To Restore Amends
by Dylan P. Blacquiere & Batya "The Toon" Levin
Previously on "Gargoyles"
"A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time"
        Hudson: (Hudson looks down forlornly at a book given to him by Jeffery
Robbins) "Words...bumps...what's the difference?"
        Robbins: (comes up behind him and rest a hand on Hudson's shoulder)
"You can't read, can you?"
        Hudson: "Well, who would teach me?  I've never told my clan I can't
        Robbins: "I can teach you.  But that's not really the point, is it?"
        Hudson: (looking away from Robbins, ashamed) "It shames me."
        Robbins: "I understand.  But it isn't shameful to be illiterate,
Hudson.  It's only a shame to stay that way."
"The Gathering" (prior to facing Oberon on the castle battlements)
        Petros Xanatos: "We haven't always seen eye-to-eye, David.  But I have
never been prouder to be your father."
        Xanatos: "Thanks, Pop.  Whatever happens, thanks."
"The Reckoning" (after Thailog's death in the rollercoaster fire)
        Broadway: "Without Thailog, these guys don't know what to do or where
to go."
        Lexington: (looking at the clones) "Yeah, but...we can't just bring
them back to the clocktower, can we?  I mean, they kind of give me the
        Talon: (eyeing the clones himself) "They can come live in the
Labyrinth, with my clan."
        Burbank: "You master now?"
        Talon: "Better than that.  I'll teach you how to think for
yourselves....and use verbs."

Nightfall had become somewhat of a different routine for New Yorkers.  The residents of the steel and concrete forest who had once greeted the darkness with casual indifference, now looked up at twilight, anxiously scanning the skies for a glimpse of what might be gliding across the air.
Tonight, a crisp cool night with a trace of fast approaching winter, was no different.  The sun slipped below the horizon, giving a few last golden rays of light, and was gone.  And with it, atop the world's tallest building on a castle in the sky, seven stone statues suddenly began to crack, and then burst, revealing seven very much alive gargoyles, punctuating the dusk with yawns and roars as they stretched awake.
"What are we doing tonight, then?"  Lexington asked, cracking his knuckles.
Broadway grinned.  "Breakfast first, and then we'll discuss it."
Goliath, soaring down from his higher perch, shot him a pained glance.  "We still have patrols tonight."
"I'm just saying that we might be better off thinking of what to do on a full stomach."  Broadway grinned.  Angela rolled her eyes and chuckled.
Hudson watched the exchange impassively, and let out a grunt.  "If you lads won't mind, I think I'll go to watch the television for a while."
"Nothing to eat?"  Lexington asked.
"No, thank ye, lads.  And...well, perhaps I'll stay home tonight from patrol.  I'm feeling my years, so I could use some rest."
"Hudson..."  Goliath began, but Hudson turned away.  Goliath did suddenly notice that he looked a little bit weary.  "Very well," Goliath muttered defeatedly as Hudson walked into the castle.
"Have you noticed,"  Brooklyn said quietly, "that he says he's 'feeling his years' a lot more often lately?"

Goliath nodded.  "Indeed.  He seems to be getting a little more sedentary as time goes by."  The leader of the clan watched as Hudson disappeared into the castle, his face unreadable.


Hudson settled himself into the recliner with a groan of contentment, and grabbed the remote control.  He turned on the TV, and settled himself in for a night of loafing, plain and simple.
There was suddenly a whine from the door, and Hudson turned around.  Bronx let out another short bark, and trotted in to watch the elder gargoyle.
"Didn't feel like breakfast any more than I did, did ye, you great beast."  Hudson grinned, companionably scratching behind the dog's ears.  "All right, but don't ye whine to me about how hungry ye are later.  I don't want t' be gettin' up from this chair any more than I have to."
Bronx's head tilted, and he shot Hudson a look.  There was a vaguely accusing gleam in his eyes.
"What's the matter with you?"  Hudson asked.
Bronx whined.
"Ye don't like seein' me sitting here all the time, do ye, boy."  Hudson sighed, with a faint note of regret in his voice.  "You don't like how I'm getting settled in and tired."
Hudson looked at the dog, who still had the accusatory look.
"Well, I'm old," Hudson started defensively, feeling somewhat silly to be explaining his actions to Bronx.  "Too old to be running off on adventures every night.  I wear out too easily, and having me along would just be a burden on the clan.  I don't want to be like that."
His gaze grew somewhat reflective.  "I'm quite content with my life now.  I watch the television, and I play with the baby when he's awake.  I read, too...I'm right in the middle of a good book right now.  And I visit Robbins on occasion.  But..."
He sighed again.  "But maybe it's just realizing that I've outlived my usefulness.  I've learned all I can.  Even when Fox tried to teach me how to do some of the sword tricks she does, I just ended up tired and confused."
Bronx whined, the unimpressed look in his eyes gone.  Hudson smiled, and scratched his ears again.
"It happens to us all, boy," he said quietly.  "I've known for a while that I'm getting on in years, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I started getting tired.  It's best just to settle down and live out the time I have in comfort.  Better than being a useless burden, anyway."

Hudson turned his attention back to the TV.


"It's been going on for nights," Broadway said to Angela while the two sat out on the battlements.
Hudson had begged off on patrols and spent his time either picking away at a novel (he had long ago discovered how much he actually enjoyed reading; being illiterate for most of his life had given him a somewhat greater appreciation), watching TV, or sitting in the nursery and playing the odd game of "Peek-a-boo" with Alex.  The clan had watched all this go on, privately worried that perhaps Hudson was giving up on himself.
"It's like he's giving up," Broadway continued. "I mean, I know he's old, but still..."
"Perhaps it's just a stage," Angela reassured him.  "He hasn't been feeling all that well lately, and maybe he's just taking things a little slower."
Broadway's shoulders slumped, and he sighed.  "Maybe...but I'm still worried."
Later that same night, Elisa came to visit.  She was eagerly welcomed, considering what she had been through not that long ago.  She gave Xanatos a slightly wary look as she passed him, and then went to meet with Goliath.
"The new apartment's working out fine," she said as they walked out onto the parapets.  "Cagney's still a little nervous with the new place, but I think it's going to work out.  What's new with you and the clan?"
Goliath stopped smiling.  "There has not been much happening." he admitted.  "We've been lying low because of all...this." he waved his hand towards the city below.  "Occasional patrols, but nothing serious.  We haven't had any major encounters with the Quarrymen lately."  He frowned.  "There is one thing, though.  Hudson has been
"Settled?"  Elisa repeated.
"He's been retreating from clan life.  He will not go on our patrols with us, and he won't do much else.  He's perfectly content to spend his nights with the television.  But...he's been starting to act somewhat melancholy, too."
Elisa looked at him quizzically.
"He behaves as if life means nothing to him.  Like he's giving up.  Like he's just slipping away."
Elisa sighed.  "Goliath...he is old."
"Not so old that he cannot be a use to the clan, though.  But...I have trouble bringing it up around him.  I don't want to offend him by making him feel inadequate...."
Elisa thought for a second.  "Didn't you tell me once that back in the tenth century, part of your warrior obligations included teaching?"
"We taught the younger gargoyles any skills we had," Goliath replied.
"Well, maybe one way to get Hudson more involved is to make him feel useful.  He has lots of skills he could teach."
Goliath raised an eye ridge.
"My brother Derek is trying to tutor the clones and teach them to read," Elisa continued.  "Burbank and Malibu and all of them.  But things in the Labyrinth are a bit hectic right now with setting up the homeless shelter and Mom and Dad signing the papers for the Xanatos-Reynard grant.  Derek doesn't have the time to do it all by
himself anymore, and there isn't really anyone who can help him out.  Hudson likes to read, he knows how valuable reading is since that Scrolls of Merlin thing, and he might be able to help out."

Goliath thought about it.  "It sounds all right, but we'll have to discuss it with Hudson."


