FUTURE SHOCKS

By Fritz Baugh


GBI Case File GBNY-1986-4/141

Prelude: The Twenty First Century, 2023 CE
"Duck and roll, JC!!!" Eric's voice rang out.

John moved with a speed and grace that belied his large frame, neatly ducking and rolling under the fire blast the pissed off dragon spirit was attempting to nail him with.

"Any time now, Eric..." John's voice rumbled, it's usually pleasant basso just a bit arched from having nearly been barbecued by an overgrown lizard.

"These sutras take time, JC--I can't rush this or I might trigger a PK backlash"

"Oh, sure...I can just get roasted in the interim..." the taller man deadpanned. Bringing himself upright, to his full six-six height, he aimed his particle thrower and hit the gnashing dragon right in it's eye.

"I'm done with the Class Five..." John's GBX crackled, a lilting female voice, heavily accented with uppercrust English, informed him. "I am coming to back you up."

Sure enough another particle beam hit the snarling reptile, and a short woman with long dark hair appeared at the other end of the beam.

"So glad you could make it, Milady"

"Dry up , Doctor." she sniffed back.

John at times wished he didn't enjoy irritating her so much, but TJ had been raised a Proper British Lass and was such an easy target. For what it was worth, she didn't take much of his crap, and simply refused to be intimidated by him. Which made her all the more irresistable to him, not that he'd ever admit it.

Eric just rolled his eyes, wishing John and TJ would save the flirting for later. He intoned the last few words of the "binding of the Ryu" spell his mother had taught him, and let it fly.

The long, snakelike dragon howled every Chinese obscenity it knew. Eric smirked and pulled his GBX off his belt.

"Trap mode!" he said, pushing a button on it marked in yellow and black striping. He held it up to face the dragon as the display began to emit a cone of white light.

Still howling angrily, the dragon was sucked into the small device.

Eric pushed a button or two, and a hologram appeared, the dragon writhing and snarling; the words containment 67% capacity flashed on the bottom of the display.

He switched the display off and put the small device, resembling nothing more than a pager as used a generation or so before, back onto his belt. "One more ready to flush"

"I...is it over?" the owner of the Chinese restaurant appeared.

"The entities are in secure confinement." TJ confirmed briskly.

"Now comes the part where you pay us..." John said simply, just standing right next to the owner. Towering over him by about a foot.

The little oriental man gulped and smiled weakly, and tapped some information into his unicomm. John called up some numbers on his own GBX, and nodded at Eric.

Eric dialed up the image of the dragon again. "Hey, Eden---you copy?"

A few seconds later, a smooth contralto voice responded "Ghostbuster Central on line, Eric."

"We got another one ready to download" he told her as he pressed a button a few times, leading to a new message download data?

"Acknowledged, Eric. Download ready...now..."

download enabled

Eric pressed the action button, sending all of the data accumulated on the dragon to the computers at GBC

download complete

"Confirming download at this end, Eric. Anything else?"

"Nope. Thanks as always, Edie..."

"Do not call me Edie. Central out." Eric and John chuckled as the dragon image was replaced with the familiar red circle and ghost design...the logo of Ghostbusters International for over thirty years.

The ubiquitous ECTO-1 pulled into the garage at the now-legendary headquarters. Not the original ECTO-1, or even it's first replacement, but a modern vehicle with current amenities (fuel cell engines, polyplast shell) cast in the image of the original two 1959 Cadillac ambulances.

The three Ghostbusters got out of the car, each stretching and placing their proton packs back into the lockers. Externally, the proton packs were effectively identical to the ones made since the 1980's--with a five thousand year half-life, the consensus came to be "Why mess with success?", though improvements had been made to their internal systems over the years, especially after one short-lived radical redesign in the late 90's

John was the tallest of the three by far, as mentioned standing some six-six, with a powerful frame to match. His unruly mop of thick red hair tapered into a squiggly tail at the back, and his angular features, cleft chin, and bright green eyes had made more than one woman swoon. HIs particular uniform featured a sleeveless version of the ubiquitous Ghostbuster jumpsuit colored purple with red trim over a short-sleeve red shirt.

Eric was smaller, and a bit wirey. HIs dark hair was curly, but he had an open face that dimpled when he smiled. He was seldom without a set of goggles perched on his head, whether they were ecto-scopes or, more likely, a battered set of aviator goggles he'd had about as long as John or Eden could remember. He wore a red and blue bombadier jacket, and his uniform was trimmed in tan and green.

"Up for some barbecue, JC?" Eric asked playfully (Christopher was John's middle name)

"Not after nearly being one." John replied blithely.

TJ (short for Tessa Jane) brushed a dangling hair from her face. She was a short woman (about five-three) with deceptively delicate features, but as a former member of Scotland Yard she was well-aquainted with police work and all of it's messy necessities. She was a lot tougher than she looked, to put it simply. Even a casual observer might have noticed a small difference with her proton pack--the particle thrower had been modified to latch at the left shoulder, as she was left handed. Her uniform was far less customized that theirs, a standard cut in orange and purple.

Jeremy Cranston was over at the main desk, trying to eat his lunch and having a little trouble in that regard--the old firehouse's perennial haunter, the green spud-like entity nicknamed Slimer long ago, kept trying to steal some of it. Jeremy was the team's office and buisness manager, a man of average build and of mixed Oriental blood, dressed in a tie and khakis in blue and yellow that really didn't go well together.

"I am so glad you all are back. John, you got a message from the lab--they say the stress tolerance on that ion rate would blow you to kingdom come so don't do it."

John rolled his eyes and mumbled truculantly

"And Charlene Zeddemore called from Paris--she says the check on the Eiffel Tower came out totally on target, all systems functioning well."

"Considering Gustav built the thing like, almost a hundred fifty years ago before they heard of PK flux or even modern electromagnetic theory, I'd say that's better than expected." Eric had to admit.

Eden came down the stairs, still typing some fifth dimensional matrix calculations on her data pad. John looked over her shoulder and said mischieviously "I think the 3xy over there is supposed to be 3xz..." She bopped him on the head with the pad.

Eden and John were fraternal twins, but other that the fact that they were both tall (Eden standing a good five-nine) and quite attractive, you might not have guessed that at first. Eden lacked her brother's musculature, naturally enough, but was well-proportioned in more...female ways. At times, she'd almost be willing to admit, too well-proportioned, having had to turn away quite a few annoying would-be suitors since age fifteen. Her long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes didn't help keep men away, either. But she dressed slightly conservatively, such as the bulky purple shirt with red below-the-knee skirt and matching vest she was wearing now. Her look was completed with blocky red earrings and a pair of white sneakers.

"I was just going over the latest plasma shunt moduli..."

"Time to tune out." Eric smirked at TJ

"Quite all right with me. I think I need a shower anyway..."

John turned to leer at her as she headed to the stairway. Eden bopped him again.

"All right, all right, the shunt moduli..." he grumbled.

Eric smirked and sent downstairs to the rumbling containment unit. Eric was a pretty smart guy, but some of the stuff John and Eden involved themselves in was too esoteric even for him. They were dear friends--he'd known them since childhood--but sometimes they were just too wierd for him.

He went over to the platform at the front of the chamber, and opened a hatch. There was a slot that his GBX fit perfectly into. The device in the slot, he called up the dragon image once again.

entity containent download?

He hit the confirmation button on the GBX

ready for entity download

He pulled the lever on the side of the containment unit. A light flashed red.

The image of the dragon swirled and vanished. The light turned green.

entity download complete

He pulled the GBX out of the slot and shut the containment unit. Just for safety's sake, he called up the GBX's trap status screen to confirm that it was now empty.

containment 0% capacity

When he got upstairs, John and Eden were still arguing in polynomials. Jeremy was sitting at the desk trying to ignore them

Then the door opened, and a woman with short brown hair, wearing a purple outfit with a cape, stepped in. "Ghostbusters." she said loudly, getting their attention.

