Creation began on 02-15-10
Creation ended on 01-15-14
To be a Mutate, or not to be a Mutate
A/N: The power of shape-shifting, to become whoever, or whatever, you desire for a time, either to escape your nightmares…or to return to the life you lived before your nightmares began.
It seemed as though his job of fixing or altering mistakes was never over. Sure, he had short vacations of rest and recreation, but those barely lasted him a few weeks or even just a day before he found that there were new situations that he could and should tend to, and when he found out about this one, well, he was more than royally angry. Four people, three of them victims and one a foolish thug, had been robbed of their former lives and forced to endure what they had become because of a demented, mad scientist-like man whom many could actually refer to as an evil genius. Science and Mother Nature had been exploited to an unjust degree, and he would see to it that a balance would be returned…and those who dealt these victims an unfair hand punished for their crimes.
"New York City," he sighed. "It's been almost two months since I last visited the Big Apple, and that was to get two people and send them to Los Angeles to be with the people there that would need their help to deal with a future threat. Well, I'd better get going and see the victims first and return to them what they had lost…and take what the thug has richly embraced."
Within the Labyrinth, Talon, formally known as Derek Maza, made his daily rounds before retiring to his quarters to be with Maggie, with whom he found himself in a relationship with after their misfortune in trusting Xanatos and his mad scientist, Sevarius. It wasn't all that bad, his new lifestyle. Sure, he had bat-like wings and the body of a humanoid panther and could discharge electrical energy from his body as a defensive maneuver, but he also had a new lease on the life he lived: He was a protector, he learned that such a creature known as a gargoyle actually exists and wasn't just a stone statue that you could use as architectural decoration or whatnot, and that there were more than just regular things that happen in the night…in the dark. But there wasn't a single day, or a mere second, that he wished he could go back to just being regular guy again. If he couldn't have a normal life, then just a normal appearance would've been acceptable for him.
"I can help you get some of both back, Mr. Derek Maza," he stopped at the sound his name being used by somebody that didn't look like they belonged down here. "Your original state…and your original life, if they're what you really want."
Looking at the person, Talon knew a dark-skinned, young man when he saw one, especially one that hid in the shadows of the abandoned subway tunnels.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" He asked the man. "Identify yourself."
The man stepped out of the shadows and stood in front of the mutated human, dressed in blue jeans and a brown shirt with a logo sewn onto it that looked like the letter "G". But what got Talon spooked a little was that it didn't look like this guy was a regular person. It was like he was wearing a mask or something, except that the mask was somebody's whole body.
"I come in peace," he told him. "I am Brother Correction, a spiritual relative of those with souls, here to help you, Ms. Maggie Reed and Claw…and to punish the Mutate known as Fang."
He could've told the guy he sounded crazy, that he was out of his mind, but Talon didn't. He couldn't; this guy wasn't a crazy person. He wasn't even a normal person. He was just somebody that was looking to help others.
"What do you mean, you're here to help?" He asked him.
"Do you believe in the power of shape-shifting, the gift or curse to become something entirely different for a time of a greater will's choosing?"
"Shape-shifting only exists in comic books and movies."
"That's what they all want to believe, but such an ability is real, and I can give it to you, Maggie and Claw. You can go back to being human like everyone else, whenever you want, go back to your old lives, create new ones where you can have better futures. And why? Because you three deserve your lives up there on the surface than you do down here. Maybe more than what the men that stole them from you have coming to them when I go see them. Please, think about it for a while. If you need proof of its benefits, I'll demonstrate."
The man then changed his hair and skin tone; the short, dark strands extended down to the small of his back and his flesh became blue. His eyes also shifted from brown to green. Where human hands once resided, a large pair of tiger-like claws manifested, and on the left cheek of his face, a lightning bolt-shaped scar made itself known.
"I gave you your kingdom, and I can take it from you!" He said to Talon; even the voice had changed. "Heh-heh-heh! I've always wanted to say something like that to somebody I wanted to help."
"Whoa," Talon exhaled, and saw the guy change back into his original state. "What's the catch? There's usually always a catch when something's being offered to you."
"If I had to make a catch in my offer, it would be for you to live your life free of restraint. Be who you used to be before your mutation at the hands of the mad scientist…and be who you've become to protect the people down here." Correction told him. "People can live two lives when given a balance between them…and I grant balance, stability and the redemption that many often seek."
"Hey, Claw!" Fang yelled out to the winged, tiger-like Mutate from within his prison cell. "Hey, I need to make my one phone call!"
