The Gargoyles Saga

Story Concept by Jen Bailey

Written by Christi Smith Hayden


All characters property of Disney and Buena Vista Television.

Director's Cut Version


Previously on Gargoyles...


Richard Harrison: "Yeah, George and I were that way once. He joined the Air Force and when he got out, it was like he was a whole different person. Now we go to meetings together and it's just like old times. It's really helped having something in common again."


Brooklyn: "You Quarrymen are just a bunch of urban terrorists and nothing more! If anyone's breaking the law, it's you!"


Angela: "That's quite all right, Richard. The Quarrymen are just a bunch of racist bigots and it makes me angry thinking anyone would want to follow that madman. You seem much too sensible for that."

Richard: "Look," (looks sheepish), "I've never been very good at this but this is my phone number. You can keep it or you can throw it away but you're easy to talk to, Angela, and I really would like to get to know you better."


George Harrison: "There's plenty of room on our black list for more than just gargoyles."

-- "Equality"


* * * * *







"Something's wrong. I keep smelling something."

He rolled over and rubbed his eyes, mumbling irritably to himself. Stumbling over the kids' discarded shoes on the unfamiliar hotel room floor, he mumbled to himself as he made his way to the door. An acrid odor seared his nasal cavities and the man went to from half-awake fuzziness to wide-awake panic as he recognized the sights and sounds in hallway.

Smoke was pouring along the ceiling in a flat, undulating layer. Frantically, he looked for the fire escape signs and his heart froze in sickening realization when he saw the exit on the other side of the hungry orange flames eating up the carpet.

He slammed the door and rushed into the bathroom, gathering up the damp towels leftover from hours before and began shoving them along the bottom of the door. He shot a look at his wife, now sitting straight up in bed. "Get the kids dressed, Sue. Hurry!"

Sue stared at the smoke beginning to leak around the door frame. "Oh, no," she moaned under her breath as she struggled out of the bed. She snatched up a pair of grubby sneakers and threw back the covers on the adjoining bed. "Todd! Honey, wake up!" she said anxiously as she grabbed her sleeping son by the ankle and began to cram on his shoe. "We've got to go places. C'mon now!"

Her voice woke up her daughter. The little girl coughed. "Momma, what's that smell?"

"It's going to be all right, Kelsey. Momma and Daddy aren't going to let anything happen to you." She pulled back the Velcro tabs on the tiny pink sneakers. She looked at her husband pulling back the drapes. "Bill? What are you doing?"

"It's between us and the fire escape," Bill said tersely. "There's got to be some way other we can get out." He unlatched the window and dug his fingertips into the frame, trying to open it. It refused to budge. "Dagnabit! It's been painted shut!" He looked around the room and grabbed the chair from the desk.

Flying glass fell out of the night sky into the street below.


* * * * *


Hunched over the keyboard of the IBM clone, typing carefully on clawtips, Talon inputted the names of the latest residents of the Labyrinth in his computer records. When he could, the mutate formerly known as Derek Maza liked to utilize his police skills to help the people in his underground protectorate. In the small cramped room he'd claimed as his office, Talon could access local and state police records. So far, working with his sister and other members of his family, he had returned runaway children to their families, found battered women places in shelters where they could get legal and psychological counseling, and occasionally flushed out the odd criminal.

The police band radio crackled to life on top of the dented file cabinet. "Attention all units in the vicinity of the New Amsterdam Hotel. We have a four-alarm fire in progress. All floors above the seventh have been cut off. Firefighters are requesting assistance with rescue operations and crowd control. Police helicopters have been dispatched to assist in possible rooftop evacuations once a landing spot has been cleared."

"It'll take forever to get everybody out," Talon muttered to himself. "That's a twelve-story hotel." The rickety stool he used as an office chair hit the floor as he tore out of the room.

He found Maggie helping an older woman with a group of children in one of the minor rooms that they had dubbed 'The Classroom.' Diane Maza had gotten her hands on several cartons of schoolbooks, discontinued for one reason or another, but the Labyrinth kids weren't that choosy. The makeshift school gave them an anchor of normalcy in an otherwise unsettled life.

Maggie looked up at him with curious, cat-like eyes. "Derek? What is it?"

"Emergency." He nodded at the older woman. "Mrs. Watkins, you have the class."

The female mutate followed him down the corridor. "If you need Claw, he was doing inventory in the storeroom," Maggie said, anticipating his next question. "And Sharon is helping Dr. Goldblum. Shall I fetch them?"

The black panther gave her a quick kiss as he considered it. "I don't know, sweetheart. Claw's wing really isn't strong enough to carry passengers and Dr. Goldblum's test results are too important." He frowned. "Why don't you tell Claw that he's in charge while we're gone?" He watched Maggie trot away.

The phone clipped to his belt buzzed. He answered it. "Maza here."

"Derek!" Elisa's voice said. "We've got a big problem here."

"The fire at the New Amsterdam. Just heard about it over the police band. How bad is it?"

"Pretty bad. They moved it up to a four-alarmer. They've contained the fire from five down but it's burning out of control from there up through seven and it's spreading. Hotel management can only confirm about half of the guests rescued but they estimate that there's fifty to a hundred unaccounted for."

"Not good," Talon commented. "Gargoyles on their way?"

"Yeah, just left."

"Then we'll be there as soon as we can, sis. I'll see you there." He clipped the phone back on his belt.

Talon raced through the labyrinth. "Maggie!" he called out. "Hurry up!"

"Hey, what's the big rush?" a sarcastic voice asked mockingly. "Where's the fire?"

"The New Amsterdam Hotel," Talon shot back. The panther-like leader of the Mutates wrestled with his police-trained instincts and his responsibilities to the Labyrinth. He glared at Fang. "Look, there's a four-alarm fire there. The fire department is trying to rescue as many as they can, but there's still people trapped on the upper floors. The gargoyles are going to help, and Maggie and I are too, but we'll need all the help we can get."

Fang's eyes widened. "Well, bite me! You aren't seriously thinking about lettin' me out on early parole, are you, warden?"

The leader of the Mutates ignored the sarcasm and began rifling through the cabinets. "Yeah," Talon growled. "There's a lot of lives at stake here." He came up with a ring-like device and a controller. "This is a security cuff. You'll wear this if I let you out and I'll have the controller. No matter where you are, even if we're separated, you'll have to stay within five hundred yards of me."

"Or what?" Fang asked suspiciously.

"Or you'll be unconscious." He pointed at the inside of the cuff at the metal studs. "There's enough charge in this thing to stun an elephant."

"The New Amsterdam, you said?" The imprisoned mutate paced, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "I applied for a job there once. A lot of families with kids stay there."

"That's why we're in a hurry." Talon took a quick glance down the hall. He could see Maggie and Claw approaching. "Stay or go, Fang."

"I'll wear the thing," he said reluctantly. "But I ain't wearin' the matching earrings."


* * * * *


Firefighter Cameron Smith concentrated on following the back of the man in front of him. The soft hiss of the oxygen flowing into his face mask underscored the chaos around him. As paramedic, it was his job to tend to the survivors as they found them. So far, they'd found a dozen or so, relaying them down the stairwell to the ambulances below. Now they were entering the heart of the inferno and things would be getting ugly. The floor could give way, a flare-up could trap them, anything could happen. Cameron pushed his anxieties away and let the adrenaline rush do its job, preparing him to react at a second's notice.

The radio crackled in his ears. "We've reached the end of the hallway," Jenning's voice said. "We've swept the rooms. All clear."

The team leader, Adams, came on. "Okay, fall back to the stairs and we'll move up to the next floor."

A sudden flash of light and a concussive blast of hot air and flames threw Cameron and his partner to the floor. The paramedic looked back and yelled into his mike. "We got a bad flare-up back here! Janitor's closet just exploded!"

His partner eyed the brilliant colors coming from the small storage room. "It's chemical, all right. Whatever it is that's fueling it, it's bound to be toxic."

"Smith, Reilly, get out of there!" Adams called.

Flames and smoke billowed along the ceiling and walls in a nightmare Dante would have never imagined. Cameron and Reilly ran up the hallway awkwardly in their bulky suits, crouched down under the thermal layer. Peering ahead, Cameron could barely see the picture window overlooking the city. He blinked. For second there he could have swore he saw a face.

The glass shattered, not outwards from the heat of the fire, but inwards. Reilly skidded to a stop and Cameron bumped into him. A large lavender gargoyle with dark brown hair and a reddish-brown beaked one with white hair were hovering outside the window.

"What the..." Reilly muttered.

"We are here to help," the larger gargoyle rumbled in a deep voice. "Come, we'll take you to safety."

Cameron came forward, brandishing his bright orange first aid kit. "Can you take us up to the next floor? We're searching for survivors."

"Yeah," Reilly agreed. "You guys aren't equipped to search in the fire zones but we are. Wanna work a deal?"

The red gargoyle nodded and looked at the other. "Sounds like a plan, Goliath. They'll cover the inside and we'll transport any survivors below to Elisa at the ambulances."

"Agreed," the one called Goliath said. He held out a pair of massive arms. "Come, there's no time to waste."

"Smith, Reilly!" Adams demanded. "Who are you talking to?"

"Everybody, re-group at the southwest corner!" Cameron called as he watched his partner jump out the window to be caught in the gargoyle's -- Goliath's arms. His eyes followed them up. "We got us a ride!"


* * * * *


Sue looked over the top of Kelsey's head at her husband. The stricken look in his eyes was all the answer she needed. There was barely a ledge outside the broken window, much less a fire escape. It had been easier to breath for a while but now smoke from the lower floors was filtering into the room. Their eyes and throats had begun to burn. The kids had been so brave but the reality had sunk in and they were crying, even Todd who had long since given up crying as sissy stuff.

The crackling hiss suddenly became much louder. They all turned to look. Flames were licking around the edges of the door frame.

"Mommeeee!" Kelsey wailed. "I wanna go home!"

Numbly, she held her daughter close, stroking her fine silky hair. "Me too, baby," she mumbled, "Me too." She started to trade a horrified look with her husband when he frowned and leaned out the window. "Bill?"

"It's crazy," Bill replied, "But I keep hearing voices." He cupped his hands around his mouth. "Here! We're up here! Please, somebody help us! We have kids up here!"

Todd's eyes widened and he pointed. "Dad....?"

Out of the billowing smoke, two ... things emerged, gargoyles, Sue remembered from the joke their bellboy had made upon their arrival to the hotel. One was enormous, light blue with a rather ape-like face. The other was a lavender female who hovered closer to the window and smiled gently at them.

"Hello there!" the female gargoyle greeted them. "You look like you all need a change of scenery. Will you let us take you down to the street?" She smiled and gestured at her companion. "If you will hold the children, Broadway and I are more than strong enough to take all of you in one trip."

Bill pushed the chair up to the window and Sue needed no other encouragement. She kept her eyes on the face of the lavender gargoyle as she swung in towards the building. Sue closed her eyes and stepped off the ledge, feeling the reassuring pressure of the gargoyle's arms around her. Blessedly fresh air flowed around them and she began to breathe easier.


Sue opened her eyes to look at her daughter. Kelsey was examining their rescuer in childish curiosity. She reached up and patted the gargoyle on the cheek, who merely smiled back at the child. "Mommy, are they angels?"

Unbidden, tears sprang to her eyes. "Yes, darling," Sue answered, "Tonight, they are our angels."


* * * * *


"Adams, say again?" Fire Captain Webb asked in astonishment.

The radio crackled. "We have gargoyles taking us up to the eighth and ninth floor. They're already evacuating guests. Clear them a landing area down there, okay?"

"Gargoyles?" the older man repeated. "Working with us?"

"Believe it, Captain." A dark-haired young woman walked up to him and flashed a badge. "Detective Elisa Maza, 23rd Precinct. The gargoyles have volunteered to help with our rescue operations."

Captain Webb stared at her. "But they're..."

"They can go places a helicopter can't and they're willing to risk their lives to protect those people trapped up there," Elisa said firmly. "Just like you and I do every time we put on our badges."

He glanced up at the building, fire and smoke pouring from the upper stories. "Can I trust them with the lives of my men?"

"Captain, I've trusted them with my life more times than I can remember." Elisa put her hand on his shoulder. "Despite what some people might think, gargoyles live to protect. They won't let you down."

The veteran firefighter frowned as he considered the idea. He looked down the block at the flashing lights of the ambulances and the scurrying silhouettes of the emergency workers. He pointed towards them. "The EMTs have set up a triage area over there. I think you should take some officers and establish a landing zone close by." He spotted a familiar face and bellowed, "Clancy! Take a box of roadside flares and go with Detective Maza here!"

"You won't be sorry, Captain," Elisa said.

He eyed her warily. "I'd better not be."

* * * * *


Fang heard coughing behind the closed door. He tried to open it and found it was locked. Concentrating, he surged an electrical pulse down his arm. "Open, sez me," he muttered as the door's locking mechanism melted. He kicked it open. "Hey, anybody in here? Time to blow this pop stand!"

A whimper answered him in the corner. Fang peered through the smoky haze. Peering at him from behind the bed, was a young boy with coke-bottle glasses. He had a backpack hooked over one shoulder, partially unzipped with magazines and action figures crammed in it.

"There you are! Anybody else in here, kid?"

The boy shook his head numbly, his eyes huge behind his glasses.

"Well, then, come on! I haven't got all night!" Fang took a few steps towards him.

"No!" the boy yelped. "Y-you're a gargoyle!"

Fang held back the string of swear words that came to mind and thought very quickly. "Chill out, kid, I'm not a gargoyle. I'm a mutant," he said reasonably. "A good guy mutant." He looked the child over. "Geez, kid, don't you read comic books?"

"A mutant?" The boy blinked a few times and then broke out into a huge grin. "Cool!" He walked up to Fang and took his hand.

The brown-furred mutate scooped the boy up in one arm and blew out the window in a showy display of electrical pyrotechnics. "Hang on, kid," Fang said grandly. "We're outta here!" As they soared from the smoke-fill hotel to the fresher air outside, he felt the child wrap his arms around his neck, not as much as in fear but in gratitude. As they spiraled in for a landing near the ambulances, the area lit by sizzling road flares, a woman broke from the crowd.

"Michael!" the middle-aged woman crowed, snatching the boy from Fang's arms. She examined him closely. "You're all right? Anything hurt?"

"Naw, Mom, I'm okay." Michael grinned back at Fang. "He rescued me, just like in the comic books."

Michael's mother had a mixed reaction to her son's rescuer. Her emotions ranged from relief to shock but gratitude finally won out. She smiled nervously. "Well, whoever or whatever you are, thank you."

"No prob," Fang said with a shrug. He trotted over to a convenient fire escape and climbed up to get some height for take-off. "Y'know," he muttered to himself, "I could really get into this superhero gig."


* * * * *


"This is Nicole St. John, WVRN News, live on location here at the site of the New Amsterdam Hotel where experts are calling this the worst high rise fire of the year." The blonde television reporter paused, posing dramatically against the flashing emergency vehicles and rescue workers rushing behind her. "Hotel officials report that there are still over seventy-five guests missing, many of them families with children. Rescues are being made at an astonishing rate, however, due to an unusual alliance. Gargoyles appeared on the scene minutes after fire fighters were trapped on the seventh floor and offered their assistance. We have been watching these creatures shuttling victims to a landing site near the triage area set up by emergency medical technicians and volunteer doctors and nurses from nearby hospitals."

