Friend or Foe?
Hudson slumped back into the recliner in the small room that had been set up with the moving picture box…the television he seemed to remember it being called. He heaved a contented sigh as he leaned the chair back. Goliath had gone out for the night to meet the human, Elisa Maza, and his second in command had secretly followed him. He had no idea what the three youngsters were doing, but that didn't really matter at the moment, right now he just wanted to sit back and watch some television. Such an interesting device it was…the only problem was that tonight every single channel seemed to be showing the same program. Was exceedingly odd, the night before when he'd first discovered the television there were so many different things to see and do.
"Hey! It's the Pack," Lexington exclaimed as he came into the room.
"Aye, so it is lads….on every single channel…" Hudson growled setting the remote on the arm of the chair and folding his arms across his chest petulantly.
"Hudson, I thought you liked the Pack?" Broadway asked between mouthfuls of whatever it was he'd found to eat.
"Aye, I do, but not for ho'rs on end every night with no other options, lad. Even a good thing can become too much after a while." The TV continued to run on in the background, a commercial announcing a public appearance of the Pack at Madison Square Garden catching Lexington's attention.
"Guys, it just said the Pack are making a rare public appearance tonight," he exclaimed excitedly, even if they'd only discovered the series last night when they'd been exploring, Lexington had quickly become entranced by it, "Who knows when the next one will happen, we should go see." Brooklyn looked over at Broadway who simply shrugged.
"Alright, we got nothin' better to do tonight anyway," he finally said, "let's go see the Pack." The trio bounded out of the room excitedly.
"Ah youth," Hudson remarked nostalgically as he rubbed Bronx's head, "I remember how it was when I was young." Bronx rolled over onto his back growling contentedly as Hudson moved to scratching the beast's belly.
Demona had followed after Goliath shortly after he left to go meet with Elisa, it wasn't that she completely mistrusted the human woman, but the clan had only just met her the other night…sneaking around the castle, she added to herself. Just after an attack by another group of humans. Maza might be telling the truth about herself, but it was all too coincidental to just accept her word, it always paid to be properly paranoid. Elisa Maza had just arrived and stepped out onto the roof of the building. Demona sat quietly in hiding a few moments, after making sure that the human had come alone, she decided she might as well reveal herself, it was better than sitting up on rooftops all night or trying to follow them. This way she would also get to better know their new potential ally and observe the city first-hand.
"What are you doing here?" Goliath asked, slightly shocked at seeing his mate there.
"I wanted to make sure you were in no danger," Demona replied, "There is still much we do not know yet about this city, and I do not have so much trust for the humans as you do, my love."
"Jeeze," Elisa shook her head in amused disbelief, "You guys are paranoid even for New Yorkers, hell, you're probably the most paranoid people I've met. Will you be coming on tour, Demona?"
"I have nothing better to do," Demona replied dryly.
"All right, well the only question is how do I keep people from noticing you?" Elisa mused.
"Simple," Goliath replied, "We'll keep to the rooftops."
"Well that's easy for you two with those wings, but what about me?" Elisa asked. Goliath answered that question by simply scooping her up in his massive arms, each giving the other an awkward smile before looking away in embarrassment. 'Oh please,' Demona thought to herself with a snort, as if this wasn't already dreary enough. She knew her position in Goliath's life was stable and no one else would ever take her place, so she didn't feel jealous, but it was still nauseatingly obnoxious. "So, uh, what do you two want to see?"
"Show us everything," Demon replied, hopping up onto the guard rail around the edge of the building in preparation for leaping off, "Especially the dangers that could threaten out clan."
"Oh lighten up would you. You're starting to even bring me down, and I'm a cop!" Elisa retorted. She shrunk back against Goliath's chest a little as he too jumped up onto the ledge. Demona couldn't help but wonder how humans had ever gotten to the place they were in the universe, they were such weak, timid creatures. They saw many sights, some reaffirming their belief that humanity could not be trusted, one only had to look at how they treated each other. But there were just as many positives that Elisa showed to them, the world had drastically improved for the better since their own time, both in the quality of living, and in human interaction with each other.
