2021:
THE EYE OF ARETPO
PART FIVE

From the Files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBI Historian
GBI Case File GBNY-2021-39/001

Previously
It has been thirty-eight years since the opening of Ghostbusters International's legendary first office.

The mysterious death of former baseball player Yuzuru Fuyuno sends TJ Anderson of Scotland Yard's Occult Crimes Unit to New York. She finds Fuyuno's niece, Marie Lupin, who was the intended recipient of the one clue in the case: a creepy amulet. Not long after TJ arrives, the two women are attacked by zombies and run for their lives.

Marie and TJ hitch a ride from fraternal twins John and Eden Spengler, who are having a bad night of their own: their parents--GBI Co-Founder Egon Spengler and his wife Janine--have been kidnapped. After shaking off a gang of zombie bikers, the Spenglers and their new friends head to Ghostbusters Central.

There, they are contacted by Zoraldo, who not only was party to Yuzuru Fuyuno's death, but was the kidnapper of Egon and Janine. He proposes a simple trade: the Eye of Aretpo, the amulet Marie has been given, for the Spenglers and the Extreme Ghostbusters. Facing no choice, the youngsters accept; Zoraldo flees with the Eye, and fulfills his part of the bargain.

But the Ghostbusters and the elder Spenglers have been left in no condition to act against what happens next.

Aside
He toggled to the line in the cell phone screen that read "AQU" and hit Send. It was a somewhat outdated phone--probably state of the art twelve or thirteen years before--but he'd always had a fondness for archaic devices.

"Oh come on, your Archmageness...pick up..." he muttered. After three rings, there was an answer at the other end. "Salve, [Lord Aquarius]" the caller said in Latin.

"[No...it's not about the Eye...I think that situation is...unfolding. But I thank you for your sympathies. No...the reason I called is that I had a couple of most notable meetings tonight at the Etherite dinner.]"

"[Well, one of them was the Avatar of Aquarius. The residual of the energy was noticeable, even after three decades. But even more interesting, I had the pleasure of meeting the twin children of Egon Spengler.]"

The caller nodded. "[After finally meeting them...well, I would say I definitely think you could be right. Your interpretation of the prophesy is more than plausible.]"

The caller grinned. "[I think we're about to see, aren't we?]"

Dr. Enrico Amoré said his goodbyes, ended the call, and stared out the window of his hotel room. "I think the darkness is going to get a bit deeper tonight." he said out loud. "We shall indeed see what the young Doctors Spengler are capable of..."

New York City
June 8, 2021
I needed you...

Thomas Riley was nothing. The brat of circus acrobats, born when a man named Harrison ruled over the lands...but though they wanted him to be like them, he could not.

The magician was his inspiration. He wanted to be just like him, to amaze them all with his feats of prestidigitation...

He separated from his parents...left them when he was eighteen and never saw them again...he wanted to show them wrong...

War. The charnel house of Europe. No card tricks would save Thomas Riley from the bombs and the mustard gas.

He called out for salvation...

And received it...

The vision came to me. The splendor of the Dark God. With his power, I would survive. I would attain all of the glory I had dreamed of.

I would do it in your name.

I recruited followers...young, impressionable. Disillusioned by the Great War; enthralled by the promise of the Roaring Twenties; both; it mattered little. They may not even have truly believed, but they still sang your name.

Amot-Naphemus.

And my own

Zoraldo

But I was careless...the naive girl who was our sacrifice was noticed...The authorities could not charge me, there was no real evidence. The hold I had on our cult was strong. But they were scared by it...they drifted away...

Save one, the one called Dimsworth.

The Great One called to me...

You have proven a fine servant, Zoraldo. Now...accept my full blessing. You will become the greatest magician your world will ever see. Accept.

The world vanished into a haze of fire, and when I awoke, I was in a dark, cold place. You were there, the Dark God.

And I learned. Decades blurred together in that hellish domain, but your promise was fulfilled: I learned how to channel the force of magic, make it do my bidding.

