CODA AND TERCHI'S EXTREME ADVENTURE
Okay, maybe not so routine.
The Ghostbusters find Cockney halfling Terchi Bagwise, whom Ray and his wife Liz know--he's a companion of the wizard Zandrik Fallagar. Another Cockney halfling from Fallagar's employ--Coda Monkeyfang--has been possessed by the ancient Ibandi entity Anthal-Noje, the Lord of Gloom.
"My first guess would be perhaps some variety of fae creature." Egon noted. "Perhaps a variant of the Boggan Kith..."
Liz shook her head. "Not really. They're definitely mortal, and flesh and blood. The Archmage says they probably descend from survivors of ancient Atlantis who were changed by their exposure to mystic energy, though he does think the Faerie Realm was the source of that energy."
"I don't rightly know 'bout any of that, Miz 'Lizabef." Terchi shrugged. "We 'Obbits do like to know our 'eritage frontwards and backwards, but I ain't never 'eard it back that far..."
" 'Hobbits'?" Kylie noted. "Like in Tolkien?"
" 'Oo?" Terchi asked.
"Fascinating..." Egon mused.
"Focus, Egon." Ray grinned. "Let's start with something a little more recent--like what happened that got you here and Coda possessed."
Terchi sighed. "Okays, Mist' Ray..."
Every once in a while, he'd need something from that storehouse. Today was one of those days.
That's where Coda and Terchi came in.
"...Don'ts know why you drug me along on this errand..." Coda complained.
"Because the Archmage said the book was 'eavy." Terchi answered. "An' yer a lot stronger than I is."
"Whutever." Coda rolled her eyes.
Terchi laughed, pointing at a painting. "I always laugh when I see the gnolls playin' poker. That's a classic!"
"Place is damn tacky as 'elll..." Coda griped. "Now where is that book 'e needs?"
"'E finks it's by the velvet elves..." Terchi replied. "Y' sure y' don't wanna go to the Equinox Festival?"
Coda rolled her eyes again. "Oh sure...that's what I want...to be gossiped about by ev'ryone in the village."
"Oh, c'mon, you've been doin' much better since Miz 'Lizabef got married. You didn't even punch out anyone, not even when Miz 'Lizabef's nephew fought you wuz only twelve!"
Coda growled again.
Terchi pointed to a large, leatherbound book. "This is the one...Worlds Wivin Worlds, By Micasa Filia Picanya Ex Criamon."
"Shite!" Coda exclaimed, hefting the book. "It IS fuckin' 'eavy!"
After Coda put it back down, Terchi opened the cover.
"Y'sure y'should be doin' that?" Coda asked. "No tellin' what kindsa wards or shit the Archmage put on 'at..."
"It's in Latin...but the first page says somefin 'bout 'To m' apprentice Sierra on the occasion of 'er weddin', 1376AP'..."
"Crap, more weddin's..." Coda grumbled. "Wait, does that mean the Archmage's been married?"
"Didn't say it was 'im this Sierra person's marryin'..." Terchi shrugged. "Maybe we could ask'm..."
"Yeah, then we get turned to frogs for messin' wif stuff 'e didn't want us messin' wif." Coda got just a bit of mischievous gleam in her eye. "Bet that would ruin proper Miz Lilly Augusty's day you show up at the Festival like'at..."
"Coda, m'Dear..." Terchi said. "I keeps tellin' you, Lilly is m' cousin. 'Er Dad and me Mum are bruvver and sister. She's m' family--nuffin' for you to be jealous of!"
"Y'tell 'er that?" Coda retorted. Then after a beat "What you means 'jealous'?"
"Nuffin'..." Terchi replied.
"I swears, Terchi Bagwise, if this is some dumbarse joke at my expense I'll pull yer guts out through yer bung'ole..."
He backed up, waving frantically to calm her. "I said I wasn't! Can we jus' let it go and get the book to..." As he said that, he knocked a bottle off a shelf.
The bottle broke, and a gemstone rolled out. Purplish, opague, and even darker on one side.
"Now look what yous done, you Dumbarse!" Coda shouted. "'E's gonna roast us f'sure!!!" She reached down and grabbed the gem. "This might be valuable, and what if we broke..."
There was a blast of angry violet light, and Coda Monkeyfang screamed.
"Fascinating." Egon said.
" 'Got her mad on'?" Kylie asked.
"Well, it's...erm..." Terchi said, clearly at a loss for words.
