Through The Storm
Story Concept by Rahsaan Footman and Jonathan "Entity" Cotleur.
Written by Shauntell Holm, with contributions by Alan Coleman Waltrip.
Artwork by Shauntell Holm, with coloring by Revel.
Previously on Gargoyles...
"Goliath, I'd like you to meet Doctor Emily Gray," Xanatos said in his most professional demeanor.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, finally," Dr. Gray said, extended her hand. Goliath took it with a rumble. The leader did not like not knowing what was going on around him.
"In light of the indication that your clan has not fully resolved its public relations problem," Xanatos continued, noting that Goliath was less tense than he was only a few minutes ago, "I think it's a good idea to bring her in."
Goliath looked towards Elisa, who offered her advice. "What happened to Brooklyn could have been a lot worse. What if it was, and there wasn't anyone there who knew what they were doing?" She paused. "He'd be gone by now."
The large gargoyle nodded, but did not look entirely comfortable with the situation. "Fine," he breathed finally. "For now."
~ Of Things to Come
* * *
"All I'm saying is that maybe we should know. It's clan business, he should share it," she said as both she and Broadway started to turn around back towards the castle.
"You've said that, dear," Broadway said. Angela was silent for the rest of the glide back to the castle. He could tell his love was clearly upset. Broadway scolded himself for carrying on like he did, but he thought Angela should know how he felt about things.
Once the two landed, Angela immediately turned away from her mate, not saying a word. "Angela," Broadway said. His love stopped, turned slowly, and glared at him.
"What?" she said.
"Don't you want to talk about this?"
* * *
"Your company?" Demona asked.
Thailog smiled. "You took a leave of absence, my dear. Remember?"
Demona growled at the scarred clone.
"Far from over indeed," Thailog chuckled after they left. "But for now, Nightstone Unlimited is mine again. Time to begin phase two."
Thailog hummed thoughtfully, even painfully, as he sat in the large form-fitting chair that had been made specifically for him. He had not yet found the cure he desired for his crippled body, and it was aggravating. He felt weak and hated not being able to have the freedom of his past form. All of his strength had failed him all those years ago. He could not break out of the wooden trap of a roller coaster as he and Demona plummeted to their doom. How he had managed to survive was something that still surprised him, even to this day.
However, he had been proud of his efforts; duping Demona later on had been the most gratifying change of his situation. She was the easiest to toy with, unlike Goliath, who possessed an uncanny ability to remain immune to Thailog's games. In fact, Goliath's nobility was always trying to talk sense into Thailog, trying to convince the clone to give up his habits and become, in his opinion, a 'true' gargoyle. He was not as easily taunted or enraged, as was Demona.
Thailog grumbled at that, chuckling cruelly at the thought. His only consolation out of all this was that he had finally managed to steal Nightstone from Demona. He was on top of the world now, running a powerful business that rivaled even Xanatos Enterprises. And he had so many people at his disposal, even the Pack. Though they were rather foolish and hard to control, they had a certain spunk that Thailog found usable. But their stupidity came from the fact that money made them easy to control.
"Sir?" said a voice, and Thailog turned to see Anthony Fergus, his ally and aide, approach him from another desk from across the room. A shifty, nervous, bald man, he had some files and papers in his hands containing reports and contracts for reviewing. Thailog despised the man, but he had his uses. Cowardly, devoid of moral fiber, and even possibly traitorous, he had become someone Thailog watched over intently and never trusted thoroughly. There was something about him…but Thailog had not yet managed to dig deeply enough to find out what. The gargoyle narrowed his eyes contemplatively. He had hints, and knew that Fergus seemed fearful of being revealed to certain parties. Thailog had played on those fears and made it quite clear that the man should do exactly as he said, otherwise…
"What is it, Fergus?" Thailog said with a sigh, making sure to keep his voice neutral, but with a warning tone that he knew Fergus hated.
"More files and reports for you, sir," said Fergus shakily as he sat the papers down on his ally's desk. "I've reviewed a few. The stock market has fallen by a few margins, but we still have some money coming in. Research is up 10%, and our product line is recovering from a loss last week."
"Hmm," Thailog mumbled as he viewed through the files, confirming everything Fergus said, and then some. Running Demona's business was both gratifying and often frustrating. Investing and trading was a big part of it all. He would lose money, and then turn around and gain the amount back, sometimes even getting more back. Unlike most business owners, he did not panic when the stock market fell to an all time low. He waited to see how the stock market came back, never selling unless he had to. And that strategy often kept his business running very well.
"There is an area here in which we are still falling, Fergus," said Thailog as he pointed to a particular report. "What is being done about this?"
Fergus was about to reply, nervously brushing back nonexistent hair, when the computer began beeping. It usually signified an incoming message, a breach in security, or revealed something interesting somewhere in Manhattan that Thailog could possibly use. But when it did beep, he usually let Fergus be the one to answer, just for the reason being that he did not yet want people to know just who was behind Nightstone's operations.
He looked at Fergus, pushing his chair back and grasping his cane as Fergus stepped forward to push the button to call forth whatever image was coming through. But to their relief, it was not an incoming call or message. The building's sensors had detected something. Something, out over the ocean, was heading straight for Manhattan. It had a mechanical ring to it and something else that peaked Thailog's interest.
"Well," he growled as he rubbed his chin and pulled his chair forward again. Fergus stepped aside, but remained close enough to see what was going on. "This should be interesting," he chuckled, closing the screen.
* * * * *
The sounds of the water, boats and cars below seemed to be carried up by the breeze. The smells of fish, clams and oysters were strong, but the salty smell of the sea seemed to be the strongest of all; a scent carried for miles along the coastlines of the United States. It could be either bothersome or welcome, something naturally refreshing, instead of the horrid scent of smog and exhaust. It made patrolling relaxing for the gargoyles. But while on patrol, they simply could not relax. They had to remain alert, keeping an eye on the streets and making sure that the way was clear of danger. After all, they lived in New York, and they had to stay on their toes.
"So, how is it all going to work?" Lexington asked as he came up beside Goliath. Angela had fallen behind a little, but still kept a tight delta formation with her companions. "Do we know how many clans are going to be there?"
Goliath glanced at Lexington, and then looked back at the Waterfront. The coming Gargoyles World Council was a topic on the clan's minds lately. It was an exciting proposition, and the fruits that could be gained from it were something of a blessing. Their species could begin to grow again, they could remain in contact, and they would once again be able to establish their place in the world.
But they first had to make peace with the humans. The barrier of fear and prejudice between their two races had to be knocked down, or they would always be at stake.
"I am not entirely certain as of yet, Lexington," he said, feeling concerned. "I am most concerned with the language barrier between clans." He glanced back and forth, watching the humans work the night shift far below. "When Avalon guided our journeys, the magic inherent there aided an understanding. It instantly translated the different languages, but that will not be the case here."
Angela thought a moment as she flapped her wings once or twice to come up beside her father. "Perhaps I can cast a spell?" she offered.
Goliath pondered that for a moment, but then shook his head. "No," he said at last, glancing at the sky to gaze at the stars out of habit. "I do not think the other clans would appreciate that, regardless if it helps. Many of these clans we have not met yet. I do not want to cause a reaction that could be disastrous."
Angela thought a moment. "Then how else will we communicate?" She asked. "We'll need a translator."
"Yes," agreed Goliath, flapping his wings and steadying them to catch a small breeze in order to rise up a little more. Because of his great size, his wings kept brushing against those of those of the others. They were getting too close, and sometimes that could be dangerous.
