****Castle Wyvern, sunset

The last slivers of golden sunlight faded into the velvety pinks, magentas, and indigos of night with only the galaxy of Manhattan's city lights illuminating into the darkness where upon the tallest building winged guardians began to awaken, giving mighty roars to greet the new night as they burst from their stone shells.

As the clan and their guests made their way to the Great Hall for an early meal before the night's patrols, couples paired off, including Othello and Desdemona, smiling proudly to each other for last night's accomplishment of which now the whole castle knew about.

It was a short while after everyone ate and socialized as the first patrol groups began to depart for the first nightly shift when Elisa arrived in a rush hot and bothered, making a beeline for Othello and Desdemona before they were through the Great Hall doors.

Goliath grew concerned as he saw his lifemate in such a mood as he joined her instantly as she got his rookery siblings' attention, as he asked her, "Elisa, what is wrong?"

"Othello, Des, I'm glad I caught you before you left," she said with a bit of an exasperated sigh, "I got bad news. Matt called me a few minutes ago, he told me Neilson and Kimura were both released on bail earlier today."

"WHAT!?" Othello bellowed with his thunderous voice before Elisa could continue, his eyes glowed brighter than the Sun, "Why would you let those brigands be set free?! Who allowed this outrage?!"

Elisa flinched a bit at his outburst but kept her disciplined composer, unsurprised by Othello's reaction. Goliath growled protectively at his brother as Desdemona yelled at him, "Othello, control your temper, let our sister speak!"

His glowing eyes faded but Othello continued to scowl stone faced at Elisa as she said with calm sternness, "I only know what Matt told me, and we're just as disgusted at it as you are, believe me. He had planned to hold them both for questioning with Captain Chavez, but they were both released on bail and what's being called circumstantial evidence."

"Circumstantial my tail," Othello growled, "they are known dangerous criminals that should be locked away, and as a protector of the realm it's your duty to see to see that! I know of your police strength and resources; I know of and respect your human laws you take so much pride in. Where does it all allow those hoodlums to just walk free without facing the consequences?"

"Believe me, Othello, they will face the consequences," Elisa reassured confidently, "It's not always a perfect system, but it's a system that works. They still have powerful friends on the outside, but without the right resources or evidence we can't bring them in or arrest them without more legal problems. My guess is their bosses are covering for them through manipulation and bribery, and with their influence in the underworld they're all the more dangerous."

"All the more reason they must be stopped," Othello stated hard, "But now you're telling me your human laws have weaknesses allowing enemies to exploit to get away with their transgressions? I should've known, a thousand years and human weakness has only festered and diluted the true meaning of law and justice. If that's how your so-called system works, it's nothing but a travesty, lacking in true strength needed to do what's necessary to protect your home like the Gargoyle Way!"

Elisa's stomach clenched a bit at the insult, knowing it wasn't the baby growing inside her, and really felt for Othello's growing frustration and anger as they shared it more deeply than he realized, but it wasn't really what was needed now.

"It's not like that," she said a bit harder than intended, "It's takes time to fix holes in the system, and although it has its flaws it can work for everyone."

"You mean those it's convenient for," Othello scoffed, "I may not be part machine anymore but I remember a few things, and I read just as Goliath does. It has failed magnificently too often among your own kind, especially with humans of darker complexion and who live in slums. If Gargoyles behaved so abrasively every clan in the world would fall apart into anarchy, which is what you humans seem to thrive on."

Elisa's teeth clenched as her hands unconsciously tightened into fits, a hot tingle grew in her spine as Othello continued, "Because of that, I've heard stories about those in the Labyrinth who were locked away for small petty things or did nothing in the first place. Then when confronted with the truly dangerous brigands just shoot at them from a cowardly distance instead of facing them in honorable hand-to-hand combat. If it were more like the Gargoyle Way, facing the enemy face to face on the battlefield to the death or until they honorably yield, there would be less of those pathetic miscreants and a far safer city for the clan."

"Millions of officers across the country risk their lives every day to keep people safe!" Elisa yelled, "They are far from cowards, and I won't let you blatantly insult them! If we did it more your way, the streets would be nothing but endless rivers of blood! And you don't think I don't know about the struggles of the minority communities? My own parents know about that better than anyone I know, and I've faced the same problems."

"And since they haven't been delt with by now, it only proves more how human law is useless. I may not have agreed with all her views about humankind, but Demona may have been right about some things. Human treachery knows no limits, and I never thought I would see it from you."