"That's the silliest idea I've ever heard."  Hudson laughed.  "ME teaching the clones to read?"
"You'd be perfect for it."  Elisa grinned.  "And Derek really needs the help."
"That's not the point, lass."  Hudson scowled.   "I'm not really up to this sort of thing, and I'm not exactly the best sort of teacher.  I don't have the patience."
"You taught many a fine warrior back in Scotland, Hudson," Goliath patiently pointed out.  "You taught me everything I needed to know."
"That was different," Hudson insisted.
"It wouldn't be that difficult," Elisa explained.  "You don't have to make them Rhodes scholars or anything, but just enough to make them functionally literate.  You of all people should know how valuable reading is.  Think how much it will mean to the clones."
Hudson looked at her helplessly.  "I...I wouldn't know where to begin."
"Talon will be there whenever you need help," Goliath countered.
"And hey, it'll give you something to do besides sit here and watch TV," Elisa added.
Hudson glared at her.  "Is that what this is about, lass?  Find something for the old gargoyle to do so he can keep busy?"
"No," Goliath interrupted.  "Part of a warrior's duty is to teach any useful skill he is able to pass on.  You've shown you're capable of teaching before, and you can think of this as part of your duty."
"I'm aware of a warrior's obligations, lad," Hudson snapped.  "What you don't seem to understand is that..."
Goliath stared him down, unswayed.
"I'm not...." Hudson muttered, but he knew then and there that it was a hopeless cause.
"Fine," he grumbled.   "I'll do it.  But I'll not be happy about it, I'll tell you that right now."
Elisa smiled.  "Look on the bright side.  You can even assign book reports if you want."
Hudson and Goliath both stared at her blankly.

"Never mind."

Hudson began his teaching position the next night.  After awakening and having something to eat, he promptly took off from the castle.  He grumbled and swore the whole way.
It wasn't that he didn't want to teach the clones, he was quick to remind himself.  He honestly didn't mind going to the Labyrinth, and while the clones set him a bit on edge, that wasn't what he was concerned about.  He was angry with Goliath and Elisa, however, for suggesting that he had been neglecting his duties as a warrior.
Yet haven't ye being doing just that, old man? he asked himself.  Goliath and Elisa just brought the doubts to the surface.  They wouldn't be saying it if there weren't a grain of truth.
"They're right," he said aloud.  "I have been getting a wee bit soft.  This might do me a bit of good."
Still reminding himself of that, he headed for the Labyrinth.
When he arrived, he found an industrious scene.  The place was busily being set up into a serviceable homeless shelter, and every able-bodied person was helping out.  Talon, who was seemingly directing the entire operation, saw him and waved.
"Good evening, professor," he called out, walking over.
"Don't you start too, lad," Hudson groaned.
Talon shrugged, and chuckled.  "Elisa came today and told me all about it.  Thanks a lot.  It means a lot to me and for the clones."
"'Tis a warrior's duty,"  Hudson told him.  "Where am I to teach them, now?"
"Everything's in the kitchen.  There's a few of the younger children there, too.  I figured we might as well kill two birds with one stone so I invited the human children to take part too.  There's only a few."
"Verra well,"  Hudson said.  "If I need anything, I'll come get you."
"Sure.  Thanks a lot," Talon grinned.  He shook Hudson's hand, and walked back to what he had been doing.  Hudson watched him go, sighed, and went to the kitchen.
The clones were there, along with two or three human children.  There was a little chalkboard, and a few scattered children's books.  The clones looked up, and their eyes widened.  Delilah cast her eyes downward, very painfully shy, and the other clones followed her lead.  The children, however, had no such inhibitions.
"Wow!"  one little boy exclaimed excitedly.  "You look the same as that guy!"  He pointed at Burbank.  Hudson blinked, and sat down.
"Are you related?"  a little girl asked.
"Mary!" the first boy chided.  "Don't be rude."  He looked at Hudson.  "She's my sister." he said apologetically.
"Ah, well, then.  So, lads and lass, are you ready to learn how to read?"  He felt very odd, but the surface strangeness was fast evaporating.
"You talk funny!"   Mary giggled.
"And so do you, lass," Hudson replied, gently, actually smiling.  The girl giggled again.
Hudson grinned, and looked towards the clones.  "How about you?  All ready?"
The clones looked warily at each other.  "Yes," Hollywood finally said, very softly.

"All right then.  Let's get to it."


The lesson went well.  Hudson determined that most of the children were familiar with the alphabet, and that they had already made beginning progress in learning how to read and write.  There were a few mistakes, but that was all right; Hudson patiently helped them out, remembering his own difficulties learning how to read.  The lesson finished with the braver students trying to read out loud, and everyone earned congratulations.
As Hudson returned to the castle, shortly before ten o'clock, he began to realize that he had actually enjoyed it.  It hadn't been bad or awkward...well, it had a bit at first, but that was to be expected.  And more than all that, he felt a little different.  He felt useful.  He felt like he was making a difference to someone, and that was something he hadn't felt in a long while.  It bothered him vaguely just how long it had been.
Hudson began throwing himself into his task.  Time he once spent loafing in front of the TV he now spent happily preparing lesson plans.  He went through the shelves in Alex's nursery for the titles of children's books to order from catalogues, and he spent long amounts of time looking for incentives, like candy or small trinkets, to bring to reward the students.  The clan and the little ones sometimes teased him (the nickname of 'Professor Hudson' unfortunately stuck), but it was a small price to pay.  Hudson seemed almost to have a new lease on life, and the laziness with which he had greeted the evenings before had all but vanished.  That in itself was a change for the better.
The human children were very clever.  They learned very quickly, and soon could make it all the way through 'Green Eggs and Ham', and 'The Berenstein Bears'.  The clones, however, were a bit more difficult, being shyer and harder to teach.  Delilah, however, was different.
Hudson supposed it was her greater level of training while being created -- her 'in vitro tutoring', as Talon called it -- which made her such a quick learner.  She was much more intelligent than the others, and so her reading progressed much faster.  While Malibu and Hollywood and Brentwood and Burbank struggled with Dr. Seuss, Delilah had developed an interest in fairy tales and fantasy stories.
The night after the lessons began, Hudson strolled about the impromptu classroom, watching his students read and offering praise and suggestions, giving help whenever needed.
"I a boat," Malibu struggled, reading from "Green Eggs and Ham".
"Yuir doin' fine, lad," Hudson praised him.  "Keep at it."
Malibu looked up, and smiled.  Hudson grinned back, and went about his rounds.  Just as he passed Delilah, she slammed her book closed with a growl of frustration.
"Delilah?"  he asked, perplexed.
"It's too hard," she snarled angrily.  "I can't read it."
Hudson gave her a patient smile, and grabbed a chair.  "Sure ye can," he said gently.  "You were doin' very well before, lass.  Here, I'll give you a bit of help."
Still looking somewhat doubtful, Delilah began again.
"Read it out loud for me, lass," Hudson prompted.Delilah sighed loudly, brushed aside a stray bang of hair, and picked up from where she had left off.  "They saw land, and entered, but it was the land of the L...Luh...L..."
"What book is that?"  Hudson asked.
"I can't say the name," Delilah said mournfully.  She pointed, and Hudson duly noted that she was reading an abridged version of 'The Odyssey'.
"That's an awfully difficult book, lass," Hudson said somberly.
Delilah's expression softened.  "When I can, though, it's a wonderful story.  I love stories with magic in them, and this is one of the only books there is."
"Ah," Hudson agreed.  "Go on, then."
Delilah cleared her throat.  "I can't say that word."  Hudson looked, and gulped; it was awfully hard.
"It's...uh...Laestrygons, I think."  Hudson frowned.  He quickly scanned the paragraph to get the context.  "I think it's just a name."
Delilah took that in, and skipped the word, and kept on reading.  She stumbled over several of the words, but managed rather well.  Hudson let her continue to read aloud, giving praise where praise was due.  Several of the other students began to gather around, listening to her; this made her somewhat nervous, but she pressed on.
"They came to, Circe?...who was a witch.  She had the power to...turn men into beasts, and she..."
Delilah continued spinning the tale, unaware that Hudson was suddenly jarred to distraction.  As she read about Circe, who turned people into animals, Hudson nervously glanced out towards the Labyrinth at the Mutates.
He suddenly had a sense of something like deja vu, thinking he had heard this story once before, only in a much more contemporary setting.  With a geneticist named Sevarius instead of a witch named Circe, and with normal people...including Elisa's brother...instead of Odysseus and his sailors.
Hudson was lost in his own thoughts until Delilah suddenly cleared her throat.
"Did I do good?"  she asked, nervously.
"Hmm?  Oh, yes, lass!  You did very well!"  Hudson praised her, still looking a bit preoccupied.  "Yuir a bit too hard on yourself, lass.  Yuir doing fine.  You just need to be a bit more patient."
He stood up.  "Well, I guess it's time for me to go home, then.  Take care, lads and lasses.  I'll be back tomorrow night."

The Mutates and the children watched him leave the kitchen with a hint of disappointment in their eyes.  Hudson flashed a smile, and walked out.