I needed only to fulfill one obligation: bring to you the Eye of Aretpo.

Dimsworth passed from the world, as all mortals do, but his son had been trained to obey your words. And his son after him. And another Dimsworth, four generations removed, heard news of it at last.

I returned to the world, the world I knew buried in nine decades of time. A world of stink and pollution. Cars and flying machines that even the most fevered fantasy writers of my day would find impossible. A world where the lower races intermingled with our own, and even attained our highest offices of power. But the digital watch--now that's an awesome invention.

And then we were almost too late. The Japanese man, Yuzuru Fuyuno, got the Eye first. We trailed him to London, and he hurled himself to his death rather than give us what was due us.

But he failed. I tracked it to America, and his mongrel-blooded niece.

I clutch it in my hand, Great One.

The invocation, Zoraldo. The invocation I have burned into your soul. Speak it! Speak it so we may both be free!!!

Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva

Ghostbusters Central
Eden studied the display on her PKE Meter. Unlike the prototype "GBX" her brother was carrying around, it was the proven, reliable Model 3.2. She had customized the casing, however, replacing the standard blue shell with a reddish-purple one.

"Their PK traces are present...but there's a stronger pattern in place, suppressing them." she told Eric.

Eric nodded. "That's what my Intellego Vim rotes are showing me. Other than that...whatever has been done to them is way out of my league. Maybe Master Vincent or my Mom would have better luck, but I'd probably be doing more harm than good trying to unweave something this powerful that I just don't know much about."

"Steady pulses..." TJ added, looking up from Eden's unconscious father. "No obvious signs of any struggle or injury." She shook her head. "There's certainly no obvious physical reason they shouldn't be up and moving."

They turned to the firepole leading downstairs as they heard a rhythmic thudding noise from the garage. Eden exhaled and rolled her eyes; she strode toward the stairs, the magus and the detective close behind.

Eden unwittingly noticed the sound of the TV in the reception area, which had been left on when the Extreme Ghostbusters had departed the building a couple hours before.

"...Latest from the Hague on the war crimes trials of the surviving members of the Bush Administration. But first, tonight's top story: new pictures of Kimmy Delaney's baby!!! Our photographers caught the supermodel and two year-old cutie Courtney as they left a New York restaurant..."

The source of the rhythmic thud was Eden's brother repeatedly pounding his head against one of the garage bulkheads.

"Johnny?" Marie asked, looking a bit confused by it all, but a bit relieved that backup was on the way. Slimer was also floating nearby, looking panicked.

"How. Could I. Be. So. Stupid?!" John snarled in staccato bursts between impacts.

"Would you stop that?!" Eden said, grabbing him before he could slam into the wall again. Slimer babbled and rubbed John's head.

"It's my fault, Dammit." John growled. "I should have expected a double-cross. Now that asshole has the Eye, and who knows what he's going to do with it?"

"Maybe it's just something he uses in kinky zombie sex parties?" Marie offered helpfully. Eden, TJ, and Eric gave her a skunk eye.

"There was no good answer, Johnathan." Eden tried to reassure him. "You made the logical decision based on all of the information we had at hand. There were just facts we were...deficient on."

"For what it's worth, JC." Eric told him. "They're all fine. Physically. Edie and I detect their life forces, and they're there, but whatever spell Zoraldo put them under has them unconscious and likely to stay that way for a while."

John looked at them, and exhaled. "He wanted Mom and Pop out of his way. He got Roland's gang out of the way, too. I think whatever he's about to do, he probably doesn't want any Ghostbusters around mucking it up--and he's got his wish."

Eric looked at him. "There aren't any..."

John shook his head. "You know where your parents are better than any of us. Uncle Pete's out in California, and so's Winston. There's nobody it won't take time to contact and get here."

"Then Zoraldo's probably moving quickly." TJ surmised, just as the alarms started to go off upstairs.

John and Eden looked at each other. "The longrange Ectospheric sensors!" John shouted.