"Me? What the hell's that supposed to mean?!" Elisa yelled with insulted anger.

"You and your so-called law enforcement friends," Othello nearly spat, "You allowed this incompetence to happen and therefore you have brought that weakness upon this clan!"

There came a sudden violent crack as Othello's vision blurred into a red darkness and his face suddenly ached as he heard Desdemona shout his name in shocked outrage, while Elisa only watched in shocked numb silence. Othello held his face as his vision slowly cleared to see an angrily growling Goliath glaring at him, his large hand in such a tight fist the knuckles were nearly white and veins could be seen pulsing.

Othello growled back at Goliath as he saw blood dripped into his hand from a now bloody nose, but Goliath just scolded with a rumble, "That's enough, Othello! You will apologize to Elisa now or I will tie up your wings till you cool your head and listen to reason."

The blue-gray Gargoyle just grunted at his leader as his own hands clenched into fists and would have punched back had Desdemona not grabbed his fin shaped ear hard to glare hard at him to scold, "You've gone too far this time! Now stop acting like a hatchling before you do something stupid!"

He batted her hand away as he nearly yelled with a hard tone, "You both know I'm right, and we should get out there right now and seize every last one of them before it's too late, seeing as how doing it the human way is futile."

"You know that's not how it works!" Desdemona yelled, "Now get control of your temper before I tear your wings off myself and stop having rocks for brains!"

The couple's stare was so intense it felt like everyone, even the humans, had turned to stone again at night. Almost everyone in the Great Hall could feel it as they just stared as the argument unfolded, unsure if anyone should intervene or stay out of it.

Othello finally just huffed as he declared with unreasonable stubbornness, "I don't need this! If none of you are with me, I'll do it myself!"

"Othello, wait!" Elisa called, but he stormed out the door and ran on all fours to the nearest wall as Desdemona followed him calling,

"My Love, wait, come back!"

But he was in the air as his wings snapped open and out of earshot just as Desdemona reached the wall and watched him soar away.

"Aren't you going to go after him?" Elisa asked as she and Goliath caught up with her, "He might get himself hurt."

"Eventually," Desdemona answered with a shrug, her tone patient if disappointed, "I'm truly sorry about all this, but sometimes he just needs time alone to get that hard head of his under control."

"I know that feeling," Elisa smirked, making Goliath give her an insulted look.

"But perhaps I should send someone to watch him," Goliath said as he cleared his throat, "Just to be sure my brother doesn't do anything dangerous or foolish."

"Give him a little time, Goliath," Desdemona suggested, "If he's not returned at least a couple hours before dawn, I'll go find him. I may not be a machine and able to track him remotely anymore, but I still know my lifemate and trust my Gargoyle instincts."

Goliath gave a nod, but still sighed with frustration as he said, "I just wish he wouldn't be so frustratingly stubborn so much, has he learned nothing?"

"I guess he's just a slow learner," Desdemona sighed.

****23rd Precinct

This whole thing was ridiculous and pointless. It wasn't a meeting or even a briefing, it was a just an excuse for two bitter and misguided people to use police resources for their own personal agendas against what they perceived as monsters out to harm innocent people as they rampaged across the city like feral animals. But there were those that knew better, knew the clan for the protectors they truly were despite not being legally recognized by the law.

Matt and Maria could only wait and listen with stone face expressions and churning stomachs as the cringe show progressed with Detective Kowalski and Assistant DA Margot Yale briefing the now expanded GTF on their latest reports of Gargoyle sightings and possible future plans for capturing and containing them.

"Having gone through records with any hint of Gargoyle sightings, it proves they've been here a while," Kowalski said gruffly, "at least five or six years with some matching descriptions of what could be individual Gargoyles. However, records indicate within the last three to five years sightings of newer monsters have been reported meaning it's either a case of mistaken identity and a witness's exaggeration or misinformation, or the monsters' numbers have increased somehow."

Matt and Maria could only give quick amused glances to each other.

"So that means there may be anywhere from 20 to 30 of those monsters in the city alone, which is why more of you fine officers have been assigned to the Gargoyle Task Force."

"It's also why I and the District Attorney," Margot spoke up, "are currently negotiating with the Mayor of increasing the police budget and more resources to have auxiliary Task Force units and departments in precincts across the city, that way you won't be alone and you never know when and where those creatures will appear. Just the thought of there being so many of them makes my skin crawl."

"Which makes our job of capturing them all the more paramount," Kowalski stated with a slight bark in his voice.

"And how exactly do you plan on capturing a Gargoyle and what will you do with it once it's captured, Detective?" Maria questioned.