The highlight of the excursion in Demona's mind was when the two of them had broken up a mugging, the human couple she and Goliath had saved had run screaming in terror afterward…but such had always been human gratitude. If anything, the thousand years had made humanity soft. Some may have run from them a thousand years ago, but the majority would have at least attempted to do battle with them…in this age the reverse seemed true. The fearless humans were few and far between. The praise from Elisa had made it all the better, it had been honest, no hidden schemes or false flattery, she had meant what she said when she told them she thought the Gargoyles might have been one of the best things to happen to New York in a long time.
The park they now found themselves walking through, Central Park is what she remembered Elisa calling it, was very peaceful, despite the buildings towering above them, it vaguely reminded Demona of their own time in the Middle Ages.
"Heh, you two are probably the only couple in the park that doesn't have to worry about muggers," Elisa joked as she observed the two Gargoyles walking together. If it hadn't been obvious that they were a couple the night before, it sure was now. One only had to look at them to know that only death could ever really separate them and even that, only for a time.
"This world is just as savage as the one I remember," Demona remarked sadly, despite its beauties and the good she had seen on this night, the bad far outweighed it, some humans couldn't even live together in their own homes and with their own families without turning on each other.
"Demona, you're judging it the way the humans have judged your kind before," Elisa reprimanded mildly, "The city shows an ugly face sometimes, sure, but that's just the surface, there's so much more to it than that. There's beauty here, families that care very much about each other, people who look out for each other, sometimes helping total strangers, even though they're someone they'll probably never see again. You can't just look at the ugly part and decide that's the whole picture, you have to look at all of it. Don't you think that even if there's just that little bit of good it's worth cherishing?"
Demona pondered what the human had just said, she supposed it was true, she was being a bit unfair…not even Gargoyles were perfect, her thoughts drifted back to before the destruction, yes, even then they'd had their own problems. The clan had its share of criminals that they'd exiled, though few had been serious enough to warrant a permanent exile. All save one, he had been a particularly nasty one, he had nearly gotten Goliath's closest rookery brother and her own mate to kill each other…and all because he had coveted his brother's mate for himself.
And she bitterly looked back on her own actions, was she really any better than the humans that had lived in Castle Wyvern? It was true, Gargoyles were no better than humans, despite how much she might wish it otherwise…that being said, that fact did not require that she like or trust humans…she had seen too many that were scum, any humans she met would have to earn her trust.
As if to contrast Elisa's point, and the internal conclusion that Demona herself had come to, they were at that moment attacked. The female Gargoyle hissed with fury as she recognized the humans as the very same ones that had attacked Xanatos the night before! Two nights in a row…this was not coincidence, what did they want with them? There was a muffled pop and second later Demona felt something sting her in the side, along with the pain she suddenly found herself feeling very drowsy, her limbs growing leaden…it had to be something that had been in the dart. She wouldn't be able to fight like this, and Goliath wouldn't be any match for this many humans alone while having to protect both her and the human Elisa Maza.
Goliath did his best, but the fight was brought to a quick halt after one of the humans had launched some kind of net over the Gargoyle leader, electrifying him and sending him to the ground.
"We only need one of them," the leader of the mercenary squad declared, drawing a pistol and heading toward Demona while his mean held the feebly struggling Gargoyle down, "Time to tie up loose ends."
The trio arrived just as the event was beginning to start, one of the advantages of being a Gargoyle though, Brooklyn thought to himself, was that they wouldn't ever have trouble finding seats, or a good view. They landed on one of the open beams spread all over the ceiling helping to support the weight of the roof on the building. Brooklyn wanted to see if they could get close, but he thought better of it in the end, if they got any nearer to the stage someone would be able to see them. The theatrics were pretty good, he had to admit…but the show didn't hold much interest for him, it was interesting for about the first ten minutes, but after that it got a little dull, the Pack was much better on TV.
