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Another Reawakening

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A.D. 2001

“Well, Goliath, what should we do?” Broadway looked nervous as he asked the question, hoping for an answer he knew was not coming.

The large gargoyle, well deserving of his name, looked at the letter again, then crushed it in his huge claws, “We don’t have a choice. We must save Elisa.”

“But you know it’s a trap. Demona wouldn’t have asked us to go to the cemetery unless she had something waiting for us.” Lexington wasn’t too keen on the idea of walking into another ambush. He’d done that too many times before.

Brooklyn looked at him sternly. “Well, what do you suggest we do? Elisa needs our help! We can’t just leave her because it’s a little dangerous.” He was blushing through his already red skin. “She’s helped us too many times for us to bail on her now!”

“I didn’t mean—”

“Enough! Both of you. We are going. Fighting about it will get us nowhere.” Goliath gave them a look that made them instinctively lower their eyes. “We need to decide how to approach it, though. There’s no need for us to walk into it blindly.”

“Aye. You’re right, lad.” The husky, Scottish-accented voice of Hudson was clearly heard, though not exceedingly loud. “We need a strategy. We have the advantage of greater numbers. If we all attack as one, even Xanatos and Demona can’t defeat us.”

“I still can’t believe Xanatos betrayed us again,” said Lex.

“And why not? He’s done it before. It seems we were wrong to go back to the castle so readily, even if it was our home. But he has betrayed us”—Hudson laid his hand on the hilt of his sword—“and now we must deal with him.”

Lexington looked up at him anxiously. “What if he has those robots with him?”

Goliath looked at Hudson. That prospect worried him. He remembered the last time they’d had to fight the combined power of Demona, Xanatos and his Goliath-bots. They’d barely gotten out alive. “We have no choice,” he repeated. “Any help we could get is too far away to do any good. By the time reinforcements arrived, it would be too late.”

Hudson looked at him solemnly. “So we go, then.”

Goliath nodded, then went to the edge of the tower and jumped off. With a flap, his wings unfolded and he glided down into the night, followed by the rest of his clan.

#

“What is taking them so long?” The deceptively young-looking woman looked up impatiently as she locked the clip into place.

“They’ll be here, Demona, don’t worry,” the handsome businessman reassured her. “Don’t get your tail in a knot.”

Well, not quite a woman.

“Why do you need to lure them here with me, Xanatos?” The voice of the dark-haired policewoman was dripping with anger, and a hint of actual curiosity. “You could kill them any time you wanted.”

“Oh, I’m not going to kill them,” he answered.

“Then why?”

“You’ll find out soon enough. Just shut up, human!” The female gargoyle said the last word with such contempt that it made Elisa’s skin crawl.

#

As they neared the cemetery on the outskirts of the city, Goliath ordered the others to be ready for anything. He’d dealt with both of his enemies enough to know not to underestimate them. They descended to visual range, and he could see Elisa tied to a very large tombstone. He tensed, hoping it would not be hers. He thought it strange that they would choose this particular cemetery, when there were so many others near the city. He wondered if it had something to do with the fact that there were a large number of stone statues adorning it. Choosing one of the larger ones, a horse with no rider, he landed on the back with his clan surrounding him.

“We’ve come, Xanatos. Now let Elisa go!” he bellowed.

The millionaire was not the one to answer. “I’m afraid we can’t do that, love.” Demona’s use of that word made Goliath wince. It was like a shot to the heart whenever he was reminded that his one-time soulmate had now become his fiercest enemy. Demona took advantage of his hesitation and laid down a spread of gunfire so fierce it blasted the head off the horse. Goliath and the others jumped out of the way just in time.

“You said you wouldn’t kill them!” shouted Elisa.

He said he wouldn’t kill them,” she answered, indicating Xanatos. “I’d like them just as good dead as alive.” Then, mainly to herself, she added, “ Maybe more so.”

“Demona, stick to the plan!” ordered Xanatos, “or the deal’s off.”

She thought about that for a moment. There was a battle inside her between the intense, raging desire to kill Goliath and her equally strong hunger for the magic talismans that Xanatos had hidden within his stronghold. She let out a low growl, then slowly lowered her gun. Almost immediately, she was tackled by the three youngest gargoyles. Goliath and Hudson approached Xanatos, when they were sideswiped by two large, mechanical replicas of Goliath. They were thrown to the ground and tried to get up and fight back, but they were hit with some kind of electrical charge and went unconscious. Seeing this, Brooklyn and Lexington ran to them, pounding the machines, but they, too, were zapped. The only one left, Broadway looked down at Demona and saw her wicked, satisfied grin.

Then it all went black.

#

Slowly, the darkness began to fade. Goliath blinked, trying to remember where he was. When he regained some of his strength, he tried to get up but was held down. Alarmed, he fully awoke and looked around him. He and the others were tied to the ground with nets and chains. He broke the chains and handcuffs, then tried to tear the nets.

Something was wrong. The rope of the nets was harder than steel. He couldn’t break free. He thrashed at it, growling.

“It’s no use, Goliath.” Xanatos stood over him, looking down patronizingly. “The rope has been reinforced with magic. There’s no way you’ll be able to break it.”

Goliath worked his way into a crouched standing position. “What do you want with us, Xanatos?”

“You’ve been a thorn in my side for long enough, Goliath.” Xanatos paced around him, “You’ve outlived your usefulness, so I’m afraid I have to get rid of you.”

“Then kill me! But let Elisa go!” Goliath tried to jump at him, to no avail. He stood there like a trapped moth, trying to fly but unable to.

Xanatos looked him in the eye and calmly answered, “As Detective Maza has previously pointed out, if that had been my intention, you would already be dead. No, no. I have a much more interesting plan for you.”

By this time, all the other gargoyles were awake and up—and in the same predicament. Lexington looked nervous. “What are you gonna do?”

“Well, we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, now would we?” Xanatos looked at Demona and backed away from his captives. Demona chuckled to herself as she pulled out the Grimorum Arcanorum. At the sight of that ancient book, the eyes of all the gargoyles widened in fear. They knew that if she needed the book of magic, they wouldn’t like the result.

They were right. She opened the book and slowly raised her hand toward them. As she began chanting something in Latin, the wind picked up and circled around them. The gargoyles frantically scrambled, trying to free themselves of their bondage. Her eyes began to glow red. The two humans both looked on, one in mute fascination, the other in horror. Finally, when the wind was at its highest and screamed so loud that Demona could barely be heard, she shouted in English, “Sleep in stone until you rest on another world!” With that, a bright burst of blue energy shot from her hand toward Goliath and the others. He roared one last time. A piercing, gut-wrenching howl. Then they went silent.

When Elisa saw them turn to stone in the middle of the night, she was terrified. Terrified and angry and saddened beyond words. Her stomach leapt into her throat, and for a moment she lost her breath. When she got it back, she screamed as hard as she could. What gave them the right to take her friends? How could they take him away from her? She wanted to tear Demona’s head off. She looked at her with a glare that would rival that of the gargoyles themselves. When Demona saw her, even though Elisa was tied up, for one brief moment the gargoyle was frightened of the human. Then that moment was gone, and Demona smirked.

“Good work, Demona,” said Xanatos, walking over to inspect the new statues. “They’ll make very nice trophies for my hall. I think I’ll put them next to the stuffed polar bear and wolverine.”

Elisa was furious. “You son of a—”

Demona slapped her before she could finish. “Quiet, human!”

Elisa spat on the ground, bright crimson, then looked up at her. “When I get loose, I’m going to rip that arm off and beat you with it. Then I’ll tear your throat out with my bare hands.”

Demona’s anger flared up. She looked at the cop and snarled. “I don’t think so, Maza.” Like lightning her hand was on Elisa’s throat. Elisa looked at her in terror, unable to speak. Drops of blood slid down her skin and Xanatos realized that Demona had her claws in her neck.

“Demona! No!” Xanatos ran to stop her, but it was too late.

Demona released her grip and Elisa gurgled one last time, then her head dropped.

“Why did you do that?!” he yelled. “We weren’t going to kill anyone!”

“She would have told the police about us. You’d have been in jail in a day and I’d have been in some research facility, or worse. I couldn’t risk being exposed. Besides, no one even knows she’s gone, let alone who took her. They’ll never know it was you.”

Xanatos’ gaze flickered between his murderous ally, the motionless statues of the man-like beasts, and the still-warm corpse of the police detective. Finally, he looked at Demona with a pained expression. “Get rid of the body. I don’t want anyone ever finding out about this.”

#

A.D. 2005

The knock came softly. A gentle rapping on the wood. She got up from the bedside and walked to the door. It was only a few yards, but even that seemed too far right now. Slowly she turned the knob, not wanting to awaken her husband. As she opened it, she unconsciously peeked through it with one eye before opening it completely. The lupine tattoo was clearly seen by the man on the other side, and he wondered if she ever wished that she’d never been so fervent about her involvement in The Pack.

“Oh, good,” she whispered. “Come in, Owen. He’s been waiting for you.”

“How is he?” Owen asked in a low tone.

“About as well as could be expected, considering his condition. He’s very weak. I don’t know how much longer he’ll last.” She put her hand over her mouth, holding back the tears. Then paused and tried to regain her composure. She was unsuccessful. This was tearing her up inside. Then it was killing her that it was killing her. Imagine her, Fox, the toughest woman alive (as she liked to think of herself), sobbing like a baby. This family life had turned her soft. She scolded herself for her weakness. Owen put his hand on her shoulder, a drastic move for this stoic persona.

“Are you all right?” His words jerked her out of her daze.

“Yes. Yes, I’m okay.” She went to the chair beside her husband and sat. “David.” She took his hand gently. “It’s Owen. You called for him.”

