Owen on the other side of the room. He nodded back, quietly exiting the room. "What do you know about the gargoyles, from what the media has told you?"
"Just what any other person knows. That there are theories to where they come from: space aliens, an ancient race, and things like that. And that others of their kind have been spotted in London and Japan recently." Emily met David's eyes. "And that an ex-news reporter basically went insane and started the Quarryman, who were an unorganized group of hate mongers who went around smashing statues.
"He's not around anymore," she said bluntly. David nodded in agreement. "Or at least, he's someplace where he can't hurt anyone.
"And I also know that some people are blaming the exceptionally long winter we had on them, saying the Apocalypse is coming."
"What do you yourself think, Dr. Gray?" David asked her.
"I believe that it's too much of a danger to become overconfident. The gargoyles' problems aren't going to go away overnight. Humans as a whole have always hated and feared beings that are different them. And if the gargoyles are an ancient race, then they've been hated for millennia. If you want to help them, it's going to take a lot of work."
David narrowed his eyes. "I know."
* * * * *
"So, why exactly are we still here?" the woman asked impatiently. "It's been dark for a while, and it's a no show. I'd like to go home at some point tonight."
"Quiet," the man ordered her. She obeyed, eyeing the man with a certain amount of contempt. "Give them time."
The man set the pair of binoculars down, turning straight towards the woman. "We're here for a reason. They'll be here soon enough, and then we'll get our rewards."
"Fine," she said simply.
The man looked to the sky, and smiled to himself. One winged shadow passed over his face. He walked over to his leather bag, his shoes crunching on the roof of the building they had set up their operation on. "Showtime," he told the woman.
The two watched the figure land on top of the convenience store. Its red tint stood out, even over the metallic armor it wore over its torso. The armor wouldn't protect it tonight, though.
A click came from the bag as the man pulled out and quickly assembled a compact and deadly looking long-range rifle.
"Pretty," the woman told him.
"Is it going to be enough?" she asked.
"For now. This is only the beginning."
He raised the weapon and made a minute adjustment to the scope. Through its crosshairs, the creature's head came into perfect view. He was talking into a communicator of some type. "This is the one with the family," the man said.
"Bonus," the woman said idly.
He lowered the rifle and brought the scope in view of the creature's abdomen, directly below the armor it wore. The man had no hesitation when he pulled the trigger. The sound the weapon made barely registered in his mind, and he pulled the gun back so fast that he didn't see the aftermath of his actions.
"Nice shot," the woman said as the two began to pack up their equipment.
The man simply nodded. Three more shadows passed over his face, one large and feminine, the other two smaller and almost identical in appearance. The man quickly and efficiently disassembled his weapon and returned it to the bag.
* * * * *
"Thanks for letting me come," Liz said as she, Lex, and Broadway came into the main area of the Labyrinth. Broadway immediately went to Angela's side, who was speaking with Sharon. Liz looked around the room, recognizing various faces in Lexington's clan: Goliath, Elisa, Talon... everybody except Brooklyn and his family.
"Don't worry about it," Lex told her. "It's Family Night. You're family."
Richard Harrison came up to Lex and Liz, Quinn by his side. He extended his hand to them both. "Lexington. It's good to see you again. And... I'm sorry, I'm not the best with names," he directed towards Liz.
"Liz. We've met," she said, not at all insulted.
"Of course. I apologize."
"It's nothing," Liz said. "So, what's been going on with you two?"
It was Quinn who spoke this time. "Actually, as we were telling Angela earlier, we're moving back to Connecticut."
"What's there?" Lex asked.
"My mother," Richard answered. "She's taken George's... death rather hard. I wanted to be closer to her. Quinn said she'd go with me." He pulled her a little closer to him.
"That's understandable," Liz said.
"What about you, dear?" Quinn asked her.
"Actually," Liz began, "after this semester is over, I'm moving to London. I was accepted to King's over there. It should be great."
"Wow, that's quite an accomplishment," Richard told her. He noticed Lexington smiling, though the expression on his face looked rather forced.
"Thanks. My mother went ballistic when she found out. But, you know, it's what I want to do," she said.
As Richard was about to say something else, Goliath's voice raised above the others' conversations. "If I could have your attention. I believe Brooklyn and the others will be back shortly, but they know what we are about to announce." The large gargoyle looked down at Elisa, who was standing at her side. All those gathered there: the Manhattan Clan minus Brooklyn and his family, the Labyrinth Clan including the clones, Richard, Quinn, Liz, and Elisa's parents and sister; all gave Goliath and Elisa their undivided attention.
