SEPARATED AT REBIRTH
There's a well known saying within every business on the planet, 'Someone's gotta do the dirty work', however, no four people know this adage better at present then the four members of the 'Extreme' Ghostbusters. As usual, they'd been called out to deal with a nasty looking entity which was made out of green ectoplasm, looked like it was a cross between a warthog, a dalmatian and an irate hotdog seller and had the bulging eyes and huge, gaping mouth to match. For this they'd been called out to one of New York's large garbage dumps which was set more then a few miles away from the Ghostbusters' base of operations back in Manhattan.
"Yo, Eddie! Get your butt over here! We can't exactly hold this thing forever!" Shouted one Garrett Miller, paraplegic since birth but was determined enough to make sure it wasn't a problem, even in being a Ghostbuster. Beside him stood Kylie Griffin, football gear wearing goth and trap setter, and Roland Jackson, the team's morality and conscious. A tall figure trudged around a pile of garbage, trying futilly not to get a pair of shoes covered in who knows what which littered the dump.
"Aw man...last time I ever wear new shoes on the job." Eduardo Rivera complained. He unshipped his Particle Thrower and added a fourth stream to those which were being shot by Roland, Kylie and Garrett. The interesting thing to note is that the Proton Packs they wore weren't the ones they'd started with in 1997, no longer then a month or two ago Dr. Ray Stantz had worked with Egon Spengler to develop the next variant of the Proton Pack, and in this case, returning to the original design for the device due to some of the practicalities caused by the packs built in 1997, such as a limited cartridge based system, the newer Proton Packs weren't widespread as of yet, only one franchise which had been recently established on the West Coast of the United States operated with them, but the senior members of Ghostbusters International were hoping to increase their spead by the end of 2003. With three confinement streams holding the entity, Kylie switched off the stream from her Proton Pistol, clipped it onto her belt and unshipped a large, round, metallic device. The device was her Ghost Trap, which itself would soon be relegated to secondary use once the Entry Grid of the Containment Unit at the Firehouse was returned to it's original design for the old rectangular Ghost Traps, however Professor Spengler was keeping in mind creating an adaption tool so that Kylie could still use the circular 1997 Ghost Trap.
"Trap out!" She shouted and flung the device out, holding onto the trigger handle as she watched. It then landed on the 'ground' with a soft, mushy sound. "Trap ready!" She continued and readied herself to activate it. However the entity had other ideas and it suddenly let out a loud and piercing screech. The Ghostbusters tried their best to cover their ears as they watched, the entity then shimmered and suddenly there was a massive explosion of flying ectoplasm that caked the four teenage Ghostbusters. The entity was still there, but now held a look that made them think it was proud of itself.
"Gah! Motherf-ker!" Garrett swore, spitting slime, he raised a gloved hand to wipe as much stuff from his face as was possible.
"Hijo de puta!" Eduardo swore, he increased the power in the stream and the ghost screamed in pain, his view was partly obscured by an obscenely large glob of slime which trailed from his hair.
"Gah..." Kylie spat, spitting out several globs from her mouth. "Opening the trap!" She shouted and pressed the button on the handset, the trap opened with a brilliant green light. The three other Ghostbusters switched off their streams as they watched the thing distort as it was sucked into the piece of equipment, it's scream being cut off as the doors clanged shut. Kylie then walked over to the trap and picked it up by it's cord, there was smoke trailing from the doors.
"Man, why do we always get the stinky jobs?" Eduardo complained as he did his best to clean the ectoplasm from his shirt, interestingly enough he seemed to have gotten the worst of the blast.
"Because you're at home hear Edwina, and here's your new wardrobe!" Garrett retorted, pulling up a messy, smelling, seen-better-days tan jumpsuit.
"I never knew you had such good taste, why don'cha keep it? Looks like one of yours anyway." Eduardo countered, the jumpsuit began to move, making them all freeze. Then a rat fell out of the jumpsuit's left leg. The four of the exchanged relieved glances and Garrett dropped the jumpsuit, they moved off to collect the job fee from the dump's owner.
Ecto-1 pulled into the old Hook and Ladder No.8 Firehouse, the large double doors slid closed behind it as the Ghostbusters, weary from a day of busts, climbed out of the car.
"Anyone get the feeling we're becoming second fiddle around here?" Kylie asked, adding a hint of anger to her voice.
"What gives you that idea?" Roland asked, opening the driver's door.
"Well," She bit her tongue. "There's nobody been here to greet us as much anymore now that the twins are here." She admitted.
"Is someone a wanting a little attention?" Eduardo added playfully, shortly before receiving a whack on the arm.
"Keep in mind what they can do if left alone long enough." Garrett replied as he wheeled himself in the direction of Janine's desk. "They're destructive for four year olds."
"I heard Katharine Spengler had to call a plumbing company in to replace a bathroom sink after having them over." Roland admitted. "She made mention to something Egon did once involving their garage and a fire which burnt it down."
"And I still can't get all of the channels on the TV that we used to when they did a job on the satellite box."
"Eddie...you only care because one channel that was lost was the Playboy Channel." Garrett quipped.
"Hey, Roller Boy, I've got a girl, and I got a kid." Eduardo retorted.
"Doesn't mean you don't have 'hobbies' in your spare time." Garrett retorted, gaining a glare from Eduardo, they then moved over to Janine's desk, which currently stood vacent.
"Besides, isn't it time that you gave the children a break?" Roland asked. "It's been more then a few years since the other Ghostbusters had their stuff in here...I thought Dr. Venkman said something like we were getting too dependent on someone being here to meet us." Kylie's reply to what Roland had said was a stuck out tongue.
"Yo!" Eduardo shouted. "Some service!" He added. A few minutes later Egon's head popped over the second floor balcony.
"Oh, you're back." He said, he then vanished, and reappeared a few seconds later, descending the staircase to the garage. "How was it?" He asked. Kylie made a sick sound.
"Coulda been better, all said and done." She replied, she tugged at a dried piece of slime in her black hair.
"Hmmm, well, it is to be expected from a city dump, I can remember some cases I'd rather not." Egon mused, stroking his chin. He shrugged off the memory and continued on with the discussion. "Anyway, as of now you are off duty, no more jobs for today, but I advise you keep your beepers on in case." Egon instructed.
"Sure thing, Professor." Garrett mock-saluted and started to roll away towards the wheelchair elevator. Kylie and Eduardo walked over to the staircase.
"Wanna go pick up Conchita from Carlos'?" Eduardo suggested as they trailed up the steps.
"Well," Kylie shrugged. "Maybe we should get a little...private time?" Kylie suggested, Eduardo's eyes glinted with understanding.
"Say no more, Chica." He winked. They climbed the rest of the staircase, they paused at the top of the staircase on the landing, sat on the rug in front of the TV were three kids, two were twins. The male twin, who was tall for his age had a chiseled chin which resembled a certain blond-haired physicist. However, he had a mop of red hair which would have resembled the blonde's significant other. The other twin, however had blonde hair, she was also tall for her age, but she had a fiery spirit in her voice when her brother did something she didn't like.
"Muh ha ha ha ha ha!" Hypno-Snake laughed at his latest 'dastardly' plot on the active TV, the children were watching the Murray the Mantis Show.
"Ow!" She protested, having been pinched by her brother.
"Johnathan Christopher Spengler!" Janine Spengler, who had been sat on the sofa watching the threesome of children chided her son.
"Moooom!" Johnathan Christopher protested. Janine raised a finger at her son.
"Don't use that tone on me, I dealt with your Uncle Peter for twenty years, so don't think I can be bought." Janine replied, she had all the spunk she'd had since she'd first been hired by the Ghostbusters. While the Spenglers argued, another child with reddish-brown hair and slightly chubby cheeks, looked from the TV for a moment to a piece of electronics that was currently in pieces, it had once been a toaster. Perched atop his head at an angle were a pair of antiquated aviator goggles.
"Kids." Eduardo retorted quietly as he and Kylie moved towards the spiral staircase.
"Eduardo...remember, we have one of those." Kylie retorted playfully. Eduardo just glared at her as they climbed the staircase.
"Um, Professor Spengler?" Roland asked as Egon noted a few things down into the computer logs.
"Hmm?" Egon asked, his mind lost to the world, he then blinked and looked up. "I'm not sure why you started calling me that...oh well, what can I do for you..erm...soon to be Dr. Jackson?" Egon asked, a glint of humour in his eyes.
"How is the experiment going?" Roland asked.
"It's going well, a little slow, but that's too be expected." Egon replied, logging off the computer's company records.
"I must ask...how long has it been there, in the lab?" Roland asked.
"The device?" Egon asked, assuming. "Well...for as long as we've owned the Firehouse." Egon replied.
"And is it true...you don't know what it exactly does?" Roland questioned. Egon wore a momentary embarrised expression, but then it changed to a more professional expression.
"We have often speculated what the device was...I've theorized that the device is a Spectrum Differentaliser." Egon explained.
"And I still stand by my theory...it's a toaster!" A cheery voice replied from the top of the staircase.
"Dr. Stantz!" Roland exclaimed. "I didn't know you were here." Roland replied.
"I arrived after you left, and with you being rushed off your feet and only spending a few minutes at a time here, I was able to slip around unseen." Ray replied, he descended the rest of the staircase to join Egon and Roland in the garage.
"How are the twins?" Egon asked.
"They take after their father...and their mother." Ray grinned, if he were bald and his reddish hair and beard had gone white, he might've looked like Father Christmas. "And Eric...well, he's taking things apart as usual." Ray replied, shrugging.
"Oh dear, the toaster again?" Egon asked, the pain of a recent memory evident on his face.
"Uh-huh." Ray replied with a nod, his hands in his pockets.
"As happy as I am to have Eric over to play with the twins...buying a new toaster after each visit tends to burn a hole in the bi-weekly expenses." Egon mused, rubbing his chin.
"Accept it Egon, you enjoy it." Ray replied, nudging the pysicist.
"Ahem." Egon replied, restraining a smile.
"OW!" A voice screamed. All three of them looked up towards the foor of the garage, in the general direction of the TV area.
"Eden Spengler, do not do that to your brother!" Janine shouted.
