Something Wicked

Outline by Brian "DumlaoX" Dumlao

Title by Laura "Ad Astra" Ackerman

Story by Craig Ryan


Previously on "Gargoyles":

GOLIATH: Lexington, what has happened to you? 

-- "Future Tense"

*                               *                               *

JACKAL: All of the information regarding the Coyote robot program, fresh off the griddle.

GARLON: Excellent.  You have done well.  My employer is sure to be pleased.  Now, if you two would be so kind as to follow me, we will complete the other half of the transaction. 

-- "Fallout, Part Two"

*                               *                               *

BROOKLYN: If I could change just one fate, his would be the one.

-- "Out of Joint, Part Two"

*                               *                               *

MADDOX: How's that wing, Lexington?  Better?

LEXINGTON: You bet it is!  Thanks, Nicholas.  You probably saved my life last night. 

-- "Mutual Trust"

*                               *                               *

MADDOX (to Mavis): It's working.  We've got him. 

-- "Mutual Trust"

* * * * *

Somewhere over Manhattan


"Whoa!" Lexington cried out as he flew low over the shadowy skyscrapers, narrowly avoiding a jutting antenna. The olive-green gargoyle had flown through the bars on construction cranes and gracefully dodged antennas that poked out of buildings along the way. When he could, he sped past tiny flocks of pigeons, scattering the birds as he went.

Gradually the skyscrapers thinned out and neighborhoods of large apartment buildings appeared. Lexington knew this place well. It was a low crime rate area. "It's where a 'hatchling' can be safe," Lexington muttered to himself. He resented being treated like a hatchling. Not only was he sent out on patrol around places with little or no crime in them, he had to do it alone. It appeared to be a blessing, but it was actually a curse in disguise. When alone, hate would boil up inside the gargoyle as he thought of the good fortune everyone else seemed to have. Broadway had Angela for a mate and Brooklyn had a whole family to take care of now. The trio was down to one: Lexington, and he hated every minute of it.

Lexington came up onto the right side of a trio of gray pigeons. He slowed down and paced himself by them.

"Hello there," he said to them, hoping they would understand. The trio looked back at the strange being beside them and stared at him, cocking their heads back and forth every so often.

"Seen any criminals around here?" Lexington asked the three pigeons. The pigeons stared back with confused looks.

"Guess not." Lexington mumbled. The trio of pigeons scattered.

"I wonder why...?" An eerie hum reached Lexington's ears. He spun around only to see Jackal's metallic foot connect with his own chest.

Lexington didn't even grunt as he skidded across the gravel-covered roof only to be stopped by Hyena, Jackal's twin sister. Her locks of dark brown hair whipped around in the city winds.

"Well, well. Looky here, brother. We found an itty-bitty-winny-little gargoyle," Hyena laughed as she picked up the olive-green gargoyle by the neck. Lexington struggled helplessly in her grasp.

"It's the little one. I hope we didn't interrupt your conversation with your friends," Jackal laughed.

"Those flying rats his friends? HA! Now that's a laugh!"

"I don't think he HAS any friends!" Jackal chuckled.

Hyena turned Lexington around to face her. "We're going to give you a pounding you'll never forget, runt."

Lexington roared and brought his claws savagely into Hyena's steel arm. Hyena screamed and dropped the gargoyle to the ground. Bright bolts of electricity ran up and down her arm. Lexington leapt from the ground and landed on Jackal's chest. Using him as a catapult, he leapt off the cyborg and brought his clawed foot onto Hyena's face. She fell like a tree.

"Little brat!" the dark brown-haired Jackal mumbled as he recovered from Lexington's whirlwind of blows.

Meanwhile, Lexington had darted behind a small stairwell. He reached down to his communicator and brought it up to eye level. The little circle of metal and silicon chips, the size of a quarter and just as thick, was smashed and bent. Lexington could do nothing to repair it. He realized that he was completely alone. He would receive no reinforcements to help him battle the twins. He had to escape them. He...

Lexington lost his train of thought as he felt two hands grip his arms forcefully. The hands were icy cold in the New York air and the tips of clawed hands poked at his skin uncomfortably.

"Now you're going to know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a beating, you little twerp!" Hyena laughed.

"This is going to be fun..." Jackal remarked with a devilish look in his remaining human eye.

"Uh, oh..." Lex groaned. The cybernetic twins hoisted him up off the ground and slammed the gargoyle into the wall of the stairwell.

Lexington cried out as he hit the wall face first. A large crack formed up and down the wall as bits and pieces of concrete rolled off. Jackal and Hyena bashed him repeatedly into the wall until it crumbled away into the shaft of the stairwell.

The duo threw Lexington across the roof and watched him land inches away from the edge of the building. Slowly, Lexington got up. As he stood straight up, nausea overcame him and he fell back down again.

"Why don't we play kick the gargoyle?" Hyena casually said

Lexington got into a low crouch, leapt over the siblings, and bolted to the other side of the building. He was going to attempt to glide off the building and escape, but he underestimated Hyena's and Jackal's abilities. Before he even got half way across the roof, Hyena and Jackal landed in front of him. There was a simultaneous shink of pressure motors as hidden laser cannons came out of their arms. Lexington hadn't even stopped when they fired.

The twins' laughter echoed in the smoggy night air as Lexington dodged laser fire. A beam scorched his wing tip and he fell. The grimy ground reached up to embrace him. A surge of fear charged adrenaline shot through him and he caught his second wind. He rolled into an updraft and glided back to the rooftop.

The twins looked gleefully over the edge of the roof anticipating the sight of the gargoyle's broken body. Lexington took them completely surprise as he hurtled over the roofline straight into Hyena. She rolled end over end unable to get a purchase on him.

Jackal sighted his laser repeatedly, unable to get a clear shot. He yelled to his sister "Hold him so I can..."

"I'm trying, but the little brat still has some fight in him!" Hyena shouted. Tired of the struggle, the cyborg began to squeeze on both of Lexington's wrists. It didn't take very long before the wrists broke.

Lexington howled in anguish as Hyena dropped him to the ground then kicked him clear. Jackal fired and the blast sent the unconscious gargoyle hurtling end over end onto the pavement.

Hyena took to the air, hovered for a moment, then landed at the gargoyle's side. Satisfied they wouldn't be undisturbed she began to beat Lexington in earnest.

Jackal landed softly on the ground as he observed his sister having a little fun at Lexington's expense. "Hey, sis, save some of the little rat for me," he said.

Hyena ignored her brother's request as she kept pummeling Lexington with her metallic fists.

"I said that's enough! Wait till we contact the boss first," Jackal ordered.

Hyena laughed as she stood over the dark-green gargoyle. Lexington's head and face had turned from its normal color to a black, blue, yellow, and red rainbow of colors. Blood trickled down his face from a wound to his head. Cuts and bruises coated his body like a suit of armor would coat a knight. Hyena gave Lexington a kick to the stomach. He didn't make a sound.

Jackal, now satisfied, activated his communications antenna. The wire rose smoothly out of his scalp.

"Well?" spoke a voice on the other end. The voice itself had been altered beyond recognition. The altered voice was deep and rhythmic, and its pitch conveyed no emotions.

"Mission accomplished," Jackal said. Hyena turned to him, listening, but not saying a word. Jackal switched the sound output to his speakers.

"Is he dead?" the voice asked.

Hyena picked up Lexington by one of his bloody arms. Without a second thought she let her mechanical claws dig deep into Lexington's flesh. Though he was bloodied and bruised, his chest still moved up and down. However, it was clear that the little gargoyle would not survive much longer.

"He's alive… barely," Hyena chuckled.

"He's alive… for now," Jackal transmitted.

"Good. This is an excellent opportunity. Bring the gargoyle back to the labs at once," the voice said.