He blinked a few times and looked up. He spoke slowly, and with effort. “Thank you, my love. Please leave us.” Hesitating for a moment, she looked at Owen, then back at her husband, and reluctantly got up and left the room. As she shut the door, she again summoned her strength to fight back the tears.

Owen, the ever-faithful servant, looked down at his employer. Such a strong man, reduced to frame he saw before him now.

“Owen, sit down.” Even his voice was beginning to sound frail.

Owen obediently took the proffered seat.

“Owen, I can’t die like this. After all I’ve done, it can’t end this way.”

“No, sir.” Owen could see the resolution in his face. Even at his weakest, his boss still believed it was under his control. Perhaps it was.

“I’ve lived through countless battles with far deadlier foes. I can’t now be done in by cancer. I’m too young.”

“Yes sir. What is your plan?” Owen knew him too well to think that he was wrong. If he was this set on something, he would have devised a way to get it done.

“Cryogenic freezing.” His answer was simple and to the point. “I want you to freeze me until a cure is found.” He certainly had the resources to do it. “Dr. Sevarius has been working on a method of doing this ever since I became sick. I just got word that he has finished. It’s not completely tested, but I don’t have much choice now.” Owen knew all this, of course. As his right-hand man, there was nothing that went on in any of the companies that he wasn’t aware of. But he ignored that fact. The illness was affecting his memory.

“It could be a long time, sir.”

“I’ll wait as long as I have to, Owen. But I refuse to die now.”

“Yes sir,” he answered. “I’ll inform Dr. Sevarius immediately.” Owen got up to walk out, but he felt his arm being held back. He felt the warmth of the feeble hand grasping him and looked back into the face of the man for whom he’d worked many years.

“Owen, take care of Fox and Alexander for me.” His expression spoke volumes. He was terrified of leaving his wife and son. Owen had never seen him with such fear and uncertainty in his eyes. Then he added, “And thank you.”

Owen looked at him and felt a tinge of sadness, not something he often felt. He gently, but firmly, clutched the hand and looked solemnly at his friend.

“Yes, Mr. Xanatos.”

#

A.D. 2372

Captain Jean-Luc Picard was in an introspective mood. He sat in his office, looking out the tall window. Star lines zipped by, telling of the speed at which they were now traveling. There was a copy of Macbeth on his desk. It was a book, not a padd. He found that it seemed a much more real experience: flipping the pages, feeling it’s weight in his hands, smelling the leather and paper. One could not read Shakespeare off of a computer. It just wasn’t right. He smiled to himself when he thought of the Bard on one of these great starships. There was a time when it was thought that at speeds more than fifteen miles per hour, the human body would explode. Or implode. Or vaporize. They were really just guessing, anyway. In that time, if someone had said that one day humans would be traveling millions of miles a second to the farthest reaches of space, they would have been sent to an insane asylum, if not killed for heresy. It seems every radical idea was a heresy back then. He chuckled at the haughty ignorance of people in the past, then sighed as he realized that they were no different now.

He was jarred out of his musings by Worf’s voice over the comm. “Captain, there’s a message for you from Earth.”

“Put it through,” he said as he turned to his desk viewscreen. The symbol of Starfleet Command appeared then was quickly replaced by the image of Admiral Harrison. “What can I do for you, Admiral?” he asked in his most cordial manner.

“I need you to run an errand for us,” stated the silver-haired man.

“What kind of errand?” Picard asked. He was used to being asked to do extra little tasks by his superiors. He always tried to take it in stride.

“When you arrive at Earth, I need you to pick up some cargo and drop it off on Drakoni V when you pass by that system. It will only be a few hours out of your way.” This was not the first time the Enterprise had been asked to act as a cargo vessel. It was beginning to get on Picard’s nerves, but he’d learned to just grin and bear it. “The transport ship that was going to take it suffered some sudden damage. Seems they were transporting a Florinian fireswamp rous and someone thought it needed some exercise.”

“Of course, Admiral,” he answered. “May I ask what kind of cargo we will be taking on?” He was tired of being surprised by things that ended up being life forms or strange relics or such.

“It’s a collection of stone statues to be given to a museum in Opekna colony. They’re being donated by the city of New York. We wanted to give them something interesting, but not too valuable. The colonists have been complaining for some time that their museum consists of nothing but a few old pots and a Twentieth Century riding lawnmower.”

Picard was amused with the prospect of a bunch of people on a desert planet trying to decipher the meaning of something designed to care for a plant they’ve never seen. “Yes, sir. We should arrive at Earth by 1400 hours.”

“Thank you, Captain.” The admiral did not look at all thankful. He looked more like he was tired of dealing with such petty things. “Harrison out.”

Picard sighed as he turned off the viewscreen. Informing the bridge crew of the change of plan, he leaned back and reached for his book.

#

“Captain, we are approaching the Drakoni system,” the mechanically tenored voice reported.

“Thank you, Mr. Data. Slow to impulse.” Picard was relieved to finally be near the end of this tedious delivery tour. Maybe now they could get back to some actual exploring. That was the whole point of this ship, wasn’t it? He certainly didn’t sign on to do delivery runs. Sometimes he thought that the mission of Starfleet had gotten overrun by bureaucratic conveniences. At least it didn’t happen that often. But what use would colonists have for a collection of mediocre stone statues? They obviously weren’t of any significant archaeological importance. Perhaps these people were easily impressed.

He looked at the blank screen in front of him. “Data, let’s get a look at that planet, shall we?” Instantly the image of a nearly entirely brown planet appeared. There were a few obvious sandstorms visible, even from this range, as well as a small number of minuscule lakes and rivers. Enough to survive, obviously, but not too comfortably.

Quickly, they came closer and closer to the planet until Data announced that the ship was in orbit over the landing site. “Captain, we are being hailed,” he added after a brief moment.

“On screen,” answered Picard. The face of a middle-aged Indian woman appeared. Her eyes were large and dark, like a Betazoid. Her hair was just beginning to gray around the temples. She had a very pleasant expression as she greeted them.

“Welcome, Enterprise. I am Narice Shalhoub, leader of the Opekna colony.”

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Shalhoub. I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard.” He smiled warmly at this rather amiable woman.

“Please, Captain. I’m not used to such formality. This is a small colony, you understand. Call me Narice.”

Picard smiled again. “Of course, Narice. The shipment is ready to be transported down at your convenience.”

“Oh, we’ve been ready for it, Captain.” She tapped a few buttons on her console. “I’m sending you the coordinates right now.”

Worf looked at his screen, then punched a few keys. “Coordinates set, Captain.”

“Begin transport, Mr. Worf.” Picard looked again at the woman on the screen. “I hope you enjoy your new acquisition. Some of the pieces are quite beautiful.” It was a stretch, but he wanted her to at least feel like she was getting something of value.

Her smile grew even warmer. She certainly had an uncommonly joyful outlook. “Thank you. I’m sure they’ll be wonderful. Our citizens have been looking forward to this delivery for some time. There’s not a lot to look at on Drakoni, you know.”

“So I’ve heard. I think you’ll have enough here to satisfy your people for a while, anyway.” He glanced back at Worf as his security chief announced that the transport had been completed. “It was wonderful to meet you, Narice.”

“And you, as well, Captain Picard. Perhaps we will speak again sometime.” She nodded a polite goodbye and cut the comm channel.

He turned back to his staff, all of whom seemed more cheerful than a few minutes before. As he sat down he mentioned, “What a pleasant woman.”

Will Riker grinned. “Yes, she was, Captain. It’s nice to know there are a few out there.” Deanna Troi shot him a look from her spot on the other side of the captain. “You know what I mean,” he protested. She smiled. Of course she knew what he meant.

“Mr. Data, set a course for Starbase 445. We don’t want to keep Ambassador Malico waiting.”

“Course laid in, sir,” Data replied with his usual perfunctory expediency.

Picard pointed toward the vast expanse in front of them. “Engage.”

#

Narice Shalhoub turned away from her viewscreen and expectantly looked at the young man who’d just walked in the door.

He smiled and nodded. “The statues are in the Courtyard.”

She got up and walked as quickly as she could without being obvious. Ever since moving to this colony, it had been nothing but paperwork, people, and problems. She hadn’t had any time for hobbies or relaxing. Finally, this would be a chance for her to enjoy herself. At least a little.

The museum was a fairly small building, but it had little to hold. They made the most of it, though. Until now, the star attraction had been the old riding lawnmower. But that was so old and unkempt that it could barely be identified as such. Still, they put it in a big showroom with spotlights and had copies of it in the gift shop. They called it “Johnny” because of the barely-visible name “John” on the side of it. They didn’t even know why it was there. The curators really mostly guessed about everything.

She turned the corner into the vast cargo bay they called “the Courtyard”. She’d had it redone into an arboretum of sorts, with numerous plants that could not survive out in the desert environment of the planet. Terran willows, Risan rose bushes, Bolian swooner plants, all in separate environmental divisions. It was simply beautiful. The children especially loved it. Many of them had never been off-planet, and so had never seen any plants, except here. But, it had been missing something. Trees and bushes are all well and good, but it needed something to give it character. Finally, the room looked finished.

As she entered, she was overcome with the aromas of a multitude of flowers and blossoms. Then she was struck with something even more wonderful: the sight. The setting sun shone bright through the large west windows. She gazed out across the myriad bushes and trees and began walking among them. Every so often she would stop and inspect one of the stone statues that had been placed in their midst. The first she came to was a large cat-like creature. Very noble appearance, with a graceful neck and bird-wings. The green jade eyes seemed very kind, and the obsidian stone of the body gleamed with the light from a nearby lantern.