"I think it's wonderful," Jeffrey Robbins smiled.  "You sound like a hard teacher, though."
"I'm not that rough on the tykes."  Hudson grinned, taking a gulp of tea.  "And they're doing quite well."
Hudson had gone to visit his friend Jeffrey Robbins after leaving the Labyrinth.  He hadn't been there in a couple of weeks, and felt he owed it to Robbins to fill him in on the events of the last few days.  Robbins had taken great delight in the fact that Hudson was teaching people to read.  Fortunately, Robbins didn't think it necessary to call
him 'Professor Hudson.'  That alone made it worth the trip.
"There is a lot of pleasure in reading, but I suppose it must be an even better feeling to be helping someone else to learn," Robbins remarked.  "You don't feel intimidated knowing that you've only been reading for a couple of years yourself?"
"Nay, Robbins.  It makes it a bit more of a challenge, I'll admit, but there's no great difficulty.  One of my students is fairly advanced though, and she's reading a bit harder material than the rest.  Harder, but still challenging to teach."
"What's she reading?"  Robbins asked conversationally.
"A condensed version of 'The Odyssey',"  Hudson told him.  He grimaced.  "Actually, there was something that struck me about that."
"Have you ever read the part about Circe?  The witch who turned the sailors into animals?"
Robbins chuckled.  "Now that is funny."
"How does the part go?"
"In the original version, Circe was a witch.  She lived on an island called Aeaea.  I haven't read this in a while, so forgive me if I'm a bit rusty, but she supposedly had a magic cup and a ring or amulet that gave her the power to turn people into animals.  The story goes that she used that to turn all of Odysseus' sailors into swine.  She made them drink from the cup, and then that was that."
He paused for a second, trying to remember.   "Odysseus supposedly escaped that power with a certain herb, so when he drank from the cup, he didn't change.  After Circe realized that she couldn't change Odysseus, she freed his men and they stayed on Aeaea for a whole year."
Hudson nodded pensively.  "Yes, that's it.  A few more details than in the abridged version."
Robbins sat up.  "It's really funny, come to think of it," he said.  "I heard on the radio a little wile before you came that someone was funding an expedition to find this Aeaea."
Hudson choked on his tea.  "WHAT?"
"I didn't think anything of it, really.  I figured it was just some really rich person with a  lot of time on his hands.  I never got the name of who was funding it, though.  But imagine!  That's something.  Mounting a multi-million dollar expedition for the sake of an old Greek myth."
"Myths and stories can often have a wee bit of truth to them," Hudson pointed out.
"Oh, I know that," Robbins agreed easily.  "They found Troy because someone believed in an old myth, after all.  But...a cup that can turn people into pigs?  I don't think so.  I mean, they might find a cup, but I doubt it'll be able to do what the old myths say it does."
"Hmm."  Hudson frowned.   "I've probably overstayed meself, Robbins.  Thanks for the polite conversation and a good cup of tea."

"My pleasure."  Robbins grinned.  "And have fun teaching."


Hudson thought about that as he returned to the castle.  Robbins was probably right; it did sound kind of silly.  Of course, Hudson had been around long enough to realize that most myths and tales have a small element of truth in them.  He'd  even lived through a few of them.  King Arthur came to mind, and hadn't the existence of gargoyles once been a sort of urban legend themselves, according to Elisa?
He mulled over that as he landed on the castle parapets, immediately greeted by Brooklyn and Lexington, who were sitting and talking.
"Hello, lads," Hudson said.
"Hey, professor," Brooklyn chuckled.  Hudson rolled his eyes.
"Where were you?  I thought you got home from teaching earlier than this," Lexington asked.
"I went over to Robbins' for a while, lad.  Nothing serious.  We were just having some polite conversation and a good cup of tea."
"Oh," Brooklyn nodded.  "We have your spot in the TV room all ready for you.  You'd better hurry up if you want to catch your shows."
Hudson nodded, and then stopped.  "Er...perhaps after.  There's something I want to ask Xanatos."
"Xanatos?"  Lexington blinked.  "Why?"

"It's nothing.  I just came across something tonight I'm a wee bit curious about," Hudson reassured.  He headed into the castle, leaving Brooklyn and Lexington staring quizzically after him.


"Circe?"  Xanatos blinked.  He took his feet off the desk and swung his chair forward, looking at the old gargoyle with eyebrows raised.
"Just a story I came across tonight."  Hudson figeted, somewhat uneasy at being in Xanatos' office.  "I was just a little curious as to whether you'd heard anything about it being true or not."  He paused.  "Yuir unusually well versed in that sort of thing."
"Touché," Xanatos replied dryly.  "I can't say I know anything about the legend of Circe being real or not, but I know someone who might."  He pressed a pager button on his desk.  "Owen, could you come in here for a second?"
Hudson shifted his weight again, uncomfortably.
"What brought this sudden interest in Greek mythology, Hudson?"  Xanatos asked.  "I didn't think you were into that sort of thing."
"I'm not," Hudson replied.  "But I was at the Labyrinth tonight, and I saw Talon and the others, and it struck me that since you had the power to change men into beasts yourself, you might have known something about the legend."
Xanatos looked away for a moment.  "I see," he said, then turned back.  "Well, no, I can't say I've ever heard of Circe's cup being more stories I heard when I was growing up."
The door opened, and in walked Owen Burnett.   "Yes, Mr. Xanatos?" he asked.
"Owen, Hudson here has expressed an interest in Greek mythology all of a sudden...particularly the Odyssey."
"But he's asked if perhaps there's a bit of truth to the story about Circe and her magic cup and her amulet.  Know anything about it?"
"With all due respect, sir, I have a rather large family.  It makes it a bit difficult to keep up."
There was a pause.
"Circe was real?"  Hudson asked.
"According to her, the story concerning her was a bit exaggerated, but yes," Owen said.
Xanatos rubbed his beard.  "Hudson's just come here with a bit of interesting news, Owen.  He says that a friend of his heard on the radio that someone was mounting an expedition to find Circe's island."
"Interesting."  Owen frowned.  "Circe's cup does exist, but I have no idea if it's still on Aeaea.  It would be interesting to see what this group plans to do with it if they find it."

"Wouldn't it."  Xanatos steepled his fingers on the desk.   "Find out all you can about this, Owen, and let me know as soon as you have something."


Breakfast at the Xanatos home was a hurried affair more often than not, but for once the morning was calm and domestic.  Fox was reading through a newspaper, Alex was contentedly flinging bits of cereal around the room, and Xanatos was thoughtfully chewing on a fried egg.
"So you're worried about a magic cup?" Fox asked.
"Not worried.  Curious would be the word."  David swallowed another mouthful of egg, and went on.  "If the legend is real, then Circe's cup could be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands.  I'd like to keep something like that right where I can get it should an opportunity arise."
Fox questioningly raised an eyebrow; for all David's words sounded rather flippant, his expression didn't look it.  He looked pensive and even a bit distressed.
Owen walked in, impeccably groomed as always.  "Good morning, Mr. Xanatos.  Mrs. Xanatos.  Alexander," he greeted each in turn.  "Sir, I did some checks throughout the night, and I believe I may have a few answers."
Xanatos and Fox looked up.  Alex burbled happily.
"The expedition to find Aeaea is a joint project of archaeologists both here and in Greece.  The research heads are Dr. Andreas Schroeder from the archaeology department at Columbia University and Dr. Nikos Petropoulous of the National University of Athens."  He paused.  "The sole corporate sponsor is Maddox Technologies, based here in New York City."
"They're a relative newcomer to the States, sir."
"I know who they are.  It's just I wouldn't expect them to jump into such an enterprise, particularly when they've just moved their base of operations from Europe to here.  Any idea why?"
Owen shook his head.  "No, sir.  Apparently there's going to be a press conference on in about...fifteen minutes."

