Fleeting Encounters

Story Outline by the TGS Breakdown Crew

Written by A Fan and Christi Smith Hayden


* * * * *


Late nineteenth century India:


The dark purple twilight found the trees springing to life as the flying foxes twittered and fought up in the high canopy of the surrounding jungle. Brooklyn watched them as he sat on the back steps of the bungalow, cleaning the fish he'd caught at the river. He and Sata had found the abandoned tea plantation three months ago and from the looks of things, the previous owners had left suddenly. Most of the furnishings had been left behind in hectic disarray. After Sata dispatched the animals that had taken up residence in the kitchen, the two time-traveling gargoyles had made themselves at home. It had been a welcome rest after their adventures on the high seas.

As he watched the flying foxes diving in and out of the fruit trees, Brooklyn smiled. Their flying style was not unlike a certain rookery brother he had left back in Manhattan. "I wonder how Lex is doing?" he mused. "He's probably up to his ears in his computer or something." He sighed deeply, remembering, and took the fish inside.

Sata was puttering in the kitchen. It had taken him by surprise that she knew how to cook. Somehow, given her extremely formal nature, he had expected her to have been waited on hand and foot all her life. Instead here she was, grinding up something in a mortar and pestle with a pot of rice cooking on the stove.

"Here's din-din on the fin," Brooklyn said cheerfully. He put the fish down on a convenient platter. "I got lucky tonight and caught two big ones."

"Ah, how nice." Sata covered what she was working on with a clean linen towel and came over to examine the fish. "Yes, I will steam these with savory vegetables." Her nose wrinkled. "You'll have time for a proper bath."


Her response was to straighten up to her full height with her hands on her hips and to look him in the eye with that cool, unwavering stare of hers, nose twitching occasionally. Brooklyn sighed. "All right, you win. What is it with you and bathing, anyway?"

"All truly civilized beings bathe."

Brooklyn muttered and stomped off in search of soap.


As soon as Brooklyn was clear of the kitchen and she was sure he was headed in the direction of the bathing room at the back of the house, Sata flipped back the cloth covering the pestle and checked the consistency of the tea leaves. She had been thrilled to discover the rows of low-growing bushes to be tea plants. It had taken some time to determine which were the best plants to harvest. The aroma was delicious and the Japanese gargoyle breathed it in deeply.

Satisfied with her preparations, Sata quickly began to prepare the fish. She and Brooklyn had reached an agreeable arrangement where he provided the meat for the table and she prepared it. Sata herself had no qualms against hunting herself but would under no circumstances butcher animals or fish. Such work was not for samurai but rather for eta, the lowest class of Japanese society or -she smiled - any convenient gaijin gargoyles that were suitable for the purpose. Cooking, on the other hand, was a skilled art that many samurai like herself pursued for their own pleasure.

Sata had been considering this evening's plans for some time. The peaceful respite of the past three months had given her time to become better acquainted with her companion. Brooklyn still had many odd, barbaric habits she did not fully understand, but she no longer regarded him as a fool. He had a sharp intelligence behind his flippant manner and had shown great judgment in crisis after crisis. After adding these traits to his physical charms, Sata had concluded that Brooklyn was a suitable prospect for a long-term relationship.

Such serious matters needed to be treated with due ceremony and exquisite formality. There really should be a go-between present but under the circumstances, Sata would have to manage on her own. She set the fish into the steamer and left it to cook. Retrieving a tray from a cabinet, Sata carefully checked the arrangement of the porcelain dishes and placed the finely ground tea leaves in a small bowl. Convinced that all was in readiness, she went off to prepare herself.


Dinner had been interesting, Brooklyn reflected as he wandered out onto the verandah. Sata had been most attentive and strangely formal. He wondered what was going on with her as he stared outside. The flying foxes had calmed down and now other sounds could be heard in the night time jungle - snatches of nightingales singing, monkeys howling, and the rough calls of tigers hunting. The night here was never silent.

