Pandora's Box

Greg Bishansky

The Eyrie Pyramid, March 30th, 2198

"Samson, I must implore you," Owen Burnett said as he walked at Samson's side through the lower levels of Castle Wyvern. "It would be unwise to release her."

"Owen," the large young gargoyle rumbled, "the Space-Spawn have conquered our world. It took them less than twenty-four hours, and they did it while barely firing a shot. You told us that you resigned from your position at the United Nations because the new Secretary General would not fight. If this resistance is going to work, we need all the help we can get."

"Neither Mr. Xanatos nor Angela would have approved," Owen replied.

"They didn't see this coming," Samson sighed. "None of us did.

Finally they stood at the gigantic vault-like door leading into the dungeons. Samson actually chuckled a little. "You know, when I was first appointed second and Lancelot told me that she was here, I thought he was joking. I didn't stop thinking that until you both showed her to me on the monitors."

"I do not believe Lancelot would approve, Samson."

"Zafiro told me that Winston Churchill once said: 'if Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.' Of course, Zafiro would probably be urging me not to do this." He paused for a moment as he considered his options. There was still time to change his mind. "Open it."

Owen nodded. He punched in a security code with his good hand and gave his hand print and an optical scan. The vault door opened, and Owen stood at an almost military attention as Samson entered the dungeons.

Slowly, Samson made his way down the hall, past the empty dungeons until he came to a stop at the final cell, and looked through the crystal-clear, transparent aluminum. There she was, lying on the bed, facing away from him. He cleared his throat before speaking. "Demona, I am..."

"I know who you are." Slowly she got up, her wings still cloaked around her shoulders, and walked over to the barrier, and gave him the once over. "Such a handsome young lad. You look just like him, Samson."

"I hear that a lot," he replied. "I assume you know what happened."

"I know that on March 23rd, the Space-Spawn abducted the leader of every clan, as well as an entire generation of our eggs. I know that the humans surrendered the very next day like the cowards they are."

"The human world leaders were also taken," Samson rumbled, but figured Demona could not care less about that detail. "We're going to fight back, Demona. I have been building a resistance. We need all the help that we can get, and so I have come to offer you a deal."

"You are desperate." Her lips curved into a sinister smile. "Let me see if I can figure it out. You want me to join your resistance and in return you will grant me my freedom."

"That about sums it up," he replied. "Freedom matters to me, Demona. If we can free our world, then freeing you will be a small price to pay."

Demona's smile faded. "Do the other members of your resistance know that you're doing this?"

"No," he answered. "Should you say yes, I cannot say this is a conversation I am looking forward to having with them."

"They would call you a fool." The smile returned. "They would be right. How confident are you that I would fight at your side for long? This might be my final opportunity to annihilate the human race."

Samson looked her straight in the eyes. "Or it could be your last chance at redemption."

Demona allowed herself a short and bitter laugh. "You look much like Goliath, and you sound just as foolish. I am not the one who needs redemption."

"Angela's last wishes were that one day you would be released to complete your healing." Samson began pacing back in forth in front of her cell without ever taking his eyes off of her. "Demona, regardless of how you feel about humans, I know that you wish to see gargoyles prosper. They took our eggs. An entire generation of gargoyles may now never exist. I know that all of your instincts cannot allow this. Work with us, help us free our planet. Help us save our children. Help us save your children."

Demona closed her eyes, as if in deep thought. "You have no guarantee that I will remain at your side."

"No, I do not." Samson looked as if he was about to plead. "Yes, we are desperate. It's hard to pass up a warrior whose survived a millennium's worth of battles, a sorceress who knows how to combine ancient magic with modern technology. And there's that bit about you turning into a human during the day. We need your talents."

"I am not susceptible to flattery, Samson." She opened her eyes. "But I have long since grown weary of this dungeon. I believe we can reach an accord."

Samson smiled and turned towards Owen who still stood at the entrance to the dungeons. "Release her." The human nodded and walked over to the controls, and entered another code.

The transparent barrier ascended into the ceiling and Demona slowly stepped out, her wings now flared. On instinct, Samson assumed a defensive posture, but the female extended her hand. He hesitated and took it in a warrior's handshake. He smiled nervously as she smiled with purpose.

~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ : ~

Within the Great Hall, several members of the new resistance gathered. Delilah of the Labyrinth Clan; Zafiro of the Mayan Clan; the seventeen-year-old Guardian; Brooklyn the TimeDancer, and his Fu-Dog. Two LXM robots were also present, as well as another beast.

Delilah paced back and forth as Zafiro hung close to the wall before speaking. "Has anyone heard anything about this new recruit?"

"Not a word," Guardian said as he patted Fu-Dog on the head. "Gotta be big if Samson called a meeting just to introduce one person."

"I suppose it's too much to hope that the new Secretary General has finally grown a spine," Brooklyn said as he placed a hand on Guardian's shoulder. Nicholas Natsilane Maza fascinated him... although he was trying to avoid learning too much about their past and what might someday be his future, he could not help but wonder which Maza sibling he was descended from. Was it Derek? Maggie the Cat had been pregnant when the Phoenix took him on this already long trip through time.

The doors opened and Samson entered. All eyes were now on him. He approached the desk at the other end of the room and turned to lean slightly against it as he faced his friends and allies. "I know you will all have questions, but let me preface this by saying that our new ally was someone I thought it was necessary to recruit."

Delilah stepped forward. "You are the leader of the Manhattan Clan now, Samson. The leader of the resistance. Whatever you think is necessary, you have my support and the support of the Labyrinth Clan."

As the others nodded in agreement with Delilah, Samson continued. "I hope you still feel this way once you meet our new friend." He gestured towards a pair of doors to the right of the fireplace and they opened. A figure stood in the shadows and began to slowly emerge.

"Who?" Delilah asked as she took a step forward for a closer look.

There was a collective gasp as Demona slowly stepped out of the shadows, wings cloaked around her. She slowly spread her wings. Gone was the old, hanging-off-one-shoulder halter-top. Now she wore a golden breastplate and shoulder pads. Two arm-guards with small cannons attached the forearm pieces, and two guns holstered on her thighs. As she stepped closer, she slowly smiled menacingly as Brooklyn assumed an instinctive battle stance and drew his broadsword.

"Yes, she's alive." Samson stepped away from the desk and approached Delilah. "I am sure you all have questions."

All Samson received was pin-drop silence. After what felt like an eternity, Demona broke the silence. "To the future of our mighty race" - her menacing smile became dangerous - "and the destruction of our enemies."