In David Xanatos's office, a remote control clicked.  "...cannot tell for certain, but it's clear to the board of directors that if a settlement isn't reached, the museum may have to rethink their strategy. Kellie Hayden, CBS News, Manhattan."
The camera switched back to an anchor desk.  "Also in the world of business, the up-and-coming Maddox Technologies has declared that it is funding a multi-million dollar archaeological expedition to Greece. Travis Marshall brings us this report."
"Travis Marshall here at the new midtown headquarters of Maddox Technologies.  This corporate newcomer has shaken the business world with its announcement that it will be funding a multi-million dollar dig off the coast of Greece, and this move has many investors curious and interested in bringing their business to the firm.  CEO Nicholas Maddox couldn't be reached for comment, but with me now is Executive Vice-President Mavis O'Connor.  Ms. O'Connor, why such a bold move when so relatively new to the commercial scene?"
The camera shifted again to show a dark-haired woman in a conservative forest-green suit standing next to the reporter.  Xanatos raised an eyebrow as he watched.
The view switched to a closeup as Mavis O'Connor spoke in her lilting Irish accent.  "It's well aware we are that this is a daring move, and we'll be fully explainin' the entire project in a press conference in about ten minutes.  But it isn't only technological advances we're involved in.  One of our many new departments, Maddox Publishings, will be releasin' its flagship magazine soon.  'Antiquities Today' is designed for people with interest in archaeological findings, like Mr. Maddox himself.  It'll be featurin' in-depth coverage of some of the
world's most groundbreakin' research expeditions, and the search for Aeaea is a promotional kickoff.  A wee bit of PR, if you will."
"So this expedition is merely publicity for a magazine?"
"And what kind of exploration would it be if that's all it was?" O'Connor chuckled.  "It's genuine research this is, Mr. Marshall. Maddox Technologies felt that such an expedition would be a proper beginning for our publishing interests, so we offered the research heads, Dr. Schroeder and Dr. Petropoulous, a substantial sum of money to make it possible.  But it's more than a magazine, mind.  We're thinkin' that such research and exploration 'd greatly advance our understandin' of our world and of our history.  Even if we weren't usin' this event as an opening for 'Antiquities Today', we believe it would merit a great deal of cooperation from the corporate sector."
Xanatos tapped his fingers together and frowned, then punched a button on the intercom.  "Owen, I want the names of some of the top archaeologists on the planet, preferably those well versed in Greek myths.  I want them contacted within the next six hours.  Tell them that I'm willling to pay handsomely in return for their services."
There was a pause.  "And what shall I tell them they'll be doing, sir?"

Xanatos' trademark grin surfaced on his face.  "Tell them a race, Owen. Who can get to Aeaea first."


It was plastered all over the news the next day.  "XANATOS TAKES ON MADDOX" the business page of the Times announced the next day. Apparently, Owen had called one archaeology buff who had hinted the story to the media.  Neither Nicholas Maddox or Andreas Schroeder could be reached for comment.
"I always knew you were impulsive, dear," Fox said over breakfast the next day.  "But mounting an expedition to Greece...."
"Call it a hunch," he said, buttering a muffin.  "Owen's told me that the Aeaea story is true, so we know this isn't just a wild goose chase. And I was sort of thinking about it last night.  I've just decided to put it into action, that's all."
"The press is all over it, David.  They haven't been this interested since Alex was born."
"Heigh-ho, the glamorous life," David said wryly.  "There's just one problem.  It's all well and good for the press to know about the expedition before we go, but once we get started, I don't want a team or a crew that will be radioing progress to either Maddox or to the tabloids.  I'd like to keep it secret."
"So you'll need people you can trust.  I doubt your academics will be much problem, but the were taking a boat once you got to Greece, right?"
"Right.   Aeaea's an island, and I don't feel like taking a helicopter; we don't even know if there's any flat land there."
"Mmm-hmm.  So where are you going to get a captain you can trust?"

Xanatos mulled over that for a second, and gave a slow smile.  "Maybe we should keep this one in the family."


The day had been uneventful.  Bar Harbor, Maine was a rather sleepy town this time of year; the only mainstay business was the local ferry to Nova Scotia, and even that wasn't nearly as busy.  The town's wharf, too, was rather quiet, and in the quiet evening air, Petros Xanatos found himself whistling an old sailor's tune as he mended a few lobster traps.
"Need any help, Pop?"  someone asked.
Petros stood up, but did not turn.  "David," he greeted coolly.  "What are you doing here?"
"Flew in to Bangor early this afternoon," replied David Xanatos -- in jeans, a plaid flannel shirt over a white t-shirt, and brown hiking boots -- hopping down from the jetty into the boat.  "Then I got a rent-a-car and drove here.  It sent all the paparazzi into a tail spin. I think they're still combing Bangor International for me."
"The great David Xanatos lowered himself to a rent-a-car?"  Petros asked, turning around, unsmiling.  "Somehow I doubt you came from New York City just to visit me."
"You're right and you're wrong," David said.  "I came because I need a helping hand, and I figured you're the only one I could really trust."
Petros' face grew hard.  "I'm not helping you make more money, David. The love of money has spoiled you and I'm not about to keep that going."
"It isn't about money, Pop.  It's about...well, I'm not exactly sure what it's about.  Curiosity's part of it, but I think more of it has to do with burning a few bridges."
Petros raised an eyebrow.
"Tell you what...why don't we go to your house and talk about it over some tea?"  David suggested.  "It'll be dark soon."

Petros nodded, and quietly stepped out of his boat onto the wharf.


"I know about your search for Aeaea, David," Petros said as he set down two mugs of tea.  "Bar Harbor might not be New York, but we aren't completely cut off from the news of the world."  He grinned slightly. "And though I'd be hard pressed to admit it to anyone else, I do follow up on your exploits from time to time."
"I know.  I found the scrapbook with all the news clippings about me in the den last time I was here."  David smirked.   "So you know what I'm up to."
"But I want to know why."  Petros pursed his lips.  "I might not approve of the way you lead your life, David, but I know you well enough to know you never do anything without a reason.  So...why Aeaea?  What convinces you that these legends of Circe and her magic cup and her secret island are true, and what's making you look for them?"
"A very informed source told me that they were true," David explained. "And that cup...well, would you believe that it's to correct a past wrong?"
"No."  Petros said bluntly.
"Didn't think you would."  David gave a short, mirthless laugh.  "It's a long story, so to sum it up...a couple of years ago, I made a mistake. I hurt several people, and even though you may think otherwise, I'm human enough to feel remorse for that.  I've been trying to set things right, to restore amends...but nothing is enough.  I'm a changed man, but this legend, if it's true, it might give me the capability to right that wrong and to prove to everyone -- even myself -- that I really am a changed man."
"I see."  Petros nodded.  "And where exactly do I fit into this?"
"I need a captain.  Someone I can trust.  Someone with experience, and who I know won't run off to the media with my every move."
"Hmph.  So you figured I'd fit the bill.  That's all?"
David shook his head.  "You can call it nostalgia if you want, but I also thought that this might bridge a bit of the distance between is. That's another wrong I'd like to make amends for...letting us grow apart.  Call this my roundabout way of trying to bring the two of us closer together.  Father and son out for an adventure."
"I'm a bit old to be running off on adventures like this, David.  But I'll go with you."
David blinked.
"Surprised?"  Petros grinned.  "Didn't think I'd give in so quickly?"
"A little bit surprised, yeah." David admitted.
Petros grew somber once again.  "So how much do you know about this legend?"
"What Owen's told me, and what I remember from the stories you told me as a boy. know, to tell you the truth, I'm not really sure where to start.  And that stays between us."
"You really should know where to start, David."  Petros's expression was unreadable.  "Or did it ever occur to you to wonder how I knew so much about the Odyssey and why I stressed that you know that story?"
"Heritage."  David shrugged.
"That isn't the half of it.  For all I'm a poor fisherman in Maine, and my father before me and his father back in Greece, the Xanatos line is ancient, David.  We've inherited many proud traditions...and something else."
David began listening very intently.
"You aren't supposed to know about them until it's the proper time. The tradition is to wait for the knowledge of one's death to let one's heir know about them...but I think your time has come.  You need to know."  Petros paused, seeming to weigh his next words carefully. "Would you be terribly surprised to know that Odysseus was a real, flesh and blood man...and that the Odyssey was an account of what really happened?  That the legend is actually true?"
"Not a lot surprises me, Pop.  I had a little feeling along those lines."
"In any case, David, one of our ancestors was on Odysseus' ship.  He was a very bit player, not even noted in the records of the journey...but he was the only other survivor.  When the rest of the crew was drowned after the incident with the oxen on the Island of the Sun, this man managed to live, much the same way Odysseus himself did.  He clung to a piece of driftwood and floated until he reached land.  When he finally got back to civilization, he told his tale and inscribed them on a set of scrolls.  Then he passed them along the line, from father to son...and through all the long years, the tradition went on.  Father to son...even until now."
Petros stood and moved to a shelf, took down a set of encyclopedias, and slid aside the wooden panel behind them.  Reaching in, he brought out a small locked box, which he carried back to the table, set down, and unlocked.
David held very still, and watched.
"Open it," Petros said.
The younger man reached out hesitantly, then took hold of the box's cover and raised it...and gasped.  Inside lay three scrolls of some heavy brittle material that was not paper, crumbling away at the edges, with marks inscribed in faded dark ink.  With an almost reverent touch, he lifted out one of the scrolls, unrolled it on the tabletop, and studied the markings.
"Oh, my God," he whispered.  "Pop...this is..."
"It's history, David," Petros said softly.  "It's part of our heritage."
David looked up.  "I can barely even read half of it...I can't even translate some of it...but...this is incredible, Pop."
Petros nodded.  "There's something else, too.  Part of the scrolls is a map."
"A map!"
"Yes.  At least, I think it's a map.  It shows a crude drawing  of, let me find it."  Petros carefully took out the other scrolls, and with practiced ease, he quickly scanned them.  Midway through the second scroll, he found it, and showed it to David.  Grey head and brown head bent over the scroll, and neither one mentioned the map's monetary value -- or pointed out the omission of any such mention.
The younger Xanatos frowned.  "Where's the key?"  he asked.  "It's got all sorts of symbols on it but there's nothing to say what they mean."
"Not all of the scrolls were intact," Petros said patiently.  Thousands of years is a long time, and these scrolls were hardly going to survive all that time perfectly preserved.  The key's been lost, I'd expect."
"The map isn't going to much good without a key."  David grimaced down at the scroll.  "I can make out parts of it...that's Crete, there..." He looked up.  "Even if we could decipher what this means, it looks like it's all based on landmarks.  And they have a nasty habit of changing over a few millennia."
Petros shot him a pained glance.
"Still, it's miles better than nothing.  I doubt the Maddox Technologies team has anything like this...and I'd imagine that a few computers and a few good scholars would be able to crack the code."
Petros nodded.  "So, there you have it.  You have a captain, you have a map.  You're all set; now all you need to do is crack the code."
"We don't want to waste any time.  Maddox will be going soon, so we want to keep reasonable paced with them.  We'll have to work on the code en route to Greece."
He paused.  "So I can count on you, Pop?"
"Yes," Petros replied.  "I'm not entirely sure about your motives, David, but I think you mean well enough.  I'll help."

