Down in the Labyrinth, in Talon
and Maggie's private room...
Elisa sat on the edge of the bed, her wings caped, a weak grin on her face. She figited nervously as she waited for her
The aforementioned dark-furred panther mutate was sitting on a chair, his face in his hand, his other arm folded over his
chest. An exasperated expression was on his feline face as he fluttered his large, batlike wings irritatedly.
When he finally looked up, he smiled sardonically, the gesture made feral by his razor-fanged jaws.
"So, lemme see if I got this straight. Someone found out about your relationship with Goliath, blabbed it to the police
station, which then resulted in you being fired."
Talon continued. "Then you and Matt went to see Xanatos, to call in one of the favors he promised after Goliath saved his
son, only to find that he was missing. So, as a way of cheering you up, Owen, whom you tell me is actually Puck, from A Midsummer
Night's Dream, turns you and Matt into gargoyles for a couple nights, so you can flap around and be with your boyfriend as
the same species for a bit."
Elisa nodded again, grinning weakly. "You're taking this a lot better than I thought you would."
"Only on your second night, something happens that nearly kills you, and forces Puck to make you a gargoyle forever so
changing back won't kill you. And then the first person you tell about your problem is a crazy woman who's tried to kill you
and humanity in general on more than one occasion, instead of your family, who'd more than likely be more understand about
your predicament than the aforemented lunatic female."
Elisa winces. "I take that last part back..."
Talon looked thoughtful for a moment, and said, "Demona really took you in?"
Elisa nodded. "Sort of. She's agreed to a truce, and agreed to help me learn about being a gargoyle."
Talon sighed, the sound coming out as a feral snarl. "And you're sure she isn't playing some angle. That she isn't trying
to use you to get to Goliath."
Elisa blinked, then glared at Talon. "Well, I wasn't until you brought it up!"
Talon smirked, a teasing, big-brotherly grin. "Seriously though. You're sure she's going to follow through on this truce?"
Elisa sighed, and lowered her head for a moment, thinking. "Yeah, I do. When I came to see her, she attacked me like she
usually does, but after I told her why I was there, she asked me to her place. We talked for a while and..." Elisa sighed,
"She just seemed so desperately lonely to me. She told me about some bad times in her past when... Well, I promised to keep
what we talked about a secret. But believe me, if you heard what I heard, you'd understand why she's willing to help me, even
though we've been enemies in the past. She's even agreed to be there when I talk to my parents."
Talon sighed again, shaking his head. He stood up and walked to the door of the room, staring out over the Labyrinth and
the people within.
Elisa shifted nervously on the bed, and asked, her tone nervous, "Talon? ...Derek?"
After a long, uncomfortable moment, Talon chuckled, turning back to Elisa and saying, "You realize of course, that Mom
and Dad are going to KEEL you. Not just kill you but KEEL you."
Elisa laughed, relaxing visibly. "So you're not mad about me telling you right away?"
Talon shook his head, smiling widely. "Elisa, ever since we were kids you've done things in your own way, at your own pace,
and to hell with what everyone else thinks. Hell, I'd have been surprised if you DID tell us right away."
Elisa grinned, and stood up, hugging her brother tightly. Talon returned the hug, purring softly as he did. They broke
the hug, and stared at each other.
"Tell me it's okay. Tell me that everything's going to be okay," Elisa said.
Talon chuckled, and nodded. "Everything's going to fine, Elisa. Granted, you're going to have to deal with being more of
a nightcrawler than we are down here, but I know you, sis. You're tough. You can handle anything."
Elisa smiled. But in her heart she was troubled.
Talon hugged her again. Elisa chuckled. "So how've you been doing? Things okay down here?"
Talon nodded. "Better than we have been. We've managed to get a steady supply of food and medical supplies coming in, and
we've scavenged all kinds of equipment. This place still has resevoir access, so we're working on setting up some plumbing.
Turns out Claw has some tech knowledge. Delilah has some too, but we've had to adapt it from her... um... other programming..."
Talon looked away, obviously embarrassed.
Elisa frowned. "What do you mean by 'other programming?'"
Talon chuckled nervously. "Well, um... Delilah was made from you and Demona, as you obviously know by now... and... uh...
Well, she was originally programmed to serve as both as Thailog's personal assassin, bodyguard, and... uh... his personal
Elisa blinked. Then her eyes widened, a blush spreading over her face. "Oh my..."
Talon nodded. "We had a lot of trouble trying to stop her from trying to seduce the three of us at every chance she got
at first. She also had skilled knowledge of how to build and work various... uh... toys. But we've managed to adapt her skills
to setting up electrical wiring. Lamps, scavenged space heaters that we've patched up, that sort of thing."
Elisa chuckled nervously. "Suddenly I'm glad I wasn't down here when she was in that phase. Being flirted with by a half-clone
of myself would have been a little too much to deal with. Just hearing about it is unnerving enough."
Talon laughed. "Yeah. But she's come a long way since then. She's the smartest of the clones, speaks English fluently now,
and is sort of the 'den mother' for the rest of them."
Elisa nodded. "What about these supplies you mentioned? Where are they coming from?"
"Donations," Talon said. But he wouldn't meet her eyes when he said it.
Elisa frowned, but decided not to say anything about it for now. She smiled again, and hugged her brother. "Well, anyway,
I need to get going. I promised Matt that I'd check in after I met up with you, so we could set up the meeting with Mom and
Talon smiled warmly, hugging her back. "Okay then. Bye sis. And be careful."
Elisa chuckled and nodded, heading for the exit. She smiled as she passed Brentwood, the indigo-skinned clone of her friend
Lexington playing happily with some of the young children that lived down here, and went through the door of the Labyrinth
chamber, closing it behind her.
She sighed weakly. "Well, that went well enough. Now if I could only be sure my parents would be so easy to talk with..."
She shook her head, and kept walking until she came to a ladder leading up to a manhole cover in an alley. She climbed
up the ladder, making sure to wrap her tail around her waist as she got out, not wanting to drop the cover on her tail. She
emerged into the alley, looking around briefly to make sure no one was watching. She climbed up the side of the nearby building
and opened the cellphone she had been loaned, dialing Matt's number.
"Hello?" came the voice of someone she didn't recognize from the other end.
Elisa blinked in confusion. "Who is this? I'm looking for Matt Bluestone, I'm a friend of his."
The voice sighed. "Ma'am, I'm sorry but Mr.Bluestone was kidnapped about two hours ago."
"Yes. But I can't tell you any more..."
Elisa was prepared for that reaction. "Sir, I am Officer Elaine Marks of the 24th Precinct and a good friend of Matt's.
You can tell me."
The voice on the other end sighed. He covered the phone briefly, and was heard to be shouting orders to someone, and then
came back. "Okay then Officer Marks. Matt Bluestone was kidnapped tonight. Apparently, his superior, Captain Maria Chavez
was taken as well. The last call he apparently made was to her. An old FBI buddy of Bluestone's had stopped in for a visit
when he saw Jackal and Hyena jump out the window with them both."
"Oh my God..." Elisa gasped. 'Old FBI Buddy...' That had to be Hacker. Matt had told her about what happened after the
fiasco at the Hotel Cabal. If Hacker was involved that meant Illuminati.
"Where is this old FBI buddy now?"
The voice sighed again. "I don't know, he had vanished when we arrived. We're still going through the place and..."
Elisa hung up, having heard enough. She paced, trying to figure out how to proceed next.
Goliath, having followed Elisa and waited outside the sewers at her request, landed next to her. "My love, what is wrong?
Did Matt have some bad news?"
Elisa chuckled. "That's something of an understatement. Apparently Matt and Captain Chavez were both kidnapped by Jackal
Elisa nodded, trying to concentrate, but it was hard. She was worried about her partner and her former boss, whom she held
no blame for over her firing. "The best thing I can think of right now is patrolling where we can all over Manhattan for clues.
By now Jackal and Hyena are probably gone, but maybe they're still here. If not, then maybe we can find clues. It's not much..."
she sighed, "But it's the best I can think of..."
Goliath frowned. "Maybe we could ask Demona for..."
Elisa shook her head. "No. One thing she made very clear to me was that while she's willing to help me adjust to being
a gargoyle, AND be there for moral support when I tell my parents about what's happened to me tomorrow, she will not in any
way help me help other humans."
Goliath snorted. "Sounds like her all right.."
Elisa chuckled weakly. "Yeah, I know. C'mon, let's get the others."
The two gargoyles leaped off the side of the building, catching a thermal and gliding away.
In Sevarius's Hideaway...
is being a pest...
"CAMAHN, Doc! Tell us how it happened! Last time we saw you, your hair was an auburnish color. What's with the neon look?"
Hyena said, poking Sevarius in the side.
Sevarius just ignored her, trying and failing to act like he wasn't noticing her, staring at the resealed cage with the
still-unconcious forms of Matt, Beth, Chavez, Margot, and Brendon inside.
Each one was now clad in a stylized leotard, yellow-and-black for the women, red-and-black for the men, each one with a
stylized Pack-logo that was more feline than canine in appearance. The only other thing they wore were wristbands, they were
Sevarius winced as Hyena sharpened her finger, poking him hard enough to make him bleed. He rolled his eyes and sighed.
He looked over at Jackal and Wolf, who both look interested as to the mad scientist's style change.
He shook his head and said, "It was a bar bet, all right?"
The eyes of all three Pack members widened. Then they all burst out laughing.
Sevarius shook his head, glaring at the cage. "That imbecile Demona... After Goliath's clan defeated her at the church
and took my beautiful virus, she expressely forbade me from doing ANY kind of genetics experiments that she didn't request
herself. And oh, by the way, she hasn't requested ANYTHING of that kind since then."
He glared at Wolf and Jackal, who were calming down first. He snarled, and said, "Do you have any idea how BORING it was
not being able to work on projects like this? To do what I was best at? I was so desperate for something interesting to do
I actually accepted an offer to go to a bar and watch a boxing match of all things!"
Jackal chuckled. "Damn. I didn't know people could get that bored."
Something was bothering Wolf, though. He was a little proud of himself for managing to (just barely) restrain himself from
raping any of the three women while they were out, but his good mood from that was fading fast. Something about what Sevarius
was saying was disturbing him.
Sevarius nodded in response to Jackal. "I got so drunk that night, I made a bet on the boxing match that if I lost, I would
dye my hair pink and neon orange. The pink has faded but the orange seems to be staying with me..."
Hyena was in stitches, she was laughing so hard. "Oh brother! Just when I thought you couldn't get any weirder, you do
something like this!"
Sevarius grumbled. "Blasted idiocy, that's all it is..."
Hyena managed to get control of herself. "So who was fighting?"
The mad doctor shook his head. "I don't know, I can only remember the name of the one I bet AGAINST. He was named after
a luncheon meat of some kind... Tyson something..."
This got Jackal and Wolf laughing again. "You bet AGAINST Mike Tyson?! Damn, Doc, I thought you were smart!!!" Jackal practically
Hyena was laughing too hard to speak. So was Wolf.
Sevarius was REALLY wishing Matt and the others would wake up so that he could move on to the next phase. They were already
starting to show slight signs of changing, their eyes already starting to alter in shape and color, their skin changing color
as the first downy coat of fur started to grow. His 'small talk' with the Pack was going to drive him crazy.
Then he got his wish.
All five figures in the cage started to moan as the gas wore off. Sevarius quickly shushed the Pack and hurried them out
of the room and into a monitoring area just on the other side.
The three villains looked curiously at Sevarius as he sat down in the room's chair, watching the monitor as a hidden camera
showed what was happening in the other room....
Matt and Chavez were the first to wake up. Groaning, they both staggered to their feet, trying to shake the cobwebs out
of their thoughts. Chavez turned to Matt, about to ask what was going on, when she noticed the fur.
Matt blinked and turned to Chavez. His eyes widened for a moment as he saw her body, now sporting a grayish-black coloring
that was quickly thickening into fur. Then he looked at himself, seeing white, tiger-striped fur growing on his skin.
"Dammit..." he cursed, slumping over against the wall of their cage.
At this point Beth and the Yales were starting to wake up as well. Beth, once fully awake, stared at everyone, then at
herself, seeing the blonde fur and cheetah spots growing, her hands already staring to shift slightly.
She chuckled weakly. "I guess I'm finally gonna know how Derek feels..."
"Derek?! Your brother?!" Margot said, starting to panic. Blond lioness-fur was growing on her, the first bulges of her
wings already starting to show. "What's going on?!"
Chavez nodded in agreement. "I'm starting to think Elisa left out some details of her story, Mr.Bluestone. Why don't you
tell us what she left ouy?"
Matt gave Beth a look, who just shrugged helplessly. Matt sighed, and said, "Okay, here's what I know, starting from when
I first met the clan."
And he told them everything he knew. He told them about Elisa and Goliath's 'World Tour,' what he knew of it at least,
MacBeth, how Xanatos got the clan to the US, the mutates, Thailog and the other clones, about his involvement with the Illuminati,
and about Coldstone.
Once he was finished, Brendon's eyes were wide with shock. One of Margot's eyebrows was twitching angrily, and Chavez was
just chuckling sardonically, fingering her partially developed wings.
As if it wasn't hard enough to find time to visit my daughter... Oh Gods... Chavez thought to herself. But she didn't
say anything for now.
Margot was irate. "When we get out of this, Bluestone, I am going to put you, and Maza, and that entire damn clan of freaks
behind bars," she snarled, her voice thickening into a feral growl. She tried to stand up, but at that moment her legs started
to shift their shape, and she fell on her butt.
Matt chuckled, his ears shifting and moving up to the sides of his head as his mutation continued. "The clan's look is
natural, Margot. We're the ones who are gonna be freaks in a minute. And how do you plan to get anyone to listen to you when
you're a giant catwoman with bat wings?"
Margot blinked, and looked at herself again, remembering what Matt told her about Sevarius's first batch of mutates and
realizing for the first time what was truly happening to her. She collapsed, Brendon moving to catch her as she shivered fearfully.
Matt chuckled again, and started to say something else, but at that point his mouth bulged out, filling with razor-sharp
fangs as their mutations started to finalize themselves.
All they could do now was wait, and see what would happen to them next.
The Hidden Room...
"Interesting... They seem to be skipping completely the tailed 'transistory phase' that Talon's group went through... My
experiment seems to be a success so far..."
Hyena snorted, leaning casually up against one wall of the room. "So doc, what's the point of doin' this if you've already
done it like you said?"
Sevarius didn't turn around, but answered her anyway. "The point, my dear Hyena, is to see if I could still do it. I told
you, Demona banned all my genetics experiments. Well, all the ones that didn't have anything to do with something SHE wanted,
anyway. I made this formula to act quicker and in a less painful fashion than the original one, and wanted to test it. I knew
Demona wouldn't let me do it, so I had to make this place and enlist you three."
Jackal nodded from where he was sitting on the floor. "And?"
Sevarius shook his head, and smiled at him casually. "That's all. I just wanted to see if my skills hadn't atrophied under
Wolf snarled, and curled up on the floor, irritated. "You called us here for something as petty as that?!"
Sevarius shook his head. "No. I called you here to help me play a game of 'beat-up-the-gargoyle' after this is done. Things
are going to get much more interesting once their transformations are complete, I assure you."
The three Pack members blinked, a little surprised. But then they all traded pleased grins. Things WERE getting more interesting.
Wolf, on the other hand, was a little worried. He had finally figured out what was bothering him about Sevarius's words.
He was just too calm. The doc was enjoying this. He was enjoying the fact that he was shattering people's lives.
A few minutes later...
The five mutates looked each other over, each assessing their newfound forms.
Matt's was the most visually impressive. He had bulked up, but not excessively so, and now stood as tall as Goliath. His
body was covered in dusky, whitish-fur with black tiger-stripes, save for the top of his head, which still had his firey red
hair, now grown down to his shoulders. It was an odd contrast of coloring, but an interesting one.
Beth had become cheetah spotted. Her size didn't change that much, save for the muscular increase that all five gained.
Her fur was cheetah-spotted, a rather striking effect that her sad expression made look rather cute. Her hair had become spotted
as well, although it was black with yellow spots, the reverse of her fur.
Chavez was actually a little impressed with her mutate form. She flexed, and flapped her impressive wings. Her hair had
grown longer from the mutation, down to the middle of her back. Her fur was a dusty light gray color, and her animal face
resembled that of a lynx, complete with the long tufts of fur on either side of her face.
The Yales had both become lions. Margot's perfectly styled hair had become somewhat unraveled by her transformation, shrinking
and vanishing completely into her head as she became covered in sandy-blonde fur. She glared at her husband, who seemed to
actually enjoy his new form.
In both body and wingspan, Brendon had become the largest. His hair had circled around his neck as he mutated, becoming
a rather impressive mane that even Margot had to admit was rather sexy-looking. His body had muscled-up tremendously. Brenden
smirked as he looked himself over, flexing and taking rather hammy-looking poses. Margot just shook her head and got to her
feet, balancing herself against the side of the cage. She still hadn't adjusted to her new center of gravity.
"Soorr, nrooww rrhatt?" Margot tried to say. None of them had adjusted fully to talking with their new, feline mouths.
Margot was the first one to try.
Before any of the others could answer her, Sevarius stepped back into the room, the Pack flanking him. Once Matt and Beth
noticed the mad doctor, they snarled. And to Sevarius's dismay, both of them showed signs of their electrical powers manifesting
already, in the form of their eyes glowing and sparking. Brendon just seemed interested in what Sevarius had to say, while
Margot and Chavez just seemed content to glare at him.
Hyena snickered, unfazed by the growls of the angry mutates. "Seems your formula worked out quite well, doc."
Sevarius chuckled weakly. "Yes... Er... Not that I'm not confident about the end results of this, but if I doubled what
I was paying you right now, would the three of you be willing to stay on as my bodyguards for a while?"
Hyena and Jackal traded looks and shrugged. Wolf just stared at the five mutates, nodding vaguely.
"Sure, why not? You're kinda cool, anyway," Hyena said. Wolf just gave her a bitter look that she ignored.
Jackal just shook his head at her, chuckling. "I think I did too good a job on remaking you, my love..." he said.
Wolf blinked, confused. "Wha'd joo say?"
Jackal shook his head, not losing his smile. "Nothing. Never mind."
Sevarius smiled at the newly-mutated creatures inside the cage. Loudly, deliberately, he said, "Look at them all. Once
they were human, each one with a promising future. A police detective and police captain, an assistant district attorney and
a high-end member of the city treasurer's office, and a lovely young college student. Now they are freaks forever. Cursed
because of dumb luck and their inability to defend themselves to be trapped in freakish, animal bodies forever. Cut off from
friends, family, everything they care about!"
At the mention of family, Chavez's eyes flashed brightly, and she snarled, punching the clear walls of their cage. Sevarius
just continued his rantings, taunting each of them individually, making the five of them even angier.
Sevarius didn't even flinch. He pulled a new control box out of his pocket and pressed two buttons, putting it back into
his pocket without missing a beat. An odd new scent popped up around Sevarius, one that even Jackal and Hyena's merely human
noses could pick up, but before they could consider it, the walls of the cage retracted, giving freedom to the five beings
The Pack started to move around Sevarius, but he just motioned them aside, smiling. "I want to test something first."
"You wanna test how far your intestines splatter after they rip you open?! Dammit, did you hire us for protection or didn't
you?!" Wolf snarled.
Sevarius ignored him, and started walking towards the cage.
The mutates were looking around in confusion, trying to figure out if this was a trick or if they were being given a legitimate
shot at freedom.
Margot didn't care either way. All she knew was that this man had ruined her life. And she wanted him DEAD.
She got shakily to her feet, growling... and then she charged.
Wolf readied himself to pounce on her, Jackal and Hyena priming their arm cannons, but Sevarius waved them down, continiously
walking towards her and Margot roared, her claws extended as she reached for the madman.
But once she got within ten feet of Sevarius, the insignia on her leotard started to glow. Margot screeched and collapsed,
clutching her chest. Very quickly burning fur could be smelled by everyone in the room. Margot, tears streaming down her face,
writhed in agony, her voice degenerating into a choked, hissing moan. The other mutates looked on, horrified, as Brendon ran
out to help his wife, only to have the insignia on HIS chest start to glow and burn him, causing him to fall to his knees.
Beth immediately started to run out to help them, but Matt and Chavez held the struggling young girl back, both suddenly
realizing what was happening.
It's Sevarius... Matt thought. There's something in our outfits that he can use to protect himself...
Chavez cursed inwardly, thinking DAMMIT! He's got some kind of protection! And I'll bet you anything that he's going
to use it to force us to do what he wants.
Sevarius sighed in relief, and backed away from the Yales. The glow on their insignias faded, and they collapsed, gasping
weakly, unable to move anything more than their eyes. Now the two former officers let Beth go, allowing her to run to the
Yales and try to help them. Matt and Chavez cautiously stepped forward, glaring at Sevarius.
The doctor just kept walking backwards until he was back amongst the Pack, who were visibly impressed by what they had
"Before you ask 'what happened,' I'm going to tell you. Your leotards contain a small bomb of my design that will literally
burn a hole in your chests should you come within and STAY within ten feet of me. And yes, I DO have a control to manually
activate all your bombs should you not do EXACTLY what I tell you to do."
Beth just shook her head as she examined the Yales. They both seemed all right, but she wasn't a physician! She couldn't
tell what totally was wrong with them! They were still breathing, at least, so that was something.
Matt and Chavez just stared steadily at him, their expressions betraying no emotion.
"And rrrrhat do rryou rrrant us to do?" Matt asked.
Sevarius just grinned, turning to leave the room. "Rest and recover for now, and learn to use your new bodies. The flying
can be learned on the job, so don't concern yourself with mastering your wings just yet. Because tomorrow, we are going hunting.
I promised the Pack a little fun, and I mean to keep my promise. Tomorrow, the eight of you, mutates and Pack members, are
going to hunt and kill every member of Goliath's clan."
To Be Continued...