"Um," Elisa began nervously. She knew at that moment that she should have planned this out a bit more. Everyone here knew of her and Goliath's decision except her parents and Beth, and she really had no idea how they would take it. When they had met Goliath and Angela on their world journey, each had been accepting. And when her brother Derek had been turned into the mutate Talon, they had looked past his outer image and still seen the son they loved. But what she had to tell them might be a little to much for any of them to handle.
"This might be a little hard to hear - " but Elisa would not get to finish her announcement that evening. And then, she was not sure that she ever would be able to tell her family what she had decided to do with her life. When the sound of doors swinging open interrupted her speech, all Elisa heard was the bang of the door hitting the wall next to it, and the sound of crying. It wasn't really crying, because Sata never cried. Warriors never did.
But the sound she made was one of great emotional pain. Elisa looked over towards the entrance, to see the jade warrior carrying her husband in her arms. Brooklyn was unconscious, and while his blood meshed with the color of his skin, it had soaked Sata's light-colored clothing, and had dried itself on parts of her skin.
She ran into the room, making the sound of pure pain. Goliath, Broadway, and Lexington were immediately at her side, and Sharon and Claw exited, presumably to find Dr. Goldblum. The three male gargoyles picked Brooklyn out of Sata's arms. Goliath looked into her face. He had never seen her so hurt.
"Are you all right?" he asked her. She looked down at herself, and then at Brooklyn, who was being taken into Goldblum's research area.
"Physically, yes. But..." she could not finish.
Goliath pulled her closer. "We'll do what we can. I will not let him die. Do you understand?"
Sata nodded tightly. Even as they watched, she withdrew into the emotionless mask of the Warrior. Her mate, the love of her life, was hurt, possibly dying; but she had to remain strong -- for his sake, the children's sake...and her own.
"Angela, Elisa," Goliath said. "Take her somewhere quiet. The children?" he directed towards Sata.
"Are fine," she told him. "They remained outside. I should - "
"We will take care of them. You go change, and try to stay calm."
Angela and Elisa both came to her side. "Come on," Elisa said, taking her arm. "It'll be okay." The jade gargoyle stared after her mate for a moment, then slowly nodded. For one of the few times in her life, Sata let herself be told what to do.
"I'll go with them," Quinn told Richard, following the two female gargoyles into the other room.
"Hudson," Goliath said. "Do you think you can go watch after the children?" The elder gargoyle stood.
"Of course," he said, exiting the foyer of the Labyrinth to find Graeme and Arianna outside. Hudson spoke to say something, but his voice could not be heard from inside the room.
"What happened?" Lexington asked no one in particular. They all looked at him, as if he had spoken about the elephant in the room.
"I do not know," Goliath said simply. "But we have to find out. Lexington, Broadway, go be with Brooklyn. I'm going to speak with Sata."
"What can we do?" Talon asked from his corner of the room. Goliath looked at the mutated human, who was standing with Maggie, and the rest of his clan. He noticed that the humans who had come tonight - Peter, Diane, Beth, Liz, and Richard - had congregated together on the other side of the room.
"Keep up hope," Goliath said simply.
* * * * *
"We could have gone after them," Arianna said as she clung onto Hudson's midsection. The warrior could hardly make out what the girl was saying, but he understood enough. Graeme sat in the corner, holding his legs up to his chest, shaking back and forth. The boy was whispering something to himself that Hudson could not hear.
"Nonsense, child," Hudson assured her. "If you had gone after them, you might have been hurt as well. And I do not know what I would have done if that happened."
Arianna looked up at the old warrior, and made herself smile. "Can you tell me what happened?" he asked.
The female shook her head. Hudson merely nodded. He let her go from his embrace, and walked over to Graeme and leaned down to meet his gaze. Arianna kept her distance behind them.
"Listen to me, boy," Hudson began. "You and I, we are warriors. You are stronger than this. Can you tell me how all this came about?"
Graeme raised his head and nodded, mouthing Yes as he did. Hudson looked hard at the boy's face. It was dry of tears. "Good, my boy. Now, what happened?"
* * * * *
"I see," Goliath said after Sata had recounted her story of the events that had taken place that evening. "But you? Will you be okay?"
"I will be fine, Goliath-san. It's Brooklyn that you should be worrying about, now," she said.
Angela, Elisa, and Quinn stood around Goliath and Sata, listening to what they were saying.