"Thanks, Pop."


He spent a fair amount of that time sitting at the water's edge. Petros had retired to bed, leaving him alone on the wharf, pitching rocks into the water much as he had as a child.  A few loons cried from the water, and a few people were still up and stirring around their boats.
David Xanatos had to admit that it was a much simpler life than in Manhattan.  There, he was always the multi-billionaire David Xanatos, either acting as rich people often did or hatching some scheme, according to those who knew him.  Here, in sleepy Bar Harbor, Maine, he was just plain old David.  Petros Xanatos's boy.
He wondered what some of the old fishermen -- old Stanny Hillman, with a lazy eye and a fondness for beer, or crazy old Pierre Duceppes, the eccentric old French-Canadian well noted for taking long jaunts with his boat out to the middle of nowhere -- would think of his dad if they found out he was going to Greece to find a myth.  They would click their tongues, of course...old Vera Sampson who used to run the general store when David was a boy had always said that the Xanatos family always seemed to be a little more exotic than most...and then they would ask why.
Why, indeed?
He shot a sidelong glance at his father's boat.  His dad had at first wanted to bring that boat to Greece, to ship it along with them, but David had assured him it was quite impossible.  Besides, Owen had already arranged to ship equipment out to Greece for a specially commissioned boat.  He had phoned earlier and said so.  He had also commissioned a research head:  one Dr. Christian Kelligrew, based at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland.
He smiled.  Good old Owen.

With a sigh, he stood up and began walking back to the house.


Things in Manhattan were a little tense as well.  The news of Xanatos' expedition was big, in the city; Owen had been making phone calls all night, arranging for researchers and travel plans.  The gargoyles weren't included in that, but they did talk about it.
Hudson, meanwhile, went about his business as usual.  He went to the Labyrinth and taught.
Delilah was at the very end of the Odyssey, where Odysseus returned home after his absence of more than ten years.  She made it through the book all right, and the rest of the students were content to sit and read quietly without much help.  It was just as well; for once, Hudson didn't have his mind on teaching at all.
A few times he saw Claw or Talon or Maggie, and thought of the revelations that last night had revealed.  That Circe had been real. That her cup had been authentic.  That people in this supposedly modern day and age were going to try and retrieve it.  That Xanatos was one of those people.
What strangeness.
Still, he thought, it probably didn't really concern him.  He had brought the matter to Xanatos' attention, true, but that was probably the extent of where this was going to involve him.  But he felt an odd sort of responsibility for all of it, too, which made him a bit more personally involved.  Add to that the fact that he wasn't quite feeling his years as much lately with the rejuvenation he'd been going through in feeling useful and helpful.  Teaching the clones and a few children to read was one thing, but that wasn't going to last forever.
So why not help out on this, too?  Why not go for it?  Granted, he was old, but there might be a campaign left in the old soldier yet, he reminded himself.
Besides, they might need him to look out for things.

So he quietly made his decision, all the while walking through the kitchen and congratulating his students on reading their books.


Early in the morning, David and Petros Xanatos left Bar Harbor for Bangor.  Petros had packed last night, so they had an early breakfast and were gone.  Once in Bangor, they took the Xanatos Enterprises jet back to New York City.
Owen greeted them at the airport, and promptly drove them back to the Eyrie Building.  He informed them that Dr. Kelligrew would be flying in to New York later that afternoon, along with a few more distinguished research heads.  It wasn't a bad organizational job for such short notice.
Maddox did make a comment in that day's newspapers, stating that a little friendly competition never hurt anybody and that he welcomed the challenge mounted by Xanatos.
So by that afternoon, Xanatos, Petros and a few others were making arrangements for the expedition.  Long distance phone calls to Greece were made, and the arrangements for the boats were finalized.  Computer equipment to analyze the map and to calculate the position of Aeaea was acquired and allocated, and the team began arriving.   Christian Kelligrew arrived from St. John's shortly before supper; a few people were put off by his accent, but he appeared to know his facts.
Things went on like that for a while.  By sunset, everything was pretty much all together.  The research scientists all went to their accommodations and that was that.
And none of them saw the seven gargoyles awakening on their tower, or heard the conversation going on there.

"You're doing what?"  Goliath's voice, while free of the growling tone of disapproval, was quite startled.
"Um...gee, Hudson, two weeks ago you wouldn't have gotten up from the TV, and now you want to go to Greece," Broadway commented.
"I know it sounds odd, lads, but I think it's something I have to do. The last few days have made me realize that I might not be as useless to the clan as I was letting on.  Besides that, don't you think one of us should keep an eye on Xanatos?"
"I've been saying that for years," Brooklyn muttered.
"I want to keep an eye on things," Hudson insisted.  He grinned. "Maybe even take Bronx along.  He needs the exercise."
Goliath put a hand on Hudson's shoulder.   "I see nothing wrong with that, old friend.  If you feel going to Greece will serve a purpose, then by all means, go."
Hudson nodded.  "I'll have to bring this up with Xanatos, though.  But thank you, lad."
He walked off towards the castle, leaving a clan of flummoxed gargoyles behind.
"I think it's wonderful," Angela smiled.  "He's coming back to the clan."
"The only thing that gets me is that he's taking Bronx," Lexington scowled.  "That dog's gonna have enough frequent flyer miles to get to the moon."

Bronx whined, and almost managed to look smug.


Hudson caught Xanatos in his office.  He was meeting with Owen, Petros and a tall, sandy-haired man with glasses.  The man looked up and gasped, but Xanatos nodded a greeting.
"Hello, Hudson," he greeted him.
The man looked at Xanatos incredulously.  "Ye KNOWS him?"
"Uh huh.  Hudson, this is Dr. Christian Kelligrew.  He's going to be the research head of the expedition."
Kelligrew looked at Hudson, and managed a very weak smile.  Hudson grinned, and offered a hand to shake.
"'s a pleasure to meet ye," Kelligrew stammered.
"Likewise."  Hudson said gruffly.
"And this is my father, Petros Xanatos.  He's going to be the captain of the ship.  Pop, Dr. Kelligrew...this is Hudson, the gargoyle who brought the Aeaea project to my attention in the first place."
Petros nodded his head.
"Xanatos, there's something I wanted to ask you," Hudson announced. "Would it be all right if I volunteered to go with ye?  To keep an eye on things?"
The four men looked up simultaneously.  "To keep an eye on things?" Xanatos repeated.
"Ye never know what may happen," Hudson continued.  "A situation might
arise where you'd be glad to have an extra body around."
"I see."  Xanatos nodded.  "Personally, I don't have any problem with it.  It might take a little fast talking to get some of the scientists and excavation crew used to it, but...why not?  Welcome aboard, Hudson. You might want to stick around.  I'm just filling Dr. Kelligrew in on what we know."
Hudson walked over to the desk, and smiled at Dr. Kelligrew.
"We never does nothin' like this back where I lives to," Kelligrew stated in his Newfoundland accent.

