Written By, Kathy Pogge, Thomas F. Revor Jr. and Matthew Shelton.
Illustrations by Aimee "Angela" Major


"This just in at the WVRN newsroom!  An explosion rocks downtown Manhattan!  More details as we get them!"


"This is Jonathan Wills for WVRN here at the site of the explosion at the Manhattan 23rd police precinct.  This once majestic station, topped by its gothic-style clock tower, is now in ruins. Earlier this night, a terrorist attack destroyed the clock tower, leaving over 30 officers injured but, thankfully, no fatalities.  Witnesses claim to have seen a plume of flame streaking towards the tower right before the explosion.  No groups have  claimed responsibility for this act at this time, but an amateur video shows that the urban myth of gargoyles is in fact very real. You can clearly see the monstrous figures leaving the scene shortly after the explosion. Travis, do we have that tape ready...?"


"This is Nicole St. John for WVRN.  Two people have been arrested in the terrorist attack on the 23rd police precinct.  They are listed as Police Detective Jason Conover, alias Jason Canmore, age 32, and his sister Robyn Canmore, age 28.  Still at large is their brother Jon, alias WVRN reporter Jon Carter, age 25. Police have yet to determine the role that the mysterious gargoyles played in this tragedy; in fact, they have yet to acknowledge the existence of these creatures.

"This incident strikes close to home for this reporter as we've worked side by side with Jon for some time.  Canmore is approximately 5 foot 9 inches tall and approximately 175 pounds with blond hair.  He is to be considered armed and dangerous.  If you see him..."



Elisa set her copy of the New York Sentinel aside to check her watch.  The smell of burgers and fries filled the coffee shop and reminded her how long it had been since she had her last meal. She looked out the windows.  Still seeing no sign of her father, she signaled to the waitress for another cup of coffee, picked up her paper and continued reading the front page.  At least the Sentinel seemed to be giving Goliath and the clan a fair shake.

The waitress returned a moment later and refilled her coffee.  Elisa thanked the woman and just stared at the paper.  She was dead tired after the last couple of days and it didn't look like things were going to settle down any time soon.  There was a small television behind the counter. Several of the patrons began to gather as the soap opera was interrupted with another "Gargoyle News Update."  She sighed and dumped three sugars in her mug, figuring she was going to need the energy to deal with the new day.

The anchor, Travis Marshall, was as polished as ever.  Straining to hear over the sparse crowd of early morning patrons, Marshall finished his comments.  The scene cut over to a young, blond and willowy woman who was standing slightly apart from the other reporters in front of the mayor's office.  She looked like she had been up for days, but was trying to put across a pulled-together look.  She'd seen a network anchorman do something similar in Sarejevo once, but then heard later from a friend who worked on the camera crew that he'd actually been carefully made up to appear both disheveled and professional.  From what she heard about St. John, Elisa wouldn't put it past her to try something like that.  She put aside her cynical analysis and listened to the report.

"Thanks, Travis.  This is Nicole St. John in front of City Hall.  We are waiting for Jose Hablar, New York City Chief of Staff. After a rather profound silence, City Hall is finally making a statement about the 23rd Precinct station bombing, the attack on the St. Damian Cathedral, and the long awaited confirmation about the gargoyles.  Long believed to be just another urban myth, the fact that these monsters are real has the usually unflappable New York citizens scared.

"Over the past year, stories of gargoyle attacks have been reported and become more frequent in the past months, but much like the 'alligator in the sewers', have largely been ignored by the police.  City officials have been promising an official statement since this horror began, but have not yet released any information."

Elisa turned back to study her paper again; the contrast between the back-to-basics newspaper and the biased television appeared starker than ever.  Finishing the article, she set the paper aside and picked up the menu.  After a moment, she decided on the half-pound green chili cheeseburger and onion rings just as she caught sight of her father pushing past the crowd of TV watchers and waved him over.

"Dad!  Over here!"  She stood and briefly embraced him before calling for the waitress again.

The waitress ("Dolly," Elisa noticed mechanically) set a second mug down in front of Peter Maza and refilled Elisa's cup before asking if they were ready to order.  Elisa rattled off her order.  Her father told Dolly to make it two.  Picking up the coffeepot, she headed back to the kitchen.

"Does your mother know you still order food like that?"  Peter asked his daughter, knowing how strict his wife was about good eating.

"More importantly," she replied grinning, "does Mom know that _you're_ still ordering food like that?  You know what she says about that..."

"Peter Maza, what do you think you're doing?" he said in a fair impersonation of his wife.  "That stuff'll give you a heart attack!  Here, have some nice low-fat, low-cholesterol food.  You'll live longer."  His daughter chorused him as he said "If you die, don't you come running to me!"  They both looked at each other and broke up laughing.

"All right, kiddo," he said, sounding nothing like Edward G. Robinson and wiping away the tears of laughter, "you got me.  I won't squeal on you if you don't rat on me, see?"

"Deal."  She smiled at him, but could see the fatigue underneath the cheer.  She knew without looking that her father was examining her with a critical eye.  She feinted and changed the subject before he could really start in on her.  "How is Mom anyway?  And Beth?  I haven't had heard from either of them recently."

"Your mother's on another book tour, this time for her _African Tales and Legends_.  As for Beth, I got a call from her just last night.  She was so excited she almost couldn't get the news out."

"Really?"  Elisa asked, her curiosity peaked.  "What has my little sister gotten herself into _this_ time?"

"She entered the American Ethnology Society's essay contest.  She won first prize."

"Wow!  Seems she took after Mom more than either Derek or me.  What'd she win?"

"They're going to publish her essay in their magazine.  You'll soon be seeing 'The Relevance of North American Mythology in Today's World' by Beth Maza on a
newsstand near you."

"That's wonderful!  No wonder Beth was excited.  I guess our meeting Coyote in Arizona wasn't a bad thing after all."

Elisa knew she had blown it as the humor drained from her father's face and a look of concern and worry replaced it.

"Elisa, when was the last time you got any shut-eye?  You look like..."

"Well, looks like Hablar's finally letting us know what's going on," Elisa said, pointing to the television which was showing the reporters jockeying into position.

The restaurant suddenly got very quiet as the very dapper Jose Hablar took the podium.  Elisa couldn't help but shake her head. She had seen this guy pulled out of bed at three in the morning and he managed to look just as turned out as he did at noon.  Today he was clad in a dark gray suit that made him look serious and yet at the same time was cut to guarantee he would win another placement on the 10 best dressed list.

"Ladies and Gentleman of the Press, Fellow New Yorkers, I want to assure you first of all that we are confident that this most recent terrorist threat is ended.  The police force is doing their utmost to ensure the capture of Jon Canmore and eliminate this threat to the safety.  New York, once again, is safe.  Now, any questions?"

"Mr. Hablar," A blonde woman in the front demanded, "what is the city's reaction to the existence of the gargoyles?"

Hablar began to look slightly less unflappable, but still was able to maintain his composure with ease.  "The mayor is hard at work formulating a plan to study this Gargoyle situation with the detail that it deserves..."