The mute, tiger-like Mutate said nothing to the prisoner, ignoring him as he kept watch over the thug, waiting for his shift to be over and let someone else put up with his troublesome talking.
"You can go now, Claw," came Talon's voice. "Your shift's done."
Claw turned to walk away, but halted as the Mutate entered the hallway to take the prison cells. Instead of seeing a winged, panther-like Mutate, Claw saw the human that was Derek Maza. Claw was confused at how this was possible; ever since his own mutation, he never thought he could ever go back to being an ordinary man again. And then, he saw him accompanied by another young man, one that seemed like he didn't belong in a way.
"I've never been one for cougars to think they can cause a degree of trouble," the man, Brother Correction, expressed toward Fang. "Or should I say…Tony Dingles?"
"Huh?!" Fang reacted to that name being uttered by this man. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Tony Dingles. Currently twenty-four years old, joined a street gang called the Rogues at the age of thirteen, has been in juvenile detention twice until he aged out, and is currently MIA after escaping the police for second-degree murder of an elderly couple whose home you broke into. There's nothing about you that I don't know, Fang. You are beyond the capacity for redemption, always wanting to be the one in charge, to take from others because you grew up in a dysfunctional home."
"So he is a thug," Derek realized.
"Yeah, and a seriously pathetic one, too," Brother Correction sighed, approaching the cell that housed the Mutate. "One that doesn't deserve the power his altered state provides him. That can be remedied."
Then, like something out of a horror movie, Brother Correction walked right through the glass-like material of Fang/Tony Dingles' cell, which was designed to absorb his electrical discharges and send them right back at him, and this sight frightened the Mutate as he backed against the wall behind himself, worried.
"You keep away!" He demanded of Brother Correction, who was unfazed by his electrical energy making his fur stand on end.
"Oh, chill. I'm not going to hurt you…much," Correction told him, raising his left hand up and grabbed the Mutate by his neck, just as he was electrocuted.
Claw wanted to intervene and save the man, but Derek stopped him.
Fang thought the man was going to be barbequed in a few more seconds, but realized that he wasn't frying up in any measure of the belief. And as he came to realize this, he felt his electrical discharges grow weaker.
"Nice try, Mr. Dingles, but I'm not going down," Brother Correction told him, and then drained him completely of his electrical energy, leaving only enough to keep him aware of what he was going to do to him. "A mutation is no different from an artificial evolution of sorts. Scientists experimenting with genetic structures that don't go together, finding a way to make them go together, and then letting things take their course. And then, there's an artificial devolution, an evolution forced to go backwards, making things revert to a…simpler form, even reversing mutations. This is the penalty you have been dealt: A permanent return to humanity…with the additional penalty of justice being served for the lives you took."
Fang's claws shrunk down to the shape and appearance of regular fingers, then his wings fell off his back and turned to dust, followed by the shedding of his cougar-like fur and his cat-like eyes returning to those of human eyes. The mutated human even felt the pain of what had to be his organs rearranging themselves to the regular functions of a human body's needs.
Brother Correction then dropped the man, pleased that he was restored to his true self: A lowly, Caucasian man with an attitude problem. He would be unconscious for a while, but that was to be the least of his worries.
Fang was gone, replaced by his former self, Tony Dingles.
Maggie never thought it could be possible, that once she was mutated by Sevarius, there was no going back. Why, even the so-called antidote the mad scientist had been forced to make by Goliath had was no guarantee since the man couldn't be trusted. Still, that didn't mean she still thought about being normal again; the thoughts of walking among the people on the surface, to meet new faces elsewhere, pursue a career like before when she fell on hard times and ended up on the streets, even meet the right guy and start a family. She had met Derek, who showed his concern for her when she was willing to risk her life for being returned to normal, and that was something she could live with in a mutated lifestyle…until she met this man that a restored Derek and Claw introduced to her as Brother Correction, who came to offer the three of them the ability to shape-shift between their original state of humanity and their current states.
He had already given the gift to the men and turned Fang back into a regular human deprived of his powers (and sending him to the nearest jail, in the blink of an eye, where the police would find him under lock and key), and had just bestowed the gift onto her. Of course, he had to demonstrate that what he was offering was for real, and even offered to help her and Claw get their bearings in the city.
"But why do this?" She asked him.
"I live to undo the coldest, cruelest of mistakes that were made to innocent souls," he had told her.