The wooden steps creaked and soft footsteps approached. Brooklyn looked over his shoulder at Sata coming out with a tray cover with a spotless white cloth. She smiled serenely at him as she carried the tray to the low table surrounded by soft cushions. Brooklyn raised an eyebrow ridge as he realized it had only been a week since Sata had insisted on redecorating the verandah by scrubbing it down thoroughly and arranging the furniture to give it a decidedly Japanese flavor. It was one of Sata's favorite places in the bungalow, so Brooklyn hadn't given it a second thought - until now.

As he watched, Sata sat down at the low table, removing the white cloth from the tray and folding it with great precision. She placed various items in front of her - a steaming tea pot, some bamboo utensils carefully laid on a linen napkin, and a small yet deep bowl of the same blue-and-white patterned porcelain as the tea pot. A bright red hibiscus flower was placed artfully on the folded white cloth. Folding her hands in her lap and sitting back on her heels, the jade green gargoyle looked up at him expectantly.

Brooklyn nervously raked a hand through his hair and took his place opposite her. "So," he ventured cautiously, "what's up, Sata?"

"It is a Japanese custom," Sata began with a small smile, "Chaji, the tea ceremony. I would like to perform it for you."

It was the tone of her words that caught his attention as Brooklyn straightened up. Maybe he was imagining it but there seemed to be some genuine affection there. "I would be honored, Sata," he responded and watched her closely.

Sata bowed her head, eyes lingering on Brooklyn's face for a moment before lowering her gaze to the table. With elegant gestures, one flowing into another like a dance, the Ishimura gargoyle began the ceremony. Three scoops of the greenish tea were placed in the bowl. Water was added in stages as Sata used a bamboo whisk to blend the tea into first a thin paste and then a frothy liquid. She turned the bowl three short turns and placed it in front of Brooklyn.

The red gargoyle hesitated, unsure of what exactly to do. One of Sata's earliest Japanese lessons came to mind. When in doubt, bow. Brooklyn bowed deeply before taking up the tea bowl and Sata smiled, a warm light coming into her eyes. He sipped the fragrant hot liquid carefully, meeting her eyes as he turned the bowl as she had and returned it to her.

Sata bowed deeply from the waist and took a sip from the bowl herself. She produced two delicate cups from the tray and divided the tea equally. "Although the ceremony itself is conducted in silence," Sata said quietly as she set the cup before him, "it is the custom to have conversation afterwards."

"It's an interesting ritual," Brooklyn commented. "It must have some deeper meaning."

"Chaji teaches us that each encounter is a singular occasion that will never occur again." Sata sipped her tea serenely. "One performs the ceremony as a sign of respect; sometimes to show reverence for one's elders, or to reconcile differences or to express affection or friendship for another."

Brooklyn considered. "So...are we friends now, not just traveling companions?"

"Yes," she answered. "I would like that." Again the warm glowing smile.

He smiled back. "I've had very few female friends that I've gotten to know as well as I do you. What about you? Any males back in Ishimura waiting for you?"

Sata raised a cautious brow ridge. "Yoshi has always regarded me as somewhat more than merely his second-in-command. The elders have had us paired off since we were hatchlings." She looked down thoughtfully. "Although Yoshi is a worthy male, there was only the barest attraction between us. No other males in my clan interested me."

"Really?" Brooklyn gazed at her over the edge of his tea cup. "In my clan, we had only one female and she chose my rookery brother, Broadway. Lexington and I were going to have to go outside the clan for mates." He gave a half-hearted laugh. "Of course, I've gone WAY outside the clan now, thanks to the Phoenix Gate."

"Perhaps there is a purpose to its madness," Sata suggested. "Perhaps it is karma, fate that has brought us to travel together."

Unbidden, their eyes met across the low table, tea forgotten. Brooklyn swallowed. Could that be the reason Sata had been caught up in his travels with the Phoenix Gate? He studied the jade perfection of her face. She was gazing back at him speculatively, lips parted. He started to lean forward when a familiar tingling sensation began in the back of his head.


"Yes, Brooklyn-san?"

"Hurry and get your swords. We're fixing to go for a ride."

Sata's eyes widened and she leaped up, knocking the table and all the tea things aside in her rush to dash inside.