"No way. Me and sis have been waiting a long time to finish off this flying rat," Jackal argued.

"You'll lose more than a paycheck if that gargoyle is harmed any more than necessary." The voice said.

Jackal frowned. Like it or not he and his sister had to bring the gargoyle back to the labs. It's not like they had a choice in the matter. Jackal clenched his teeth and gave Lexington one final slash across the chest before speaking again.

"We're on our way."


* * * * *


Lexington opened his eyes, then closed them quickly as the room began to spin. His head pounded and his chest was on fire. His mind was mired in hazy confusion and he had an evil, metallic taste in his mouth.   "Broken ribs," Lexington tried to say. It came out "Bwoken risss." He tried to put a hand to his jaw and found he couldn't move his arms. Wearily he tried to turn his head and found he hadn't the strength.

"Lexington, can you hear me?" a kindly voice asked.

A hazy face. Lexington closed and reopened his eyes. "Nicholas?"

"Right here, Lexington."

"Where am I?" He tried to focus on his surroundings with little success. He had the impression he was in some sort of hospital room. There was a large clock on the wall. He focused on the numbers, but he couldn't make sense of them.

"What happened?" He asked at last.

"I don't know. Lexington, you must listen to me. You have very little time."

"Don't worry, Nicholas." Lexington coughed weakly. "I'll be fine after some stone sleep."

"You've slept already. The doctors are very worried."

Lexington's eyes widened in shock. He forced himself to focus on the digital clock. It had a calendar function as well. Over a day had passed since his run in with the twins.

"Am I dying?" he asked at last.

"No, but you are gravely ill. The doctors believe it could be weeks before you'll be completely out of danger and you may not make a total recovery."

"What do you mean?" Lexington demanded.

"The damage to your wings was most extensive. They are afraid that you'll never be able to glide again."

"Noooo!" Lexington moaned. "This can't be happening!"

"There is one other possible solution. I hesitate to mention it. It is very experimental and it would be highly unethical to implement on a test subject at this stage of its development." Maddox trailed off, his voice full of regret at dangling hope before the mortally wounded gargoyle.

"What is it? What is the solution!" Lexington demanded weakly. "Nicholas, please!"

"We could rebuild you using cybernetic implants. But the risks! I couldn't allow..."

Lexington cut him off. "You said I'm done for anyway. Do it, Nicholas. I want the implants. Just think of what I could do. What I could be!" A smile crinkled his eyes as he imagined himself as a super-gargoyle.

"Lexington you must listen to me. I know you've seen some of the prototypes. The technology is so new" Maddox protested.

"I don't care. Please, it's my only chance!" Lexington begged.

"As you wish, Lexington." Maddox relented at last. "I shall go and notify the surgeons."

Lexington smiled as he drifted back to sleep. Maddox smiled tightly as he pressed the bedside intercom button. "Proceed."

A short time later Lexington drifted back to consciousness. He was lying on a table, a tube inserted in his arm.

Another face swam into focus above him.

"Ah, me friend, look's like ye got a beating!" the doctor spoke. "Now don't you worry. Yer goin' to be just fine." The doctor placed a mask over his nose and mouth.

"Now I'm goin' to put ye to sleep, lad," As he spoke the surgeon put the mask onto Lexington's face. "When ye wake up ye'll be as good as new! No... ye'll be better!" The surgeon's voice reminded Lexington of Hudson as he heard the soft hiss of sleeping gas pouring out of the canister. He looked past the surgeons to Maddox who watching, his face tense with concern.   "What a good friend you are, Nicholas." he mumbled before the anesthetic over took him and he fell asleep once more.

Maddox eyed Lexington for a minute longer before turning to the intercom again. Gracefully and carefully, he pushed in a button.

"Ms. O' Connor?"

"Yes Mr. Maddox," a woman's voice echoed through the intercom. It was that of Maddox's partner, Mavis O' Connor. The voice came in loud and choppy. Maddox made a mental note to replace the current intercoms with better ones.

"You may set the clocks back to the correct times now."

"Was the change really necessary?"

"Deception is always necessary when it means benefit for all. Has Wolf arrived yet?"

"Yes. He is with Jackal and Hyena at the moment."

"Excellent. Please have Mr. Greywolf speak with his new employees, Ms. O' Connor."

"Yes, Mr. Maddox."


* * * * *


"I heard you got to bash one of those gargoyles around," Wolf said his voice full of disappointment. "Lucky. I had to hang around and have tests run." He scratched a particularly persistent itch. "They can't decide whether or not I should have distemper shots."

Hyena smiled maliciously. "Maybe you need a flea dip," she said, noting Wolf's persistent itch.

Wolf bared his teeth at her.

"We didn't get to kill the little runt. Our 'employer,'" Jackal said with disgust, "wanted him alive."

He punctuated his disgust with a roundhouse kick to a gargoyle-shaped dummy. The dummy splinted and sent shards of wood flying.

"There's always later," Wolf consoled the twins, "when they're done with him."

The automatic door on the south wall slid open with a hiss. Mavis O'Connor, dressed resplendently in a crisp, forest-green pantsuit, stepped into the room. Wolf and the twins stopped bantering and came to attention.

"So do we get to tear up the little runt now?" Hyena asked with anticipation.

"Not yet," O'Connor responded, ignoring Hyena's eagerness. "Ye'll be needin' a leader first." Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf traded curious glances with each other. "Enter, Mr. Greywolf," O'Connor said crisply. A tall Hispanic man in a Maddox Technologies security uniform entered, followed by a large and very ugly pit bull terrier.

The dog sat quietly at his master's feet. Greywolf stood at parade rest, his hands clasped behind his back.

"I prefer to be called Lobo," Greywolf said, addressing the group.

"You mean the rent-a-cop's going to run the show?!" Wolf roared.

"He doesn't look as good as Coyote," Hyena commented, appraising the new arrival.

"He probably isn't as experienced as we are with the gargoyles," Jackal spat.

"I'm familiar with different forms of combat," Lobo said, touching his eyepatch for added emphasis.

Wolf's fur stood on end as he took a battle stance. "Let's just see how experienced you are."

"I wouldn't do that, Wolf," Jackal cautioned. "Remember what happened with Coyote."

Wolf focused on Lobo, paying no attention to what his partner had just said.

"She writes our checks," Jackal said. "If Ms. O'Connor says he's the boss, then he's the boss."

Wolf backed off, but the fur on the back of his neck bristled angrily.

"All right then Mr.Lobo, what's our first order of business?"

A sly smile crossed Lobo's lips.  "We upgrade."

* * * * *


Two surgeons near Lexington's head were busy preparing the skull cap to be sawed off with a high powered surgical saw.

"Ye may begin, laddie," the Scottish surgeon prompted his assistant. He picked up a surgical saw and flicked the motor on. It whined, a high keening sound.

"All right, now take off the skull cap... Come on, lad, don't be shy..."

The pitch of the saw dropped as it bit into the bone of Lexington's skull.


* * * * *


The technician was threading a long, thin wire skillfully inside of Hyena's arm joint. With a hiss, air pressure flowed out of the metallic arm while another technician nearby easily pulled the metallic limb free from the joint. He laid the arm down onto a large metal tray.


* * * * *


The surgeon worked carefully implanting Lexington's wetware. Using a delicate hand he cauterized sections of brain tissue then re-worked the neural connections with hair-thin strands of iridescent wire.


* * * * *


"Is that the final injection, nurse?"

"Yes, Doctor. One precisely every forty-five minutes as you directed.

"Good, I want you to start the video camera now."

The nurse flipped the switch. "Rolling."

"Good," the doctor said curtly, "now sit back and watch. Not even Hollywood can produce this kind of metamorphosis.