The show finally ended, Brooklyn giving a stretch and letting out a massive yawn, "These guys are all right."
"Yeah," Lexington remarked quietly, "Hey, wouldn't it be great to meet 'em? I mean, they're warriors like we are…and we need more allies, kindred spirits, you know, people we can rely on."
"I dunno, Lex," Brooklyn hesitated, "You know what Demona said the other night, that we could out in the city as much as we wanted as long as we didn't let ourselves get seen and we didn't get into trouble.
"Yeah, but what about Elisa?" Broadway spoke up, "She knows about us. What makes her so different?"
"I...uh, well, I don't know," Brooklyn stammered, he knew they shouldn't just go reveal themselves to the Pack like this, but he couldn't come up with any good reason, "I just think we should talk to Goliath about this first…"
"Come on, Brooklyn," Lex urged, "What could be the harm? We won't tell them where we live or anything like that, we'll just go meet them. Besides, you've seen the show, you know how they fight with honor and all that, they're just like us."
Brooklyn sighed in defeat, "Alright, we'll go meet them, but not here, it's way too crowded. We should follow the Pack when they leave." The three young Gargoyles watched as the members of the Pack got into a long car and it started to drive off. Leaping off the roof, rising slightly as the wind caught beneath their wings and lifted them higher into the night, the trio began following after the car containing the members of the Pack.
"Once you're out of the way," the human laughed as he pointed the barrel of his gun in Demona's face, "We'll hunt down those other ones like you, I don't see why Mr. X wants you anyway, you should be extinct, along with the rest of your kind." Demona thrashed harder against the humans holding her down, no, she couldn't let that happen, not again. They were not losing one single Gargoyle, never again. With a roar and a sudden surge of adrenaline, she threw her captors off her arms and legs, her eyes blazing like two crimson lanterns and radiating fury. Elisa had likewise thrown off the one human who had been holding her. Demona rushed over to the prone form of her mate, attempting to tear at the thick, wire mesh that made up the net he was ensnared in, but it was no use, her talons just couldn't tear through, no matter how hard she tried.
"Demona, come on, we have to go!" Elisa exclaimed, pulling on Demona's arm. The Gargoyle looked up and noticed that the humans were getting back to their feet, "We can't help him right now, and we won't do him any good if we get caught too…you heard them, they want him alive, we're expendable to them they will kill us if we stay."
"Go, my love," Goliath whispered weakly, "Elisa is right, I know you will come find me, but you must go. Live, to fight another day. GO!" Demona grabbed Elisa and began to run, much as it pained her to. Goliath was right, staying here wouldn't do any of them any good, the humans would kill her, and then that would be the end of it. The sound of gunfire echoed behind the two fleeing females, pinging off the ground behind and around them as they ran. Demona's strength was beginning to fade once more, the initial burst of adrenaline wearing off and the exhaustion returning. Leaping off a rock the female Gargoyle attempted a short glide in order to try and conserve her energy, finally crashing into the ground as the weapon fire ceased. Elisa helped her to her feet, the Gargoyle found it a struggle to even stand, let alone stay awake
"Wh-what is wrong with me," Demona gasped, the two of them stumbling to the ground beneath a bridge. She hissed with pain, placing her hand where she'd gotten shot. It felt like some sort of dart was stuck in her side. She gingerly pulled it out and examined the tiny thing.
"Looks like this is the problem," Elisa frowned, glaring at the dart as she took it from Demona's hand and held it up to the weak light, "They pumped you full of something." She looked down at the Gargoyle's shoulder and noticed something small and obviously foreign resting just above her wing, she pulled the small tracking device off, "And this is how they found us!"
"What is that?" Demona snarled weakly, "Some form of sorcery? And how could it have gotten there?"