And yet, some part of her heart that was returned to its original state of humanity had her convinced that he had a different, additional reason for doing all that he did. Like he had sentence of sorts to serve out, no matter what. But he seemed like a nice person, so why would he have a sentence that needed to be served by him.
"…Have you ever heard of the sin that is called sloth, Ms. Reed?" Brother Correction asked her, as he led her and Derek to the latter's home, which had been returned to him by the mysterious man.
"No," she answered him. "Is it…like the Seven Deadly Sins?"
"It's one of the seven. It refers to the laziness performed by those with a lack of motivation, whether it's physical, emotional or spiritual. It's the only sin compatible with a well-known quote made in the seventeen-hundreds: "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." It's no different from negligence performed by one that has done no wrong…and the problem is that I did do wrong…by waiting too long for something good to happen. I caused a great agony by not stopping two corrupted souls before they could rob innocent people of their lives. It's a personal damnation that I've condemned myself by waiting for them to stop, realizing that they would never stop, not until the world itself ceased to exist. I stopped doing nothing after one day they cheated another pair of innocent souls, undid as much of their sins as possible at that time…and punished them for their sins. That's when, after seeing the results of my efforts in saving the people that were victims of foul play and awful beliefs, realization came to me as my greatest epiphany: There were countless other lives that were condemned to unfair fates by souls that were corrupted over the years, the generations, from other worlds, other races, other universes, and I could restore them. I could save them from futures with no guarantee of happiness, save them from making the wrong choices that doomed them, or save them from tragedies and people that sought them out for things they probably knew little to nothing about. With every life I turned around for the better, along with every twisted soul I've punished for worse crimes than those of the usual sort that people see everyday, I get better at helping the innocent…and punishing the guilty. Until there comes a time where mistakes aren't made where people suffer, I can't stop doing what I do, for better or for worse."
They reached Derek Maza's apartment and Brother Correction told them that he would now help the restored Claw get home and then go after Sevarius and punish him for his crimes against humanity. He allowed the former Talon to be alone with Ms. Reed. The pair offered their gratitude, and he just disappeared from sight, like he wasn't even there to begin with. But they knew he had been there.
CLACK! Sevarius awoke to the sound of glass vials being broken. It had been over a month since the mad scientist had lost his artificial gargoyle hybrid, Little Anton, to the degenerative clone illness that each gargoyle clone and the hybrid Delilah had been afflicted with in that one night that could've been referred to as an undoing of an unnatural genesis. Since that night, he spent as much time as possible in the nights that came and went, trying to find a way to undo the degeneration that petrified Little Anton, wanting to return the life that was taken from the genetic hybrid that was his; in his own mind, the gargoyle clone that was Thailog didn't count as his, only Xanatos'…who couldn't control him in the end, and the other clones and Delilah were Thailog's and Demona's, mostly because they either commissioned him or paid him a considerable sum to make use of the DNA he was provided to work with. No, Little Anton was the only artificial creature that was truly his own, made with his own hands, and he lost him after only a single night of bringing him to life with the residual DNA harvested from the gargoyles.
"…I clearly don't know what's more saddening," he heard a male voice within his lab, "and what's more pathetic: The fact that you would condemn innocent lives to cruel futures for your scientific achievement…or that you would feel grief for an artificial creation that knew nothing of the fact that he was being manipulated by you? You let the gargoyle clones and the hybrid suffer when they could've been saved…and you feel loss for a hybrid that lived very shortly? I pity Little Anton, Sevarius, along with the clones and the hybrid, Delilah, but not you. They suffered immensely from the cruelty of the science you misused…but your suffering has only begun."
A figure stepped out from within the shadows, taking the shape of a young man of the darker side of the flesh, dressed in what looked like traditional Japanese clothing meant for ancient funerals because it was black and nowhere near that of a suit. He even carried a sword used by the traditional Japanese; Sevarius had seen at least two Japanese films to know a katana when he saw one.
"The samurai believed that choices should be made within the space of seven breaths," Brother Correction expressed, raising his sword up at Sevarius' head, "but I bet they never dealt with crazy scientists that abused their knowledge for the sake of changing things. I'm here to deal to you what you were long overdue to receive, you cretin."
Sevarius panicked and ran to his desk nearby and pulled out a small gun loaded with his earliest formula that turned his first subjects into the Mutates.
"Come any closer, and you'll never be able to walk in public again!" He threatened the dark man.
"What are you doing, threatening me with that squirt gun?" Brother Correction asked him, and Sevarius found, in his left hand, not his gun with the Mutate darts, but a common, blue-colored, plastic water pistol! "I think you were looking for this, were you not?"