Next she found herself in front of an awful pair of granite wolves. Their forms were accurate but gave her an uncomfortable feeling of inferiority. Their teeth were made of opal, and they were standing in attack positions with their hackles raised. She almost gave the command to take them down but then chided herself for being so easily affected by these lifeless things. They couldn’t possibly hurt me, she thought to herself. They’re nothing more than inanimate objects. This decided, she quickly made her way past them.

She passed a great many more stone creatures: some animals; some mythical, like satyrs and unicorns; and some purely from the imagination of the artist. As she neared the end of the great room she came upon a small collection of figures that appeared quite similar to one another. None of them were elaborate or beautiful. They seemed to be made from the sort of rock common on almost every M-class world. Their outlines were sharp and angled, like they’d been carved by someone on a deadline. But something about them intrigued her. As she looked up at these strange warrior-beasts she got the feeling that the utter simplicity of the design hid a much more powerful secret.

It was beginning to get dark now. The last rays of the setting sun were vanishing behind the sand dunes. Narice turned to leave and began walking back toward the door. She’d only gone a few steps when she heard a faint cracking sound. She stopped. It sounded like ice under the foot of some careless skater. The cracking grew louder, and she turned back to the source of the sound. Inspecting the largest of the stone creatures, she noticed small beams of light begin to emanate from the newly-formed cracks. She jumped back, startled. As she watched, the cracks grew larger, and soon the entire statue looked like the surface of an egg being hatched. She looked around and noticed that all the other similar statues were doing the same thing. It was as if they were breaking out of some kind of second skin. Then, with one final burst of light, they came to life. Pieces of broken rock flew everywhere like shards of glass. She ran behind the nearest bush to shield herself from whatever those things had become. They appeared monstrous, though they were really just the same size as before. All five of them were now as alive as Narice herself. And as she looked at these strange beasts, she marveled at their beauty. Her fear slowly melted away as she realized that they were some kind of sentient beings. They spoke to one another in English, apparently as confused about being there as she was about seeing them. She’d certainly seen much stranger aliens than these. Whatever they were, at least they were humanoid. Slowly she got up and approached them. They seemed startled to see her, but not hostile. She reached out her hand. “Hello, my name’s Narice,” she told them, “and you are?”

#

“Gargoyles?” Picard looked confused. “You mean those statues we dropped off. Is there a problem with them?”

The face on the viewscreen looked back with an apologetic but very excited expression. “Not so much a problem,” Narice answered him, “But certainly something we’re not prepared to deal with.”

“What sort of problem?” Riker asked her.

She looked away for a moment in thought, then her gaze returned to the captain. “I think it would be best if you saw for yourself.”

He looked at her smile. Narice had the look of one who’d just made a great discovery. Picard recognized that look. He’d had it before, himself. He smiled back at her and said, “Very well. We’ll return immediately. Picard out.” The viewscreen went black. “Mr. Data, change course to Drakoni V.” He turned to Riker. “I hope the ambassador won’t mind waiting a little longer.”

#

“We are in orbit over the Opekna colony, Captain.”

“Thank you, Data.” Picard stood up from his command chair, straitening his shirt as he did so. “It’s time we found out what’s so interesting about these statues. Data, you’re with me. Number One, you have the bridge.”

“Aye, Captain,” Riker responded as the other two headed into the turbolift.

Picard and Data soon reached the transporter room. The captain briefly greeted Chief O’Brien and they went to the transporter pad. Within seconds, they were standing in the large lobby of the central headquarters of the colony.

Narice Shalhoub was already standing there, waiting for them. “Thank you for coming, Captain Picard. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but once you see what I have to show you, I think you’ll understand why I called you.”

“I’m sure you have an excellent reason, Narice.” He shook her hand and smiled. “It’s good to meet you in person. This is Lieutenant Commander Data.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you both. Now, if you’ll follow me.” She led them down a winding hall into the conference room. It was a plain room with a square design, small windows, basic table, and chairs. It didn’t look like she spent much time entertaining guests. “Tae-Sook will join us shortly,” she stated, motioning to the chairs. “You can take a seat if you’d like.”

“We’re fine, thank you. We’d really like to get on our way as soon as possible,” Picard replied.

“Of course.”

Just then the door slid open and young Asian man entered. Bright-eyed and energetic, he could barely contain his enthusiasm as he proclaimed, “Welcome to Opekna. I hope you’re ready for this. Now, with no further ado, here they are.” He made a grand gesture with his arm and the doors opened again.

Picard flinched as one of the most powerful-looking aliens he’d ever seen stepped through the door. The being was nearly three meters tall and a dark purple color. It had huge wings and stood on the toes of its immense feet. As it entered the room, four more creatures similar to it came in and stood around. They all looked slightly different, but they were definitely from the same race. The large one stepped up to the captain and held out his hand, which Picard shook. “Hello. I am called Goliath.”

Picard looked at his hand, nearly buried in Goliath’s huge claw. “That’s certainly an accurate name. I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This is my second officer, Lieutenant Commander Data.”

Goliath looked around. “This is my clan.” He pointed to each in turn. “Hudson, Broadway, Lexington, Brooklyn.”

“It’s very nice to meet all of you,” Picard said.

Data took out his tricorder and began to scan the leader. Goliath looked down at the instrument skeptically. “It is a scanning device,” Data tried to reassure him. Goliath looked at Picard.

“We’re just trying to find out more about you,” said the captain.

Goliath nodded and Data held the tricorder up for a few seconds.

“Remarkable. Their genetic makeup is very similar to a human’s,” Data said.

Picard got closer and looked at the screen himself. “How is that possible?”

“Though their outward appearance is much different than that of an ordinary human, there are only a few discrepancies in their DNA. They are most certainly from Earth, Captain.” Data closed the tricorder and put it back in its holster.

Picard looked at Goliath and the others in wonder. “If you don’t mind my asking, where exactly did you come from? And how is it that we have no records of your existence?”

Goliath looked at the captain as if he was tired of telling this story. “We are from a race called gargoyles. We were born in Scotland in the 10th century. We protected our castle and the humans living there until we were betrayed by one of those humans. We were the only ones of our clan to survive the treachery, but were placed under a spell by a warlock. In the 1990s, we were awakened by a man named David Xanatos, a man wealthy enough to raise our castle above the clouds, as the spell required. We quickly found out he was not the friend he claimed to be. After several years of believing we were the only gargoyles to survive at all, we found out that there are many clans all over the Earth.” He looked out one of the windows. “Or at least there were four hundred years ago.” The reminder of his present predicament obviously disturbed him.

Picard could sense this and tried to coax him to continue. “So how did you end up here?”

He looked at them wistfully. The memory pained him. “One of our kind, in league with Xanatos, captured us and put us under another spell similar to the first. The conditions were that we’d awaken when we set foot on another planet. Evidently, that has been fulfilled.”

“You keep saying ‘awaken.’ Do you mean then that when you are stone you are asleep?” asked the captain.

“Yes. My kind sleep during the day. At that time we are stone. We only become flesh when the sun sets.”

“Fascinating,” mused Data.

“Indeed,” agreed the captain. “I could spend all day asking you questions, Goliath. Each one I ask brings up another. However, I’m afraid time will not allow it. We’re late for a meeting as it is.”

“You’re taking us with you?” asked Brooklyn.

Picard nodded. “If you don’t mind. Starfleet would like to find out more about you and why we have no record of your existence.”

“Starfleet?” asked Lexington. The word excited him. He’d gathered that space travel must be common by now, but a whole fleet of ships! What engineering that must have taken.

Before the officers could answer his question, Hudson asked another. “Just where are you taking us, lad?”

Picard paused for a moment. He hadn’t been called ‘lad’ in a very long time. “We are going to a starbase in a system surrounding one of the stars in Orion’s belt.” He tried to make it so that they would understand. They knew nothing of modern stellar cartography.

The eyes of all the gargoyles grew wide, then Goliath said, “There is obviously much for us to learn.”

“There will be plenty of time for it,” Picard assured them.

“We should get going, then. The stars aren’t getting any closer together,” Picard said, trying to make a joke. He tapped his comm badge and said, “Transporter room, seven to beam up.”

“Aye sir,” responded Chief O’Brien.

Before they knew what was happening, the gargoyles found themselves being surrounded by a stream of particles. It felt as if they were being taken apart bit by bit. It didn’t hurt, but it was quite a shock for them. Hudson tried to draw his sword but found he was paralyzed. This lasted only a moment, however. Seconds later, they were in a completely different room. Hudson unsheathed his sword as soon as he saw the man standing behind a control panel of some kind.

Goliath saw that the startled-looking man had a uniform like that of the other officers. He laid his hand on Hudson’s arm. “It’s all right.” The older gargoyle replaced his weapon and surveyed the small room.

Picard stepped off the platform and looked up at them. “Welcome to the Enterprise, gentlemen.”

#

The ruby-haired woman stepped off the transporter pad onto the cold steel floor. She looked around at the complex she had beamed into. The interior was vast, like the hall of some great castle, but as cold as a catacomb. The air was stiff and sterile, like the many physicians and scientists populating the center. The sun shone in from the enormous skylights in the dome of the roof. Ordinarily, that much sun would warm up a building, but the enormous freezers needed to keep the virtual corpses alive drowned out any heat coming in from the outside. There were large gold letters on the curved wall, just below the bottom of the dome: ‘Center For Cryogenic Research’.

She walked to the other side of the room, her uncomfortable and painfully futile stiletto heels clicking on the metal floor. She reached a door marked ‘000 Alpha’ and tried to open it. When she discovered it was locked, she had half a mind to just tear it off. Then she remembered that she didn’t have her great strength in this human form. “Blast this weak body,” she said under her breath. “Why did that little elf curse me with it?”