Kowalski just eyed her with his own stone face scowl as though chiseled from the angriest looking rock the sculptor could find and only needed to add the most detailed of human features.

"That should be obvious, Captain," he answered gruffly, "While we're still working on the how and tactics of capturing the animals, the goal has always been the same; to eliminate the threat."

Matt went still with fearful apprehension for his friends as he spoke up hard, "Need I remind you the GTF's real purpose is keeping public safety, to keep panic from spreading in the masses and damage control."

"I remember, Bluestone," Kowalski said equally hard, "But it's held the Task Force back too much for too long. No more just doing damage control and being a damn cleaning crew for those monsters in the wake of the destruction they leave. So, don't insult me about the purpose of this team."

"I may just be a consultant instead of leader now," Matt argued, "but as a member of the police force it's always my first duty to put the safety of my fellow officers first as well as the people we've sworn to protect. Besides, you talk about eliminating them like vermin, but I've heard they may even be as intelligent as people. So, what if you're just proposing an all out genocide on a new sentient species?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Bluestone," Yale said condescendingly, "I've seen those beasts up close, and while it looks like they can imitate human speech like parrots, just because they can doesn't mean they're intelligent. Honestly, why hasn't that piece of common sense occurred to you yet?"

Matt's eyes narrowed to a glare, but he felt Maria's hand lightly touch his shoulder as she gave him a stoic look. She questioned Kowalski as the strong captain she was, "And how will you be sure your officers pursue the right suspected Gargoyles and not just random sculptures? We shouldn't forget how radicalized the Quarrymen were, so much so they even went after any and all statues across the city causing massive property damage."

Kowalski just smirked and Yale gave a low nasally laugh as Kowalski held up a file folder to boast, "You worry too much, Captain, we're nothing like the Quarrymen, and we have the advantage of operating within the law, for this is what this briefing is really about. I have here, for lack of a better term, criminal profiles of our targets. It took a while, but getting descriptions and details has given me and the Task Force the start we need."

"And how did you manage to go through several years of records of Gargoyle sightings, given so many and some people still believe them to just be urban legends?"

The burly detective just smirked again as he slapped his hand hard on the skinny shoulder of Randy the Rookie, startling him as he tried to give a proud but instead goofy smile.

"I've taken this promising young officer under my wing; he sees details hidden within details and I don't want to see his sharp mind go to waste. With his skills, and maybe a heavier protein diet, Montoya here will climb the ranks quickly and might even become one of the youngest police captains in the history of the force."

Maria kept her expression unreadable, but she knew what Kowalski was insinuating and it wouldn't have bothered her so much if it weren't so worrisome who Montoya's would-be mentor was. Matt just mentally rolled his eyes knowing Montoya may have only taken the job to once again try to impress Elisa, and once again the kid needed to learn the hard way he hadn't even a snowball's chance in hell with Elisa.

"You also forget, Captain, I was one of the first to see the monsters," Yale condescended again, "So I can confirm the real ones from fake statues."

"Speaking of which, here is one of our first targets." Kowalski opened the file to pin to the board an artist's rendering of what could only be a twisted portrait of Goliath, but more like a nightmarish demonic bat with large fangs in his lower jaw, over sized pointed ears, a flattened nose, and an exaggerated brawny figure as though a bad imitation of the Hulk but with purple skin and bat wings.

"That's HIM!" Margot nearly yelled with absolute certainty, "That's the first monster I've seen all over the city! Given that savage size and hideous face, he must be the Alpha."

Several officers looked on in disbelieving awe, some thinking maybe their leaders really may have gone off of the deep end.

Kowalski pinned three more bad artist's renderings of Gargoyles as he said, "Here are several more sighted across the city, and from details pieced together from past reports, these three seem to always be together."

Again, the features were badly exaggerated as demonic batty looking portraits of a younger Brooklyn, Lexington, and Broadway, all in sinister ready to attack poses.

Yale grabbed the folder from Kowalski and flipped through it as though he was going too slow, grabbed another rendering as she said hard, "Here's one I recently saw at Xanatos's bogus party at the City Museum."

She pinned to the board the bad image of supposedly Hudson, his features hideously a cross between a bat and a mean faced bulldog.

"The funny thing about this one is it actually tried to talk, but it had a funny accent," she stated in arrogant amusement.

"Really, what kind of accent?" Matt mocked, making Yale stare hard at him with indignity.