Brooklyn clutched the magical talisman through his belt pouch. "C'mon, wait a minute, will you?" His only answer was the shimmering circle of light beginning to appear in the center of the room. He looked anxiously into the house. "Sata!! Hurry!!!"

The corona of the Phoenix Gate was almost fully formed when Sata returned. She leaped into Brooklyn's outstretched arms seconds before Gate closed. A brilliant flash of light and the bungalow was abandoned again.


* * * * *


New York City, 1996:


The sweet scent of the jungle was abruptly replaced by a faintly acrid odor that burned the inside of Sata's nose as they passed out of the time vortex. She tried to breathe shallowly and looked around. The Phoenix Gate had dropped them in an urban setting on a gravel-topped roof of a tall building, not alike the other brick and glass constructions around them as far as the eye could see. Tucking her swords into her obi, Sata commented, "That was a near thing. I shall not allow myself to become so complacent again."

"They're only swords, Sata," Brooklyn said carelessly as he picked up a scrap of paper and examined it. "You could always pick up others."

"Bakamei gaijin!" Sata muttered under her breath as she composed herself. "Brooklyn-san," she continued in a reasonable tone of voice, "The soul of a samurai resides in one's swords. My sensei gave me these swords on the day I bested him. I would sooner die than be parted from them."

"Nineteen ninety-six," Brooklyn murmured as he read the paper, apparently having not heard her words. "It's the year I left with the Phoenix Gate." He looked around with the scrap of paper in his hands and frowned. "It's too warm to be November. I wonder..."

A strange airborne vehicle passed overhead, supported by nothing more than three large whirling wheels. It was followed by four gargoyles, a lavender female, a large blue-green male, an olive green male with webbed wings and .... Sata cast a startled look at Brooklyn and back at the red beaked gargoyle in the sky.

"Brooklyn-san! How can this be that you are both here and there?

Brooklyn merely moaned, "Oh, no. Not this!"

Sata stared after them, curious. "Come along, Brooklyn-san." She jumped off the wall, careful to stay well back.

"Sata, really, you don't want to see this," Brooklyn said anxiously as he followed her. In a voice that was almost a growl, he muttered, "I know I don't..."

As Sata watched, the four gargoyles pursued the hovercraft but the trio of males were arguing and not paying attention.


"Hey!" the other Brooklyn said as big blue one and the web-winged one glided up.

"It's not fair," the big one said. "How come you get to go with Angela?"

The other Brooklyn scowled. "Hey, am I the second-in-command or what?"

"You're abusing your power!" the web-winged one protested and he began wrestling with the other Brooklyn in mid-air.

Sata hoped the big one would break up the fight, but no - he joined right in, quarreling with the others. She rather sympathized with the female, Angela, as she swooped nearer, calling out to them. The foolish males did not see the red brick chimney until seconds before they flew into it. Hovering besides Sata, Brooklyn winced.

Angela landed. "I tried to warn you."

She was answered with a moaned chorus of "Thanks..." from the prone males on the rooftop.

Brooklyn and Sata glided behind a billboard to conceal themselves. Her companion looked so disconcerted and embarrassed that Sata fought back the urge to laugh. She merely commented with a twinkle in her eye, "That must have hurt."

"You have no idea." Brooklyn rolled his eyes. "I think it hurt worse the second time around."

A circle of light opened beneath them and swallowed them up.


* * * * *


Somewhere in Texas, Time Unknown:


The Phoenix Gate, oddly, failed to do more then singe the hay as it deposited Brooklyn and Sata on the top of the haystack. The heap of straw was the highest vantage point for as far as the eyes could see in the gently rolling hills around them. Lowing sounds and slow-moving shapes in the darkness indicated cattle in the rustic setting nearby.

Sata sat up from where she had been dumped and climbed out of the haystack. She turned back to Brooklyn with a look which indicated how much she enjoyed dropping into piles of hay, which was obviously not much, by the way she was plucking loose straw from her hair.

The sight reminded Brooklyn of an old joke and he grinned wickedly. "Hey, Sata...have you ever heard the one about the samurai's daughter and the time-traveling gargoyle?"

Sata cast a look of alarm in his direction, clearly confused at his attempt at humor.