Elisa turned her attention back to her father and the cup of coffee that was cooling in front of her. She took a healthy swallow and noticed that the look of concern never left her father's face.

"Dad, really, I'm fine!" she protested. "I've just been a little busy lately, missed some sleep and a few meals."  ~Not to mention falling off a dam, being pulled several miles down river and almost dying,~ she thought to herself.  "I'll catch up when things cool down. Promise!"  She tried to look reassuring.  "Come on Dad, every cop in the city is on alert. We _all_ look like this right now.  It's not like you didn't have some times like this before you retired."

She was saved for the moment from making further protests when Dolly returned with a laden tray and began to distribute burgers and condiments.  They spent the next several minutes concentrating on the food in front of them. But Peter continued to watch his daughter with a pensive look on his face.

"I wanted to talk to you about that," he began tentatively.

"What?  My work habits or your retiring?" Elisa asked around a mouth full of ketchup-soaked onion ring.

"Both. You know, ever since I went back to help Beth with Xanatos and that Coyote Carving and mended my fences with Dad, I've been thinking. Maybe it's time to go home." He paused a moment. "To Arizona. All of us."

"What?!" Elisa stopped, stared at her father and slowly put her burger back on her plate.

"I'm serious about this, Elisa.  Maybe it's time to get out of New York. It's always been a challenge living here, but now it's downright dangerous. I want the family safe. I want you safe. Are you really willing to continue to risk your life for these 'friends' of yours?"

The blood began to roar in Elisa's ears as her father looked at her pleadingly.  A small part of her mind thought that perhaps now was not the time to tell her father about recent developments in her romantic life. Another part of her thought that maybe he was right.  Maybe a bit of normality was what she needed.  She understood that he was concerned for her safety, but knew that she couldn't leave her life here.  Even as tired as she was feeling she knew that this had to be settled here and now.

"Dad, I have a life and responsibilities here.  I can't just leave it."  She paused.  "And what about Derek and Maggie?  What about all of those who depend on them?  This is their fight too, y'know.  One of the things that you taught us was to never run away from a fight." She sighed inwardly as she saw the look on her father's face and realized she'd won.

"Looks like I taught you too well."  He lowered his eyes.  "It's just so _frustrating_ knowing that you're going to be right in the middle of this thing and that I can't protect you."  He looked straight into her eyes, his pain evident. "I don't care if you're the best marksman in the precinct or if you have Goliath to protect you.  You will always be my little girl."

"Oh, Dad." Elisa clasped her hands around his, giving him a smile she didn't feel.  "I wouldn't want it any other way."

On the TV, Hablar continued to take a beating.  The questions were getting more and more speculative.  A short balding man from one of the tabloids was asking if all gargoyle type statues were suspects in the recent disturbances, and was it true that the effects of acid rain were being studied, in relation to how these statues had come to life in the first place. The unflappable Hablar finally lost it.  He ignored the man's question and announced that the Mayor's Office would reply from now on with written statements only.  He left the podium and walked to the safety of the office behind him.  Elisa recognized a figure standing in the background:  the new Sentinel Police Beat reporter Jerry Pearson, frantically scribbling notes. She wondered what his spin on events would be; the article he had written on the gargoyles was pretty fair.  He seemed like a pretty nice guy and his dusky good looks certainly were easy on the eyes.  The gargoyles were going to need a friend in the media; maybe getting to know Pearson better wouldn't be a bad idea, she mused. If his opinion could be swayed...

When she looked back at her father he had composed himself once more.  "It will be all right," she soothed. "Somehow everything will be all right."  She thought of the brief kiss she had shared with Goliath and hope she wasn't deluding herself.

They finished their meal in hurried silence. Peter pushed his burger around the plate as Elisa cleared hers. She glanced at her watch and groaned.

"Dad, I've got to leave now or I'll be late meeting Matt." She pulled cash out of her billfold and signaled the waitress.  Peter started to protest, but she snagged the bill and pressed the cash into the woman's hand.  She kissed Peter on the forehead quickly and strode out into the dwindling afternoon sun.  He watched her carefully checking the street and the pedestrians around her as she disappeared from view.

Peter was thinking about leaving also, when the anchor cut back in over the last few minutes of the soap opera.  The crowd groaned, but like witnesses to a train wreck, they crowded back around the television set. He settled back in the vinyl booth and signaled Dolly for more coffee. The scene on the screen shifted to the nighttime clip of the gargoyles departing the scene at St. Damian's in a black unmarked helicopter.  He had a reasonable guess as to where the next feed would be coming from and was rewarded with a view of the Eyrie building and Mr. Owen Burnett.

"Looks like the lackeys are out in force today," a familiar voice mused cynically.

Peter looked up startled. "Morgan, you old son of a gun! How have you been?" He was genuinely pleased to see his old friend. But Elisa was right. There wasn't a cop on the force that didn't look like hell, Morgan included.  He waved Dolly back over and started a fresh tab.

Morgan accepted the coffee and apple pie that Dolly brought over with a shadow of his usual cheery smile.  ~He must be a regular,~ Peter thought, ~for her to know his habits like this.~

He was confirmed two for two when Dolly pulled her order pad out of her apron pocket.  "The usual, Officer?"  She said it with a familiarity that suggested nightly routine.

Morgan nodded. "And Dolly, keep the coffee coming. It's going to be a long night."

Peter had to admit that he was as curious as the rest about what Burnett would say to the press.  It seemed that the ties between David Xanatos and his own family was going to get tighter and he was not particularly pleased with the notion.  They had gotten a phone call from the man himself a week or so back. He'd never found out what the man wanted, though -- Diane had answered the phone, listened long enough to find out who was on the other side of the line then hung up, with a look that spoke volumes. She had then hounded him to find the little book the phone company had sent out that had instructions on how to block calls from specific phone numbers.

Morgan's attention had been drawn to the television as well, delaying any possible conversation. He sipped his coffee and focused on the officious blond man behind the microphone.

"Ladies and Gentleman of the Press, I have a short statement to make."

He straightened himself a fraction and prepared to speak.  He was interrupted by someone in the press corps. "Will you be answering questions after you make your statement?" a baritone voice rumbled.

Burnett shot a withering gaze at a portly man in the third row. "Doubtful," he replied. "Now if I may be allowed to continue?"

The press corps settled down like a group of sullen children before their schoolmaster.  It was an interesting contrast to the circus that had surrounded City Hall's press flack earlier. The camera closed in on Burnett close enough to see the exquisite tailoring of the man's suit and the glimpse of the red silk power tie.

"It has been speculated by some of the media agencies that Mr. David Xanatos or employees of Xanatos Industries, Xanacorp, or one of the other subsidiary operations was somehow involved in the escape of the creatures known as gargoyles, during the events of the evening of October 26th. I wish to categorically deny any such involvement. On October 24th, the FAA notified Xanatos Industries of possible mechanical hazard related to a defective rotor housing. This was the same defect that was responsible for the crash that killed several members of the Cyberlink board of directors approximately two months ago.  Rather than risk a repeat of that tragedy, all helicopters of the XI-2000 class were taken off-line for a thorough inspection of system and possible repair. Copies of the reports are available to members of the press at their convenience."