"Really, Detective," she scoffed, "Does it really matter? How should I know, it sounded like it was trying to copy human speech with a mouth full of gravelly marshmallows."

Matt and Maria just glanced at each other, wondering how Hudson would take such a comment about his Scottish bogue.

"Here's two more I've seen," she said sharply, pinning the renderings of the twins, again savage and mean looking, under Brooklyn's image. "These are the last two that destroyed my car. For some reason their smaller than most of the others, maybe even spawn of some kind, and with those ugly snouts they may be related in some way to this one."

She made a kind of triangle with two pieces of string connecting the twins to Brooklyn's image, then wrote in red marker Related?. Chills went down Matt, Maria, and even secretly Morgan's spines as they saw more of the clan go upon the board, yet they had to keep their heads clear and calm.

Kowalski then grabbed another rendering as he said hard, "This last one may the most unusual and possibly among the most dangerous, aside from the Alpha. It's been described as running on all fours and doesn't have wings like the rest for some reason, possibly some kind of subspecies or even the Omega of the pack."

This last rendering had to be the worst yet, a nightmarish drawing of Bronx like a cross between an overly steroid pumped bulldog and boxer. The three officers in the know about the clan didn't know whether to laugh or be disgusted, or even both.

"These are the most commonly seen ones so far, but it's certain there's more," Kowalski stated, "But it will still take time to go through more recent records and separate fact from fiction, what are accurate witness accounts that align from those exaggerating just to get a pathetic 15 minutes in the spotlight."

"Uh, actually, Detective, sir," Montoya spoke up a bit timidly as though trying to muster up more courage, "Right before the briefing started, I was handed two more drawings, ones that seem to match a few confirmed record descriptions given by your anonymous witness."

Kowalski grabbed the papers from Montoya so fast and hard they nearly left a paper cut on his palm, but only painfully grazed the skin. The hardboiled detective pinned the latest bad renderings to the board of what to Matt, Maria, and Morgan had to be Othello and Desdemona looking the most demonic and batty of all.

"Good work, kid," Kowalski finally said with a dismissive tone as though only just remembering it.

"I'm certain I've seen these two before, too," Yale said, "That brownish one with the weird wings chasing after the demon dog one with the two smaller big schnozzed ones. That horned grayish one does seem familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it."

"That'll have to wait, Ms. Yale," Kowalski dismissed, "While these renderings are the best we have for now to go on for our targets, the next step is to find their lair."

"And how do you plan to do that?" Maria asked skeptically, "Manhattan is a huge city, Kowalski, and I can't allow limited police resources to go on wild goose chases across the island."

"I'm not stupid, Captain, some of my men and I are already working on a plan." His glare could have burnt a hole in Maria's head and his temper was barely concealed as he flipped the board harder than needed to show a map of Manhattan with multi-colored dots all over it, some sparse and some tightly knit together in clumps.

"This is a map of confirmed sighting over the years," he stated as he pointed to the map, making a circle in a familiar area, "and it's no secret, especially at this precinct, that they used to roost in the old clock tower above us like bats in a belfry."

He snapped his fingers hard and Montoya nearly fell out of his seat as he rolled over a TV and VHS player, pressed a remote to play all too familiar footage from WVRN News, making most officers in the briefing room give quiet gasps and murmurs.

"Most of you remember that night," he sneered low, "I remember it all too well."

"So do I, Detective," Maria stated, "But I think you forget it was the Canmores' bomb that nearly destroyed the station, not the Gargoyles themselves."

His eyes just narrowed to razor sharp slits to say with gruff dismissal, "They may have used extreme methods, Captain, but it doesn't matter anymore, but the Gargoyles do and were the reason for the Canmores' attack upon this very station. Those Canmore criminals may have endangered lives, but they were brought to justice for it, even temporarily, and it was one night, while those animals have endangered more lives for far longer, including my own family and the families of officers across the city and countless civilians."

His voice gradually raised in heated anger as he spoke, nearly spitting all over the place to make those nearest him flinch away.

Maria pitied Kowalski a bit, but she had to keep a cool head and find a way turn this whole situation around if she were to help the clan.

"I hope you're not making this personal, Detective," she stated patiently and professionally, "Because that can cloud an officer's better judgement and make him sloppy."

He just gave a low grunt but tried to control his heavy breathing as he answered, "It was, but this affects the whole city and I'm fully aware of the situation and fully capable of doing my job as a professional. I need everyone on my side, Captain, even you. Don't forget how they hurt you, what they did to your leg or how you were almost killed."