Lexington remained thoughtful, studying the layout of the city and the rivers before him. A light mist seemed to be oozing up onto the banks, flooding some of the streets and bridges most near the Waterfront. But it was not a foreboding sight. It was a natural effect of nature trying to compensate for the unnatural heat created by concrete streets. But all around, it created an impressive atmosphere.
Just then, a bleeping inside his head interrupted his thoughts. His electronic components had detected something. Curious, he began to scan the surrounding area, hoping that this new disturbance wasn't a threat. But as he zoomed in on a moving object, that hope faded immediately.
"What in the…?" he cried, and was cut off by a laser blast searing past them in the air.
"What!?" Goliath roared, his eyes instantly blazing white as he looked for the source of the trouble.
"Where did that come from?" asked Angela, looking around anxiously as she instinctively tensed for a battle.
"Over there," Lexington said, pointing out to sea as he and the others dodged another laser blast. "It's Coldsteel!"
Goliath roared as he looked, gasping as his former rookery-brother, now a robot magically infused with Coldsteel's conciousness, came into view. All three gargoyles had to scatter as the robot gargoyle zipped past, growling in anger at the attack. He moved to follow the evil gargoyle, but the robot turned suddenly, firing angrily as he returned to attack. Angela hissed and dove out of the way as Coldsteel's mechanical tentacles reached out to grab her, and Goliath slashed out at Coldsteel's head.
Coldsteel laughed, turning to face his ex-leader. "Well, well, what have we here?" he mocked coldly. "Three children coming out to play."
Goliath snarled. "Silence!" he ordered. "What is the meaning of this?"
Coldsteel mocked a sigh as he faced off with Goliath, watching as Angela and Lexington glided in circles around them. "I am getting bored waiting for my brother and sister to show up," he told them, throwing a punch that Goliath dodged easily. "They've been slacking for too long now. So, I have decided to bring the battle to you."
"You're wasting your time, dumpster face!" Lexington growled, swooping in with enough force to knock Coldsteel for a loop. "We're not interested in fighting you!"
Coldsteel hissed as he took aim at Lexington. "But I'm interested in you," he countered, firing a blast that Lexington dodged. "If they see you in trouble they will come." He grinned evilly. "And I am counting on that."
Angela snarled, grabbing on to Coldsteel from behind. "Then you are going to have a long wait," she told him, and her companions roared in for the attack, quickly taking the offensive. They were in no way going to reveal that Othello and Desdemona were no longer robots or even in New York.
* * * * *
Brooklyn sat hunched over grumpily as he and his family sat waiting for their check up with Doctor Emily Gray to begin. None of them wanted to be there, and it wasn't just because of the fact that they didn't want a doctor poking things at them. They were partly afraid of what she'd find, and didn't want an uncomfortable situation started. Their journey through time could not be discussed with anyone. And so, they had managed to dodge the first few earlier rounds of check-ups. But now, Doctor Gray had snagged them.
"Hmm," said Doctor Gray as she inspected Brooklyn with an odd device. Her face was puzzled and intrigued, a concerned look that only a doctor could make stretching across her enchanting features. These gargoyles in particular seemed to carry some very odd physiological anomalies.
"Anything wrong?" Brooklyn grumbled as he watched the doctor look through some information on her computer. An infrared layout of his body rested there, along with an x-ray version of his skeleton.
"Yes, there is," she said as she turned back to them. "I'm detecting a form of radiation from each of you. It's slightly faint, but it can be dangerous." She grew puzzled as she gave them each a hard stare. "But I'm not at all sure as to where it came from."
Her words were trying to get an answer out of them. But the family played dumb. "Radiation, doctor?" said Sata.
"From what?" Graeme asked.
"We've not gotten into any barrels or anything," put in Ariana.
Nudnik barked at that.
"Yeah, what's the problem?" said Brooklyn, keeping a neutral tone yet carrying a sheepish air about him. He glanced at the window, which he knew was a one-way window. Xanatos was watching them, and they all shared a common apprehension. Doctor Gray was good, but there was something about her that they just couldn't trust.
Emily stared at Brooklyn, giving him a look that said: "Do you think I'm stupid?" But even she knew that these gargoyles were not going to talk. And with a frustrated sigh, she finished the remainder of the check ups she needed to perform on the family, then began putting her tools away. "All right, you may all leave now," she said with an irritated sigh, not hiding her frustration.
"Great. Thanks, doc," Brooklyn said without enthusiasm. With a sigh of relief, he jumped off of the examination table and headed towards the door after helping Sata and the twins down as well. Nudnik simply jumped down and followed them out the door with a wag of his tail. None of them were happy about being poked and prodded, simply because they found it unnecessary. They healed from most ailments during the day, and so they didn't actually need any of the drugs she might have given them. Nudnik didn't seem to mind at all.
"I want to see you all tomorrow night," she told them before they had completely left the room, stopping them in their tracks. "I could run some tests, make sure that you are not in any real danger."
Brooklyn gave her an intentionally polite grin. "That's not necessary, Doctor," he told her as he opened the door. "We'll be fine."
"Nevertheless," said Doctor Gray as she began to set aside some papers. "Radiation of any kind is something not to be taken lightly. I want you all back here by tomorrow night, same time and -"
A voice at the doorway stopped her in mid-sentence, and everyone turned to see Owen Burnett standing in the doorway, a hand politely held before his lips in a gesture of courteous interruption.
"Mr. Burnett," greeted Doctor Gray as she put her papers in her files, feeling rather offended at his interruption. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
Owen nodded as he turned to the gargoyles. "Brooklyn, Sata," he said in greeting, only barely looking at the twins and Nudnik, "You and your family have been bidden to the main hall."
"For what?" asked Gray skeptically.
"It's one o'clock," Owen replied matter-of-factly, but Gray and the others simply gazed at him blankly. The gaze lasted for several moments until Owen gave Brooklyn a particular look.
Suddenly, Brooklyn understood and began faking understanding. "Oh! Oh, yeah, one o'clock!" he said as he slapped his hand to his forehead. "How stupid of me. C'mon kids, it's one o'clock."
Sata and the children looked at each other, thinking for a moment that Brooklyn might have gone crazy. But the look from Owen brought understanding to them too, and they also took up the act. "Come along, children," said Sata rather woodenly. "We must hurry."
"Oh, yeah, must be time for our 'togetherness' night," giggled Ariana as she and her brother slinked towards the door. "Come on, we don't want to be late."
"Nope, gotta do lots of stuff," said Graeme, taking it a little overboard. "Lots of gargoyle stuff. Just plain gargoyle stuff. Humans can't do it cause it's only for gargoyles. You know, the wings and tail thing. Jumping too high, roaring and squealing -"
"That's enough," said Brooklyn, placing a hand on his son's beak. "Let's just go, okay?"
The gargoyles and Owen began heading out the door, but Gray was still suspicious and very confused. "Wait! Wait a minute!" she demanded, stepping up to them and again stopping them in their tracks. "What's this one o'clock thing?"
Owen turned to her, pushing his glasses up. "It is a clan ritual," he explained, his face as stoic as usual. "The specifics are such as I am not at liberty to expose."
Gray nodded her head, but still didn't quite understand. "There wasn't anything like this last night," she said critically.
"It is every night except Sundays," said Owen, turning again and trying to make it plain that they needed to leave.
"Well, then," said Gray as she went to her organizer. "Something to make note of." She began to write as she spoke. "Gargoyles will be indisposed at one o'clock . . . every night . . . except Sundays."
Gray's words held an acidic charm to them, and she wrote with her pen as if she were angry. Owen simply nodded quickly, and left the room, leaving Gray to stew . . . and Xanatos to smirk from the other side of the glass.