Laughing, Brooklyn slid out of the hay. "It's a spin on an old joke, Sata. You probably never heard of the first one. It's all about a ..."

"No, Brooklyn-san," Sata said, her eyes widening as she looked past him. "Your sense of humor is strange as always but it is NOT as strange as that large animal behind you."

Brooklyn glanced over his shoulder at eight hundred pounds of Texas Longhorn, pawing the ground and shaking its massive horns threateningly. "This is not a good place to be a red gargoyle," he muttered. The bull snorted and made a low, aggressive sound deep in his chest.

"Then I believe," Sata said without a trace of hesitation, "that we should get away from here." She started edging back around the haystack.

The bull decided not to wait until they had made their getaway. With an ear-shattering bellow, he lowered his head and charged. Brooklyn and Sata dropped to all fours and bolted for the top of the nearest hill to get enough height to take off. Just as they reached the top, the Phoenix Gate snatched them away, leaving a very confused Longhorn.


* * * * *


Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink. The ocean stretched as far as the eye could see. And Sata and Brooklyn appeared above it. There was no hope of finding land or a ship in the ten seconds or so it would take them to fall into the unknown depths. Just before the two were about to hit the water, the Phoenix Gate whisked them away...

...To several feet above an English garden, where they both slammed headfirst into the branches of a tree before the flames engulfed them again.

A young man, leaning against the opposite side of the tree, failed to notice what was happening until an apple, dislodged from the tree by the impact, fell and hit him on the head. The man picked it up as it rolled into his lap and blinked a few times. His eyes lit up with inspiration and barely contained excitement.


* * * * *


The 9th Annual Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, Columbia University campus, New York, November of 1996:


The Gate swept them away in a flurry of leaves, this time to a dingy stairway of an old building. Opening a door, Sata and Brooklyn found themselves on a balcony overlooking a group of humans, mostly in their late teens, but some older, clad in an intermixing of casual and formal attire.

They were all laughing at two people standing at the front of the room. One was a girl with curly dark hair, an 'interesting' dress, bunny ears and fairy wings. In a voice more suited to a two-year-old, she said, "Doe-eyed bunnies frolic through the meadows of my mind," as her companion in a smoking jacket attempted to light a pickle with a cigarette lighter.

Brooklyn shook his head, trying to get a handle on the most confusing sight in front of him. "What the..."

But that was as far as he got before the Phoenix Gate whisked them away once again. The people below were laughing so hard that no one even noticed, even when the scattered leaves on the balcony drifted down across the stage.


* * * * *


New York City, 1996:


Even before the timegate flames died down, Sata could see two gargoyles in trouble. A familiar-looking lavender female and a web-winged male were hurled from the sky by an explosion, landing on some wooden tracks. A silver dragon with one glaring eye bore down on them, screaming like a lost soul. Sata started to go to help them when Brooklyn pulled her back.

"Wait," he said quietly, "and watch."

The other Brooklyn and the big blue male swooped down and snatched their fallen comrades away. The time travelers followed them discreetly, perching in the shadows of a nearby building to witness yet another childish fight. Sata watched her Brooklyn cringe out of the corner of her eye.


"This is all YOUR fault!" Broadway said, pointing a finger at Lexington.

Lex crossed his arms smugly. "Hey, can I help it if you guys can't keep up with Angie and me?"

"Angie and you? Why, I oughta...." With that, the scuffle was on as all three males began to fight. Sata could tell by the disgusted scowl on Angela's face that the female gargoyle was not going to tolerate much more.

"Stop it!" Angela snapped. "Does anyone care that Brod is getting away?" She pointed at the hovercraft speeding away. "It's time you all stopped acting like hatchlings. The winner does NOT get to keep me." She stalked to the edge of the roof and jumped up on it. "Now, let's go." With that, Angela leaped off and glided away.

Broadway muttered, "Whoa..... busted."

"C'mon," the other Brooklyn said as he launched after Angela, "Elisa needs our help."

Lexington swiftly followed. "Hey, Angie..... wait up!!"

The expression on the lavender female's face hardened. "Oh, and another thing ...," she looked over her shoulder and glowered at her trio of males, "STOP CALLING ME ANGIE!!!"