Brother Correction raised his right hand up, revealing that the gun that Sevarius originally had was now in his possession. And this made Sevarius worry about whether or not he intended to use it on him.
"What do you want?" He asked him.
"Justice, retribution…and atonement for your cruelty, your accursed abuse of science," Correction told him. "I've undone what you did to the people that became the Mutates, but I'm not going to let you go unpunished. You're going to spend as much of your life as possible, for the rest of your days, if necessary, doing what moral scientists spend their careers doing: Helping people's lives for the better."
"What? You're nuts if you think I'm going to do what you ask of me!"
"Oh, I'm not asking you, Sevarius. I'm telling you."
Swat! Sevarius felt a dart hit him in his right shoulder, piercing his skin.
"Ahh!" He gasped, pulling the dart out, but it was already too late; the Mutate formula was already in his bloodstream. "No!"
"I protect and serve the souls of the innocent…while punishing and enslaving the souls of the guilty," Correction stated, then shooting the rest of the darts of Mutate formula at Sevarius, making sure that the madman understood how it felt when he mutated his victims. "Now, you have yourself to work with as a guinea pig. And, just to make sure that you don't try anything funny, I went ahead and erased any and all records of your research on forced mutation from the face of the Earth, transferring it all into my mind for safekeeping. If you want to undo your own, twisted work, you have to do it the old-fashioned way: On your own with concrete notes made from scratch."
'Please," Sevarius was reduced to begging the man, feeling the unnatural sensation of his mutation starting to occur, "don't do this to me. I'll do anything. Anything!"
"Listen to yourself right now," Correction told him. "You sound pathetic. You made the Mutate formula, so you should've developed antidote to reverse the mutation as a fail safe, in the likely scenario that you or your employer were unintentionally infected. But I guess you never took that possibility into consideration, proof that you don't think or plan ahead as a precaution. You're truly pathetic, Sevarius. Those that are merciless will beg for mercy, only to receive none in the end. Until you learn to use science for the right reasons, to make people's lives easier, treat illnesses and so on, you will live the rest of your days as your own worst creation. And while you're at it, find a way to revive the clones and the hybrids. They might've been artificial, but they could feel, just as people feel. The next time we meet, you had best be making progress…otherwise, you'll wish I had done the unforgivable that's second to cutting your life short a few years. Until next time, Sevarius."
Then, in a puff of smoke, Brother Correction was gone, and Sevarius was starting to feel the bat-like wings emerge from his back.
Atop the building where Thailog, Delilah and the other gargoyle clones, Brother Correction sat on the edge of the ledge where Brooklyn's clone, Malibu, resided, overlooking the city below. He looked into the future of the upcoming week in New York, saw that Derek Maza (with his careful assistance in getting him back in society without changing much) had invited his family over for dinner, along with reintroducing Maggie to them, explaining how they were restored to normal, Sevarius being hard at work on creating a real cure to the Mutate formula, trying to correct its flaws and use it on himself, seeing Tony Dingles get the book thrown at him and serve a life sentence behind bars at a correctional facility where he wouldn't get parole, and the Mutates, whenever they were free, went back to the Labyrinth to keep watch over the homeless and runaways. One of the things he saw that was quite a change was Maggie finding a decent job as a waitress at a small, family restaurant; the young woman had given up on her original dream and just wanted to pursue a different type of dream that was equally rewarding.
"Maybe one day," he said to the petrified clones and hybrid, "you will all return to the waking world once again. And see other gargoyles gliding in the night, accepted by the people. If necessary, I will bring you back myself, but I'll wait and see if Sevarius can do the right thing and show that his science can save life instead of twisting them. If he fails, then he's as pathetic as I knew he was, just like every other twisted soul I encountered over the endless period I spent ever since…for a long time now."
He then disappeared, awaiting the next mistake he would need to correct for the sake of the innocent lives that would be placed in danger. And one day, he would hope to change the life of one man that he hoped would do for him the one thing he needed to hear from one with a righteous will, not all that different from what he did for others. He had an eternity to get to that day…but for now…he let the night go to those with the wings that made them like the angels of darkness that protected the defenseless after the sun went down.
A/N: I'm getting back in touch with my passion for Gargoyles, and what I find of them on the Internet. One of my favorite episodes is still Deadly Force. Metamorphosis is too saddening and cruel, along with Genesis Undone, which, in this case, is only half-done. But for now, this piece is completed. Do read and review, please. I hope to get other pieces written, eventually. Peace!