"You could say that I guess, this is a radio transmitter, it emits a signal that can be tracked using the right equipment," Elisa informed, "Look, there's some sort of symbol on it," the human woman indicated the strange beetle shaped insignia, "Could be a manufacturer's label, I'll have to look into it later. For now though, we need some way to throw them off our trail." Demona crouched on her hands and knees, doing her best not to pass out, a small part of her mind was clamoring that she shouldn't trust Elisa, for all she knew the human could have been the one to lead the attackers to the park and she had found that radio transmitter…but no, that was stupid, it didn't fit what little she had been able to observe of the human woman so far.
She could see Elisa messing with some dog that had been rooting through the trash that had been dropped under the bridge, and the dog running off a moment later. "There," Elisa remarked standing back up and dusting her hands off, "We'll let 'em chase Rover instead of us." She pulled Demona's arm over her shoulders again and helped her up, "Come on, let's get out of here before something else happens."
The night seemed far brighter than it should be, Demona looked blearily up at the sky and realized that it was almost dawn! "It's too late," she stated wearily, "We'll never be able to make it back to the castle before sunrise."
"Before sunrise?" Elisa asked in confusion, "What happens at sunrise?"
"Helpless, completely helpless," Demona was rambling now, whatever drug they had filled her with beginning to dull her mind now as well as her strength, "So, tired." She collapsed on her knees beneath a tree just as the sun began to peak over the horizon. Elisa looked over her shoulder, hearing a noise, and she could just barely make out the forms of the humans that had ambushed them in the dim light of dawn.
"Demona," Elisa called urgently, "We gotta move." She turned her head, letting out a shocked gasp as she was confronted by the stone form of the second in command of the Gargoyle clan, "Oh dammit." She was stuck now, she couldn't move the Gargoyle, but she couldn't just leave her here to be killed or taken by their pursuers either…
The car that the Pack had taken from Madison Square Garden stopped at some kind of warehouse, with some effort Brooklyn could make out the words "Pack Media Studios" in large letters on the top of the building…this must the Pack's headquarters or something. "Well, this is your show, Lex, you wanted to meet the Pack, so lead the way." The green Gargoyle nodded and the three of them took off for the roof of the Pack's building, the easiest way in would be through one of the sky-lights, once they found out where in the building the Pack were anyway. Brooklyn heaved an expectant sigh as they found the right spot, the room the Pack were in looked like some sort of exercise room, or maybe a training room, well, here goes nothing, hopefully the Pack wouldn't react like most humans did when they saw Gargoyles.
The noise of them slipping in must have alerted the Pack to their presence as one of them looked up toward the rafters, it sounded like it was Dingo, and called out, "Who's up there? Come on out now, nice and easy like and you won't get hurt." Broadway gave a shrug as Brooklyn looked over at him and the three of them descended quickly from their hiding spot.
"Uh, hi?" Brooklyn gave a weak wave as he tried to fill the awkward silence the appearance of the Gargoyles had made. Well, the Pack weren't running in terror, that was one thing at least, he guessed their shock though shouldn't have surprised him.
"What in the world?" Jackal exclaimed.
"Relax," Lexington tried to reassure, "We're not monsters, we aren't here to hurt you. We just wanted to meet you, we're warriors, like you." The members of the Pack looked askance at each other, Wolf leaning over and whispering something quietly to Fox, before promptly having her elbow slammed into his gut to silence him. Brooklyn narrowed his eyes, something screwy was going on here, somehow this just felt…off.
"They can talk," Wolf remarked in slight surprise, stooping down in front of Lexington, almost as if to examine the Gargoyle more closely.
"Well of course we talk, mutton-head," Brooklyn snapped indignantly, why did everyone have to think they were monsters? It was getting annoying. "You think you're the only race on the planet capable of intelligent thought?"
"Take it easy, Brooklyn," Broadway soothed, patting him on the shoulder, "This is probably the first time they've seen anything like us before."