"Got it."

"No problem."

"Angela it is."


Sata noted Brooklyn's discomfort and said teasingly, "It would be wise not to call ME Angie, either!"

"Aw, Sata....," Brooklyn said, running a hand through his white mane. "You're hardly seeing me at my best here. Broadway, Lexington and I, well, we were all acting like jerks over Angela. We hadn't seen a female our age in years and...."

"It is all right, Brooklyn-san," the Ishimura gargoyle said, putting her hand on his arm. "I know you have changed from the person you once were." She smiled. "Even when you act foolish, it is very charming."

A crooked smile curved around his beak as Brooklyn gazed into her sparkling dark eyes. There would never be a more perfect moment. He leaned towards her and started to pucker.....


* * * * *


A soundstage somewhere in California, modern day:


"RRRRRRWWWWAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!!" Even before the flames of the Phoenix effect died down, the two gargoyles found themselves staring into the snarling visage of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

They recoiled in terror. Brooklyn clutched the Phoenix Gate in his belt pouch, while Sata pulled out her katana. "Come on," he pleaded with the thing, "get us out of here."

Her blade bounced off the monster's snout and Sata made a split-second decision. She grabbed Brooklyn's forearm and began to run. "Faster, Brooklyn! You must go faster!" she shouted as the large dinosaur started to follow them into the underbrush.

A bright flash of light and the two vanished again before the scale model of the T-Rex rolled to the end of its track. A tall, dark-haired man dressed all in black scratched his head. "Uh...Steven? guys? Was that in the script? Who were those extras?" he asked the group gathered behind and around the cameras shooting the scene.

The bearded director adjusted his baseball cap and grabbed a clipboard. "Nope, Jeff, sorry - but what a great line! I've got just the scene for that!"


* * * * *


High above North America:


The two appeared on the wing of a 747. Quickly grabbing ahold of the aircraft, they held on for dear life. "Sorry, I should have added safer too," Brooklyn yelled over the rushing wind.

The incredible force of the air which pushed them in the opposite direction of the plane caused long and deep claw marks in the side of the plane. Just before they were about to sustain serious and life-threatening injury, they vanished.

Meanwhile, in the cockpit, a small red light barely had time to light up before the sky lit up with an explosion.


* * * * *


Child's bedroom, United States, mid 20th century:


Brooklyn took out the Phoenix Gate and scowled at it. "I'd swear this thing does stuff like that just to annoy us. Where are we?"

The room the two had appeared in wasn't especially large. In one corner, against the window, there was a small bed. The other furniture in the room consisted of a chest of drawers and three shelves with large thin books on them. Toys were scattered across the floor.

Sata reached down and picked up the object she found herself standing on. A green sock which had two buttons and a piece of red cloth sewn onto it in such a manner as to make them look like a face.

"A child's room, I think," she said, lowering her voice to a whisper. "Quietly now, we must not wake it."

"Wooby?" A small voice said sleepily. "Wan' my Wooby."

"Too late," Brooklyn muttered and froze in his tracks.

Sata looked down at the sock puppet she was still holding and with a little smile, put it on her hand. Holding out her arm so that the child would see the sock, she altered her voice to a merry chirp. "Hello, little one. I'm Keroppi, a tiny frog come to sing to you."

Brooklyn, meanwhile, was in the corner, trying not to laugh at Sata's method of communication. Sata scowled at him over her shoulder and returned her attention to the child.

"Do not be frightened," she murmured in a soothing tone. "Let's be friends."

"Friend," the child mumbled. "Tell me a story, froggie."

Sata thought a second or two. "Very well. Long ago," she began, "a brave and honorable samurai was exiled by the Emperor for a crime he did not commit. There was no one to clear him of the charges - no one but his only daughter. She was as beautiful as a chrysanthemum and as strong as the steel in her father's sword. Even though she was all alone, she was determined to clear her father's name and restore the family's honor."

As Sata told the Japanese fable, the little boy's eyes began to droop lower and lower until he was once again asleep. The jade green gargoyle tucked the frog puppet in his arm and brushed her lips against the boy's cheek. "Sleep well, little one."