"Uh-oh." Both Ray and Egon muttered in unison.
"Yo, Mike. C'mon! We get this done in five minutes and we get to leave early and grab a beer!" A dump-worker shouted to the occupant of the cabin of a dirty yellow crane.
"I know, I know." Mike Hannagan replied, shifting the levers on the crane, dropping a pile of trash on a larger pile of garbage. He'd been working at one of the city's dumps for nearly thirty years and he'd been hoping to get a change in scenery sooner or later, hauling and dumping garbage all day did no wonders for a person's personal image, nor their personal hygiene.
With the deed done, Mike swung the crane back, and shut it down, he switched off the crane cabin's light, and got out of the large piece of equipment. He was tired from a day's work and greatful for the luring invitation of a few beers with friends. He shoved his hands into his pockets as he made his way through the piles of trash...but paused when he heard a few bottles fall and break.
He turned and looked back, an expression of puzzlement on his face. "Hello?" He called into the darkness.
Nothing replied, he shrugged and was about to turn and walk away when he saw a bag of trash near a broken-down lawnmower fall to the rubbish-strewn ground, he crept closer, careful to not make a sound. Something swung out of the blackness and hit him on the side of the head. "Aggh!" He yelped as he was knocked down, then something grabbed his arms and held them behind his back, they weren't strong, but were strong enough. As he struggled a smell began to fill the air, it smelt of something...sinister...almost evil, above the rot of the garbage. He was then roughly lifted to a standing position and forced to look into the face of his captor, it grinned and he screamed.
Johnathan Christopher nursed his arm as Janine ran a piece of cotton over a particularly nasty looking cut, he bit back a yelp as pain shot up his arm. Oh yep, she got that from me. Janine suppressed a smile, a nasty injury when taking into account that it had been caused by the TV remote.
"How goes it?" Ray asked at the door to the kitchen, he was resting against the frame as he watched.
"It's going okay, these little monsters are nothing like Dr. Venkman. At least they don't try to milk their injuries for as much sympathy as they can get." Janine replied.
"Yeah, that's Peter's undisputed territory." Ray agreed with a chuckle. He then entered the kitchen and strode over to the window, peering out of it for a few minutes.
"But, they'll be heading off to bed soon anyway." Janine added as she finished cleaning out the wound with some disinfectant from the First Aid box.
"You know, it's strange." Ray replied, wistfully as he leaned against the window frame.
"What is?" Janine asked, facing him as she dug through the box for a roll of gauze.
"We started the company twenty years ago and... I dunno, get the feeling that we've kind of lost what's special about it." Ray replied.
"Ray, I can understand that. You guys were together for nearly twenty years, it's hard to forget that kind of friendship." Janine replied, finishing off Johnathan Christopher's bandage, she then ushered him out of the room. "We missed out on the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries..."
"Maybe we should arrange something for next year...things are gonna be swamped in 2004 with the 20th anniversary of the movie...a get together would be good." Ray enthused, a smile forming on his face. "Get all the guys in, I don't know about the missus, but we could try get the guys' families in, maybe even some of our best customers."
"You know Peter'd be thrilled if we got Mrs. Faversham over." Janine added.
"Sure! We could try get Chief O'Malley...maybe even get Lenny over."
"The Governor?" Janine asked skeptically. "You sure he'd want to be here?"
"It's worth a try." Ray replied with a shrug.
"Alright...I'll have a talk with Egon, if he agrees we can work from there, something fancy maybe." Janine replied, a little upbeat then usual.
"And we must have it here, in the Firehouse." Ray added, he'd made up his mind on that subject. "Though, it makes you wonder...do you ever think about what could have happened, had the Ghostbusters never formed?" Ray asked.
"I try not to think of that, both Egon and Peter have told me not to dwell on the 'what ifs'..." She trailed off. "But I thank Adonai that it did happen, otherwise I never would of married Egon, and had two...erm...delightful kids." Janine replied, stumbling over how to describe the offspring, adorable just didn't seem right after what had happened earlier. "I'd probably still be working at the museum with Kaila...and there's more then one arrogant asshole there that I'd hate to work in the same building with." She quietened the tone of her voice when she'd reached 'asshole'. "You guys might not have even stopped Gozer, but then, would Gozer have come had the Containment Unit not blown up? We'll never know. And that's something I'll gladly leave in the past." She finished with a smile.
"Yeah...you're right." Ray replied, he smiled and then left the room. Janine turned and faced the window. She had to smile when she heard a grown up Ray Stantz exclaim: "Oh wow, new episodes of the Wizard of Speed and Time!"
"He's coming around..." A voice echoed.
"What should we do with him?" Another voice asked.
"Hell if I know...but we can use him..." The first voice replied.
"He can serve as a guinea pig if we can get what I need." A third replied.
Mike looked around groggily, his eyesight was badly blurred, he couldn't even see his hands that well, not that he could of, seeing as they were tied behind his back. He looked up, they were in a slum, him, and his captors. They stood near a window while they talked. Even now, he could remember how...lanky they'd looked. Thin, wiry, as if they'd been starved. But no...nothing like them could possibly be able to eat.
"We need to find them." The first voice spoke.
"We know where they'd be." The second voice replied.
"Of course, they're the impostors...we're the originals." A new voice, a fourth replied.
"It's different this time...we need...we need firepower." The second voice replied.
"What do you suggest?" The first voice asked.
"I have a plan." The fourth replied. Mike closed his eyes, yet no matter how hard he tried...he couldn't get rid of the sight of that sinister, evil, mocking smile.
Riiiiiiiiiiiing! The red phone on Janine's desk rang, she picked up it's receiver.
"Ghostbusters? We zap 'em, we trap 'em...uh-huh...yeah, sure, they'll be there within the hour." Janine replied, she scribbled down the details and activated the fire bell. As usual, three Ghostbusters slid down the firepole and one came down the elevator.
"What's the call?" Kylie asked, as it was the day after they'd been slimed her hair was now shiny black again.
"Liberty Coffee Shop, First Avenue and 24th Street, a bunch of poltergeists are messing around with the equipment in their kitchen, you'll need the Ecto-goggles as they'll probably be invisible." Janine informed them as she handed Kylie the worksheet which held the address and the description.
"Right." Roland agreed, they then quickly prepared for the call, moving over to their equipment lockers.
"Okay, Egon and I will be upstairs in the lab doing some important work." Ray explained. "It's very delicate, so only knock on the lab door if it's an emergency, okay?" Ray asked. The three children nodded. "Alright, enjoy the 'toons kids." Ray replied, he then walked over to the spiral staircase and climbed it.
Over the next hour, the three children watched varius cartoons ranging from Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Murry the Mantis, Wizard of Speed and Time and even Pinky and the Brain. During this time, a small explosion went off in the lab, followed by shouting. The younger generation of Ghostbusters returned, and then were sent out on another job. Then, close to half past twelve, Janine climbed the staircase, it was Lunch Time.
"Okay, what do you kids want for lunch?" Janine asked, waiting for the three children to relay what they wanted to her.
"Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches please!" All three of them shouted in unison. Janine grimaced, the traditional and infamous snack of the kindergarten and grade school child. Lovely.
I shoulda known they'd say that. She thought, then vanished into the kitchen to prepare the meal.
"You sure of this? What if we get caught?" The first voice asked, echoing.
"I've got it all under control, remember? We just saw Ecto-1 leave, right? And with sirens going. That means the only people in there are Janine...and that little..." The second voice nearly gagged. "Spud."
"Fine...let's do this then...I don't like being here...and unarmed." The first voice replied.
"Okay, I'll check it out, you follow." The second voice replied, it then placed a hand on the brass handle on the small customer door which was set into the larger garage door, the door swung open easily, he peered inside the garage. "She's not there." He reported.
"Right, let's do it and get the hell out of here." The first voice hissed. They crept into the garage, not making a sound.
As the owner of the second voice neared the staircase, he paused. Put a finger to his lips and said: "Shhhhh!" They then crept up the staircase, near the top, the two intruders peered over the edge of the Second Floor, the only people in view were three children, who were all absorbed with the television, they peered at them for a moment, a little confused.
"Maybe they're a school visit?" The owner of the second voice suggested, he then glanced towards the front of the building...and grinned. He nudged his partner in crime's shoulder, and then his partner followed his line of sight, gaining a similar smile.
They crept up into the Second Floor, and to a glass display-case with a mannequin of Peter Venkman, a pack on his back and a thrower in his hand. The second intruder nodded, and the first opened the case, the second intruder reached into the case, slipped the first strap off of the mannequin, then the second, and then pulled the Proton Pack towards him. However, he'd forgotten that the Proton Gun was held by the vice-like grip of the dummy, and when he pulled, the dummy turned, wobbled and toppled over, crashing through the back of the glass case.
KRASH! The sound was loud, almost deafening. The two intruders froze, then three sets of eyes faced them.
"Run!" The first intruder hissed, they then ran, pulling the Proton Pack with them, the gun came free from the dummy and they vanished down the staircase.
"What on earth happened out here? Johnathan Christopher, Eden, and you two fighting again?" Janine asked, anger on her face as she wiped peanut-butter off of her blue work jacket.
"Nuh-uh." Johnathan Christopher replied, shaking his head.
"It was a pair of intruders!" Eden protested, Janine looked towards where she thought the noise had eminated, and saw the partially destroyed display case.
"...The pack!" She ran across to the firepole, leaped onto it and slid down it. She hit the ground running, the door outside slamming shut as she entered the Garage. When she reached the door, pulled it open and looked out, there was nobody in sight. DAMN. She thought. She ran over to her desk and activated a newer button marked: INTRUDER ALERT. A wailing claxon sounded, and within minutes both Ray and Egon slid down the firepole.
"What's the emergency?" Egon asked, down to the point.
"Yeah, has something happened to the kids?" Ray asked, a hint of worry in his eyes.
"No, the kids are safe." Janine replied, turning off the alarm. "But we just had a raid." Janine reported.
"What's been taken?" Egon asked.
"The old Proton Pack in the display case." Janine reported.
"..Not one of the more up to date versions?" Ray asked. Janine shook her head.