"I hate to sound like something out of the Ghosts and Gargoyles Player's Handbook..." Ray intervened. "...But Coda's kinda like a barbarian. She has this ability to draw on primal spirits of rage, and it makes her ferocious in battle."
"Ray and I only saw it once." Liz added. She shuddered. "She took on the warlord of a skeleton army, who had already beaten Barney Lupin and the Archmage's guard marshal, singlehanded. And the warlord had to almost literally cut her in half before she went down."
"Ouch." Kylie said.
"She's a terror wif a sword, that one." Terchi said, a bit of smile creeping into his face. "Fank goodness she didn't 'ave it wif 'er today."
"Hm..." Egon mused. The radio crackled to life before he said anything else.
"Ghostbusters Central, this is ECTO-1. You guys there?"
Egon grabbed the microphone. "Affirmative, Winston. What's the situation?"
"Not good." Winston replied. "We found Coda, but she kicked our asses. Or more accurately, Noje kicked our asses. It's a lot different than when Louis got possessed. We're heading back now."
"We'll confer in greater detail when you get here. GBCentral out."
"You guys know whut's 'appening?" Terchi asked. "Whut's 'Noje'?"
"Anthal-Noje." Ray answered. "It's a part of an ancient story from the nation of Tangalla--Noje was the 'Lord of Gloom' who was split into 'shards'--the purple gems. We encountered two of them just a few weeks ago."
"They drew on their bearer's anger and revenge fantasies." Egon added, Ray and Kylie knowing how close Egon came to being snuffed out in one of those gem-augmented "revenge fantasies". "But something about this doesn't sound quite in line with our experience yet. We need to talk to Winston and the others as soon as they're back."
She was laying on the couch, dozing lightly. Ray and Liz's son Eric was snuggled up on top of her, snoring lightly.
Slimer lay nearby with partially eaten potato chip bags--meaning, all of the chips in them had been eaten and the bags themselves partially eaten--strewn about.
In days past, the sight of Janine and the child might have made Egon uncomfortable. But now...a smile came to his face.
In his mind's eye, he found himself contemplating a similar sight. But instead of Eric Stantz, the child sleeping on Janine had red--or blond--hair.
Liz followed him, and started to say something. Egon held up a hand. "I think they're fine." he whispered. "Winston and the Ghostbusters should be getting back soon."
Liz nodded, and they both left.
After all accounts had been brought up to date, Egon identified the area he was most troubled by. "These accounts suggest that the entity is in far more direct control of Miss Monkeyfang that he ever was of Louis or the electronic store clerk. It sounds closer to a true possession than what Louis described of his experience."
"Yeah..." Winston agreed. "Louis was all hulked out, but he still sounded like Louis. Coda sounded different--she has the same Cockney sounding accent as Terchi, normally. But it was gone when she was possessed."
"Classic sign of possession." Ray nodded. "The speech patterns of the possessing entity instead of those of the host's native personality."
"What could cause something like that, though?" Eduardo asked. "What's the difference?"
Egon mused. "Like Ray said earlier, Coda is herself in communion with some primal anger spirits. But normally that would seem to be more likely to grant her some immunity to the creature's influence. I would surmise that somehow the entity was able to make a more powerful entrance into her psyche."
Liz's eyes narrowed. "The aura."
"What do you mean, Mrs. Stantz?" Roland asked.
"The gems here on Earth were presumably, well, here on Earth, where the ambient ectosphere has been depressed for most of the last seven years." Liz explained, which most of them already know. "But the gem Coda found was at Dragonsfall--a shard realm based off the original spot in Germany where the covenant was built. Like most Hermetic covenants, it was built on the site of a high magic aura--a ley line in this case. And unlike on Earth, the shard realm's magical aura was not affected by the mystic drought."
"With more mystic energy, the gem was more fully charged." Egon summarized. "So when Coda's anger activated it, it was able to channel far more of its power into dominating and suppressing her personality than the more, for lack of a better term, 'starved' gem did with Louis."
"Oh crap..." Terchi moaned, not liking the sound of that.
"She's still fighting it, though." Eduardo told him, setting a hand on his shoulder. "She even reached an arm out of it for a sec."
This did seem to cheer Terchi up. "Well, she is the most stubborn and contrary person I knows..."
Oh yeah... Eduardo thought to himself, sparing a quick glance at Kylie. The little dude has it bad for that chica...
"So what's the play now?" Garrett asked. "I'd like a rematch with that sicko ASAP."
"We will, Garrett." Winston nodded. "And on our terms, not his."