"Well, well," Brooklyn said quietly as he carefully opened the window. "That was something I thought I'd never see."

"Not everything is best solved by force," Sata said as she slipped through the window and climbed onto the roof. "Sometimes a gentle word is greater that a sword stroke."

Brooklyn shut the window and joined her. "It's just-" He looked at her face glowing in the moonlight. "You just surprised me, that's all." He laughed.

"How so?"

"Just when I think I know you," he said, "you do something unexpected. I like that."

Sata smiled and took a step towards him.... right into the blooming corona of the Phoenix Gate.


* * * * *


Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico, 1971:


Blinding white light pierced their eyes as Brooklyn and Sata emerged from the time vortex. As the dancing spots cleared their vision, they both become aware that they were not alone. They were at the foot of a mountain in desert climate, surrounded by several strange-looking gargoyles, all with rubbery pale green skin, fluffy white fur and floppy lifeless wings.

Sata frowned as she backed into Brooklyn. "What sort of defective clan is this?"

Brooklyn snorted. "These aren't real gargoyles. This one over here has a zipper down his back." He glanced at the bright lights mounted on metal scaffolding nearby with shadowy figures of people moving around them. "We're on a movie set. These are humans in costumes pretending to be gargoyles."

"Jeez!" one of the pseudo-gargoyles said in a feminine voice. "Where was Winston hiding these costumes?" She tapped Brooklyn's beak. "Nice prosthetics."

"Yeah," said another, plucking Sata's sleeve and making a derisive sound. "Got a little carried away in wardrobe, didn't ya, baby? The director's gonna have a cow."

"Well, it's too late for that now," Brooklyn interceded smoothly before Sata decided to lop off the poor guy's hand at the wrist. "I'll let her stand behind me. That way they'll only get her from the neck up."

"Good idea. The camera's rolling," the pseudo-gargoyle agreed. "Let's get this shoot over with."

"What are you doing?" Sata hissed.

"Let's try to blend in for now," Brooklyn murmured back. "There's a lot of unsuspecting humans back there behind those lights. They're not panicking because they think we're one of these fakes." He tilted his head towards the rough, sandstone boulders of the nearby mountain. "We'll try to make it to the cover of those rocks. Make your wings droop a little and bounce when you walk like they do."

Sata attempted to copy the exaggerated movements of the actors but soon grew irritated. "This is ludicrous! No gargoyle walks like this!" Her tail snapped.

"I know, I know!" Brooklyn rolled his eyes. "None of these guys have a decent growl either and what's with all this hooting? Do they think they are -- owls or hyenas?"

A voice boomed out. "Okay - cue Goliath!"

Brooklyn's beak gaped open as a tall figure in a gargoyle suit appeared on the rocks above them. The actor might have been a large human but compared to the real Goliath, he was a scrawny imitation. The ridiculous rubber suit wrinkled deeply at the knees and ankles.

"Talk about your cheesy B-movie monsters," Brooklyn muttered disgustedly. "Good grief!"

The fake Goliath struck a ferocious pose. "Come, my legions! The humans are few and we are many. We shall take back the night and make this world ours!" He flung back his arms and started to roar, a pale imitation of the real thing.

In a fit of perverse humor, Brooklyn decided to help him out. His roar, while not as deep in pitch and resonance as the real Goliath's, was light years more ferocious than any human could manage. The echoes bounced off the surrounding mountains for several minutes. Brooklyn grinned gleefully at the stunned, dumbfounded faces.

Sata grabbed him and pulled him into a convenient cave, muttering in Japanese.

"Did you see their faces?" he crowed.

"Very impressive." Their voices faded as a growing glow sudden burst into a brilliant starburst, filling the cave with light before inexplicably dying away in a heartbeat.

"Cut-Cut-CUT!!!" The director stormed onto the set. "What in blazes WAS that? Those pyrotechnic charges aren't supposed to go off yet!" He pointed to the actor up on the rocks. "And you! What do you mean ad-libbing like that? That wasn't the way you did the roar in rehearsals!"

The fake gargoyle stammered. "Uh...well...uh...."

"Never mind. At least we got it on tape, right?"