“You don’t really mean that, do you?” came a nasal voice from behind the door.

Her head shot up. “Are you going to let me in or not?”

“Temper, temper, Demona. You aren’t going to get anywhere with that tone of voice.”

“Puck, you little—!”

“Ah ah ah. I’m not listening,” he said in annoyingly singsong voice.

She physically composed herself and said, in a calmer tone, “I have an important matter to discuss. I need to come in.”

“That’s better.” The door slid open, revealing a pointy-eared fellow floating in mid-air.

“Will you land?” she said as she entered. “I can’t stand you hovering around like that. It makes me nervous.”

Puck settled on the floor. “As you wish,” he said. “I’d hate to cause you any undue anxiety.”

“You cause enough of that by your mere presence,” she said, looking at him warily, “Supernatural beings are not to be trusted.”

“So says the shape-changing witch,” he countered.

She threw him a dirty look, then turned to the room. It was more of a hall than a room. There were rows of bodies in suspended animation ten high on both sides, extending for at least two hundred meters. The room was much darker than the labs or offices. There were no windows or other doors. The only illumination came from the backlighting in the tubes.

“Where is he?” she asked the other.

“What? Just like that? You’re not even going to stay for a chat? I haven’t seen you in ages, Demona. We have so much to catch up on.” Puck grinned.

“Just show him to me!” she snapped.

“Okay, if that’s the way you want it. But I have to tell you, this kind of treatment hurts.”

“Oh, just shut up,” she sighed. Puck smiled again mischievously and began walking down the corridor. It took several minutes to reach the end, but when they did, they saw a single tube facing them. There were no others within ten feet of it. Demona brushed away the frost that had gathered on the glass and looked at the face inside. All these years and neither of us has changed, she thought. “Get him out of there.”

Puck looked at her in surprise. “What was that?”

“You heard me,” she said. “We’ve waited long enough. There’s been a cure for his disease for centuries. Now I need him.”

“And just what is so important that you need to wake him now?” he asked.

“There have been some developments that require his attention.”

“Oh, you mean your old friends finally waking up. Do you really think he’d be interested in that?” Puck asked.

Demona looked at him for a moment, wondering how he knew, then she remembered what he was. “We got rid of them together. Unfortunately, mankind reached the stars far sooner than we had anticipated. Besides, it was just short of a miracle that the humans transported them to another planet. Now it is time that he helps me get rid of them for good.”

“If you insist,” Puck replied. “I suppose it’s about time we tested this process.”

“Do you mean that no one has ever been revived?” she asked, a bit unbelieving.

“Not here. That’s for sure. This facility has records of very nearly every person ever frozen. There have been a few they lost track of, but a number hardly worth mentioning.”

“Why do people keep doing it, then?”

“Hope, Demona. People would rather believe that they could live again someday, even if it’s not their time, than give in to death.”

“Well, Dr. Sevarius had better hope it works,” she said.

Puck laughed. “Not him. His descendants. They’ve gotten filthy rich off of this company. If it turns out the whole procedure doesn’t work, they’ll be sunk. Financially if not physically.”

“Whatever. Just thaw him out.” She was beginning to lose her patience. She turned to the tube, expecting the hissing sounds of the pressure being released. Instead, she heard nothing. “What are you waiting for?” she asked.

“Mr. Xanatos has been sleeping for over three and a half centuries. I doubt your face will be the first one he wants to see when he wakes up.”

“And I suppose yours is?” she asked sarcastically.

“Not mine, Demona.” His voice grew deeper and more solemn. “Owen’s.” As she watched, the small fae was replaced by a professional-looking blond man with glasses and a tailored suit.

“Enough of your games, Puck. Let him out now. My patience grows thin.”

“Right away.” He pushed her aside and keyed in the command. The hissing started and air came through the vents on the sides of the tubes. Slowly, the frost on the inside melted away. The man’s hair began looking wet at the same time as his eyes started to move under their lids. The monitor above his head beeped with a pulse. When the hissing stopped, he took a great breath and his eyes shot open. The glass door opened, and Xanatos fell into Owen’s arms. He was shivering, and his hair dripped. Owen lowered him to the ground and put a blanket around him. Xanatos looked up at him and mouthed his name, but he was unable to speak. Then he saw Demona and winced.

“His vocal cords will need time to warm up before he can use them,” Owen told the woman, “but it seems he remembers both of us just fine.”

They took him to a recovery room and injected him with a compound that was meant to rejuvenate him. When his muscles moved more easily, they got him a cup of some warm liquid. After drinking it, he looked up at Owen and asked, “How long?”

“Three hundred sixty-seven years.”

Xanatos looked at him in disbelief. “It took that long to find a cure?”

Owen looked at Demona, then back at Xanatos. “Not exactly, sir.”

“Not exactly?” He was beginning to look upset. “Then there’s been a cure for a long time?”

Owen nodded. “The cure for your particular disease was discovered in 2156.”

Xanatos slammed the glass down on the counter, “You mean you could have revived me over two hundred years ago! Why didn’t you?”

Demona stepped in. “Because I told him not to.”

“You what?”

She got closer to him. “You weren’t missing anything. I figured what’s the harm if we wait until we need you?”

He jumped off the table and got in her face. “You think I’m some lackey you can use for your own advantage? Remember who you’re dealing with. Without me, you would have been killed long ago. You have a lot of enemies, Demona. You can’t afford another one.”

She tried to look calm. “Well, you weren’t in a position to complain at the time.”

Owen tried to step between them. “Sir, if you could just—”

“And you!” Xanatos pointed his finger at him. “Why are you now taking orders from her? If I recall correctly, you certainly have more power than she does.”

Owen looked at him intently. “It’s because I agreed with her.”

“Really? Now that’s something that doesn’t happen every day. What stellar alignment could have caused that rare phenomenon?”

“Sir, the world at the time was still recovering from World War Three. It was no place for you to start a new life. Even if you had gotten out, you would have had nowhere to go. People were living in shacks. There were still attacks from the remnants of armies. Your great intellect and power would have been wasted.” Owen tried to convince him, but he still didn’t look very happy.

“Then why not later, after the world had cleaned up?” he asked.

“To be honest,” Demona answered, “we kind of forgot for a while. Then when we did remember, it didn’t seem like a priority.”

Xanatos looked as if he was tiring of this conversation. “Okay, fine.” He began pacing around the room. “Then why now? What’s so special about this time?”

Demona’s face twisted with anger, as if the very thought of it enraged her. “The spell was broken.”

“What?” Xanatos stopped and looked at her.

She tried to speak slowly, without muddling her words. “Goliath and his clan are back. They’re awake.”

“How?” His eyes narrowed.

“The human government sent them to a museum on some backwater planet. Apparently, someone mistook them for art.”

“Where are they now?”

“They’re on the flagship of the human space fleet. Soon they will be in an even more well-guarded facility. We must act soon if we are to kill them.”

Xanatos thought for a moment. “How necessary is it that we kill them?”

She looked at him sharply. “Excuse me?”

“I’m sure they’ll assume I’m long dead, so it I won’t have to worry about them coming after me. And it sounds like the world has grown quite a bit since I was last around. I could build an empire before Goliath even realized I was back.” The more he thought, the more convinced he seemed to be that drastic measures were not needed.

However, Demona was not pleased with his musing. “I’ll tell you why we need to kill them. Because they’re not quite stupid enough to think that the spell linking me with Macbeth just dissolved. If one of us lives, we both do, remember? Goliath certainly will, and then he’ll come after me. So I’m going to get to him first. I’m not too anxious to be ambushed and chained in some prison forever. That is what he’ll be sure to do to me, since he knows he can’t kill me alone, and even if he could, I doubt his bleeding heart would let him. Rest assured, Xanatos, if he finds me, I’ll make sure that he comes after you next.”

“It was never my intention to kill them, Demona,” Xanatos replied, calmly but firmly. “I wanted them out of my way, and now they are. If Goliath wants to hunt me down, I’ll deal with him, but until he starts bothering me again, I see no reason to kill any of them.”

All she could get out was a muted scream of frustration. She glared at him with searing eyes. “So be it.” She stormed out of the room, leaving the two men alone.

Xanatos looked to the other. “Well, Owen. How about that cure?”

#

As the gargoyles stepped into Ten Forward, they were greeted with many looks of surprise from the patrons. Lexington searched their faces, many of which were not human. There were some aliens with blue skin, some with various head ridges, all with the Starfleet uniforms on. He was amazed to see how so many people, though different, had joined together for one cause. It gave him hope that maybe they would be welcome here, in this new world, as they weren’t in the last one. Perhaps things could be as they were in Scotland, with men and gargoyles working side by side, now with many other races as well.

Then he saw the windows into space. He went toward them, his eyes wide in wonder. As he looked out at the vast expanse of blackness, studded with brilliant points of light far more numerous than any that could be seen from Earth, he whispered, “I never imagined.”

It was then that the gargoyles began to wonder how this new environment would affect their sleeping. If they were in space, it could never be morning. If it was never morning, they would never turn to stone. Each of them thought of this and of the possibilities, but none voiced their questions.

“This is a most marvelous ship you have,” Goliath said to Data, “and your crew is certainly a diverse crowd. I am eager to learn more about the changes that have taken place since the twentieth century.”

“Our ship’s library is open to you,” he replied. “I am sure you will find all the information you desire.”

“Thank you, Commander.” He put his hand on Data’s shoulder. “Your hospitality is most appreciated.”