* * * * *
Hudson's chuckle could be heard from the television room. The television was not very loud, but words and sounds could still be heard echoing off of the walls. There was laughter mixed in with the sounds, and Brooklyn and his family could tell he must have been watching a comedy.
"Sounds like he's having fun," quipped Graeme.
The others nodded, but remained silent as they headed inside the room. Hudson's hair and the tips of his wings could be seen protruding from behind the chair where he sat. A remote was in one hand, and he used it to flip the channels or change the volume. A lamp shone light in one corner, and the rest of the light came from the television.
Hearing their approach, Hudson turned to them. "Ah, good evening, lads and lassies," he greeted cheerily. Bronx, who rested beside the old gargoyle on the floor, lifted his head in greeting, panting a happy hello.
"Hey, Hudson," greeted Ariana as she leaned on the chair to watch the television with him. "Whatcha whatchin'?"
"Ah, this film with these three fellas in it. It seems to be very funny, the bald one especially," he said as he looked at her. "Something I came up on the last little while. What a sorry bunch o' buffoons they are, eh?"
Ariana giggled as he chuckled, then Owen's polite grunt made them turn to him. "Owen," Hudson said. "What do ye need?"
"It's your turn to see Doctor Gray," Owen replied as Nudnik pranced in and heading straight for Bronx. They nuzzled each other and began to play around. Everyone watched them.
Hudson groaned, an irritated growl rising in his throat. He was the one who had Doctor Gray the most concerned, aside from the children. It was mostly due to his age, and though he recognized the need for her concern, he didn't exactly appreciate all of the fuss. The children, however, seemed to be a little more accustomed to it. "Canna we jus' pretend I couldn't be found?" he pleaded despairingly, flipping off the television with the touch of a button.
"I'm truly sorry," Owen replied, stepping out of the way as Hudson stood to leave the room, leaving the twins to fight over the remote. "But we only get one artifice a night, at most. And Brooklyn and his family were in more dire need of it than you."
Hudson threw a glare at Nudnik from the door, and the little beast seemed to swallow nervously. Then, he opened his mouth to a toothy grin, panting hopefully. Sighing, Hudson decided to go along, and left the room entirely.
"All right, laddie," he said with a grumble, "but this had best not take tae long."
Owen simply nodded, and followed behind him. Brooklyn and the others watched them go, and the twins had to fight a giggle.
"Well," said Graeme, "that went well."
* * * * *
"Ah, there you are, Hudson," said Doctor Gray with a polite smile as Hudson appeared outside of the examination room. "Have a seat right over there, and I'll be with you in a moment."
Hudson sighed irritably as he looked in the direction that Gray had pointed to, and then went over to sit on the examination table. He sat with his arms folded across his chest as he watched Gray pull out several different instruments that he knew he didn't like. One of them was a very long needle, and it made him squeamish just by looking at it.
"Is this really necessary, lass?" he asked her as she approached him.
"Well, if you want to maintain good health, I'd say that it is," replied Doctor Gray as she prepared to draw blood from Hudson. "I need to take a little blood."
Hudson watched as she wrapped his arm with a large rubber knot and search for a vein. He winced as Gray pricked his arm with that same long needle. He watched in a state of fascination and repulsion as his own blood began to fill a small plastic vial. And as it was filled, Gray took out two more and filled them up as well. And when that was finished, she took the needle from his arm, threw it away and then put a piece of cotton and wrapped a bright blue bandage around it.
"And what was that for?" asked Hudson as he fingered the bandage.
"The blood work can tell me a lot about your average health, Hudson," said Gray as she put the vials in a container and marked them. "You're a lot older than the others, and seniors usually suffer from failing health once they reach about your age." She looked at him as she lifted a stethoscope to her ears. "Now, take some deep breaths for me."
Grumbling, Hudson did as asked, breathing in deep and then releasing the breath whenever she gave the word. He could feel that the metal was cold even through his tunic. But he jumped when Gray moved to his back, and turned to her sharply.
"That's cold!" he chided her, and Gray almost laughed at him. But she continued her work undaunted, and soon Hudson began to lose his patience. The examination became a bit more grueling in Hudson's opinion. Gray was concerned about his health, and her attention towards him was making him feel particularly old and foolish.
"You must be kept in tip-top shape, Hudson," Gray told him at one point. "Otherwise, who knows what might happen? If your heart works itself too much you could have a heart attack."
Hudson just grumbled at that, sighing as he at last decided he had had enough. "A thousand years ago, our kind went when it was their time. You canna cheat death with medicine and the like. Not for very long, at least."
"Hudson, this is only a check-up," Gray said with an irritated sigh, "not a scientific experiment."
"But I dinna need it, lass!" Hudson argued as he looked at her. He watched as Gray went to her desk, catching the stubborn look that she gave him. "I turn tae stone during the day. I heal then. And if I die, then so be it."
Gray turned to him then. "But wouldn't you rather die in battle?" she asked, recalling the code of honor that these creatures seemed to live by. "Wouldn't it be a bit of a waste to die in your sleep? Or to die because of a failing body?"
"Everyone's body fails them at some point in their lifetime, lass," Hudson told her patiently. "Tis the way of nature. Besides, my kind hardly ever dies in their sleep."
"Yes, I know that, but…" said Gray, but stopped mid-sentence and sighed as she placed a hand to her head. She gave him a look, then looked to her notes. "You know, you and your clan are making my job here nearly impossible." She sighed with exasperation again, trying hard not to lose her temper.
"We didna ask you to come here, lass. We do this for the future of the clan," Hudson told her. He was definitely not in a cooperating mood. But who of the clan had been? Goliath had been just as sensitive and irritable as this old one here, but he had at least tolerated her examinations much better. He had sat politely and waited patiently for Gray to finish. But when she was done, he had jumped out of the room all too eagerly.
At last, Gray sighed in release. She had finished most of what she had wanted to with Hudson, and there was no point anymore in keeping him longer. And right now, Gray was not in the mood to fight with the old gargoyle anymore. "All right," she said as she sat down at her desk and began sorting out more files. "You can go."
"Thank ye, lass," Hudson said, jumping off of the table and leaving straight away. He eyed her as he left. Gray ignored the tone in his voice and went back to writing some information on a clipboard and in her computer. These gargoyles were making it impossible to get any work done.
* * * * *
Goliath snarled as he was tossed into the roof of a warehouse by Coldsteel's mechanical tentacles. An indentation of cracks and openings formed around him from the impact of his massive body, causing dust to spew everywhere. Coldsteel flew at him with lasers blazing, and Goliath jumped away. The roof was rocked with explosions; smoke and dust flew everywhere.
"Enough of this!!" Angela cried, and raised her arms into the arm. "Fulminous venite!" she cried, and aimed her talons at her enemy. The force of her strike was like the blast of a laser, and it caused Coldsteel to fall the ground, sparking with electricity from the lighting bolt. But he didn't stay down long, and Angela was quickly becoming winded more than the others were. She had tried to use her powers in order to even the odds. But it hadn't done much good, and now she was running out of energy.
"You little wench!" Coldsteel snarled, getting back to his feet from the rooftop. He aimed his laser at her. "Goliath's spawn!"
Goliath roared and flipped onto his hands, throwing himself at an angle at his ex-brother. And with both legs, he knocked the robot several feet away into a shed on the roof. Then, he raced at the robot as he burst out of the rubble, and tackled him. Still snarling, he lifted Coldsteel into the air. "Never speak to my daughter like that," he ordered, and threw Coldsteel over the rooftop. There was a crash from below, and the others raced to see if the robot was finally defeated.