"Oh?" Egon raised an eyebrow.
"We got what it wants." Winston replied.
Must you keep doing this, girl-creature?
WELL, YOU AIN'T LEFT YET, SO YEAH!!! I GUESSES I DO!!!
Your stubbornness is becoming tiresome.
WELL, SOD OFF AN' I AIN'T YER PROBLEM NO MORE!!! WIN-WIN!!!
I think you overestimate your importance. No...your misshapen form still serves a purpose for me at the moment. Your resolve is annoying, but nothing more.
What is this I feel?
The gloom gem I felt that brought me here...and...one more...
Their call has become much clearer...
...Shima-Buku is near them!
YOU BULLYWUG-FUCKING ARSE'OLE!!!
Be silent, you wretch!!!
Roland, Eduardo, and Garrett unholstered and armed their throwers.
A purple glow followed the appearance of Anthal-Noje; there was no visible sign of Coda in the ectoplasmic shell that now covered her in the demon's visage.
Terchi, beside ECTO-1, felt his heart sink. Coda's in that thing?!
"ABOUT TIME YOU GOT HERE!!!" Winston shouted. His proton pack's thrower was still holstered. Interestingly, it was one of the older, Mark 1 proton packs that the original Ghostbusters used for eight years.
"Shima-Buku, Chieftain of Tangalla..." Noje snarled.
"I knew you couldn't keep away.' Winston said. "Not when I brought this perfect bait." He held up a transparent box, holding the two gloom gems the Extreme Ghostbusters had obtained previously.
"NOW!!!" Roland shouted. Three proton beams slammed into the creature.
"Keep an eye on the meter, Kylie!" Egon's voice barked from her walkie-talkie.
"Will do." she replied.
The creature snarled, and shot out tendrils of energy. "This pathetic sorcery won't be any more effective this time!"
"iiiAye Caramba!!!' Eduardo shouted, barely dodging a blast.
"This isn't working well enough..." Terchi heard Kylie growl.
"We have to give it more time!" Ray said from beside her.
"I just wish guys like this would learn only to pick on people as ugly as they are!" Garrett said. "He'd leave everybody alone, except Torgo!"
"BITE ME!!!" Eduardo shouted.
"Your anger is delightful..." Noje grinned "Take a gem. Become one with me."
"Don't mind if I do!!!" came Terchi's voice, as he grabbed the box from Winston.
"Fing is, Mist' Uglypants, whut if the one we're pissed off at..." Terchi grabbed a gem from the box. "IS YOU!!!"
There was a blast of violet energy around Terchi Bagwise. When it dissipated, he stood transformed.
A seven foot tall, idealized version of Terchi, clad in golden armor--Ray recognized it was being patterned off of Styx's armor--and carrying...
...Coda's bastard sword.
"What?!" Noje said.
"PREPARE T' BE VANQUISHED, YOU BAG O' SICK!!!" The transformed Terchi screamed and charged Noje.
"The readings are going nuts!" Kylie exclaimed. "This is dumb as hell, but it's working!!!"
Terchi slammed the Noje entity with this sword--Eduardo noticed that it was with the flat part of it The little muchacho is pissed, but still didn't forget his chica's in there somewhere
"This is absurd!" Noje snarled. "I'm fighting myself!!!"
"SOD OFF AN' IT ENDS!!! WIN-WIN!!!" Terchi howled, slamming him again.
"Enough of this foolishness!!!" Noje gestured angrily.
Terchi screamed, and the gloom gem popped off of his head. He fell to the ground, the muscular armored body and sword dissolving into ectoplasm.
"It's almost..." Kylie started to say.
"Now you die, Dustmote!!!" Noje reared a giant fist back.
"NO. 'E. FUCKING. DOESN'T!!!" a higher pitched voice shouted from Noje.
The giant form howled.
Its chest erupted, and the right arm and head of Coda Monkeyfang sprang forth.
'NOW WINSTON!!!" Kylie shouted.
Winston's nutrona wand fired--but the beam was of a more greenish tint than usual.
It didn't grab Noje--it grabbed Coda.
"What is this?!"
"I need a specific setting for Winston's plan." Ray answered. "I'm more familiar with this design, and can make the modifications a lot quicker."
"What modification is that?"
"They...can do that?" Eduardo asked.
"It takes some adjustment." Egon answered.
"There was a time in '85 when business was so slow we considered branching out into fighting crime." Ray continued. "The idea worked, but we pretty quickly realized that if regulators were bad when we were dealing with stuff the law doesn't recognize..."