“You are welcome, Goliath. Now, there is one more stop. The other senior officers are very eager to meet you. If you will accompany me to the bridge.” He led the gargoyles through the doors that slid open and into a turbolift. It was a tight fit. “Bridge,” he told the computer.

Brooklyn looked at him. “I sure am glad these elevators respond to voice commands. Pushing a button was so time-consuming.” Data looked confused. He opened his mouth to respond, when the turbolift stopped and the doors hissed opened.

As they stepped out, the gargoyles saw many faces turn and look in their direction. There was the captain, whom they recognized, as well as several others. Then Goliath recognized someone he thought he’d finally rid himself of. “Xanatos!” he shouted.

Riker looked at the captain, confused and startled.

Picard stepped toward Goliath. “No, Goliath, this is my first officer, Commander Riker.”

Goliath looked at him warily. “Are you certain?”

Picard saw the surprised looks on the other gargoyles. “Yes. Quite certain. I’ve known him for several years.” He tried to look reassuring but was secretly amused by the question.

Goliath walked up to Riker and inspected him carefully. The commander felt justifiably uneasy under the gaze of this imposing creature. After a few seconds he decided an introduction might help. He put his hand out. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Goliath. I’m Will Riker.” The large gargoyle’s eyes narrowed, then he took Riker’s hand.

“You bear a remarkable resemblance to someone I once knew,” he said.

“I gathered that. But trust me, I’ve never met you before. I think I’d remember that.” He was hoping Goliath wouldn’t crush his hand, so he politely released his grip.

“It’s a pleasure to have you all here,” said a voice from behind Goliath that made him jump. When he saw who it was, he was again surprised, but rather at whom it was not. Troi wasn’t expecting the shock she’d seen as well as sensed in him. “Is there a problem?” she asked, as gently as she always did.

He looked at her, somewhat suspicious. “Your voice sounds just like that of someone else I know.” It did sound like her, but like a much younger, much more innocent her.

“Really?” she asked, “Do I look like her, as well?”

“No,” he responded. “She was a gargoyle, like us. They called her Demona.”

She looked at him kindly. “I can assure you, I’ve never been anything other than what you see.”

“It could just be my mind playing tricks on me,” he thought aloud. “Perhaps I know what voices I should be hearing, so I am hearing them.”

“If that’s what it is, then my mind’s pretty messed up, too,” said Brooklyn.

“Yeah, me too,” Lexington said. Broadway nodded in agreement.

“Aye, lad,” Hudson said to Goliath, “We’re all hearing the same thing.”

For a moment, Goliath thought he heard his old friend Coldstone. “It is obviously just a coincidence. There is no other explanation.”

Goliath’s head snapped around. He was looking at a larger, ridged-headed alien. He exchanged surprised glances with his clan. They all thought they were going out of their minds.

The captain spoke. “Uh, Goliath. Meet Lieutenant Worf, my security chief.”

“A strange coincidence, indeed,” mused Hudson.

Goliath looked around the bridge. “It is good to meet all of you,” he said, his eyes darting around a little, trying to establish that he wasn’t dreaming or hallucinating. Though dreaming would have been a much more welcome explanation. After hearing the names of the remainder of the bridge crew, he introduced his clan.

#

Milandra Destine strode purposefully through the halls of Nightstone Unlimited headquarters. She had to get to her office before the sun set, and it was already low on the horizon. The building was all but deserted. When she finally reached the lobby near her office, she saw her secretary on her way out.

“Oh, Miss Destine, I didn’t think you’d be back today,” said the small, pigeon-like woman.

“My work is never done, Kelly. In fact, I have quite a bit to get to tonight,” she said, trying not to get into any meaningless small talk.

“I see. Well, have a good night, ma’am,” said Kelly as she went through the door.

“Good night,” answered Milandra as she went into her office. The employees were used to seeing her here at all hours. Though they never actually saw her at night, of course. They attributed her odd schedule to some kind of ‘family trait’ that had been around ever since Dominique Destine founded the company. How easy it was to fool these humans into believing you were your own great-great-great-granddaughter. She hadn’t had the position forever, though. That would arouse suspicion even among the primitives. For several decades, off and on, she’d had a puppet CEO run the company for her. But she’d always been in control.

She was just in time. As she looked out the large windows of her office, the sun slipped below the horizon. She felt a slight nervousness just before the pain started. No matter how often she went through it, it never became less agonizing. Suddenly, it felt as if someone were tearing her body apart. Her hands and feet became claws and talons. Her shoulders ripped and wings grew out of them. Her skin turned blue, and a tail sprang from her lower spine. Then, in a few moments, it was over. The pain disappeared and she felt invigorated by the power she’d regained with her true form.

That out of the way, Demona got to work. She moved from her office to her private laboratory. It was a lab much like the many others in the building, except that she did not stock chemicals and compounds. Her shelves were full of potions and strange ingredients. True, there were times that science proved useful for her applications. However, for this, there was no science to help her. She lit the fire in the middle of the room and placed a pot containing small pieces of gold over it. Gold was surprisingly cheap in this day. Once latinum was discovered, it so overshadowed gold that the once-most-precious metal became just a way of containing the alien ore. In this day, a piece of gold was worth its weight in bread.

As the gold melted, she searched for a spell. Unfortunately, there was none for what she wanted. Not even in the Grimorum. Apparently, the ancient magicians never foresaw such a circumstance. She decided to create a spell of her own. She’d never let tradition dictate her actions before. Gathering from what she knew of enchantments, she collected various potions and ingredients. She threw bits of leaves, hairs of animals and other various elements into the pot as it boiled. When the mixture was sufficiently liquefied, she began chanting words in Latin. There were no proper words for such a spell, so she improvised. She just said what she wanted and hoped it turned out right. Demona had a great deal of confidence in her own abilities. Probably too much.

Then she took the metal and poured it into a mold. After giving it the right shape, she dunked it in cold water to cool and harden it. She decided to engrave a design into it. Using an iron pin, she drew a series of archaic-looking masks into the circumference of the band. It seemed appropriate to her. She dunked it a few more times into the water and soon it was ready. Though she was a little hesitant, she knew there was only one way to test it. Slowly, she slipped the golden band onto her arm. As soon as it encircled her flesh, the spell began to work. First, her skin lost its coloring and her vision darkened. Her fingers shrank and her feet went flat. Her tail disappeared, then, finally, her wings curled back into her body. She went to the full-length mirror in her office and looked at her creation. As she saw that the spell had been successful, she smiled to herself. The smile gave way to snickering, and soon she let out a loud, triumphant laugh. Now, she thought to herself, Goliath won’t recognize me until it’s too late.

But someone did. In the corner of the room, an invisible fae stood watching her. “Well, that’s not playing fair,” said an inaudible voice. “Perhaps Puck will have to level the field a bit.” Then he disappeared and left Demona cackling to herself in an empty skyscraper.

#

Doctor Crusher hurried to catch up with Goliath in the corridor. When she was alongside him, she touched his shoulder and he turned to her. “Oh, hello, Doctor.”

“Where’s the fire, Goliath?”

“Fire?” he asked as he looked around.

She smiled. “It’s a figure of speech,” she assured him. “You’re a tough one to catch up with.”

He just kept looking at her. “I’m . . . sorry?” He wasn’t quite sure what was going on.

“I wanted to invite you and your clan to a play we’re performing tomorrow night.” She looked at him hopefully. “We’d love for you all to come, and I’m sure you’re starting to get bored here.”

“Not at all, Doctor. This ship is quite fascinating. We’ve all been kept busy. But I’m sure I can pull some of them away. We’d love to come.” He paused. “How is it that you have time for such distractions onboard a starship?”

Beverly laughed. “This isn’t a war ship, Goliath. We do have free time now and then. Especially when we have these long trips like this one.”

“And which play will you be doing?” he asked.

She waved her arms dramatically. “Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ One of my favorites.”

“Interesting. I’ve never actually read that play. I have, however, met several of the characters. I look forward to seeing how accurate the portrayal is.”

Doctor Crusher looked at him with a half-squint. “How could you?”

“It’s a long story. One I’ll be happy to tell you later, if you wish.”

“I think I would like that. It sounds most intriguing.”

“Good. But now I must be going. A pleasure as always, Doctor,” he said as he started walking away.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, then,” she said. “And Goliath.” He turned. “Call me Beverly.”

#

The old man was busy at work in his shop, surrounded by machinery patched together from parts of others, scraps of whatever he could come up with. It was dark except for a few spot lamps facing his latest creation. He was putting the finishing touches on a device he was creating from bits of a warp nacelle, the end of a plasma injector, and various inner parts of a Cardassian disrupter rifle.

This backwater planet was the perfect place from which to run his shop. No one of importance ever bothered stopping by. The only people who would ever find his place were just the type that would be interested in his business. They’d have to be looking for him. Most of his patrons were smugglers and thieves of one sort or another. They were usually in a hurry and never answered questions. Of course, he was too smart to ask any. Most of them wanted common enough things, cloaking devices and other machines the Federation had outlawed but were easily attainable in other territories. Occasionally he would get special orders. Someone wanting a special type of phaser that could make short work of a particular material, for example. But it was rare that he got an order for something completely unique.

He heard a knock on the door and looked at the monitor that was attached to the camera above the entryway. The person on the other side was not his usual clientele, he could tell that. But it wasn’t law enforcement, either.

“Enter.”

He turned around in his seat as the door opened and nearly fell out of it when the woman came in. The one person in the galaxy who he could not kill, however much he wanted to, lest he should die with the same blow.

“Demona!”

She strode toward him smoothly, gracefully. “Very good, old man. I’ve come because I need something, and as much as I hate to admit it, you’re the only one I can think of who could possibly get it for me.”