An older firefighter with graying hair passed by, ignoring the camera crew. The assistant producer standing at the cameraman's side scribbled on her clipboard and pointed at him. Nicole took her cue and went after the fire official, flipping her coat open to give the viewing audience a good look at her long legs.

"Captain Webb! Sir, a moment of your time, please. Sir, how did the fire department and the gargoyles come to this arrangement?"

The fire captain turned and gave the young woman a blistering look. "Some of the rescue team up in the fire zone were cut off and the gargoyles wanted to bring them down. My men countered with a proposal for the gargoyles to take them to the upper floors and to shuttle any survivors found to the EMTs down here. It was just common sense and cooperation, really."

"So the firefighters have no problems working with these creatures?"

"If they do, they'll have to deal with it on their own time. For right now, all that matters is getting this fire under control and rescuing those people still trapped up there. Now if you don't mind," Captain Webb said gruffly, preparing to walk away.

"I cannot believe this!" an aristocratic, haughty voice rang out. "Those ...THINGS no doubt set the fire in the first place in order to change the public opinion of them."

Everyone in the area, news crew, fire fighters, police officers and others turned to look at the speaker. Clad in midnight blue, three red slashes behind his Quarryman insignia, the hooded man stood in front of his squad of similarly clad followers and pointed at the sky. "They are manipulative deceivers, using this crisis for their own purposes!"

Nicole knew an opening when she heard one. "WVRN News here, do you know something about this fire, sir? Do you have proof that the gargoyles were involved?"

Another Quarryman stepped up to the leader and spoke to him in a quiet voice. "Ms. St. John, after years of field study on these animals, I have learned there is nothing that they are not capable of. My Quarrymen and I will take charge of these beasts and force a confession from them!" The group of blue-clad vigilantes pushed their way past the barricades towards the flare-lit landing zone.

Captain Webb stepped in their way. "I don't care who you people are but you are not interfering with a rescue operation."

The head Quarryman only had eyes for the large lavender gargoyle touching down with a survivor. "Stay out of my way, old man," he said harshly. "If you're willing to stoop low enough to work with them, then you're no better than they are!" He pumped up his hammer.

"Drop it, Quarryman!" Detective Elisa Maza said firmly, her gun out and aimed directly at the Quarryman leader. Behind her were three uniformed police officers and a firefighter grimly hefting an ax. "Back behind the police line, right now, or I'm running you in for trespassing and obstruction of justice."

"Justice?" the leader sneered. "I've seen how you view justice, Detective. Standing by those animals while you let innocent humans suffer. Sympathizer!"

"Are you getting all this?" Nicole hissed to her cameraman.

"Live and in color," the bearded man replied. "Direct feed back to the studio."

The blonde smiled viciously. "Good. They'll be replaying this on stations across the globe."

"CNN, here we come!" The cameraman zoomed in.

"Back off, Quarryman!" Elisa repeated, continuing to step forward.

One of the uniformed officers unclipped his radio from his belt. "Dispatch, I need backup with a van to the New Amsterdam Hotel to pick up some public nuisances."

The leader started to swing his hammer but his assistant held back his arm. His voice was quiet but audible. "Not here, not now. They're filming everything!" He looked back at the rest of the Quarrymen. "Pull back!" he barked. "We'll get another chance at them!"

"No, we must strike now," the head Quarryman insisted, "while they are on the ground and vulnerable."

Their argument was attracting more attention. Two more news crews and several reporters began to gather around. By the ambulances, a few gargoyles and mutates were watching cautiously. A dark car with tinted windows screeched to a stop and the Quarryman leader was hustled inside by his followers.

Elisa made a face as she re-holstered her gun. Nicole neatly intercepted her. "Detective, what was that all about? Any idea why the Quarrymen were here?"

The dark-haired police officer glanced at the mike under her nose and back at the reporter who held it there with a withering look. "No comment."


* * * * *


Talon watched the fracas between his sister and the Quarrymen breaking up. Goliath was standing beside him, growling softly under his breath.

"What a sleazoid," Fang commented. "He makes me look like a prince."

Brooklyn smirked. "Yeah, well, YOU we can live with." He looked up at his mate, Sata, and Maggie spiraling in for a landing with two more survivors. "Incoming. Break's over, guys."

"Agreed," Goliath rumbled, not taking his eyes from Elisa. "How are the helicopter evacuations coming?"

Talon tapped the headset he'd appropriated from one of the police equipment vans and listened attentively. "Things are moving along smooth as silk. They've transferred twenty people to Manhattan Medical."

"Good." The lavender gargoyle looked back at the building. "Fang has gone up with Brooklyn. Does that concern you?"

"No, he seems to be behaving himself for once," Talon replied. He took the controller from his belt. "I'm picking him up loud and clear on this thing and with Lex and the twins acting as spotters, I doubt he'll try anything."


* * * * *


Sata veered towards Brooklyn and Fang as they climbed up to launch. "Brooklyn!" she called out. "There is an elderly couple up on ten that need assistance. He won't leave without his chair."

"We're on our way, beloved." The red gargoyle exchanged a smile with his mate in passing.

"Geez, but you're henpecked," Fang said disgustedly. "When did that happen?"

"A long, long time ago."

"Huh?" The brown-furred mutate made a puzzled face.

Brooklyn laughed. "I'll tell you later, Fang." They caught the warm updraft and sailed skywards, circling the building. Hudson and Broadway were coming down, the gargoyle elder cradling an older woman clutching a bag and the big blue warrior carrying an elderly man strapped securely into his wheelchair.

"Hello!" Brooklyn called. "Sata just sent us up after them."

"Ye kin go help the firemen then, lads," Hudson answered. "They're making a final sweep for survivors. The helicopters just left with the last of the people from the top floors."

"We're on it." Brooklyn changed course, Fang following. "Pass the word on to Goliath and Talon."

"Aye, lad, we will."

Two firefighters waved at them as they swung around the east side of the building. The one carrying the fluorescent orange med kit took off his air mask to talk to them, leaning out the window while his partner anchored him. "Hey, guys! Can you give us a hand in here?"

"Sure, what do you need?" Brooklyn asked as he came in for a landing, digging his talons into the brickwork.

"We found someone trapped in one of the interior rooms but the wall's collapsed." The paramedic grinned, his teeth shining in grimy face. "We could really use some muscle."

"Muscle for hire, that's us," Fang said as he swung into the window. "Okay, hotshots, lead the way."

"You're in an awfully good mood," Brooklyn commented as they followed the firemen down the darkened hallway.

Fang shrugged. "It feels good to be out and about again. It's kind of boring sitting around in my cell."

"Maybe Talon will give you time off for good behavior." The red gargoyle gave the mutate a small inscrutable smile. "It's about time for it."

"Right," Fang snorted, "and pigs will fly."

They turned the corner and came up to a cluster of firefighters moving debris. It was clear that the top of the wall and part of the ceiling had collapsed. The top of a doorway was clearly visible. One of the men looked up.

"Smith, Reilly, did you bring the equipment?" he asked, his voice distorted by the airmask they were all wearing against the smoky fumes in the hallway.

"Yup," the fireman with 'Reilly' stenciled on his heavy coat said, thrusting his thumb over his shoulder. "Two heavy-load movers complete with wings."

A female firefighter, crouched low against the debris, spoke up. "Guys, I can't hear 'em anymore, just a little coughing now. We've got to get in there."

"Anybody know if there's any gas or power lines running through this wall?" Fang asked.

The paramedic, Smith, checked a meter on his belt. "Nope, we're clear. Hotel blueprints have them running through the floor on the other side."

Brooklyn yelled across the pile of debris towards the doorway. "Hey, in there! Get away from the wall! We're coming in!" He looked at Fang. "You got enough charge for this?"

The brown fur on the mutate's arms began to stand on end. "You're kidding, right? I've been doing nothing but store energy for months." Electricity began to crackle as Fang lifted his hands to fire. "Everybody, get back. I'm gonna aim high."

"What's he going to do?" Reilly asked.

Everyone ducked as the bio-electric surge blasted a good-sized hole in the wall, pieces of sheetrock and paneling flying in all directions to join the debris on the floor. Fang coughed as he waded into the resulting cloud of dust and smoke.

"Hey, anybody in here?" he called as he peered into the room.

Brooklyn thrust his head into the hole next to the mutate's, his eyes glowing white-hot. "See anything?"

"Give me a minute." Fang climbed through the hole and generated a small globe of energy. A fainting coughing attracted his attention. "Yeah, there they are." He pushed the bed aside and found a young couple collapsed on the floor.

The paramedic thumped the mutate on the shoulder in passing. "Hey, way to go, dude."

"Yeah, Fang." Brooklyn passed a stretcher through to Reilly. "I'm definitely giving Talon a good report about this. It should ease things up for you."

Fang looked down at the dull metal band around his ankle. Several times during the past hour, it had given him sharp, painful jolts whenever he and Talon strayed too far apart. Tonight's rescue mission might buy him a little time off but there was no way he was going back to those four walls again. He considered his options as he helped pass the fire victims back through the hole in the wall.

Paramedic Smith looked back at him curiously as the fireman prepared to climb out of the room. "Hey, Fang. You comin'?"

"Yeah, I'll be right after you, pal," the mutate said absently. Tiny cracks had been forming unnoticed around the top edge of the hole, increasing with the passage of each person. Fang was half way through when the rest of the ceiling fell in.

His first impulse was to blast free and Fang did so, in an unfocused burst of energy in all directions, the power surging through his exposed skin, from his very pores. It formed a diffused energy bubble, buying him just enough time to scramble free of the worse of the debris before he ran out of juice.

Fang lay in the dusty ash on the floor, panting. Footsteps thundered towards him and he looked up into the concerned faces of Brooklyn and Reilly. "Wipeout," Fang joked weakly.

"Man, I've never seen anything like that!" Reilly exclaimed. "What was that, some kind of force field?"

"Beats me," Fang said. He met Brooklyn's eyes. "I don't think I'm gonna fly outta here. Maybe you should go get Talon."

The red gargoyle smiled and patted his shoulder. "You rest. I'll be right back."

Reilly, meanwhile, had been tossing aside some of the sheetrock and paneling that fallen on Fang. He tapped the security cuff. "Hey, what's this thing?

"Just some stupid thing I got stuck wearing," Fang answered.

"Well, you got a real impressive bruise going under all this fur. It's already beginning to swell." The fireman lifted the mutate's leg and squinted at the restraint. "How do you get it off?"

"I can't," Fang said sourly. "It's locked on."

Reilly looked around carefully before removing his helmet and taking out two slender metal tools. "Fang, m'man, you are in luck today. You're in the hands of a fourth-generation locksmith. I never go anywhere without my lucky picks." He bent to his work on the tiny inset lock. "Keep a eye out, will ya?

"Why?" Fang asked, the beginning of a plan bubbling in the back of his mind. "Don't want the other guys to know?"

"Bingo. Whenever there's a rash of thefts, the lockpick always gets blamed first. I haven't broken into anything since high school." Reilly stuck his tongue into the corner of his mouth and carefully rotated the picks. There was a loud click, a hiss and the ankle cuff popped open. The fireman smiled and replaced his picks in the webbing inside his helmet. "There you go, one lock opened free of charge."

Fang sat up and rubbed his ankle. "Reilly, you're all right." He pulled himself up, leaning heavily on the wall.

"Hey, you gonna be okay?" Reilly asked. "I though you were going to wait for your buddies to come back."

"We heal really quick," Fang lied. "All I need is a little fresh air."

"Well, here," Reilly took his arm and draped it over his shoulders. "Lean on me. It's the least I can do."

With the fireman's help, Fang managed to get to the open window. Below them he could see Brooklyn's white hair through the streamers of smoke. The red gargoyle was hovering and apparently talking to someone, given his many hand gestures. Whoever it was, they were too dark to be seen clearly and that meant Talon. Fang growled under his breath softly. There was no way he could out fly the mutate leader. Fang's last energy burst had left him as weak as a kitten.

Bright, blinding lights descended towards the building, turning the area into stark black and white. Reilly threw up his arms to protect his eyes. "Darn those news 'copters!" he shouted as he fumbled for his radio. "Cap'n! I got a loose bird up here. Somebody get his numbers for the FAA. He's violating air space!"

A few minutes later, the helicopter rose up past the rooftops, a police helicopter in an intercept course. Reilly grumbled to himself as he put away the radio. "Stupid reporters! Probably that skank from WVRN again. Thinks the world revolves around her--" The fire fighter blinked and looked around. "Fang?" The brown-furred mutate was nowhere to be found. Reilly was still looking around when Brooklyn returned with Talon.

"Hey, Reilly," Brooklyn called cheerfully. "How's Fang doing?"

"He must be feeling a lot better," Reilly said, scratching his head, "'Cause I think he just left."

"What?" Talon yelled. He snatched up the controller and checked it. "It says he's right here."

"Uh oh." The fireman grimaced. "That thing wouldn't be picking up this thing, would it?" He bent down and held up the restraining cuff.

Talon took it from Reilly. "I don't understand. It was designed so he couldn't blast it off."

"Um, I took it off for him," Reilly said uncomfortably. "Hey, his ankle was starting to swell up and I thought--"

"It's okay," Talon muttered. "You didn't know."

"He was really wiped out," Brooklyn said, looking around. "He couldn't get too far."

"Right." Talon replaced the controller on his belt. "You check with the twins and I'll check with Lexington. One of them had to see him."


* * * * *


Graeme yawned, his beak gaping wider and wider and his long, slightly pointed tongue curling like a dog's. He smacked his lips and looked at his sister with an impertinent lift of his eyebrow. Ariana scowled at him and turned her head away. The young green gargoyle watched intently with a growing smirk as his twin sister's eyes began to water and her jaw to clench and unclench as she tried hopelessly to resist the urge. It was no good.

"Yaaaawwn...ooooh, next time, keep it to yourself, Graeme!" Ariana snapped. "You did that on purpose!"

"What?" Graeme blinked, his eyes wide and innocent. "Yawning is an involuntary reaction to a excess of oxygen in the body. Saw it on television."

Ariana glared down her ruddy beak at him. "You did it on purpose."

"Did not!"

"Did so!"

Brooklyn arrived to find his children beak to beak in the first stages of a shouting match. He pulled them apart. "Why are you two fighting?"

The twins blinked and looked at each other. Ariana tilted her head fetchingly so that the colorful beads braided into her black hair clinked together. "Fighting?" she said sweetly. "We weren't fighting, Father."

"Uh huh," Brooklyn said flatly, crossing his arms. He looked at his son.

Graeme twisted the ends of his index fingers together. "We were just talking." He looked up at his father. "Really!"

Brooklyn shook his head. "While you two were 'talking,' did either of you see Fang? He's missing."

"I saw him go into the building with you," Graeme said, "and then you came out alone."

"Yeah," Ariana agreed, "but then that helicopter came down between us and the building. We couldn't see anything else until after it left."

"It wasn't a police helicopter," Graeme said helpfully. "It had a television station logo on it, one of the network affiliates, I think."

Ariana pursed her lips thoughtfully and her eyes narrowed. "It wobbled when it flew away. I thought it was because the police 'copter was chasing it away."

Talon and Lexington flew up. The panther-like mutate said anxiously, "He didn't come out on Lex's side. What about here?"

"They didn't see him, they were," Brooklyn glared at his children, who visibly shrank, "'talking' but a news 'copter was blocking their view for a while. Ari said it flew off a bit wobbly. Do you suppose someone hanging on to the undercarriage could throw it off balance?"