The sound man looked up. "Yup, I got it. It's all right here."

"Thank goodness. Make a copy and we'll loop it for all of the rest of Goliath's roars." The director clapped his hands. "Okay, people! Back to your places, and...... Action!!!"


* * * * *


Liverpool, England, late 1950s:


Brooklyn and Sata appeared in a small alley. Brooklyn regarded the contents of the alley for a second. "Ooh, maybe we are here to contribute to history by cleaning up all this garbage." He stopped as his eyes fell upon a poster, advertising a band called the Quarrymen playing at some place called the Cavern. "How could anyone call themselves that?"

"Cause it beats calling ourselves 'Them Boys,'" a voice said from behind them.

Two young men were standing there, one with a long nose, sandy hair and a cigarette dangling from his lip and a shorter one with dark hair, a rounder face and hooded eyes. "This is Paul and I'm John. What's wrong with our bloody name, mate?" The smoker asked.

Brooklyn recognized them from the album covers in Xanatos' music library and for a second, was just a little awe-struck. He recovered quickly and said, "It-it's just not very interesting. Everybody has an image of what a Quarryman is. You're on the cutting edge of music right now, you want people to be curious about you."

"He's got a point, John," Paul said. "My da likes the name, but do we really want to attract that kind of crowd? I mean this is rock and roll! We've got the beat!"

"Exactly! Why not call yourselves..." Brooklyn's words were sucked into the time vortex as the Phoenix Gate suddenly snatched him and Sata away.

The two musicians stood there blinking for a minute or two. John took a long drag on his cigarette and blew out the smoke.

Paul broke the silence. "Funny bloke. He had a right cute-lookin' bird, tho."

"Seems to me he was a real nowhere man." John tossed his cigarette away. "Time for the second set anyway."

"Yeah, it's been a hard day's night." The two musicians wandered back into the club.


* * * * *


Children's Television Workshop studios, 1980s:


Voices could be heard below as Brooklyn and Sata appeared on the lighting scaffold in a television studio.

"...It's not easy being green," the green puppet finished.

"Mr. Henson, how exactly did you get the idea for Kermit?"

"Well, when I was a child, I dreamed a beautiful green lady appeared in my bedroom and brought a talking frog to be my friend. It was such a real dream that I never forgot it and I thought if a talking frog could capture my imagination, then maybe Kermit could teach other children to use their imaginations as well."

Up in the shadows, Brooklyn stifled a laugh. "Sata, you've inspired a generation of human children," he whispered. "A green frog is better than a purple dinosaur any day."

Sata smiled and leaned against the railing next to him, listening to the humans down below. Brooklyn found himself paying less attention to the interview and focusing more on the minute changes of her face as she looked down into the studio. He was so captivated by her subtle charms that he almost didn't notice when the Phoenix Gate swept them away.


* * * * *


Studio 54, New York City, 1970s:


The room was illuminated only by a small, dim, bulb which was mounted over the door. A bright ball of flame appeared on the dance floor. As it dissipated, it revealed the two gargoyles within in it.

"Cool," Brooklyn said, slowly gaining a sense of his surroundings. He located in one corner of the room, a control board and began flicking switches. The room began to come alive. A mirrored disco ball spun high above, its reflections merging with the various moving lights of a variety of colors rotating around the floor.

"What kind of a place is this?"

With another set of switches, Brooklyn turned on the place's sound system which began playing whatever record happened to have been left on the player. He returned to Sata, who had remained on the dance floor and began dancing. "It's a disco," he shouted over the music.

"What is a disco?" She shouted back.

"It's a place where people go to socialize - to dance and listen to music. You know, to have fun."

"'Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight?'" Sata shook her head in puzzled amusement. "This is supposed to be music?"

Brooklyn grinned back at her. "Yeah, and we'd better dance fast before it goes out of style."

"As soon as I hear proper music, I'll dance to it." Sata crossed her arms and watched the red gargoyle gyrate to the impossibly loud caterwauling he called music. The good thing she could think about it was that the heavy, rhythmic beat reminded her of the Kodo drummers of Japan. Her tail unconsciously twitched in time with the music.