"We need to return to everyone else," Goliath started. "Are you sure you will be all right?"
"Yes. Do not concern yourself with my well-being right now."
"Very well," Goliath said. "Let us rejoin the others." The three gargoyles and two humans made their way to the meeting room of the Labyrinth, where everyone was still waiting for them. Hudson and the children soon came in as well, and Broadway, Lexington, Sharon, and Claw joined them. Goliath stood in the center to speak to everyone.
"How is he?" the leader asked the four who had been with the injured Brooklyn.
Sharon decided to speak. "It's not the best diagnosis in the world. He's touch and go. But Dr. Goldblum is a geneticist, not a general practitioner. Until the sun rises, we won't know for sure. But the doctor is with him now."
Sata walked over to her children, holding them both close to her. "What are you going to do?" she asked Goliath.
The leader let out a sigh. "You said that you saw the people who did this?" he asked Sata.
"We saw only two figures. We would have followed, but..." she trailed off.
"Of course. This is what we need to do: Elisa, return to the police station and see what you can discover. About the incident tonight, or about any new organizations that might have been started. Talon, can you talk to some of the human inhabitants here? Find out if they have heard anything?" The mutate leader simply nodded. "Hudson, Angela, you will accompany me back to the store where this happened. We will try to find something that might be useful. Sata, Broadway, Lexington, stay here with Brooklyn and the children. Contact us immediately should anything happen."
Hudson and Angela joined Goliath and the center of the room. "We will return as soon as we can." The three gargoyles turned and left. Elisa ran to join them for a short time, and Talon excused himself from the meeting. Broadway and Sata went to go watch over Brooklyn, and Lexington stayed with the children.
Goliath and Elisa's plans for that evening were soon forgotten.
* * * * *
"Evening, detective," Morgan greeted Elisa as she entered the police station. He had a styrofoam cup filled with coffee in his right hand. "I thought you were off tonight."
"I was. Just need to do a little research. Have you heard anything new about any type of anti-gargoyle groups popping up? That's primarily why I'm here."
"Well, that's unexpected. We've been quiet here all night. Why?" he asked.
"Favor for a friend. He thinks something's going on, but we can't find anything solid. Just though I'd ask around in here, check some recent crime reports, that kind of thing," Elisa told him.
"Right. Well, good luck with finding what you need to."
"Thanks, Morgan," Elisa said as she strode past him. She made her way towards the back of the station, where the older files were kept, along with the computers that were connected to the main database for New York.
As she logged into her station and began to run searches for recent crimes, her mind kept turning back to Brooklyn, and she hoped he would be okay. Headlines pulled up in front of her. Nothing recent. They all focused on Castaway and Clifford, both of whom were indisposed. One was in a coma, with no signs of ever coming out of it, and the other was... well, the other seemed to have disappeared off the face of the planet.
Some of the headlines were about Matt and the Task Force, which was more or less a thing of the past. Her partner had done a good job in keeping the clan's appearance to the public down to a minimum, but because of it, he had been called away back to Washington. But there was nothing useful here.
Elisa sighed, standing and shutting down the computer. There was nothing else she could do here, nothing more she could learn.
* * * * *
"So, what's the verdict?" Broadway asked Dr. Goldblum as he, Lexington, and Sata entered his lab area. Brooklyn lay on a makeshift operating table, unconscious and breathing slowly. Sata walked over to him and took his hand in hers, holding it tightly.
"Well, there was no bullet," the doctor started. "It went clear through both sides of his mid-section. Which means the gun that was used was very high-powered, and it also means that a professional did this. Somehow, it missed all the major arteries and any organs it could have missed. That was a miracle on its own. I dressed the wound and stopped the bleeding. All we can do now is wait for the sun to rise."
Broadway thanked him, and the doctor excused himself for a moment, leaving the gargoyles alone with Brooklyn. Broadway walked over to his rookery brother, looking down at his face.
"Hey, big brother," he said affectionately. "Can you hear me at all?"
Sata looked at him, and then decided to let Broadway do what he needed to. She knew Brooklyn would not respond, at least not right now. But then, they had to keep up a little bit of hope.
That was when Brooklyn mumbled something incoherent.
Lexington, who had been standing in the corner of the room, came walking toward Brooklyn and the others. "What did he say?" he asked.
"I don't think he said anything," Broadway said. Sata held onto Brooklyn's hand even tighter. "Brooklyn, can you hear us?" Lexington asked.