Talon's eyes lit up. "Yeah, that would do it and it would be just like Fang too." He swore under his breath. "And he was doing so well! I was really thinking he'd learned his lesson."

"Look," Lex said. "If you want, the twins and I can go check the TV station and the local helipads to see if he's there. If he's as wiped out as Brooklyn said he was, the three of us can handle him. The worse of the fire is over now anyway."

The twins' eyes lit up and they clapped their tails together in a high-five. "Yes!" they crowed. "Action time!"

"Well, okay," Brooklyn said slowly. He looked sternly at Lex. The green gargoyle rolled his eyes.

"I'll keep a close watch on them," Lex said, a tinge of resignation in his voice. He tapped his headset. "I'll let you know if we find anything."

"Don't worry, Dad!" Graeme said, clambering up next to his sister on the wall.

"Yeah!" Ariana said. "We'll take care of Uncle Lex!"

"C'mon, kids," Lex said as he leaped from the building. "Let's go track down that helicopter."

Brooklyn watched the three smaller gargoyles fly away. "He's right. The fire department has everything under control now. What do you want to do?"

"Maggie, Claw and I should probably go back to the Labyrinth and make sure everything's secure. We've changed a lot of things while Fang's been imprisoned but he still might try something."

"I don't know, Talon. He's not the same Fang anymore," Brooklyn commented. "He was really getting into rescuing people and helping out. Maybe after having this little taste of freedom, he just didn't want to go back."

"Maybe," Talon admitted. "But I wish he'd trusted me a little more."


* * * * *



"...in his novel, Hard Times, Dickens attempted to illuminate society on the corrupt morality of the class system of the nineteenth century by..." Fingers drumming against the mousepad, the student writer ran a hand absently through his chestnut brown hair and stared at the computer monitor with a studious frown on his face. The telephone rang and Richard Harrison stretched a bit before answering it. "Hello?"

"Hello, Richard." The velvet voice on the other end of the line had a smile in it. "Busy with schoolwork again?"

"Angela!" Richard grinned and leaned back in his chair. "Yeah, just whacking out a paper on Dickens. Any thoughts on him? You helped a lot with my Chaucer paper. You really know your classic literature."

Her laugh bubbled through the receiver. "I'm afraid I'm a bit tired to tackle Dickens tonight."

"Me too." A flash of color caught Richard's eye. He swiveled around to look at the small television. Scenes from the hotel fire were being flashed across the screen and Richard grabbed the remote to turn up the sound. "Wow, there was a big fire tonight. They're running some footage on the news."

"Yes," Angela said, "I saw it."

Nicole St. John came on. "Here at the triage site, we've been talking to survivors. Many of the people rescued tonight were tourists such as Mr. and Mrs. William Baxter of Columbia, South Carolina and their two small children." The camera focused on a smoke-stained couple wrapped in blankets, the woman holding a little girl with tangled blonde curls. "Mrs. Baxter, I understand you and your family were trapped on the seventh floor?"

"Yes," Mrs. Baxter said with a soft Southern drawl, "That's right. The fire was between us and the exit."

"But you and your family did escape. How did you do it?"

"It was a miracle, that's what I say. The fire was eatin' away at the door and then Bill," she smiled at the man standing besides her, "that's my husband, he heard voices outside in the smoke an' all of a sudden there they were."


"Yes, ma'am. They gave us a bit of a start, I'll tell you, but all I could think about was getting the children out of there. When the girl gargoyle said they were there to help us, Bill and I snatched up our babies and we were on that ledge in a flash. The gargoyles carried us down here as gentle as can be. We will always be grateful to them."

"You weren't afraid of the gargoyles?"

Mrs. Baxter chewed her lip briefly. "Well, ma'am, I'd heard a lot of talk around town and well, I wasn't right fond of the idea, strange creatures flying around at night and all. But when I was standing on that ledge and that girl gargoyle was flying in, I looked into her eyes and I could tell ... she cared about us." A tear trickled down her cheek, leaving a clear trail. "I knew I could trust her."

"So you disagree with people like the Quarrymen who say gargoyles are a menace?"

"Yes, I do!" Mrs. Baxter said hotly. "I don't care what a bunch of crazy Yankees in hoods say, those gargoyles were sent from heaven tonight!"

The little girl in her arms spoke up. "They were our angels inna night!"

"And there you have it," said the blonde reporter, posing for the camera. "Out of the mouths of babes. A new development in the ongoing gargoyle controversy. Nicole St. John, live at the scene of the New Amsterdam Hotel fire, reporting for WVRN News."

Richard clicked off the set. "Wow. Did you hear all that?"

"Yes, I did." Her voice was happy but there was a faint suspicious sniff when she finished speaking.

"Angela?" Richard asked curiously. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. I just like a happy ending, that's all."

"I'll tell you, Angela," Richard said, reaching under the pile of books on his desk for a well-thumbed sketchpad, "this is one time I disagree with George. They did a good thing tonight, those gargoyles, saving those people."

"I'm glad."

Pulling a pencil out of a broken coffee mug, Richard began doodling, his pencil strokes taking the form of a female face. "You sound kind of tired tonight. What have you been up to?"

She gave another warm chuckle. "You could say I've had a busy night but I know it was all worth it now."

"Oh, Angela!" Richard laughed. "You're a mystery wrapped in an enigma, you know that?"

Her honeyed laugh lingered in his ears.


* * * * *


Sata was sitting on the parapet, calmly honing the razor edge of her katana while Brooklyn paced impatiently, his tail slashing through the air. She regarded him with serene amusement.

"Beloved," she said with a wry smile, "young gargoyles must be allowed to spread their wings. Lexington will keep them from harm, you know that."

"Yeah, yeah, I just can't help worrying." The red gargoyle sighed and took a seat by his mate. He smiled as he curled his tail around hers. "You know, we're all alone out here."

Sata smiled as she sheathed her katana and set it aside. "I was wondering when you'd notice." She leaned into his embrace, rubbing her jade green cheek against his brick red one. "One must take advantage of opportunities when they arise."

Brooklyn grinned as he snuggled her closer. "Yeah, we of all people should know that." The mated gargoyle pair shared a private laugh between affectionate kisses that began grow more passionate.

"Mom! Dad! We're back!"

Without breaking liplock, Brooklyn opened one eye to see his children and his rookery brother gliding in for a landing. "Kids," he said grumpily out of the corner of his mouth, "They've got great timing."

"Perhaps later, beloved," Sata purred, lightly caressing her brow ridge against his. She watched as Ariana and Graeme touched down. "So, my young warriors, how was the search?" she asked her children.

Ariana crossed her arms. "Zero, zilch, nada, snake eyes."

Sata blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

"She means we found the helicopter but if Fang was on it, he was long gone by the time we got there." Graeme looked at his mother wistfully. "Could you make some of your special kushiyaki, Mother? Please? The security guard at the helipad was eating Oriental takeout and I'm REALLY hungry now."

"Graeme-kun, you are always hungry!" Sata laughed and put an arm around her son's shoulders, his green coloring only slightly darker than her own. She reached out, beckoning to her red-skinned daughter. "Come along, Ari-chan. It's been a long time since I've cooked for us. We could all use a good meal." She looked over her shoulder at Brooklyn. "Coming, beloved?"

"In a few minutes, my love." Brooklyn watched his family walk into the castle. He turned back to Lexington. "So, anything?"

Lex pulled a computer printout from his belt. "I had the kids distract the guard for a bit while I hacked into the flight plan database. This is a copy of the pilot's log so we can backtrack it and see if we can pick up the trail."

"Are you sure this is the right helicopter?"

"Yeah," Lex answered. He held up a tuft of brownish hair, carefully folded up inside the printout. "Graeme found this on the undercarriage. I'll bet anything it's a match."

Brooklyn clapped a hand on his younger rookery brother's shoulder. "Great! That's something to pass on to Talon."

"You seem awfully cheerful," Lex commented. "Don't you think we should be more concerned about this?"

"I'm just happy to see things turning out the way they're supposed to." Brooklyn shrugged. "Besides, Fang's not a threat to us. It's going to be all right." He smiled at the smaller gargoyle's puzzled expression. "Come on, Sata's cooking is wonderful. We'll give Talon a call before dinner."

Lex frowned. "There you go, talking in the future tense again. I think you remember more about your travels with the Phoenix Gate than you let on."

"It's not like that, Lex," Brooklyn said reluctantly. "Sata, the kids and I, we traveled up and down the time stream so much, a lot of our memories are pretty vague. I know that things are going to happen, but I don't how or why." His eyes grew sad for a second and he looked away.

"What kind of things?" Lex asked. "Something bad's going to happen, isn't it?"

"You don't understand," Brooklyn sighed. "I tried changing things once but it didn't work. Some things are just meant to happen." He put a hand on Lexington's shoulder and began steering them into the castle. "Let me give you an example. In the future, when Graeme and Ariana were born, there was an attack on the castle. An intruder got into the rookery and tried to kill them but their godfather was there and he saved them."

Lex whistled. "Wow. That was lucky."

"Yeah, Sata and I owe him big time," Brooklyn agreed. His hand tightened slightly on his rookery brother's shoulder. "The thing is, that person is alive here in this time. Something is going to happen that will lead to him being alive in the future to save Ariana and Graeme. It's a choice he has to make. If I interfere, tell him what I know of his future --"

"It would create a paradox," Lex finished. "The lady or the tiger. If you tell him and he does the wrong thing, the twins will die. Tough call."

"Yeah." Brooklyn slowed as they approached the kitchen, the aroma of grilling chicken and soy sauce filling the air. "What would you do?"

"I guess...," Lex paused, chewing his lip, "I guess I would just keep a close eye on things and hope I could help out when the time comes."

Brooklyn just stood there, slowly grinning.

"What?" Lex asked.

"Nothing. I just remembered something an old friend told me once."

Just then, Ariana burst through the swinging kitchen doors. "Uncle Lex!" she exclaimed, taking his arm impulsively. "C'mon! Mother let me do some of the cooking! I want you to have the first kushiyaki off the grill."

"Yeah, uncle," Graeme called. "Hope you like yours with extra charcoal."

Lex let Ariana pull him into the kitchen while Brooklyn went to call Talon. Sata bowed in his direction while she deftly rolled the skewers of chicken across the grill, dunking them in the sauce and rolling them back again, glazing the meat a warm amber-brown. His thoughts wandered while Ariana doted on him, setting a place for him at the table like a dutiful Japanese daughter.

Although Sata and the twins usually shared the communal evening meal with the clan, this was the first time Lexington had been invited to one of their family dinners. Brooklyn and Sata had made a point of having private time with the twins at least once a night and it had taken the clan some time to adjust to the concept. Hudson, in particular, had been quite indignant about it.

Brooklyn came in, looking somewhat pleased. "Talon says he'll call around. He still has some contacts with the pilot's association and airfields around the area. Somebody's bound to have noticed something."

"That's good." Lex watched as Brooklyn and his mate traded affectionate looks and then as his rookery brother took his seat, Graeme on one side, Ariana on the other, both hatchlings chattering away. Lex smiled wanly. Somehow, he'd never pictured his brother, Mr. Adventure, looking quite this domesticated and yet, it seem to suit Brooklyn to a tee.

Sata brought the food to the table and the dinner itself was pleasant, the food quite delicious. But as he watched his brother interacting with his family, a lump rose in Lexington's throat. He was on the outside, looking in on something he could only have in his dreams.


* * * * *

By the time the helicopter had swung out over the river, Fang had regained enough strength to sail out over the Hudson towards the Jersey shore. He let the sea breeze coming in from the harbor push him inland. There were a few places he remembered from his pre-Sevarius days that he could hole up in while he regained his strength.

Fang breathed in deeply of the salty tang of the fresh air, ignoring the industrial fumes. After his confinement in the Labyrinth, even pollution smelled good. He had seen an opening and took it, free at last to do his own thing and be his own man ... mutate ... whatever.

Something kept gnawing at Fang. The urgency of the situation back at the hotel fire had put him back into a position of trust, working as an equal with the other mutates, gargoyles and humans. Deep down, he realized he'd missed that feeling, the knowledge that others were counting on him, of being trustworthy.

Fang shook his head. "What am I thinking?" he asked himself. "I never was a Boy Scout." An updraft caught him and he soared higher. "Bad to the bone, that's me!" He laughed and headed inland.


* * * * *



The bartender at the Cavern greeted George and Richard as they sat down. "Hey, guys. What'll you have?"

George held up two fingers. "A couple of drafts, Paul." He nodded to a long-jawed, sleepy-eyed man sitting down the bar, his circle-and-hammer tattoo clearly visible on his forearm. "How's it going, John?"

"I'm just sittin' here watchin' the wheels go 'round and 'round," he said, nodding his head towards the high-speed chase on the television mounted at the far corner of the bar. "Care to enlighten me on how things look for tonight?"

"Everything's ready," George answered with a wry smile. He took a sip of his beer and eyed his brother. "So, hear from Angela lately?"

"Last night," Richard said. "We talked about paperback writers."

"Nothing else?"

"Well, we talked quite a bit about the hotel fire."

George scowled. "Yeah, and where were you? I paged you!"

"Hey, I'm a student first!" Richard shot back. "I have to study if I want to keep the grades up for med school. Besides, those gargoyles did a lot more good than Castaway last night."

"Rich....." His older brother glared at him.

"No, look at the facts. It's one thing to hunt those things down. It's another to interfere with civil authorities doing their jobs. The firefighters didn't need Quarrymen underfoot, they needed help and they got it from the gargoyles. A lot of lives were saved last night because of them and all of it was caught live on network television."

George frowned and rubbed his chin. "Point taken, little brother. I've got to do some major spin doctoring here." He began to drum his fingers on the bar.

"Hey, Jude!" the bartender bellowed suddenly. "Would you get me down some more cocktail napkins from the storeroom?"

Richard drank his beer, casting nervous glances at his brother. "Would it bother you if I dropped out of this thing?" he blurted out. "Between school and other stuff, I'm just not into it like you are."

"Look, bro, I need your help." George sighed. "I want to see you get into med school too but I need people I can trust to back up Castaway. Honest, everyday people."

"Oh, swell," Richard said with a laugh. "What, do I fit your idea of the average young American?"

His older brother looked away with a small smile.

Richard socked him in the arm. "You and your stupid statistics! Remember in high school when you rated all the girls and sold the list in the boys' locker room for a buck a copy?"

"Hey, it was a living." George punched him back playfully. "You got your cut. You were a terrific lookout."

"Yeah, right."

"Exactly, I need you watching my back. Who better to trust than my own brother?"

"George..." Richard took a deep breath and let it out. "Don't do this to me."

"What?" The older Harrison blinked his blue eyes innocently.

"You're trying to manipulate me again, just like when we were kids. Every time it's the same thing, you butter me up, give me the warm fuzzies and I wind up doing what you want me to do."

George's eyes narrowed. "Grow up, Rich. You signed up for the long haul with us and you're going to live up to your end of the deal. Now we've got a job to do tonight." He pushed away his glass and stood up, John standing up behind him. "Now come on."

Richard frowned. When their parents divorced, George had become the man of the house. He had taken care of his little brother all during their childhood years, George may have not been good at showing his emotions but he'd always been there for Richard. It was that big brother hero worship that formed the core of their relationship.

He hated himself for it but he knew George was counting on him and he'd never let his brother down yet. Sighing, Richard hopped off the bar stool and followed the others out.