I needed you...

It wasn't always such. Eons ago, I dominated an entire continent. The shining jewel at the centerpiece of one of Iaoue's most treasured worlds.

Then the infestation...beings with the spark of sentience, the betrayal of the gods by Xodiac...the infestation reached my lands.

Ancalimar was his name, wielding the power of quintessence, blessed by his worship of Iaoue Himself. His people marched under the banner of the goat serpent.

They sought my land for their own, and made war on the creatures I commanded.

Ancalimar attacked me once. He failed to destroy me, but he survived, and tore loose my heart.

He blasphemed my heart with his magic; reshaping it, casting from it the great Eye of Aretpo.

The bearers of the goat banner--the Tesmihiru, they called themselves--renewed their attack on my fortresses. Even when I animated their own fallen with my power, they were relentless.

Ancalimar had used my heart, the Eye of Aretpo, to craft a banishment ritual.

The fire of pain, as my body was torn from this realm, confined to a dark, cold land, unable to touch the land of Iaoue. For millenia, I raged helplessly.

Ancalimar Tesmihirus founded a kingdom of apemen on my sacred land, his own descendants ruling it. "Atlantis" they called it, in their chattering tongue.

Then the followers of the Formless Destructor destroyed it; Atlantis sank beneath the waves, and the Eye of Aretpo with it. The blood of my foe was no more, but I could not return without the Eye. The power of the quintessence waned, and Iaoue's chosen land became further and further removed from my grasp.

I fell dormant. Then a flood of death force, arising from a grand orgy of massacre, opened just the faintest crack in the barriers. A lowly human offered his service in return for my aid; I found the key to my return.

I found you. Zoraldo.

The servants I cultivated remained in place, as I brought you to my lands. To learn the dark magics. More importantly, to learn the incantation that would release the power of the Eye. Release the power that would allow me to step on the world of the living after a half dozen Great Ages.

And finally...the servants of human science discovered the Eye. Others tried to deny my servants, but they failed.

I will not be denied now!!!

"So what's all this belling and whistling about, then?" Marie asked, as John and Eden quickly looked at various parts of the red light covered console and scowled.

"The PKE level in New York City is going through the roof." John answered.

"PKE is Psycho Kinetic Energy." TJ explained. "It's the energy that powers paranormal manifestations. Also known as quintessence, manna, chi, or vis."

John, Eden, and Eric all looked at her with amazement.

"Occult Crimes Unit, remember?" she said, crossing her arms. "They do give us some basic idea of what we might be dealing with."

"Yeah, I get it." Marie rolled her eyes. "Now how bad we talking about here?"

John gave a mischievous grin as he picked up a Twinkie from the counter. Eden snatched it from him. "It's my turn."

"Go for it." John chuckled.

"Let's say this Twinkie represents the average amount of Psycho Kinetic Energy in the New York Area. The current reading on the equipment is 583 Twinkies. Or 48 boxes worth, with seven left over."

"That's a lot of Twinkies." Marie deadpanned.

"And the reading is still climbing." John added. "And that probably means a lot worse for the city than just a diabetic coma."

The downstairs phone started ringing.

"I'll get this one." TJ said, sprinting to the stairway. "But I'm not your bloody secretary!"

"Client Administrator." John shot back.

"I bet we're gonna be getting a lot of calls." Eric noted.

"Edie, call Jeremy." John said, then explained to Eric and Marie. "He's our phone jockey at the university--he's a pro at keeping ten people on hold at the same time."

"Why do I have to call him?" Eden whined.

John's mischievous grin returned. "Because if you call him, he'll get here quicker than the traffic laws allow."

Eden rolled her eyes and started to dial her cell phone.

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

The winds whipped around Zoraldo, as he continued the chant. Dimsworth and a dozen zombie servants stood around him in a circle.

The Eye of Aretpo crackled with dark lightning.