He paused.  "Further more, Mr. Xanatos has no personal desire to involve himself with anything that might disturb the tranquility of his home. From all accounts, involvement with these so-called gargoyles sounds as if it would be anything but tranquil. Mr. Xanatos reminds you that he resides with his wife and young son, and that their safety and well being will always be his paramount concern." He looked up from his prepared statement. "That will be all, ladies and gentlemen. Good Afternoon."

He left the podium without another word and the scene cut abruptly back to the station's newsroom.  The cook, however, had apparently heard enough. "Dolly! Find me something that isn't the news or shut that box off. It's upsetting my ulcer!"

The screen went blank and the counter patrons dispersed back to their respective places.  Dolly brought a brimming plate of hot turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes and set it in front of Morgan.  He smiled at her gratefully and dug in.

"Morgan, how often do you see Elisa these days?"  Peter tried to ask as casually as he could muster.

"Checking up on your little girl again, aren't you?" Morgan's words made it sound like Elisa was fifteen again, and Peter wished for a moment that she was.

He looked away from Morgan's dark features and nodded. "I just worry about her.  She's managed to take on some pretty tough customers during the past year or so. She looked..."  Words failed him for a moment, and he paused. "Keep an eye on her for me, will you?"

Morgan shook his head and laughed. The sound was low and musical and only added to Peter's discomfort. "I won't promise anything, but I'll do what I can. One overprotective father to another."

Peter nodded his thanks. "I owe you one."

"Take it out of all the ones I owe you," Morgan said as he looked at his watch and donned his cap. "Time to go make the streets safe."  He sighed and stared into the last of the dwindling afternoon sunlight. "I can't imagine things getting crazier then they have been, but I never had much imagination. Take care, Peter."  He traded a few remarks with Dolly who was now behind the cash register, settled his tab and departed, leaving Peter to his own thoughts.


Elisa frowned as she listened to the matter-of-fact tones of Owen Burnett. Despite the assurances she had given her father, she was bone-weary and her patience had frayed to the breaking point.

"Well, you can tell Xanatos to keep his security system, because I don't need any of _HIS_ help!"

Owen's tone was infinitely calm as he replied to her protestations.  "Mister Xanatos is afraid he must insist in his offer. He still feels a debt of gratitude to a 'mutual friend' for his helping to save young Alexander."   Owen droned on, his calm and monotone voice filling Elisa with frustration and anger. "He feels that you are presently in danger, and Mister Xanatos only wishes to help our `mutual friends' by seeing to your safety."

"Tell him he can save it, and do me the favor of not hurting them any further than he already has!" Elisa erupted. "_HE'S_ the one who created The Pack, _HE'S_ the one who forced them into leaving the castle in the first place... _HE'S_ the one who paid Servarius to..."

Elisa broke off, the words choking in her throat. The silence on the other end allowed her the momentary hope that Owen might empathize with her.  But the moment ended and he began again. "Detective Maza, make any preparations you wish. However, Mister Xanatos plans to have your new safety features ready to install within the week."

"Can't you get it through your thick skull?!" Elisa yelled into the phone.  "I said `NO!'"  Without waiting for Owen to say more, Elisa stabbed at the button, and hung up the phone. Leaving the headset on the table instead of back on its cradle, Elisa picked up the keys and got up to leave for work, locking the door behind her.  She had no time to sit there and argue with Burnett. She had just meant to dash in to pick up a thing or two after her talk with Dad at the coffee shop, and now it was off to work for the night.

That is, if you could call chaos "work."

It was nearly six o'clock by the time she reached the station. The firemen had jammed stakes into the street and strung fencing across them, with police tape wrapped all over it. There was stone debris everywhere. For an idle moment, she wondered if any of the small bits might be pieces of stone gargoyle skin.

"Aw, come on! You don't understand! There's a reason it was in the safe! You'll dig out the chief's files, but this could be just as important!" As Elisa pulled into a nearby parking spot, she could make out Matt's pleading voice, filtered through all the sounds of the traffic and noise on the street. The fireman he was talking to seemed to shrug at all the complaining, but surrendered to go do what Matt asked him anyway.

"Bluestone! There's another person on the phone for you about the Gargoyle Task Force!" Chavez's voice floated clearly above the noise.

Captain Chavez was about, as usual, desperately trying to oversee the crisis of losing her station building.  The way she was still limping around made Elisa sure that the doctor had not authorized her mobility.  Morgan was here too, hauling boxes. It looked like none of the firemen were allowing anyone inside the building -- probably too dangerous. Water was being sprayed right and left both to put out the small fires that kept cropping up, and to keep the dust down as they tore the place apart.

How much police work was being done? How many of them were on the beat tonight?

Elisa threaded her way through wreckage and co-workers, watched her partner pick up a phone, speak briefly and drop the receiver back onto the cradle. He didn't seem happy.

"Hey, Matt. What's left?" Elisa called out.

The look on her partner's face spoke volumes and the slight whine in his voice confirmed her instinctive take on the situation. Matt was _not_ a happy camper.

"I'm really gonna hate this, if this is what I have to go through to get my files, let alone my computer!"  He ignored her question utterly, intent on the recovery of his precious paperwork.

"Well, worry about them later, right now we gotta go talk to Robyn Canmore."

Matt shrugged, dropped a small pile of papers on a makeshift desk over by the trailers that had been brought in, and walked over by Elisa and her car.

"Captain letting you back onto the night shift early?"

Elisa looked away. "What partner do I have during the day? _All_ my partners are nocturnal."  She paused and looked about at the wreckage as she controlled her anger long enough to share her news.  "I got a call from our 'Lord of the Castle'."

"Mr. X? What does _he_ want?"

"He wants to upgrade the security in my apartment, and he 'insists'."

Matt seemed to be more than a little sleep-deprived himself and not really listening. But he picked up on the word "insists" and raised an eyebrow. One look at Elisa's face, eyes still burning with remembered rage, was all it took to tell him where that conversation had ended up.  He abruptly changed the subject to keep her focused on the matters at hand.

"My news is worse than that. If we're back to working together, then we're both in charge of this 'Gargoyles Task Force'."

"Ironic, eh?" She surveyed the damage around her and thought about what could happen if the task force ended up in the hands of someone who had self-promotion in mind. She shook her head to clear the thought away and gave Matt a wry smile.  "At least we're the good guys. What does the task force do?"

"Well, the Captain said we first had to ascertain what the clan--" He paused and corrected himself practicing for the press corps briefings to come. "Uh...what the _gargoyles_ are capable of and stop anything like the blast at the clocktower or the old cathedral from happening again."

"It wasn't their fault!" Elisa protested automatically. "If we could catch Jon Canmore, between him and the testimony Jason's given us, I'm sure we could give the court a good case. It'd give us a chance to shift the focus away from the clan. If only we could do something about Demona..." She cut herself off abruptly as the desk sergeant walked past carrying a box of paperwork.  She noted with alarm that it seemed to be smoking slightly.