"Curious, I wonder why the assailants didn't pilfer the newer models." Egon mused.
"Well that rules out computer tracking." Ray replied, a hint of disapointment in his voice. "We've got to do a PKE scan for the particle beam energy, hopefully we can chase the thieves before they do any damage." Ray replied.
"Agreed, I'll go get my PKE Meter, meet you back here in five minutes Raymond." Egon replied in agreement, he then jogged over to the staircase and quickly climbed it while Ray moved towards the coat stand, intending to grab his and Egon's coats.
"Anything?" Ray asked, he held a Giga Meter out of habit, there was the chance the thieves could've been ectoplasmic. They both shivered as an unseasonable chill wind blew along the street, Egon wore a old, but still usable grey winter coat, while Ray wore a black leather jacket.
"Negative." Egon replied. "So far tracking the beam signatures has been like trying to find a sliver of metal in a pile of dried grass."
"Needle, haystack, gotcha." Ray replied, he then switched off the Giga Meter. "Any PKE signatures?"
"One moment." Egon paused as he twisted a dial on PKE Meter. The lights flickered and a faint trace registered on the screen, but not a definite signature. Egon frowned. "I'm picking something up, it doesn't register like a normal ghost..." Egon made a few fine tunings of the device. "The trail's gone cold." Egon muttered in annoyance. They were five blocks South and six blocks East from the Firehouse.
"Damn, if only they hadn't gone so fast...we could have tracked down the protonic energy trail before it dissapaited." Ray muttered.
"Agreed, in a flawless set of events the pack could have been left in a stationary position long enough for the beam signature to 'pool'...but I regret to say this is not a flawless world." Egon replied with a resigned tone in his voice. He switched off the PKE Meter, careful to store the data. He removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, he then replaced the glasses on his nose.
"What should we do now?" Ray asked, stuffing his hands into his pockets.
"For now...hmmm," Egon muttered. "We put out a alert on the GBI web page, and a franchise-wide email, if this is a large-scale attack against the company then similar forces will be targeted at our franchise members. While there isn't as much evidence as I'd like we must take caution, if it's simply an attack on the founding members..." Egon informed Ray.
"Which wouldn't be a huge surprise, considering the number of nasties we've put away." Ray agreed.
"...I shall take it upon myself to email Winston and Peter."
"Good idea." Ray replied. "I guess we should go back?" He suggested.
"It would be best to do that." Egon agreed as they turned around and began to walk back to the Firehouse.
"Any luck guys?" Janine asked.
"No luck." Ray replied. "Trail's gone cold." He informed her. "Egon even did a PKE scan, only faint readings."
"Was this some sort of attack?" Janine asked, worried.
"It's possible, we don't have any hard evidence at this time but I think we'll need to call Louis or his assistants Dr. Roberts or Mr. Roy to issue a franchise wide alert and place a message on the GBI Home Page. We'll also need to report the theft to the NYPD, I think Chief O'Malley should understand the situation." Egon explained.
"I'll get on it, too bad we can't inform the Mayor, he'd probably think we lost it and try sue us for endangering his precious public." Janine replied, ajusting her glasses as she picked up the phone's receiver and dialed the number for One Police Plaza.
"Indeed," Egon mused, a glint of amusement at Janine's understandable hatred of the current Mayor of New York, Mayor Edwin McShayne. "I'll go arrange the emails for Peter and Winston." Egon announced, he then walked off towards the staircase and vanished, leaving Ray standing in the Garage. Ray looked around for a few minutes, then walked up the staircase, as he walked over to the spiral staircase he saw that the broken sheet glass had been swept up, and the mannequin of Peter resting against the side of the building. He shrugged, and walked back to the TV part of the rec room. Still sat on the rug in front of the TV were the three children
"Hey kids." Ray greeted, he knelt down to look at them at the same eye level. "I need your help, you see, we tried to follow the bad guys and well, we couldn't track them, and as Janine didn't see them either, you're the only witnesses." Ray explained, he inwardly grimaced at the patronizing tone. "Can you tell me what they looked like?" Ray asked. Both Eden, Johnathan Christopher and Eric's faces creased in a frown.
"Uncle Peter and Winston." They all replied.
Hoo Boy. Ray thought, he scratched his temple in thought. "And you're sure about this?" Ray asked, the reply he received was confirmation of what they'd said.
"No luck from the children." Ray replied as he entered the lab.
"They saw something?" Egon asked in surprise, glancing up from the computer screen as Ray entered the room, he then dispatched the two emails to Peter and Winston's separate email inboxes, and turned to face the younger Ghostbuster.
"Nothing useful." Ray replied. "They said the intruders looked like Peter and Winston." Ray explained.
"Curious." Egon mused. "However, it is possible the intruders did resemble Peter and Winston, they could have either worn plastic masks or worn theatrical make up... as I remember correctly, Dr. Harlan Herbert Loone did somehow aquire a startlingly realistic topee of Peter's haircut, albeit it was white instead of brown." Egon mused.
"You don't think...it's Loone and Draverhaven, do you?" Ray asked. "Those guys have had a major beef with us, Draverhaven alone thinks we've sabotaged his chances of being a world renowned professional."
Egon made a sound close to that of scoffing.
"His psychosis is very dangerous, however he has never acted like a true professional in my mind, I highly question the wisdom and morals of a man who stalked Slimer."
"Yeah, seems like we attract stalkers like Spider-Man attracts enemies." Ray chuckled. "But, Draverhaven and Loone have been thorns in our side before, remember that incident back in 1986? They nearly killed one of us. Could've killed more. Then they went and released that biker punk from the Turnpike only a few weeks back."
"Granted, yes, Draverhaven and Loone have posed a serious threat in the past, I have serious doubts that Loone and Draverhaven could be behind this, while the sudden attack and escape could conceivably be associated with them, I don't think they have the man power or the resources to pull off anything that might require a Proton Pack, keeping in mind that we haven't heard much from them since the facility they were in was closed down by the state..." Egon mused. "However, this is a very troubling situation...it could mean a new enemy..." Egon's attention suddenly caught on something. "Have the Ghostbusters reported in yet?" He asked.
"Hold on a sec." Ray replied, he grabbed the microphone on the old CB radio and switched it on. "Firehouse to Ecto-1, Firehouse to Ecto-1, come in Ecto-1, over." Ray spoke into the radio, for a few moments static buzzed over the waves.
"Ecto-1 to Firehouse, what's the problem?" Kylie's voice buzzed in reply.
"Have you kids finished today's jobs?" Ray asked.
"Yeah, we're returning to HQ right now...is there something wrong?" Kylie asked.
"Definitely, get back here and we'll explain the situation." Ray replied.
"Copy that, over and out." The radio went dead.
"Right, the kids are on their way back." Ray informed Egon.
"Excellent, if there is an impending attack we need everyone to be updated on the situation, it so happens that I had just dispatched the emails to Peter and Winston's respective mailboxes when you came in." Egon replied, informing Ray.
"Right...what do we do now?" Ray asked.
"We wait." Egon replied.
The garage's double doors opened quickly, allowing Ecto-1 entrance into the Firehouse, the car pulled into the garage and the doors closed behind it. Three of the four Ghostbusters climbed out of the car, the fourth slid down the Ecto's wheelchair ramp.
"Where's the fire?" Garrett asked as he rolled over to Janine's desk, stood beside it were Egon and Ray.
"If the situation becomes as bad as I've hypothesized, we might be dealing with a lot of fires." Egon replied, his tone draining the group of their joyful mood.
"What's the problem?" Roland asked.
"Uhh..." Ray began, running a hand through his hair. "One of the old Proton Pack has been stolen." He replied.
"What!" All four of the younger Ghostbusters replied in unison.
"When did this happen?" Kylie asked.
"And how?" Eduardo added. "Don't you guys like, have a burglar alarm or something?"
"We're not totally sure, some intruders managed to sneak in, and only the kids saw them." Egon explained.
"'Some'? There was more then one?" Kylie asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.
"Did they give you a good description?" Roland asked.
"Nothing that we could use, from what Ray heard the intruders apparantly looked like Peter and Winston." Egon explained.
"Did you try track the thing on your computer?" Kylie asked.
"We couldn't, this is one of the pre 1997 Packs, before we used the chip tracking system. The only alternative was to track it's Particle Beam signature, but the trail went cold." Ray explained.
"Damn." Kylie swore.
"This isn't gonna be a repeat of the time Eduardo lost Kylie's gun is it?" Garrett asked.
"Hey!" Eduardo replied in protest.
"Give it up." Kylie replied as she jabbed Eduardo's rips semi-playfully.
"It's a possibility. That's why I want you kids to be on your guard, we don't know whether the thieves intend to attack us, you, or have a totally unrelated goal." Egon instructed. "Don't ever go alone, always stay in pairs." He finished.
"Whatever you say, Professor." Kylie replied. Egon rolled his eyes while Ray let slip a soft chuckle.
"Right, get some down time kids, you look like you need it." Ray replied, all four of them seemed suddenly relieved of a great burden, and seemed to sag, they then went upstairs. "Now, we wait and see if this is more then a simple theft from an over-excited fan." Ray replied to Egon.
"Precisely." Egon replied. Ray then picked up the Ghost Trap from where it had been placed on Janine's desk and took it down to the Basement.
Two days since the burglary came and went, and no mention of the stolen Proton Pack, the NYPD had been alerted to the possible threat, but there was little they could do.
Riiiiiiiiiiiing! The phone on Janine's desk rang, she picked up it's receiver.
"Ghostbusters, if it goes 'bump' in the night, we'll make it right." Janine answered the call. "Yeah, uh-huh...yep, they're ready to roll!" Janine replied, she then hung up and hit the fire alarm button, sending the loud, shrill noise bouncing around the Firehouse. "We got one!" Janine shouted at the roof above her, the four young Ghostbusters rushed down into the Garage, Janine handed them the work order and details and they climbed into Ecto-1.
"Remember, go in pairs!" Egon shouted over the noise of the Ecto's engine starting up.