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

Over the decades...I have collected many. Bodies lost to violence and war. Souls lost to the depths of the sea. The missing and the forgotten.

They belong to me. Now...as the dark symphony nears its crescendo, they will rise!!!

Before Zoraldo, the Hudson River began to froth and boil. Pure solid darkness burst from the waters, a gnarled, deformed edifice clutched for the night skies. It rose about Zoraldo's head. It rose five stories, then ten, then fifteen, only the faintest hints of glittering water around it.

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

With an angry clatter, a slab of the dark edifice fell away, slamming to the ground before the assembled servants, forming a bridge between the gnarled palace and the pier.

Out of the dark hole, more zombies shambled forth. Ten. Twenty. A hundred. Two hundred. A thousand.

The time has come, my servants!!! the voice of Amot-Naphemus shrieked. Make this world ready for my ascension! For the coronation of Amot-Naphemus!!!

"Ghostbusters...please hold. Ghostbusters...please hold. Ghostbusters..."

As John had predicted, Jeremy Cranston had practically teleported to the firehouse when Eden called him, despite the fact that it was late in the evening. John suspected that their office assistant had nursed a bit of a crush on his sister for some time, and accidentally let that fact slip in front of their mother a couple of weeks before.

"Oh Adonai..." Janine said, rolling her eyes. "I know where she gets that from--you wouldn't believe some of the nutcase women that were obsessed with your father back in the day."

And then Eric showed up and about tripped over his tongue when he saw her. This could be fun to watch...as long as I don't end up in the middle of it.

"Well, that's taken care of." TJ exhaled, tossing her sport coat onto the file cabinet. "So what's our next move?"

"Do we even have a next move?" Marie asked.

"We need to contact another GBI Franchise." Eden stated. "It makes we wish Dr. Baugh hadn't been forced to cancel at the dinner tonight."

"Yeah, but if they nabbed Mom and Pop, they might have targeted him too." John pointed out.

"We don't even know how big this is." Eric mused. "Zoraldo could just be small potatoes...what if they're more of them, and they're targeting GBI agents all over the country? Uncle Peter and Uncle Winston could be..."

The television broke into their train of thought. "This is a Channel Six News Special report."

The five youngsters looked at each other.

"This is Cody Jones at the Channel Six studios, where at this hour there is panic in Southern Manhattan. Some grainy video has been sent to our studio...as you can see, it shows a large, irregular, black building of some sort that has appeared in the Hudson River. We've been flooded with calls about, to quote one witness, 'Zombies in Eighties clothes' running amuck and attacking pedestrians..."

"This just got worse." Marie deadpanned.

"And more than one frantic caller has asked the same question: Where are the Ghostbusters?"

"Shit." Eden said simply, rubbing her forehead.

"John!!!" Jeremy yelled. "I think...I think one of you better take this call."

John, Eden, and Eric looked at each other quizzically.

"It's the Mayor." Jeremy explained.

After a second of hesitation, John grabbed the phone, throwing his own sportcoat on top of TJ's. "Hey, Alec, long time no talk, Cuz? So what's up?"

Gracie Mansion
Alec Jacobs had been elected Mayor of New York City in 2017, after a successful term in the New York State Senate. He benefited, and he freely admitted it, from family connections: he was the direct descendant--and in the view of many spitting image--of Nineteenth Century Congressman Aaron Jacobs, the first disabled Congressman from New York; and the fact that he just happened to be related to one of the Ghostbuster families--his mother was a cousin of John and Eden's mother--didn't hurt his popularity in some quarters. It certainly made him more popular with GBI than the likes of Lenny Clotch and Edwin MacShayne.

Right now, of course, Jacobs was dealing with chaos. People were darting in and out of the office, shouting at each other, and trying to get Hizzoner's attention.

"Johnathan?" Jacobs said incredulously. "What's going on down there? Why are you on the phone?"

"It's been one of those nights."