The creature on the table who had once been a man named Wolf began to change. The nurse gasped unable to tear her eyes away. The bones of his skull crawled and reformed, his nose elongated into a canine snout. He howled, an unearthly sound, as he fought against the restraints.

"Ketaset, now!" The doctor commanded.

The nurse picked up a syringe off a table of instruments and injected it quickly.

The creature struggled a moment longer, then calmed, he was a man no more.


* * * * *


... "When yuir removin' the orb ya must be gentle, but use a firm hand." The surgeon demonstrated to his assistant. "Now hand me that new eye. Make sure it's the left one. We don't want the little beastie to be cross-eyed, now do we?" The surgical team chuckled and continued on...


* * * * *


"We're not leaving much tissue are we, doctor?" The surgical technician commented as he disposed of what was once Jackal's ribcage.

"No, it's kind of exciting. This subject and the female that Beta team are working on will be the first of their kinds. A totally inorganic body run by a wet-ware enhanced brain.  God I love my job!" the surgeon said with zeal.


* * * * *


The doctors looked at Lexington's eye. The glass iris of the cybernetic eye was flashing bright red. After a few moments the light abruptly winked out.

"That's not supposed to happen," one of the doctors commented.

"Methinks we have a dead wire. We're gonna have to test every blasted one..." the doctor groaned.


* * * * *


The hulking robot stood several feet above the technicians working on it. On its chest was a spherical video screen upon which ones and zeros flashed in rapid succession. The numbers promptly disappeared and a flashing messaged appeared on the screen.

"Systems check"
"Main power"
"Servo system?"
"Main Processors?"
The technicians continued down their list system by system.
"Weapons systems?"
"All lasers operational."

"COYOTE 6.0 is ready to go live." The technician hit a button on the master control panel.

Ones and zeros flashed across the display on the robot's chest. A green telltale light flashed on the control panel and a split second later the robot spoke, a trace of mirth in its voice.

"It's good to be back."


* * * * *


Castle Wyvern


Perched on his rampart high above the city, Goliath scanned the brightening skies. His purple skin gleamed in the last of the night's light. His lengthy strands of raven black hair fluttered behind him as the wind caressed his face. Below him Broadway, Angela, Hudson and Brooklyn chattered aimlessly while Bronx was catching a little catnap.

Three tiny figures caught Goliath's keen eyes. As the three figures came closer the to castle, Goliath recognized who they were. In a few moments Sata and her twins, Graeme and Ariana, came in for a landing.

With a sudden burst of speed Ariana dove head first down to the upper most battlement where Goliath resided. Ariana let out a squeal of joy as she sped towards one of the ramparts. Her wild black hair whipped back and forth as the air rushed passed her reddish-brown skin. Just when she was about to slam into the stones her taloned hands shot out and landed on the rampart. In a split second Ariana, using her momentum as well as her own strength, pushed herself off the rampart and tucked herself into a ball. She did a backwards somersault in the air three times before she came out of her ball. Gracefully, Ariana landed, half stumbling in the process.

"TA DA!" Ariana yelled as she stared at Goliath. Goliath didn't even crack a smile. Ariana's smile faded as Sata and Graeme landed both with the same grace and ease as each other.

"Maaaaan, that was my best trick yet and he doesn't even flinch!"

"Maybe it's because you're such a bad acrobat," Graeme joked as he scratched an itch on his green skinned hand.

"Very funny..." Ariana was about to counter her brother's comment when Goliath cut her off.

"No, it's Lexington. He hasn't come back yet and it's almost dawn," Goliath's deep voice spoke. There was a certain concern in his voice that worried Sata.

"This is not the first time he's been out all day," Sata confidently said.

"Yes, but he usually checks in."

"Maybe his radio's on the fritz," Ariana offered.

"I beg your pardon?" Sata asked.

"She thinks that the radio might have a problem," Graeme said to his mother.

"He should have come back then." Goliath looked towards the east as the light grew brighter. "It is almost dawn," he announced finally.

Sata, Ariana, and Graeme glided down to their respective perches and prepared for their stone sleep. Goliath got up on his perch high above the rest of Manhattan and looked over it one last time.

Suddenly, the sun peaked over the horizon. In unison, the gargoyles changed from flesh to stone in a few moments. Everyone was in his or her traditional roaring stance. That is, everyone except Goliath. Concern was etched into his stone face as it gazed at the rising sun.


* * * * *


Two nights later


"We've checked all of Lex's favorite hang-outs and scoured the city, but we came up empty. It's as if he just disappeared," Brooklyn reported as he stared at the castle floor. The whole clan had begun searching for Lexington the night before but had no luck in finding him. Elisa had also joined the clan in this meeting. Even Xanatos was present and smug as ever as he leaned against the stone wall with his arms folded.

"Something must have happened to him!" Angela almost yelled.

"If something did happen to him it must've gone down quietly. I haven't heard anything gargoyle related on all the official channels in the last three days," Elisa said. Hudson stroked his beard thoughtfully. After a few moments he sighed deeply.

"If Lexington did run into some trouble, 'tis far too late for us to be of any help to the lad," Hudson voiced. The clan looked at him questionably. "I know it's not what you lads want to hear, but Lexington has been gone far too long for something NOT to have happened to him."

"Hudson's right, Goliath. It isn't like Lex to stay out this long," Broadway said.

"I could be of some assistance," Xanatos said calmly. "I have vast resources and I have eyes and ears where you and your clan do not." Goliath looked upon Xanatos with curiosity and mistrust.  Xanatos seemed to sense Goliath's doubts and apprehensions. Goliath eyed him suspiciously for a second longer before speaking.

"Very well, Xanatos. I, and my clan, will accept your help," Goliath said. Xanatos strode up to Goliath and rested a hand on his massive purple shoulders.

"You've made the right choice, Goliath."

"I hope so..." Goliath sighed. At that instant, he as well as the rest of the clan turned to stone as the sun peeked over the horizon.

Moments later, Owen stepped into the room. His face was as blank and as expressionless as always. His black suit was neatly pressed and tailored to perfection, as was his golden blond hair.

"Mr. Xanatos, your two o'clock called to cancel his meeting with you, and I have prepared your breakfast as well," Owen stated plainly. Elisa brought her fist from her jacket pocket cover her mouth as she yawned. She stuck her dark-skinned hand back into her pocket, only to bring it out again.

"Thank you Owen. Owen, could you please see Ms. Maza to the door."

"Yes, Mr. Xanatos."

"Thanks," Elisa said as she finished yawning, "but I... I," she yawned again uncontrollably, "I know my way around..."


* * * * *


Consciousness slowly came back to Lexington as he lay limply in the recovery room. Pain no longer wracked his body as he dozed in the hospital bed. His muscles no longer ached painfully as they did before he was put under. In fact, he felt powerful and energetic. He felt as if he had been in his stone sleep for weeks. Lexington enjoyed the softness of the hospital bed for a few seconds before he forced his eyes open.

Lexington sat up and let his eyes adjust to the brightly-lit room. His hopes heightened as he began to see clearly again. In a few moments his vision was back to the way it used to be before he tangled with Jackal and Hyena.

Lexington leisurely gazed around the room trying to get a feel for where he was at. A high tech computer that was monitoring him stood at his bedside. It measured his heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, and his eye movement. However, he could find no attachments from his body to the computer.

"Weird..." Lexington thought silently.

It was a dark moonless night outside of the double-paned window, which greatly clashed with the completely white room that he occupied. Lexington turned his gaze to the other side of the room. Sitting at his bedside was Nicholas Maddox with an approving smile under his mustache. Lexington smiled lazily at Maddox, knowing that he had kept his word.