The battle had been carrying on for what seemed like ages. The natural-bodied warriors were getting tired, and it was obvious that Coldsteel was exhilarated over the fact that he could defeat Goliath, the elder's old 'pet champion' from so long ago. A champion that had charmed his way into being clan leader. And this had fueled anger and a hatred that he had carried with him for years. And now he had an edge over Goliath, possessing a body that could do more than his soft skinned previous form ever could. Because even though the tides of the battle sea-sawed back and forth between both sides, he never tired. His metal casing could sustain damage, but he never grew tired. It gave Coldsteel a sense of feeling like he was on the throne and now Goliath was the looking up. Coldsteel would not rest until Goliath was completely subdued to his power.
"Where is he?" Lexington asked, gliding into the alleyway to get a better look. Suddenly, the roar of jetpacks caused Lexington to spin around with a startled gasp, and watch as Coldsteel appeared out of nowhere. With a maddening laugh, the robot rammed into the smaller gargoyle and carried him through the air in a headlock. "Aah! Get off!!" Lexington cried.
"Lexington!" Goliath roared, and quickly took to the air with his daughter, following the robot.
Coldsteel laughed in spite of himself. You're finally losing, my brother, he thought to himself. He could see the fatigue in his brother's eyes. Throughout the fight, the clan had tried to break away and catch their breath, tiring quickly. And now Coldsteel was exploiting that weakness, a weakness he had once had, and driving the clan on until they could go no further. This would make them easier to destroy.
Suddenly, his internal instruments caught the faint click of a signal. It was a radio signal, and it was trying to reach him from some point from within the city. Instantly, he feared for a moment that the clan was on to him. "Coldsteel," said a deep voice, and he did a double take. The voice was calm, yet demanding at the same time. "Coldsteel, listen to me. Stop this senseless battle. You can not go on like this all night."
"Who are you?" Coldsteel growled, earning a strange look from Lexington whom he had forgotten was still in his grasp. "What is this? How are you doing this, Goliath?"
The voice chuckled. "I am not Goliath," the voice replied, his voice oozing with venom. "My name is Thailog."
Coldsteel growled, tightening his grip on Lexington. "You sound like Goliath to me," he countered, glancing behind him to become stunned at seeing Goliath was still behind him, and getting closer.
Coldsteel heard the voice chuckle. "We're related in a way. So are you and I, Coldsteel. We have a common enemy, my brother," replied Thailog's voice, and Coldsteel gasped in astonishment. "I have some use for you. We could benefit from an alliance."
Coldsteel listened in suspicious interest, while Lexington looked on. But seeing that something had distracted his enemy, he dug his talons into Coldsteel's shell, causing electricity to crackle. Coldsteel looked in surprise, releasing Lexington. The robot cried out, and raced to tackle the web-winged gargoyle.
Lexington held his ground, using the moment to access the police band.
* * * * *
Cars and lights drifted by as Matt drove through the city, patrolling the streets and surveying everything and everyone he saw for any signs of trouble. But so far there was none, save what was happening near the Waterfront. The buzz over the radio was that there were several gargoyles involved in a struggle, causing damage to several warehouses and even taking out power. Matt found that part a little hard to believe, but the fact that there was a struggle going on concerned him.
"Who are you guys fighting?" he asked no one in particular.
Just then, a voice began cutting in over the radio signal. It was covered in static and sounding very disturbed. "Hang on, I'm not getting much of a signal," Matt told the stranger, and waited until the signal was clearer. "Okay, go ahead. What's the problem?"
"Elisa?" cried Lexington's voice over the radio. "Elisa, is that you? We need help!"
"Lexington?" said Matt in surprise as he came to a stop light, hearing the fatigue and worry that colored the warrior's voice. "No, no this isn't Elisa. She's off tonight. It's Matt. What's going on, Lex?"
"It - it's Coldsteel!" Lexington cried, and Matt could hear the sounds of a fierce battle in the background. "He's back, and he's attacking us! He's trying to drive Coldstone and Coldfire out into the open," he said, using his fellow gargoyles' former names. He cried suddenly, and Matt tensed, almost forgetting to start driving again as the lights turned green. "He doesn't know they're not here. But we can't keep this up for much longer. The sun will be up soon."
"Okay, Lex. Are you guys at the Waterfront?" Matt asked.
"Yeah. Get some of the others and get them out here," Lexington cried, his voice suddenly becoming edgy as he tried to finish the last of his message. "Call the castle and tell the others to get out here. And hurry."
He yelped as something grabbed him, and instantly the transmission was cut off. "Lex?" Matt asked, urgency crawling up his spine as he began dialing a new number. He sighed, picking up his cellular phone and dialing the private line at the castle.
* * * * *
Coldsteel snorted as he thrust Lexington into Goliath, sending them both skidding over the next rooftop. "Take your offer somewhere else," he growled, still in contact with Thailog. "I chose to come back here for my own purposes, and I'm too close to taking Goliath down now to simply walk away. I've walked under his shadow for years. You're a fool if you think I'll continue to do so!" he snarled angrily, and as if to make his point, he fired at Goliath. He hit his mark perfectly. The big gargoyle stumbled back with pained cry, grasping his chest and momentarily stunned as he crashed to the ground.
There was a sigh from the other side of the connection. "As you wish," said Thailog's voice, and the transmission was cut.
Down below, Angela and Lexington rushed to Goliath's side. The leader sat up, clearly irritated. They realized that Coldsteel had finished his conversation and had turned his attention back to them. Goliath and Angela turned to Lex.
"I got through," he said. "Matt's supposed to send reinforcements."
Suddenly, Coldsteel sailed at them, and they rushed to meet him with roars and snarls.
* * * * *
Elisa entered the Great Hall and breathed deeply. As many times as she came here, she always liked it. She saw Sata and waved at her. The two females met in the middle of the room.
"It is good to see you again, Elisa-san," Sata greeted her.
"You too," Elisa smiled. Work had been hectic the past few weeks, and it seemed Goliath's work had managed to keep them from having a quiet night together.
"Goliath, Lexington, and Angela have gone on a patrol. They left some time ago, and should be back soon," Sata informed her.
Elisa nodded. "It's been a mess at work, lately. I hear things have been busy around here too."
The two were walking now, talking like friends. "Indeed it has, my friend. I only hope things are not like this when Goliath and the others are gone to Ishimura."
"You're not going?" Elisa asked.
"It is not my place. While I would enjoy seeing the descendents of my clan, this is a diplomatic meeting. At another time, I would very much enjoy seeing other clans around the world," Sata told her.
Elisa nodded. "I understand."
* * * * *
Elsewhere, David Xanatos looked up at the sound of his office door opening. His work tonight had been interrupted little since the examinations on the gargoyles had ended. He hoped that nothing was wrong, but the look on Owen's face suggested trouble.
"What is it, Owen?" he asked, setting his pen aside.
"A call for you one line one, sir," Owen replied. "It's Detective Bluestone. It seems that Goliath and his patrol team need some assistance."
Xanatos quickly picked up the phone and began speaking with Matt. "Detective Bluestone?" he said, concerned that the others might be in danger. "What is it?"
"We've got trouble, Mr. X," replied Matt over the other line, sounding a bit anxious. "Goliath and the others are under attack at the Waterfront. They could use some back up, three of the clan at the most. It's Coldsteel," Matt finished.
Xanatos held the surprise back in his voice. "Interesting. Understood. I'll dispatch some of the clan immediately." He hung up the phone without saying goodbye.
He turned to Owen. "Contact Brooklyn. Tell him the situation. They're at the Waterfront. Tell him I'll meet them on the parapets."