"As the son and brother of cops, you don't have to explain it any further to me." Eduardo nodded.
"Fortunately, that time the paranormal drought proved short-lived." Egon noted. "But the specifications are still usable. And we need Winston ready to use it."
The three male Extreme Ghostbusters poured on the proton beams, slamming Noje's body.
"Coda!" Terchi called, stumbling closer to her.
"Stay back!" Ray cried to him.
Coda sat up; one of her eyes had returned to normal--but the other was still blacked out. She convulsed, and made a combination snarl and gargle.
"Fools! The girl-creature is still mine! Her anger is great--and that is what fuels me!!! It's only a matter of time!!!"
"About that." Ray said, finally stepping away from the ECTO-1.
He wasn't in a proton pack. Instead, it was a bulky apparatus with one large grey tank and two smaller green tanks on the back, and he had a two-handed grip on a silver cylinder with a conic projection mechanism.
Coda was blasted with a stream of bright pink ectoplasm.
"Not too far off." Winston answered. "We used to have two of them---this one's Ray's. Mine got blown up during a case back in '91"
"I somehow doubt pressure washing the demon thing is going to work here." Garrett quipped.
"Did on that case." Winston retorted without missing a beat.
"Depends what we load into it." Egon said. "This specific device was actually created to apply positively charged psychomagnetheric ectoplasm. It proved vital to securing our victory against Vigo the Carpathian on New Year's Day 1989."
"The 'mood slime'!" Kylie realized. "Dr. V talked about it a couple times. But I thought it was all gone."
"No." Egon shook his head. "We had some samples we saved before the original 'river of slime' dried up in early 1989, which I kept. There was a similar slime flow in 1991, which also dissipated after the defeat of the Architect and the remission of the ectosphere. Fortunately...we seem to have stumbled onto a way to stimulate self-replication."
"Barry White?" Winston asked.
"The Rita Coolidge version of 'Higher and Higher' actually." Egon answered. "With..." his face went red. "Some assistance."
"Let's just say the experiment was intensely fascinating." Janine broke in, a slightly smug look on her face.
"Okay, all of a sudden I really really don't want to know anymore." Garrett cringed.
"You will regret this day, Shima-Buku..." Anthal-Noje gasped weakly in Coda's voice. "Even if it takes another ten thousand years...I will..."
The gem flared for half a second, went dark, and popped off of Coda's forehead. She crumpled like a marionette with cut strings.
The ectoplasmic form the Ghostbusters were blasting burst like a balloon.
"Well, I think it's dead." Eduardo quipped.
Roland quickly grabbed the two gems with tweezers, placing them into the box that one of them had previously been in.
"Coda!" Terchi cried, going over to the prone form of his fellow halfling. "Coda...you gotta be okay now..."
"Her PK trace is back down to normal levels." Kylie said, examining her PKE Meter. "The entity's trace is completely gone."
Coda groaned, and her eyes opened. They both had normal white sclera.
"Fank godfuss..." Terchi said, hugging her.
"I...er...gotta warn you, Terchi." Winston said. "The mood slime can have some aftereffects..."
"Hmmm..." Coda moaned. "Terchi...y'big baldy doofus...y'saved me..."
"Well, I couldn't just let that tosser keep usin' you..."
"Let's go somewhere and shag, right now..." Coda said breathily, starting to paw at his shirt. "Or just go at it like muskrats right 'ere..."
"Coda?" Terchi asked, clearly shocked, face turning red.
"We better make sure Egon knows there is a unique residual to his slime production method..." Ray said.
"But not Peter." Winston added. "He can never find out about this..."
"Whut's the matter, Terch?" Coda continued. "Don't tell me you don'ts want to...you been starin' at me bum and knockers since th' day we met..."
Terchi sighed wearily. "Coda, Luv, I wants to so bad it 'urts." He shook his head. "But not like this. Y' been possessed, 'ad yer mad on, an' now you're 'opped up on 'appy goo. It's th' same as if y' were drunk off your arse--I'd say your ability to genuinely consent is a mite bit compromised."
She chuckled throatily. "You an' yer morals, Terchi Bagwise. No wonder I'm so in lo..." She nodded off, and started snoring loudly.
"Plus, you know, you always konk outs after a mad on." Terchi sighed again, hugging the sleeping young woman.
" 'Ey, Mist' Torgo." Terchi answered.