"The spawn... they're coming," Brooklyn muttered. Broadway saw Sata's eyes go wide when she heard what he said.
"He is delirious," Sata said quickly.
"What?" Broadway asked, directing the question to his brother lying on the table. He eyed Sata, "What did he mean?"
"Your daughter... she's gone..." Brooklyn said, drifting back off into sleep.
"What? Brooklyn?" Broadway tried to wake him back up. "What was that about? What does he know? What do you know?" he asked Sata.
But she didn't get to answer him that night, as the four gargoyles in the room were encased in their stone shells. The sun had risen, as it did every morning. And whatever they hoped to accomplish would have to wait until the next evening.
* * * * *
Early in the morning, Matt Bluestone sat in the Cloak Room of the Capitol building. It was cold, and Matt kept his trenchcoat on as he waited. Some time later, the large wooden door opened and a professional-looking woman stepped inside.
It was Lee.
"New look for you," Matt told her idly.
"I try," she said, adjusting the Illuminati pin that hung on the top of her shirt. "Where's yours?" Lee asked.
Matt lifted the side of his coat to show his own pin on the lapel of his suit jacket. He knew that she was only here to report back what went on today. "Are we ready?" he asked. Lee merely nodded. Matt stood and followed the woman out in the hall.
They made their way towards a small room, white walls, the dank smell of mildew, un-air conditioned, and filled with seven people, including Matt and Lee. He would have been unimpressed, except that he knew that outward appearances didn't necessarily mean anything with this crowd. Matt sat down at his designated table, in front of five older men whom he assumed were the ones running this whole show. Lee stood next to him, her hands behind her back in a clutched position.
"Detective Bluestone," Lee began. "The man to your far right is our Chairman, Senator Blackwater. Left of him we have: Senator Jones, Senator Lyons, Senator Burns, and Senator Watts. They will lead this committee today." Lee took a seat next to Matt.
Blackwater stood, cleared his throat, and started what sounded like a prepared speech. "Thank you all for coming. Three years ago, a 'clan' of creatures called gargoyles were seen flying out of St. Damien's Cathedral in New York City. Detective Bluestone was appointed the head of the Gargoyle Task Force. The time has come to finally find out what we need to do about them. That is the meaning of the hearing. Detective Bluestone, would you please approach the bench?" The Senator sat back down as Matt did as he was told.
"Detective Bluestone," one of the other senators began. "Can you give us your account of recent events as head of this Task Force?"
"Well... our main goal was to keep the gargoyles' relation with the public in good measure. We had reports that these were intelligent beings, with vocal ability and true emotions. With anti-gargoyle groups such as the Quarrymen and Phoenix Rising, we simply wanted to protect them from harm."
"And in the three years, you never managed to bag one of these things?" Burns asked.
Matt grunted. "That may have been the general perception of the public, but it wasn't our goal to 'bag' a gargoyle. And if we were to capture one, then the NYPD would have been no better than the hate groups against the creatures."
"Very well. What about your actions at the Cathedral incident three years ago? You knew that the gargoyles were in there, and that there was some type of battle going on up there. Yet you held off the order to go in until the only alternative seemed like a riot among the citizens of New York. Why did you wait so long?"
"I didn't want us to come across as hostile towards the gargoyles. At that time, we didn't know what they were or what they could do."
"And now? Do you know what they can do now?" Lyons asked.
"No," Matt answered firmly.
Watts leaned over to his colleague sitting next to him, and whispered, "I told you he didn't have a connection with the things. He's just incompetent." Burns nodded.
The questioning went on for another hour before they finally let Matt go. They questioned him about his friends and acquaintances: Sara, Elisa, even Xanatos, Renard, and Dracon. Matt told them only the "official" version of the stories, keeping his cool and trying not to think about what the real purpose of this meeting might be.
When they let him go, Matt was taken back to his hotel in the same limousine that had taken him there in the first place. The detective, physically exhausted, slept for the rest of the day.
* * * * *
Blackwater excused himself from the hearing room, returning to his office down the hall. He locked the door behind him, and picked up the phone on his desk. The man let out a large sigh, and pressed the speed dial control on the phone. It rang twice, and then picked up.
"Your report?" the voice on the other end asked.
"We simply questioned him. He doesn't suspect. The hearing is going exactly as planned."
"Good, good. Keep me updated." The connection was severed.
On the other end of the phone line, Duval simply nodded approvingly.
TO BE CONTINUED...