A green heads-up display suddenly came up in Lexington's vision. The gargoyle yelped in surprise, but his surprise quickly turned into fascination. Maddox just watched the surprised gargoyle from his padded black seat, fascinated at the gargoyle's reaction.

Lexington began to calm down as the heads-up display remained in his vision. He scanned the display carefully noting every detail. The display's border seemed to glow an ominous green just at the edge of his eyesight. Lexington waved his taloned hand in front of his eyes. In his display, his hand was being analyzed and tracked. At one corner of the screen the results popped up.

Composition: Organic
Species: Gargoyle
Content: Bones
Weaponry: Talons

The list went on and on as Lexington continued to stare at his hand.

"What did you do to me?" he questioned, wishing to be enlightened.

"Well, my friend, we replaced your eyes with cybernetic ones, and the most sophisticated technology in the world is now inside your head. We wetwired your brain to accommodate the eyes. Your brain also houses other unique and useful features," Maddox spoke.

"Like what?"

"Like a mnemonic interface compatible with any terminal on the planet."


"Why don't I give you a little lesson on how to use your new equipment," Maddox raised himself off of the seat up and strolled over to window. As his cane tapped the white tiled floor, an echo sounded throughout the room. "Do you see that building over there?" Maddox said pointing to the Eyrie Building. Lexington nodded.

"I want you to focus on the very top of that building. Try to find out every minute detail."

"It's kinda far away..."

"Don't worry. Just try." Lexington did as he was told. As he focused on Eyrie Building, he realized that it was getting larger. In seconds, he could clearly make out several forms walked upon Castle Wyvern battlements. His mouth dropped as details became more pronounced. It was as if he were looking through a pair of binoculars. Suddenly the castle stopped. A flashing message at the bottom of Lexington's display read "Maximum Magnification."

"Are you zoomed in as far as you can go?" Maddox asked. Lexington shook himself from the trance like state he had put himself in.

"Whoa, this is awesome!"

"Good. Now, let's get back into this room. I want to show you something else." Maddox walked over to a computer at Lexington's bedside. He turned the cart in a semi-circle so that the back end faced Lexington. A wealth of wiring covered the back of the computer as well as an empty printer, modem, and fax ports. "Now reach behind your right ear. You should feel a small spherical object... Pull on it."

Lexington did so. At first the little round object refused to budge. Lexington felt a snap behind his ear. Panic flooded him. What if he broke something? Would Maddox be upset? Would...

"Don't worry about that. It's a shielding mechanism that keeps the uplink wire from coming loose during battle. Just keep pulling." Maddox said almost sensing Lexington's fear.

"Alright..." he pulled the wire out farther until it was long enough for him to view it. It appeared to be a tiny orb with four prongs in the top. Its color matched that of Lexington's skin to further aid the illusion of normality. After studying it for few seconds he pulled out enough wire from his head for the end to reach the computer. Before Maddox could say anything Lexington's hand went straight for the ports. He suddenly stopped. His hand trembled as he held the wire near the computer as he contemplated which port he should plug into. His moment of indecision vanished and Lexington pushed the prongs into the modem port.

In almost no time at all, Lexington suddenly saw the inside of the computer. It was like he was a spectator... no, a player, a user accessing hundreds of files at once. With the snap of a finger Lexington could see everything and do anything anywhere within the computer.

"This is very cool indeed..." he murmured. After a few more moments Lexington came across the date in the computer. It had been three days since he had been attacked by the siblings. Lexington fumbled with the computer hookup for a few seconds before unplugging himself from the computer. He replaced his interface wire back behind his ear.

"I have to go! The rest of the clan must be worried sick! They're probably looking for me!" Lexington hastily spoke. With grace and speed, he threw the sheets off, leapt to the window and slid the glass open. Lexington turned to Maddox and paused for a moment. "Um, Mr. Maddox?"

"Please, call me Nicholas," Maddox reminded him.

"Nicholas, thanks for everything. If there were only more humans like you around..."

"Lexington, there is no need to thank me. I only wish to see you safe and happy. Now, return to your clan. They have been worried long enough." The businessman smiled as he leaned slightly on his cane.

The olive-green gargoyle smiled back. Seconds later Lexington left the ledge of Maddox Technologies Headquarters and quickly became part of the night sky.

Maddox observed Lexington for a few more minutes before turning to leave the brilliantly lit room. His cane struck the floor as he walked. Maddox paused one more time and looked over his shoulder to the bed Lexington once occupied.

"On to phase two..."


* * * * *


Eyrie Building


Lexington's return was greeted with cries of joy and relief... and a good licking from Bronx.

"Yeah, Bronx, I'm glad to see you too," Lexington said in between licks. The olive-green gargoyle's display screen analyzed Bronx and the rest of the clan approaching him.  It made note of the weapons that were being carried by the clan.  He found it hard to concentrate on anything while his display screen was hard at work.  However, he didn't show it.

Everyone spoke at once wanting to know what happened, if he was all right, where he had been and so forth.  Lexington was overwhelmed and confused by the sudden mass of questions, prattle and bickering that had been going on ever since his arrived at Castle Wyvern.

"Quiet, all of you," Goliath said.  His voice was heard above all others.  The rest of the clan quickly silenced themselves.  Lexington though was the first one to speak.

"Where's everyone else?" Lexington inquired noting that Broadway, Angela, and Sata were not among the group that surrounded him.

"They're out looking for you," Brooklyn said, "I guess I better go radio them and tell them you've been found." Lexington detected a hint of anger in his voice, but that was to be expected.  After a minute or two Brooklyn returned, informing the clan that the patrol would be back with in the hour.

"Lad, why don't ye tell us what happened," Hudson cut in.  Lexington had been prepared for this eventuality.  He didn't like lying to the clan, but he couldn't tell them about Maddox either let alone the cybernetic implants he voluntarily had installed.  No, he had to make something up to keep the rest of the clan from learning about his secret friendship with Nicholas Maddox.  Lexington sat down on one of the crenels, took a deep breath, and began to tell the clan his story.

"Another company, probably one competing with Xanatos, kidnapped me with the help of Jackal and Hyena.  They wanted to study me from the inside out.  I escaped before they got around to doing the exploratory. I couldn't get home safely until tonight because Jackal and Hyena were hot on my trail."  Lexington finished.

"If they had found you during the day you'd be a goner!" Ariana remarked.

"Ye gave us quite a scare there, lad," Hudson spoke with his deep Scottish voice.

"Yes, we're all happy that you're alive and well Lexington," Goliath announced.

"I'm happy too," Lexington said.  Now Lexington found that the clan loved and cared for him once more.  Most of the time the clan would barely talk to him.  Even Bronx had a limited attention span, but now his entire clan was showing their love and affection for him.  This was exactly what Lexington wanted.

"Hey Lexington," Ariana and Graeme said in unison.

"We're gonna fix you a nice big dinner.  You haven't eaten in three days!" Ariana said.  Lexington suddenly realized how hungry he really was, but was it worth putting up with the twins' cooking.  Sometimes it could get out of hand without Broadway's supervision.

"Come on!" Graeme said noting that Lexington hadn't budged. "We insist..."  Graeme and Ariana grabbed Lexington by the arms and began to pull him to the kitchen.

Their progress, though, was interrupted by the shrill scream of the Eyrie Building's security alarm.  On cue, the roar of jet packs filled the air around the castle.  Lexington glanced skyward to see two familiar figures hovering over the castle.

"It's Jackal and Hyena," Goliath roared.  Their laughs echoed in the night as their laser blasts hit the castle's stone walls.  Even though the castle's walls had been made stronger since Oberon's attack many months ago, they didn't stand a chance against any modern day weapons.  Of course Xanatos knew this so he had taken the liberty of installing several security systems and weapons if such an attack occurred.