"Roger oh great leader!" Eduardo saluted from the 'shotgun' position next to Roland, then the garage doors opened and the car slipped out of the Firehouse. "I wonder why this missing pack's got Egon all riled up? I mean, there's plenty of them left" Eduardo asked after reviewing the job details. Kylie thwacked him over the back of the head.
"Are you completely clueless? One of the old packs could reduce a mile wide radius of part of this city into a smoking hole." Kylie replied, behind him. "Can you image what would happen if someone did set it to self destruct on the steps of City Hall? Or in Times Square?"
"Oh." Eduardo replied, apologetically as he rubbed the back of his head. "When you put it that way..."
"That's why we need to be careful when on the next busts until the problem can be solved." Roland explained, the midday traffic was better then expected, and they arrived at their destination within the hour. "If whoever stole the pack has a beef with the Ghostbusters we've got to be careful when on the job, they could try sneak up on us while we're busy." The occupants of the care remained silent, contemplating the potential aggressors when the car pulled up in Central Park. "Okay, Tavern on the Green." Roland replied as they pulled up beside the lavish restaurant. "It looks like a pair of ghosts in the kitchen, nothing big."
"Maybe they can give us a discount on our next meal." Garrett quipped. They climbed out of the converted ambulance and entered the foyer of the building. "Yo, Ghostbusters, we're here to nuke the spooks!" Garrett called. The Maitre 'D' looked at them for a minute, and then walked over to greet them, he wore a nervous smile on his face.
"The...Ghostbusters?" He asked, a little puzzled.
"That's us," Kylie replied as she unhooked her Proton Pistol, "where's the ghost?"
"The...ghost?" The Maitre 'D' replied in confusion. "But, didn't your employer send out a team already?"
"Well, unless you got a team of four old geezers..." Garrett began, but was silenced with a glare from Kylie.
"What do you mean 'other team'?" She asked.
"There was a team of four, like you, though older...I was surprised when they'd first arrived, their uniforms were in a mess, though I suppose your job isn't very clean..." The Maitre 'D' explained.
"Could you describe them?" Roland asked.
"I'm sorry, I wasn't really paying them much attention..." The Maitre 'D' replied honestly. "Though, I did ask if they felt well."
"Why'd you ask that?" Eduardo replied.
"Well, they all looked rather unwell, I couldn't really dedicate much time, but I had a quick glance and they all looked rather green..." He explained. "They then went in there and came out again, they were rather quick and didn't pick up their payment." He replied, holding up a check which had been written out to the Ghostbusters.
"We'll handle that." Eduardo explained, he then took the check off of the Maitre 'D'.
"I did find their equipment selection a big unusual." The Maitre 'D' confided.
"Excuse me?" Roland asked.
"Only one of them had those...er...'backpacks' you usually wear, which I thought was strange, though maybe the only needed one."
"Well, thanks for the time anyway." Eduardo replied sarcastically.
"Thanks for the information, and sorry about the mistake." Kylie replied, they then made their way out of the building.
"Okay...someone's stolen our customer...what the hell's going on?" Garrett asked in annoyance as they made their way over to Ecto-1.
"Beats me," Roland replied, "I'm gonna call HQ over this." He explained as he unlocked the car. Kylie looked at Eduardo who stood with his hands in his pockets.
"Why'd you take the check?" She asked in hushed tones.
"What? The ghost's busted, those other goons didn't want the payment, the restaurant's already cut the check, I call this a fair deal." Eduardo explained. "Gas money if anything else."
"Ecto-1 to the Firehouse, respond, over." Roland asked into the CB Radio's handset as he leant on the car door.
"Hey guys...have you finished already?" Janine asked, her surprise evident in her voice.
"You could say something like that..." Roland replied. "Apparently someone's already been here and taken care of the ghosts."
"What?" Janine asked. "You sure? This isn't just a prank call phoned in by someone claiming to be from the restaurant?"
"No, we talked with the Maitre 'D', he said four guys in dirty jumpsuits came in, one of them was wearing a 'backpack' and that they looked ill, I bet you Egon's mushroom collection that that 'backpack' is the stolen Proton Pack."
"Knowing the bosses' luck, you're probably right...alright, return to the Firehouse then, you have another job at 2:00, at Carnegie Hall. I suppose you'd better tell Egon when you get back." Janine reported.
"Understood Janine, we're on our way." Roland replied, he then slotted the handset into it's cradle. "Janine wants us to head back to the Firehouse to explain this to Egon." He explained to the other three Ghostbusters. They then climbed into the car and buckled up their seat belts. He then started up the car's engine and they began to make their way back home.
The doors to the Firehouse opened up and Ecto-1 pulled into the garage. It was now going on half past two in the afternoon and the younger Ghostbusters were becoming irritated.
"How did it go?" Janine asked as she greeted them.
"Another no-show...someone's stealing our business." Eduardo complained.
"You know, I wouldn't be so upset if it weren't for the fact we didn't know exactly who was stealing our business." Garrett retorted.
"Again?" Janine asked, dismay in her voice. "Did they say who busted the ghost?"
"It was the same again," Kylie began to explain, "dirty jumpsuits, only one Pack, four of them and not collecting the payment... and as much as I like a free paycheck, I don't like the idea that someone can capture ghosts and they're not with us."
"Our 'competition' hasn't actually been good, and usually it's a bunch of ghosts trying to shut us down." Janine replied in understanding.
"This has happened again?" Egon asked, nearby, a phone rang and Janine answered it. "And it sounds like the same people who took your earlier job at the restaurant?"
"Yes, Janine said that it could be 'competition'." Kylie replied, Janine wrapped up the phone conversation.
"That was our five 'o' clock job, she just called to praise our arriving early." Janine replied. "She also said she's sending our payment in the mail as they forgot to collect it.
"For f-k's sake." Garrett swore, slamming the wall with his fist. "Is someone gonna steal all our business and leave us the cash...not that I'm a fan of getting covered in slime, but I kinda like kicking ghost butt."
"Hey, I'm usually the one who gets slimed, Rollerboy." Eduardo replied irritably.
"Alright," Egon held up a hand for silence, "it seems fairly obvious that we are dealing with a set of individuals who are acting as competition, however, their apparent plan doesn't fit the pattern I'd usually expect, they're taking the ghosts we've been called in to deal with, yes, but if they'd been planning on running us into bankruptcy then they wouldn't be leaving the payment to be picked up by us...and on that subject, I don't feel comfortable with you collecting the payment when we haven't provided the service for it."
"But it's made out to Ghostbusters Inc!" Eduardo protested. "These guys are using our equipment...they're taking our customers, I say we deserve it."
"We'll have to see about that..." Egon concluded.
"Should we check out the 'Trio' while we're on the subject of stolen business?" Ray asked, until that point he'd been leaning against the wall of the rec room listening to the conversation.
"I think the situation would warrant an investigation, Ray." Egon agreed, he then led the way as he went down into the Basement. He strode over the metal flooring and made his way to a bank of computer monitors and instrument panels assembled as a bank of monitoring equipment on one side of the Basement. While Ray and the younger Ghostbusters watched he removed his red-rimmed glasses and looked through a periscope like device which was mounted to the instrument bank, the device looked a bit like Mr. Spock's Science Station viewer from the old series of Star Trek. He adjusted a few dials on the side of the viewer and then stopped. "No," He commented, "They're in there, I suspected we would have been alerted if they'd somehow escaped." He turned back to face them, placing his glasses back on his nose.
"Who's the 'Trio'?" Eduardo asked. "This better not be some lame 'Three Amigos' parody".
"'Ghosts R Us'." Ray replied, folding his arms over his chest. "Back in...I think...1984, we'd been called out to the Conrad Chocolate factory out in Astoria, three low level spooks were causing trouble in the factory's production line, we were called in and managed to trap them within a half hour or so." He explained.
"The three Class Vs were incarcerated in the Containment Unit once we'd returned to the Firehouse, however they were accidentally released." Egon continued, carefully, Slimer had floated into the room, interested in seeing what they'd been talking about, and the last thing he needed was Slimer going on a guilt trip after being reminded of one of the mistakes he'd been forgiven for. "Once they'd been freed, they went about establishing a rival company called 'Ghosts R Us'. They went around creating bogus hauntings and then the public would phone for us, however they'd turn up at the scene of the incident before we did and just would have just captured the entity when we arrived, they used this ploy to draw business away from us, had Janine not radioed us informing us that we were three ghosts short in the latest Containment Unit census, and had Peter not recognised the ghosts due to their ugliness, I fear they would have succeeded in sending us out of business."
"Once we'd realized who they were we tried to track them down, we only managed to get onto their trail when we received a phone call for us to go handle a haunting at a toy factory in Brooklyn...that turned out to be another one of their prank calls, though it seemed they'd actually woken something in the old factory and the next thing we knew there was this giant amalgamated cymibal monkey/teddybear/jack in the box." Ray demonstrated enthusiastically with his arms, the action was funny enough that Egon was hard pressed not to laugh despite the situation. "It then chased them onto the Brooklyn Bridge where we were only able to deal with the monster by setting Ecto-2's self destruct, if I remember correctly it seemed to have a protonic reversal effect on the monster and it vanished." He mused while scratching his chin. "We then captured the three 'Ghosts R Us' goons because they blindly ran into the trap."
"Not the brightest crayons in the box, huh?" Eduardo asked with a wry grin.
"Speaking of crayons..." Garrett quipped.
"Only reason I'm not pounding on you is I'd get disability rights campaigners on me." Eduardo hissed.
"It was a fair suggestion to check out the members of 'Ghosts R Us', if they'd gotten out it wouldn't surprise me if they tried the same tactic, however, we have established that they're still locked away within the Containment Unit. It means that they're not the ones behind the recent spate of stolen cases, however I am not ruling out paranormal involvement, there are too many paranormal factions who would gladly see us shut down." Egon continued.
"Not to mention human factions." Eduardo quipped.
"You don't think this could be Walter Peck? Maybe he's finally gone nutso and joined a cult..." Garrett quipped.
"While I don't put it past Peck to still hold a grudge, I believe he is mostly trying to live an existence of failure without the Ghostbusters needing to be involved, no, I think it might be something else, and I doubt McShane would stoop to stealing out own equipment, as much as he despises us." Egon mused.