* * * * *
Elisa and Sata had joined Brooklyn, Hudson, and Broadway in the television room. Owen walked quietly to Brooklyn, pulling him aside from the conversation at hand.
"What is it?" he asked in concern.
"Goliath and the others are under attack at the Waterfront on the east side of the city. They requested your assistance."
"Attacked by whom?" asked Hudson, standing from his chair. The others turned to him. "I may be old, but my ears work just fine, lads."
"It's Coldsteel," Owen told him. "Mr. Xanatos is ready to offer his assistance and will meet you on the parapets."
Brooklyn sighed in stress. "Sata, you ready for a fight?" he asked in sarcasm. "Hudson, can you stay here and watch after the kids?"
"I'd rather be out there fighting, but as you command," Hudson replied.
The second-in-command turned to Elisa. "You stay here. You'll be no help in an air battle, and I don't want you getting hurt," he told her.
"I understand," she said.
"Broadway," he said. "You ready?"
The large gargoyle simply nodded. The three warriors made their way out of the room, when Dr. Gray stopped them in the doorway. "What's going on here?" she asked demandingly.
The occupants of the room turned to look at her. "You guys look like you're getting ready to go to war."
"Something like that," Brooklyn said as he, Sata, and Broadway passed her. She tried to call after them, but to no avail.
"Tell me what is going on," she directed towards Owen.
"The clan is simply leaving on patrol," Owen replied.
Gray regarded him, clearly not believing what he said. "Leaving on patrol? Like that?" she asked, growing angry at the fact that she was always being kept in the dark. "What is the reason behind this? What is going on?" Owen remained stoic as he and Elisa exited the television room. "Owen! What is happening!? This behavior does not concur with their regular patrolling patterns. Something is wrong. Now tell me what it is!" Dr. Gray was following them out of the room.
"It is not of any importance," Owen replied. "It is the clan's affair. We need not be concerned with it." Gray broke away again, snarling and muttering under breath. She started racing towards the exit, wanting to get a good view of where the gargoyles were headed. But Owen was still stubbornly trying to stall her. "Let the clan be. This is something they need to tend to. We need not get involved unless they ask us."
"But where are they going!?" cried Gray. She threw up her arms in frustration. The three members of the clan had gone. "Great! They're gone!"
Owen sighed. "Good night, Dr. Gray," he said with a bow, and quickly turned to leave. Gray watched him go with a look of malice, then followed after him to go back to her office, grumbling all of the way.
* * * * *
The battle had grown steadily worse. The clan kept sustaining injuries, while Coldsteel only came away with bumps and dents. They had no choice but to keep fighting, though. The robot clearly enjoyed taking advantage of them the way he did, and this new body only made it easier. He had never asked for the mechanical toy, but it gave him an exponential amount of strength and speed over the flesh body his consciousness had once resided in. He had weapons built into his arms and jetpacks that propelled him in the air with greater agility than his flesh wings had ever granted him. Gliding was a slow and tedious process; flying was faster and easier. And besides, Coldsteel found gaining the edge over Goliath exhilarating. He loved seeing the desperation in Goliath's eyes as they battled.
However, the battle had taken another strange turn. They had begun to attract a crowd. Humans were everywhere, flooding the streets and running back and forth in excitement. They were amazed and frightened by the feats that these creatures were displaying before them. Explosions from Coldsteel's lasers rocked every building that the gargoyles glided past, causing people to flee in panic. By now, Coldsteel had begun to take that into effect, using it to his advantage. The gargoyles had gall and were not willing to give up. They had begun to make a comeback, and now Coldsteel needed something to even up the odds.
"He's attacking the crowd!" Angela cried, shocked at the sight of lasers firing into the multitude of people below.
"Is he insane?" Goliath growled, crying out as an explosion pushed him into Lexington. "We have to stop this."
Angela yelped as Coldsteel fired an intentional blast at her, and with a snarl she charged. But he easily soared away, and as she charged again he managed to capture her in his line of sight. And with a wicked chuckle, he fired a perfect shot. The blast from his laser struck Angela's wing, and she tumbled, crippled, to a gabled roof below. She grabbed hold of a secure ledge and pulled herself to safety. Goliath soared down to her, hovering in the air above her to make sure she was all right. "I'm all right," Angela told him breathlessly, climbing back to her feet. The wing was charred, and hung limp by her side. She breathed in with pain, attempting to block off the sensation. Slowly, she flexed the wing and ascertained that it would that it was still usable and should hold her weight while gliding.
"Look out!" Lexington cried, and they looked up. Coldsteel fired right at Goliath and Angela, and they had to jump in order to escape the blast that destroyed a portion of the building. Snarling, Lexington threw a pipe at the robot before racing down to meet the others. The pipe was heavy, and Coldsteel was momentarily pinned on the roof. But with a snarl and a blast of his rockets, he soared into the air again, and grasped the pipe tightly with his mechanical tentacles. And, with amazing force, he squeezed the pipe until it shattered into a million pieces.
"We can't keep going on like this," Angela said breathlessly, haltingly dodging more blasts. "We need something to distract him."
"I think I have an idea," said Lexington, and he began gliding away from the battle. Curious, Goliath and Angela followed him, and Lexington looked back at them while making sure that Coldsteel was kept a fair distance away. "If I can interface with him we might be able to overcome him. I can get him to shut down. But it's gonna be tricky, and I'll need your help. He's too smart to let me stay on him long."
"Understood," Goliath growled, and soared up to meet his rookery-brother. "Angela, with me. Take evasive action. Keep him distracted!"
Angela nodded, and with a snarl, she and Goliath charged Coldsteel. They glided right at him, and he soared upwards with a mocking laugh. "Received your second wind, have you?" Coldsteel sneered with a laugh.
"This ends now, Coldsteel," Goliath said simply, and suddenly turned into Coldsteel, ramming his body hard against the metal plates that held the soul of his rookery-brother. Both immediately engaged in hand-to-hand combat, struggling for supremacy in the air. Goliath snarled and slashed, leaving several deep gashes in the metal of Coldsteel's face and chest. Sparks flew, but the damages fazed him little. Coldsteel retaliated by kicking Goliath in the face, sending him sprawling to the roof far below. Laughing, Coldsteel dove after him, and used his tentacles to grasp Goliath. Goliath squirmed and growled as he was caught in Coldsteel's grip, and tried to grab hold of them to break free. But Coldsteel began to squeeze him with all of the strength that the mechanical joints could muster, and Goliath cried out in pain.
"It's too easy!" Coldsteel laughed, satisfied with the pain he saw in Goliath's face. "You're no match for me now, brother. At last, I will be the stronger warrior."
Suddenly, Lexington and Angela dove at him, the force of their attack pushing him out of the sky. Everyone fell to the roof below, crying out as their combined weight caused the roof to nearly give under the pressure. A great cloud of dust and debris billowed into the air, and they all squirmed to break away. The two gargoyles were managing to keep Coldsteel down. Growling, Goliath tried to help out by covering Coldsteel's eyes from behind. He managed to break his head free from Goliath's grasp and saw Lexington above him.
"You little rat," Coldsteel snarled, and threw Lexington a hard punch to the jaw. Lexington cried out and stumbled away, but then Coldsteel lashed on to him with his tail and tossed him away. As he stood, Angela was still clinging to his arm, the talons of her feet digging into the roof for stability. Goliath roared off to the side, finding the leverage he needed to burst free of Coldsteel's tentacles. Coldsteel cried out at that, almost as though the broken machinery caused him pain, like losing a limb.