Hidden laser cannons popped up all along the castle walls and battlements.  Within moments of the attack the air was filled with bright red laser blasts from both sides.  However, the twins were making their runs on the part of the castle the gargoyles occupied.

Jackal came at Hudson from behind.  Hudson was a seasoned warrior and he could almost sense the eminent strike.  He ducked down, but held his short sword high above his head.  It was too late for Jackal.  The sword screeched against his black chest and stomach.  Jackal didn't flinch or even look at the wound he received from Hudson's blow.  He flipped in the air and dove down again.

Ariana swung her bo towards Jackal, but all she got was air.  Jackal, however, was a little luckier.  Ariana let out a little yelp as the two cybernetic claws slashed through her shoulder.

"Ariana!" Graeme yelled.  He was instantly at his sister's side.  "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, he only nicked me,"  Graeme saw that the two cuts weren't deep, but the claws had drawn blood.  A laser blast landed inches from Goliath as he watched Jackal and Hyena continue their assault.

"Everyone, we must leave at once!  We're the target! " Goliath called out.

Ariana and Graeme were about to take flight when Goliath stopped them.

"No, you two are inexperienced warriors.  It would be too dangerous for you or Nudnik to go up against deadly foes such as Jackal and Hyena. You're much safer here with Xanatos' security system than with us."

"But, but, but..." the twins whined in unison.


Meanwhile everyone else took off.  Brooklyn was the first to go. Lexington was the next to leave.  With a gigantic leap from the ramparts Lexington was in the air.  Hudson leaped off the battlements, followed the rest of the clan.  Goliath, the last one to take flight, slipped his arms around Bronx.  With a snap, Goliath's wings flew open, and Goliath took flight.

The gargoyles arced under the laser fire from both the twins and came up under the intruders.  Jackal and Hyena took the hint and began their retreat, thus beginning the chase.

As Lexington watched Jackal and Hyena, he noticed that the color of their armor had changed. The familiar yellow was replaced with an ominous looking red and black. Lexington could only speculate as to what else had changed.


* * * * *


The clan pursued Jackal and Hyena all across the city. The twins fired blazing laser blasts at the gargoyles knowing it was futile. They didn't want to scare off the gargoyles just yet...

Eventually the chase brought them to an abandoned apartment complex. Darkness surrounded it like a dense fog. The twins, not far ahead of the clan, nodded to themselves and dropped down to the old complex. Goliath didn't hesitate in steering the clan towards the chosen battleground.

"It's about time they stopped this cat and mouse chase!" Brooklyn remarked.

"Now we go kick some cyborg butt!" Lexington put in. Goliath only grunted.

From previous experience Goliath knew that when one Pack member was present the rest usually weren't far behind. Why would Jackal and Hyena attack the clan anyway if they didn't have some trick up their heavy titanium sleeves?

"Everyone fan out and look for Jackal and Hyena. We would be able to find them faster that way," Goliath spoke. With that the clan split up, each landing on different sides of the building. Lexington, while holding Bronx, immediately found the cybernetic twins and dove straight for Jackal and Hyena, both of whom were ready for his imminent strike.

Goliath started to glide down to aid Lexington when he heard an ominous roar coming from behind him. He turned just in time to see the ugliest pitbull in the world bowl into him from the sky. Goliath found it strange that this pitbull had metal wings. Goliath and the pitbull tumbled through the cool night air down to the building below.

Goliath tried to regain control, but he could only right himself before he slammed into the gravel-covered roof. Goliath, an experienced warrior, rolled with the "landing."

Bull landed on his now metallic paws and skidded to a halt raising dust clouds as he went. As he came to a stop, Bull's wings folded up upon themselves and slid silently into a small steel pack strapped onto his back.

Goliath groggily lifted his head from the stinging gravel just in time to see an oddly dressed man drop out of the sky. Goliath felt the roof shudder as Lobo landed. Speckles of dust and concrete flew up in the air while a crack slowly forked its way out from under Lobo's powerful feet. Lobo growled as a thin string of drool swung lazily from the corner of his mouth.

"Jalapeña..." Goliath growled as Lobo's metallic wings folded back into his assault pack.


* * * * *


Brooklyn landed silently upon the rooftop. He was sure he had seen Wolf's silhouette upon the rooftop, but now the shadow had disappeared. Brooklyn, utilizing all of his senses, scanned the area around him. In front of him lay several hiding places such as stairwells, skylights, and so on. Behind him, a rough stone wall blocked his path. Brooklyn backed up slowly watching and listening. From somewhere nearby, Goliath's battle cry echoed through out the night.

A deep growl from behind hit the crimson gargoyle's ears. Brooklyn spun around to see Wolf crouched upon the building's next level. Wolf jumped from the wall like a kangaroo, and landed on the gravel on all fours.

Brooklyn's eyes flared as he growled back. With lightning speed, Wolf stood up and delivered a devastating uppercut, sending Brooklyn flying backwards. Wolf chuckled as Brooklyn landed with a bone-crunching thud.

"He's DEFINITELY going to feel that in the morning..." Wolf laughed.


* * * * *


Hudson dove to Brooklyn's aid with sword drawn and eyes flared. He sped like a bullet able and ready to kick Wolf into the next millennium. He never saw the laser blast coming.

Hudson gasped as the blast struck his shoulder. Like a rock, he fell. Instinct kicked in and his wings flew open. Instantly a second blast hit his leathery wing. A dark circle of burnt skin remained. The old gargoyle curled up in pain only to meet the rugged roof moments later still clutching his sword. Hudson looked up to see the massive form of Coyote standing before him.

Coyote's sleek black exterior blended in with the night sky. A red trimming added to the effect. Hudson's mouth fell open as he stared up at the four-armed monster, which was easily over ten feet tall. The two main arms held the weapons systems while the secondary arms acted as hands. On the chest of the robot was a spherical video screen with the insidious half-Xanatos half-cyborg face of the first Coyote robot.

"Wh-what are ye?" were the only words Hudson could mutter

"Coyote 6.0, the heaviest..." Coyote lifted his left forearm and targeted Hudson with his three rapid fire lasers, which began to glow a dull red, "and deadliest version." Hudson stuck his sword between his sharp gargoyle teeth and dashed forward on all fours while Coyote's lasers followed. Hudson ducked under Coyote's massive legs and leapt upon the hulk's back. Hudson grabbed his sword and rose it high for the strike.

"I don't think so," the robot said. Electricity surged through Hudson as well as pain. Hudson fell off Coyote, dizzy and singed.

"Come on, old gargoyle. You know it's hopeless, so why not just give up and come quietly?"

Hudson growled in reply and shoved his sword up through the bottom of Coyote's mid-section. It was hard, but Hudson managed to push his sword all the way up to the hilt. Coyote's torso swung around followed by his legs. The video head glared down at Hudson.

"That WOULD have hurt if I were human..." One of Coyote's secondary arms seized Hudson by the neck, raised him high off the ground, and with one fleeting motion returned him to it. Needless to say the old gargoyle was out cold.

"...but then, I'm not human," Coyote finished as he stood over Hudson's body.


* * * * *


The air sped past Lexington at an incredible speed as he dove towards the twins, Jackal and Hyena.  As he got closer he heard a loud whine from above.  He turned his head to see Bronx rapidly catching up with him.  Quickly, he stretched out his arms as Bronx fell past him.  As Lexington felt Bronx's paws touch his palms, he wrapped his fingers around the grayish hind legs of the clan's "guard dog."  The only problem was that now both were now falling towards the roof.  An idea suddenly popped into Lexington's newly enhanced brain.