"What do we do until we have more stuff to work on?" Roland asked.
"Attempt to continue operating as usual, however if the perpetrators happen to take more of our business we may have to suspend normal ghostbusting activities until further notice." Egon explained.
"Gotcha." Garrett replied.
"Don't forget, we could be dealing with someone or something extremely dangerous, watch your backs kids." Ray warned.
"We will." Kylie replied, they then climbed up the staircase to the garage. Ray then looked straight at Egon while the physicist packed away some equipment that had been lying around.
"Egon, I've known you for a long time, there's something you didn't want to say to them."
"I see Venkman's been rubbing off on you." Egon replied with a smile as he let himself sit down in a nearby chair. "You are correct Ray...I didn't want to mention it until I was sure..."
"Don't you think you owe it to them to be totally honest?" Ray asked.
"I agree that I do owe them total honesty, they've proven themselves worthy of it, however I don't want to add any more potential worries until I was totally sure." Egon explained.
"Okay, that's understandable I guess." Ray supposed. "What's this feeling you've been getting?"
"That there is something I'm missing, there's something familiar about this but I can't quite remember what...maybe a look through the computer files will reveal something."
"Sounds like a plan, there anything I can do to help?" Ray asked.
"Nothing I can think of at present..." Egon replied honestly.
"Should we phone Winston and Peter?" Ray asked.
"No, not yet, the email should have provided ample information for them to keep in mind, if things should escalate then we can reevaluate that."
"Okay...I just hope things don't get worse." Ray replied in turn.
Night. Darkness had fallen over the New York skyline, creating many different artistic opportunities for the makers of postcards and artists alike, as had once been put into words, the city sparkled like diamonds on black velvet, from the air people might've seen the main hubs of entertainment and activity, those being the larger areas of light.
Viewed from above the neon heart of the city, Times Square, glowed deep into the night, the lights only dying down during the daylight hours, however, as a stark contrast to the brightness of Times Square the Firehouse at TriBeCa stood in near darkness, a few pools of light shon down on the pavement from the streetlamps and the white, neon sign hung outside of the shadow-covered exterior of the Hook and Ladder 8 Firehouse. It was nearly one in the morning and at the current time, all occupants were asleep.
Not long after the Ghostbusters had made their official return after the Burmuda Triangle incident, it had been decided that the sleeping quarters would be converted into separate sleeping quarters for The Spenglers, their children and a small guest room. However, it had then been decided that the Spenglers would purchase an actual apartment outside of the Firehouse as the other Ghostbusters moved back to the city, and a fortnightly rota was established, though, on the idea of safety in numbers and with his wife out of town, Ray and Eric had decided to stay at the Firehouse until the situation was brought to an end.
The building was cloaked in shadow and silence, the only sound being a quiet electrical hum and a subconscious sound emitted by the Containment Unit, a sound not unlike the propellers of an ocean liner when you slept, something you couldn't really hear when it was there, but you knew when it wasn't.
In the guest room on the third floor Ray stirred uneasily and then opened his eyes, he muttered a quiet curse, careful not to wake Eric, he then climbed out of bed, pulling on a dressing gown over his pajamas so he wouldn't shiver, he then slid his feet into a pair of slippers (Peter had made sure the pink bunny ones had been gone long ago) and crept out of the room and into the landing. Several noises quietly drifted up through the circular holes for both the firepole and the spiral staircase, someone was moving around downstairs and not making a good enough job at being quiet.
"Slimer, Slimer!" Ray hissed quietly, careful not to wake anyone. "Slimer, knock it off, you're gonna wake Egon if you're not quieter!"
"Huh...Wray?" Slimer asked groggily, knuckling one of his eyes as his other hand lay at his side holding a blanket, a sleeping cap was perched on his head, he'd drifted over from the direction of the lab.
"You're not down there..." Ray replied in surprise. "Slimer...is there anyone else in the building?" Slimer paused for a moment and then skewed up his face.
"Bad guys...nasty..." He muttered.
"Bad guys?" Ray asked.
"Is there a problem?" Ray and Slimer jumped, easing his way out of the door to his bedroom was Egon, he was dressed in his nightshirt, but with a dressing gown thrown over that, he was busy putting his glasses on and he wore a similar night cap to Slimer, Ray was entertained with the thought that Slimer may have borrowed one of Egon's night caps, as the ghost seemed good at imitating human behaviour.
"Egon!" Ray replied in a slightly louder tone. "Don't do that."
"My apologies Raymond, Slimer." Egon replied, suppressing a smile. "However, what is going on?"
"I think there might be someone else in the building, Slimer can sense something." Ray explained quietly. Slimer nodded enthusiastically.
"Let's investigate, shall we?" Egon suggested and Ray nodded, they crept down the iron spiral staircase and crept over to the railing that overlooked the garage, Egon paused and crept back up the staircase, he re-emerged a few minutes later holding something that looked like a Proton Pistol. "I believe it would be better if we were armed." He explained.
"Good idea." Ray nodded in approval, they lay down on the floor and peered into the gloom, a series of distorted white rectangles were cast onto the brick floor of the garage from the neon sign outside, in the gloom Ray could make out the outline of Ecto-1, the engineering equipment used to keep the eccentric car in operation, he looked left and he could make out the equipment lockers...
Crack. Ray paused.
"...Good one, you want to wake them up?" A voice hissed quietly.
"Shut-up, they may hear us." Another voice replied. Ray peered closer, he could make out four figures in the gloom.
"How many?" Egon asked.
"I think there's about four or so." Ray reported, beside them Slimer peered questionally at the intruders in the garage. "Should we go down there, confront them? And should we use the firepole or the staircase?" Ray asked.
"If we must confront them, I'd suggest we use the staircase, if they've managed to break into the basement or the lockers they might be studying the Proton Packs...if they're the same people who were behind Monday's theft then they might be after more equipment." Egon theorized. "Should they retaliate then the staircase allows us the option to retreat up the stairs, I believe there's a spare Proton Pack in the lab."
"Right." Ray agreed. They then made their way over to the staircase and crept down it, Egon taking the lead because he was armed. "You know, it's weird..."
"What is?" Egon asked quietly.
"There's this weird green haze surrounding those guys." Ray continued. Egon paused and studied the four intruders, and to his astonishment there was a slight green haze about them.
"You are correct Raymond, how very odd..." Egon replied. "I would suggest maybe a phosphorescent substance, but that's lethal..." Egon mused, however he shelved his scientific curiosity until he could spare the time, they had crept down onto the central landing of the staircase. "Put down the weapons and put up your hands, you are trespassing on private property and are stealing patented and protected specialized equipment, cease and desist now and you shall only receive a court appearance." Egon warned, holding up the Proton Pistol.
"That's what you think!" A familiar voice replied and suddenly a bright yellow and blue bolt of energy shot at Egon and Ray, they both ducked, just in time to avoid being hit, however the wall was a different story as the plaster exploded when the beam made contact.
"They're firing at us!" Ray replied in shock.
"Retreat to the second level." Egon commanded and Ray nodded, the physicist released several shots from his Proton Pistol as more of the surrounding wall had chunks carved out of it.
"What's all the noise about?" A female voice with a heavy Brooklyn accent suddenly asked, sending a chill down Egon's spine, he had the strongest sensation of Deja Vu. And when Ray flicked on the ceiling lights in both the second floor and first floor he knew why. Stood in the garage, each one wearing a Proton Pack and holding a Proton Gun when prepared for battle, were four men, dressed in dirty, different coloured jumpsuits complete with nametags and a sickeningly familiar insignia on the left sleeve of the jumpsuit. The four men were covered in a green haze, specifically their hands and heads which looked decidedly transparent. A small mist had floated up around their heads as green smoke trailed from glowing eyes and mouths, all four of the men wore expressions of anger, despite the odd smiles that they mouthes were twisted into. It almost seemed that they'd been outraged by being disturbed by Ray, Egon and Slimer who was now babbling unintelligibly and shaking with fear.
"Holy Heisenburg" Egon breathed.
"It' can't be!" Ray replied in startled surprise. The Anti-Ghostbusters, the Ghost Clones had returned.
"Everyone out of the building!" Egon heard himself say in a hollow voice, the four Ghost Clones retreated through the broken door, exiting into the night. Ray and Egon, now out of danger of proton fire made their way to the pole, sliding down it and charging for the doorway. The two Ghostbusters burst out into the street and were followed a moment later by Janine, trailing last was Slimer. The street was completely deserted, there was no sign that the clones had ever appeared and the point was emphasized by the sole piece of momvement, a newspaper caught in a chill wind.
"How do they do that!" Janine muttered angrilly.
"I wish I knew, Janine." Egon returned as he switched off the Proton Pistol and holstered it in it's belt.
"Should we call the guys?" Ray asked.
"It would seem the situation would now warrant it." Egon agreed and they then re-entered the Firehouse.
Egon sat at his computer, his hands flying over the keys as he typed, a digital clock near the computer informed him it was nearly two in the morning.
Gentlemen, the situation that I emailed you in relation to earlier in the week has become gravely worse, I will leave the explanation until you arrive, but it is of dire importance that you get here as soon as possible. I haven't yet alerted Louis Tully and the GBI staff until I need to, as I feel this is a situation that requires a need to know basis, as much as it works against my better judgment.
Peter, I realize that you're 'off the majorly used earthen road' with your conducting your usual business in California, however the situation requires all four of the original Ghostbusters to be present in New York. I have purchased a plane ticket for a flight out to New York online to save you time. The flight is set to leave at 2:00 AM LA Time, Peter. I have included the information of the flight as a separate attachment with this email. I will be requiring you to be here by 9:00AM New York Time, giving us enough time to discuss the situation. I'm sorry that you have to take a flight at such short notice, but the situation requires it.
Winston, I realise you have been very busy of recent, helping to establish the new facility at Fort Arnold, however this development may require you to take several days off of work.
I wish you both luck,
Ray stood behind Egon's left shoulder. It was still night outside but both men were dressed, they'd decided that the situation warranted sending out messages to the two absent Ghostbusters right away, so it had been decided to send out the emails once Egon and Ray were dressed, they felt Winston and Peter should know as soon as possible,
"You think Peter will arrive here on time?" Ray asked.