Frustrated, Coldsteel soared into the air with a snarl, his rockets blazing in the gargoyle's eyes as he tried to get above them. But Goliath pounced on him just in time, his talons digging into Coldsteel's waist and legs. Angela watched them for a moment from the roof before searching out a place where she could take to the air, wincing slightly as her wound throbbed from the exertion.
Growling, Goliath snatched Coldsteel in a headlock, his powerful arms squeezing Coldsteel's neck. He dug the talons of his feet into Coldsteel's back, wincing in pain as he felt the heat from the exhaust on his flesh. Gasping, he turned to Lexington, trying to stay on as Coldsteel swerved and dipped through the air. "Lexington!" Goliath yelled, grunting against the effort of holding to a mechanical body that was almost stronger than his own. "Do it. Do it now!"
Lexington soared in immediately with a roar, snatching Coldsteel's head from behind and hanging on for dear life. Then he quickly began to attempt the proper interface. But before he could even make the necessary contact, Coldsteel broke free. Goliath and Lexington cried out as they felt themselves thrown back, and flapped their wings to stay in the air.
"Enough!" Coldsteel roared, turning to Angela, who was closest to him. Although he was still thoroughly enjoying the battle, he still had one purpose in mind: to find his brother and sister. Snarling, he grabbed Angela by the scuff of her tunic, then firing his rockets, he soared for the clouds faster than Lexington and Goliath could follow.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed beating your hides, little girl," Coldsteel snarled, snaking his repaired tentacles around her throat. Angela gagged, but couldn't move. "But I still require my brother and sister. You know where they are, and you tell me. Where are my brother and sister?"
Angela hissed at him. "What are you talking about?" she lied, trying to buy her father time to catch up. "They're here."
Coldsteel roared, shaking her harshly. "You fool, I would have detected them by now!" he cried, threatening to leave gashes across her face with his talons. "You lie to me, girl. Do not make the mistake again. Where are they?"
Angela glanced below her, still snarling at her loyalty to his enemies. Goliath was nearly there, but Coldsteel was still soaring up. "You can't find them," she told him at last, her taunting voice making him curious. Angela knew that Coldsteel would never be able to reach Othello and Desdemona now, after what they had been through. "They've gone to Avalon. You can't reach them there."
Coldsteel stared at her. "Avalon?" He asked, shaking her and putting her face to his. "It is a place of myth and legend, girl. You grasp any means to free yourself."
Suddenly, Goliath's roar startled them out of his interrogation. Neither of them had a chance to look before Goliath plowed full force into his mechanized rookery-brother, coming down at Coldsteel with enough leverage and force to push him back towards the buildings below. Fires were still blazing from the explosions, and people were still running back and forth. Lexington was in the air again and racing to meet them.
"You worthless - " Coldsteel managed to get out, and gave her a final squeeze before throwing her onto the roof of a nearby building. The young gargoyle cried out as she collided with the roof, dust and pieces of concrete billowing into the air as she rolled to a stop. She didn't get up.
"Angela!" Goliath cried, and turned back to Coldsteel, growing even angrier than before. Coldsteel still squirmed in his grasp, but it was almost over. Goliath's weight was pulling Coldsteel down, and even if Coldsteel managed to break away now, he was in too steep a dive to effectively save himself. But Goliath had the leverage, and with a huff, he suddenly let go, catching the wind with his wings and soaring towards the sky.
Coldsteel gasped as he felt Goliath's weight suddenly release him. He could see now, for Goliath's arms had covered his eyes. And suddenly, he wished that he were still blinded. The roof was only a few feet away from him now, and there was no way he could break out of this fall. "Goliath!" he roared hatefully, and plowed into the roof.
An explosion of smoke, dust and debris shot into the air as if pushed there by a massive volcanic explosion. As the dust continued to billow, Coldsteel lay still, momentarily stunned and absolutely shocked. Snarling, he slowly rose, chiding himself for having underestimated Goliath again. He looked up to watch Goliath, his eyes blazing as he ran a quick self-diagnostic. He was shocked to find that his system had taken a severe blow from the impact. And by the look on Goliath's face, that was exactly what he had planned.
Just then, he detected movement from several feet away, and the sound of more wings came to his ears. Stunned, he looked to see his three opponents joined now by three more of the clan: a blue-green male, a brick red male, and a jade green female. Familiar enemies, they landed in a circle around him. Their eyes were blazing and they presented a strength that made Goliath visibly relax. Coldsteel snarled furiously. His opponents had doubled in number. He no longer possessed an edge. The lavender female was still down, and the green male had gone to her side.
Coldsteel was furious. Even though his system had been damaged, he still had enough power to take them all. Because his mechanical body healed itself, he could probably go on all night. "Well," he said, taking in the sight of his former clan.
"Do you enjoy this, brother?" Goliath asked him, his eyes white with fury. "Attacking your clan?"
Coldsteel laughed. "You have no idea for how long I have waited to do this," he told Goliath. "No longer am I in your shadow. No longer do I have to suffer as you charm the rest of our clan." He hissed viciously, his jealous hatred shining in his unblinking eyes. "Goliath is a fool," he told the rest of the clan. "You are all fools to trust him."
"Leave now, brother," Goliath told him. "Leave here and never come back."
Coldsteel snorted curtly. He activated his jetpacks, sending him into the sky. As the robot soared away, the others turned to Goliath.
"Do we follow?" Lexington asked.
Goliath turned to Broadway. "Stay with her," he told his daughter's mate. With a nod, the rest of the clan took to the air.
Angela, now conscious, looked up to her mate. "How long until the sun rises?" she asked.
Broadway shook his head. "Not long. You'll be fine."
She smiled as she felt his hand holding the side of her head. "Broadway…"
He silenced her. "Don't speak. Save your energy." He stood, picking her up as he did so. "We're going to go back to the castle. I don't want us to turn to stone here."
Angela continued. "I'm sorry," she said as Broadway found a higher altitude.
Broadway looked at her. "Sorry for what?" he asked.
"For arguing with you," she said. "You were right. We shouldn't…" Angela struggled. "… argue about such little things."
"Close your eyes," Broadway said. "We'll be home soon."
* * * * *
Thailog was really quite amused as he watched the battle on a personal view screen from his new office. Coldsteel was really giving the clan a run around. He was an equal adversary for Goliath, and more than holding his own ground. It seemed that more of the clan had joined the fight, and Coldsteel was seriously outnumbered. The robot had managed to bring down Goliath's spawn, and one of the males had attended to her. That left four against one.
"Foolish machine," Thailog growled, watching the battle escalate between with interest and praise. "You should have taken my offer." He turned to Fergus who sat at a desk not too far away. "Fergus," the clone beckoned.
The human jumped, spilling a few papers on to the floor before turning to his ally. "Sir?" he said, standing at attention out of habit.
"Send our new friend a squadron of Valkyries," Thailog told him with a cold chuckle. "It seems he is in need of some assistance."
"Yes sir," said Fergus, and he turned to leave the room. Thailog didn't bother to watch him go. He kept his attention on the screen in front of him.
* * * * *
Goliath cried out as a stray laser blast struck him in the leg just above the knee. The strength of the blast was strong enough to twist him in the air, and he collided with Brooklyn. Both fell to the roof of a nearby office building, which stood just at the edge of the Waterfront. Goliath growled with frustration as he stood again, and helped Brooklyn to his feet.
"We've got to slow this guy down," Brooklyn growled, following Goliath as they raced back to join the others in the air. They made a wide circle, following the battle as it returned to the area where the clan had first arrived. Angela and Broadway were gone, and Goliath hoped they reached the castle intact.