Eduardo decided correcting him was a waste of time. I'll let that slide just this once. "So how's she doin'?"
"Oh, you know, awake but mean. Same as always." Terchi shrugged.
"Hey, little dude...I completely relate. Girl treats you like crap most of the time, but every once in a while, some little bit comes out that gives you hope." He sighed. "Believe me, I understand..."
"Let's go somewhere and shag, right now...Or just go at it like muskrats right 'ere..."
"A good looking guy like you was really hard to resist. Kiss me Eduardo. I want you to."
"The Sluagh girl, right?" Terchi asked.
Eduardo rolled his eyes. "Close enough, yeah."
"Well, I guess we both just 'ave to wait an' see 'ow it goes, won't we?"
Janine went to open it. "About time to unlock it for business hours anyway."
She opened the door to find a hobgoblin in a suit staring at her.
"You are a Ghostbuster?" the hobgoblin said in a clipped, dismissive voice.
"Depends on who you ask." She stared back at him.
They stared for a little bit longer before a more pleasant voice broke in. "My apologies for my Marshall's manners, Miss Melnitz. I believe you have ended up with a couple of my associates in your care."
She saw the hobgoblin, but it barely registered...the man with him was causing some part of her brain to scream.
"Mist' Fallagar!!!" she heard Terchi exclaim, and run to them. "Mist' Styx!!!"
"It appears that Mister Bagwise, at least, is unscathed." the hobgoblin noted. "Which is good, because otherwise I would be forced to obliterate all of you!"
Terchi hugged hugged the man he called "Fallagar"; the name tripped a trigger in Kylie's mind. That's the eight hundred year-old Archmage Terchi kept yammering about? He doesn't look much older than me.
"Archmage." Egon appeared. "It's been a while."
"That it has, Doctor Spengler." Fallagar replied, as they shook hands. "I suppose I should not be surprised those two ended up here."
"It is quite a story, Boss." Terchi admitted.
Fallagar looked around. "Elizabeth and Raymond aren't here?"
"They haven't made it in yet." Janine explained. "They're getting settled into his Aunt Lois's house."
"How long ago was this?" Egon asked.
Fallagar contemplated for a moment. "1198, I believe."
"Damn..." Eduardo whistled.
"Do you want to take it back?" Egon asked. "I would be willing to let you have the other two also."
Fallagar shook his head. "No...I think it is quite obvious they are in better safekeeping here."
Terchi gulped. Fallagar hadn't expressed any disappointment with his and Coda's conduct leading to the incident, but Terchi still felt guilty about it.
"Very well." Egon nodded, handing the box back to Roland. "Get this back into the vault."
"I'll go an' get Coda!" Terchi volunteered, to noone's surprise.
"You decent in there, Luv?"
"As decent as I gets." she replied.
"Mast' Fallagar and Styx are 'ere to take us back 'ome." Terchi explained as he entered. "'E says 'e ain't gonna roast us or nuffin'!"
"Good." Coda snarled. "It'd be your fault if we wuz."
"I knows." Terchi looked downcast.
She started to stride for the door, then stopped, and quickly looked around. "I 'eard what you did, takin' one of those demon stones so Mist' Ray's friends could do what they needed to clear that bugger outta' me 'ead. Sounds like it was incredibly stupidarse."
"Yeah." Terchi agreed.
"But it also took balls of steel." she said in a softer, more affectionate tone of voice.
Then she grabbed him and kissed him.
She turned away as he stood there dumbstruck. "An' if you tells anyone I just did that, I'll deny it then rip your guts out yer bellybutton."
"Whateva' you says, Luv." Terchi replied, a smile spreading on his face.
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Archmage Fallagar, Coda Monkeyfang, and Terchi Bagwise created by Fritz Baugh. Advice on Coda and Terchi's accents provided by EGBFan. Styx created by OgreBBQ and Fritz Baugh, and any resemblance to a character created by Steven Moffat is a complete coincidence, you Rutan scum.
Kaila McMillan Zeddemore based on a character created by James Van Hise and Phil Hester. Developed by Brian Reilly. Charlene Zeddemore created by OgreBBQ and Fritz Baugh, with some development by EGBFan.
Liz Hawthorne Stantz created by OgreBBQ. Developed by Fritz Baugh with some assistance from Jay Tigran. Eric Stantz created by OgreBBQ.
Reference made to material from Ars Magica, created by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein•Hagen; now owned by Atlas Games save a few concepts owned by White Wolf Games, and Changeling The Dreaming from White Wolf Games.