"I've done a few calculations, it's a 3000 mile distance from LA to New York, including the variables of plane checks, baggage loading, possible delays, average wind speed and the average speed of a standard 747 Peter should arrive in JFK airport around 9:00 AM." Egon replied. "Preferably I'd take the Ecto-4 to LA, but as you know, I was currently servicing it when this development happened."
"Yeah, but he's going to be suffering from jetlag." Ray commented. "Even if he were brought here in the Ecto-4."
"That's a factor that is an unfortunate side-effect of the changes encountered in time-zone flying." Egon replied. "Such problems would not be an issue if the timezones were scrapped." He replied with a tired smile. "But I cannot conceivably scrap the international time zones."
Once the day had officially began both Egon and Ray had set to work on trying to sort out the loose ends of things so they could devote all of their time into the current problem. At around nine in the morning Ray was busying himself with finishing off some incomplete paperwork.
"You know, we never find any time to talk about the good old times anymore." Replied a voice that Ray knew too well, he looked up from his typing into the face of Winston Zeddemore.
"Winston!" Ray replied with a grin which was only barely visible beneath his beard. "Good for you to come, arranging for the work crews to operate with you absent can't have been easy."
"Easier then some things we've fought against, Ray." He replied and they shared a comradely hug.
"How're Kaila and Charlene doing?" Ray asked.
"They're off visiting my sister, so if anything bad does happen then they're nice and safe out of state." Winston explained. before he could continue the buzzer on the door rang.
"Just one sec, Winston." Ray replied and he ran off to answer the door, stood outside was a member of the US Postal service.
"Package for Professor Spengler." The woman replied tightly.
"Sure." Ray replied.
"Sign here." She replied, gesturing with a pen at an entry field for a signature. Ray scribbled his signature in the appropriate place and took the package.
"Thanks." He replied and began to close the door, however a jacketed arm shoved it's way through the jam.
"You know, you're the second person to slam a door in my face in recent memory." A voice muttered bitterly. "And I married the first person." It added. "And I just don't feel that way about you, Ray."
"Peter!" Ray replied, grinning like a mad man, he reopened the door, allowing Peter Venkman to enter the garage. "How was your flight?"
"It sucked." Peter replied in his usual complaint voice. "A kid kept kicking me from LA to New York, the flight attendant gave me the evil eye every time I called for a drink and I've got jetlag."
"So it was a regular flight, then." Winston replied with a grin.
"Sometimes I really hate you, Zeddemore." Peter chided, however he dropped the subject of the plane and gave his two friends hearty hugs. "So where is the big guy anyway? It's not everyone who can drag me out of LA and on a six hour flight at short notice."
"Oh good," replied a voice from near the top of the staircase to the second floor. "You're all here."
"Egon, buddy, why did you fly me across the states and only give me about three hours worth of light sleep?" Peter asked as Egon stepped off of the bottom step of the staircase. "And 'off the majorly used earthen road?' You're using ten-million dollar words to describe 'off the well beaten track'? I thought I'd taught you better then to mix multi-syllable words with phrases."
"Indeed." Egon noted. "If you could come upstairs into the Recreation Room, the others are upstairs." Egon explained as he led Ray and the recent arrivals upstairs.
"HOW IN THE HELL COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAPPEN! WEREN'T THE SUITS DESTROYED?" Peter fumed, he had access to some more choice and colourful swear words, but fear of Janine's wrath prevented him from uttering them in front of the children.
"Peter, as I stated twenty years ago..." Egon began, almost having expected his friend's reaction.
"The uniforms don't appear to show any more signs of animation, while I can still detect some trace amounts of Pycho Kinetic Energy they won't even constitute as a Class I, the uniforms are 'clean'." Egon announced, switching off his PKE Meter. Winston watched as Ray poked the jumpsuit that had been worn by his double with the barrel of his Proton Gun, a light green smoke trailed up from the empty legs, collars and sleeves of the suits, but nothing was evident to indicate any reanimation.
"Okay, let's get rid of these things before they get up and walk about again." Peter replied.
"While they wouldn't be able to do that without the right amount of Ectoplasmic saturation, it would be prudent to dispose of these uniforms, and this time, Peter," He added extra emphasis on Peter's name, "we will be burning them."
"Alright!" Peter replied, throwing up his hands in resignation. "I made a mistake...I won't forget about disposing the uniforms again!" He replied. "But it doesn't explain what you just told us, we burnt the old uniforms, so how come they're back?"
"That indeed is the enigma." Egon replied. "What is further puzzling, is that they were wearing some of our more recent uniforms, the coloured variants as opposed to our old tan ones."
"So somehow they're back, the guys who are our clones, the Anti-Ghostbusters." Winston muttered darkly.
"Indeed, and they appear to have learnt from our last encounter." Egon continued. "Instead of relying on Packs which shoot concentrated and explosive Ectoplasm, they have gone to the effort of stealing three of the Mark 4.0 Proton Packs and one of the Mark 1.0s, not to mention the Ghost Traps and PKE Meters that were with them at the time."
"What about the digital features you installed when you and Ray constructed the 3.0s?" Winston asked.
"Disabled." Ray replied.
"Compliments of the other Egon Spengler." Peter muttered, folding his arms over his chest. At present Janine had been keeping the children quiet while listening herself, the younger generation of Ghostbusters on the other had been letting the older Ghostbusters be brought up to date on the situation.
"Can he do that?" Winston asked.
"Winston, we're talking about Egon Spengler here...be it the real deal or his ghostly doppelganger...there's nothing one Spengler can do that another can't, they're both geniuses." Peter replied sarcastically.
Egon coughed loudly.
"Right, so there's four guys running around out there in the city, they look like us, wear our old uniforms and have stolen four Proton Packs, three of which could've been tracked if they hadn't disabled the system...feels like we're already ten steps behind the game and we've only just started." Winston concluded.
"Did you try scan for the Packs' particle energy thingies?" Peter asked.
"We tried, there wasn't enough of a signature to create a usable trail." Egon replied.
"Damn." Peter replied, he then allowed himself to collapse into a chair. "Maybe we should give a phone call to that Starczynski guy, maybe he can give us a few pointers on their weaknesses." Peter replied flippantly.
"I've theorized that they will need a physical base of operations, if they plan to recharge the Proton Packs...and Ghost Traps then they will need access to a mains line electrical outlet."
"Did these...er...'ghost clones', did they look the same as they did the last time you fought against them?" Roland asked.
"Well," Ray began, "I can't be totally sure, as it was dark and we were up here...but aside from the uniforms they appeared to look a little younger then we are now."
"So you're gonna get your butts kicked by younger versions of you?" Eduardo asked in mild surprise.
"I suppose you could say that..." Egon replied a little hesitantly.
"This sounds like a bad episode from that show with the guy in the time traveling dodecahedron." Peter replied flippantly, catching Ray's attention.
"What did you say, Peter?" He asked, curiosity in his voice.
"I just said, it's like this one episode I saw of this show...about this guy who traveled back in time in this giant dodecahedron...I think they said it was alien technology."
"Was it Seven Days?" Ray asked.
"Could've been, didn't really pay much attention to the show's title."
"Why'd you mention it, though?" Winston asked.
"Well...it's just in this specific episode, the guy's time machine was on the fritz...for some reason it made this bad copy of him...which then went on to kill him..."
"But when the bad clone went back in time, it created a good clone...complete with memories!" Ray concluded excitedly. "Peter, that's brilliant!"
"It is?" Peter asked skeptically. "You haven't been working in the lab with the windows closed again, have you?"
"Peter, I believe you have helped to explain part of this mystery." Egon explained.
"Sure, what could've happened is we got rid of some of our old uniforms of recent that had a small amount of saturation...heck, if they got themselves reanimated at a dump then there could've been a deposit or PKE...or they could have been near a lay line...it could have given them the boost they needed to wake them up...with them being disposed of more recently then the old tan ones, they'd have more of our memories, they'd know about us defeating the original Ghost Clones, and would know what to do! Boy, this is great!" Ray grinned with an enthusiasm the other three Ghostbusters knew well.
"No, Ray. The idea of a ghostly version of me out there with a beef against me is not great, it doesn't float my boat...it sinks it." Peter replied, cutting into the revelation.
"It would mean a reorganization of the disposal procedures, regular burning of saturated uniforms until a proper decontamination process can be developed." Egon mused.
"Okay, we know they're packing heat and have our memories, so what do we do? We don't know where they are, we don't know what they're planning...thought I bet it's something along the lines of revenge..." Peter asked.
"Well," Kylie began, biting her lip, "if these guys think they're you, and they want to be you so much that they're willing to kill you...won't they be trying to think up a plan to do away with you?" She asked.
"A reasonable assumption." Egon agreed.
"Can we make the assumption that they're gonna have a memory gap?" Winston asked.
"Well," Egon replied, not quite sure how to address the issue, "if they're older then ten years, they won't know about the children, or the Extreme Ghostbusters, they may not even be aware that the company ever closed in 1991, however there's no guarantee." Egon explained.
"It's not unreasonable either, when was the last time we got rid of any uniforms? I haven't been around as much as some of you, but we didn't even get rid of those uniforms we wore back in November, 1997...those suits could be from before we closed down in 91...and if they are, that gives an advantage." Peter surmised.
"And that is?" Eduardo asked.
"Us." Kylie replied, receiving a nod of agreement from Peter.
Smart Kid. He approved.
"While we don't know their base of operation, I suggest we keep track of the newspapers in case anything's been reported, if there's any sign or note of renegade Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters acting out of character then that will most likely be them."
"Find anything?" Peter Venkman asked, thirteen hours since he'd arrived he'd found himself at one of the work benches in the lab, sat in front of a pile of newspapers. He'd just begun to skim his twelfth newspaper for any mention of the Anti-Ghostbusters. Most of the newspapers were locals ranging from broadsheets to supermarket tabloids.