"I've got to make that interface with Coldsteel," Lexington said as they dodged the blasts from the robot's laser weapon. "It's the only way we can beat him!"
"Agreed," growled Goliath. "But how?"
"We just need to try again," Lexington said, soaring in a giant circle around an enraged Coldsteel.
"Then let's do it," said Brooklyn as they arched their wings back to charge.
Sata charged at the machine, her blade in her hand. She slashed his midsection, causing sparks to fly. She readied herself for another attack, hearing his words as she did.
"I am steel and you are flesh, arrogant female."
"That won't save you," Sata snarled, slicing at Coldsteel's metal wing with her blade in her next attack. "We outnumber you four to one. We are a clan. You are Bakemono."
"What?" Coldsteel started before realizing it made no difference.
Suddenly, Brooklyn and Goliath attacked, roaring fiercely and pinning Coldsteel down to the nearest rooftop with their hands and immense weight. Their combined weight made an enormous thud. "Get off of me!" Coldsteel yelled, and raised his right arm in their direction. A red beam of energy began to form just above his fist, and the gargoyles suddenly jumped away with cries as a laser beam shot out of the robot's arm. The blast went astray, shooting off into the night sky.
"You know, brother," Coldsteel said. "If the sun rises, then… well." He didn't finish.
Brooklyn turned to the sound of sirens that were growing louder and louder by the minute. Humans were everywhere in the streets below, and a helicopter had occasionally flown over their battle, but had never gotten close enough to see what exactly what was going on. It meant trouble, and he knew that they had to hurry and finish this battle, one way or another.
Growling, he turned to watch as Coldsteel used another of his mechanical tentacles to send Goliath flying away from him. He tried to reach Sata, but she had taken to the air again, leaving Lexington and himself to fend for themselves. The two warriors looked at each other, and in a single moment of clarity their feud and mistrust disappeared. Brooklyn and Lexington nodded.
Coldsteel had turned his attention to Goliath and Sata, who were trying to attack him from the air. The two rookery-brothers charged, catching him off guard and bringing the robot to the ground. Coldsteel cried out in shock, his arms, legs, his wings and the tentacles within his arms suddenly going berserk as he lay against the ground. His eyes glowed a fierce artificial red, and Lexington's eyes held an empty look to them, a look of concentration and thought, even as they glowed. No expression filled his face, and soon the light in his eyes left.
"Lex?" Brooklyn asked. Silence, except for the growls of Coldsteel beneath them. "Lex?"
"It's done," Lexington said finally, standing up. "I just had to get close enough to import myself into him, so speak."
Brooklyn stood as well. Coldsteel stay on the ground, his face pressed against the rooftop. "You won't … defeat … me," they heard him say.
"Lex?" Brooklyn asked.
"I just turned off his mobile functions," Lexington explained. "He can talk all he wants to."
Goliath and Sata landed on the roof. "You did it," Sata said simply.
Lexington nodded. "I've made contact," he announced.
"Can you… shut him off?" Brooklyn asked, trying to find the right words.
"Give me a minute," Lexington said, going into a state of concentration.
"Lexington, look out!" Goliath cried suddenly as an electric shock blasted Lexington and his system to the ground. The feedback surge was too powerful, and the small gargoyle cried out, sailing over the edge of the building and away from the battle. Gasping, Goliath launched himself into the air, diving down quickly to catch the small gargoyle before more damage could be done.
"Ah, rats!" Brooklyn said, flaring his wings as Coldsteel returned to the battle.
"You fools," Coldsteel roared in anger, arming himself with his laser. "You will not defeat me. You will pay for this outrage."
Coldsteel turned to Sata, who raced over to him with her blade raised. Snarling, he fired the laser. The blast ricocheted off of her blade, sending it flying in an odd trajectory. Roaring angrily, Coldsteel's body slammed Sata back.
Goliath had made his way back to the roof with Lexington. He laid the green gargoyle down on the surface. The small gargoyle was breathing, but Coldsteel's feedback had sent too much of a shock to his internal systems.
"I can't believe this," Brooklyn seethed through his teeth, waiting as Goliath rejoined the struggle. "We're getting nowhere. He's gonna pick us off until there's no one left. We still have one card up our sleeves, though."
"Xanatos?" the leader asked as he stood beside him. Brooklyn simply nodded. He watched the battle with a strengthening sense of dread as his mate held her own against the robot. The battle was not going well at all. They needed help from their card.
Just then, he spotted something heading towards them from a short distance away. They looked like gargoyles, but glistened with metal. And a plume of red fire trailed behind them, pushing them forward. This told him that these new arriving strangers were not gargoyles at all, but machines.
"It's the Steel Clan," Brooklyn said. "All right, Xanatos came through for us!"
With a roar, he charged into the battle once again, his snarling lips still cracked with a smile. But a stray shot made him halt in his charge, skidding him to stop just at the right spot. It gave him full view of the approaching robots, and when he saw what they really were, his smile faded to a gasp of dread. The machines were Valkyrie in design, which meant Thailog had sent them.
"Give me a break," Brooklyn muttered to himself, jumping aside as the new machines fired blast after blast. The clan quickly scattered, herded away from Coldsteel. One shot caught Goliath unprepared, and he was hit dead center in the chest. With a mighty cry of pain, he fell backwards to the ground.
"Goliath!" Brooklyn cried, and launched to help him. A Valkyrie landed before the red gargoyle and he had to jump aside to escape a laser as it destroyed the section of the roof where he had just been.
Coldsteel stood dazed and confused as he watched the Valkyries attack the clan. Suddenly, a different type of robotic form landed in front of him, backhanding him in the face. The robot was knocked back. He took in the new player. It was red, and looked like a robotic Goliath.
A Valkyrie fired at Xanatos in the back, but it didn't even dent the exo-armor. He turned around, fired at the robot, and then returned his attention to Coldsteel.
Coldsteel mused. Having Goliath down made the clan anxious, their greatest strength temporarily dispelled. This new player was a problem, but could easily be passed, given some time and help from his new allies. The other robots moved in here and there, trying to help him and even protect their other fallen comrades. They formed a protective circle around Coldsteel, seeming alert to the ever-approaching fleet of police.
But Coldsteel had not yet noticed them. His attention was still focused on Goliath, trying to stand up from a blast that he, Coldsteel, hadn't delivered. He moved in for an attack, to permanently take Goliath out of his life forever. The clicking of the instruments in his head stopped him in his tracks. A signal was coming through again. Annoyed, Coldsteel allowed it to come through.
"What do you think you are doing, you fool?" Thailog asked him angrily. "Get out of there. The Valkyries are meant to be your escorts, not to help you in battle. The odds are against you four to one now, and you've sustained serious damage. You cannot last much long. Come to the coordinates I'm sending you."
Coldsteel growled, firing his jetpacks to send him into the air. The clan watched him, clearly confused at his departure. "I told you I could -"
"Get out of there, now!" Thailog ordered, his voice tight as he cut off Coldsteel's words. "The local authorities are already rallying on your position. You will be destroyed if you stay there." Thailog was again calm yet stern.
Coldsteel suddenly became aware of the sirens surrounding him. His electronic eyes could make out humans in armor below him. In their hands were high powered laser rifles, pointed in his direction. His sensitive ears could make out one of their voices over a loud speaker. "Attention, all Task Force members. This is your new commander. You have permission to fire on the target. Repeat: you have permission to fire on the target."
His sensors picked up projectiles coming towards him. Coldsteel dodged a laser blast, suddenly becoming aware of the position he was in. He no longer had the advantage. Goliath had beaten him, once again. The robot glanced once again at the warriors. The small green male had returned to the fight, and Coldsteel wished he could take him out again.