"Okay, Bronx, you wanna play catch?" Lexington asked.  Bronx nodded his head and growled, "Okay, boy, go get em!"  With that Lexington gave Bronx's legs one gigantic push sending the angry gargoyle beast straight towards Jackal. Jackal just stood there.  Just as Bronx was about to hit him, Jackal's foot busters flared sending him straight up.  Bronx whined as he realized that he would not be getting to take a bite out of the cyborg. Jackal watched Bronx land harmlessly below him, raising up bits of dust and gravel.

"You missed, doggy," Jackal said dryly.  His achievement was short lived.  Lexington kicked the distracted Jackal with all his might.

"I didn't," Lex laughed.  Jackal somersaulted into a brick wall shattering it.

"Nice landing, brother!" Hyena called out.  She was only interrupted by a rather large beast called Bronx leaping on her now metallic chest. Hyena lazily tossed Bronx away just in time to receive Lexington's attack.  Lexington's eyes blazed a blinding white as he flew towards Hyena.  He tackled her neck and held Hyena in a headlock - a headlock which would have been excruciating to a normal human.

"I don't think so, twerp..." Hyena's neck suddenly grew three feet longer. "Whoa!" Lexington cried as Hyena undid his arms from around her elongated neck.  He tried in vain to keep a grip on Hyena.  With the little web-winged gargoyle off her neck, Hyena tossed him next to Bronx and brought her black neck back to normal size.

"Is that all you've got, little gargoyle?" came a laugh from behind Bronx and Lexington.  During the scuffle with Hyena, Jackal had recovered from Lexington's flying kick.  Now Jackal and Hyena were on opposite sides of Lexington and Bronx.

It was about now that Lexington got a good look at the twins standing still.  Jackal and Hyena had definitely changed.  Their only remaining skin was on their heads.  Their bodies had been restructured and colored an eerie black trimmed with red.  Their faces had lost their normal color and had grown a milky white.  For some strange reason, however, Hyena still had a belly button.  Even though it was molded in metal, it gave her an ironically human look.

"You've been upgraded!"  Lexington said. The twins smiled.

"Yeah, and we come fully loaded..." Jackal spoke.  On cue, his right arm split open with the top and bottom portions extending outwards. Inside was a state of the art multi-weapon system.  Hyena's left split open revealing two gun barrels.

One of Jackal's weapons fired something.  It wasn't bullets, or flames, or explosive charges.  It was a liquid, a liquid that landed right where Bronx was standing.  The instant the liquid hit the ground it froze leaving the unfortunate gargoyle beast helplessly trapped in ice.

"BRONX!" Lexington screamed.  His eyes blazed and his face grew demonic.  He roared as he charged Jackal.  Jackal's arm snapped back in place and slipped into a defensive stance ready to take on Lexington.  As Lexington neared Jackal, Hyena fired her machine gun at the little gargoyle's fast-moving feet, which kicked up dust as they went.  Warning signals began to flash before Lexington's eyes.  He didn't realize what they meant until a bullet hit the bottom of his foot.  With no other feeling but pain in his left foot, Lexington tripped and fell right into the arms of the waiting Jackal.

"Nighty-night," Jackal crushed his metallic fist into Lexington's face as he finished speaking.  Hyena strutted over to Bronx who was still struggling to get his feet out of their icy prison.

"Hey, doggy, why don't you take a nap?" Hyena brought her foot into Bronx's face.  The force broke the clan's guard dog out of the ice and sent him flying for several yards.  Bronx's limp body landed hard on the roof.

"Killing two birds with one stone, sister?" Jackal asked.

"More like kicking..."


* * * * *


Goliath's eyes were like burning white fires as he battled the cybernetic Lobo and ugly Bull. Goliath tackled Lobo and managed to get him in a fierce bear hug. Goliath squeezed the muscle-bound Mexican tighter and tighter, hoping to hear the familiar crack of a rib or two. Lobo's cybernetic eye flared red as he grunted. Goliath suddenly felt a searing pain go up his leg. He glanced down to see Bull tearing into his left calf.

Lobo didn't waste any time struggling. With Goliath distracted, the Pack's leader broke free from the lavender gargoyle's grasp and gave him a fierce elbow-jab in the stomach. Goliath doubled over as the air in his lungs left him. Pain gripped his chest and then his face as Lobo, like a savage beast, brought his head upon his knee.

Goliath grew dizzy as his vision grew blurry. The growls of both Lobo and Bull reached his now almost deaf ears. He suddenly found himself on the ground. Bull had knocked the gargoyle's legs out from under him. Goliath lay there looking up into the starry night sky, marveling at the beauty of blurry stars that danced around his vision like tiny sparks.

The sky disappeared as Lobo stood over him. Goliath heard Bull's bark as Lobo sneered at his defeated opponent. The last thing he remembered was Lobo raising his heavy foot and then bringing it down towards his face.


* * * * *


Lobo looked over the lavender gargoyle with a mixture of contempt and disdain. Goliath's breathing was heavy and erratic, and abrasions from the battle were beginning to appear.

Silence enveloped the rooftop. Lobo knew it was a sign. The sounds of battle and pain had ceased. Only a few moments passed before the other Pack members began to arrive with their prizes. Wolf was the first to make his way to the center of the rooftop.

"AH!" Wolf grunted as he dragged the unconscious body of Brooklyn behind him. "I've never felt better in my life!"

"I think HE has!" Hyena called out from the other side of the rooftop. She was almost playfully swinging around Lexington like a bat, while Jackal was easily juggling Bronx like an oversized bowling ball. Each tossed their prize next to Goliath's body.

"I am severely disappointed. I was expecting better," Coyote spoke as he carried Hudson with his two secondary arms.

"Looks like he got yah," Wolf gruffly said.

"It's only outer hull damage. No electrical or internal systems were compromised." Coyote neatly deposited the old gargoyle next to the other limp bodies.

"Time to call the boss..." Lobo whipped out a small radio and spoke into it. "The gargoyle threat has been neutralized."

"Excellent!" the voice on the other end said. "Guard the gargoyles until I get there. The Pack is not to harm them until I arrive."


* * * * *


Static clouded Lexington's vision for a moment after he regained consciousness. Millions of thoughts raced through his head

"How could I have been so stupid? I should have known that Jackal and Hyena were better armed. I should have fought better. Why didn't I use my new enhancements better? Why didn't I help Bronx? Where am I now?" These were just a few of the things Lexington considered as his mind was racing.

"Visual systems online," Lexington's pop up window read as his cybernetic vision came back. Darkness surrounded him like a warm blanket. Then him realized that he should open his eyes if he wanted to see.

The night sky greeted him as his eyes fluttered open. He felt the limp bodies of his comrades beside him, and was vaguely aware of voices from somewhere nearby. It didn't take a rocket scientist to tell those voices belonged to the Pack.

Lexington slowly raised himself from the gravel-covered roof. Little pebbles that had dug themselves into his hide stung him like a thousand tiny needles. Lexington forgot about the pain as more pressing matters came to mind.

He slowly looked behind him at the Pack, all of whom were conversing among themselves. Every one of them had their backs turned to their victims. Perfect.

As quick as a tiger and as quietly as a cat, Lexington scampered away across the rooftop. After finding the fire escape, he climbed down the rusty ladder and entered the building through a window below. The room was dark and musty. The paint on the walls had all but peeled away and the floor was full of dust and debris. Lexington scrunched himself up against the wall closest to the window. At least he was safe from that huge robot. Now it was time to send for much needed help.


* * * * *


Castle Wyvern

David Xanatos sat at his desk comfortably sipping his steaming espresso. The hot liquid burned his tongue for a moment before it made its way down his throat. The warmth of the mug was soothing to his icy hands. In front of him was the security camera footage of the recent attack of Jackal and Hyena.

Xanatos set aside his espresso as the security camera focused on Jackal and Hyena side by side. He paused the tape and examined the image.