"You have us at a disadvantage I'm afraid," Fox spoke up, "Seeing as you're familiar with the show, you should know our names…but we don't know yours."
"I'm Lexington, and this is Brooklyn and Broadway," Lexington instantly responded, "It's so exciting to meet you guys." The sense of unease Brooklyn felt was growing by the minute, part of it was the Pack, he knew that much, something about them just made him uneasy, like they weren't really who they said they were at all…but no, it was something else, why did he feel so uneasy?
Jackal suddenly spoke up, "Do you hear that?" Brooklyn listened intently, Gargoyles had keener hearing than humans, he wondered how he'd missed it and had to have Jackal point it out, it did sound like someone trying to sneak around, or rather, several someones…obviously people who didn't belong there.
"We've got company," he hissed, "And it doesn't sound like they're people who belong here." Bullets whizzed through the air as the door suddenly blew inward. "Nope, definitely not friendly!" Brooklyn dodged behind a shelf full of weights as bullets pinged and ricocheted off the contents of the shelves. The young Gargoyle took a quick peak from his poor cover, it didn't really surprise him all that much that the people were the same ones, or at least from the same faction, that had attacked the castle the other night, what did come as a surprise was their presence there. How the hell had they found them?
Unless they had a helicopter or some other flying machine, it would have been next to impossible to track them while they'd been gliding over the city. This cover was no good, it wouldn't protect long against the shooting. The shooting stopped, being replaced by a loud clang and a solid crunch as the weights that Broadway had just picked up and thrown smashed through the wall, only narrowly missing the humans and sending them jumping out of the way. The room burst into complete chaos as the Gargoyles and the Pack squared off against the attackers. "Take the Gargoyles alive if you can!" their leader ordered, "If not? Well it's no matter. Kill the Pack, we can't leave any witnesses."
There were a whole lot more of them than there had been attacking the castle, but numbers weren't a problem, there were his two rookery brothers and the five members of the Pack on his side, and they could take anything these clowns threw at them. Brooklyn lashed his tail around the legs of one of the humans, tripping him into one of his allies and causing both of the humans to go down hard. It was much easier to fight them this time than it had been in the castle, part of it was the presence of the Pack, but also Brooklyn knew what to expect now, before he and the rest of the clan had been completely bewildered and confused by this new era. Now though, he knew what to expect now, at least from these humans. With eight highly skilled fighters involved, the fight didn't last very long. Most of the humans got away, though only after several of them had been seemingly killed.
"Friends of yours?" Fox asked.
"Hardly, we don't even know these guys," Lexington exclaimed, "They first attacked us the other night, I have no idea what they want or why they're after us!"
"Hey, relax, Lex," Broadway remarked, "She's just asking us questions, I mean it's only fair, they attacked them too, and look what those thugs did to the Pack's building. Uh, sorry about the mess by the way."
"Oh it's not a problem," Wolf reassured casually, "This place gets trashed frequently enough when those fool ninjas get it into their heads to try and attack us here."
"It does sound though like you could someone to watch yer back," Dingo spoke up, "If Fox agrees and gets the ok from the boss, we might be able to help ya get rid of these guys attacking ya once and fer all."
"That's not up to us," Brooklyn cut in, "You'd have to take it up with our leader."
"Well how about this then," Fox suggested, "We'll look into the matter anyway, and if your leader decides to take us up on our offer, meet us here tomorrow night."
Brooklyn was hesitant, it didn't sound too bad he supposed, but he couldn't help feeling there was some sort of catch or trap hidden within the proposed deal, finally he decided, "All right, your plan sounds fair enough, if our leader agrees, we'll be back tomorrow." Brooklyn looked up through the skylight above them at the night sky and let out a slight gasp, it was much later than he'd thought, he turned to Lexington and Broadway, "We'd better get going, it's almost dawn." The three of them quickly climbed up and out onto the roof taking flight and heading for the Eyrie Building on the fastest wind currents they could find. The three of them came down for a landing on top of the battlements of the castle to find Hudson waiting for them there with Bronx.