"Very well," Coldsteel sighed. "Where can I meet you?"
"I'll send you the location," Thailog replied.
Suddenly, the Valkyries pulled away from their circle, blasting towards the sky at an unbelievable rate. Coldsteel quickly followed them as the clan gathered around, baffled and stunned.
The robot still heard the humans below him. "You have permission to fire on other targets. Repeat: Fire on any other moving targets."
* * * * *
"We have to follow him," Lexington said as he and the others looked to the sky.
"No," Goliath said. "You're weak, and we need to regroup in case he decides to return."
"Goliath is right," Xanatos said. "The we need to get out of here before New York's finest decide to target us."
"Can you fly, Lexington?" Sata asked in concern.
He nodded. "I think so."
As the clan took to the air, they heard shots being fired from below them. Xanatos interposed the exo-armor in between the clan and the shooters below. "They're firing at us," Brooklyn said to the others.
"Split up and move faster! Meet back at the castle," Goliath said, splitting from the five-cornered formation they were in. The others followed suit, splitting in different directions while the shots continued.
* * * * *
Matt clenched his teeth as he skidded his vehicle to a stop. The clan was fleeing the area and the police were firing on them as if to shoot to kill. He exited the car and slammed the door.
"Wait! Cease firing!" he cried, racing up to the line of police. "Cease firing!"
"Bluestone?" the task force leader snarled, and Matt turned to him as he approached. The man's gait was stiff and full of authority. It was cold and full of a selfish want of power, and a hatred of some sort that Matt knew was geared towards the gargoyles. "What in the devil's name do you think you're doing!? You have no authority to call a cease-fire. You are obscuring a tactical situation."
"You have to be kidding me," Matt argued, feeling himself grow angry with helplessness. Many of the new recruits here had heard two sides of two tales concerning the gargoyles. But most of them knew that the gargoyles seemed to protect people. There was a reason for this struggle: the gargoyles had been protecting themselves. "You know that the gargoyles are not responsible for this!" He turned to the other police. "The gargoyles were under attack. They were defending themselves. If you have eyes, you would've seen that!"
Matt's plea had fallen on deaf ears. Too many people were being swayed into hating the gargoyles all over again. He felt as though a new Dark Ages was beginning. He knew he was rapidly burning bridges in the department. And the reprimanding his 'boss' was giving him now was sure to leave him without friends anywhere - save for Elisa.
"You actually care for those animals?" the task force leader asked.
Matt stepped into his face. "You know nothing," he said. "You may have my position, but you'd better watch your back." He walked away and got in his car without saying another word. He'd probably be catching heck for his interference, but at least the clan had been able to return home.
Matt drove home slowly. "Where are things going?" he mused aloud, then shook his head.
* * * * *
"How is she?" Goliath asked as he landed at the castle, the rest of the clan close behind him. Broadway stood to greet him.
"She's fine. She's lying down now. Hudson and the kids are with her. Dr. Gray says she'll be fine by tomorrow night."
Goliath breathed a sigh of relief as Lexington, Brooklyn, and Sata came up behind him.
"What happened?" Broadway asked.
"He got away," Brooklyn said.
"Where is Dr.Gray?" Goliath asked. "Lexington was hurt in the battle."
"I'm fine," Lexington commented. "It's more technological than physical. I can fix it myself."
"Lex – " Brooklyn started.
"I said I'm fine," he said sternly, shoving away Brooklyn's outstretched talons.
The group began walking to Dr. Gray's office, where Angela was resting. "I wonder where Coldsteel went? Why did the Valkyries come after him?" Brooklyn mused aloud.
"Thailog," Goliath said simply. The others all nodded.
Hudson met them at the office. Dr. Gray sat in her chair, looking up when the clan approached. "Angela will be fine, Goliath," she said.
"Thank you for your help."
"Just remember it in the future," Gray said angrily. "It's almost dawn. Angela can stay here during the day. Shouldn't you be somewhere else?"
"Of course," Goliath said, turning to leave. Gray was obviously upset with them. She was not welcome in the clan, and they were all vocal in their opinions. They did not ask her to be there, but she was helpful at times like this.
Xanatos came up behind them. "I'm sorry I couldn't have been more help," he said. Goliath turned to meet his ally.
"We got away. Next time, we'll be ready."
"Indeed we will," Xanatos said as the clan took their roosting spots for the day.
* * * * *
The room was lightly lit as Coldsteel entered a lavish looking office. Thailog had made many changes indeed since he had taken over Nightstone, and Coldsteel felt oddly impressed by the imposing office. The décor that he had seen in Xanatos' offices just didn't quite measure up to this. The robot gargoyle was still curious as to who his strange helper was and slowly, cautiously, stepped further into the room as a few Valkyrie robots took up positions in a straight line before a desk on either side of it. They stood at attention, seeming to recognize a military leader who was still unseen.
"So," said a voice from behind the desk. Coldsteel saw the figure perfectly with his electronic eyes. It looked like Goliath. It sounded like Goliath. But this was clearly not his hated rookery-brother. "Finally, I get to meet the mighty Coldsteel." A cold chuckle came from the chair
The lights brightened as Coldsteel took in the scarred, reversed vision of Goliath in front of him. Thailog's eyes were dark and they possessed a cold and controlling stare that made Coldsteel nervous. Even with his crippled appearance, this gargoyle was still powerful. "Welcome to my home."
Coldsteel approached him, curious and suspicious. His machinery whirred and creaked as he walked. He still felt stiff in places and too loose in others. "You are the one who kept contacting me," he said in recognition, now putting a familiar face to the voice. "No wonder you sound like Goliath. You are his blood brother?"
"No, my dear Coldsteel. I am his clone. His… offspring, if it pleases you."
Coldsteel nodded understandingly. "Why did you bring me here?" he asked.
"I think we can make brilliant business partners," Thailog told him, not taking his gaze off of Coldsteel even when approached from the side by a bald human male. "I have seen your battle and heard your hatred for Goliath. My guess is that you want to defeat the clan, fulfill your hatred, and obtain vengeance over Goliath, maybe not in that order. You have been given power, and wish to use it. And you want to find your missing kin and conquer them as well. Correct?"
Coldsteel nodded, quite impressed. "Yes," he hissed, stepping a little closer. "But it is not easy. I picked up a signal from here, from my brother and sister. But they remain here no longer. Goliath is not an easy foe to battle. He never has been, even with this body," he snarled. "The Elders' pet champion, as always."
Thailog chuckled coldly again, making Fergus flinch and Coldsteel gaze at him. He turned his attention back to the robot. "My friend, if you ally with me, I can guarantee your revenge and power over the clan. Whether you choose to enslave them or simply eliminate them is your decision."
Coldsteel pondered that for a long moment. This gargoyle could possibly provide much needed help and resources. The alliance would be a useful one…for now. And at last, he voiced his decision. "Agreed," he said, and stepped even closer to the desk. "You obviously hold an advantage over them. I could use the assistance."
Thailog grinned, and they clasped hands. "Then it is agreed," he said, and leaned back in his chair almost as if he found it comforting. He turned to the human. "Fergus, take our guest to the workshop and have him repaired and cleaned at once. He will be working with us from now on."
Fergus swallowed, and bowed. "Yes sir," he said and gestured for Coldsteel to follow him. Thailog watched them go with a cold smile and a chuckle quivering in the shadows around him. With Coldsteel as his ally, he would be far more secure in his power.
He dimmed the lights again as the sun rose outside.