Matt leaned against the hood of the car and feigned nonchalance that he didn't really feel.  He looked past the damage and watched the last rays of the sun disappear from the cityscape. He nodded his agreement but knew it was an uphill battle.  Best to let Elisa know now how hard the climb was going to be. "I gave a statement to the press about the Hunters, and they quoted me on the air as chastising the press for jumping to conclusions about the attack and about being soft on the gargoyles."

Elisa sighed and frowned as she looked out over the skyline.

Matt saw the concern that lined his partner's face.  He placed his hand on her shoulder.  "You know they couldn't stay a secret forever."  Beneath his hand, he felt her shoulders droop as the truth of it set in.  But that moment of weariness lasted only a moment as she shook off his hand, squared her shoulders and looked him in the eye as he continued.  "All I know is that I intend to prove the Hunters destroyed both the clocktower _and_ the cathedral. I need Robyn before I can do that. Jason says she launched the missiles. And I think she flew the ship into the cathedral as well."

Elisa shook her head. "No, that just doesn't add up. The way Robyn was acting..." She trailed off mentally reviewing the events after her arrival at the church.  "I doubt it. More likely it was Jon, he was really... unstable that night."

Elisa unlocked the car and rolled up the window against the evening chill. She gunned the engine to life and waited to clear the parking lot as one of her coworkers roared out of the parking lot on a Code Three call. As the sirens diminished into the night Matt put a hand to his chin and stared, scowling, out the window. "This city is about to explode, Elisa. Today alone, there have been three attacks on statuary and other pieces of art because some fool thought he saw them move."

Elisa didn't reply. There were only seven pieces of 'statuary' she cared about at this point.

"All it's gonna take is one gang to call a person 'gargoyle-lover', and there's gonna be shootings -- even riots."

Matt's words were striking closer to home than he realized and Elisa shook her head, fresh determination steadying her against the battle ahead. "I'd sort of gotten used to only telling half-truths on my reports, but now what do I do?"

"Tell them the truth, Elisa. Maybe it's time to let the world know just what has been going on. It'll set the Commissioner's Office on its ear.  Not to mention the Daily Tattler....  But it has to be done slowly.  This is gonna upset a lot of people."

"A little truth at a time," Elisa agreed. "And you can forget the Daily Tattler." She knew there was going to be a day soon when she wished they'd crawl under the rock they came from. And she wondered how she should break the news to Goliath.


"Even with all the changes going on," Matt thought to himself, "at least this place will always remain consistent."  Ryker's Island had been around for...  one hundred years?  At least it felt that way.  Men and women incarcerated in eight by eight cells, serving time for their crimes.  They spent their lives pacing like caged animals.  But then again, most of them were.  He tried to compose himself for their interview with Robyn Canmore, but the atmosphere was getting him down.  The atmosphere _always_ got him down.

He set his shoulders and ran a hand through his short red hair as his partner came out of the Processing room -- a determined, almost angry, look on her face.  But who could blame her?

"God, I hate coming here."  She straightened her jacket over her now empty holster and pushed her hair away from her face.

"Heads or tails, partner?" she asked, pulling a coin out of her pocket.

Bluestone always dreaded this part.  "Tails."

Elisa flipped the coin off of her thumb, as both watched it flip end over end before she caught it again and looked at it.  " Heads.  Sorry, partner."

"Why does it seem like I'm always the `good cop'?" Matt said.

"Because, Bluestone, you're such a nice guy that if you tried to be the `bad cop', the perps'd probably laugh themselves into submission."  Matt chuckled as the walked towards the interview room.

The guard at the door nodded her head in silent greeting and reverified their identification.  With a prisoner as important as this one, the warden wasn't going to take any chances.  Elisa paced just a bit as the guard unlocked the door and escorted them in.  Robyn Canmore was already sitting down, handcuffed to the chair.  She didn't look up as the two officers entered the small room.

"Why can't this ever be easy?"  Matt thought as he sighed.  He grabbed a chair and sat down.  Elisa simply paced back and forth.

"Jason's out of surgery, now.  The prognosis is good, but he'll never walk again."  Matt said, keeping his voice low in sympathy.

No response.

"There's still no trace of Jon.  Jason was worried something might have happened to him."

No response.

"Why did you do it, Robyn?"  Matt leaned forward.  Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Elisa had stopped pacing and was just waiting in the corner.  Good.  Try to keep herself out of the picture until necessary.  "All those people could have been killed."

Silence greeted him.  For all the response, she might have been a statue herself.

Over in the corner, Elisa said, with just a touch of scorn in her voice, "Jason told us your plans.  Last night, right before he went into surgery.  He's trying to take the rap himself.  We have enough on you, though, to make sure you never see the light of day again."

"Robyn," Matt said, "the charges against you include multiple charges of assault on a police officer, destruction of public property, and use of weapons within the city limits.  There's even talk of federal charges of terrorism being brought up against you, not to mention the international charges."  Matt put on his best innocent look.  "C'mon.  We only want you to help us help you."

Silence.  Elisa walked over and grabbed Robyn by the shoulders.  "You tried to kill a building full of police officers!  You've spent your life full of murder and death!  How many people have died because of you!"

Robyn's eyes grew cold and hard, but not a word was said.

Elisa could feel the rage building inside of her.  "How many 'accidents' have you and your brothers caused?  How many people weren't lucky enough to have survived your 'mistakes'?  How many people have you killed?"  Elisa was almost screaming now.  Good.  No one could play the 'bad cop' like Elisa Maza.  But now for the coup' de grace.

Matt stood up and grabbed Elisa by the shoulders.  "Elisa!  Get a hold of yourself!"

"Get out of my way, Bluestone!  She has to pay!  If I have to do it myself, she's going to pay!"  She started to struggle to get out of his grasp.  Matt didn't dare look back to see if there was any reaction.  The look on Elisa's face was murderous.  In one quick motion, he took his hand off of Elisa's shoulder and slapped her across the face.

Elisa was stunned.  He just pierced her with a gaze.  "Get out of here, Maza. Now!"

She held her hand up to her face.  "You'll regret this, Bluestone," she said with an icily cold tone.  Without a second glance, she turned around and knocked for the guard to let her out.  After a moment, Bluestone was alone in the room with his prisoner.

Matt sat down again, then reached over and hit the stop button on the obvious video camera.  "This is off the record, Robyn.  You know _who_ Elisa's friends are.  She cares very much for all of them, enough to step outside of the lines.   I'm trying to help you."

Canmore's remained impassive.  Matt could tell he was going to get nowhere with her.  "I'm sorry to see you feel that way, Robyn."

He pulled back, got up and knocked on the door to be let out.  He offered one more appeal Canmore.  "Robyn, if for no other reason, help us out for your brothers' sake.  Jason's going to need family around him now, and we're eventually going to get Jon.  It's better if he comes in now, rather than compound his problem."  Her face was a brick wall.

Robyn didn't even look back as the officers took her back to her cell. The complete lack of empathy in her gaze made his skin crawl. He looked in vain for Elisa.  It wasn't until he neared the check-in area that he caught up with his missing partner. One ear was glued to her cell phone and from the expression on his face the conversation was not going well. She slammed the phone with a snap just as he was allowed clearance back into the "free zone."