"John, pardon the invocation of one of the late Lenny Clotch's bits of hyperbole, but the Tenth Level of Hell is popping up on the south side. There are zombies all over the piers. And I hate to sound like a typical politician, but it is an election year. Where are the Ghostbusters?"

There was a long pause.

"John?"

"JC?" Eric asked.

"The Ghostbusters are on their way, Alec. You just gotta trust us on this."

There were several confused looked around the room.

"I gotta go, Cuz--I'll let you know as soon as I have anything worth reporting." John hung up the phone, his hand over his chin in contemplation.

" 'The Ghostbusters are on their way'?" Eden berated him. "How could you lie to the Mayor of New York and your own second cousin like that?"

John looked his sister in the eye, a mischievous grin on his face, and cocked one eyebrow exactly as their father often did. "Who said I was lying?"

Eric's face lit up.

"You are not thinking what I think you're thinking." Eden stated.

"Adversity has a way of clarifying the mind, Eden." John said. "Some Ghostbusters choose the job--our Dads did. Belmont did. But sometimes, the job chooses the Ghostbusters: the Achira crisis chose Roland's team. The Bermuda Triangle chose Cousin Jen's crew. The Ravisher chose those guys in LA. That demon that tried to eat Tony Blair chose the GBUK. Zoraldo and Amot-Naphemus just chose us."

Eric strode over to a locker, opening it to reveal a rack of beige jumpsuits, each sporting the familiar patch, a cartoony ghost with a red prohibition sign over it. "If you're in, find one in your size. There should be one--these are the Rookie suits, and they keep a variety around just in case."

"I'm in!" Marie grinned, exchanging a high-five with Eric. "This has got to be more fun than rolling drunks! Which is actually pretty fun, mind you."

"You are going to get yourself killed." Eden shook her head, then sighed deeply as she rummaged through the locker. "But since we came into the world together, we might as well die needlessly together."

John looked at the last holdout. "TJ?"

TJ humphed and reached for a flight suit. "I came to this country to solve a case. It would be unprofessional to not see it through to the end."

John grinned widely.

Despite herself, TJ grinned back.

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

Zoraldo and the small band of zombies were inside the dark temple now, in a grand chamber where a cold light shone despite having no obvious source.

Helios's nadir is the moment that my power will reach it's peak.... the disembodied voice of Amot-Naphemus called. There must be more chaos, more death, before that time. One sign of Xodiac's band will transit before that time.

"But..." Zoraldo stopped, confused. "Midnight is only an hour away!"

My calculations are perfect!

Zoraldo slapped his forehead. "F***ing daylight savings time! One more idiot thing the modern world came up with! The clock says eleven, the sky says it's still ten!"

But now, the power grows enough that I may move into this world at last. The incantation, Zoraldo--continue!!!"

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

Broderick Dimsworth

"At your command, Great One." the limp-haired little man answered.

You have been chosen for the greatest honor--you will become my anchor.

"Anchor, Great One? I don't know what..."

Your knowledge is not required. Nor even your consent. The pact has been sealed with five generations of your blood

Dimsworth suddenly clenched, a garbled noise escaping from his throat.

"Acba yin Lo-kum yin Kym-nark-mar Acba yin Netosa yin Erva"

A tendril of energy shot from the Eye of Aretpo around Zoraldo's neck. Dimsworth made a burbling cry as his body began to grow, distort, and discolor.

The chamber filled with smoke that only looked light amongst the oppressive darkness surrounding it. Painful crackling noises reverberated around the room.

The dark smoke slit apart. What stood there bore no sign of the existence of Broderick Dimsworth--his replacement was fifteen feet tall, wearing dark armor and a swirling cape over a gull grey hide. Dark, liquid eyes with no discernible iris or pupil sat atop an almost ducklike bill.

Mark well this day, and gaze upon the form of the new master of this realm. The wretched ape-creatures will soon scurry in horror before the wrath of Amot-Naphemus, Conquerer of All He Sees!!!

Zoraldo felt a single bead of sweat trickle down his brow.

To Be Continued
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