"Lads, have ye seen Goliath and Demona? It's almost dawn, this isn't like them…"
"No," Brooklyn replied, throwing worried glances to Lexington and Broadway, "I'm sure they'll be safe though they're both smart, and they have Elisa with them, I trust her."
"And it's a big city," Broadway reassured, "They were being given a tour of it…I'm sure they just lost track of the time or something, just watch, they'll probably be back here first thing tomorrow night." Brooklyn and Hudson didn't quite share the large Gargoyle's optimism, but the matter would have to wait until tomorrow night, the sun had just begun to peak over the horizon turning the four Gargoyles into stone.
"I don't get it, Fox," Jackal remarked once the Gargoyles had vanished out of sight, "If our employer wishes for us to destroy these beasts, why did we not do it tonight?"
"Yeah," Hyena added, "What's with all the stupid cloak and dagger stuff? We should have just done the job tonight, less hassle."
"We're doing it this way because the boss wants them all taken care of at once," Fox stated, "There were only three of them here tonight, we need to wait to strike at the whole clan, and besides, the cannon fodder the boss sent to drive them into our arms gave us a good feel for how these beasts fight…insight into the best way to hunt them tomorrow night after we get the other part of the job done. You know we won't be able to simultaneously tackle three Cyberbiotics facilities all at once without them being on our side."
Goliath slowly felt his sense returning his eyes blinking rapidly as his vision came back into focus. The cool metal of thick manacles on his hands and feet and a thick strap across his chest holding him down to the table brought him fully to his senses.
"Struggling won't help you know," a slightly accented voice spoke up as a man in a white lab coat came into view, "In fact, it's rather rude of you to attempt to reject my hospitality like that before we've even met." Goliath growled with fury and pushed against the bonds holding him down and yanking at his chains, "My, my, don't you have a temper. Allow me to properly introduce myself, I am Dr. Anton Sevarius, and you, my friend, are to be my honored…guest. I do hope you will enjoy your stay, I can tell we are going to be such good friends."
"What do you want with me?" Goliath roared, "Where am I?"
"All in good time," Sevarius replied, "All in good time." He stepped forward holding some sort of tube, Goliath had no clue what it was, but he could see the needle on the end and figured it was no good, "Well, we might as well get this out of the way now…I don't want to have to wait 24 hours for my next chance. It's such a shame that my employer couldn't get a hold of one of you earlier." Goliath roared as the needle was forced into his skin, extracting his blood and genetic material. The Gargoyle seethed, he would not stay here to be the test subject of a demented mad man, there had to be some way to escape.
After taking whatever it was he had wanted, the man had wandered off out of sight and Goliath could no longer see him. The leader of the Gargoyles took a moment to study his surroundings…no, it couldn't be! He recognized this room, as different as it was from a thousand years ago…this was the room that had been the study and sanctuary of the Archmage before his banishment from the castle. He was back in the castle; that could only mean one thing, that attack the first night, the attack tonight...only one man could be behind it all: Xanatos! Goliath needed a plan of escape, he had to warn his clan, had to keep them safe. His thoughts were cut off as he felt the affects of stone sleep beginning to overtake him…how could it be morning already?
Sevarius turning from his work towards the now stone Gargoyle with a slight smirk, "Well, I suppose that's one way to make sure you keep quiet and don't escape."
Author's Note: Sorry that it took so long getting this chapter out guys :/ Turned out to be a really long one too, though I'm sure you all won't mind, hehe. Anyways, one more chapter until "Awakening" is completed, I must say that I'm honestly looking forward to it, probably more than you all are :P This episode is becoming a little bit of a drag to work on, and I think that played a small part in my delay :( Anyways, hopefully I'll have chapter six ready to upload really soon...I feel kind of bad leaving all of you on this quasi-cliffhanger. Well, I'm done talking now, hope you will enjoy this chapter :D