He was still struck with awe at seeing her like this at night. “But, how—”

“Magic, Macbeth. How else?”

“Why?”

“You know me well enough. What reason do you think?”

His gaze grew serious now. “Vengeance. You never change, do you, Demona?”

“Not since I met you. You do so bring out the worst in people.”

“Don’t blame me for what you are.” His brogue had not dispelled at all in the centuries since he had left Scotland. “You were evil long before we were thrown together. I suspect you were born that way.”

She walked around, casually examining the various devices laying on the worktables. “No, once I was like Goliath and his clan. Bowing to humans, begging for food from them like a starving whelp. But it was long ago, when I was too young to know better.”

“Of course,” he said sarcastically, “before you found out what deceitful, traitorous things we are.”

She gave him an annoyed look. She could tell he was trying to play with her, and she didn’t appreciate it.

“Deceit and treachery. Remind you of anyone, Demona?”

“That’s enough small talk.” She dropped what she was looking at and turned to him. “I need you to build something for me.”

He raised his eyebrows. “I don’t expect you think I’ll do this out of the kindness of my heart.”

“I will provide more than adequate compensation. Believe me, I would not have come to you if I thought anyone else could do it.”

“I’m flattered, I’m sure,” he said dryly. “What is it you want?”

She handed him a padd. “Here is all the information you will need.” He took it from her and looked it over. “Can you build it?”

“Give me one week . . . and double the price you have here.”

She sneered at him, a growl welling in her throat, then she stopped herself. “Fine. I’ll be back in one week. Don’t disappoint me.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it,” he said under his breath as she turned and marched out.

#

“On the ground sleep sound; I’ll apply to your eye, gentle lover, remedy.” Data, dressed in a costume of colorful layers, knelt next to Wesley as he lay in a false sleep on the stage. “When thou wake, thou take true delight in the sight of thy former lady’s eye; and the country proverb known, that every man should take his own, in your waking shall be shown: Jack shall have Jill; nought shall go ill; the man shall have his mare again, and all shall be well.”

As the set changed, Goliath sat enthralled at this portrayal. It seemed as if the entire senior staff had taken part. The lieutenant commander certainly gave an interesting, if not accurate, performance as the Puck. The captain fit quite well as Oberon. One would think he’d had training in Shakespearean acting. Doctor Crusher was impressive as Titania, though he doubted any of these human Federation officers could appear nearly as commanding as the real thing. Her son was passable as the boy Lysander, and at least this was one character with which Goliath was unfamiliar. Even their Lieutenant Barclay was a convincing Bottom, but Goliath could tell that he was not quite comfortable with being in front of people yet.

When the play had ended, Goliath was approached by the doctor. “So what did you think?” she asked cheerfully.

“It was a most impressive performance,” he answered. “However . . .”

“What is it?” she coaxed him.

He looked at the stage, then to the elaborate costumes the actors were still wearing as they socialized with their audience. “It’s just that people I knew, the real Oberon and his children were very little like the characters in this play.”

Brooklyn added, “Yeah. Oberon’s a power-mad maniac and Puck’s idea of a little joke is changing an entire city full of humans into gargoyles.”

The captain had heard them talking and walked over. “Are you saying that Shakespeare’s characters are real people?”

“You’d be surprised how many authors are part historian. Putting history in the form of myth makes it easier to accept for many people.” Goliath could see Picard’s interest pique at this information.

“I would love to hear more about this,” Picard told him.

“I don’t doubt it, Captain, but now is not the time. It is a long and complicated story.”

“Perhaps later, then.”

“Of course.”

#

Data sat in his quarters, working. He was trying to devise a way to boost the ship’s sensors using subspace quantum flux emissions, while simultaneously listening to 34 pieces of classical music and composing a sonnet. As he scanned the screen in front of him, an orange cat jumped onto the desk and meowed. He gently picked it up and returned it to the floor. “Spot, I am trying to work,” he told the feline, as if it would understand. He turned back to his console to work, but the cat jumped on the desk two more times and he twice placed it on the floor. Finally, Spot ran into the other room, presumably to find a ball of string to play with. Data was just about at a solution when he heard something fall in the other room.

“Raaaeeerrr!”

“Computer, stop playback.” Slowly, he got up and walked toward the doorway. “Spot?” The animal shot past his feet and under the desk.

A strangely familiar voice echoed through the room. “Your cat’s a little edgy, Commander.”

“Data to bridge. Intruder alert.”

“Don’t bother with that. I won’t be here long.”

“Who are you? Q?”

There was a laugh that sounded like a cross between a giggle and a cackle. “My dear android, the Q are to us the distant cousins that we avoid talking about at family reunions. They’re so involved in themselves that there’s no need for anyone else to be.”

“Who do you mean by ‘us’?”

“Allow me to introduce myself, though in a way, you already know me.” There was a whirl of air and a bright, disembodied glow that faded to show the form of a flashy-looking elf with long white hair and large, pointy ears. Data noted that at least this character had his cousin’s flare for dramatic entrances. “I am called Puck.”

Data’s eyes widened in what could be mistaken for actual surprise, if one did not know that he was incapable of emotion. “From the play? But—”

“Don’t try to overthink it. You’ll fry a circuit,” said Puck in an almost mocking tone. “I’ve come to warn you that you’ll soon be getting a visitor. Be wary, for her reflection is a lie.”

“Who is she?”

“Your new friends will know her when they see her. Of course, by then it may be too late,” he said with a sly grin.

“If she is dangerous, why tell me and not Captain Picard?” asked Data.

Puck floated over to him, which in itself Data thought was odd. “Because I like you, android. You’re much more open to change than humans. They have their good qualities, but if I’d gone to one of them, they’d likely have wasted my time trying to fight or some such nonsense. You have a wisdom that too many of them will never learn.”

Data was caught off-guard by the fairy’s last sentence. People had told him how superior to humans he was as far as physical strength and mental ability, but no one had ever told him he was wiser. “I will pass along your message, Puck,” he assured him.

“That’s a good lad,” Puck said right before simply disappearing in a gust of air.

Data looked around the room for a moment to reassure himself that he was again alone. Then he tapped his comm badge. “Data to Picard.”

“Picard here,” came the voice on the other end.

“Captain, I have just had a visitor I believe is of some importance.”

#

“Any ideas what it means?” Commander Riker asked the other officers sitting around the table in the briefing room.

“Could it have been Q?” Geordi asked Data. It was the first thought that had come to everyone’s mind when they’d heard it.

Data shook his head. “I do not believe so. He implied that he was one of a race that are similar to the Q, but not the same.”

“He could be lying,” Worf offered. “It could be one of his tricks.”

The captain disagreed. “He gave a warning. Of what, we can’t be sure yet, but from what Data said, it doesn’t sound like he wants anything from us. Though he didn’t sound too eager to help, either. I don’t think it’s too naïve to believe there could be relatives of the Q. For now I believe this Puck, whoever and whatever he is. Sounds like we’d better keep our eyes open for a while.”

#

The Enterprise pulled into the docking ring at Starbase 445. It was a small starbase. Not a lot of action. They got the occasional traders and travelers. The visit of the Traelian ambassador was something of an event for the small crew of the station. He had a rather large entourage, at least two dozen people. Even so, it was surprising that no one noticed when they picked up a tag-along. She’d come aboard in her small shuttle the day before. Just enough time to find out when the Enterprise would arrive and plan how to get aboard. She would have to leave her own ship, but she would send someone to retrieve it later. The Enterprise stayed at the starbase for a couple of days. The scientists wanted to look at the gargoyles before they decided what to do with them. The station’s biologist and psychologist observed and studied them before sending them back to the Enterprise to be taken to Starfleet Command with a preliminary analysis.

After Goliath and his clan were back onboard, the ambassador came on to get settled for the trip. There were many people with him, many wearing robes with hoods. Everyone was so preoccupied with making sure he was comfortable that they didn’t see one of the women in the back of the group break off down the hall. Demona found a nearby computer console that was unguarded and began programming herself in as part of the ambassador’s staff, so that she would have a room and an alibi. She then escorted herself to her new room, avoiding the gaze of passing officers. Once she had settled in, she replicated some new clothes and made her way to the social hub of the ship, Ten Forward. Throughout the following days, she spoke to as few people as possible and endeavored to blend in with the general populace of the ship. She was constantly on the lookout for her enemies. She watched their actions and planned her revenge.

#

Troi looked around the darkened bridge. It was silent and practically empty. Ensign Billings was at the conn and Lieutenant Anderson was at tactical, but otherwise she was alone. The only sounds to be heard were the hum of the engines and the occasional beeping of buttons and status indicators. She was feeling at peace, trying not to fall asleep on duty. She could feel the constant presence of the others on the ship. It was comforting to her. She could feel that most of them, as well, were peaceful. Of course, that’s because most of them were asleep. There were still a few people in whom she could sense worry and anxiety, completely common in most humanoids. Then she noticed one presence that felt something more. She tried to focus on what she was feeling. It seemed hostile. She began to narrow her perception to locate the source.

“Counselor, I’m picking up a distress signal.” Troi was jarred by Anderson’s voice. It took her a second to respond.

“Where’s it coming from?”

“A small ship 2.8 light years away. Its signature doesn’t match any military or Starfleet vessel. It’s a private ship.”

“Hail them.”

The screen lit up with the interior of the other ship. There were coolant leaks and the man in the pilot’s chair had a large cut on his cheek. “Hello? My name is Owen. Who am I speaking to?” the man asked. He was blond with glasses. He looked like a normal person, except maybe a little more uptight than most. But Troi could sense something extraordinary in him, though she couldn’t put her finger on it.

“I am Counselor Deanna Troi of the Federation Starship Enterprise,” she replied. “We picked up your distress signal. How can we help you?”

“Our ship was caught in a plasma storm a few hours ago. It knocked out our propulsion and weakened life support. My employer was badly injured by an exploding console. He needs medical attention.”

Now Troi could see the form of another man farther back in the ship. “We’ll come pick you up. Our doctor can treat you and your friend.”

Owen nodded. “Thank you, Counselor.”

#

Doctor Crusher examined the man laying on the bio-bed. He was badly burned and had several lesions on his face and torso. Nurse Ogawa was across the room, treating Owen. Crusher picked up a dermal regenerator and began working on her patient. His wound healed, Owen walked over to them and stood nearby, watching.

“He’s going to be fine,” Crusher reassured him.

He just stood there blankly. “I know.”

“Have you been assigned quarters yet?” she asked him as she ran the regenerator over his friend’s arm. The flesh closed itself and returned to normal under the power of the device.

“Yes,” he answered.

“Your friend will need rest,” she told him. “He shouldn’t do much for at least a day or two.

“Mr. Fox is a fast healer.”

“So that’s his name? Fox?”

Owen nodded slightly. It was for the time being, anyway.

“Well, he’ll still need rest. He’s lucky he’s not worse off. From what I hear, you’re ship’s nearly beyond repair.”

“It was a bad storm.”

“I should say so. How is it you got off with just a scratch?” she asked, genuinely curious.

“I’m resilient,” he said flatly.

“Indeed?” As she repaired the damage to the other man’s face, she thought he looked somewhat familiar. Like a brother of someone she knew, almost, though he was dirty and ruffled from the accident. She was soon finished and took the hypospray. “He’ll be groggy when he wakes up,” she told Owen. “You should take him to his quarters so he can get some sleep.” She gave him a shot to revive him. It only half worked.

Xanatos groaned and sat up. He blinked several times and started to speak, but Owen stopped him.

“The doctor tells me you need your rest, sir. Come with me.” Owen put his arm around Xanatos to support him and they walked out, leaving Dr. Crusher still wondering why he seemed so familiar.

#

“Demona! No!” Xanatos ran toward her to stop her, but it was too late. Maza was already dead. Demona stood before her, her hand dripping with blood. He watched the dark crimson liquid run down her arm onto the stones beneath her feet. She looked at him, giving him a carnal smile that made shivers run down his back. She looked more like a wild animal than a gargoyle. She walked over to him and he stepped back, as if to run, but his feet felt like lead weights. It took great effort to move them an inch. She was close now, close enough that he could smell the blood on her hands. She reached up and grabbed the back of his neck with her claw. Coming within centimeters of his ear, she whispered, “You and I are the same.”

He pushed her back hard. “No. I’m not like you.”

“Say what you like, but you know who you are,” she growled. Then, Demona closed her wings around herself and vanished.

He looked over at Maza. Her head was slumped at an unnatural angle. A stream of blood flowed from her neck and down her body. As Xanatos watched, it ran down the large tombstone obelisk she was tied to, spilling on the ground and forming a pool at his feet. When his eyes fell again on the detective, he jumped. She was looking right at him. Her eyes were glowing white like the gargoyles’ do when they’re angry. Her rough, gurgling voice said, “You did this to me.”

“No! I—” he began, but she cut him off.

“You killed me, Xanatos.”

He felt something warm on his hands. He looked down and saw that they were covered in blood.

“This isn’t me. No!” He ran off into the forest that was suddenly surrounding them. He came to a pool. Frantically, he tried to wash the blood off, but it was no use. His hands remained red, but now so was the water. As the pool settled, he saw his reflection in the bloody water and he felt as if his chest had been ripped open. Suddenly, his skin began to flake off. He scratched at it and it burned. He began tearing it to stop the pain, but it only made it worse. He could feel it on the inside, too. It felt like his internal organs were burning up. He thought he would explode at any moment. Then, just as suddenly, the pain was gone. So was the forest. He was on a rooftop in the city. The cold wind blew past him as he brought himself to his feet. It looked like most rooftops in any city. Then he noticed something: piles of rubble. They were too large to be any kind of damage to the building. He went up to inspect one of them. The rock appeared granite, like gravel, but as he looked, he recognized some of the forms. He found a piece that was unmistakably a finger. He looked beyond it and came face to face with Goliath’s severed head.

Xanatos awoke with a gasp. He looked around the dark room. There was a mirror on the far wall that reflected stars. He turned to look behind him. He was in space. It wasn’t his ship. Then it all came back to him. The Enterprise. He was on the Enterprise. The plan had worked. His skin still felt a little sensitive, but otherwise, he was fine. And he thought his technology before had been advanced.

“Computer, time.”

“The time is 0300 hours.”

He tapped the communicator panel beside the bed. “Computer, I want to talk to Owen.”

There was a beep. “I’m here, Mr. Xanatos. How are you feeling?”

“Much better, Owen. But did you have to make such a fierce storm?”

“It was necessary to be believable, sir.”

“Of course. Have you located Goliath?”

“Yes. The gargoyles have quarters on deck 8. That’s right below us.”

“Good. We’ll have to keep an eye on them until Demona makes her move. Have you found out if she’s onboard yet?”

“She is, sir. She came aboard with an ambassadorial group. I do not believe she has been discovered yet.”

“I doubt she’ll wait long before making the attack. It’s a good thing Macbeth’s confidences are easily betrayed, or we wouldn’t know what to look for.”

There was a long pause. “Was there something else?” Owen asked.

“I had the dream again.”

“I see.”

“I only hope that if we’re able to stop Demona, it will stop torturing me.”

“If it is a product of your conscience, sir, it will most likely be satisfied in the event of our success.”

“I hope so. Good night, Owen.”

“Good night, sir.”

#

Goliath was in his quarters, reading up on recent history. He had a lot to catch up on. He was fascinated by the recent developments in human society. Ever since he had known humans, which was a very long time in his case, there had always been certain things he could count on in their society. There were always the poor and weak being oppressed by the rich and powerful. But now those groups didn’t even exist. There was no rich and poor because they no longer used money. There was no fighting over material possessions because anything they wanted could be easily replicated. Humans had devoted themselves, as a group, to exploring and learning about other peoples. To bettering themselves. Their minds were open to new possibilities. They had finally gotten over the mindset that anything new and unknown is dangerous. This was why they had accepted the gargoyles so readily. His clan had found a new home among these people. It was even better than when they had lived alongside humans in the tenth century. Even then, it was a tenuous peace. Liable to break at any moment. But here . . . If America in the 1990s had been the world’s melting pot, then the Federation was the galaxy’s.

He was currently immersed in a report on the battle of Wolf 359, one of the most devastating battles in Starfleet history. He was just at the part explaining how the Borg used Captain Picard to lead the attack. He remembered that feeling himself, unfortunately.

The comm panel beeped.

“Yes?”

“Hello, Goliath.”

“Counselor, how are you?”

“I’m fine. I just wanted to invite you and your clan to Holodeck Two at 1900 hours. There’s something special I’d like to show you.” There was something odd about her voice.

“Are you sure you’re feeling well?”

“Absolutely. So, how about it?”

“We’ll be there. Have a good day, Counselor.”

#

Xanatos heard two beeps, signaling the end of the conversation, then turned to Owen. “So she’s making her move tonight.”

“We’ll be ready for her, sir.”

#

“You are so going down!” Lexington yelled at his opponent as he nailed the projectile with the phaser.

“And how do you plan to do that, Lex?” asked Brooklyn before the disc zipped past his head and he shot it as it bounced off the wall.

Lex jumped over it just before it hit his feet, then turned and got it. “You’re forgetting one thing, friend. I’m smarter than you. This game takes half a brain to win.”

“Oh, then you’re right. This is ideal for you.”

Lex was about to return it again, but he suddenly got the joke. He paused right before the disc smacked him in the stomach.

“Ha! You lose!” Brooklyn began doing a little victory dance.

Lex looked irritated as Brooklyn continued gloating. “Oh, just shut up,” he told him to no avail. His misery was soon over, as the holodeck doors opened to reveal Goliath, Broadway, and Hudson.

Goliath stood there for a moment, taking in the room. “What are you doing?” he asked them.

“We’re playing Velocity,” Brooklyn told him. “We found the program in the holodeck’s database. It’s kind of like a combination of tennis and sharp shooting. It’s fun.”

“Are we interrupting?” Goliath inquired.

“Not at all,” answered Lex. “We were just finished.”

“Good, because we’re meeting Counselor Troi downstairs now.” Goliath led them down the corridor to the turbolift.

“I wonder what she wants to show us,” Broadway mused as they walked.

“We’ll soon see,” said Hudson.

Within minutes they were at Holodeck Two. The doors opened for them, and they stepped into Castle Wyvern! The program was the courtyard of the castle they had spent most of their lives protecting. Everything was as it had been, the clothes the peasants wore as they milled around, the haystacks over by the south wall. They could even smell the roast pig that the villagers were eating.

“What can this mean?” asked a startled Hudson. Then someone stepped out of the shadows.

“Welcome home, gargoyles.”

“Demona! How did you get here? And you’re human!” Goliath took a step toward her.

“It would be far too much effort to explain it to you. Suffice it to say, I’m here. And soon, you won’t be.” She walked over to a stone platform that sat near the middle of the courtyard. It was then that Goliath realized the program wasn’t exactly the same. Whatever this new addition was, he knew it couldn’t be good. There was a blanket draped over something and a large hammer lying next to it. Brooklyn got a sinking feeling in his stomach. He ran back to the doors, but they were locked. He glanced back at his friends with a worried look in his eye. Hudson drew his sword and ran at Demona but was quickly thrown back by a force field that ran across the width of the room. Goliath tapped on the communicator he’d been given.

“Goliath to security.” No answer. “Goliath to the bridge.” Still no answer. “Goliath to—”

“Save your breath. I’ve disabled your communicator. You’ll get no help from your new friends,” she snarled. “It’s just you”—she looked at each of them, then finally met Goliath’s eyes—“and me.”

“You won’t win, Demona.” Lex tried to sound threatening.

She laughed. “But I have won, little man. I’ve trapped you here, in my power.”

Brooklyn scoffed. “We’ve heard that song before.”

“Don’t believe me, huh? Well, we’ll just see who leaves here, and who does not.” She lifted the cover, revealing a dry fountain, which held a device the size of a volleyball. It had some kind of large crystal on the top and several prongs holding it slightly above the rest of the machine. The gargoyles didn’t know what it was, but they didn’t have much time to think about it. She pressed a large button on the side and a bright flash of light emanated from the crystal. The shine diminished only somewhat, but by the time the gargoyles could see again, they could feel themselves turning to stone. They felt the stiffness come, then their feet caught, as if stuck in concrete. Quickly the change moved up their bodies until they roared one last time before becoming mere statues. Demona smiled and picked up the hammer. She began walking toward Goliath, lifting the hammer above her shoulder.

“Computer, deactivate force field.” The barrier fell, and she was only a meter away from her victim. Suddenly, she was struck in the side by a phaser blast. From where she was knocked on the floor she looked up in shock as two of the villagers approached her, both carrying phaser rifles. They raised the weapons to her head and lifted their hoods.

“Xanatos!” she spat.

“Your revenge has been had, Demona. Let it go.” His voice sounded almost reasoning, nearly pleading.

“Never!”

“I don’t want to do this, but if you won’t end this, then I will.”

“You can’t kill me, remember. You’d have to kill Macbeth, too.” She was hoping that was not an option for him, if he was as reformed as he appeared.

He lowered the rifle. “You’re right, of course. Then I will just have to find some other way to have you not be a threat. We know prison won’t work because you’ll get out eventually.” He looked at Owen. “The spell just says she’s linked to him as far as life and death goes, right. She’s human now, we can see that form doesn’t matter in it.” Owen nodded and smirked. Demona’s heart raced in fear as he transformed into Puck.

#

“Aaaargh!” Goliath broke free of his stone shell. The light was gone. He looked around the room and was, needless to say, shocked to find Xanatos standing there. He was about the last person he’d ever expect to see again, especially here. He was stunned into silence long enough for Xanatos to speak first.

“Good to see you, Goliath. And all of you.”

The large gargoyle stepped toward him threateningly. “I don’t know how you got here, Xanatos, but you’ll be sorry you came.”

“Why is everyone trying to kill me?” he asked Owen casually. He quickly returned his attention to Goliath. “Whoa, I’m on your side now.”

“How do you expect me to believe that?” growled Goliath. “You’ve said it too many times before and haven’t meant it.”

“I’ve reformed,” he protested. “I deeply regret the way I’ve treated you and your clan. Plus, I bring a token.” He handed the other a small box. Despite his anger, Goliath couldn’t fight his curiosity. He carefully removed the lid and had to laugh in spite of himself at what he saw. There was a very small lizard in it, which wouldn’t have been so strange, except that it was wearing a tiny head ornament that looked like a golden replica of a gargoyle forehead, just like the one Demona wore. As he looked closer, he noticed that the reptile was also wearing a miniature golden armband and anklet. He looked up at Xanatos, about to ask, but Xanatos preempted him. “It’s her. We couldn’t kill her, so we made her harmless. She won’t bother you anymore.”

Goliath was still hesitant to believe, but he looked around and saw that the clothes she had been wearing were lying on the floor, bloodied. If she was anywhere else on the ship, she was naked and injured. He showed the box to the others and they all laughed hysterically. It was about that time that several security officers, led by Lieutenant Worf, entered, guns at the ready.

“What’s going on here?” Worf asked. “We detected phaser fire.”

“It’s alright now, Lieutenant,” Goliath assured him. “The enemy has been neutralized.”

Worf was having trouble taking it all in with all the distraction of the castle and its inhabitants. “Computer, end program,” he told it, and the uniform yellow grid replaced the hub of activity. “Who are you?” he asked the two strange men left standing there after their camouflage disappeared.

Goliath spoke before they had a chance to answer. “They are . . . allies.”

#

“Xanatos, I presume,” said Commander Riker as he shook the newcomer’s hand. “I don’t know why Goliath thought I was you. I don’t see any resemblance.”

The others on the bridge gave each other Is he crazy? glances. Geordi spoke up. “Commander, he sounds exactly like you, and you look practically the same, too.”

“Is it possible you’re related?” asked Crusher. “He could be an ancestor of yours, if he is from the past.”

“Actually, when I first saw Goliath’s reaction to him,” Troi told her, “I decided to check into it. It seems that Will does have an ancestor named David Xanatos. His son’s name was Alexander, and he had a daughter named Elizabeth, who had a son named Daniel, and on down the line to Will. That’s why they’re so similar. They are related.”

“Amazing,” Crusher thought aloud.

“Wow,” said Riker, smiling. “This is an occasion.”

“If you are my great-great-whatever-grandson, then there’s something you should know about yourself,” Xanatos said as he put a hand on Riker’s shoulder. “My mother-in-law was Titania, wife of Oberon.” He got blank stares from most of his audience. “As in ‘Oberon’s children.’ Like Puck, here,” he said, indicating the ex-Owen, who had found no need to hold onto the illusion.

Riker looked skeptical. “Do you mean that I’m not completely human? I’m . . . part fairy?”

“Only a very small part,” Xanatos tried to assure him.

“So what does that mean,” he asked.

“It means that we finally have an answer to your amazing success with women,” quipped Geordi, in a moderately jealous tone.

“You have some power,” Puck explained. “No where near mine, but some. Perhaps some slight telepathy, like your Betazoid here. I could help you develop it if you like.”

“Really?” Riker said, looking at Troi. “Looks like you may have some competition for your job.”

“I doubt that,” she told him, “but I could use the company.” She gave him that old smile she always did.

“Well, Puck,” said Picard, “if you like, you can stay with us for a while. We can also drop you two off at Earth when we get there.”

“That would be appreciated, Captain,” Xanatos told him. “I have a company to get to and I seem to be without a ship. Of course, I’ll still need an assistant, if you’re willing.” He looked at Puck.

“I’ve come with you this far,” the fae answered. “May as well stay with you a while longer. I mean, how long can you live, anyway, being just a human?” He got a somewhat uncomfortable look from Xanatos. “I’ll get back as soon as I’m done with Riker here. I would have hoped that Alex would pass on what I taught him, but it seems it got lost somewhere along the way.”

“Well, now that that’s settled,” Picard broke in, “what are we going to do with Demona?”

“She makes a very charming lizard,” Xanatos said. “Maybe I’ll keep her as a pet. In a little cage on my desk.” He chuckled. “That is, unless you had some other plans, Goliath.”

“No, please. Just as long as you keep an eye on her. You never know what trouble she could get into, even as a small animal.”

“That reminds me,” said Lexington, “how did she incapacitate us so quickly?

“Whoever built her device,” explained Geordi, “used a converted phase distributor to inject the garni crystal with highly concentrated UV rays—”

“Whoa, there.” Brooklyn stopped him. “We don’t need the specs. Just what did it do?”

“Basically, it simulated sunlight. She apparently found out whatever it is about Earth’s sun that makes your kind turn to stone and was able to artificially reproduce it.”

“Oh.” Brooklyn appeared satisfied with that.

“Where is the device now?” asked Goliath.

“In a storage locker in Engineering,” answered Data.

“If you don’t mind, we’d appreciate it if it would stay there.”

“Of course,” said the captain, understanding how unsettling it would be for them to be around it any more than necessary.

Troi curiously peered into the box holding Demona again. “She was really one of you?” she asked them.

Goliath’s face grew solemn. “She was once part of our clan.”

“Were there any others in your clan alive after she betrayed you?” asked Crusher.

He sighed sadly and said, “There were two others. One was our pet and the other was my daughter, who we found when we were traveling the world. They were killed by a group of gargoyle-haters called the Quarrymen. The rest of us were caught away from our home when day came and when we got back . . .”

This was hard on him. The others seemed more depressed by that, as well. Dr. Crusher felt bad for bringing it up.

“I’m so sorry,” she offered.

“Thank you,” he said. Suddenly, he thought of Elisa and realized that he’d never found out what happened to her. “Xanatos—”

The man anticipated his question. “I’m sorry. Detective Maza was killed. By Demona.”

Goliath let our a roar so loud it startled most of the others on the bridge. He grabbed the box, about to crush it, then something stopped him. He knew it would do no good. “It’s over now,” he said as it fell to the ground. There was a long silence as the gargoyles reflected on the past and the others didn’t know quite what to say next.

Finally, Troi spoke. “Where will you go now?”

The clan looked at each other. Hudson answered. “Back to Earth. At least for a while. We need to get reacquainted with the world. We’ve seen so much. I’m sure there will be many people who will want to talk to us. After that, who knows?”

“You three might even want to look into Starfleet,” Picard said to the young gargoyles.

“Sure, if I’d get to build things like this,” said Lex, indicating the ship.

“Something I’ve learned in my life,” said Goliath, “is that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Twice we have been caught off-guard and lost all that we knew. But then a new night came and the world changed, but we gained more than we ever thought we could.” He turned to look out the viewscreen at the multitude of stars once so far away, but now within reach. “The universe is full of possibilities. Let’s see what happens.”