Pointing a finger in the air, Brooklyn struck a ridiculous pose. He laughed and commented, "Of course, it would look better if I was wearing a white polyester suit."

"I shall take your word for it," she replied stiffly. Although she didn't want to admit it, Sata was more than a little annoyed. The evening had started perfectly as planned but had swiftly collapsed into chaos. She was beginning to see why Brooklyn frequently talked back to the Phoenix Gate as though it had a mind of its own. An inanimate object couldn't possibly cause this much trouble on its own.

The music changed to a ballad that was much more soothing to Sata's ears. Brooklyn caped his wings and made a low bow. "May I have this dance?"

He looked up at her with such earnestness that she found herself taking his hand before she realized she was going to do so. It was not the Japanese custom for males and females to dance together, but following his footsteps was no more difficult than that of the basic martial arts katas she'd learned as a hatchling. She allowed herself a small radiant smile of pleasure as Brooklyn waltzed her around the room.

The rotating mirrored ball on the ceiling cast dancing shimmers of light across the room. A bright light caught Sata's eye, causing her to blink rapidly, and when her vision cleared, she found a familiar fiery orb settling over them once again.


* * * * *


The Deep South, 1880s:


Spanish moss whispered in the trees as the sweet smell of magnolia and cypress perfumed the heavy, humid air. Cicadas and crickets serenaded the sleepy occupants of a Southern mansion that was reflected in the moonlit water of a small lake surrounded by cattails and covered with pink-tinted water lilies. In the middle of the lake was a rowboat floating free from the small dock, its rope trailing behind it in the water.

With the hard thump of bodies hitting wood, Sata and Brooklyn dropped right into the boat, making it teeter and splash dangerously until they sat down and re-balanced it. "For once this thing didn't drop us into the water," Brooklyn muttered. "But its timing stinks."

Sata settled down on the hard wooden seat and looked around at the charming scene. A solitary loon called and before the echoes died away, its lonesome cry was answered. She was strangely touched; even that lonely creature had found a companion, a mate. "Listen to the animals, Brooklyn-san," she said in a hush. "It's like they're singing for us."

"Yeah, well. At least it's not three frogs selling beer." Brooklyn swatted at some flying insects. "Darned mosquitoes."

Sata frowned and gave her companion an odd look. She couldn't understand how he failed to respect the wonder of nature. After seeing his younger self in his much praised Manhattan, it seemed to her that someone who spent so much time in a smelly island with tall buildings would appreciate a chance to get away from there. If he didn't appreciate the simple beauty in a bird's song, how could she expect him to appreciate all the things she loved and respected? She wondered if she was making a mistake.


As Brooklyn watched, the light went out of Sata's eyes and she turned to look at the reflection of the moon upon the water. Her body language made it clear enough; her legs and arms were pressed tightly together and the end of her coiled tail slapped the side of the boat. Apparently, he'd done something to irritate her again and things had been going so well too. There had been a look in her eyes that had nearly stopped his heart.

He asked himself how such an attractive and intelligent gargoyle could be so backward and naive. When he had been in the 10th century, his world had been small, like hers, but after his arrival in 20th century New York, his frontiers had widened considerably. Every street was a new community and a new adventure. Sata, however, interpreted everything as it related to the bushido code that she lived her life by and stubbornly refused to accept more than a few, if any, changes. Brooklyn stared moodily at the star-filled sky.

Not far away, somewhere in the shadows near the shore, the loon raised its voice in an eerie cry, a heartfelt yearning. The answering call came from almost directly overhead. Both Brooklyn and Sata looked up to see a long-necked black-and-white bird spiraling down. It touched down, scattering the watery surface of the moon's reflection. When the ripples subsided, there were two birds there silhouetted in a silvery disc, craning their necks against each other affectionately.

"I can't believe I'm jealous of a couple of birds," Brooklyn muttered under his breath. He stole a look at Sata. She was leaning against the edge of the boat, looking pensively at the loons now swimming circles around each other. He wished he knew how he could crack that cool jade shell and reach the real Sata inside. Deep in their own thoughts, neither one of them noticed when a fiery curtain lowered and left an empty boat adrift on a sea of stars.


The End