"I do, Detective, but you're getting off topic. What's your plan for finding their lair, if they even have one?"

"We're still working on that, Captain," he said with heated if shaky control, "But I have an idea of where to start."

"So do I, Jim," Yale huffed, "But to get there I need more than speculation, and the guy has annoyingly made himself practically untouchable."

"Don't worry, Ms. Yale, we'll get to him," Jim tried to reassure her, "But we'll do it the right way, within the law, it's what separates us from the animals, especially those animals."

He gave Randy a look and the rookie paused the video on an imaged of a long condemned cathedral.

"St. Damien's Cathedral," Kowalski said gruffly, "The first recorded evidence of the Gargoyles' very existence after the old clock tower was destroyed. It seemed like an appropriate place to hide, given such statues are popular with churches and cathedrals. It's my suspicion it was another roosting place they used even before the revelation of their inhabiting the tower over this very station. But like threatened animals they've fled and no doubt may be roosting in other condemned churches or places of worship. We'll start again at St. Damien's and search other places of worship within a five mile radius and go from there. If there's a pattern to these sightings to narrow it down even further, we have yet to find it, but we will find it."

"While I want this done quickly, I also want it done quietly," Yale said, "I don't want to cause panic or suspicion among the good people of New York, otherwise those creatures will suspect we're coming for them, and animals smell fear."

"Morgan, Travanti, Harris, Chung, and Quinn, you'll continue your duties on the streets for now, but if any of you even hear of suspicious Gargoyle activity contact the rest of the Task Force immediately for back up. The rest of you I'll be sending on assignment and search parties around the radius of St. Damien's."

"And what am I supposed to do?" Matt asked, "Don't you want my input about how to find them, or what flaws in your 'brilliant' plan need to be worked on?"

"If I wanted your advice, Bluestone, I'd ask for it," Kowalski growled in a dismissive gruff, "But given your reputation and methods I don't have time for fairy tales, so you can go back to finding little green men and flying saucers or go hunt for the Jersey Devil. These creatures may be named after grotesque waterspouts but they aren't fantasy, they're a real threat and must be delt with as such. When a wolf gets into the hen house, you don't negotiate with it, you shoot it. So you're dismissed, Bluestone."

Matt's fits tightened as he glared at the arrogant Kowalski, but Maria held him back by the shoulder and a look to not do anything dumb. With a twitch of her head they made their way outside the briefing room, followed by the named beat officers as they returned to duty, Quinn giving them an optimistic quirky smile and a stoic glance from Morgan.

A short way from the door Matt said in a low frustrated voice, "This could be bad for our friends in the sky. We both know this is personal for them, and I'm certain someone's going to get hurt. What do we do, Captain? Kowalski's clearly obsessed, and well, we know how Yale is."

"I knew being made aware of the clan would make my job more difficult," Maria said soberly, "but I asked I be let in on the secret and Elisa trusted me, so I have no regrets. The clan trusts us and we're going to uphold it. So we're going to do our jobs and work towards what is right, as we always have, and prove those two wrong."

"We'd better warn them, because with the gang war still raging, the spread of the superpower giving Obscura drug, and city politics, between all that and Kowalski the clan's problems are just going to get worse along with our own if we don't do something."

"We will, and Elisa can see how we can help them go from here. I'm not just worried for her, I'm worried for her baby, because it reminds me why I try to make the city safer for my own daughter. The good news is we have some time, but there's no time like the present to get started."

An understanding passed between them as they made their way to beat room, unaware someone had been listening in.

Montoya had tried to catch the captain and Bluestone before they got too far, but got over run by the veteran officers as they returned to duty. He just wanted to ask if there was some way he could get training for a beat shift, maybe even go on a stakeout with one of the other officers. Elisa may be stuck with desk duty for a while, but he wanted to prove himself to her, do more than just paperwork as interesting as it got sometimes.

But something made him stop just short of them near the open door as they talked in the hallway, something about Kowalski being obsessed and some kind of clan. As the discussion continued, Montoya became confused and concerned.

What did the captain and Bluestone know and what did it have to do with Elisa? Surly they weren't protecting the Gargoyles, were they? Why would they do that? From the images of Gargoyles he had seen and being of Mexican-American descent and Catholic like the rest of his family, he was certain those things had to be demons of the Devil made flesh, even if those like Kowalski didn't believe it. But as a police officer he had to agree with the captain and Bluestone that if Kowalski or other officers didn't follow the rules to uphold the law someone could get hurt.