"Nothing..." Ray replied as he checked a computer screen in one corner of the lab, part of a much larger minitoring system which tied into the planet's manmade satellite grid. "Just low level PKE and a few spots of activity which are on today's job list...and then the usual background radiation...if we'd had a definite signal we could've programmed it into the scanner but the trail was dying when Egon picked it up..." He trailed off.
"Well there's nothing here, not that I was expecting anything." He replied in resignation as he threw the paper down onto the workbench. "Since when are we gonna find anything even remotely useful in the New York Post anyway? They as soon as report Elvis's gig on Alpha Centauri." He asked.
"Tabloids aren't always full of scams...sometimes they carry something useful." Ray replied in defense.
"Yeah, 'Lost In Arctic, Ate Own Foot, And the Sock Too', like that's really gonna help us."
"Any luck with the newspapers and the scanner?" Egon asked from the doorway.
"Nothing we can use, too bad we can't feed a definite reading into the city-wide scanner." Ray replied reluctantly as he gestured at the scene, nearby screens depicting large masses of lines which went with titles such as: Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, London and so on.
"And this stuff's only good as recycling or lighting a fire." Peter explained, he rolled up a copy of the National Enquirer with a copy of the Daily Inquisitor. He bound them tightly and launched them into the air, releasing a whoop of triumph when both tabloids landed with the logs in the hearth of the fireplace.
"Woah!" Peter and Egon's attentions were drawn to Ray's startled shout. One of the screens had gone completely bright green.
"Incredible! Psycho Kinetic saturation of incredible proportions! It's completely maxed out the scanner!" Egon commented. On screen an error message was displayed:
Rebooting system in 5 Seconds
As stated, the device's screen went blank after five seconds and began to boot up.
Loading PKE Matrix...
PKE Matrix: Loaded
Loading Sensor Records...
Sensor Records Loaded
Reestablishing programmed co-ordinates...
A moment later the lettering vanished as the map outline of Manhattan, the bouroughs and even the main roadways appeared on the screen, the base colour was a dark green and the lines of the island marked out in black, however there were several medium sized green blobs and some very small bright green blobs located in the places that calls had been called in for, however, Ray stared in puzzlement at the screen.
"Huh?" He asked in puzzlement and then pointed at a bright-ish green blob on the Brooklyn waterfront. "That wasn't there before the max-out."
"I believe that is the source of the ectoplasmic overload." Egon theorized. "Ray, could you go out there and investigate the PKE surge?"
"Sure thing Egon, I'll take Winston along." Ray replied as he got up from the chair and began to leave the room.
"Take Janine's car, I think Kylie and the others are out on a call." Egon instructed.
"You're sure?" Ray asked.
"I am." Egon replied and then Ray left.
Meanwhile, as he moved Egon walked over to a workbench and picked up his PKE Meter.
"Follow me, Peter." Egon requested and Peter followed, they then vanished up a small staircase in one corner of the lab and re-emerged on the roof of the Firehouse. Egon walked over to the edge of the roof and scanned the sky in the direction of Brooklyn with the PKE Meter. "Hmm..." He frowned.
"What's up, find out where Slimer's been going when he's not around?" Peter asked, looking over Egon's shoulder, which was no mean feat considering the physicist's height.
"The PKE Wave is dissipating in the atmosphere, but it was strong when it was suddenly released."
"What can release a wave like that?" Peter asked.
"Several things, a sudden and very large ectoplasmic event, a portal breaking through to our world...even a Containment Unit breaching." Egon explained.
"You don't think those guys out in Brooklyn had they place go up? Last thing I want to be doing is clearing up a mess that Holbrook and his Nightsquad made." Peter replied reluctantly. "They make enough of a stink over who was supposedly the first 'real' franchise...though I'll be damned if I tell him there was a Virginia team before his."
"I'll have Janine call them to see if there's any problem...and, well...if we don't receive a reply or get their answering machine, I think the point would've been proven."
"Winston." Ray called out from the spiral staircase, the fourth Ghostbuster looked up in Ray's direction, remote control in hand, he'd been surfing the news channel when reports of a small explosion in Brooklyn began to make the News Rooms. Sat on the couch next to him was Janine and sat on the floor were the children.
"So that wasn't you guys up there then?" He asked.
"No, an explosion and PKE surge of major ectoplasmic proportions." Ray explained as he walked over to join Winston. "Egon's sending us out to Brooklyn." Winston nodded in understanding and turned off the TV they then made their way to the staircase. "Egon said we could take Janine's car."
"Is it alright for us to be taking your car, Janine?" He asked, skepticism in his voice.
"I guess, just don't put it into a lamppost or get Dr. V to service it." Janine replied with a mischievous wink.
"It'll be okay," Ray explained, "besides, I'm a good driver."
"Well, I'd have to have a nice, long talk with a taxi driver..." Winston began. "Ray," He added, clapping a hand on Ray's shoulder. "You could give Evel Knievel a run for his money."
"Really?" Ray asked.
"Don't worry, I trust you, we've known each other too long to start questioning each other." Winston continued. They descended the rest of the staircase to the garage, making a turn towards Janine's desk and then making their way over to the coat stand. Ray grabbed his black leather coat while he handed a black leather jacket embroidered with the insignia of the Jaguars Baseball team to Winston, while at Janine's desk Ray leaned over and scooped up her keys which had a VW keyring. With their jackets on they walked towards the doors, Ray pausing at his locker to grab a PKE Meter. Winston opened the repaired door (It had been forced open the night of the raid) and stepped out into the street, followed by Ray who closed the door behind him.
"It's funny, I thought by now Janine would be going with a different type of car...I thought the VW was always getting smashed up."
"Same here." Ray replied, he then counted off his hand. "There was that red one she drove around the time we found the Pillar of New York." One.
"Peter did some work on that one, didn't run for much longer after that." Winston chuckled.
"Then she bought the yellow one...that was around the time that nasty doctor gave us those bad chips...I think she had another red one around the time that ghost plant took over most of Brooklyn..." Three. "She must be on her fourth now."
"Sounds like the right number." Winston agreed.
"Now, where is it?" Ray asked, he spotted Roland's blue Mustang. Then he spotted Janine's VW, he then froze when he saw the car. "You've got to be joking!"
"I hadn't realized she'd wanted to buy one of these VWs." Winston muttered.
"I'm not a fan of it either, Winston...it just seems a little...too curvy for my likes." Ray replied from the driver's seat. "I'd hate it if they did something like this to the 59 Cadillac." He added.
"I don't think there's any danger of that." Winston countered, he quickly studied the PKE Meter, it was registering the source of the PKE surge, and it wasn't too far, they'd decided that the signal wasn't in the right place for the Nightsquad Firehouse, and if it'd been a Containment breach the signal still would've been strong. They were crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, there was a small haze in the air over a small section of the docks, presumably from a small detonation of some kind, nothing to constitute a demolition works or potentially, terrorists, and they could do without that kind of a reminder. They'd passed over the crest of the bridge and were making good time as the suspension cables whizzed past with a loud whistle, they could hear this due to the roof of the convertible having been folded down. "Should we have brought some equipment...y'know, in case there's something there waiting for us?" Winston asked.
"If there's anything there we can make a quick retreat to the Firehouse in Brooklyn, they should be able to spare anything for a daytime containment." Ray explained.
"Oh yeah, I forgot to ask earlier, how's the store in The Village?" Winston asked, referring to 'Ray's Occult'.
"The bookstore?" Things are going good, since we got the online site started we've done quite a nice international trade...though I have to be careful and make sure people who shouldn't be getting the books don't, that's why the submission form requires a recent psychiatric report if they have one, and a certificate from the occult society of whichever country, explaining that the person can buy said book...though that's usually only used in the case of the rare and dangerous books...most of the non dangerous stuff can be purchased without a certificate or psych report...and until Amazon or Barnes and Noble start doing occult books, I should have a nice niche market." Ray explained. The last of the suspension wires shrank away as the car moved along the curve of an off ramp and slowly descended into the suburbs of Brooklyn. Ray slowed the car down when they entered the residential area.
"Make a right...here." Winston instructed and Ray followd through, the car moved towards Manhattan for about ten minutes before Winston spoke again. "Left, here." He pointed at a turn and they entered a run down industrial area not too far from Brooklyn Heights, up ahead there was a set of demolition equipment and emergency vehicles. In the muddle of personnel and vehicles Ray thought he saw a SWAT van. He brought the car to a stop on the curb, not to far from a FDNY firetruck which was stationary, it's hoses trailing across the street and past a police barrier. Ray turned off the vehicle's engine and got out, shortly followed by Winston who handed the PKE Meter to him. They then walked over to the blue police barrier which was being watched by a Police Officer. The man couldn't have been older then twenty, but he seemed to be a little nervous under the otherwise serious exterior he seemed to show.
"Can I help you, gentlemen?" He asked sarcastically.
"Probably, I'm Ray Stantz," He indicated himself, "and this is Winston Zeddemore," He indicated Winston, "we're with the Ghostbusters and we've come to investigate a major ectoplasmic event here."
"Ecto...plasmic...event?" The cop asked, a little taken back, an expression of sheer bafflement on his face.
"He means the explosion might've been caused by ghosts, man." Winston translated.
"Well," The cop began, removing his cap to scratch his head, "would explain what that green gunk covering the Bomb Squad is, thought it might've been some crap that got dislodged when they detonated the thing, wait here, I'll get my commanding officer." Ray and Winston watched as the cop walked over to a man in a dress suit, complete with official badges and medals on his coat breast, the cop talked with the man, pointed in Ray and Winston's direction, talked some more, nodded, talked even more and then trailed behind the older man as he approached.
"Ghostbusters eh?" The man asked in a voice which was tinged with a New England accent. "What can I do for you, Gentlemen? Is this in relation to what's covering our Bomb Squad?"
"It might do, Sergeant..." Ray trailed off.
"Sergeant Klien, 84th Precinct." The man shook hands.
"Sergeant Klien, I'm Dr. Ray Stantz of the Ghostbusters," Ray explained, extracting his leather flip-wallet with metal badge and company ID, "this is Winston Zeddemore, we're here to investigate a possible ectoplasmic event that happened here within the last half hour."