* * * * *


"....Last night was the height of their deceptions! I am sure that the hotel fire was not, as the authorities say, the result of faulty wiring but deliberately set by these monsters to sway public opinion in their favor!"

Richard clenched his jaws as he forced back a yawn. He leaned towards George. "You didn't write this mess, did you?" he asked in a whisper.

His brother frowned. "I wrote most of it but he keeps ad-libbing. Something about last night really has him worked up."

"Maybe a little Prozac in his drinking water would be a good idea," Richard suggested quietly. "He's starting to rant."

George looked at his brother sourly. "We've been a big disappointment to him lately, what with losing that group of gargoyles in the warehouse and then that fiasco with that cop Bluestone who was supposed to be head of the Gargoyle Task Force." He snorted. "Fat lot of good he did. Probably a closet garg lover."

"Tonight, we will make the city too hot for them! Our objective is to remove all their best cover, the rooftop statuary of Manhattan. Despite our best efforts, there are a few places left where a clever beast can hide with ease. We will smash these places to rubble and if it attracts the attention of our quarry, all the better!" The dapper blonde man looked around the room, strange lights dancing in his eyes. "Are you with me, Quarrymen?"

Everyone sprang to their feet, shouting their support, some even pumping up their hammers and raising them above their heads in electric arcs. George's voice rang in Richard's ears as he shouted along with the others. Richard joined in but his shouts were only half-hearted. He'd always liked all the statues in Manhattan, from the lions in front of the New York Public Library to the diminutive rat running up the side of a building near Grand Central Station. Angela had once commented on the amazing variety of stone carvings on buildings around town and ever since, he'd found himself noticing them and marveling how he could have possibly missed them before.

George clapped a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon, Rich. You're with me."

They changed into their Quarryman uniforms and picked up their hammers on the way to the unmarked vans parked outside. George looked them all over carefully. "Listen up, team. Our target is the rooftop statuary garden near St. Patrick's Cathedral. We neutralize the night watchman, slip up to the roof and smash everything. Our helicopters will be flying high-level surveillance sweeps in case we attract company and our attack groups are on standby. They can be there in minutes."

Richard listened but his thoughts were not on the mission. He wasn't Catholic but he liked St. Patrick's and the surrounding area. He wasn't sure he could go through with it. He shot a sidelong glance at George. His brother was really into his role as team leader. It was a job George had always been suited for; he had received high praise for it during his military career, although why he had left was still something he wouldn't talk about.

Fingering the midnight blue material in his hands, Richard watched the others as they donned their hoods, laughing and talking exciting amongst themselves. The van began to slow down as they approached their objective. George put his hand on the sliding door handle and looked back.

"Everybody ready?" He said it to the group as a whole but his eyes were focused on his brother.

Richard took a deep breath and jammed the hood over his head.



* * * * *



"Keep your eyes closed, Angela."

The Avalon-born gargoyle smiled as she let Broadway guide through the shifting air currents. He had been sneaking around, preparing some sort of surprise for her all week, the silly romantic thing. Whatever it was, he had let Brooklyn in on it because the red gargoyle had announced that he and Sata would be taking patrol tonight and winked at Broadway in the most lascivious manner.

As they flew, Angela could smell her favorite cherry tarts, rosemary chicken and fresh baked bread coming from the large covered basket Broadway was carrying. He had been reading his collection of Frugal Gourmet books every time she had caught him in the library so Angela knew she was in for a culinary feast.

They began to descend for a landing. Her talons clattered against a slate roof. Broadway took her hands and led her to a seat on a stone ledge. He kissed her hand.

"I'll be just a second," Broadway said anxiously. "Don't peek!"

She smiled. "All right." Angela just loved this side of her big blue beau. Broadway often displayed a tough, TV detective exterior to everyone else but when he and Angela were alone, he was terribly romantic. She listened to the clinking of glasses and silverware while he arranged everything to his liking. Finally, there was the sound of a cork popping.

"Can I look now?" Angela asked.

"Yeah," Broadway said in a pleased tone of voice. "It's ready."

A wrought iron table was set with a white tablecloth, lit by a candle set in a brandy snifter to protect it from the wind. She sat down in the chair Broadway held out for her and took in the china place settings and silverware, filched from Xanatos' silver closet, no doubt. A spinach salad tossed with tiny orange slices accompanied the chicken and bread she'd smelled earlier. Broadway smiled and handed her a glass of pink-tinted wine.

"Mmmm," Angela murmured as she breathed in the delicate aroma. "Everything's just beautiful, my love. You've outdone yourself."

Broadway grinned as he took his seat on the opposite side of the table. "Nothing but the best for you, my angel."

"I just have to know one thing," she said as she looked over the rim of her glass.

"What's that?"

She laughed. "Where did the table and chairs come from?"

"Oh, that." Broadway rolled his eyes. "Brooklyn and I sort of borrowed them from an open air cafe a couple of nights ago. I'll take them back tomorrow."

Angela looked around. Their miniature bistro was positioned on a narrow flat area between two pointed towers. Two much higher towers were at the front of the building with a steeply inclined roof between them. "Where are we?" she asked curiously.

Broadway held his finger to his lips. "Shhh, they're starting."

Deep inside the building, voices rose in harmony, singing a capella. Angela listened breathlessly, a delighted smile growing on her face. "Why, I know this tune!" she said in an excited, hushed tone. "Princess Katharine and the Magus would sing sometimes to entertain us on special occasions. Oh, Broadway! How wonderful!"

He leaned forward and touched her hand. "You like?

"Oh, I like it very much!"

"We're over the choir loft at St. Patrick's. They're doing a concert of medieval music on Sunday and I found out their rehearsal times," Broadway said as he picked up his glass. He touched it against hers with a delicate crystal ring. "Here's to an evening of music and moonlight, my love."

Looking into his lovestruck eyes, Angela felt her toes curl and a delicious shiver run down her spine in anticipation.


* * * * *


The timid tapping of one of the female members of the team, a blonde with delicate features, drew the security guard to the door. She bit her lip and asked in a nervous voice, "My car broke down. Is there a payphone nearby?"

Her sad, scared eyes did their job. The older man looked around and held the door open wider. "It's okay, honey. You can use the office phone in here." They disappeared into the building.

George checked his watch. "Two minutes, tops."

"Are you sure?" a tall Quarryman asked. "She doesn't look like much."

"Oh, trust me," George said, a grin in his voice. "Candy only looks sweet."

There was a rattle and the door opened. Candy had stashed the colorful scarf she'd used as a disguise inside her tunic and replaced her blue hood. "C'mon!" she hissed. "All clear!"

They hurried into the building, a cluster of fleeting shadows running up the street. Candy was in the office, taping the guard's wrists and ankles together.

George gave her the barest glance. "You're rear guard," he said to her in passing. "Keep our escape route open."


Richard stopped and looked closer at the guard. His face was turning gray. "What did you do to him?" he asked as he started to bend down.

"Her job," George answered sharply. "You're with me, now come on!" He grabbed Richard by the arm and started up the stairs with him.

"Hey, that guy's not young any more!" Richard protested. "The shock could have given him a heart attack!"

"In war, sacrifices must be made for the greater good," George said. "Try to keep that in mind, bro."

Richard followed his brother's blue-clad back up the stairs and wondered where George had picked up this cold streak. He'd always been a bit stand-offish, a little hard to warm up to at first but Richard had never seen George be cruel before. The shock rendered him speechless.

The tall Quarryman, he and his partner had been introduced as Fleance and Banquo but Richard couldn't for the life of him remember which was which, kicked open the door leading to the roof. They came out into a fantastic menagerie of the sacred and the profane. Saints and angels shared the open air sculpture gallery with demons and monsters. George scanned the area.

"Okay, spread out and start smashing." He pumped up his hammer, the electric whine building in pitch as the weapon charged. "Everything goes."

"Everything?" Richard glanced between the carved image of a cleric holding a book and a knight with a small, squirming dragon under his foot. "But, George ---"

His brother was in his face before Richard could blink. "Look, you little wimp," George said in a low voice. "I won't tolerate any more insubordination out of you. I don't care if you're my brother or not. You make me look bad in front of Castaway and the others and I'll make you wish you were never born." He glared directly into Richard's eyes. "Now take that hammer and get to smashing."

"Fine," Richard ground out between clenched teeth. He hadn't felt this angry with George since they were kids. "But this is the last time. I'm through with this." He turned on his heel and marched away, his eyes stinging with bitter tears.


* * * * *


Angela held her breath while the lead soprano soared into the heavens on the final note of the song. Broadway came up from behind and encircled her with both arms and wings as she stood there, eyes closed and face upturned to the starlit sky. She sighed.

"Happy, my angel?" Broadway asked solicitously.

"It's been a heavenly evening," she said, craning her neck to rub her brow ridges against his jawline. "I do so love being alone with you."

"Do you really mean that, Angela?"

The hopeful tone in his voice made her turn and look at him. "With all my heart, beloved." She smiled and lowered her lashes.

"Then, um..." Broadway cleared his throat and took her hand in his. "Angela, there's something I've been meaning to ask you..."

The sharp crack of stone breaking shattered the stillness of the night.


* * * * *


Richard winced as the others wrecked the statue garden. The tall guy, whats-his-name, wound up like a major league slugger aiming for the back wall and sent the head of a gryphon into orbit. He caught George glaring at him and he pumped up his hammer as he walked towards a row of figures facing the neighboring cathedral.

"Who do you think you are anyway, George?" he muttered under his breath. "Dad?" Good old Dad kept the child support coming but his visits to them had grown further and further apart until the only contact Richard had with him was his signature on the bi-annual tuition check. George had cut all ties with their father in a yelling, knock-down, drag-out fight years ago.

That was the main reason he was out here, Richard admitted, vandalizing artwork in the middle of the night. He and George weren't so much brothers but a sort of warped version of father-and-son. His big brother had stepped into their father's place and had been there for Richard at all the big moments in his life. It had been George that taught the school bullies to leave the Harrison brothers alone, helped him with high school math, and explained the facts of life. His brother had been his hero and it hurt to see that image tarnished like this.

Richard glanced at the man-shaped statue standing in an out-of-the-way spot, shrouded in shadows. There was something in its pose that wasn't quite natural, standing awkwardly on the balls of its feet, a curious crown rimming the back of its head. The statue was weathered and pitted with age, sand-blasted over the centuries so that only the broadest details remained. The face might have been handsome once but now had only a cruel whiplash smile.

Briefly, Richard considered smashing it but shook his head. "Looks like somebody else all ready beat me to it."

The hammer was tingling in his hands, a sure sign that he needed to release the charge or risk an overload. Richard approached a cluster of small figures crouched on the roof's edge. He put one foot up on the wall encircling the roof's edge and swung the weapon back like a baseball bat. As it crackled through the air, he noticed the detailing on the statues that were his target. They were angels, their outstretched hands reaching for the towers of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The momentum of his swing was such that he couldn't stop it, so he aimed low and hoped he'd miss.

Unfortunately, the hammer overloaded as he connected with the base of the statue. Both stone angel and reluctant Quarryman became airborne.


* * * * *


They saw the explosion from the cover of the rooftop spires of the cathedral and spotted two silhouetted bodies falling in the flash of light. Angela and Broadway were up and over the wrought iron railing in an instant.

"I'll get the low one," Broadway called. "You get the other!" He tucked in his wings and dove, using his massive weight to increase his velocity.

Angela swooped in and caught her target neatly under the arms, the man's dark clad body hanging limply. "Easy now," she said reassuringly, "I've got you."

His head lolled to one side. "A-angela?" a familiar voice said weakly.

The lavender gargoyle was so shocked, she almost dropped him. Her grip slipped for an instant and she snagged her talons in the fabric of his tunic, getting a second hold. Angela looked over at the building he had fallen from and changed course when she saw the hammer-wielding Quarrymen at work. She veered off and carried her burden to a rooftop a few streets over before landing.

Gently, she pulled the hateful hood away and revealed the unconscious face of Richard Harrison. She straightened the gold-rimmed glasses that hung crooked across his nose. Except for a small cut on his cheek, he seemed fine. She had known he was still associating with the Quarrymen but he had always been careful to steer their conversations away from the subject.

A shadow crossed over them and Angela looked up to see Broadway crossing the moon. He landed nearby and frowned. "Goliath and Lex just showed up. There's been reports of Quarrymen smashing statues all over the city. That thing I went after was a statue. What did you catch?"

Angela bit her lip. "A friend who was in the wrong place."

Broadway came closer and made a face. "Oh, no. Not him again." He glanced around. "Well, this is as safe a place as any. Let's go."

"No," she said firmly. "I'm not leaving him until I know he's all right."


She looked up at Broadway with luminous eyes. "Please, beloved. He helped me when I was hurt. It's the least I can do."

The blue gargoyle returned her gaze for a minute or two, thinking it over. "All right. I'll go help Goliath and Lex but I'm coming back to wait with you. Agreed?"

Angela smiled and that was all the answer the blue gargoyle needed.


* * * * *


"...Richard?" Fingers gently brushed across his forehead, sweeping aside an errant lock of his chestnut brown hair. "Richard, can you hear me?"

He knew that velvet voice well. He even heard it in his sleep. "Hmmm," he mumbled. "Angela?"

"Yes," she said in obvious relief. "I was beginning to worry."

Richard began to smile. "If I open my eyes," he said slowly, "will you be really be here with me?"

She hesitated. "Y-yes, but you might not like what you see."

"What's not to like?" he asked as he began to sit up and open his eyes. "You know how I feel about you--" His blue eyes widened behind his glasses as he focused on the enormous blue creature watching him sullenly with arms crossed. Richard jumped to his feet and began looking for a weapon. "Angela! Stay behind me, I won't let it get you!"

"Hoo, boy," the gargoyle commented in a strangely familiar voice. "I told you we should have just left him here."

"Hush." Angela's voice came comfortingly over Richard's shoulder. "Richard, this is Broadway, although you might remember him better as William Rockford."

Richard stared at the blue gargoyle who nodded at him. "B-but how...?"

Gravel crunched on the rooftop as Angela moved around him. Richard saw her three-toed lavender feet first, then her tail, his eyes trailing up to take in the wings draped around her shoulders like a cape. The female gargoyle turned and looked at him sadly, her face still Angela's despite the new coloration and the bestial features. She spoke, the honeyed tones he loved coming from a fanged mouth.

"Hello, Richard."

He backed up until he fell over a roof vent, hitting hard enough to see stars. While he struggled to his feet, the gargoyles talked.

"Broadway, if you don't mind, I think I'd like to talk to him alone."

"Are you sure? He's a Quarryman."

"He's my friend." There was a pause and Richard glanced up to see them kiss. "Please, for me, beloved?" The affectionate look the two gargoyles exchanged shattered his heart.

The blue gargoyle hopped up on the wall, surprisingly nimble for his bulk and leaped off, sailing across the street to roost on a nearby building. His outline was clear against the night sky as he took up his post. Richard reluctantly met the female gargoyle's gaze. They stood silently, just staring at each other before the human looked away.

"This has got to be a really, really bad dream," Richard said softly. "You haven't always been a gargoyle, have you? Somebody did this to you, right? There's some way to change you back, isn't there?" His voice began to rise hysterically.

Angela gazed at him unblinkingly. "Richard, I've been a gargoyle since the day I hatched. The girl you met in the sunshine was the result of a miscast spell. I was only human for that one day."

"Please, no." Richard drew in a ragged breath. "I fell in love with that girl!"

"You fell in love with a daydream." Angela took a step closer. "Richard, you're the first real friend I've made in Manhattan. Surely, all our conversations, they must have meant something more than just simple infatuation. I know they meant more than that for me."

"You don't... love me, do you?"

"Not in the way you want, Richard, but I will always love you as my friend."

He laughed harshly. "Not the old 'you'll always be my friend' speech!" He started pacing. "Do you know how many girls I've heard that from? And now you?" He stopped and put his hands on his hips, looking at her. "You know, being the nice guy all the time really sucks!" He glared angrily at the building across the street. "And I suppose that's what I lost out to! This is one for the books!"

Angela's forehead wrinkled. "I wish I could say something to make it better but this is who I am, Richard. I'm a gargoyle and I still want to be your friend."

"That's not what I wanted."

"I know," she sighed. "I've known for some time how you've felt about me. I didn't know what to do." A tear glistened in the moonlight as it trailed down the smooth contours of her face. "You were my special friend. I didn't want to lose that and if you had known..." She shrugged helplessly. "I'm sorry, that's all I can say."

Richard scuffed his feet in the gravel. "What about Bill--Broadway over there? What does he think of all this?"

"He's been very tolerant of the whole thing," Angela said. "He knows that I love him and that someday we will be mates. There are so few of us, Richard. The clan must survive."

"Is he good to you?"

Her smile lit the night. "Oh, he makes me very happy."

"I'm glad to hear it," Richard said lightly. "You should always be treated like a lady." He turned his head to look at her and sighed. "It's no good. I can't barely see you in this light."

"Come closer," Angela said. "I won't bite."

Richard edged towards her. He leaned in and examined her closely, sad resignation dawning in his eyes. Finally, in a ragged whisper, he said, "You're still beautiful."


He looked away. "This is so unfair," he said dejectedly. "I can't believe this." He headed for the fire escape.

Angela followed him. "What are you going to do, Richard?"

He stopped in the act of swinging his leg over the wall and looked back. "I don't know, Angela. I guess I really ought to think things over because right now," he swallowed hard, "I don't know what to believe any more."


* * * * *


Richard stumbled across his small apartment in the dark. He had a vague recollection of catching a bus home, of people staring at him in his torn Quarryman outfit. From under his sink, he took out a half-empty bottle of booze left over from the football-watching party last week. One of his buddies had left it behind and Richard stared at it for a second before unscrewing the cap and taking a big swallow. It burned on the way down his throat and he coughed, as unaccustomed as he was to hard liquor. Numbly, he went through his nightly routine. He was leaving his wallet and keys on the kitchen bar when the open sketchbook caught his eye. The picture of Angela as he remembered her that day in the sunlight a lifetime ago.

He flipped through the pages. He remembered so much about that day, the curve of her cheek when she smiled, the mysterious green depth of her eyes. The paper crumbled beneath his fingers as he tore it from the book. Tiny pieces of paper littered the floor as he destroyed the ruined sketch, just as his life had been destroyed tonight.

Lies. It was all lies. Richard felt the anger he had kept bottled up rising to the surface. He ripped the torn midnight blue tunic off, buttons flying in all directions. He stared at the ragged tears Angela's talons had made in the fabric when she had caught him. One of the rips neatly severed the hammer-and-circle logo of the Quarrymen in half and Richard briefly wondered if it was an omen. The others had done nothing to save him, not even his own brother, and yet she had, a so-called enemy to the human race.

He clenched his uniform between his fists and pulled it taut, listening to the fabric tear. For weeks he'd listened and laughed with her, told her things about himself he'd never told another living soul. He had treasured her friendship, hoped it would grow into something more but he knew the truth now. He would never hold that daydream girl in his arms and yet he knew Angela had never meant to lie to him; she could have never told whole truth, that's for certain, but now he knew why she felt the way she did about Castaway and the Quarrymen. Angela had been on the other side of the hammer.

The Quarryman uniform was neatly ripped in two now. Richard stared at it, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he methodically shredded the midnight blue tunic. He'd never fit in with them, all the inane late night lectures, the pointless smash and run missions. George believed every word Castaway said like it was gospel but something about the wild look in the dapper man's eye had always bothered Richard. The thought of Castaway getting his mitts on Angela sickened him.

The phone rang and he let the answering machine pick it up. Angela's voice echoed through the apartment.

"Richard? I hope you're there. I just wanted to make sure you got home safely. I followed you to the bus. I know you're feeling bad right now but I'm here, if you need me. 555-9687."

Lifting the bottle in the direction of the telephone, Richard said mockingly, "This is for you, Angie!" and tossed down the whiskey. "I was right about one thing," he said to himself, "You're one girl in a million."

He was well into his cups by the time the phone rang again. This time it was his brother and George was not happy. "Rich, you'd better have a darn good reason for running out on us tonight. Those freaks showed up and we had to retreat because you weren't there to back us up. Darn it, Rich! Pick up the phone!" There was a brief pause. "Look, I'll call you tomorrow when I've gotten a grip on my temper." The receiver on George's end slammed down.

"Hmmph!" Richard snorted, swaying to his feet. "And I love you too, Georgie. So glad you were worried about me," he said sarcastically. Bottle in hand, he staggered into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed.


* * * * *


Angela hung up the phone and sat staring numbly at the guest room floor. She was lost in thought when a familiar pair of blue feet appeared and crouched by her chair. Large, gentle hands took hers.

"Are you going to be okay, Angela?" Broadway asked in soft concern.

She lifted her eyes to his. "You were right."

Broadway raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"

"About Richard. You knew the first time you saw him." Angela took a long, shuddering breath. "He was in love with me. He said so." She looked away to the window. "I broke his heart tonight, I could see it in his eyes."

"Shhh," Broadway said gently. "He couldn't help it any more than I could, beloved. I know you only meant to be friends with him."

Her eyes glittered. "I thought I could talk him out of being in the Quarrymen. He always changed the subject when I brought it up. I know he was only doing it for his brother. Richard respects him a great deal. I just hope tonight hasn't convinced him that Castaway's right." She bit her lip. "I can't bear the thought of Richard being an enemy."

The big blue gargoyle reached out and brushed his knuckles across her brow ridges. "We'll keep an eye out for him. Richard seems like a sensible sort." Broadway smiled. "He has great taste in females, I'll give him that."

Angela gave a half-hearted laugh as she blinked back the tears in her eyes. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. "And you, my love, have a very large and forgiving heart."

"Takes one to know one, my angel," Broadway said lightly. He wrapped his arms around her and held her until the approaching dawn called them to the parapets.


* * * * *



"Come on, Rich..." George grumbled under his breath out in the hallway. He'd been trying to track down his brother all morning and finally decided to check out Rich's apartment on his lunch break. Richard had called in sick at the part-time job he had at a nearby pharmacy and likewise at the biology lab where he worked as teacher's assistant once a week.

Finally, after a quick glance around, George pulled out his wallet and removed the spare key Rich had given him. It took some jiggling in the lock but he managed to let himself in the apartment. The living room/kitchen area was a shambles, the shredded remnants of a Quarryman's uniform mixed with torn paper scattered across the floor and furniture.

"Richard?" George called anxiously. He had intended to chew his brother out royally for skipping out last night but now he was getting worried. He found Richard's wallet on the kitchen bar when he heard movement back in the bedroom. George took a sharp knife from the sink and held it in a military-style slash grip.

He pushed the door open cautiously. The sheets and blankets were draped from the bed like someone had been pulled from it. The window leading to the fire escape was still locked. That left the bathroom. George edged towards it silently. The door began to open.


His brother's pale face flashed before him and George only barely stopped himself in mid-strike. "Darn it, Rich!" he swore. "I almost killed you!"

Richard stared at him queasily before bolting back into the bathroom and retching noisily. George grimaced and took a closer look around the room. Sticking out from under a pillow on the floor was a bottle of amber liquor with a few ounces left inside. George picked up the bottle and went back out to the kitchen, returning a few minutes later with a large glass of iced water, aspirin, and part of a six-pack of cola, hanging off his fingers by the plastic rings. He rolled in the chair from the computer desk, took a seat and popped open a can.

His brother staggered back in and propped himself up on the bed. Richard looked like a cadaver. Wearing only baggy gray sweatpants, his skin was a pale lime green and his disheveled hair and day-old whiskers made him look like a derelict. George cast an experienced eye over him. He didn't drink to excess himself but he'd lived through it enough times with his barracks buddies back in the service to know the routine.

"Drink some water, Rich," George advised. "You're dehydrated."

Richard took a few sips and held the cold glass to his forehead. "I think I yakked up my spleen."

"I'm not surprised."

His older sibling's usually calm tone of voice caught Richard's attention. "What are you doing here anyway?"

George took another long sip of his soft drink. "Well, I was going to yell at you for getting me worried but I don't see much point in it now. You seem to be punishing yourself." He looked at his brother curiously. "Whatever possessed you to drink whiskey? I've never known you to touch the hard stuff before. What's up?"

"Angela gave me the bad news last night," Richard said quietly. "The old 'you're a nice guy and you'll always be my friend' line with a twist I never saw coming." He took another long drink of water and swallowed some aspirin.

"Bummer, bro, but was it really so bad that you had to embalm yourself?"

Richard's eyes widened as he let out a deep breath. "Trust me, George. This was major bad news."


"Yeah, big guy, too. He could throw me through a brick wall."

"Really?" George looked interested. "Would he like to join the Quarrymen?"

Richard began to laugh weakly. "No, no, I don't think he'd be a very good recruit."

"Pity," George said, sipping his cola. "Well, I'm on my way to a raid on Long Island. One of our members out there spotted a gargoyle visiting a writer named Jeffrey Robbins a few nights ago. We've had our doubts about Robbins since his first editorial letters were printed."

Rubbing his forehead, Richard squinted at his brother. "Robbins? But he's a terrific writer! I went to a lecture he gave at the University last semester. You can't go after him, bro! He's blind!"

"Hey, he's clearly pro-gargoyle. Robbins may not be affiliated with those P.I.T. crybabies but when he talks, people listen." George crushed the empty can in his hand. "And we're going to shut him up. He's the main speaker at P.I.T. sponsored event so we'll be killing two birds with one stone." He stood up. "I'm going to go on but I'll be back later. Castaway has a major rally scheduled in Central Park tonight."

"But George, you can't--"

"Yes, I can." He glared at Richard. "Somebody has to pick up the slack and I don't shirk my responsibilities." George started out of the bedroom. "You'd better be ready to go by the time I get back." His footsteps thudded in the emptiness of the outer room before the door opened and slammed shut.

Richard winced and shut his eyes at the sharp sound that sliced through his throbbing head. He really didn't the sound of the Long Island raid at all. Jeffrey Robbins seemed like an all right guy when Richard had gone to his lecture. The blind author was a natural storyteller; within minutes, it didn't matter what color or handicap he had, all that mattered was the story. It just didn't seem right, making him into a Quarryman target.

He staggered out into the living room and collapsed on the small sofa. Sipping his water, Richard picked up the remote and began flipping channels. A news broadcast caught his eye.

"...This morning, the Police Department reported seven different incidents of vandalism citywide. They believe this to be the work of the Quarrymen from evidence collected at various sites and from eyewitness reports. At the Steinberger Gallery, near St. Patrick's Cathedral, a security guard suffered a heart attack after being bound and gagged by intruders. He is listed in critical condition at Manhattan Medical. The rooftop sculpture garden at the Steinberger Gallery, famed for its collection of gothic figures, was vandalized at an estimated cost exceeding fifty thousand dollars. Our own Nicole St. John caught up with the police officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Elisa Maza of the 23rd Precinct."

Richard straightened up. That name seemed vaguely familiar to his hungover, somewhat fuzzy brain. He turned up the volume slightly.

The camera focused on a striking brunette with cinnamon-hued skin wearing a red leather jacket and blue jeans. She looked irritably at the reporter.

"A moment of your time, please, Detective," Nicole St. John said smoothly. "Any insight into the sort of criminal who do such a senseless act, destroying priceless and irreplaceable works of art?"

"We're still waiting for confirmation from the Crime Lab but all evidence points to the Quarrymen. They seem to think by smashing all the statues they come across, they might score a gargoyle or two." The female detective looked directly into the camera. "I've got news for them. The only thing all this vandalism is proving is that the Quarrymen are the biggest public nuisance in the city."

"By the same argument, wouldn't some of the blame fall on the gargoyles too? If not for them, the Quarrymen would not exist."

"Maybe, Ms. St. John," Detective Maza said grimly. "But the gargoyles wouldn't give a security guard a coronary and just abandon him. They respect life too much for that."

"But how do you know that?"

The detective's dark eyes flashed. "I'll tell you what I do know. I knew the man who worked security at the Steinberger Gallery. He was a retired cop who served on the force with my father. He has a wife and family who don't know if he's going to pull through or not. If he dies, then the Quarrymen will be copkillers and every cop in Manhattan will be on their case."

Richard stared at the screen for a second, then clicked it off. Slowly, bits and pieces of information began to come together. Elisa Maza seemed adamant about the innocence of the gargoyles; she talked as if she knew them personally. Something Angela said once came back to him. They had been talking about the fact that they both had parents that were separated. Angela was telling him about her efforts to become closer to her mother and how she had to be careful not to talk about her father's girlfriend. Richard had asked why and Angela had given that musical laugh of hers.

"Oh, Richard!" she had said. "I don't dare! Mother hates Elisa with a passion!"

His eyes widened. George had Elisa Maza listed prominently on Castaway's list of 'sympathizers,' it couldn't be merely coincidence that Angela also knew an Elisa as well. He struggled out of the sofa and went in search of the telephone.


* * * * *


Elisa sank into her chair and flopped her hair forward on the desk. Matt slouched into his own chair opposite hers and eyed her in amused sympathy. "I never thought I'd be walking a beat when I became a detective. You?"

"Nope." She straightened her hair as she settled back in her seat. "What do you think the Quarrymen are up to? What's with so many different smash and runs in different parts of the city?"

"Beats me. They've been in disorder ever since that bust at the docks when we caught Jay Smith. Castaway has been keeping to himself, appearing at random to buck up the troops. The word is that they're losing recruits at a steady rate."

"There's still enough of them to be trouble," Elisa said sourly. The phone rang on her desk. "Maza." She looked across at Matt, her forehead wrinkling with puzzlement. Grabbing a sheet of paper, she began writing rapidly. "Slow down, okay? Let's hear it from the top."

Curious, Matt stood up and leaned over the desk to read her notes.

"J. Robbins -- PIT fundraiser

Long Island -- Brooklyn Heights?


Angela?? Broadway??"

Elisa tapped her pen by the last two names, glanced up at her partner to see if he was watching and deliberately crossed them out.

Matt grabbed his phone. "Dispatch, I need to contact Long Island, Brooklyn Heights precinct, I think." He covered the receiver with his hand and mouthed, "What's up?"

"Hot tip," Elisa mouthed back. "Thanks for the information," she said to her caller. "Can I get your--rats! Hung up." She dialed another number. "Larry? I need an ID on a call that just hung up on me. Can you do it? Thanks."

"So, what's the story?" Matt asked, listening to his phone while looking directly at his partner who had snatched the daily newspaper out of his "In" basket.

Elisa flipped through the paper. "Anonymous tip about a Quarryman raid. It seems Hudson's friend Jeffrey Robbins has become a target. Our informant says there's going to be a raid on a P.I.T. fundraiser on Long Island. He says a team is on their way now."

"He?" Matt leaned forward. "It's not Sara?" he asked in a whisper.

"No, a young guy from the sound of it," Elisa replied. She stabbed a finger at a column of newsprint. "And here's the announcement, 'Jeffrey Robbins and other authors to appear at local library in support of People for Interspecies Tolerance.' Rockaway Bay Public Library."

Her partner whistled. "Do you think it's a legit tip?"

"Can't hurt to be careful."

Matt nodded. He blinked and began to talk into the receiver rapidly, repeating the information to his colleague in Long Island on the other end of the line. "Yeah, you'd better hurry." He pulled the paper across and traced his finger along the news article. "Robbins is due to speak at three o'clock. My partner and I will meet your people there." He hung up and stood up. "Let's roll, Elisa."


* * * * *



The setting sun embraced the statues lining the parapet with one last warm orange caress before its dying rays sank beneath the horizon. One after the other, the statues cracked and shattered, becoming living flesh once more. The gargoyles hopped down from their perches, greeting each other as was their custom. Lexington stayed on his perch a few seconds longer, turning his head away so he wouldn't have to witness his rookery brothers with their females. Broadway and Angela exchanged a chaste kiss and immediately linked hands. Brooklyn and Sata's embrace was doubled by the twins joining in. Bronx began to follow Hudson in at leisurely pace but Nudnik bounded off eagerly in another direction.

"OOoomph!" Graeme found himself flattened on the flagstones. A rough tongue ran up the side of his beak to his pointed ear. "Eeeuw, Nudnik!" he complained. "I'm glad to see you too, boy, but I could do without being slimed!"

The immature gargoyle beast wagged his tail from the shoulders down and crooned softly as he nuzzled his master, bumping his head under the youngster's beak. Graeme laughed and pushed Nudnik off his chest as he sat up. His sister was idly twirling her bo staff around, limbering up for their bushido lesson with Sata after breakfast.

With a small impish grin, Graeme leaned over as he vigorously scratched Nudnik's ears. "Hey, boy! Lookit! Ari's got a stick! Wanna go fetch? Get the stick! Get the stick!"

Yelping eagerly, Nudnik bolted towards an unsuspecting Ariana and seized the end of her bo staff in his strong jaws. He dug in and fought back as the young red gargoyle tried to free her weapon.

"Nudnik! Bad dog! Let go!" Her eyes widened as she was nearly jerked off her feet by the playful gargoyle beast. She glanced in her brother's direction and growled at his impertinent grin. "Dad, Graeme's doing it again!"

Brooklyn concealed his own smirk as he turned to his son. "Well?"

The dark green gargoyle shrugged, radiating complete innocence while his eyes danced. "Hey, you know how much Nudnik likes sticks. Is it my fault Ari was waving one around in front of him?"

"Graeme, you little sneak! I oughta..."

"Be tranquil, Ari-chan," Sata said quietly as she pried the bo staff from Nudnik's mouth. "The true warrior keeps her head at all times."

Ariana pouted. "But, Mother..."

Sata put her hand under her daughter's chin and tilted her head up so she could look in her eyes. "I believe your brother has forgotten who his sparring partner will be later." She smiled serenely.

Ariana glanced at her brother out of the corner of her eye and smiled back at her mother.

Elisa came out onto the parapets. "Great! You're all still here!"

Goliath swooped down from the tower. "Good evening, Elisa," he said pleasantly. "What news?"

She stuck her hands in her jacket pockets. "We got a hot tip on a Quarryman raid." She looked at Hudson. "We still don't know why, but your friend Jeffrey Robbins was targeted at a P.I.T. fundraiser today."

"Robbins?" Hudson asked sharply. "Is he all right?"

"He's fine," Elisa answered, smiling at the old gargoyle. "We caught two vanloads of Quarrymen near the library where Robbins and a few other pro-gargoyle authors were speaking. It could have been really ugly."

"No doubt we have Sara to thank for this," Goliath rumbled.

"Actually, the tip came from a guy," Elisa said, "and young-sounding too. He didn't talk long enough for us to trace the call but he said he was Angela's friend and he mentioned Broadway too."

Everyone looked at the young couple. Angela blinked and looked up at Broadway. "Richard," she said in a stunned voice. "It must be Richard." She started to walk into the castle, calling over her shoulder, "Please excuse me, I have to make a phone call."

Goliath looked after his daughter, puzzled. "Broadway?"

"Do you remember that day when we were turned into humans?" Broadway asked. "Well, Angela met this guy Richard and it turns out that he's a junior level Quarryman. His brother is one of Castaway's high mucky-mucks. Richard fell off a building near St. Patrick's last night, we rescued him and he finally found out Angela's a gargoyle."

"Why didn't I know this sooner?" Goliath demanded. "Why did Angela keep him a secret?"

"Yeah," Brooklyn agreed. "He's a Quarryman. He could have been using her."

"I know, I know," Broadway said. "But Angela really enjoyed talking to him. She says he always avoided talking about Quarryman stuff." He shrugged. "You'll have to ask her for the details."


* * * * *


A troubled nap and a long shower later, Richard was almost ready to join the ranks of the living again. He had even gone to the trouble of dressing in blue jeans, a T-shirt and a baggy V-necked sweater. He was trying to eat some chicken soup when the telephone rang. He stared at it a few seconds before picking it up. "Hello?"

"R-Richard?" Angela said hesitantly. "How are you?"

He took a deep breath. "Hi, Angela. I've been better. How are you?"

"Fine." She paused. "Richard, Elisa's here. She says someone gave her a tip on a Quarryman raid. Was it you?"

"Yeah." He bit his lip. "Attacking Robbins and those other people, it just wasn't right."

Her voice brightened. "Thank you, Richard. You helped the police stop an ugly thing from happening."

"Think nothing of it." He stirred his soup idly. "Do me a favor, Angela. Stay away from Central Park tonight."


"Castaway's having a major rally there tonight. If he's found out that today's raid failed, he's going to be in a really bad mood."

"Very well, I'll tell the others. Are you sure you're going to be all right?"

"I'll get over it." He smiled wanly. "It's not the end of the world."

"If you say so but I'm still going to worry about you anyway."

Richard sighed. "You can if it makes you happy, Angela. I'm going to finish my dinner now. Bye." He hung up the phone before she could speak and pushed his bowl of soup away. His appetite was long gone now, heartache taking the place of the hangover.

There was the metallic scrape of a key in the lock and the door slammed open. George stalked in, hair and clothes disheveled and eyes burning with anger. He shut the door forcefully and went into the kitchen, taking a soft drink from the refrigerator and taking a long drink from it.

Richard put on his best poker face. "Bad day?" he inquired.

George began swearing under his breath as he paced the length of the apartment and back again. He slammed the soda can against the counter, sending droplets of foaming cola everywhere. "They were waiting for us!"


"The Long Island police and Bluestone and Maza were there too," George said bitterly. "Only Banquo, Fleance and I made it out."

"Maybe Castaway will call off the rally tonight," Richard suggested.

"Hmmm, he might at that." The older Harrison looked around the room. "Can I use your computer?"

"Go ahead." Richard waved towards the desk.

George booted it up and went straight to the Internet. Curious, Richard stood behind him and watched. George took a sleek folder out of his inside pocket and fingered through it while he accessed the Castaway Industries website and went to an unobtrusive link. A security box came up and Richard had a clear view as his brother typed in the password: C - A - N - M - O - R - E. A black shield with three blood-red diagonal slashes across it filled the screen.

"Canmore? What's that?"

"Not sure," George said absently, fingers tapping the keyboard. "I think it's an old Scottish family name. It's Castaway's private password." A window popped up and they both leaned in to read it.


Assemble at the Central Park staging area.
Demonstration will proceed as scheduled."


Richard frowned and walked back to the kitchen. He puttered about, rinsing out his soup bowl as George logged off the computer and went into the bathroom to clean up. When he came back into the room, he glanced at his younger brother.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" George demanded. "We've got a rally to go to, Rich. Get the lead out."

"I'm not going."


"You go if you want, George," Richard said firmly. "But I'm staying here. No more Quarrymen for me. It's not worth it."

His brother raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, bro? You took the oath." He started towards Richard. "You pledged to rid the city of the gargoyle threat."

"They were never a threat," Richard said disgustedly. "If we had just left them alone, none of this would have happened, the threats, the vandalism, the assaults, all of it! The gargoyles would have minded their own business if we had only minded ours!"

"You're not thinking clearly," George said hotly. "You're still hungover."

"Oh, no." Richard met his brother halfway across the room. "Want to know what REALLY happened to me last night? I'll tell you. I fell off the building last night, did you notice? Did you even care?" He stuck his chin out, breathing heavily. "You were too busy doing Castaway's dirty work."

"It had to be done. It was part of the plan."

"Some plan! You ruined some stonework, big whoop-tee-doo!" Richard glared at him. "You want to know how come I'm still alive and not street pizza in front of St. Patrick's?"

George's eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared. "Okay, how?"

"One of Castaway's evil creatures swooped down from the sky like an avenging angel and caught me." Richard got right in his brother's face. "How do you like that, big bad Quarryman?"

"They've corrupted you," George said coldly.

"She saved me," Richard retorted softly. "I'm not going to destroy them and I'm not going to help you do it either."

"Damn it, Rich," George growled, "You stop talking crazy and come to the rally or so help me...." Unconsciously, his right hand drew back.

"Or what, you'll hit me?" Richard said scornfully. "We're not kids anymore, George, and this isn't a game. Now get out of here." He turned his back and walked away.

"You'll regret this," George said, his footsteps heading away. The door opened and slammed shut.

Richard took a deep breath and let it out. "I already regret it, bro."


* * * * *



Broadway, Goliath and Elisa were halfway down the corridor when Angela came out of the guest room. She frowned at the stormy expression on her father's face.

"I'm sorry, Angela," Broadway said regretfully. "They wanted to know."

She nodded. "It's all right. I shouldn't have kept it a secret for as long as I did." She looked at Elisa. "Richard is the one who called you this afternoon. He said he didn't think it was right, attacking Robbins."

"A Quarryman with a silver lining, who'd have thought it?" Elisa gave a half-smile and shook her head.

"There's something you should know." Angela glanced at each of their faces. "There's going to be a rally in Central Park tonight. Castaway himself is supposed to be there."

"Castaway? In public?" Goliath rumbled.

Broadway looked intently at his clan leader and the police detective. "We'll never have a better chance to put him away for good."

"Are you sure he said Castaway would be there?" Elisa asked.

"Yes, and that he would be very angry about the failed raid," Angela answered. She gestured to the guest room. "I can call him back if you like."

"Yeah," Elisa said. "I think I want to talk to him."


* * * * *


Richard was washing down some more aspirin when the phone rang again. "Hello?" he said absently as he tucked the receiver under his chin while he closed the aspirin bottle.

"Richard?" Angela said anxiously. "There's someone here who wants to talk to you."

"This is Detective Elisa Maza," the new voice said. "I just wanted to thank you for your tip earlier. You kept a lot of innocent people from being hurt today."

"You're welcome." Richard sighed. "I only wish I'd come to my senses sooner."

"You told Angela about a rally in Central Park. Fill me in."

"It's a major recruitment drive after that fiasco at the docks," Richard said. "Castaway's lost most of his body doubles so he's going to be there at the Great Lawn in person this time."

"You're positive?"

"Yeah, my brother is Castaway's speech writer and personal assistant. I get to hear all the dirt." He glanced at the computer and frowned. "Tell me, Detective, does the name 'Canmore' mean anything to you?"

"Canmore? Jon Canmore?" The police officer's voice rose with excitement.

"I don't know about the 'Jon' part, but Castaway uses 'Canmore' as a security password on his computer. My brother told me it was some sort of old family name."

There was a burst of hushed conversation in the background, then Elisa came back. "I hope you're right, Richard, because if you are, this is a major bust. Jon Canmore has a list of outstanding warrants as long as my arm. Thanks a lot!"

"My pleasure."

Angela came back on the line. "Thank you, Richard. You have no idea what you've just done for my clan. We've been looking for Canmore for months."

A cold feeling began to come over him. "You're not thinking of going to the rally, are you? It's going to be really dangerous. The shock troops will be there to protect Castaway and they'll be packing more than just hammers."

"I know but until Castaway is brought to justice," Angela said fervently, "there won't be a safe place for us anywhere in this city, maybe even the world." There was a pause. "I must go now, Richard. Thank you again."

The dial tone hummed loudly in his ear. Numbly, he hung up the phone. They had no idea what they were going up against. George had used his contacts in the military to recruit the core group that formed the elite attack group of the Quarrymen. The disgruntled lieutenants and foot soldiers from the various underworld criminal factions filled out the rest of Castaway's roster. The shock troops were more than a match for unarmed gargoyles.

Richard started pacing the room. He was at a loss as to what to do. Aside from the karate lessons he'd had as a teenager, he never really considered himself a fighter. George was the Harrison boy that the bullies left alone. George... he glanced at the computer desk in passing but looked back again as something caught his eye. His brother had left his slim leather bound organizer behind. Richard unzipped it and rifled through it. There was a digital diary, business cards, a couple of magnetic cards and tucked behind the diary was a photo id on a ball chain. The flip side had a bold circle-and-hammer logo.

He took the ID into the bathroom and scrutinized his image in the mirror. If he took off the glasses and combed his hair back, his close resemblance to George might be able to do the trick. His brother had one of the highest security clearances in the Quarrymen organization. Richard reached for the hair gel and a comb. All he had to do was play it cool and maybe ... maybe it just might work.


* * * * *


Goliath burst into the kitchen, Broadway and Angela close behind him. The rest of clan stopped in various poses of eating to stare at him.

"Here, lad," Hudson said, setting his cup down, "What's the matter?"

"We've had some unexpected news," Goliath rumbled. "There's going to be a Quarrymen rally in Central Park and Castaway himself will be there." He glanced around the room intently. "According to Angela's friend, John Castaway and Jon Canmore may be one and the same person."

Brooklyn whistled. "Is his information accurate?"

"I don't believe Richard would lie to me," Angela said firmly. "His brother is one of the upper level members. He has access to a lot of information."

"We shall discover the truth for ourselves," Goliath said grimly. "We shall go in force to this rally and help the police capture Castaway. Elisa is arranging things even now."

Angela looked at the twins and frowned slightly. "Father, we shouldn't leave the castle unguarded. Perhaps Graeme, Ariana and Nudnik could take the watch?" She exchanged a look with Sata.

The Ishimura gargoyle rose gracefully and placed a hand on each of her children's shoulders. "Goliath-sama, my young warriors are ready to serve their duty to the clan."

The lavender gargoyle regarded Brooklyn's children soberly. "Yes, I believe that would be wise. Very well, Ariana and Graeme, you will defend the castle and Hudson and Bronx, you're with us." He turned and headed for the door, the clan following.

Sata embraced her son and daughter affectionately. "I know you will take good care of things here until we return," she said with gentle firmness. "Keep your mind on your duties."

Brooklyn ruffled their wild black hair. "Keep Nudnik from wrecking the place, okay?" He and Sata started out the door. "And take care of the dishes!"

Ariana smiled and stood up, ego puffed up with lavish praise. "We are defending the castle. Just us, Ari and Graeme, the team supreme!!"

"Baka neesan," Graeme muttered, putting his plate on the floor for Nudnik to polish off.

"What?" She glared at him. "That's so-o-o-o uncute, Graeme."

"Ari, we're guarding a pile of rocks with its own automated security system, babysitting a dog and Dad just stuck us with KP." Graeme held another plate out for the gargoyle beast to lick clean. "Fortunately, we have Nudnik, the walking garbage disposal."

Ariana sighed and began collecting dishes. "Ratboogers. They did it to us again, didn't they?"

Graeme laughed. "If it'll make you feel any better, Ari-chan, I'll let you whack me around in the gym with your stick when we finish up here."

A wicked grin curled around his sister's beak.


* * * * *



George was walking the edge of the crowd, doing a quick head count with a clicker in his hand and gauging the recruitment potential of the people present. From the random sampling he was getting, a large number of students had shown up and most were ambiguous on the gargoyle situation. He frowned at a large group of P.I.T. supporters carrying placards promoting interspecies tolerance. Some of the more agile members had climbed a couple of trees and were hanging a banner between them proclaiming, "Give Peace A Chance." He shook his head and made a mental note to have some of the rookie members tear it down.

"George Harrison?"

He looked up into the unremarkable face of a man with mouse brown hair. He was dressed casually like most of the crowd but with a Quarryman armband around his coat sleeve. George nodded. "Yes, what is it?"

The man looked at him with almost colorless blue eyes and held out a long, white envelope. "I was instructed to give you this. It is to be opened after the rally."

"I understand," George said and tucked the envelope away in the inside coat of his coat. "Anything else?" There was no answer. He looked up.

The man had vanished into the crowd. George looked around for a few minutes, eyebrows wrinkled together in growing irritation. He finally shrugged it off and went back to the business at hand.


* * * * *


John Castaway took a final look in a small mirror backstage. After months of careful grooming, the Castaway personna had become second nature, merging so well with his own personality that there was no telling where Jon Canmore ended and John Castaway began.

He had to admit that the power of Castaway's position was intoxicating. With his backers providing weapons and capital for the Quarrymen organization, the ages old tradition of the solitary hunter seemed so trivial now. It had always been kept in the family, two or three Hunters a generations, silently stalking the Demon through the centuries. Now they were an army, and they would scour the world clean of the Demon and all those like her.

The Demon. Castaway smiled to himself. He knew where to find her and in her human form of Dominique Destine, he could handle her alone if need be. In fact, he wanted to do that job himself; a private, personal revenge for all the Canmores down the centuries. He owed it to his ancestors, to his father who the Demon slew before his own eyes as a child, and to his siblings, now incarcerated in prison. He'd thought about helping them out, more times than he could remember but didn't dare contact them for fear of jeopardizing his cover. He had to settle for reports through intermediaries. Robyn was dealing with prison life with her usual efficiency but it pained Castaway to follow his brother Jason's progress.

The vision haunted him. He had the big gargoyle in his sites, it was a clean shot but somehow the beast had forced Jason in front of him, yes, that's how it really was. Used his older brother as a human shield. Castaway's face twitched. He'd had Goliath in his grasp only days before, he would have had his revenge at last but he was betrayed and forced to run yet again. The cost to the Quarrymen organization was steep. More than a third of his forces to date had been captured by the police.

"Still," Castaway muttered to his image in the mirror, "there will always be the hunted." He smiled darkly. "And there will always be a Hunter."

Madness lurked in his eyes.


* * * * *


"Quite a turnout," Brooklyn commented. He and Sata were concealed in the shadows of a steep slate roof on Belvedere Castle.

"Yeah," Lex said into his headset, as he swayed in the top of a towering evergreen, his green hide blending in with the heavy foliage. "Seems to be a real mix this time. Quarrymen, spectators, crackpots and some P.I.T. folks with signs protesting on the outer rim."

"Lexington, you're closest," Goliath said as he and Hudson soared high above the park. "Can you see Castaway?"

"Not yet," Lex answered. "There's been a warm-up speaker babbling the usual rhetoric but most of the crowd seems kind of bored."

Angela's voice broke in sharply. "Lex, be very still. Some sort of patrol coming your way."

The radio was silent for several minutes as everyone held their breath and watched. Endless time passed until Lex came back on. "Okay, they're gone. Looks like they've upgraded their equipment. Those Quarrymen didn't act like they came right off the street and they're wearing body armor. Some kind of new weapons too."

"Shock troops," Angela commented. "That's what Richard called them."

"I see now why you wanted the twins to stay behind," Sata said calmly. "Formidable opponents."

"Bronx is getting kind of edgy," Broadway commented. "There's a couple of those goons downwind of us."

"I see them, beloved," Angela said from her vantage point on the Metropolitan Museum of Art roof. "Lex, something seems to be happening."

"I see it, there's movement from the backstage area." Lex paused. "It's him. It's Castaway."


* * * * *


The hooded Quarryman gave the laminated card and the man carrying it a cursory look. "Very well, you may pass, Mr. Harrison."

Richard walked into the backstage area, trying not to squint. His ruse of pretending to be his older brother seemed to be working. Luckily, George had recently cleaned out his closet as he did on a regular basis to keep up with business fashion trends. He took an almost perverse pleasure in dressing like multibillionaire David Xanatos, well-cut dark suits with mock turtlenecks and the like. Wearing his brother's hand-me-downs was the final touch on Richard's disguise.

Wandering through the maze of lighting and sound equipment, Richard was thanking his lucky stars he'd served as George's assistant so many times before. He slipped on his glasses and looked around. The shock troops, the elite of Castaway's gargoyle hunters were positioned all around the perimeter of the rally area. They wore form-fitting body armor, not the midnight blue tunic of the regular Quarryman. He snatched up a clipboard from the top of a crate and examined it meticulously as a pair of troopers passed by on patrol, carrying the new particle beam weapons that had recently been acquired.

Richard hoped that Banquo and Fleance were stationed elsewhere. They worked extensively with George and they might be able to tell him from his brother at a glance. Castaway came around the corner, heading for the stage with an armed escort and a covey of followers. Richard fell into step behind them and followed along. They dispersed the second Castaway stepped on stage, each going to their assigned positions. Richard took up a post by the teleprompter, scrolling briefly through the speech. It looked like one of George's better efforts, highly persuasive and stirring. He eyed the Quarrymen leader, posing for the crowd and wondered how he could gum up the works.


* * * * *


Castaway looked out upon the sea of upturned faces. So many eager, easily manipulated young minds, and they were his, all his. He glanced at the teleprompter screen. Another fine speech from his assistant. Harrison had been an excellent find and it had only taken bringing a minor indiscretion to the attention of his superiors to get him out of the military and into Castaway's service. He glanced at the wings. Harrison was there now, busily attending to his duties. He smiled coldly.

"Good evening," Castaway said as he leaned into the microphone. "I'm pleased to see so many open-minded, free-thinking individuals here this evening. It proves that there is hope that the city officials of Manhattan may soon wake up to the reality that they are being manipulated and used through the deliberate acts of supposed heroes." He paused, an odd glint coming into his eye.

"I intend to prove without a shadow of a doubt that the inhuman beasts who call the rooftops of Manhattan home are deliberately committing crimes and promptly appearing to assist civil authorities, thus lulling the public into a false sense of security. The deviousness of these creatures knows no bounds! They will do anything to lead our elected officials into dropping the Gargoyle Task Force and then they will strike! Manhattan will become unlivable if these creatures are allowed free reign to do as they please!"

Some of the pro-gargoyle protesters began shouting and moving towards the stage. Someone, one of his lieutenants perhaps, had the forethought to put the ground troops in position for just such an eventuality. Hooded Quarrymen formed a human barrier between the crowd and the stage while others confronted the protesters.

"Picture, if you will, the voracious appetites of these monsters. There isn't a merchant in this city who hasn't suffered a mysterious theft during the night hours, unaccountable by human means. Food, merchandise, vehicles... they take what they please and the police do nothing! Our own observations lead us to believe that these animals are entering into a breeding cycle. The skies will be soon filled with their lustful and immoral sport! And once the few females are claimed," Castaway said eagerly, edging over the podium, "who will be left to service the remaining sex-crazed males?"

He watched as horrified expressions crossed the faces of the crowd in a huge wave. "That's right," Castaway said gleefully. "There won't be a safe place in Manhattan for a woman to hide from a flying assailant with the strength of ten men."


* * * * *


"Oh, fine," Lex snorted. "Make it impossible for me to get a date in this town."

"Helter Skelter," Brooklyn muttered under his breath. "He's nuts."

"Where IS he getting this stuff?" Broadway asked.

"Hold your positions," Goliath commanded. "Elisa is on the way with reinforcements."


* * * * *


Richard did a double take as he followed the lines of script on the teleprompter. Castaway was ad-libbing again. He looked at the crowd and bit his lip. The people out there were getting riled up. The Quarrymen on the outer rim that were picking a fight with some sign-carrying protesters weren't helping. Problem was, how to stop the impending riot before it started. Richard pummeled his brain for something, anything, that could shock Castaway to his senses.


* * * * *


"They won't stop there! Life as you know won't be worth living if we don't eliminate them now!" Castaway glanced down at a smaller screen jury-rigged next to the teleprompter and flicked it on. Small red lights came on at key points surrounding the Great Lawn. His smug smile grew colder as he saw the small blips registering on the heat seeking radar. "Even now, they're closer than you think."


* * * * *


Ever since Castaway had deviated from the written speech, George had been struggling through the crowd, trying to get backstage. He had been organizing some of the rookies as crowd control when he had been caught in the early scuffles between Quarrymen and P.I.T. members. The pro-gargoyle people were nowhere near Quarrymen level in fighting skills but they were armed and some of them had attached their signs to broom handles and other heavier bits of lumber. George had a number of welts and a dull throbbing ache in his arm.

He caught a glimpse of red flash in the corner of his eye. Castaway was activating the sensors. Roughly, George started shoving people out of the way, throwing the odd punch to move them. He had someplace to be and he had to be there now.


* * * * *


"Telemetry coming in," one of the elite Quarrymen said, voice distorted through their helmet speaker.

Richard's ears pricked up. He pretended to check things off on his clipboard while he listened.

"Teams A and B, heads up. We've got bogies in the area, get into position." Whoever it was laughed harshly. "The boss was right. I think we lured the entire clan here."

"Angela," Richard whispered under his breath. Calmly, casting a wary glance at the two troopers coordinating their attack teams, he headed for the stage.


* * * * *


"Join with us and the Quarrymen will do what the city will not, rid Manhattan of the gargoyle threat forever!" Castaway said expansively, throwing his arms wide. "You need never fear the night again!"

"He's right!"

Castaway turned his head to see Harrison coming on stage. Unrehearsed but still a salvageable move, he gestured the young man closer. His testimony would no doubt influence many of his peer group in the crowd. "Yes, don't make your decision on just my words! Hear what a fellow citizen has to say!" He backed away and let the young man with the glasses have the microphone.

Richard looked around, not at the crowd but up at surrounding buildings and trees. He took a couple of deep breaths and blurted out, "Angela! It's a trap! Get outta here!"


* * * * *



Backstage, the elite Quarryman swore and yelled into his headset, "All units! Attack!"

His partner dashed out in front of the stage and fired at a tall pine tree. A small green gargoyle with glider wings like a flying squirrel leaped out seconds before the particle beam hit and sailed low over the screaming crowd. He gained some altitude and changed directions, heading for the reservoir. His attacker followed.


* * * * *


"Broadway, get ready!" Lex's voice crackled through the radio. "You got company coming!"

There was a knuckle-cracking sound. "Bring 'em on."

Sata drew her katana with a hiss. "Brooklyn."

The red gargoyle nodded as he saw the moonlight gleam off the barrels of the weapons coming closer. "Let's do it." As one, the mates leaped off the walls of Belvedere Castle and shot silently to the ground, sweeping as many of their foes to the ground as possible. Sata's blade flashed in and out, razor-sharp slashes of moonlight, disabling and disarming her opponents. Brooklyn wrenched a weapon away from one of the Quarrymen, bashed him in the head with it and turned it on the others.

"Drop 'em, guys. Don't be stupid." Brooklyn charged the weapon and narrowed his eyes. "I won't give you a second chance." Sata stepped up behind him, blood dripping from her katana.

Guns clattered on the ground.


* * * * *


Hudson swooped in low from the west, skirting the edge of the reservoir. Two Quarrymen were looking down towards the rally and holding up some sort of device, scanning for Lexington no doubt. With a stealth that belied his age, the old warrior crept up and knocked their heads together. Chuckling to himself, he tied the Quarrymen and started to rise to look for the others when a gun barrel tapped against his temple.

"Don't move or I'll blow your brains out!"

It was a young voice and a young man to go with it, Hudson judged, as he peered at him out of the corner of his eye. "Will ye now, laddie?" the old gargoyle asked in a gentle brogue. "I'd be pointin' that thing in the other direction if I were you, lad."

The gun barrel shook a bit. "Wha...No, I'm not falling for that old trick!"


Bronx jumped out from the creeping shadows and seized the gun in his powerful jaws, jerking it away. Hudson used the distraction to pop the young Quarryman cleanly on the jaw. As he lowered the human to the ground, Hudson quipped, "Sometimes it's the old tricks ye got to watch out for, laddie." He took the guns and snapped them in two.

"C'mon, Bronx. Let's go help the lads."


* * * * *


"Spread out!" the elite Quarryman ordered. "That little freak could be anywhere."

"Nice talk," Lex muttered. He flattened himself against a wide tree trunk, keeping it between him and her heat sensor. "They're almost between us, bro. You ready?"

Broadway's voice buzzed softly in his ears. "You hit 'em high and I'll hit 'em low."

"Okay...easy now....GO!" Digging into the rough bark of the tree, Lex launched himself at the hunting party's leader, his impact freeing her helmet, revealing a vaguely familiar woman with short red hair. He knocked her out and went on to the next Quarryman. Meanwhile, his large rookery brother had waded into the thick of it, tossing away hammers and snapping guns like toothpicks.

"Here now, lads, save some for us," Hudson admonished, dodging a wild shot. He sliced a gun neatly in two while Bronx chased two men up a tree.

Lexington cocked his head. "What's all the yelling about?"

"Yeah," Broadway said as he made a pile of unconscious bodies. "Angela, what's up!" He tapped his headset. "Angela?" The big blue gargoyle began to look around for a way to get airborne.


* * * * *


"Turncoat!" Castaway's punch came out of nowhere and nearly knocked Richard out of his shoes. His glasses went flying but miraculously, Richard had kept his grip on the mike, jerking it free on its long cable.

"You're one to talk," Richard said, spitting blood. "Canmore." He watched as a momentary shock of recognition crossed Castaway's face. "Yeah, that's who you really are. I remember now. You're one of those three gargoyle hunters that blew up the police clock tower and tore up half the town."

The color dropped out of Castaway's face. "You lying little..."

"No, it's time for the truth," Richard said, rising to his feet. "Nobody would have known or cared about the gargoyles if it wasn't for you. They wouldn't have to worry about some maniacs with hammers coming after them and we wouldn't have our town torn up with all the damage you and your idiot Quarrymen have caused."

"Traitor!" Castaway pointed to the ID hanging around Richard's neck. "You are one of us! You accuse yourself!"

"That's right." Richard turned to the crowd. "I'll admit it! I was a Quarryman but I was wrong! I went around smashing stonework and chasing gargoyles and it accomplished absolutely nothing. I was an idiot and a fool! A gargoyle saved my life last night and I'm not going to let you or anyone else hurt her or any of her kind!" He glared at Castaway, who was absolutely livid. "You'll destroy no more lives with your lies. It ends here, tonight!"