A hard slap on his thin shoulder snapped him out of his deep thinking, startling him so much he gave a high yelp like a little kid. Kowalski just eyed him amusedly while Yale gave a condescending disapproving look.

"So, kid, unless you're contemplating the purpose of the universe, there's work to be done," Kowalski said in his ever gruff voice.

"Uh, sure, right, Detective," Montoya stammered timidly, his face dropped in confusion.

"What's the matter, kid?" Kowalski questioned with a rough edge, "You're not having second thoughts, are you? 'Cause I need someone like you on my team."

"Uh, no, sir, it's just…"

"It's just what?"

"I overheard Captain Chavez and Detective Bluestone talking, I'm not sure about what but they seemed worried. They think you might be obsessed and will get someone hurt."

"Being a cop comes with risks, son, I thought you knew that before you signed up for it, and sometimes you have to bend the rules a bit in order to enforce them. But if you're worried about things getting out of hand, it's why I need people like you to keep officers like me in line and remind me why I do this job."

"Yes, sir." It was reassuring Kowalski trusted him so much, yet Montoya still couldn't help having some doubts. "They also seemed to talk about warning somebody, somebody Elisa knows in a clan or something. What do you suppose that means? What clan, and who does she know in it?"

Kowalski's expression changed that made Montoya uncomfortable, as though something clicked in his mind as he then smirked at Yale.

"I've had my suspicions about that woman for years," Yale said with an edge of ice, "especially since that one night Brandon and I took the train and got mugged by those hooligans."

"My anonymous witness also claims one of the monsters mentioned a name similar to that," he said with a low dark amused tone, "and if Bluestone and Chavez know anything it also just further confirms my suspicions about those creatures having help on the inside, traitors in our own ranks."

Yale gave her own dark smirk as she said, "It'll take more time, but if we can gather evidence of such nefarious activity it'll bring us closer to our goal of finally neutralizing the beasts, stopping the threat and saving the city."

Apprehension grew within Montoya as he listened to what they were saying, unable to believe it to be real.

"Wait, you don't think…? You're not saying…? Bluestone and the Captain in league with the Gargoyles? Elisa, too? No, she wouldn't! She can't be!"

"Sorry, kid, but you need to learn to separate your feelings from the job and do what's necessary. Besides, that Maza woman is trouble and she's not worth your high school crush."

"He's right, young man, Maza's dangerous and possibly a traitor to the very city. The same night I first saw that beastly Alpha I saw her with it, too, now that I think about it. If they have some hold on her she needs to be sent to a psych ward for her own safety and the safety of others. Besides, I know some interns your age at my office I could set you up with."

"The dating life is going to have to wait," growled Kowalski, "there's work to be done."

"This time we may finally got them," Yale sneered all too happily and she and Kowalski smiled sinisterly to each other.

"Good job again, kid, you'll make New York's finest yet."

The two of them made their way back to the board of renderings and the city map as they discussed what to do next. Montoya could only stand in place numb and perplexed.

****Somewhere near Club Lotus

A black clad figure tried to stealthily make his way to an undisclosed location a couple of blocks from the place he had left the package, yet the neighborhood was so alien and unfamiliar to him he nearly passed where he was supposed to meet his boss.

Psst he heard someone hiss, making him nearly trip over his own feet as he skidded to a stop.

"Over here, you idiot," his similarly black clad boss called to him.

Cool Hand Luke ran back to Baby Face Frankie as they took shelter in a dimly lit alley near the Yakuza controlled adult entertainment venue, Frankie demanded urgently, "Do you still have the trigger?"

His colleague gave an insulted indignant look as he showed Frankie what he asked about.

"I may not be Black Tom, but I'm not stupid," Cool Hand Luke hissed, "and I know I could've easily let someone else plant it, I wanted to do this myself. This is personal."

"I don't blame you," Frankie agreed, "Those damn squid eaters have been a thorn in our side for too long now, so it's passed time to send a message. Though I wonder if this'll be enough."

Luke just smirked as he playfully flipped the trigger in the air a few times as he said satisfied, "With Black Tom's improvements to Nitro Nicky G's work, it'll at least take this fight to the next level and show them we mean business."

"Will you stop that!" Frankie hissed in apprehension, "You'll set it off too soon an get us killed!"

Luke frowned, insulted but stopped his flipping. "No, it won't," he groaned, "The first blast is an EMP, remember? And then if Mr. Dracon's demands aren't met there'll be another even stronger EMP. And then if the third time still doesn't prove the charm, well…Boom!"

Frankie smiled darkly.