Xanatos looked to him, and then to Hudson.  "We're an unconventional sort of company," he said lightly.  "Now, about that map...."


The night was spent with Xanatos filling in Hudson on what had transpired since his flight up to Maine.  He showed Kelligrew and the gargoyle the Xanatos family scrolls.  Kelligrew had begun hyperventilating; Hudson had merely accepted it.  That was one thing about Kelligrew; he seemed to be fairly skeptical, but once convinced that something was true, almost ceased to notice that there was anything odd about it.
"So we should probably get some rest," Xanatos said at two in the morning.  "We're flying out to Europe at eleven in the morning.  Hudson, you and Bronx will be secured and taken as stone," he grinned.  "You'll turn to stone here, and wake up in a completely new continent."
"Turn to stone?"  Kelligrew asked.  Hudson shot him a 'don't ask' look.
"We've got all the equipment ready to be shipped to the airport first thing in the morning," Owen clarified.  "The computers, the tracing systems, and the global positioning system.  I also took the liberty of arranging for a research vessel that's docked in Preveza, Greece."
"Efficient as always, Owen."  Xanatos smiled.  "We'll have to get a move on.  The Maddox team arrived in Greece yesterday."
The rest of that night was spent with downtime.  The humans all went to sleep, while Hudson roamed around the castle.  He spent a little time with the clan, but he mostly just sat and thought.
That morning, he hopped on his parapets with a little smile.
"Excited, Hudson?"  Broadway asked.
"Aye, a little," he admitted.  Broadway winked at Angela.
"Be careful, old friend," Goliath told him.
"Ah, go on with ye.  I'll be fine," Hudson insisted.  Goliath nodded, chuckled, and clapped him on the shoulder.  Bronx gave a little bark, as if to indicate the same.

The sun rose, and the gargoyles petrified.


The crates around Hudson and Bronx were set up and padded quickly. They were hoisted up into a waiting helicopter being piloted by Fox. She waved at the workmen who had done the job, and then soared off towards John F. Kennedy International Airport.

On the Xanatos Enterprises private runway, several people were unloading a lot of equipment onto a waiting jet.  Fox landed the helicopter, got a couple of people to unload the crates and bring them to the plane, and then hurried across the runway to David, Petros and Owen.
"Simple flight plan, sir," Owen said.  "From New York to Lisbon, where you'll stop to refuel, and then straight on to the regional airport in Preveza."
"And how do we get all this equipment from the airport to the dock?" Petros asked.
"There should be several trucks there to aid with unloading the cargo and resetting it on the ship," David explained.  "We won't have to worry about Hudson and Bronx, either...they'll be long awake by the time we get to Greece.  Time zones and all that."
Fox leaned over to her husband, and kissed him.  "Be careful, David."
"I will, Fox.  Love you."
"Love you too."
David kissed her again, and smiled.  "So you'll be holding the fort till I get back, you and Owen.  See you in a couple of weeks."
"Indeed, sir," Owen replied.

Xanatos turned to his father, and waved over his team of researchers and excavators, a tight, fierce grin on his face.  "Let's go."


After the plane had taken off, the crates containing Hudson and Bronx were brought forward from the cargo hold and into the cabin.   They were opened, so that the two gargoyles wouldn't awaken in the middle of a wooden crate.  Xanatos made a quick explanation about the nature of the gargoyles to the team, and then settled back to enjoy the plane.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Petros hooked a thumb at the crew and spoke in an undertone.  "Letting these people know you've got a gargoyle with you?  After all that's been going on in New York?"
"Pop, my people are always screened before hiring, and one thing I try very hard to keep out is xenophobia.  People who get fazed too easily by weirdness tend to make less useful workers."  He laced his fingers behind his neck and stretched back in the comfortable flight chair. "Besides, if I didn't already trust all these people to keep my secrets, I wouldn't have brought them along on this trip."  He closed his eyes and seemed to relax.
Petros looked unconvinced.  Then the plane hit a small spot of turbulence, and his look rapidly changed to one of discomfort and alarm. "It's not going to be this rough all the way to Greece, is it?" he asked.
David raised an eyebrow and opened one eye.  "Rough?  This isn't so bad, Pop.  No worse than a fishing boat in a calm tide, it?"
Petros turned towards the window and grimaced.  "I'd forgotten how much I always hate flying," he grumbled.
It happened near the Azores.  The combination of the speed of the flight and the time zones inevitably brought sunset much closer, and so over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the stone forms of Hudson and Bronx began to crack.  As the Xanatos team all looked back in shock, the two gargoyles awoke.  They both looked startled at their surroundings.
Xanatos made his way back to them.  "Good evening, Hudson.  Have a nice nap?"
"Where are we?"  Hudson asked, looking out the nearest window and seeing nothing but water in every direction.
"Somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean," Xanatos replied.  "We left New York about seven hours ago, but the time zones meant that sunset happened earlier.  It's six o'clock here, but it's only three o'clock in the afternoon back home."
"Odd."  Hudson looked around.  "So how much longer until we get to Greece?"
"Quite a while yet, I'd say.  We aren't landing in Lisbon for another couple of hours yet, and it's still another four hours from there until we get to Greece.  Factor in the time zones, and you might be landing in Preveza as a stone statue."
"Short night," Hudson muttered.  Bronx barked in agreement.
Xanatos laughed.  "I guess you could call it jet lag, gargoyle style." The look of confusion on Hudson's face said it all.
The team was a bit nervous about Hudson and Bronx's awakening, but they were both well-behaved.  Hudson sat quietly on his seat, and while having a dog in the cabin was unorthodox, Bronx didn't roam around.  He was very well-behaved; a member of the excavation team from Yonkers actually patted his head on his way to the bathroom.
Kelligrew got over his own airsickness shortly after Petros adjusted to the flight.  From the Azores on, there was almost no turbulence, and he relaxed.  He got out a Discman, and began singing along quietly to a CD: "Where it's wave over wave, sea over bow, I'm as happy a man as the sea will allow...."
The plane touched down in Lisbon, Portugal at about nine-thirty, local time.  They quickly refueled, and immediately took off again, bound for Preveza, Greece.  As the night wore on and the journey stretched into more hours, most of the people on board fell asleep.  Hudson didn't; he spent the night sitting in a seat by the window, watching the lights of western Europe pass below, quietly thinking.

Several hours later, they landed.


Xanatos had miscalculated slightly, and when the plane landed at Preveza's small regional airport, Hudson and Bronx were still quite awake; three o'clock, local time, meaning that it was still only eight in the evening in New York City.  Hudson found himself wondering what the rest of the clan was doing.
The gear was unloaded off the plane.  As Owen had predicted, several trucks were there to unload the computer equipment.  Xanatos and his father stifled yawns as they watched it all unloaded.
"I haven't been back to the old country since I was a boy," Petros remarked.  "My father took us to Athens.  This is the first time I've been here since then."
"Well, we aren't here to look at the scenery yet, Pop," David said. "After we find Aeaea and get everything set up, though, I'm sure you and I could take in a little of the countryside."
"A busy man such as you?  I thought time was money."  Petros frowned slightly.
Xanatos opened his mouth to reply, but shut it again.  "Forget it, Pop."
One of the Greek workmen was hollering at the sight of Bronx, who was casually sniffing the man's pants.  Hudson, apologizing profusely, went to claim the great beast, but it did little to calm the man, who started cursing fluently in Greek.  Hudson snorted, and walked over to Xanatos.
"So, what's going on now?"  he asked.
"Well, tomorrow morning, we're getting underway.  I would make some more of this stuff go on at night, Hudson, but these people need daylight to work."
"I can't help what I am, Xanatos," Hudson scowled.
"I'm just saying that you'll be asleep while most of the work is going on.  But at night, you can help out however you want, or you can just enjoy the cruise."
Hudson shot him a pained glance, and walked off.
"That's something else I'll have to clear up," Xanatos muttered.
"What's that?"  Petros asked.

"A little more unfinished business," David replied.


By the time the boat was ready to go at Preveza's wharf, the eastern sky was beginning to lighten.
"I just want to tell all you lads and lasses right now," Hudson warned, waving his sword for emphasis.   "If I wake up this evening to find this old bucket sinking, I'll have to get upset."
Petros stifled a chuckle, but he wasn't all that impressed with the boat either.  It was too new, was his complaint.  He'd told David that all of the sophisticated navigation equipment at the helm was totally unnecessary, and that he would do well to remember that people hadn't always needed such fancy equipment.  David had smiled patiently.
Hudson went below decks to spend the day in sleep.  In the meantime, the researchers began setting up.  The scrolls and the map were carefully laid out and studied, all under the capable direction of Christian Kelligrew.  Before the sun rose, the research team was well underway of their analysis.
The boat set sail an hour later.

"Ye gots to set a course in t'wards the Adriatic, my son," Kelligrew announced.
"How can you tell?"  Xanatos asked, looking at the map.  "I can't really make heads or tails out of this thing."
Kelligrew pointed.   "Look.  Notice how all the marks on this map is all set out in that one cluster?  In the upper left hand corner?  That's northwest Greece, my son, up by the entrance to the Adriatic Sea.  This island we's after lookin' for is probably up around there.  And all them Odyssey scholars ye was after hirin' was tellin me that most of this later stuff was supposedly after happenin' around that part of the country."
"You sound like you know what you're talking about," Xanatos admitted. "Hey, Pop!"
"What is it?"   Petros called back.
"Dr. Kelligrew says that we should lay in a course towards the mouth of the Adriatic Sea."
"All right.  Should I go straight out, or stay close to the coast?"
Xanatos looked questioningly at Kelligrew, who thought for a second. "Hug the coast, byes," he declared.
"Coast, Pop," Xanatos relayed.  "So, Dr. Kelligrew, you've gotten the general location, but have you managed to break the code yet?"
"Well, I'll tell you, Dave," Kelligrew shrugged.  Somewhere along the line, he had picked up the annoying habit of referring to Xanatos as "Dave".  Xanatos had tried to correct him at first, but had given up; it was one more idiosyncrasy, like the professor's Newfoundland accent, that would just have to be worked with.  "This computer ye got is a real sweet piece of equipment.  It's managed to tell us that the code is based on the old Greek know, Alpha, Delta, Omega, like that.  The thing is, we's not sure what the pattern is, and the computer ain't tellin us.  It's cross-referencing with a whole bunch of stuff, so we figure that a day or so of study'll be enough to crack 'er.  That's just a ballpark figure, but she shouldn't be much more'n a day."
"Is there any way you can cut that down?" Xanatos asked, leaning forward.
"My son, does a codfish breathe air?"  Kelligrew replied jovially.  "I can't say.  Probably not, but ye never can tell."
"I see."  Xanatos looked unsatisfied, but nodded.  "Carry on."
He walked out of the cabin were the scientists were working, and crossed across the deck to the helm.  Petros Xanatos had grown used to the controls, it seemed, but half of the sophisticated tracking equipment was offline.
"You really should turn that stuff on, Pop."
"Why?"  Petros asked.  "The compass is working, and I have a map on the table.  Why bother with this Global Positioning System or those coordinate tracing monitors?"
"Soon Dr. Kelligrew will be shouting out coordinates and all that, though, and you'll need some technical help that a map and a compass isn't gonna give."  David flipped on the GPS, and Petros just as quickly shut it off again.
"When I need it, I'll use it," Petros said firmly.  "I don't even need that depth sonar.  I've been fishing for longer than you've been alive, David, and that means I have an insight about these things."
"This isn't Maine, Pop."
"It's universal, David," Petros replied.  "Simple things like that are standard the world over to those of us who know how to use them."  He looked back.  "That's something you lost sight of when you left the sea, and that's something I've always regretted."
David sighed.  "Simple things don't mean that much with the life I lead.  At least they didn't used to."
"What do you mean?"  Petros asked, a wry smile coming to his lips.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Somewhat.  Tell me what you mean."
David thought for a second.  "Things like having a wife and a family. Things like being a father and a husband, things like watching your son take his first steps or giving your wife a hug and a kiss good night. Things like that never meant that much to me until a couple of years ago."
"Simple pleasures are the most fulfilling, David."
"I never had time for that sort of thing before, and I'm finding out that there's a lot I missed out on because of it.  I was so concerned with looking at the big picture that it never occurred to me that some of the smaller pictures could be just as important."
"Is that what all this is about, David?  This trip, this search for a legend?  Trying to find a smaller picture?"
"Kind of.  In a roundabout way.  I told you about that mistake I made, and this is a way of trying to make up for it.  Not only to the people I hurt, but to me."  He paused, with a faintly bitter half-smile.  "You know, all the years we've been father and son, we've never opened up like this before?"
"I didn't really know how."  Petros laughed, a sound with that same faint bitterness to it.  "I always thought you were more concerned with bigger things.  I couldn't deal with the life you lead, David, so I never understood how I could open up to you."
"You never really tried."  David looked away.  "You were always just telling me that my life wasn't fulfilling, that money wouldn't bring me happiness."
"Did it?"
"It's made things easier...."
"But it never made you happy.  Fox and Alexander have done that, and money never won their love.  Don't tell me Fox married you for your money, either, that's just foolish."
David nodded, and chuckled.
"I still think you're not living a necessary lifestyle, David," Petros muttered.   "I always will.  Maybe it's because I'm just a simple Maine fisherman who's happy with what he has.  But I'll never understand why it is you feel you need all those things for happiness."
"It's the life I lead, Pop.  You can't judge me for living that way, because I am happy the way I live.  Maybe the money is just secondary, but the lifestyle is the sort I like.  But I think I'm starting to get in touch with the simpler things again."
"You still have a long way to go, David," Petros chided, and then smiled.  "But you know..."
"I don't think I was ever as disappointed in you as I let on," Petros admitted guiltily.
David laughed.  "I knew that, Pop."
And there they stood, not speaking, not touching, but together.  For the first time in years, just together.

And then Petros cleared his throat, and David smiled, and clapped his father on the back.  "Now go ask Dr. Kelligrew what course I should maintain."


The day went uneventfully for a while, up until three in the afternoon. The computer suddenly set off an alarm, and then Kelligrew let out a whoop.  The code had been partially cracked, and the computer had semi-calculated Aeaea's position to a circle with fifty miles radius around the island of Paxoi.  The boat was promptly steered towards that heading.
The sun set three hours later.  Hudson and Bronx awoke with twin roars, and walked up on deck.
"Anything gone on, lads?" he asked.
"We had to fight off a few pirates," Xanatos grinned.
"Ye's some funny, Dave," Kelligrew called over.  "Evening, Hudson."
"Seriously, what's gone on?"  Hudson asked.
"A couple of hours ago, we narrowed our search down around the island of Paxoi.  We've just been sailing around it for now, waiting for the computer to finish.  Other than that...." he shrugged.
Bronx let out a sullen little woof, and padded over to investigate a net.
"I could have picked a more excitin' adventure to come along on," Hudson half-grumbled.
"You mean you haven't been worn out from all the fun yet?"  Xanatos laughed.
"I might as well just walk around for a bit, then," Hudson said. Xanatos nodded, and headed back into the cabin.  Bronx suddenly let out a despairing howl, and Hudson looked over to see the dog hopelessly entangled in the net.
"Och, ye great dumb beast," Hudson laughed, and he walked over to the net.  "Here, I'll cut you loose."
He pulled out his sword, and began carefully slicing the ropes loose. Bronx wriggled free as soon as he could, barked scornfully at the net, and padded over to sit in Hudson's lap.
"What did I tell ye about losin' some weight, ye big lump?"  Hudson laughed, scratching the dog behind the ears.  Bronx barked happily, and settled down on the fiberglass deck next to Hudson.
"So what d'ye think, boy?"  Hudson asked.  "Having fun half a world away?"
Bronx remained silent.  From the cabin, there was suddenly a burst of laughter.
"I doesn't care if ye calls it 'the heads' on a ship, I'se got to go to the bathroom," Kelligrew stated, and he walked out of the cabin towards the decks below.  "Evening," he said to Hudson as he walked by.

Hudson chuckled, and stood up.  He began walking from the bow of the ship to the stern and back again just to pass the time.
Some time later, Xanatos came out.  He looked almost jovial.
"Those computers were the best investment I ever made," he gloated. "Kelligrew told me that cracking the code would take a day or so, and I just found out it'll only be another hour."
"That's good news, then," Hudson agreed.
Xanatos smiled and leaned on the rail, staring at the water and the island of Paxoi not far off the starboard.
"May I ask you a question, Xanatos?"
"Of course."
"Why what?"
Hudson waved a hand.  "Why all this?  I thought getting magical artifacts such as Circe's cup weren't what you were interested in any more."
"Part of it's the challenge of it all, Hudson."
"Aye.  And what d'ye intend to do with it once ye have it, now?"
Xanatos didn't answer right away.  "I just went through this a little while ago with my father," he said finally.
"Call it curiosity, lad."
Xanatos quirked one eyebrow upwards.  "I think that's the first time you've ever called me that."
Hudson waited.
David Xanatos let out a breath, and hesitated before he spoke.  "In a way, you brought it all on, Hudson.  When you compared me to Circe."
"Changin' men into beasts," Hudson recalled.  "That's what this is about, then?  Yuir tryin' to turn them back?"
"That's part of it," Xanatos said.  "But even if it turns out that I can't do it this way...that the cup is just a daydream...then this voyage is partly to prove to myself that I care enough."
"That ye care enough?"  Hudson blinked.
"You probably don't believe it, not after all I've done to you, but you especially ought to know what I'm talking about.  Remember the Cauldron of Life?  You asked me what my legacy would be when I was gone.  After that, and after my son was born, I took a long hard look at my life and I realized that maybe the things I had done weren't really what I wanted my legacy to be.  Maybe I didn't want to be remembered by the people who knew me best as a man who didn't care who he had to step on to get what he wanted."
"That's admirable, Xanatos," Hudson said gruffly.  "But ye do realize that it'll take a lot more'n this to change what we think of ye.  Ye have a lot to make up for."
"I know.  But I have to start somewhere, right?"  Xanatos smiled.  "And even if I don't prove it to you and the clan and the Mazas right away, I have to prove it to myself, first.  This just assures me that I've changed, even if no one else accepts that at first."
Hudson looked at him a few minutes more, but never said a word. Xanatos did the same, and then walked back towards the cabin.
A few minutes after that, Bronx whined.

"He sounds sincere enough," Hudson said, more to himself than to Bronx. "O'course, the man always did sound sincere, even when he was lyin' through his teeth.  But...somethin's different this time, an' that's a fact."  He gave a short laugh.  "By the Dragon, boy, I think I do believe him."


Midnight brought a huge cheer from the cabin.  Kelligrew let out a whoop of elation.
"She's cracked, byes!  We's figured out the map!"
Hudson, Xanatos and Petros all rushed into the cabin.  The computer had spotlighted a tiny point, roughly ten miles to the south of Paxoi.
"That's it, byes.  That's Aeaea."  Kelligrew crossed his arms.  "Man! That thing was a shagger to crack, but we got 'er!"
"That's Aeaea three thousand years ago," Petros corrected.
"Nope."  Kelligrew smiled.  "We figured that out roughly ten minutes ago.  All this is the updated version of that map.  What the Odyssey would have been after lookin' like in 1997.  The computer's just calculating the exact co-ordinates now.  Byes, we's gonna be at Aeaea before the hour's out!"
The computer suddenly spat out several numbers on its screen.
"What's that mean?"  Hudson asked blankly.
"It's the latitude and longitude of Aeaea," Xanatos explained.  "If you think of the world as one big grid, that's the exact point where you'll find Aeaea.  This model of scanners accurate within five one-hundredths of a millimeter, too, so that's pretty much it."
"Thirty-nine degrees, ten minutes, twenty seconds north, twenty degrees, eight minutes and fourteen seconds west," one of the computer technicians read.
"Go set in a course, Pop.  You'd better turn on the GPS, too," Xanatos suggested.  Petros nodded, and went to the helm.  The ship, which had been anchored, suddenly gave a roar as the motor started.  The anchor was hauled up, and the ship set sail again.
Hudson and Xanatos went to the helm.  The island of Paxoi passed by, and the water began to lap faster against the side of the boat.
"How long, Pop?"  Xanatos asked.
"Probably half an hour or so, maybe less," Petros answered.  "There's lots of sandbars around her, so we have to watch out and go a little slower."
Xanatos nodded, and went silent...a silence that lasted for the next twenty-five minutes.
And then the small shape became visible in the ship's forward lights, sitting low in the water, a shape that solidified into the unmistakeable form of an island.  Kelligrew let out a cry of glee, and Xanatos grinned that same wolfish grin.  "Got it," he said in a fierce, exultant whisper.
Abruptly, he tensed.  "Wait a second," he said sharply, and grabbed for a pair of binoculars.
"What is it?"  Hudson asked.
"There's lights on that island," Xanatos snapped.  He peered closer, and his frown deepened.   "And there's a boat there too.  The lights look like floodlights...excavational floodlights."
Kelligrew paled.  "Ye means -- "
Xanatos nodded.  "We're too late.  Maddox beat us to the punch."
Xanatos, Petros and Kelligrew sailed into Aeaea on the small outboard dinghy that was attached to the boat.  They arrived on the shore, beached the boat, and stepped into what looked like a base camp.
A stout, balding man in khakis and hiking boots stepped out of the tent.  "Can I help you?" he asked.
"Yes...I suppose you're with the Maddox Technologies digging crew." Xanatos kept his voice calm and uninflected.
"Uh huh.  Dr. Andreas Schroeder, research head.  Who might you be?"
"The other team," Xanatos said with a rueful smile.
"Ah," Schroeder exclaimed.  "The Xanatos Enterprises group.  Well, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it looks like you're the runner-up."
"We c'n see that," Kelligrew spat.
Up on one of the hills visible from the camp, illuminated by spotlights, was what looked like the ruins of a building.  No, not just a building....  Xanatos gave no outward reaction other than a barely visible tightening of his jaw.  Circe's palace.  They had found Aeaea after all.
"Congratulations."  David Xanatos shook Schroeder's hand.  "I guess the better man won."
"I wouldn't say that," Schroeder demurred politely.  "You had some good leads yourself.  It took us forever to find Aeaea, but you only got to Greece today.  How did you do it so fast?  If you had started a couple of days earlier, you would have been greeting us instead of the other way around."
"Playing 'what if' isn't one of my specialties, Dr. Schroeder." Xanatos shrugged.  "We'll leave you alone.  After all, you found the ruin, you should be the one to dig it up."
"It's nice to see a few people with professional courtesy," Schroeder smiled, and he shook hands all around again.  "It was a good race, eh? Maybe next time you'll get there first."

"Count on it," David Xanatos smiled.  He turned, and walked towards the dinghy.  Petros and Kelligrew followed.


The team had been disappointed, particularly Kelligrew, whose disappointment was not allayed in the slightest by the handsome bonuses Xanatos was giving out to all hands.  All the work had amounted to nothing after all.
Xanatos didn't seem upset, though.  Just before sunrise, he, Petros and Hudson sat in the now abandoned cabin, mulling over their loss.
"It's a shame," Xanatos said lightly.  "I mean, we came pretty close."
"Aye," Hudson agreed.  "So does this mean you've proven yourself?"
David shot him a mildly hurt look.  "We'll have to see when another opportunity arises."
Hudson nodded.  "Thought so," he muttered, and he left the cabin. Rubbing his arms, he walked to the side of the boat, staring at the eastern sky.
"Just because nothing came out of it doesn't mean you haven't learned from it, old man," he mumbled to himself.  "After all, even if Xanatos might not have proven himself with this, you've proven something to yourself.  You aren't too old for this sort of thing after all."
He smiled just as the sun rose, and the smile remained on his face as the light caught it and solidified it into stone.

Xanatos and Petros watched, and looked at each other.
"So much for the father/son adventure," Petros said dryly.
"Maybe.  Or maybe another one will come up.  You never know with this sort of thing.  But we might try sticking to simpler things for a while, Pop."  He paused, and frowned.  "One thing that does have me curious is why Maddox has such an interest in Greek antiquities.  I'll have to look into that."
Petros nodded, and sat down again.  "So what next?"
"We go home."  Xanatos was silent for a moment.  "If you want, you can come back to New York for a couple of days and visit Fox and Alex, and then I'll take you back to Bar Harbor."
"I meant for you, David.  What's next for you?"
Xanatos shrugged, and looked out at the eastern horizon, where the sun was rapidly brightening the sky.   "I don't know, Pop.  I really don't know."  He smiled, and raised one hand in an imaginary toast to the sunrise.  "But tomorrow's another day."