Castaway snatched a hammer from a nearby display of Quarrymen uniforms and equipment. An inhuman cry sprang from his lips and his cultured countenance twisted into a hideous mask as he pumped up the weapon.


* * * * *


George was fifty feet from the stage when he saw Castaway start to swing at his brother. The world suddenly switched to slo-mo as instinct took over and George went for the 9mm Barretta pistol he'd taken to carrying at these Quarrymen functions. Hammers were all well and fine but he preferred precision to brute strength. Richard's words echoed in his head but he wasn't hearing them; in his mind, all he could see was the little brother he'd taken care of all his life.

He kicked the fool down in front of him to clear his line of sight, and aimed.


* * * * *


Electricity crackled off the matte gray surface of the heavy hammer. His white-rimmed eyes were a clear giveaway of Castaway's madness. He started to strike the traitorous young upstart, the fear in the clear blue eyes of young Harrison giving him a curious thrill to the very core of his being. He grinned and brought the hammer down.....

.....and a curious double swoosh popped his ears just before the podium hit Castaway in the face. He lay stunned on the floor a few minutes, listening to the floorboards of the stage creak and strangely familiar voices speaking.

"Richard? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine...I thought I told you to stay away!"

"This concerns us all, ....Richard, is it?" a deep voice rumbled.

Castaway's eyes flew open. Distorted from his worm's eye view, he could see the gargoyle who maimed his brother and the Demon's daughter standing with young Harrison. In his mind, it was the condemned church again, players in the same positions, almost the same setting. The only thing lacking was the police detective...

"Out of the way, Police!" Elisa Maza pushed her way on stage, her partner Matt Bluestone and a few uniformed officers rounding up the Quarrymen working behind the wings. "Goliath! Are you all right?" The dark-haired woman put her hand on the gargoyle's arm and looked up at him with loving concern in her eyes.

Something snapped inside Castaway's mind.


* * * * *


George's mouth hung open.

He absolutely could not believe it. Right as Castaway was about to hit Richard with the full charge of the hammer, two gargoyles swooped down and put themselves between the two humans. The female pulled Richard away and the big male, Goliath, if memory served, used Castaway's momentum to ram him into the podium. The hammer landed a few feet away, the charge still crackling and arcing.

His brother was talking to the gargoyles, actually smiling at them. George felt the bile rise in his throat when Richard reached out and touched the female's hand. He saw Richard mouth the word, 'Angela.' George's eyes widened for a second and he wanted to puke. THAT was Angela? The Angela Rich had been all moony over for weeks, that he talked about constantly? He had almost made George fall halfway in love with her himself!

He looked down at the gun he held limply at his side. George looked back up at his brother smiling at that thing with her voluptuous curves barely contained in that skimpy outfit. He set his face and lifted the gun, switching targets.


* * * * *


Richard noticed the panic in the crowd and stepped to the edge of the stage. "Hey, let's all calm down. Everyone please! Listen to me." He took a deep breath. "The only way thing's are going to change in this city is if we stop what we're doing and just listen." He gestured behind him at Goliath and Angela. "They're not hurting anyone. You all saw for yourselves how the Quarrymen set a trap for them and fired on them first."

"But you're a Quarryman!" a voice shouted from the crowd. "How can we trust you?"

"That's right. I was a Quarryman and trusting me is the last thing you should do," Richard replied. "You should trust your eyes and ears and make up your own minds for yourselves. I used to be afraid of gargoyles, even hated them but then, like the Good Book says, I learned to 'love thy enemy.'" He smiled over his shoulder at Angela. "And once you learn to love them, they aren't your enemies anymore. They're friends." He held out a hand and Angela took it.

The P.I.T. group gave a rousing cheer and many others in the crowd joined in. Angela leaned in and said softly, "That was very brave, Richard."

He looked at her sadly. "Who knew I had it in me?"

"I did." She squeezed his hand.


* * * * *


'Love thy enemy? LOVE THY ENEMY!' Was the boy insane? The only good gargoyle was a dead gargoyle, every Canmore throughout the ages knew that. Spittle spilled down his chin unnoticed as Castaway looked for a weapon. The electronic whine of the discarded hammer attracted his attention. He stared at it with glistening eyes. He could have it and be striking Goliath dead where he stood, as occupied as the gargoyle was with fawning over the traitorous woman.

With a lifetime of training, Castaway snatched up the hammer and charged.

Richard looked up and saw the wild arc of electricity encircling the hammer like a lethal halo. "Look out! It's on overload!" He pushed Angela away.

Goliath spun around to see the weapon coming down at him. His tail whipped out to trip his assailant.

The sharp crack of a gun firing and the dull ping of a target being hit went almost unnoticed in the resulting crowd noise. Simultaneously, Richard spun around and fell off the stage on to the grass while Castaway's hammer vibrated in his hands seconds before exploding in a starburst of sparks. The Quarrymen leader was thrown against the stage back, hands and face burnt black from the electrical blast.

Elisa picked herself up from the stage floor and slapped her handcuffs on Castaway. She looked the ruined hammer over. "Look at this ding, Goliath. I think somebody shot at him."

"I agree," Goliath said. "I thought I heard a gunshot."

"Elisa, Father!" Angela called. She had jumped off the stage after Richard. "There was! Richard's been shot!"

The dark-haired detective left Castaway in Matt's custody and joined Angela. Officer Morgan was there as well.

"Easy there, kid." Morgan rolled Richard partially over and checked his back. "Bullet didn't come out on this side, Detective. It must be lodged in his shoulder."

"It was a rebound," Elisa said, nodding her head. "Lost some of its momentum bouncing off that hammer." She stood up and squinted. "Shooter must be in the crowd."

Morgan unclipped his radio. "Attention all units. We have a shooter in the crowd. Search everyone before they leave. We also need two ambulances stat."

"Officer, is there anything I can do?" Angela asked.

"No, I think I've got it under control," Morgan said, pressing a cloth against the wound. He looked at her curiously. "You seem kind of familiar, I don't know." He laughed. "Next thing I know, I'll be saying you gargoyles all look alike and that's really crazy!"

Richard's eyes trailed across the night sky and he smiled wanly. "Your boyfriend's looking for you," he said weakly. "Go on. Get out of here. I'm in good hands."

"Very well, as you wish." Angela squeezed his hand. "Heal quickly, Richard."

He laughed. "Have to. I've got finals coming up."

Officer Morgan watched as the two gargoyles both vaulted off a police van roof into the air. "She seems like a nice girl," he commented.

"She's my best friend," Richard agreed and closed his eyes.


* * * * *


George spotted a lone policeman on a grassy knoll near the edge of the rally site, a slightly over-weight rookie from the looks of him. He ambled over to him, with a dopey smile on his face and radiating good-natured camaraderie.

"Stop right there, sir!" the young cop said, pointing a shotgun at him. "I have to ask you to join the others please."

"Hey, I just wanna know what's up, y'know?" George said jovially. "Like, I gotta go to work early tomorrow. We gonna be here all night? Seems to me like the party's over."

"We're just checking the crowd for injuries and stuff," the cop said, the name E. Sinclair visible on his name tag. "You should be going home soon."

"Yeah?" George turned his back on him, looking at the crowd. "Bummer gig, man. Guess I shoulda stayed home, huh?"

Sinclair relaxed and the tip of his shotgun tilted up. "Tell me about it."

George was on him in seconds, his gloved left hand twisting away the shotgun and his right nailing the rookie on the chin with a hard palm strike. "Looks like it's not your night, fat boy." He dragged the unconscious body into a grove of nearby cedars, emerging seconds later, his stylish coat now bundled up and serving as extra padding under Officer Sinclair's larger uniform and jacket.

No one noticed the rookie cop as he calmly walked past the police lines and disappeared into the night.


* * * * *



"Police authorities have arrested Jon Canmore, also known as John Castaway, founder of the Quarrymen organization, on a variety of charges, including extortion, willful destruction of private property, breaking and entering, vandalism, grievous bodily assault, and attempted murder, to name a few. Interpol has a number of outstanding warrants on Canmore from countries around the world that are still being collected by the District Attorney's office. It is possible Canmore might be extradited for criminal trials abroad, although given the criminal charges against him here in Manhattan, it is highly unlikely."

The camera switched angles on the anchorwoman. "In a press conference this morning, the police commissioner, in conjunction with the mayor's office, declared the Quarrymen organization officially disbanded. Our own Nicole St. John was there and spoke to the people on the street about the news."

The blonde reporter beamed at the camera. "Thank you, Joan. This is Nicole St. John, live outside of Police Headquarters where the news of the Quarrymen disbanding was announced a few hours ago. Here are some reactions from the man and woman in the street."

A businessman in a cashmere overcoat looked down his nose at the camera. "I say it was about time something was done about them. The cost in damages to the city caused by the Quarrymen alone are astronomical. I'd like to know who's going to be responsible for all the repairs."

"Quarrymen?" said a long-haired man with a tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt visible under his open parka. "I always thought they should have been paying royalties to the Beatles, y'know?"

"Well, I still don't like the idea of gargoyles living here," an old woman said. "Maybe they could send them back to Europe with that Castaway fellow."

A group of young people clustered around the mike. "I don't see what the big deal is," a young man with glasses said. "I think gargoyles are really cool. The Quarrymen were all a bunch of whackos in my opinion."

"Yeah!" a red-headed girl agreed. "It's not what you look like, it's how you act that counts!"

A brunette with a lightning bolt necklace spoke up. "And gargoyles can fly! Who hasn't dreamed of flying?"

Her companion, a teenager with brown eyes laughed. "Hey, tell you what, me girl! You Yanks get tired of your gargs, send 'em up North. We Canucks like a bit of variety!"

Nicole St. John came back on, with a quirky smile on her face. "As you see, the times, they are a-changing. Is it the spirit of the upcoming holiday arriving early this year or merely relief that the Quarrymen/gargoyle siege is over? Your guess is as good as ours. Nicole St. John, reporting for WVRN. Back to you in the studio."

The picture faded to black on the big screen TV encased in its own built-in cabinet at the end of the long paneled office. The men around the polished mahogany table turned their attention to the head of the table. A hand lowered a remote to the table. The occupant of the elegant wing-backed armchair leaned back, his face shrouded in shadow.

"Gentlemen," he said in an aristocratic voice, "I believe we can consider the Quarryman project at an end." He reached out for a sleek black folder on the table before him, its cover embossed with a pyramid containing an all-seeing eye, and opened it. "And now on to new business....."


* * * * *


"Knock, knock."

Richard looked over at the door to his hospital room. Elisa Maza was standing in the doorway. "Hi, detective. Come on in."

She walked over and leaned again the rail of his bed. "How's it going?" She looked over the bulky bandage covering the upper left side of his chest. "Shoulder wounds hurt like the dickens, don't they?"

He smiled. "Ask me when the Demerol wears off. The docs tell me the damage isn't too bad. I ought to be out of here in time to sit finals."

"Well, lucky for you, you're only guilty of aiding and abetting. The DA is pushing for probation in light of your cooperation in breaking this case."

"My parents will be relieved. You just missed them. First time they've been in a room together in ten years." He looked out the window. "They want to know what'll happen to George. Has he shown up?"

Elisa shook her head. "No sign of him anywhere. A rookie reported seeing someone with his description just before he was knocked out and had his uniform stolen. It's entirely possible he walked right past us, as bold as brass."

"That's George, all right." Richard sighed. "Think he'll try to bust out Castaway?"

"Frankly, Rich," Elisa said resignedly. "I don't think Castaway will be any use to anyone."


* * * * *


"I'm grateful that you've arranged this visit, Doctor," said the handsome dark-haired man in the wheelchair as he traveled along the long corridor with his brother's physician. "But why? I understood his injuries are severe but that they weren't life-threatening."

"Yes, Mr. Canmore, you are quite correct. The burns to his face and hands are mostly second-degree with small areas of severe third-degree damage that may require skin grafts." The doctor stopped at a door with a police officer posted outside. He checked the doctor's credentials and looked questioningly at the wheelchair-bound man.

"Doctor Sato, I don't believe this gentleman is on the visitor's list."

"This is the patient's brother, Jason Canmore." He pulled a sheet of paper out of the folder he was carrying and handed it to the duty cop. "Captain Chavez approved my request for his visit."

The guard examined the papers carefully before taking out a magnetic card and letting him into the room. Jason observed the procedure and commented, "Tight security."

"Detectives Maza and Bluestone insisted on it. There are still a few of the higher-ups in his organization loose that might try to liberate him." They approached the bed.

If it wasn't for the witnesses at his arrest, Jason would be hard-pressed to identify the bandaged body resting in the bed as his brother. His head, upper chest and arms to his elbows were swaddled in gauze. A nurse was checking him and looked up.

"I've just changed his dressings, Doctor," she said crisply. "All vitals are stable." She handed Dr. Sato the chart in her hand and he checked it quickly.

"Very well, nurse. Give me a hand here." Together, the doctor and nurse helped Jason up into a tall chair by his brother's bedside and secured him in place so he couldn't slip. Dr. Sato leaned into the patient's line of sight. "Jon? You have a visitor." He turned the bandaged head in Jason's direction.

Reddened eyelids opened and stared at Jason, numbly at first but widening into bloodshot blue eyes of a gradual, white-rimmed madness with not a shred of recognition in it. His head lolled away as he muttered, "Monsters... traitors... they're everywhere...."

"Jon, it's okay," Jason said earnestly. "It's all over, the doctors are going to help you."

His voice agitated instead of soothed. "No! NO!" He thrashed against the restraints that held him down. "It was their fault. All the gargoyles! If not for them... Father... Robyn.... Jason...." He sobbed under the bandages. "...what have I done? There must be a Hunter!!"

Jason let the tears roll down his face. "Och, Jonny, me poor wee bairn," he said in his seldom used Scottish brogue, "how the mighty have fallen." He reached over and rested his hand on his brother's chest.

Dr. Sato and the nurse watched discreetly as the injured brothers sat together, the elder silent and the younger babbling incoherently.

"What do you think of their chances?" she whispered.

"Jason may never walk but he'll adapt," the doctor murmured, "but as for Jon, that poor devil will never be the man he once was."

"...there mus' be a hunter..." The ramblings were growing farther apart as Jon began to drift in and out of consciousness.

Jason shook his head regretfully. "Rest now, Jonny and may yuir dreams bring you peace."


* * * * *



George lifted up the garage door on the public storage locker he kept rented under an assumed name. Inside, there was a Kawasaki Ninja, a set of motorcycle leathers and a backpack with a change of clothes, new identity papers and other essentials of life. If there was one thing he'd learned from his former employer, it was being prepared for the unexpected.

He traded the expensive Italian suit for the dusty motorcycle leathers, tied a bandanna around his head and studied the effect in the Kawasaki's rearview mirror. With the day-old beard and the biker gear, it would take a very sharp eye to associate George C. Harrison, executive assistant, with Jayce Roberts, biker bum. A few months of laying low, living off the funds he'd 'appropriated' from Castaway Industries and George would be set to start a whole new life.

Wheeling the bike out, George shut and locked the storage room, leaving the key in the night deposit. He adjusted the straps on the backpack and headed out for the highway.

Down the street near a rundown convenience store, a nondescript man stood watching the motorcycle drive away. He pulled out a celphone, punched up a number and waited.

"This is Garlon. I've tailed the subject to Philadelphia. You'll be pleased, I think. He's clever, creative and resourceful. In short, he's just what the doctor ordered."

He snapped the phone shut and melted into the shadows.


The End