Jackal and Hyena's black bodies were the first thing that caught his attention. Their only remaining skin had disappeared, as well as the gold plating. The only other color on their bodies was the red trimming that added to the effect. There was no mistaking it. Jackal and Hyena had been upgraded. Again.

Xanatos leaned back in his chair, rubbing his itchy, bloodshot eyes.

"I've been staring at this TV for too long," he muttered, reaching for his coffee mug only to knock it over, sending steaming espresso all over his desk. A sour look crossed Xanatos' face as the espresso wound its way along his desk. With a sigh he turned on the intercom.

"Owen?", he said.

"Yes, Mr. Xanatos?" a blank voice answered.

"I want you to find any information you can on Jackal and Hyena's activities after their affiliation with Xanatos Enterprises was dissolved."

"I'll get right on it, Mr. Xanatos."

"Oh, and can you please fetch me a towel, Owen?", Xanatos added. His only reply was static. "Owen?" Again, no response other than static. "Owe-" A voice suddenly cut Xanatos off.

"Xanatos, is that you? Look, we need you! Send help to this location!" Lexington hurriedly said. Xanatos noted the desperation in the little gargoyle's voice. A map of Manhattan appeared on the computer screen, a flashing beacon indicating Lexington's position.

"Lexington? Lexington, how are you transmitting on this frequency? This is a closed circu-"

"It doesn't matter! Just send help NOW!"


* * * * *


Lobo's head slowly turned away from the rest of the Pack as they celebrated among themselves. He was picking up a signal and a transmission. It was a transmission coming from Lexington. Lobo looked over his shoulder and down at the pile of unconscious gargoyles. Lexington was the only member not present. His beacon began echoing in Lobo's head as he contemplated the situation.

"Lobo?" the voice on the radio asked.

"Sir, the small gargoyle, Lexington, has slipped away and has begun transmitting a beacon," Lobo responded. Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf looked stunned at this.

"Very well," replied the voice. "Hunt down the gargoyle, but under no circumstances, I repeat, under NO circumstances do you or any other member of the Pack kill him."

"Yes, sir," Lobo said. After the com signal ended he stuck the radio back into his pack, then gazed at the original Pack members. Every one of them had surprised and sour looks upon his or her face. Jackal and Hyena had the worst looks of all. Lobo readied himself for an eventuality that was about to rear its ugly head.

"Look, you may be our so-called leader, thanks to the boss," Hyena remarked. "And you may have good combat skills. But when it comes to that little twerp, all of your orders go out the window. He's mine to do as I please."

She came at Lobo, slashing at him with her sharpened metal claws. Lobo dodged every slash. Hyena gave one final downward slash, a slash that he neatly avoided. As she leaned forward with the momentum, Lobo slipped his arm around her neck catching her in a headlock. Hyena began to extend her neck only to be stopped by Lobo's enormous hand. Even her powerful motors could not budge it.

Jackal advanced towards Lobo with claws extended, but stopped when Lobo began to push Hyena's head towards her body. Hyena felt her neck straining against the urge to pop outward. She pushed against Lobo's back furiously, but gained no new ground. His grip was breakable. Jackal, seeing what was happening to his sister, retreated. As he did so, Lobo let got of the desperate Hyena.

"Remember," he said to her, "we built you, so we know your weaknesses. You finish him and I finish you. And that goes for the rest of you. Comprende?"

Jackal sneered at Lobo while the rest of the Pack glared at the new leader bitterly. But whether they liked it or not, Lobo was right.

"All right. Coyote, you stay here and 'immobilize' the rest of the gargoyles. The rest of you are with me," Lobo ordered, breaking the growing tensions. The Pack exchanged glances, and acted on Lobo's orders. They had to do so. They had no choice.


* * * * *


Castle Wyvern

Xanatos strode silently outside into the chilly night air. The cloudless night let the moon and the stars shed their light beautifully upon the face of Manhattan. Without the city lights shining above him, Xanatos could clearly make out thousands upon thousands of stars, stars invisible to the people below. These heavenly bodies gazed at him as he gazed back.

Xanatos caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning around, he saw a faint dot in the distance quickly growing larger. In moments the one dot turned into three. Soon colors were distinguishable and then details and shape began to take form. In less than a minute, three large gargoyles landed in front of him. Broadway and Angela caped their wings around themselves while Sata kept her leathery wings open.

"Hey, where is everybody?" Broadway's gruff voice echoed in the courtyard.

"Yes, where's-" Angela began. Xanatos cut her off.

"The rest of the clan, except for the twins and Nudnik, left when Jackal and Hyena attacked the Castle. From what Lexington has told me, they have fallen into a trap and need help. Lexington has provided a location for us. They're all located on a building at 9th and West 38th Street," the corporate billionaire said.

"Thank you, Xanatos," Sata spoke as she gave a slight bow. "Let us depart." The trio turned to take flight.

"Give me a minute to get my suit on." The three gargoyles turned to Xanatos. Sata motioned to Broadway and Angela to go. Angela, without hesitation, went to the edge of the castle and leapt off. Broadway only shrugged and followed behind her.

"Xanatos, time is of the essence. We must rescue the clan NOW." So saying, the green gargoyle leapt off Castle Wyvern, gliding quickly towards Angela and Broadway. Xanatos only sighed and silently went inside.


* * * * *


"He's moving!" Lobo shouted. "He's heading toward the other side of the building. Come on! We'll catch him when he gets out the window!"

The Pack raced across the roof with Jackal in the lead. All of them failed to notice three dark shapes closing in on the abandoned building.


* * * * *


"That's the place," Broadway said as the three gargoyles neared the abandoned building. The large roof was almost covered in darkness.

"There's Lex!" Angela shouted as Lexington leapt out a fifth story window. He was up the fire escape and on the roof in a flash.

"And there's the Pack!" Broadway exclaimed. "And they're headin' straight for him!"

The three gargoyles dove down to Lexington. He looked up at them and smiled in relief.

"It's about time!" he said, as they landed.

"What is going on here?" Sata questioned.

"It's the Pack... sort of. They're bigger, tougher, and stronger than ever before. It's like some sort of... of Ultra-Pack."

Jackal stood in the shadows silently and listened. As Lexington finished his last sentence, the cybernetic mercenary's cold face smiled.

"The Ultra-Pack. I like that," he muttered. With that, his arm split open and he announced himself. "Heads up!"

All the gargoyles leapt into the air as Jackal's freezing ray hit, freezing the ground that they had been standing on moments earlier. Broadway looked down at the ice below. "I see what ya mean," he said.

"You guys try to keep the Pack busy," Lexington said. "I'll try to get to the others."

Sata drew her katana and all three screamed out their war cry as they dove at the five members of the Pack.


* * * * *


Coyote stood before the gargoyles, all of whom were now awake and severely angry. Goliath struggled against the pipe that held his arms to his side. But it was all in vain; he could not get enough leverage. And if he could not break free, neither could the others, particularly Bronx. He was hog tied.

Coyote's secondary hands examined Hudson's sword, which he had extracted from between his legs. Once it had done so, the robot tossed the sword to the ground before the old gargoyle. "An interesting piece of weaponry," it commented. "Maybe you can sell it to an antique shop."

"Who built you?", Goliath roared. "Was it Xanatos?"

The face upon Coyote's video screen smiled. "I'll let you figure that one out for yourself", it commented, in a tone of voice remarkably similar to that of the wily businessman that had built all of its predecessors.

There was a sudden cry from behind, and Coyote turned around to face a charging Lexington. The little gargoyle dove straight for it. "Ah, another target," commented Coyote, almost sneering.

Lexington landed right in front of the hulking machine. His eyes blazed white as his heads-up display ran a list of the robot's various weapons, heavily emphasizing which ones were going to fire. Coyote raised its arm and fired its minigun at the tiny gargoyle. With graceful speed, Lexington danced away from its shots. Bullets trailed him, as he sped around Coyote in circles.

"If that's the way you want to be," Coyote said. Flames shot out of its arm. Lexington again danced around Coyote until flames encircled the large robot. The flames gave an eerie, almost devilish glow on the huge robot. As they died down, the roof began to groan and shudder.

"This could be bad..." Coyote managed to say before the part of the roof beneath it gave way. The massive robot fell through to the next floor, but didn't stop there. Instead, it kept plunging through floor after floor, until it reached the basement with a loud clang. Clouds of dust rose up from the hole.

Lexington ran over to Goliath and tugged at the twisted pipe. After much pulling, and a little effort on Goliath's part, he managed to free the big lavender gargoyle.

"Well done, Lexington," said Goliath approvingly. "Now help me free the others."

A wave of warmth and happiness went through Lexington. He was finally being praised again for helping his clan. For a brief moment, he no longer felt alone and alienated by the others. That feeling faded, though, as current problems began to take over his mind.

In a few moments the others were freed and ready for action.

"Now, let's go help-" Goliath was cut off by a roar similar to that of a jet engine. Coyote rose up out of his self-made hole.

"Farewell, gargoyles!" Coyote's missile launchers, mounted atop both his forearms fired a missile straight into the crowd of gargoyles. They jumped away, but it was too late. All of them caught a piece of the small blast. Gargoyles were strewn all around the impact site.

The gargoyles recovered slowly, but Coyote waited as if he wanted a challenge.

"Brooklyn, Hudson, you two and Bronx take on Coyote!" Goliath called. "Lexington and I will go help the others!"

The others complied. Again Lexington felt useful and happy that he was being chosen above all the others to go with Goliath. With an uplifted heart, he ran behind his clan's leader on all fours.

"All right, guys, let's get this party started..." Brooklyn growled.


* * * * *


The gargoyle reinforcements were taking a beating from the Pack. Sata was in the air, battling Hyena and Jackal, and Broadway was fighting Wolf alongside Angela, who was fighting Lobo and Bull. Angela leaped on the Pack leader, eyes glowing red, but this did not disturb him. Bull came rushing in and knocked Goliath's daughter off his master. It was then that Lexington and Goliath entered the scene.

"Lexington, go help Sata," Goliath ordered, then headed straight for Lobo. As Angela was recovering from Bull's head-on attack, Lobo delivered a hard kick to her mid-section. Angela fell back down to the ground, groaning in pain.

Over three blocks away, people listened to the strange roar that echoed through the buildings. Goliath gave Lobo an uppercut that sent him flying. Despite the devastating hit, the Pack leader righted himself in the air and landed on his feet. His cybernetic eye glowed a soft red. Both man and gargoyle charged at each other, each with a fierce look in his eyes.

Meanwhile, Lexington was on his way to Sata when one of Jackal's laser blasts found its mark. Sata spun out of control down to earth. Lexington caught her, only to let them both fall towards the roof. Without free arms, flight was next to impossible. Both gargoyles crashed onto the roof with Jackal and Hyena landing on either side.

At the last second, Lobo ducked and hit the lavender gargoyle's mid-section. With little effort, he flipped Goliath onto his back. He then noticed that the battle between Coyote and the other gargoyles was slowly making its way over to the others. By all appearances, the robot was winning.

"Wolf!" Lobo motioned to Goliath. The human-lupine hybrid grinned and forced himself out of Broadway's grip.

"HEY!" Broadway yelled. He attempted to tackle Wolf, but was forced back by Bull. Goliath growled as Wolf approached. The two came at each other, each grasping the other's hands and attempting to force each other back. Goliath pushed hard and felt Wolf's muscles began to give.

Wolf chuckled as Goliath suddenly felt the beast pushing a lot harder than before. The gargoyle was now the one who began to lose strength.

Lobo took out the radio and spoke into it. "Sir, all the gargoyles are free and reinforcements have arrived, but we are still in control of the situation."

"Good, now retreat and escape. Cease all combat!" the voice said.

"WHAT?!" Wolf yelled.

"Please repeat your transmission," Coyote said.

Goliath took the opportunity and head-butted Wolf in the snout. He stepped back several paces, clutching his nose. "You'll pay for that Goliath!" he roared.

"I repeat, retreat and escape. Cease all combat!" the voice repeated.

"Yes, sir," Lobo spoke. He took the radio and shoved it back into his pack. "Everyone, we're outta here!" The Pack obeyed Lobo's command without question. Hyena and Jackal were in the air followed by Lobo and Bull.

"You've lost this round and I guarantee you'll lose the next!" Wolf gloated. With that he grabbed on to Coyote and both of them were in the air following the rest of the Pack. In moments, they were nothing more than dots in the night sky.


* * * * *


Castle Wyvern

The doors to Xanatos's personal office flew open, revealing Goliath and the rest of the clan. All of them had angry, sour looks on their faces. Xanatos looked up from his computer. His straight poker face did not change a bit when he saw the anger in the clan leader's eyes.

"What's wrong, Goliath?" Xanatos asked.

"We met the Pack tonight," Goliath began.

"Yeah, and it wasn't just Jackal, Hyena, and Wolf," Broadway said.

"It was another Coyote robot and some guy with a pitbull," Lexington followed up.

"Coyote 6.0," Hudson spoke.

"Were you responsible for this, Xanatos?" Goliath roared.

Xanatos sat in his chair for a moment, looking Goliath straight in the eyes. Then he spoke.

"I am no longer affiliated with the Pack. It was dissolved after that affair with the Emir. No more Coyote robots were made after the 5.0 version."

Goliath stared back at the man for several moments, then turned to the others with a growl.

"Come," he said to them "It is almost sunrise." He left the office and they followed him, though not a few of them glanced back at Xanatos with suspicious looks on their faces.

Xanatos frowned as he watched them leave. "So somebody else is following in my footsteps," he said to himself. "Whoever he, I hope that his activities do not further jeopardize my new alliance."


* * * * *


Nicholas Maddox's Office

Three furious members of the Pack burst into Maddox's office, angry expressions on their faces. Nicholas Maddox looked calmly back at them.

"Why did you call off the attack?!" Wolf roared. "We could have destroyed the gargoyles if you hadn't stepped in!"

"Yeah, I wanted to waste the little twerp," said Hyena. "I had him in my sights!"

Nicholas Maddox calmly arose from his desk, picked up his cane, and walked around the piece of furniture to face his new hirelings.

"We accomplished everything that I wished accomplished," he said to them calmly. "We tested the Pack - "

"I rather like the Ultra-Pack," Jackal interjected. The other Pack members nodded in agreement.

"Very well. I tested you, the Ultra-Pack, to see if you could hold your own against the gargoyles. I also wanted to see if I could compete with and improve on Xanatos's existing technology, which I did. I also gained more of Lexington's trust, and I found his clan's home, thanks to his cybernetic implants. On top of all of that, the one-way interface between Lexington and Lobo worked perfectly. All and all, I think that we won the day. There will be other times and other places to accomplish my other goals..."


* * * * *


Lexington stood on his perch overlooking Manhattan. The sun was just about to peek over the horizon as he set himself in his daytime position. His eyes were wide as he was ready to greet the approaching sunrise.

It was nearly impossible to tell that Lexington's eyes were cybernetic. Only with a close look could one make out the circuits etched into the back of the eyes. They wound their way around each other like cracks. The microscopic sensors were even smaller and colored a jet black. Just as the sun began to rise, the pupils of Lexington's cybernetic eyes flashed a dark crimson briefly, indicating a visual shutdown. A second later he, as well as the other gargoyles, had turned to stone.


The End