"Wonderful.  Just wonderful."

His question and her declaration were spoken almost simultaneously.  "Bad news, Partner?"

He watched her as they walked to her Fairlane, as she fumed quietly while unlocking the door and starting the engine.

"That was the Captain on the phone. The Commissioner has approved the final Task Force assignments."

"Yeah so... what's so awful about that?"

Elisa threw the car into reverse and began to head out of the parking lot.  "You've been confirmed as team leader. Also there's Maguire, from the 26th, Hernandez from the 14th, Tanaka from the 22nd, Smith from the 18th..."

Matt nodded in recognition at the names that she was reciting. All good cops, although Maguire could be a pain in the neck and Hernandez was a stickler for procedure, but good cops all the same. "So what's the problem?" he finally asked, interrupting Elisa's litany.

She paused, taking a deep breath trying to collect her thoughts. "I've been stricken from the Task Force roster.  We're still officially partners on other cases, but..."  She paused.  "The official reason is they only want one detective per precinct represented."  She glanced at him sharply, pulled the car into the first available parking space and cut the engine.

"And the unofficial reason?"

She just shook her head. "I don't know. And Captain Chavez didn't seem to think it would be a good idea to fight this one."

"Let it go, Elisa. I'll do what I can. Besides, _someone's_ gotta keep the streets safe while I'm battling bureaucrats and newshounds."

She smiled at that and restarted the car. "Promise me, Matt.  If you hear anything that concerns the guys that I'll be the first to know."

"Of course."

The Fairlane sped off into the night.


Darkness, both within and without, surrounded Jon Canmore as he finished packing.  After what he...  after what those monsters had done, the darkness suited him just fine.  He would have much rather taken more time, but who knows what they would do to his family?  Jason, lying wounded at their feet; Robyn -- poor, sweet Robyn -- held hostage by those creatures. If he were to have any success at rescuing them, he would have to hurry.

He turned on his television to see if there any had been any word on his family.   He instantly recognized the blond hair and plastic attitude of Nicole St. John.  "Police have apprehended Police Detective Jason Conover, alias Jason Canmore, and his sister Robyn Canmore on suspicion of the terrorist attack upon the 23rd Precinct police station.  Still at large is their brother, former WVRN reporter Jon Carter, alias Jon Canmore.  Police also want to question the creatures known only as 'gargoyles' about their involvement with the attack.  However, the statement from Jason Canmore seem to clear the gargoyles of all involvement with the bombing."

"NO!"  His anger consuming him, Jon drew the .45 at his side and fired repeatedly at the television, leaving it in pieces.  He collapsed, despair overwhelming him.  "No, no, no..."

"A bit of a sticky wicket, what?"

Canmore looked over.  He had been sure that he was alone, yet now there was a tall man, almost gaunt, standing in the corner, his black clothes and dark fedora blending him in with the shadows. He was devoid of ornamentation except for a small pin on his lapel, an eye superimposed over a pyramid.

Canmore swung around and aimed the gun at the stranger.  "Who -- who are you?"

The stranger continued on, unconcerned about the gun.  "A friend.  Someone who believes the way that you do."

Canmore sat down hard on the bed, his aim never wavering from the stranger.  "Tell me more."

The stranger gestured to a nearby chair. "Please," Canmore said his voice flat and toneless.  "Be my guest."

"I represent -- shall we say -- a consortium who believe that the Gargoyles are a threat to humanity.  We have certain plans in action, but need someone to head the operation.  Someone strong and decisive.  Someone who knows the threat of these demons.  The people I represent feel that someone is you."

"I'm flattered," Canmore said, sarcasm dripping from every word.  "And what would I get out of it?"

"A regular salary, people working for you, legal counsel to help your family, and most of all, the opportunity for revenge."

Canmore looked skeptical.  "Sounds too good to be true. Of course there is the little problem of recognition, I can't exactly blend into the background, what with every television station and newspaper showing my picture all over the place."

A thin, tight smile creased the stranger's face.  "We'll also give you a new identity.  And don't worry about your face.  We have a very good surgical staff.  You could almost say that they work magic...."

Canmore started to open his mouth again, but the stranger interrupted him.  "We've been following the Canmore family for some time now. We actually had thought about having your brother as our top man, but what with what happened to him..." The stranger leaned forward and stared straight into Canmore's eyes, appearing to peer straight into his soul, his voice almost melodic.  "He fought the good fight, but now it's up to you to continue on."  The two stared at each other.  Canmore's felt his tight expression smoothing, his worries and fears being dissipated.

The stranger slowly pulled back and stood straight.  "But go ahead and take your time; think about it.  The offer will be open for the next 24 hours."  Reaching into his jacket, he pulled out a card and a pen and wrote something on the back.  "Call the number on this card if you're interested."  Setting down the card on the arm of the chair, the stranger walked out and faded into the night.

Canmore sat for a long while in the darkness staring at the card.  As dawn broke, he finally reached over and picked it up.  As he started towards the phone as he noticed the embossed logo -- a fist holding a hammer.


The last rays of the setting sun backlit the awakening gargoyles as the air was filled with a roar and a rain of stone chips pelting the castle parapets. David Xanatos leaned safely out of harm's way and took in the view.  "You know, Owen, I've missed this."

"Mr. Xanatos, you are aware that their continued presence here is going to cause a substantial risk. The press cannot be stalled forever, and there are other considerations as well..." He trailed off, not sure how close he was to crossing the new boundaries that seemed to have cropped up when it came to the gargoyles.

"I'm aware of the situation," Xanatos replied just a touch more sharply then he intended.  "Besides, life itself is risk." he said, carrying more than a touch of his old ironic humor.

"Yes, Sir."  The matter was evidently closed and Owen took the hint not to pursue it further. "Will there be anything else?"

"As a matter of fact, yes.  I want Goliath and his clan to be afforded every hospitality. This is their home as much as ours. I'm sure that some adjustments will be required to make them comfortable. See to it that nothing is overlooked. " He paused and thought a moment. "And Owen, that includes Detective Maza. We may want to make her our 'special project'."

"As you wish, Mr. Xanatos. She seemed quite adamant in her refusal of your assistance this afternoon." Owen replied.

"I know, Owen. But it's the challenge of the situation that makes it so very interesting. How do we get the detective to do what's best for her despite all of her objections?"  Xanatos noted the dour look on Owen's normally bland features. "Don't worry," he soothed. "It'll be fun."

"Yes, Mr. Xanatos." Owen's tone and demeanor indicated that he shared a very different definition of fun.

"That's all for now, Owen. I believe that Alexander will be needing your attentions soon and I want to review the quarterly statements and project lists for the Robotics Divisions, so if you could have those on my desk in say... thirty minutes."  He glanced at his watch then stepped out of the shadows to meet the clan.

Xanatos looked around at the gargoyles.  He never thought he'd see a night like this one month ago, much less a year ago when the 'feud' was at it's highest.  But even with the debt he owed Goliath, he couldn't help baiting Goliath in even more subtle ways now.  "Ah, Goliath," he said, approaching the clan leader. "Sleep well? You looked remarkably... content tonight."

It was difficult to tell in the diffused light but it appeared to Xanatos that the big gargoyle was blushing. He was also quick to note that Goliath scanned the terrace behind him and looked faintly disappointed when he realized that Xanatos was the only human present.

"Your hasty departure from that church in front of all of those people had quite an effect on our little city.  I'm afraid that the police are more than slightly occupied attempting to restore order."  He noted the look of concern that immediately filled Goliath's broad features.  "I'm sure Detective Maza is safe, just... busy.  No doubt she'll contact you as soon as it's practical."  He paused as he gestured towards the door.  "In the meantime, you might want to glance at today's paper or the evening news.  It looks like a good night to stay home, Goliath."  His voice quieted as he talked to the large gargoyle.  "The best warrior knows when to take time to regroup and relax."

Goliath's emotions continued to play out on his craggy features. He seemed to be weighing duty against personal desire.  Duty won out.  "I suppose spending some time appraising our new situation would be best," he rumbled.

"Good."  He smiled and held out his hands in a gesture of welcome.  "The castle is your home, once again. I have instructed Owen to make sure you want for nothing. All you have to do is ask."

Goliath only grunted impassively.

Xanatos looked around once again, hoping to find a friendlier recipient.  "Brooklyn, Lexington.  Undamaged, I see.  Excellent."  He skirted around Bronx. The beast looked as if he couldn't decide whether to lick his hand or tear out his throat. Actually, most of the clan seemed to be having the same problem. He noted with interest how Broadway blocked his path as he attempted to pay his respects to Angela.

Time for a strategic retreat. "Well, I just wanted to welcome you home once again. If you need anything at all just let me know."

He crossed back over to Goliath, who seemed to be measuring his clanmates' responses.  "I nearly forgot to mention, I've had Owen prepare quarters for you in the West Wing. We're still setting up of course, remodeling takes time, but there's a study, entertainment center and hospitality suite where the furniture is built a little more `generously', shall we say?  Of course, the entire castle is at your disposal.  We just thought you might like some personal space."

The conflicted look crossed Goliath's features again.  He started to say something, reconsidered and gave a slight bow. "Your concern for our comfort is most kind. I'm sure the others will feel the same way... in time."

Goliath studied Xanatos's departing back, conscious of Hudson's presence at his elbow.  "The lads and lass are getting rather impatient and want to know what your instructions are. Will we be going on patrol tonight?"

He took the few steps required to look over the edge of the balcony and stared out into the night. The lights of the city gleamed with a particular intensity, the result of nervous citizens and more nervous police officers out on the street. His gaze drifted towards Elisa's apartment complex and then toward the ruins of their own adopted clock tower.  He sighed and wondered where it was going to end.  He continued to gaze out at the city apparently lost in his thoughts. Hudson harrumphed softly at his side and brought his attention back to the moment.

"No, not tonight. It might be best if we stayed in." He stalled Hudson's objections with a glance. "Our revelation to the world requires that we do a little reconnaissance prior to resuming our patrols. I believe that in this instance that television of yours might be of some use.  Xanatos mentioned that many of the news programs were carrying stories about Demona's attack on the church last night. We should see what they are saying about us before we reemerge before the public.  Besides," he said as he looked towards his charges, "I think they need a little time to absorb all the changes."

Hudson noted that Goliath was looking inward again. And despite all of the previous night's terrors his face was strangely content. Sometimes there was no understanding the younger generation, he thought to himself. "As you say, lad. Actually a night in might do these old bones good."

The younger males were clustered around Angela pointing out various features of the castle's architecture. She smiled prettily at all of them but favored Broadway with a special gaze of affection. Goliath frowned at that and wondered when his daughter had begun to take the males' flirtations seriously. Then he chastised himself for the thought.  When had he picked up such a human attitude about pairing, he wondered?  Angela was right to be choosing among the available warriors, she was of age and it was the gargoyle way. Still, he wondered what Elisa would have to say on the matter.  His attention wandered away from those around him and out into the city where his beloved roamed, and he wondered when they would be able to continue what the sunrise had so abruptly ended with its first light.

"Goliath? Goliath!" He heard his name called from far away and it wasn't until Brooklyn put his hand on his shoulder and nudged him slightly that he finally snapped back to reality. "Are you all right?  You looked kinda spacey there for a minute."

It took him a few seconds to translate Brooklyn's slang and he nodded his head. "I was just..." He trailed off. "Thinking," he concluded abruptly. "Xanatos has provided us quarters in the west wing. Take the others and make sure they are secure."  The others had gathered around as well and were waiting for their assignments.

"Broadway, why don't you take Angela and see to supper?  But attend to Bronx first, will you?" The gar-beast, who had begun to pace nervously, looked up at Goliath gratefully.  "Lexington, you were getting information off of that... 'EnterNet'?"

"Internet." The young gargoyle corrected.

"Ah.  See if Owen can provide you with computer access. Xanatos said we only had to ask if we needed anything."

The Trio and Angela with Bronx in tow dispersed to attend to their assignments.  He listened to their excited chatter fade away and realized that Hudson was still standing at his elbow. His need for privacy to think over the events of the night before was growing intense. "Hudson," he began. "Old friend.  Xanatos said that there was an entertainment area set aside in our new quarters. Why don't you monitor the news broadcasts to see what you can find out? I'll be in the library reviewing the newspapers."


Brooklyn and Lex whistled in unison as they surveyed the quarters that Xanatos had assigned as their personal space. The delicate antiques that had occupied most of the wing had been replaced by sturdy and comfortable modern furniture. Lexington noted the trick double door that separated their wing from the hallway. "Check this out! Close the inner door and it looks like nothing but a plastered up wall. Slick!" He ran his talons over the faux plaster admiring the workmanship.  "Xanatos couldn't have possible done this for us since last night." A touch of the old suspicion crept into his voice. "I wonder what he really meant these rooms for?"

The question remained unanswered as Brooklyn called his attention to the pile of computer boxes stacked next to a Lexington sized work station. "Looks like he's anticipated a few of our needs. I think that these must be for you."

"Wow..." Lex regained his kid-in-a-candy-store face and lovingly poked among the boxes.  "This stuff is newer than new. It makes the laptop that Elisa bought me look like a baby toy."  A melancholy look clouded his features as he thought about the loss of his previous computer and their adopted home.

Brooklyn noticed the shift in mood and tried to bring Lexington back to the now. "Suppose you can get that thing running tonight? Goliath did say he wanted as much information as we could gather without leaving the castle."

"Maybe, but there's an awful lot here to unpack." He began to sort through the boxes admiring the various components. "Whoa," he muttered excitedly. "A 15 gig hard drive!"

Brooklyn left his rookery brother to unpack his toys and checked out the rest of their quarters himself. It really was amazing what money could buy.  Once Hudson saw that overstuffed chair and entertainment center they knew they would never get him to fly another patrol. Huge TV screen, VCR, satellite system, laserdisc player, and a CD changer that carried more discs than he'd seen in a lifetime. And while the hospitality center would never rival the main kitchen, it looked more than capable of handling the clan's culinary needs. Broadway, after a year of cooking on a hotplate, would be a very happy camper.

He supposed he should probably quit looking at the gadgets and stick to the important stuff. The mock door they had already discovered. Lex was right, it was good work and it would pass a careful inspection unless one knew exactly where to look. The windows had been modified against forced entry, but were large enough to allow even Broadway easy access. He wondered what these quarters had really been remodeled for, but let the question go as he heard the heavy steps of Hudson enter the main chamber.

Hudson found the television as easily as if a homing beacon had been sounded. Brooklyn smiled to himself as he heard what could only be the sound of the clan's mentor sighing happily. A moment later the evening news began to drift into the chamber. He knew he should go in and see what was being broadcast, but the curious euphoria that had infected his clanmates was catching and he didn't want his good mood spoiled yet. His stomach growled and he wondered if Broadway had started dinner yet.  He decided to reacquaint himself with the rest of the castle until suppertime.


Bronx loped along happily rediscovering his former home. Angela and Broadway trailed behind trying to keep up with the stocky gar-beast. He stopped at the door, recessed into an alcove and waited impatiently for the pair to catch up.

"Wait until you see what we have here." Broadway opened the door with a flourish and Angela gasped in amazement.

"Oh!" Angela gasped as she tried to take in the lushness of the arboretum. "I've never seen anything so lovely." She stepped into the chamber. The gardens on Avalon were just as beautiful, but it was their nature to be beautiful.  This was beauty by _design_...  She circled in place awestruck at the wonder of it.

Bronx barked his approval and loped off to roll in a patch of grass on the opposite end of the garden.

"I have," Broadway spoke to himself as he gazed at his companion.

"Did you say something? I didn't quite hear you."

Broadway blushed. He hadn't realized he'd spoken out loud. "No! Uh, I mean its amazing what they've created here isn't it? It wasn't anything more than an enclosed courtyard in the old days.  Humans used to wait here before they were admitted inside to see the prince." He congratulated himself on a quick save, then shifted his attention to Bronx who was sniffing the ground in search of prey. He remembered that Goliath had assigned him a task and he decided he'd better get with it.

"I should probably get going... to the kitchen I mean. Bronx looks hungry and..." He trailed off suddenly conscious of her nearness again.

Bronx at the mention of the word "hungry" pricked up his ears and loped out of the arboretum with a happy howl.

"All right." Angela agreed. "I'm a little hungry myself. "And I'm dying to see more of this amazing castle."

Broadway sketched out a court bow that would have his old tutor, Brother Edmund, beam with pride, then shyly took Angela's arm. He began to point out other changes that had been made to the structure since its American rebirth.


Owen pressed the save key to store the invoices from the household expense report he was compiling and moved quickly to the next stack of items. He paused long enough to remove his glasses, wipe his eyes and remove an imaginary speck of dust from his lenses before resettling the frames on his nose. It had been a long day and promised to be a longer night. He closed the household bookkeeping system and was about to open the window to begin the business briefs for the morning, when Alexander's insistent wail came over the baby monitor.

He rose from his desk and traveled the short distance to Alex's nursery. As he entered the room he noted that Fox had arrived first and the baby, despite his mother's best efforts, refused to be quieted.  She bounced him futilely once or twice and then crossed to the changing table. She waved off his offer of assistance before he could voice the question. "I've got this end of things covered, Owen. Could you see to his dinner, please?"

"Of course, Madam. Will there be anything else?"

"Actually, yes. Do you know where Alex's stuffed fuzzy is? David had it earlier when he was playing with Alex in his office. I looked there, but I can't find it. And you know how this little tyrant is without his favorite toys at bedtime."  Fox began to tickle the baby and he responded with coos and giggles.

"Yes, Ma'am. Find the fuzzy. Very good. I shall be in the kitchen." He withdrew from the nursery and noted the dull ache that was beginning to grow behind his temples.

The ache turned into a roar as Owen surveyed his once pristine kitchen. Every cupboard door was open and there wasn't a single free inch of counter space. The beast Bronx was in the corner lapping at a dish of something unidentifiable with such gusto that it sprayed the walls and floor in a three-foot radius.  The female, Angela, was perched on a stool a safe distance from the chaos with a doubtful expression marring her lovely features.

"What exactly did you say you were making again, Broadway?" She tried not to let the doubt on her face creep into her voice and was only partially successful.

"It's called a smorgasbord. Basically, it's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It seems like everyone's going to be busy tonight so this way they can grab what they want and get back to whatever they're doing. Great idea, huh?"

"It seems awfully complicated. Do you really need all of those pots and pans?" She got off of the stool and tentatively began to try to restore order.

Owen chose that moment to make his presence known. "I see you remembered where the kitchen was." Then he remembered Xanatos's new courtesy edict. "Have you found everything you required? I could send out for additional supplies if necessary." A trace of sarcasm lingered in Owen's tone. Angela picked up on it and started to give him a disapproving look but then she glanced around the room, saw his point, and smiled apologetically.

"I'm sure that Broadway has more than enough here to work with. Don't you, Broadway."  The last was a statement, not a question.  The gargoyle gourmand finally realized that maybe he had gone a tad overboard.

"Well, I supposed that some of this could be frozen for another night. It's just been so long since I had a real kitchen to work in and I had all those recipes from the cooking channel I wanted to try out.  Do you suppose I'm going to get in trouble over this?"

Owen thought of his household budget figures, revised it upward by 45% and tried to ignore the pounding in his head. "I'm sure that Mr. and Mrs. Xanatos will appreciate your enthusiasm. However right now I need to prepare dinner for Master Alexander and since I don't see anything appropriate here..."

Broadway looked apologetic again and started loading the prepared food onto a pair of dinner trolleys.  "I'll just get this out of your way, then come back to clean up." He looked at Angela and she smiled back at him. The pair departed with the food-laden carts and Owen tried to clear enough space to warm Alex's baby food.

There was a mournful whine at his feet and Owen looked down into the pleading face of Bronx. "Haven't you had enough?" He looked at the floor and wall surrounding the empty dish. They had been licked spotless. But he would still have to scrub the gar-dog drool off the surfaces. He considered bringing Alex in for a moment and maybe telling him a story like the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" complete with visual aids, but then he thought about the wrath of Oberon and rejected the notion. "Go on back to your friends. The kitchen is now closed."  The microwave pinged and Owen stirred the tiny portions of mashed turkey and bananas to distribute the heat. Bronx gave him one more wistful look, then padded silently out of the kitchen leaving Owen in the midst of chaos.


As promised, Xanatos had left a stack of newspapers in the library. Goliath thumbed through the stack noting the titles: The Globe, The New York Post, The Sentinel, The Los Angeles Times, all the major U.S. metropolitan news papers and several foreign ones were represented. All had one thing in common: the gargoyles had made page one, in large type.

He shook his head and gathered up the pile of papers to examine in more detail.  He settled himself in a comfortable armchair and tried to concentrate on his information gathering, but the different reaccountings of the night's events only drew his memory toward the evening's conclusion.

"You know how I feel about you...right?"

"How... we _both_ feel.  Yes."


And then the touch of her lips against his, as he was frozen in stone.

He allowed himself to savor the moment a little while longer, then pulled himself away from the memory so that he could concentrate on the task at hand. Starting with the New York papers he skimmed the stories rapidly, relieved to see that beyond the barest details they carried very little actual information. They noted the events at St. Damian's and recorded that two suspects had been held for questioning both in the destruction of the church and the bombing of the 23rd precinct, were now shown to be linked. One suspect -- Jason Canmore -- was being held in medical lockup due to injuries sustained during the incident. Robyn Canmore was being held at an undisclosed location pending psychiatric review and the filing of formal charges.   A third suspect, believed to be their brother Jon, was at large and wanted for questioning.

The further away one got from New York the more speculative the reports became.  There was even one story from Los Angeles that attempted to explore the urban myths of New York, including alligators and mutant turtles living in the sewers. He skimmed the story, chuckling despite himself as he read and finally put the paper aside to share with Elisa. He compiled several other editions that seemed to have relevant stories and departed the library to see the rest of his new home.


The returning clan members converged almost simultaneously on the west wing. Brooklyn arrived in time to relieve Angela of the over-laden dining trolley she was pushing, and helped her set the table. She smiled at him warmly, but he couldn't help but notice the proud looks she bestowed on Broadway as he unveiled each of his creations. If it hadn't smelled so good and he hadn't been so hungry, he would have lost his appetite. Instead he pulled Lexington away from his boxes, and wires, and cables and was about to do the same with Hudson, when Goliath returned with a stack of newspapers in hand. The dopey expression he had worn earlier was replaced by a look of concern. In response to the unasked question he handed Brooklyn the papers.

He scanned them a minute and whistled. "Looks like we've still got that PR problem." He read a moment or two longer. "The Hunters got a fair amount of ink though, and Demona got away without so much as a word." He looked as disgusted as he felt. "How does she do that?"

Hudson came out of the rec room and joined the conversation. "We made the news, that's for sure, lads. Top story on every channel."

Broadway called dinner at that moment. Despite their worries they were all hungry and Broadway had done a wonderful job. Plates laden with steaming meats and vegetables, hot breads and noodles, they gathered round the table and shared their findings.  Goliath suddenly realized that it was the first peaceful evening they had shared in a very long time. Perhaps somehow things would work out after all.

He helped himself to another spoonful of something Broadway called "potato salad" and marveled at the flavors. Back in the old days, burdock roots, the closest thing to potatoes, came boiled and mashed, or maybe cut up in a stew. But serving roots of any kind, cold and mixed with other ingredients was quite an innovation. He wondered if Elisa knew how to make potato salad and smiled.

The meal concluded, Broadway persuaded Lex and Brooklyn to help him with the kitchen patrol and the trio departed. Angela trailed after Goliath and Hudson back into the recreation room to see what was on the television.  It was getting late and except for one particularly persistent station, the programming had resumed the normal schedule breaking in occasionally with a special update interruption. Hudson flipped the channel to David Letterman, who was reading his Top Ten list.

Tonight _they_ were The "Top Ten List". They listened to the countdown ("And the number one way to tell if you're infested with gargoyles --  two words:  Gargoyle guano!") and Goliath began to growl low in his throat. Hudson took the hint and switched stations.  The hockey game he was hoping to find had been preempted by a special news report.  On screen, a zookeeper at the Washington Park Zoo was speculating on what gargoyles really were.

"Well, Kent," He was saying to the in-studio anchor. "Without having a specimen to actually study, it is difficult to speculate, but if we go by the stories that have been reported, stone by day, able to fly by night I think we are talking about an entirely new species, a very exciting find indeed."

Goliath motioned for Hudson to flip the channel. He landed on one of the free access cable stations. A woman, calm and utterly rational in appearance, was delivering a prepared speech. Hudson, who up to this point had rather enjoyed the hopeless nonsense they had been watching, glanced up at Angela who had been standing quietly near by. The color was draining from her face. Goliath was struggling to control his growing rage.

"...It is obvious that these creatures are a sign. The arrival of the Apocalypse is imminent. For why else would hellspawn such as these come to live among us? It is rumored that they have done good deeds, have helped people in their time of need. But what other way could ones as hideous as these gain the trust they need to lead the corruption of those who have strayed from the true path to salvation...."

Goliath roared in true anger.  "What do these people _want_ from us?!" he bellowed and stormed out of the room.  Angela ran after her father, terrified at what he might do in such a dangerous mood.

Hudson shook his head, thumbed the television off and looked down at Bronx who had been settled at his feet. "We're in for grave times, boy. Grave times indeed."


The warehouse was a bustle of excitement.  People moving and unpacking crates, lining up the gunmetal gray hammers in one corner, polishing the armor in another. In a corner a tall dark man conferred with a youth.

He pointed to the man at the center of it all, a tall blond, his eyes sparkling with infectious zeal. The boy nodded that he understood and he approached the blond dynamo, holding up a clip board. "Mr. Canmore?" he asked tentatively, unwilling to break the man's concentration.

"CASTAWAY!"  The man exploded.  "MY NAME IS CASTAWAY!"

The young man cowered away.  Castaway's look softened.  "What is it, son?  How can I help you?"

He held the clipboard up to "Mr. X wanted to verify the schedule with you."

Castaway studied the printouts on the clipboard.  "Tell him that we need to move the rally up by a week and that the meetings need to be weekly than bi-weekly."

As the teen walked away, Castaway spied a familiar figure in the corner. Walking briskly, Castaway soon joined him.

"Reacting to Canmore's name can be a fatal mistake," the stranger said, "it might bring down everything we've worked for."

"Don't worry," Castaway said, "it won't happen again."

"You must not react to the name Canmore as if it was yours."

Castaway shook his head, as if to clear it, then whispered, "I can't believe this setup.  Even with the support my family had, we could never have accomplished anything like this." He swept his had across, encompassing the entire warehouse.

The black-garbed stranger's mouth tightened in a grimaced smile.  "And just think, my friend. This is only the tip of the iceberg."

Castaway looked over at the line of hammers.  "I'm still not sure about these hammers.  Wouldn't a laser gun be more effective?"

A black glove reached out and took one of the hammers off of their rack. "A gun would instill fear amongst the humans as much as it would the gargoyles.  That would defeat our purposes. The hammer is as much a symbol as it is a weapon."  He paused.  "Plus, lasers can't do this."

Using only one hand, the stranger cocked the hammer's grip as if it was a gun.  A humming emanated from the hammer's head as energy cascaded around it.  Reaching back, he threw it into the middle of the warehouse, where it seemed to explode.  When the dust and debris cleared, they saw the hammer, resting comfortably in the deep crater it had created.

All activity had stopped in the warehouse.  Castaway walked into the crater, grabbed the hammer and hefted it over his head.  "Friends, hear me!  Like this hammer, we will strike hard and strike fast.  The demons that seek to destroy humanity from within shall be no more!"

As Castaway basked in the cheer from the people around him, his mysterious benefactor slipped out the side into the night.  As the sounds of the warehouse grew quiet, he looked back at the warehouse and whispered to himself:

"The master will be pleased."