"Well, you might as well come on through...I tell you, I've been doing this job for nearly thirty-five years, but I've seen some strange things in my time."
"So have we." Winston replied.
"I must admit, I was tempted to either call you in, or the CDC...that stuff covering the Bomb Squad's a pain to clean up..." Sergeant Klien explained, he indicated several men dressed in kevlar padding and masks who were doing their best to clean up what looked like greenish-red ectoplasm that had splattered all over them. "They actually found two of those things, one of which they blew up...there were a group of developers going through this place about two and a half hours ago, they're gonna tear it all down and replace it with luxury apartments, they'd gone through most of the building when they found these two...things...in the room at the top of this staircase." He explained as he led the way up a decrepit staircase in one of the buildings on the site, it was evident that the place had been long abandoned, but appeared to have had signs of occupation, complete with industrial electrical cabling which ran up the staircase.
"The developers then called in my precinct and the Fire Department, then the Bomb Squad was called in and about a half hour ago they tried to defuse one of the devices, it didn't go well as you've seen. Now they tell me that thing might not have been a bomb in the first place, that's part of the reason why they didn't touch the second one, that and the damage to their pride." He then led them into a room which was suffering badly from woodrot, dryrot and damp. There had been wallpaper hung on the walls, but it hung down in damp, mouldy strips. Above them, a single bare bulb glowed dimly, the only other light filtered through a pair or broken sash windows that overlooked the road and emergency services two stories below.
As Ray looked around he could see that the greenish-red slime coated a wall, excluding some comically shaped voids where presumably the bomb disposal team had stood at the moment of 'detonation'. On the floor lay the remains of what might've been quite a high-tech device. "Over there, is the second device." The Sergeant pointed and Ray went to investigate.
Ray stooped down beside an overturned desk, lying on the floor was an interesting device. The main body of the device was a glass beaker, a small bellows-like device attached to the top, presumably for pumping. There were two circular rubber connectors plugged into the sides of the glass beaker. The beaker itself was attached to a larger box, a metal tube of which connected with the rubber bellows, it was evident that the device ran off of electricity, as shown by several dormant red indicator lights and a small green monitor. Attached to the two rubber circles were wires, Ray collected the one nearest to him and examined it, attached to the end of it was a suction cup with a IVF drip in it, there was dry ectoplasm on the IVF. Ray noted this and reached for the other wire, he brought it up into the light and froze.
"How long have you worked with him?" The Sergeant asked.
"I've worked with the company for about twenty years...off and on...though I wasn't around when they first started, I was hired as additional help."
"Ah." The Sergeant replied, nodding. "And has your role changed since then?"
"You could say that." Winston replied.
"Winston, I think you need to see this!" Ray shouted.
"Excuse me." Winston replied to the Sergeant and then strode over to peer over Ray's shoulder. "You find something, home boy?"
"Understatement of the century, Winston." Ray replied in a uneven voice. "Winston, have you ever seen anything like this?" Ray asked, holding up all but one part of the device.
"Looks like some funky transfusion device...but what's that?" He asked, pointing at the wire which trailed out of eyesight. Ray heaved a breath and lifted the final piece, making Winston's heart skip a beat. "But that's..."
"Yes, a Ghost Trap connector...I don't like what this thing's suggesting, Winston...I think it's a transfusion kit...for ectoplasm!"
"Shit." Winston swore, they then quickly exited the building, offering a quick explanation to the surprised Police Seargent.
"Is that thing even possible? An ectoplasmic transfusion kit?" Winston asked, the wires of the Brooklyn Bridge whizzed past dangerously as Ray gunned the car's motor, trying to get back to Manhattan as fast and legally as he could.
"I have no idea, Egon'd probably be able to do it if he needed to...but we've never needed or come up on the opportunity where he'd have to develop one...though...someone like Egon might've developed it." Ray replied, his face a little pale.
"You think his clone might've made it?" Winston asked, the question inevitable.
"I bet my Captain Steel collection it was probably him..." Ray returned.
"Great, so we've got four guys who look, walk, talk and act like us, made of ectoplasm and dirty jumpsuits, running around with four stolen Proton Packs, stealing ectoplasm from other ghosts...that's just...wrong." He shook his head in dismay. "That's why they were stealing business, wasn't it?"
"Most likely, they could probably track down more ghosts once they had three more Packs and other pieces of equipment...and with that spliced electric line they could've taken as much power as they needed. This is very bad." Ray replied.
"That means they're planning something, we'd better get back to HQ and fast." Winston replied as he tightened his hold on the dashboard, his knuckles going white.
"Okay, I'm ready for Gettysburg." Eduardo replied as he strapped on his Proton Pack.
"Hardly," Egon replied as he pulled on a pair of black industrial gloves. "More likely a show down between us and them." He was dressed in his blue with pink trim uniform. He reached forward and unclipped his Proton Gun, making a few last-minute checks.
Standing next to him was Peter, who was dressed in his brown with blue/green trim jumpsuit. His Proton Pack was on and he was studying his Proton Gun, a small silver plate mas mounted on the Proton Gun, the following word was engraved on it: Betsy. He'd had the Pack shipped over when he'd journeyed from LA, in case he needed it.
"I hope you've got a few aces up your sleeves, Spengs, we're probably gonna need all the help we can get."
"I've done some calculations based on the readings I picked up a few days ago and the readings we got the last time we fought against them, I've done some tests but I'm not sure anything can be done with the Particle Throwers, hopefully we can take them down using sheer numbers." Egon explained, less hopeful then he'd like. "If you can, try to aim at their heads, it might be a weak spot in their ectoplasmic construct...we might be able to weaken them with enough firepower applied to that spot."
"Roger." Kylie replied as she checked her Proton Pistol.
"I gotta ask though, they packed explosive ectoplasm...and that caused quite a lot of property damage...what happens if they crank one of the new packs up to top gear?" Peter asked.
"Hopefully it'll shut down...if they haven't removed the safeties..." Egon replied.
"And if they've removed the safeties?" Garrett asked.
"Don't ask." Egon replied. "However, I have taken the opportunity to program some beam settings into the built in memory, the first setting is a standard proton beam, the second is programmed to reverse the polarity which can disable their Proton Packs, the third has been programmed to the setting which can render humans unconscious, I cannot guarantee that this will actually work, but it's one extra option in case we need it."
"I really hope you guys weren't planning on doing this without me, this time it's personal." A female Brooklyn accented voice replied and they all turned to see Janine, dressed in a blue jumpsuit with orange trim, a Proton Pack on her back, she was busy pulling on a pair of black industrial gloves.
"Janine, what are you doing? I thought you'd gone to Soho with the children?" Egon asked in surprise.
"You've got another thing coming Spengler if you think I'm gonna sit with the kids while you fight these guys, besides, you need as much fire power as you can get and these guys took a shot at me, they made this personal and my trigger finger's itching to return the favor." Janine replied, she then unclipped her Particle Thrower and turned it on, the sound of the device finishing her point.
"I wouldn't dream of turning down another source of help." Egon replied, and a moment later received an elbow in the ribs from Peter who had a knowing look on his face. Outside, they could hear a car screech to a halt and then Ray and Winston burst into the room. They ran up to the group of armed Ghostbusters, ripping off and throwing away their jackets as they ran.
"Ray, Winston, are they coming?" Egon asked.
"Egon-the Anti Ghostbusters-they're-more dangerous-" Ray spoke, wheezing between words.
"He means they've been doing transfusion work...they've been taking ectoplasm from the ghosts that were stolen." Winston finished, receiving a greatful look from Ray.
"Of course!" Egon replied, realizing the brilliance despite himself. "I never considered the possibilities, but conceivably a device could be created to siphon ectoplasm from one ectoplasmic entity to another, but I hadn't realized that it could actually work."
"Looks like it does, they even used a trap adaptor to get the stuff outta the trap." Ray explained, sounding less out of breath.
"A trap would provide the perfect circumstances, the incarcerated ghost wouldn't be able to prevent it." Egon mused. "Theoretically, they might even be able to increase their power, strengthen their Ectoplasmic matrix and construct. Excellent work, go grab your Proton Packs, they're over there." Egon indicated the two spare Proton Packs that leaned against the side of Janine's desk, moments after Ray and Winston had shrugged them on and were doing up their equipment belts, the overhead lights flickered and went out. Winston and Ray then quickly pulled on their industrial gloves.
"C'mon." Muttered Garrett. "Let's kick some ghost clone butt already!"
"Guys, if we die today, at least we're getting rid of them...you all understand that? If anyone wants to run you can do it now." Peter looked at them, but none of them turned and fled.
"Not on your life." Winston replied.
"No chance." Ray added.
"Impossible." Egon agreed.
"Get real." Janine added.
"We're involved now." Roland spoke for the four younger Ghostbusters, their camaraderie and bravery made Peter feel humble, he was glad to have these people as friends and as a family.
"I thought so." he added with a cocky grin, he then turned to face the garage doors with the rest of them.
Badoom! The wooden double doors exploded, making each one of the Ghostbusters flinch and close their eyes. The force blew inward, showering wood and glass into the blacked out garage, the debris flew though the air and landed on the front of Ecto-1 and anything the stuff wouldn't slide off of.
"They're here." Egon muttered, stood in the doorway were the silhouettes of four jumpsuits and Proton Packs, they could only just see the four intruders' heads against the stark light of the streetlamps outside. The transparant hands and heads were the only things that broke the allusion of four Ghostbusters standing in the doorway, they were complete in every detail, they wore jumpsuit, army issue boots, equipment belt, armpads, Proton Pack with clipped on Ghost Trap and a Proton Gun in hand, they even stood in the same order as Peter, Winston, Ray and Egon stood, face to face as if they were looking into a mirror. A green haze began to filter up into the air from the smoke that trailed from four sets of glowing eyes.
"Gentlemen..." A hollow version of Egon's voice spoke in the darkness.
"We're back." A hollow version of Ray's voice added.
"We're packing firepower..." A hollow version of Winston's voice continued.
"And now, it's time to take back what's rightfully ours." A hollow version of Peter's voice finished.
The next sound was that of four Particle Accelerators being armed and readied for fire...
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow