The footsteps echoed on the bridge; light and shadow played around.
There was a gasp, as someone realized he'd made a wrong turn.
The haggard, unkempt man turned around. "Oh shit..."
"Not very gentlemanly language, Yuzuru." a smooth voice chided.
A handsome man with slicked-back dark hair and a pencil mustache stepped out of the shadows. Not for the first time, Yuzuru had to ruefully note that the man pursuing him looked like a handsomer Snidely Whiplash come to life. And, regretfully, acted the part, too.
"I don't...I don't have it any more, Riley." Yuzuru said. "It's been sent to somewhere safe--someone who'll know enough to keep it away from you!"
"I am quite disappointed to hear that." Riley shook his head. "And who, pray tell, is it going to allegedly be 'safe from us' with?"
"Like I'll tell you!!!"
"I have ways of finding out." Riley sneered. He snapped his fingers. Three thugs shambled out of the darkness behind him--all wearing out of date clothes, and with pallid complexions, the occassional missing pieces, and absolutely atrocious teeth.
"Your zombies won't make me talk either!"
"I know." Riley replied. "They aren't here to make you talk--they're here to kill you."
Yuzuru gritted his teeth. He was not going to scream--if it was the last thing he ever did (literally), his pursuer was not going to get that satisfaction.
No...there is a way.
Yuzuru Fuyuno jumped, his body hurling to the River Thames hundreds of feet below him.
Riley hissed. "Dammit!!!"
The little man next to him grovelled "But...there's no way he could survive that fall, Master."
Riley backhanded the little man. "That isn't the point, Dimsworth!!! If he's dead, he can't tell us what he did with the amulet! And we have to find his body! Blast it all!"
He muttered and held his hands to his brow, shaking like he was having a seizure. After thirty tense seconds, he stopped, his manner suddenly calm again. "No...there is nothing to panic about. His dead body will be found. And the authorities will do our work for us."
He grinned, and began to chuckle ominously
"...Joggers found the poor blighter, Chief Gates." one of the uniformed Bobbies said. "Washed up on the shore, just like this."
"Chin up, Anderson--it's your first corpse!" Gates, the older of the two women not in uniform said. "Like many things, your first is always memorable."
"I needed that image in my head like another hole in it." the younger, shorter woman replied in clipped tones.
"It's all yours." Gates said. Sighing, the younger one pulled on a pair of rubber gloves, and began to investigate the mauled body.
"State of rigor...I'd say he's probably been dead between six and ten hours. Signs of some blunt trauma, and deep scratches, but I doubt he was dead before he hit the water."
"Male, I would say probably of Japanese extraction, approximately fifty years old." Anderson cocked an eyebrow as she pulled his wallet out. "Money still in here--a good six hundred euros. Passport and tourist visa--Yuzuru Fuyuno, Tokyo Japan."
"Good guesswork." the senior officer complimented.
"It still doesn't tell us what he's doing here." Anderson replied. Her eyes narrowed, as something caught her attention.
"What did you see?"
The shorter woman pulled a soggy package out of the dead man's trench coat. It had an address seal still legible.
1974 Wolfram Gardens
New York, NY 10012
Anderson looked at her superior. "It's heavy and..."
"The package is about to fall apart anyway." Gates nodded. "Just try to keep the label intact."
It didn't take much effort for Anderson to pry the waterlogged package apart. A gold medallion, with a figure of a dark, green eye, glinted in the early morning sun...
...But somehow, the sunlight seemed to have darkened, if only for a second...
The Ectozone Proudly Presents
A New Generation
A New Beginning
THE EYE OF ARETPO
From the Files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBI Historian
GBI Case File GBNY-2021-39/001
New York City
June 8, 2021
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Thirty-Nine
He looked at the placard with a slight amusement. Nearly four decades ago, the placard outside this nondescript building had read "Weaver Hall". Now it had a different sign:
Spengler Institute For Metaphysical Examination
He chuckled. I bet that Yeagar dude is rolling in his grave...
He went inside.
The office door brought a wide grin to his face.
E.M. Spengler, Ph.D.
J.C. Spengler, Ph.D
Right inside it, a young man of average build and of mixed Oriental blood, dressed in a tie and khakis in blue and yellow that really didn't go well together, peered at him quizzically. A placard on his desk read "Jeremy Cranston"
"Um...may I help you?"
"I'm here to see Dr. Spengler." the visitor replied. "Either one, though preferably both."
"Ah, well, Dr. Johnathan is the only one here right now..."
"Thank you very much." the visitor nodded.
"But you can't go in there, yet."
The visitor smirked and nodded.
The building shook violently as a loud explosion filled their ears.
"Now I can go in there." the visitor stated matter of factly.
Jeremy looked at him, a bit amazed. "You've done this before?"
"You'd be surprised, Jeremy..."
Smoke filled the room. At the center was a table, and a smoking piece of electronics with a couple of wires attached to it, leading to a protective shield.
"Crumbs." came a deep voice from behind the blast shield. The man who emerged from it was tall (a good six and a half feet) and solidly built, if not necessarily muscular. His red muscle shirt matched his head of red hair, which ended in a squiggly tail at the back. He pulled off his protective goggles and peered at the experiment with a disgusted look.
"You know...this reminds me of the time you tried to make a sport coat explode." the robed man said dryly. A hood concealed his face.
"I needed magic cloth to make that work." The taller man retorted with practiced ease.
"Well, then I might be able to help you, JC..."
The red haired man's eyes went wide. "Holy shit..."
The robed man threw back the hood. He had large brown eyes that took in the room; his curly brown hair sported a battered set of aviator goggles. He regarded the taller men with a wide, dimpled grin.
"Eric?!" John said incredulously. "Eric Stantz?!"
Eric laughed, and rolled his eyes. "It's so cool to hear that name again."
With that, the two embraced like two old friends who'd known each other pretty much their entire lives but hadn't seen each other lately--which was pretty much what they were.
"Wow. Look at you now...Doctor Johnathan Spengler, scientist. Blowing up labs and everything..."
"Family tradition." John replied cheerfully. "And you're apparently a Jedi Knight now..."
Eric laughed, and looked down at his robes. "That's a really long story...This your latest urban renewal project, JC?" Eric asked brightly.
"What I was trying to do is create a new, miniaturized ecto-confinement system. The tech's gotten so much better since the Eighties...it should be possible to create a ghost trap so small, it could be bundled with a complete PKE detection system."
Eric looked at the singed prototype. "I love it...it looks like a Digivice iC!"
John smirked. "I guess it kinda does...but it still needs some more work. I keep running into an instability in the confinement grid; finding the right balance of neutron flow to keep it stable at that size, able to compress the ectoplasmic particles into the amount of space I want..."
"I'm back five minutes and I'm getting a headache already." Eric shook his head.
He turned as he noticed something--a poster on the wall (behind a layer of protective glass).
Pictured there were four men, each wearing a flight suit of similar cut and style, with the red and white "no ghost" logo on their right shoulders. One was a fit African American with short hair, in an aqua blue uniform with red trim, the nametag reading "ZEDDEMORE". Another was a handsome man with unruly dark hair, a Cheshire grin, and a brown uniform with greenish-blue trim; his nametag read "VENKMAN". A third was a tall, lanky man wearing a blue uniform with pinkish trim; his nametag read "SPENGLER", and though his hair was a blond pompadour, the squiggly tail at the back of it, and his jawline, were distinctly similar to John's. Eric grinned looking at the last man on the poster; he knew that wide face, dimpled grin, and merry brown eyes well. The uniform was tan, with brown trim, and the nametag read "STANTZ". At the bottom, the poster carried the familiar "GHOSTBUSTERS" title logo.
"Great poster, JC." Eric remarked. "Always gotta remember your roots."
"It was a promo picture taken in 1984, about the time the movie came out and GBI first formed." John explained. "It's the best one I could find, though I'd rather have found one with Mom on it, too, and maybe Slimer..."
Eric chuckled. "Well, it could be worse--it could be one of those shitty ones where they left Uncle Winston off."
John started to look at Eric a little more forcefully. "So start talking to me...grife, Stantz, I've barely seen you since you went off to that private school thirteen years ago. And then after you graduated...nothing. None of us...not Edie or me, not Jessica, or Charlene, or the Riveras, heard word one from you. I mean, Uncle Ray kept saying you were fine, but he and Aunt Liz are about the only people that seemed to know anything, and wouldn't tell us kids much."
Eric sighed, and broke eye contact. "Well...you know how I said everyone at Rein-Hagen Academy liked to call the place 'Hogwarts' as a joke? There's a really funny story behind that..."
They were interrupted by an annoyed female voice shouting out John's name.
"Uh-oh..." John smirked, looking past Eric.
"I could hear the explosion from halfway across the campus! I thought I told you to hold off on the latest tests of the GBX prototype until we could get to the Columbus facility. I seriously..."
Eric hadn't heard the voice in a while, but as it hadn't deeped with age anywhere near to the extent of John's, it was quite recognizable. He was about to snark that "Hey! You're scaring the straights!" but when he actually turned, he almost swallowed his tongue.
The last time Eric had seen John's sister, Eden Marie Spengler, she was only fifteen and still looked like a little girl--a tall little girl, but with all the figure of a gawky beanpole. This was no longer true. She was still tall--a good five eight--but had grown her blonde hair longer and had developed some very womanly curves that her loose shirt and sleeveless vest could not completely conceal; the red mini skirt she wore didn't even make a pretense of hiding the most spectacular set of legs Eric ever remembered seeing...
"Eric Stantz?" she exclaimed, intense blue eyes opening wide.
"Edie?" he managed to croak.
"We had not been informed you were back in town!" she said, giving him a quick, friendly hug that did nothing to help his elevated body temperature.
"I...er...wanted to surprise you all..." Eric admitted.
"Mission accomplished." John chuckled. "You timing is great--you got me out of another lecture and everything!"
Eden rolled her eyes. "Does anyone else know you're back?"
"Well, Pop of course...Mom's taking some time off and we arrived together, so I figured I'd be getting in their way pretty quick. I figured I'd start here." He shrugged. "I might be in the way at Jess's..."
"She'd probably still love to see you. Hayden can't monopolize all her time." John quipped.
Eric shook his head. "On the one hand, it's weird talking about Jessica Venkman getting married. On the other...well, how many years have they been..." he suddenly became very self-conscious of Eden standing right there, and decided not to say "banging each other stupid". "How many years have they been dating off and on anyway?"
"At least since...oh, I think right after you graduated and disappeared." John mused. "She tried to hide it, of course, but Charlene figured it out and clued the rest of us in..."
"It's got to be weird for Oscar, though."
"Perhaps." Eden added. "But while he is biologically related to both of them, they are not related to each other."
"I'll definitely have to touch base with Charlene, too." Eric chuckled. "She still in LA?"
Eden's expression returned to a more serious look. "I apologize, Eric, but the whole reason I came over here was to remind my brother that he needs to get home and wash the soot off of himself."
"What are you..." John stopped and slapped his forehead. "Crap. I did forget. I got so wrapped up in the negative ionic oscillation equations it vanished from my mind completely!"
Eric blinked. "What? What's going on?"
JFK International Airport
"Flight 683 from Heathrow now arriving at Gate 140..."
One little man watched with interest as the passengers from Heathrow finally disembarked. One in particular drew his interest--a short, brown-haired woman in sunglasses, dressed in a green sport coat and mini-skirt.
He pulled out his cel phone and dialed. When the other end answered..."It appears your guess was correct, Master. Should I follow her?" He listened intently for a few seconds, then nodded. "As you command."
Riley sighed. It had taken some work to dig into Yuzuru Fuyuno's background, but it had turned up some leads. Fuyuno had no children of his own, but two sisters. One of them still lives in Tokyo, but the other lives in New York City...is an American citizen, in fact. While Mariko Fuyuno is not there now, her child is.
He studied a print-out. Tsukiko Marie Lupin, Born September 1, 1997...would not seem difficult to locate, and discover if she was indeed the one that Fuyuno sent the Eye to...except...
Riley settled into his chair. Two pictures were on the table in front of him: one featured a solid man with a bushy mustache, a Japanese woman, and a little girl. Another featured the mustachioed man with a diferent girl, a man wearing a Catholic priest's collar, and a woman in a burgandy and dark blue dress. In his hand was a third picture--the woman in the burgandy dress with a slightly pudgy, auburn-haired man in a tan flight suit, its name tag reading "STANTZ"
Tsukiko Lupin's godmother is Elizabeth Stantz, the wife of one of Ghostbusters International's Founders. This complicates the situation drastically. As much as I could not afford Scotland Yard sticking their noses into this matter, the attention of Ghostbusters International at this stage would be disasterous on a whole new level--far more powerful adversaries than I am have fallen to their do-gooding interference. I must be cautious...and have a plan. I cannot allow GBI to know of the Eye, and our plans for it, until it's too late to stop them.
Fortunately...if one knows where to look, there are always opportunities...
He smirked as he pulled a flyer from the papers he had piled on his desk.
Sons Of Ether Chapter Club Dinner
June 8, 2021
Guests Of Honor:
Professor Egon Spengler
Co-Winner, 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics
Co-Founder, Ghostbusters International
Dr. Enrico Amore
Dean of the Sons of Ether
GBI must be...distracted...
Varrick and Moore
Eric smiled as he left the taxi, taking in the sight. I hadn't realized how much I missed the old place...
he thought as he stared at the red brick building, the former Hook and Ladder Number Eight firehouse. I know we didn't live in New York when I was born...but I was only a year and a half old when Dad moved back here. I practically grew up in this old firehouse.
He gave the familiar sign a thumbs up and a smirk as he opened the door and walked in.
He wished he'd been able to visit with John and Eden a little more. They'd always been the ones of the sons and daughters of the four Ghostbusters founders he'd been closest to; he was practically right in the middle age-wise between them and Jessica Venkman, with her three years older than him and the Twins three years younger, but he felt like the Twins and he understood each other better. Charlene Zeddemore was even older, and the Rivera girls even younger. Max Miller, though..he'd always been an awesome playmate. I need to ask how he's doing...
But his return's timing had been unfortunate: John and Eden Spengler had an engagement for this evening that he wouldn't ask them to cancel even if he thought they would.
"Well, Father is being honored by the Sons of Ether tonight." Eden explained. "It's the scientific research club that he has been a member of before we were even born."
"They think him and your Dad winning that Nobel Prize last year is a big deal." John added. "So if we dress up and listen to their boring speeches, we get free food out of the deal!"
" 'Boring'?" Eden asked incredulously. "They are some of the most gifted scientific minds on the planet!"
"And also some of the most unstable." John retorted.
"The kinda guys who would turn a sport coat into a bomb, I know." Eric laughed. He understood better than they knew "Nah...go ahead. We can catch up tomorrow, then. I think I'll head off to Ghostbusters Central and see everyone else..."
He wasn't surprised that the first sound he heard was a loud, ecstatic burbling cry as something green flew out of the wall, a bear hug and green, slimey kisses on its mind...
...Except when Slimer got about a foot away from Eric, the confused green ghost bounced back.
"Whoops..." Eric said sheepishly. He made a quick gesture, and glanced at the Sun. Only a couple more minutes until it's down anyway.... "Try it now!"
Slimer looked thoughtful for about half a second, then tried the bear hug and slimey kisses again. This time it was successful. Eric rolled his eyes fondly as he wiped off some slime from his face..."I let that happen why?"
"Slimer! How many times have you been told to not attack the customers!" a female voice shouted. "We're sorry, Mister but..."
The speaker was a woman in her early fourties, wearing a black flight suit bearing the Ghostbuster logo and the name "GRIFFIN" on its chest tag. "Eric?!"
"Hey, Dr. Griffin." Eric said amiably. "Long time, no see, eh?"
"Hey! Everybody! Come look who's here!" she shouted.
Within moments, the old garage filled up with people happy to see him; like the Spengler Twins, they hadn't seen him in seven years.
Thirty eight years before, Eric's father, the Twins' father, and two other men had been the original Ghostbusters. From that little acorn eventually grew--albeit with a number of setbacks along the way--the premiere paranormal investigation and elimination company in the world.
Twenty four years ago, four students of the Twins' father had formed a new team of Ghostbusters. Those four former students--Dr. Kylie Griffin, her husband Eduardo Rivera, Garrett Miller, and Dr. Roland Jackson--were the ones greeting him now. And they weren't the only ones...
"Chita?!" Eric gasped as she hugged him. She was two years younger than Eden, and like her seven years had worked some wonders on her. Conchita Rivera had always been an exuberant, cheerful person, and now Eric had to admit she was gorgeous too. I know I really shouldn't keep comparing people to anime characters, but she's always reminded me of Mimi Tachikawa...
"Welcome back!" Conchita beamed. "We've all missed you!"
Conchita's younger, and much more dour, sister Rose just kind of grunted--though it was an amiable grunt, at least. "Yeah. Nice to have you back."
"You're both looking great." Eric admitted. "Of course, I last saw you seven years ago, when Chita was a teenager and Rosey was only ten...you both gotta be breaking hearts by now."
Rose kind of looked away at that uncomfortably and mumbled something Eric couldn't make out.
Conchita laughed. "Well, not on purpose!"
"Conchita, hate to remind you, but the movie starts in an hour--we better get going." Rose poked her older sister, apparently thankful for the chance to end that particular thread of conversation.
"Oh yeah..." Conchita nodded. "Rose and I're going out to see a movie, because Mom and Dad are both on duty tonight."
"The Professor's going to some big gig, I know." Eric remarked. "I went to see John and Edie first, and they told me. So what are you seeing?"
"The Snakes On A Plane remake." Rose answered. "It was my turn to pick."
"Of course." Eric remarked.
The two girls looked at Eduardo expectantly. He sighed and pulled out a couple of twenty dollar bills. Conchita took the money and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks, Daddy."
After they left, Roland explained "It's kinda like old times, in a way. Peter's in LA, Winston's at Fort Arnold. Your Dad's taking vacation time, but since it's with your Mom I guess you already knew that."
"So it's just Team Extreme tonight." Garrett said. "So they teach you poker at that hoity-toity school, Eric?"
"Just as long as it ain't Texas Hold-Em..." Eric laughed.
The sound of knocking at her front door was not at the top of her list of ways to be roused from sleep.
She grumbled as she made herself wake up. As she sat upright in her bed, she looked at the clock and just about passed back out. "Gaia's Bounty!" she shouted out loud. It's almost dinner time... She cast an eye at the other shape sleeping in her bed, still snoring, and smirked. We really did wear each other out...
Deciding not to answer the door buck naked--at least not this time, though it was a great way to get discounts on pizza delivery--she grabbed a bathrobe and hurredly put it on as the knock came again. "Keep your pants on! I'm on my way!!!" It can't be Makayla forgetting her key again...she'd be cussing at me by now...I didn't order West Pier Pizza in my sleep again, did I?
She was mildly disappointed when she looked out the peep hole to see a non-male visitor. When she opened the door, she looked her visitor over--a short woman with shoulder length dark hair, dressed in a green sport coat and mini-skirt. While she preferred male company...Nice legs on this one...even if she dresses like a cop or something.
"Are you Tsukiko Lupin?" the woman asked her with a British accent a kilometer thick.
"Tsukiko Marie Lupin." she replied. "I prefer to use my middle name--I don't have to spell it for everybody. Who wants to know?"
The woman pulled out a badge. "Detective Inspector Tessa Jane Anderson. Scotland Yard's Occult Crimes Unit."
Marie chuckled. "Well, I was thinking you dressed like a cop. You're kind of far away from London, Inspector. I can't see how I broke any of England's vice laws since I've never been there...though I can try..."
Anderson looked at her for a few seconds, apparently struck speechless by the non sequitur. "Erm...are you familiar with this man?" Anderson pulled out a picture. "His credentials identified him as Yuzuru Fuyuno of Tokyo, Japan."
Marie took the picture, starting to get worried. "Uncle Yuz? He's my mother's older brother...used to play baseball...what's going on?"
Anderson exhaled. "There's no easy way to say this, but simply....two days ago your Uncle's dead body washed up on a Thames riverbank."
"Oh God..." Marie exhaled, putting her hand over her mouth, looking away. "What was he doing in England?"
"We were hoping you might be able to tell us." Anderson answered. "Your name came up in the course of the investigation."
Anderson opened her purse, pulling out an evidence bag. "When his body was recovered, he had a package on his person bearing this address label."
Marie squinted at the plastic bag, and the label did, indeed, bear her address. "Uncle Yuz was like Ojii-san...Grandpa...insisted on using my first name. What was in it?"
"This." Anderson answered, reaching into her purse again. "We were hoping you might be able to tell us what it is."
When Anderson produced the second bag, and the medallion within, Marie felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Just touching the bag made her fingers tingle unpleasantly. "I've never seen this before...but it gives me the f***ing creeps..."
"The Scotland Yard detective is inside Lupin's apartment."
Dimsworth's voice came over the speaker phone.
"Hold position until my signal." Riley told him. "Then it's time to find where Tsukiko Lupin has hidden the Eye."
Riley stood up, adjusted his bow tie, and donned his black cape with a showy flourish. "And now for the distraction that will keep the Ghostbusters preoccupied. It's showtime!!!"