"My name is Delphia. And there is a matter of literally grave importance demanding your attention."

Ghostbusters Central. Some Thirty Plus Years earlier...
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Four (1986), just after "Robo Buster"
"Welcome back to Channel Six news...here's the lovely Ellen MacNiell with another report on the Ghostbusters' war against the otherworldly conspiracy of evil..."

"Oh, you have got to be pulling my leg." Janine Melnitz rolled her eyes and started to chuckle. She was currently alone in the firehouse save the ectoplasmic entity known as Slimer, stretched out on the sofa in the rec room, her light blue pumps sitting on the floor. She pulled another Stay-Puft marshmallow from the bag and ate it. "Result of an idiot tampering with s**t he didn't understand, but hardly an 'otherworldy conspiracy'..."

Janine was ruefully referring to the events only a few days before...an executive of Grossjuck Industries had created a robot Ghostbuster that had completely ionized it's opponents instead of containing them; as Egon Spengler accurately surmised (as always...) the entities hadn't been destroyed, instead they accumulated into an ectoplasmic maelstrom that would've destroyed Grossjuck Plaza in it's anger...save for the timely intervention of the Ghostbusters.

Janine was about to turn the channel, not wanting to relive that mess for a variety of reasons, both professional but mostly personal...when with a shock Ellen appeared on location at a run-down skating rink with a dumpy, bispectacled fat man with a lab coat and one of the hugest noses she'd ever seen appeared on the screen. The graphic GHOSTBUSTER NORMAN DRAVERHAVEN appeared on the screen.

We're here with the Ghostbusters' stalwart, intrepid leader, Professor Norman Draverhaven, to get the latest in the war against the malevolent Sleaze"

"Draverhaven?!" Janine cried in surprise, spitting a marshmallow half across the room.

The big-nosed man smiled with pride at the description. "Well, the evil demon sent his powerful henchmen to attack this skating rink and terrorize all of these innocent children and teenagers. Well, of course I am the only one equipped to handle the nefarious Sleaze..."

Janine's eyes narrowed. It wasn't the man she thought it would be when she first heard the name "Draverhaven", which was more than a little bit of a relief. This guy has to have an ego to rival Doctor Venkman's, too...just listen to his crap...

A ten year old came up to Draverhaven and Ellen. "Hey, Mister, where's Peter?"

"Peter? I assure you...there is nobody named Peter here!" Draverhaven responded, anger brimming in his voice.

"Of course there is, Mister...Peter Venkman. He's, like, the coolest Ghostbuster."

"You don't understand, kid. Peter Venkman isn't a Ghostbuster--he's a con man. He conned New York with all of his nonsense. You didn't see him and his imposter patrol stopping the Sleaze, did you?"

"You son of a bitch..." Janine growled at the screen. Watching a friend dearer to her than she'd ever admit out loud being savaged by an idiot who didn't know what he was talking about was one thing, but to have Egon lumped into an "imposter patrol" was really beginning to raise her hackles. And when the hackles of this Brooklyn girl get raised, there will be pain dealt out.

"If they're the imposters howcum they got a movie made about them? Howcum they got Bill Murray to play Peter?...and since you weren't in the movie I bet you aren't a real Ghostbuster..."

"I AM A REAL GHOSTBUSTER, YOU LITTLE..." Draverhaven screamed, grabbing the kid and shaking him.

Ellen looked helplessly at the camera "Commercial!!!"

Janine couldn't help but laugh.

The ECTO-1 (at this date, the one true original ECTO-1) pulled into headquarters, and three of the four Ghostbusters got out. Peter Venkman deftly dodged the green, potato-shaped ball of slime that hurled itself in his direction, and moved over to his locker, doffing his brown and blue Ghostbuster uniform. "Try something new, Slimer. I"m sure Ray would love some gooey green kisses right about now..."

Ray Stantz, dressed in his tan and brown uniform, hefted two smoking ghost traps. "Two class sixes...now that's what I call a day's work."

Egon Spengler was missing one sleeve of his blue and pink uniform and went to the tail of the ECTO. "Peter, help me get Winston out of the car."

Venkman grumbled and helped Egon haul the last Ghostbuster, Winston Zeddemore, out of the vehicle, where he'd been lying face first. His aqua and red uniform was in tatters, and a pillow was belted to his rear end. "Goddamn ghost dobermans..." he was grunting. "Are you sure I ain't gonna get rabies or something from this?"

"Rabies is an infection carried by living organisms." Egon assured him. "I've done a thorough psychospectral scan on our way back, and can detect no signs of any sort of lingering supernatural after effects."

"Meaning you ain't gonna turn into a doberman at the full moon, which is good, because I don't think Ray has a recipe for dobermanbane soup in his book." Venkman chattered, trying to annoy a laugh out of his friend. "Though if anyone offers to start a game of musical chairs, I'd recommend passing on that."

"I was afraid you were gonna say 'Sit it out' " Winston smirked.

"Aw, c'mon...I can't go for the easy gag every time, right?"

Ray didn't say it out loud, of course, for fear that Winston would strangle him, but looked at the smoking ghost traps with a little bit of sadness. They got so scared when we started to fire our proton beams...I kinda feel sorry for the poor things... He shrugged and went downstairs to flush them into the containment unit.

"Holy crap, what happened to you?" Janine exclaimed as the guys came up the stairs, bracing Winston.

"Ghost dobermans decided he was a real bite in the ass, and proceeded accordingly." Venkman smirked.

"And they left you alone?" As hoped, that brought a pained smile to Winston's face.

Venkman and Egon took Winston to his bunk, carefully removing what was left of his uniform and placing him on the bed face down.

"You know I can't sleep this way..." Winston whined.

"And you'll sleep even worse with pressure sending throbbing, shooting pain up your butt, Zee" Venkman retorted. "Unless there's something about you all of us and your girlfriend should know about..."

"You suck, Venkman, you know that? And you don't just suck, you suck a lot. You suck almost as bad as those dobermans..."

"Don't give him ammunition." Egon said flatly. Just about then Janine noticed the left sleeve of his jumpsuit was torn off

"Egon, are you all right?" she said worriedly, going over to inspect it

"Um..." he stammered, drawing away. "I am unhurt. One of our opponents snagged the upper sleeve with it's teeth, and the cloth proved the less endurant part of the grip."

"They bit you too? But I don't..."

"The creature's incisors missed my actual dermis by approximately a half centimeter. So I was fortunate." He tugged on his collar self-consciously. "Though I, as always, appreciate your concern."

Venkman mused to himself with no small satisfaction. After all the crap with Paul Smart and Robo Buster...it's nice to see things returning to normal for them. Normal being, as always, a fairly relative term in thier case...

She beamed for a few seconds, then turned away abruptly. "Yeah, I...I better get Winston something to drink. Bud okay?"

"Anything stronger?"

"You know better than that. Slimer's bad enough when he gets into the beer."

"Okay, okay..." Winston grunted. "Just bring a straw, I guess..."

Slimer floated into the room, getting an eyefull of Winston butt high into the air, and started to laugh. He floated over and raised an ectoplasmic arm.

"Don't even think about it." Egon and Venkman intoned in unison.

Slimer looked forlorn for a few seconds, then bearhugged Venkman.

Suddenly, a pinpoint of light appeared in Central Park.

From the light came a swirl of color. A growing kaleidoscope of energy....swirling and roiling...it began to take shape...a human shape...

The man who stood there was gaunt and dressed in an eccentric outfit of mismatched patches of clothing. He wore a visor that obscured his eyes and a haircut that looked remarkably like the one sported by Peter Venkman.

"With that level of pollution, it has to be New York in the 1980's" he said, half serious half mocking. "Transit is complete. Now to find the Ghostbusters and stop what's going to happen before it's too late..."

"Interesting stuff on TV..." Janine was telling Venkman and Egon as she was packing her purse to leave. "I saw a report about the 'Ghostbusters' on Channel Six earlier..."

"Was it that April chick?" Venkman asked excitedly. "She's hot..."

"Curious..." Egon rubbed his chin. "I don't recall a Channel Six truck at the doberman job..."

"That's the wierd part. They didn't say a damn thing about the doberman job. And it wasn't April it was Ellen MacNeill, Doctor Venkman."

"She's hot too. For a redhead."

Janine scratched her temple with her left middle finger. "She interviewed some guy named Draverhaven."

Four sets of eyes (or I guess five if you counted Egon's glasses) stared in mute shock.

"That's what I thought, but it wasn't him--his name was Norman Draverhaven. Had a bigger waistline and a nose to match"

Ray gulped audibly. "Norman Draverhaven? I don't..."

Venkman muttered to himself. "Crap in a hat...Dweeb"

Janine walked to the door, heels clicking. "He sure got mad when some kid mentioned Doctor Venkman, but I bet that won't be on the rerun. It was a sight, let me tell you...wish I'd taped it."

"Do you know something about this Peter?" Egon asked sternly.

"I'd rather not say yet, but...maybe..." Venkman mumbled.

"See you guys tomorrow. Let me know how it comes out..." Janine waved and almost closed the door. Then she opened it back up. "Oh, and Egon?"

"Hm?"

She blew a kiss to him. "Good night..." she purred breathily. He turned bright red. She closed the door.

Venkman elbowed him. "See? You still got it, Spengs...It's practically already 'Paul who?' "

Egon cleared his throat forcefully, not rising to Venkman's transparent attempt to redirect the conversation. "Perhaps we should concentrate on the matters at hand..."

The three of the four Ghostbusters watched the Channel Six News at Six with rapt attention.

They hadn't said more that five words since Janine left. The name "Draverhaven" was one that affected them all...

Years before, Micheal Draverhaven was an occult dabbler attending Columbia University, an expert in Polynesian runes. Inevitably, his interests led him to a circle of friends that included three young men named Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman, and Egon Spengler.

Then, on a spring day in 1979, things went horribly wrong. The experiement Micheal, Egon, and Ray devised malfunctioned...Draverhaven was driven mad...and Ray nearly met death at his hands. Micheal was committed to the Albany Psychological Corrections Facility.

Until 1984. His three former coresearchers and Winston Zeddemore had been in business for some six months, when Micheal assumed control over Slimer, and used him to break out of the APCF. Draverhaven had nearly called destruction down on New York City, a veritable legion of ghostly minions, before the Ghostbusters stopped him.

Egon finally appeared in the media room. "Micheal Draverhaven is still comatose. Just as he's been for the last two years."

"Here it is!" Winston noted as Ellen MacNiell came on. He had about three pillows piled under his ass.

"We're here with the Ghostbusters' stalwart, intrepid leader, Professor Norman Draverhaven, to get the latest in the war against the malevolent Sleaze"

" 'Ghostbuster Leader Norman Draverhaven'?" Ray read incredulously.

"Janine's right.." Winston whistled. "That dude does have a big nose."

"Well, the evil demon sent his powerful henchmen to attack this skating rink and terrorize all of these innocent children and teenagers. Well, of course I am the only one equipped to handle the nefarious Sleaze..."

There was a noticable jump in the frame. "I suspect that was the edit splice." Egon noted.

"You see, Ellen..." Draverhaven continued, stopping to smooth a mussed hair and take her microphone. "Some so-called paranormal investigators only deal with the little ghosts. Slimy things at the Hotel Sedgewick, ghost dogs, and other assorted riff raff. They're glorified garbage collectors..."

Four sets of eyes were now very narrow.

"But where are they when the Sleaze is on the attack? Schmoozing with has-been comedians like Bill Murray while I do all the hard work of keeping the world safe from slavering supernatural domination. Accept no substitute--I am the real Ghostbuster!!!"

"You asshole!!!" Venkman shouted, and reared up as though to punch the television.

Egon placed a hand on his fist. "This isn't worth it, Peter."

"Remember how much that set cost" Winston added, counting on Venkman's inherent cheapness to restrain him. It worked.

"I suppose Gozer, Samhaine, Cthulhu, Proteus, Tiamat, Mee-Krah, and all the rest don't count as 'slavering supernatural domination' then..." Ray snarled. Ray Stantz didn't snarl very often.

"Strong words from the intrepid Norman Draverhaven, leader of the self-proclaimed real Ghostbusters. We here at Channel Six are dedicated to bringing you the true exploits of these real heroes, who's exploits don't seem to be sung as much as some other so-called 'Ghostbusters'. This is Ellen MacNiell, Channel Six News. Back to you, Vernon..."

Venkman angrily switched the set off.

Ray stewed. "One things for sure...I'm cancelling my membership in the Channel Six Kid's Club"

"When I called Albany they did tell me that Micheal had one visitor over the last two years besides his mother and Raymond: his older brother, Norman Draverhaven, PhD." Egon explained.

Venkman groaned.

Ray shook his head sadly. "I don't think Micheal even mentioned him...I didn't even know about him until just now. I told him about Carl a few times, and he nodded, but..."

Egon nodded, able to relate some to Ray's relationship with Carl Stantz, then turned to glare at Venkman. "I think it's time you came clean."

Ray and Winston looked at both of them. "About what?" Ray asked.

"You know something about this, don't you?" Egon asked Venkman.

Venkman nodded and slouched back onto the couch. "I didn't think any of this would come back to bite me in the ass like this, guys. It was a really small matter and I thought I'd taken care of it..."

"What did you do, Pete?" Winston asked sternly.

Venkman paused and drug on a cigarette. "It was about nine or ten months ago...When this guy came in, he was ranting like a maniac. Said he 'deserved' to be a Ghostbuster because of what we did to his brother. That he would revolutionize the field with his new invention, the Photon Pack."

"Anyway, he was such a prick I pantsed the jerk, renamed him 'Professor Dweeb', and had Slimer bear hug him. I threw him out and threatened to call the cops if he showed up again. He swore unholy revenge and that he'd show the world who the real Ghostbuster was, but nothing came of it until now. So I thought the story was really over---until today."

"And you didn't say anything sooner? That Micheal's brother was here?"

Venkman was quiet for a while fifteen seconds. "Ray...I just didn't want to deal with it right then."

Egon put his hand on Ray's shoulder. Micheal Draverhaven's attempted destruction of New York had occurred just as Venkman's relationship with a certain celloist was disintigrating. And Norman's arrival "nine or ten months ago" came rather close to said celloist marrying a violinist...

Winston popped open a Bud. "So how much of a pain in the ass do you think these guys are gonna be?"

"That Dweeb's a loser and a wanna-be of the first order" Venkman spat. "About the only danger is that people will start to believe the crap he's spouting on Channel Six and give us a bad name." It said a lot about Venkman's current mental state that he didn't pounce on Winston's "pain in the ass" remark.

"That could hurt our business." Ray agreed. "Good thing it's Channel Six, though--if it was a station that actually had any journalistic integrity..." Which was a good point. In the New York area Channel Six had the journalistic credibility of the National Enquirer or Lurid Weekly Gazette.

"I'm more interested in finding out about this 'Sleaze' he mentioned." Egon mused. "If there's any chance that Draverhaven has encountered some sort of honest supernatural threat, it's something we should be aware of"

"I'm not real worried, Egon. He probably just made it up..."

"But what if he didn't, Peter?" Ray countered.

Venkman grumbled to himself. There's absolutely nothing dangerous about Dweeb and his deluded fantasies...

A glow appeared in the morning skies of Central Park, an elliptical accessway from a temporal null zone.

John came out first, particle thrower armed. He looked back and forth, then signaled to the others. "Coast clear"

Eric and Eden came out next, TJ taking the rear. Like the others, Eden was now dressed in full 21st Century Ghostbuster uniform, hers being purplish blue in color with magenta trim. She turned back to the portal.

"Are you joining us, Lady Delphia?"

"I cannot step out of the portal, as it would violate the First Law of Time. I already exist in this era, and it would provoke an unfortunate paradox backlash"

Eric's eyes narrowed, wondering...Just how old is this Delphia lady, anyway? She doesn't look any older than us...

"If you need to contact my 20th Century self, the information is enclosed in your devices, as well as all that Romulus could tell me about the conspiracy."

"I just wonder...why us? If this Romulus guy and you could pick, I dunno, anyone from time and space to save the Ghostbusters, why us?"

"An insightful question, Johnathan Christopher." Delphia smirked. Something about the way she kept looking at him was beginning to unnerve him. "The simplest answer...is that you are the ones closest to the endangered in time, able to understand them and their culture easier than any who come after, yet at the same time none of you exist yet, eliminating the aforementioned paradox danger."

"Perhaps I can tell you more once your task is completed..." with that, the portal snapped shut.

Eden was wrinkling her nose as she activated her GBX. "The pollution level is certainly consistant with late 20th Century New York."

"I think Delphia likes you, Dude..." Eric teased John, making sure to keep one eye on TJ's reaction.

"Oh, get real..."

"Aw, c'mon, old buddy...she kept looking at you really, intense-like"

"Oh good grief..." TJ muttered. "They can't concentrate on their work even in this circumstance..."

"Hormonal derangement. Testosterone does that to them." Eden deadpanned, not looking up from her GBX.

"Would you let that drop?" John was saying, getting honestly aggrivated. "Delphia does not have the hots for me!!!"

Eden grabbed her brother's ear. "Could we get back to matter at hand, Johnathan Christopher?"

"OW! Hey, Eric started it..."

"I've attained a PK lock on the Ghostbusters...four of them appear to be at Ghostbusters Central, the fifth...hm...of course, Canarsie, Brooklyn..."

"Janine Melnitz." TJ surmised.

"She may not have left for work yet..." John said, looking at Eden.

"Or it could be Wednesday or Sunday...those were her days off most of the time, as I recall." Eden nodding. "This could be helpful, actually."

"Do you think that means she's the target?" Eric asked, a little worried.

"We can't discount that, but I was thinking more in the sense of temporal contamination. The less people know of our presence in this era the better."

"Anything yet on the others?" John asked her.

"No...it's harder to track them, as their PK traces were never downloaded into GBI's computer base. We may have to engage in some..."

"Detective work." TJ finished Eden's thought. "That, of course, is my field."

"But we still need to make contact with the Ghostbusters..." Eric reminded everyone.

"We split up." John said simply. "One team looks for our would-be assassins, the other goes to GBC. TJ's a lock for the hunt, while..."

"You and Eden go to headquarters, JC. Our best bet of convincing the current Ghostbusters of the situation is Professor Spengler, and..."

"But..." Eden sputtered. "That has the greatest potential temporal contamination!"

"Maybe, but you two know how to watch what you say. And more importantly, you speak Spenglerese!"

John shook his head. "We don't have time to argue about this, guys...Fine, TJ take Eric with you. But watch out for his pick-up lines about tantric sex magic."

TJ shot an incredibly disapproving look toward Eric. The goggled man laughed nervously and backed away from her.

The foursome moved off in two seperate directions. "That was rather forceful, Johnathan..."

"Oh, shut up."

Eden smirked knowingly. She knew her brother too well...

Elizabeth the dog sighed. Norman was talking to her again.

"Well, yes, I know I did a great job on that interview...uh-huh...uh-huh...no, no, let me tell you: Ellen MacNiell clearly wants me, and who can blame her?"

There was a knock on the door. Draverhaven jumped and grabbed his Photon Pack, a crude looking device painted safety orange with a gun that looked like something from a bad fifties sci-fi movie.

"If it's the Jehovah's Witnesses again, I have no mercy!!!" Draverhaven growled as he threw open the door.

Standing there was a man with an eccentric wardrobe and the exact same haircut as Peter Venkman. It was Dr. Harlan Herbert Loone, his old college roommate.

"Norman...old friend..." Loone said weakly, staggering into the run down apartment. "I was afraid I wasn't going to make it in time. A horrible man named Romulus is plotting against me...and against you!"

"Who the hell is Romulus?" Draverhaven asked, perplexed.

"I need to explain...my time machine, the one I told you about in college....I got it to work and I visited the Twenty Fourth Century...Romulus is the dictator, he's dispatched agents into the past...our present...it's horrible...I had to warn you..."

"If we can't stop them...it will mean...it will mean..."

"Mean what?"

"It'll mean the end of the everything!!!"

Egon Spengler adjusted his tie.

Ray was watching cartoons and eating cereal as Egon entered the rec room. "Hey...what's up?"

Egon looked confused for a few seconds. "Um, nothing really...I..."

Ray stared at him. "What?"

"Well, Janine mentioned yesterday that she was having some problems with her home computer and I offered to take a look at it. I would hazard that all it needs is a defragmentation run on it, but I won't know that for sure until I actually study it. As this is her day off and we have no events scheduled this morning I volunteered to do so today. That's all."

"Okay. Have a good time. We know where to call if we have a problem." Ray replied simply and brightly.

"Um...yes..." Egon stammered, realizing he'd instinctively given the kind of rambling, self-defensive answer he would've had to give Venkman under the circumstance. But Venkman was a good three hours from awakening. "Right."

Ray didn't reply, munching down another bite of his Sugar Bombs.

When Egon left the room, Ray laughed deep and hard. He is soooo in love with her...

"So...okay, Lady Scotland Yard, where do we start looking?"

TJ booted up some data on her GBX. "According to Delphia's information, Norman Draverhaven is the best place to start. She appears to have downloaded his current address--that should be our first stop."

"Can't argue there..." Eric smiled. "You're really kinda cute when you get all commanding and stuff..."

TJ snorted and rolled her eyes. "Oh, honestly...I begin to suspect Eden's hormonal derangement theory is correct."

"Just giving you a compliment, TJ, simmer down. Sheesh, no wonder you get along with her so well..."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"You just got similar hang-ups, that's all. Marie doesn't get all angry and defensive when we compliment her..."

"Marie is amused by you. I am not."

"What about JC? He amuse you?"

"What about Eden? Does the fact that she is clearly inattentive to you ever penetrate your thick skull?"

"Whoa..touched a nerve there?"

TJ made an exasperated snort and walked away.

"Hey...okay, I've known the Twins since we were kids--we practically grew up together after I was about five...and Eden is a fine piece of sculpture, I admit, but she's more like a sister to me..."

"Now who has touched a nerve?"

Eric fumed for a second. "Howsabout we call a truce? We just stick to the buisness at hand, and leave the arguing about our personal lives out of it?"

"That is something I can agree with." she shouted back curtly.

No wonder JC is sooo in love with her...

John and Eden paused as they looked upon the present day incarnation of Ghostbusters Central.

"It...looks so run-down..." John gasped. "I mean, it was used when the Ghostbusters bought it, and we're, what, about three years after the Gozer incident, but still..."

"Remember, Johnathan...this was before Doctor Stantz had the money to renovate it in the late Nineties..." Eden responded. "But still...you're quite right..."

"Remember what Delphia said." John said as the two walked to the front door.

"Watch what we say to prevent temporal contamination." Eden nodded.

Winston Zeddemore was working on the taillight of the ECTO-1 when two tall, good-looking people walked into the garage. An alarm bell went off in his head. They were wearing what looked, to him, like some wierd variant Ghostbuster garb complete with logo and proton packs.

"Can I help you?"

The red-haired male was even taller than Egon and built about as muscularly as Winston. "Wow...the original ECTO-1..." he whistled approvingly in a basso voice.

The blonde female walked up to him and fixed him in a gaze that was curious, amused, and vaguely...familiar. "Mister Zeddemore?" About then Winston realized she was also quite stunning, and her rich contralto was very pleasant.

"Yeah?"

"I wish to speak to..."

Peter Venkman materialized right next to her. All the more shocking as it wasn't noon yet, but with Peter Venkman some things rated higher than sleep, and tall, attractive blondes were probably one of them...

"I'm Doctor Venkman. Doctor Peter Venkman. You've come to the right place. How may I help you, my lovely Venus?" He put his arm around her shoulders, though it made every indication of heading further south if give a chance...

She firmly but gently removed his grip. "Don't make me mace you, Doctor Venkman."

The tall man grinned with amusement. "All the stories were true..."

"I can't help it, Milady...I've always been a sucker for tall women..."

"Doctor Venkman, we don't have time for this. We need to speak to Professor Spengler..."

"'Professor'?" Winston asked.

"Egon's not home right now. He's already got a girlfriend anyway..."

"We're counting on that." the tall redheaded man broke in, interposing himself between the blonde and Venkman. "But we need to talk to him, and quick."

Venkman looked just a tad nervous. "She...your girlfriend?"

"I'm from Brooklyn, not Hooterville. She's my sister."

"Almost as bad..."

"My name is Eden, and this is my brother Johnathan. If Professor Spengler is unavailable, is Doctor Stantz around?"

"Yeah..." Winston answered. "We just gotta pull him away from Dopey Dog Adventures"

Egon gulped hard as he came up to the nondescript apartment door. He fought off the sudden wish that Gozer or one of the Great Old Ones would suddenly appear on the next block, giving him a professional justification to cancel this appointment.

He had summoned his courage and was about to knock when the door unlatched and opened from within.

Janine stood there quietly for a moment, not wanting to admit that she'd been checking every three minutes or so for the last half hour. How desperate would that sound? she growled to herself, nevermind that he stood there looking so uncomfortable. It just melted her heart all over again. He always could.

"Good morning, Egon."

"Good morning, Janine."

She invited him in and he quickly...maybe a little too quickly...went over to her computer "Um...I did bring you something." he admitted hesitantly.

Her face brightened. "Really?"

He pulled out a box of floppy discs. "I thought you might have use for these."

"Um..."

He cocked an eyebrow. "You're probably assuming I just swiped these from Ray or something."

"Well, I..."

"Brand new, I assure you." He produced a reciept.

She grinned despite herself. She'd resigned herself to the fact that Egon Spengler was not the candy and flowers type--he was even more socially inept in the ways of romance than she was. It was part of what drew her to him. But she had come to know him well enough that this gesture meant something.

She hugged him and he stammered incoherently for a few seconds. He composed himself and wiped off his glasses (who's lenses had become mysteriously foggy) and sat down at her computer.

"Now...first of all...let me see the problem..."

He turned on the computer.

c;>

"That's odd. Why isn't the operating system completely booting?"

"You're the expert, Egon."

"Hm."

c;w

bad command or file name

"Hm..."

"I don't like that 'hm...'"

He tried again.

c;w

bad command or file name. asshole.

"Damn. It's the latest virus."

"How...how bad is it?"

"The good news is that I know how to fix it. The bad news is that it will take a couple of hours of defragmentation and purging the hard drive."

"Two hours?"

"Plus I will have to disconnect your phone line for a while--this particular virus can run havoc with modems and phone lines..." he hesitated. "If that's all right?"

Two hours alone with Egon Spengler? The phones out to keep anyone from calling them? She was liking this computer virus more and more all the time...

"You have got to be kidding me..." Eric snorted as he and TJ approached a run-down apartment building who's trash dumpster was currently on fire.

"1313 Larson Plaza" TJ confirmed. "This is Norman Draverhaven's address at this date, according to Lady Delphia." She flipped modes on her GBX. "There would appear to be...three life forms in the area."

"Draverhaven and his dog and...you don't think?"

"It's radiating a residual delta-charged PK trace."

Eric grimaced. "It has to be him."

"That would be my guess." TJ flipped a few more displays.

"But I thought we had three days..."

"There's nothing to say he didn't enter the timeline three days before the event..."

Inside the house, Draverhaven was talking to Elizabeth again when Loone stiffened.

"Norman! We have company!!!"

Loone pulled out a device looking like a remote control and started to study it. "There's a magic source very close by...and I think this is a temporal energy residual..." Loone grimaced. "I wish I knew how this thing worked better..."

"What?"

"Um..never mind...but it's clear that it must be some of Romulus's minions! I told you they would try and stop me!!!" With that, Loone pulled a safety orange gun out of his lab coat.

Draverhaven was similarly arming his photon pack. "Interesting weapon."

Loone smirked at him. "It's called a photon gun. I'm told it's based on your concept."

Draverhaven looked quite pleased. "I think I'm going to enjoy this..."

"Maybe you'd better not get any closer, TJ..."

TJ ignored him. "They're moving."

Eric's instincts were screaming at him

There was an explosion of light at TJ's feet, and something knocked her over.

"TJ!!!" Eric shouted.

Two disheveled men ran out of the house, one wearing a bulky orange pack, the other hefting a bright orange gun. "Eat photons!!!" the one with the smaller gun screamed, shooting at Eric.

Eric deflected it with countermagic, but it knocked him back--he wasn't totally prepared, and, worse, he suspected...There's something wrong with that attack...like there was magic in it...

"This them?" Draverhaven asked.

"Indeed!' Loone cried back. "The servants of Romulus!!!"

Jake went off. "If you serve Romulus, you are our enemies!!!" He brandished his strange weapon.

TJ picked herself off the ground woozily

Draverhaven fired his weapon, and it caught Eric full blast--it seemed to tear right through his mystic shield.

"Eric!!!" TJ screamed, and fired toward Draverhaven. She had no intention of hitting him, but he staggered back. Then he noticed something.

"IMPOSTER GHOSTBUSTERS!!!" he screamed, noticing for the first time the familiar red and white symbol on her jumpsuit "YOU'RE IMPOSTER GHOSTBUSTERS!!!"

TJ dodged a blast from Draverhaven's photon pack. "VENKMAN AND ROMULUS ARE WORKING TOGETHER!!! WILL THE INDIGNITY EVER END?!?!"

"You foul servants will have to tell your evil master his plan has failed--assuming that you ever get the chance!!!" Loone was shouting.

Eric pulled himself off the ground. He was basically unhurt, he discovered, but his head was full of fuzz...he tried to throw up another shield as Loone blasted him again.

I..I can't cast...it's like...my PK field has been totally disrupted!!!

"TJ!!! We gotta get outa here!!!" he shouted, pulling his thrower.

"I concur." She fired another shot to keep the foursome back.

Draverhaven fired back at her.

Proton stream and photon beam met.

As it turns out, Ray was watching Murray the Mantis, not Dopey Dog

"Whoa!!!" A basso voice Ray had never heard before said excitedly. Ray turned to see Venkman and Winston accompanied by a tall, redheaded man and a tall, blonde woman. "This is the episode where the Hypno-Snake rearranges the furniture in Murray's apartment!!! This was the coolest!!!" the redheaded man was gasping.

"Huh?" Ray asked, confused.

Murray the Mantis opened the door to his apartment, still grumbling about the strange encounter with the Herb King...and did an exaggerated wild take

"SOMEONE'S REARRANGED THE FURNITURE IN MY APARTMENT!!!" Murray cried.

The screen cut to the Hypno-Snake, laughing hysterically "My brilliant revenge!!! Muh ha ha ha ha ha!!!"

John laughed hysterically. "C'mon, Eden...you remember this one!!!"

"Of course I do, Johnathan, but..."

Ray's eyes narrowed. "How did you know that? This is an all-new episode!!!"

John froze. "Oh crap."

"Simmer down, Brother, this might be a blessing in disguise." Eden said, placing a hand on his shoulder.

Venkman swaggered towards Ray. "Be gracious, Ray...this gorgeous creature and her brother have come seeking our help." He sidled back up to Eden. "And I for one will do whatever she asks of me."

Ray, Winston, and both newcomers rolled their eyes in unison.

"Doctor Stantz..." Eden said firmly, once more removing Venkman's arm before it could wander to places she'd rather it didn't. "My name is Eden, and this is my brother Johnathan Christopher. We know this particular episode because we've seen it in reruns. I believe the first time was when we were five years old."

None of the three Ghostbusters moved.

"Okay, it's like this." John broke in. "We're from the future. We can't say exactly when, but let's just say circa 2020, and we were sent back here to make sure history occurs as our timeline says it should."

All three Ghostbusters gasped.

"Time travellers? Wow!!!" Ray said, clearly excited. He ran from the room quickly.

"So you know Micheal J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd, then?" Winston joked, not sure yet whether he believed this.

"I can dig younger women..." Venkman was saying, trying to caress Eden's arm.

Ray ran back into the room, PKE meter in hand. "Delta particle residuals...wow...they're telling the truth!!! Egon is gonna be so pumped!!!"

"Where is....Professor Spengler, Doctor Stantz?" Eden asked him.

"He's off at Janine's fixing her computer and if we're lucky breeding the next generation..." Venkman smirked. "Hey, maybe I aughta ask how that turns out? You know any of their kids?"

John cocked an eye at Venkman. "I'm afraid I can't answer that question, Doctor Venkman. There's too much of risk of temporal contamination."

"Yeah, Peter...don't ask any more questions about that, no matter how much we want to..."

Winston stood quiet and thoughtful. He seemed to be studying John and Eden quite closely.

"So you're Ghostbusters from the future. Cool." Venkman stated simply.

"How'd you guess that?" John asked.

Eden looked scornfully at Venkman for a few seconds. Then she crossed her arms--thier uniforms featured the Ghostbuster logo on their chest patches (a quick modification made at Delphia's insistance--to remove the name tags). "Yes, it's still there, Doctor Venkman."

Venkman looked at the ceiling with mock innocence.

"We really need to talk to Professor Spengler." John restated firmly, moving between Venkman and his sister.

"I'll call Janine's pronto!!!" Ray cried excitedly. He really was excited about this.

As it turns out, Egon and Janine weren't at her apartment.

Egon had discovered a junction burnt out in her computer, and they were currently riding in her yellow Volkswagon back from an electronics store to get the part he needed.

"Um...wouldn't the expressway have been quicker?"

Janine winked mischieviously. "Aw, c'mon...this is the scenic route. Maybe we can stop and get some lunch or something. My treat."

Egon chuckled nervously. But didn't say no.

"She's not answering..." Ray said with concern.

Venkman's cheshire grin just intensified.

"You...don't think Doctor Venkman is correct, do you?" Eden asked John.

John shook his head. "He can't be. It'd go against everything we know about them at this time frame. It's too..." John trailed off, realizing he was close to revealing something he shouldn't.

Just about then, several instruments upstairs began to go crazy. As did the small devices clipped to John and Eden's belts.

"What the hell?" Winston growled, convinced that it wasn't coincidence.

Ray ran upstairs to check the instruments as John booted up a display on his GBX.

"Nifty gizmo..." Winston whistled. "That the latest incarnation of the PKE meter?"

"Of a sorts, Mister Zeddemore." Eden answered. "But a lot more as well--you won't believe what microminiaturization of electronics is going to do over the next few decades..."

Ray ran down the stairs. "There's been some sort of proton backlash!!! Like two particle streams crossed for a fraction of a second! Thank goodness the frequencies must not have been synchronized or..."

"Hm..." John was scowling at another display, with an intense look that Winston couldn't help but find strangely familiar. "My readings concur with the proton backlash, Doctor Stantz. But there's something else--I've lost TJ's signal. And Eric's too."

"Who are they?"

Eden looked at John for a second, measuring her response. "Eric and Tessa are our companions. They are other Ghostbusters from the future."

"She's...they're in trouble." John snapped, putting the GBX back on his belt.

"Do not assume that!!!" Eden grabbed him. "We can't risk hasty action!!"

"There was a proton backlash and their GBX's went offline--don't try to convince me that's coincidence!!! We know who they were going after!!!"

Venkman adopted an uncharacteristically serious tone. "Maybe we better get moving, Egon or no Egon..."

Egon and Janine were aware of the explosion too. They saw it. They felt it.

"Egon, what in Adonai's name is that?!"

Egon blinked for a few seconds. "The chromatics would almost seem to indicate..." he pulled out his PKE meter. It made some angry noises when he activated it.

"Egon?"

"A proton backlash...but the energy fallout signature is odd. It's like two particle beams were crossed, but they weren't synchronized..."

"Head that way?"

"You even need to ask?" he smirked. Sometimes it unnerved him how well she knew him, but right now was not one of those times.

Within ten minutes, the little yellow Volkswagen pulled up to the source of the energy flow.

1313 Larson Plaza

'You have got to be kidding me..." Janine said upon seeing the apartment.

"Fascinating." Egon mused, studying his ever-present PKE meter. " A complete local PK inversion...this is most..."

"Egon! Look!!! People!!!"

There were two people lying on the ground. One was a man with curly brown hair, the other a short woman with long, dark hair.

"The girl is breathing..." Janine told Egon.

"As is the male." he confirmed. "Janine, did you notice they appear to be wearing some kind of variant Ghostbuster uniforms?"

"Yeah...what is this? Ghostbuster wanna-be week?" she snorted, moving closer to Egon. "At least Draverhaven didn't pilch the logo..."

The curly haired man began to awaken...he opened his eyes, saw Egon and Janine, and cried out "Wow! Professor Spengler! Mrs..." and he abruptly stopped and gulped hard. "Ms. Melnitz!!! This is great!!!"

"What were you about to call me?" Janine asked suspiciously.

"JC and Eden must have came through for me--where's TJ?!"

Egon put a hand on the young man. "Don't try to get up until we ascertain the nature of your injuries. And I am afraid I have no inkling as to any of the names you just mentioned."

"JC and Eden didn't bring you here? But they were going to go to the firehouse to find you..."

"Egon, I think this kid got hit in the head or something."

The other stranger was awakening. "I think I shall decline on repeating that experience, thank you very much..." she mumbled in an uppercrust English accent.

The man sighed with relief. "Glad you're okay, TJ. Hate the thought of JC pulling my arms off and stuffing them up my butt..."

"Would one of you please explain what is going on here?" Egon said simply but sternly.

The man gulped again.

The woman stood up and answered. "My name is Tessa and this is Eric. We were sent here to your era from the future--circa 2020 AD is all I'm allowed to say--to prevent the timeline from being intensely disrupted."

"Then you're Ghostbusters from the future?"

"Correct, Professor."

"That would explain the delta energy residuals in the area. It's consistant with a temporal shunt."

Janine found herself studying the two "future Ghostbusters". TJ she didn't know from the man in the moon, but darned if there wasn't something familiar in Eric's dimples and eyes...

Ray Stantz was having similar thoughts as he piloted the ECTO-2 towards Canarsie. John and Eden are from the future...they won't answer any of our questions, but I can't help but wonder...it's like there's something familiar about them both...And he tried not to dwell too much on the fact that he was sharing the ride with a really good looking blonde...something that didn't happen to him very often.

Eden was in the second seat of the ECTO-2. She had heard plenty of horror stories about Ray Stantz's piloting skills, but in the end decided she might be safer there than within arm's reach of Peter Venkman. She'd heard plenty of horror stories about the young Venkman's...rapacious qualities, but was wholly unprepared for the real deal. Especially as...she hated to admit...the man did have a certain kind of charm...

They landed on the roof of Janine's apartments and both went down the stairs as calmly as they could. Eden went to the door and activated her GBX.

"I'm not detecting either of their PK traces. They're not here."

"At least...not alive..." Ray gulped.

"If they had been....murdered here, the PK rupture would be leaving a distinct signal. You know that, Doctor Stantz."

Ray nodded. He knew she was right---when a creature died there was a momentary flare up of the psychokinetic energy associated with their life force. It was why all the evil cults used sacrifices--animal or, in the most foul of cases, human--to power their magic rituals.

"Could...you detect them anywhere with that device?"

"Normally, the range for a human biosignal is several dozen kilometers--when we arrived this morning, we only detected...Miss Melnitz at this location." She shut off the display. "But the PK inversion caused by the proton backlash has disrupted the entire near-area PK grid. Until the disruption dies down in a few hours, my GBX is scarecely much better than your own meters."

She looked at Ray. "Knowing Professor Spengler as I do, there is one more possibility."

Ray nodded. "He had Janine drag him out to the blast sight." She nodded back.

"So, John...just what the hell can you tell us about what's going on?" Winston asked. He was driving the ECTO-1, his still tender...posterior padded with a pillow from home.

John looked up from his GBX and cocked an eyebrow (a gesture that Venkman found amusingly familiar). "Okay, Mister Zeddemore. We owe you that. It goes like this: you know of Norman Draverhaven and Herbert Loone?"

Venkman made an extremely rude noise.

"Yeah..." Winston confirmed. "Just last night Draverhaven made a lot of noise on Channel Six. Claims he's the 'real' Ghostbuster and we're just frauds."

"In three days, according to the history as it's recorded in our time line, you'll do something that will prove him wrong. Deal a blow to his image so devestating that he'll never recover from it--Norman Draverhaven will become a laughingstock. Letterman will make jokes about him for weeks..."

"Couldn't happen to a nicer prancing, mincing, nose-stuck-in-the-air asshole..." Venkman snorted.

"But here's the thing." John continued. "We're not the only ones that know that. That's where Loone comes in..."

"Loone...I remember that jerk..." Venkman sniffed. "He's like, obsessed with being just like me. I can't fault his taste, but that's creepy behavior from a man."

"...Right." John agreed. "According to our...informant, a guy in the Twenty Fourth Century who's only identified to us as 'Romulus', Loone was also a college roomate of Draverhaven's. And he apparently succeeded in creating a time machine and visiting the 24th century."

Winston looked pained for a moment. "Good googly moogly..."

Eden was explaining the same thing to Ray as the ECTO-2 headed toward the blast sight.

"Loone was greeted by a cult leader, who apparently convinced him that the future was a dictatorship under Romulus's control. She used the truth of Draverhaven's embarrassment, combined with...her natural gifts..."

"She got him all hot?" Ray chuckled.

Eden coughed. "So I gather. She convinced him that Draverhaven, if he hadn't been embarrassed, could've prevented Romulus's ascention. Thusly, he has decided to try and prevent his embarrassment. And the most expeditious way to do that--is through the five of you, the source of Draverhaven's embarrassment and eventual downfall."

"So how does he mean to do that?" Ray asked, afraid of the answer.

"Quite frankly..." Eric explained to Egon and Janine. "He means to kill one of you."

Janine gasped, and Egon's serious expression deepened.

"Any idea which one of us?" Janine asked hesitantly.

"It could be any one of you." TJ added. "The five of you are a team of complementary characteristics. The loss of any one of you would have consequences for your effectiveness."

"Five?" Egon asked.

"What do you mean five? God you better not mean Slimer..."

"I think he means Janine, Pete."

"But she's not a Ghostbuster."

John measured his words carefully, a lot more popping into his mind than he felt safe saying. "She may not sling a proton pack very often, but she can when she needs too--and when she does, it's under circumstances where that one gun can make a difference. But also because she keeps you company running when the rest of you are preoccupied with your own interests. She's indispensable to the future turning out the way we know it does."

"I for one wouldn't argue with that, John." Winston smirked.

John studied Winston for just a second. He knew that Winston Zeddemore was a sharper cookie than he was widely given credit for, being on a team of PhDs (including two future Nobel Prize winners). If anyone could make that guess...he mused to himself.

Ray chuckled. "I know that...we all know that, even Peter no matter how much he complains when he has to pay her...now if only someone could crack Egon's thick skull..."

Eden gave him an enigmatic smile. She couldn't help herself.

"In other words, she's as much a part of the Ghostbuster legend as you or Doctor Venkman are" Eric finished explaining.

Egon cocked and eyebrow, a faint smile on his lip. "And as it should be."

Janine couldn't think of anything to say, and was saved from a response by a familiar propellor sound. "Egon...over there!!! Isn't that ECTO-2?"

"Indeed..."

Eric and TJ looked at each other.

"If Loone succeeds, then the whole of history as we know it will be screwed." John continued. "I'm probably not telling you anything you couldn't guess when I say there are still some major battles coming in your future...I don't know if Loone hopes that with you guys dead and/or marginalized, Draverhaven and maybe Loone himself will assume your role in the flow of events, but my own analysis of Draverhaven and Loone leads me to believe that that is impossible. They simply don't have your level of knowledge and proficiency."

Venkman scratched his nose, uncharacteristically quiet.

John continued. "And look at the patch on my uniform. I'm part of your legacy as well, just like Eden, Eric, TJ, Marie, and the ones who came after you and before us." Johnathan Christopher paused, taking careful measure of his next words. "At least some of you are destined to have children. I know them. Kill the right one of you...and they'd never exist."

Winston gunned the ECTO-1's motor, wishing the traffic would get out of his way.

"Wh...where are we?" Draverhaven said groggily.

"In a null-space zone I created at the last second to avoid the tass inversion..." Loone explained, lights blinking on his weird arm band.

"Just what is all of this about, anyway? You never got finished explaining that..." Draverhaven noted.

"It...it's like this, Norman. In three days time, according to the histories of the future, in three days time the other Ghostbusters are destined to stop the Sleaze once and for all."

Draverhaven blinked

"Venkman... is going to stop the Sleaze?! That's impossible!!!"

Loone shook his head. "They will trap him and place him in their containment system. He'll never be seen again."

Draverhaven shouted, brimming with deep anger. "SLEAZE IS MY ENEMY!!! MINE!!! VENKMAN CAN'T HAVE HIM!!!"

"With the Sleaze taken care of by the fake Ghostbusters, nobody will take you seriously anymore..." Loone continued. "You'll end up...obscure and unknown. Worse, it will allow Romulus to rise to power: she was quite clear about that: 'Romulus comes from them'."

Draverhaven brooded for a few seconds. "And you know a way to stop this?"

"It's quite simple, Norman. We kill one of them. Any one of them."While they're grieving, they won't be out busting trhe Sleaze. And with the perfect dynamic of the Five Who Are One disrupted, they will no longer be able to handle the challenges still ahead. Someone else will have to. You, Norman, can have all of the fame and glory that they will undeservedly reap otherwise." Loone paused dramatically. "And save the world from Romulus in the bargain."

"Any one of them?" Draverhaven asked slowly, clearly relishing the idea. Norman Draverhaven's face contorted into a very wicked grin.

The ECTO-2 landed at 1313 Larson Plaza, and out popped Ray Stantz and a tall, blonde woman that Egon and Janine had never seen before. Eric gulped hard.

"I shoulda guessed you'd be here already Egon..." Ray said with a chuckle, slapping his old friend on the arm.

"You should know better by now, Raymond." Egon stared at the woman behind him. "This, I presume, is Eden?"

Eden shook Egon's hand nervously. "A pleasure to meet you, Professor Spengler."

"Whoa..." Ray was saying as he introduced himself to Eric and TJ. "John didn't say anything about two cute girls on his team..."

Eric couldn't help but smirk. "Yeah, he wouldn't. Heavy into emotional denial, that one is..."

TJ slugged him in the back.

Ray shook his head. "Yeah, I know the type..." he spared a glance over at Egon. "Boy, temporal integrity sucks, because I really wish I could ask you who you're probably reminding me of."

Eric tugged his collar, and a bead of sweat came down his forehead.

"Uh, yeah..." Ray said sheepishly. "Did I mention I really like the goggles?"

Janine, meanwhile, had broken between Egon and Eden to disrupt the lingering stare down the two seemed to be having. "An' I'm Janine Melnitz, though maybe you knew that?" she said just a little brusquely.

Eden looked confused and hurt for a second. "But I..." A pause to process her next statement. "I apologize Miss Melnitz. It is indeed a greater honor than I can explain to meet you as well. And, um, believe me---you have nothing to be jealous of."

Egon looked confused for a second. "Jealous? Of what?"

"I cannot....hold the dimension hole much longer, Norman..." Loone noted, sparks starting to fly out of his arm band.

Then something else came into view. A white 1959 Cadillac hearse with flashing lights and a familiar logo on it's sides. A black man in an aqua and red jumpsuit, a tall redheaded man in a purple and red jumpsuit, and a boyish man with brown hair in a brown and blue jumpsuit got out of the vehicle.

Draverhaven's eyes glinted. "Now..."

"Okay, Egon...just what did you do this time?" Venkman was saying brightly as he walked over to the assembled group. "And better watch you hands with that one--her brother's real mean..."

The tall, redheaded man went over to Eden first. "Where are they?"

"I don't know."

Eric looked unnerved. "It still scares me when I hear one of you two say that..."

"I know that feeling too..." Ray grinned.

"And you, Miss TJ..." Venkman said, kissing her gloved hand. "Nice to see not all short women are mouthy and unpleasant..."

"EXCUSE ME?" a loud Brooklyn voice interjected.

TJ rolled her eyes. John sidled next to her. "Don't you ever quit, Doctor Venkman?"

"Not if I can help it." Venkman replied, flashing his trademark cheshire grin.

"You then, I would presume, are Eden's brother, John?" Egon asked, shaking the man's hand.

"You presume correctly, Professor." John replied. "It's great to meet you, even under the circumstance...and you too, Miss Melnitz."

Janine just stood and stared at him. Something incoherent came out of her mouth.

"Janine?" Egon asked, trying not to sound unnerved.

She couldn't help herself for staring. Though truth to tell, it was because he shared some of the things she found attractive about Egon...his tall physique, his chiselled features...most of all, the eyes...green instead of blue, but just as deep and penetrating.

"Um...Miss Melnitz?" John inquired.

Eric was stifling laughter. Eden gently backhanded him, and pulled out her GBX.

This got Egon's attention fast. "Fascinating."

"We call it a GBX--think of it as PKE meter, communication module, and even Ghost Trap rolled into one..." Eden explained.

Janine was shaking herself back to reality. "Oh, yeah...um, so you're John...nice name..."

Eden's eyes narrowed. "What is it?" Egon asked her, pulling his own PKE meter out.

"I am not sure yet..."

Egon's meter was now active. "I see what you mean...but between the PK inversion and the remaining delta signatures, it's hard to isolate..."

John's GBX was online too. "Try to filter the delta-42 harmonic..."

"Hmm..."

"Recalibrate to quantize the omega mu sine wave..." Egon barked. "I will assume you two know the quantum flux modulus?"

"We've been doing Spengler's modulus since we were five..." John smirked.

"Johnathan..." Eden said firmly. "I think I have it...adjust to setting psi omega 67"

"They're safely in Geek World" Venkman deadpanned.

"Wow..." Ray gasped. "They can do the modulus in their heads? Good grief...they're both really good if they can keep up with Egon...they're almost losing me..."

"A dimensional aperture!!!" Egon shouted.

"A PK generated phase of one-half second---and closing!" Eden confirmed.

John pulled his thrower. "It's Draverhaven and Loone!!! They're getting ready to..."

There was a blast of energy that threw the Ghostbusters of two eras in various directions, and when the light cleared Norman Draverhaven and Herbert Loone were standing there.

"Egon!!! You and Janine get back!!! You aren't armed!!" Winston ordered.

"VENKMAN!!!" Draverhaven roared, starting to fire toward the object of his hate.

Venkman dodged the shot, though barely. "Sheesh...some people take pantsing waaay too seriiously..."

"So what do we do now?" Winston asked John. "We can't blast them---they're not ghosts!"

"Um...well..we didn't think that far ahead..." John admitted.

"Nice to see some things never change."

"Eric!"

"No go on the mystic whammies, Edie--my PK field is still disrupted from Draverhaven's earlier shot"

"I'LL KILL YOU, VENKMAN!!! THAT'LL SHOW WHO'S THE REAL GHOSTBUSTER AND WHO ISN'T!!! IT'S ORDAINED--I KILL YOU AND I GET ALL THE GLORY THAT'D OTHERWISE BE WASTED ON YOU!!! " Draverhaven howled with madness and hate

Loone was shaking the fuzz out of his head, and when she opened his eyes, he looked onto the melee with satisfaction. The other Ghostbusters couldn't fight back without risking injuring their opponents, possibly mortally. Thusly, it was only a matter of time before Draverhaven completed his mission...before he ascended to the greatness he knew was due him...

Then he saw him. And his blood froze cold.

The battle seemed to stop when Loone rose up, bristling with angry energy. "I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU FOLLOWED ME HERE, YOU INTERFERING BASTARD, BUT YOUR DUPLICITY WILL NOT BE ALLOWED!!!"

"What the hell is he talking about?" Norman Draverhaven and Peter Venkman said in unison (ironically enough)

With an angry shout, he blasted his photon gun full power.

Johnathan Christopher didn't even have time to react. He took the blast full force, throwing him back a good twenty feet, tumbling a good ten more, before his large frame came to rest. His proton pack was demolished, his uniform almost completely burned away. His body was charred and blistered, and didn't move.

"JOHNATHAN!!!" TJ cried, unable to move.

"Oh, sh*t" Winston spat.

Eden called his name also, but Draverhaven had her covered..

But there was one person who could reach him. An instinct she couldn't name compelled Janine Melnitz to move--and she did.

"John?" she called to him, afraid to touch him. But she could see..."Breathing!!! He's still alive!!!"

Loone was there, eyes glinting with fury. "I will correct that mistake. He's more endurant than I anticipated."

"Over my dead body!!!" Janine snarled with an anger that surprised even her.

Loone grabbed Janine, pointing the photon gun at her temple. "That can be arranged. Maybe you're the one who has to die to fulfill our destiny."

"Janiiiine!!!" Egon snarled from behind the ECTO-1. He felt so helpless, and it was pissing him off.

"What the hell has she got against JC?" Eric asked, feeling just as helpless as Egon.

"Wait a f***ing minute!!!" Peter Venkman shouted out. He unstrapped his pack and deliberately threw it to the ECTO-1, where Egon could reach it. "She's not the one you want to kill, right? So howsabout we make a deal..." Venkman came out from under his cover and started to walk over to Loone. "Let her go, and blast me instead. That's what you really want, right?"

Loone and Draverhaven stared at Venkman, his eyes shining. "Very noble, Venkman..." He pushed Janine away and grabbed Venkman. "I accept"

Egon grabbed the still-dazed Janine and took her back under cover. "You all right?"

"Let me get my bearings..." she muttered. "I'll eviscerate the son of a bitch..."

Loone turned his attention back to John. "Starting to recover already? Yes...I see the old stories she told me...the rumors about you...were all true...it will make your destruction all the sweeter..."

John opened one eye to look at her...What the hell is he talking about?

"The photon pack normally only works on ghosts, Venkman. It disperses their mystic energy forcing them to recongeal, which usually takes a few days or sometimes weeks. Against a human, well, on normal setting only a mystic like the doof in the goggles has much to worry about, but at high gain it can disrupt a human life force. Totally."

"Just do it, Asshole. Kill me and get it over with. As soon as you're done with me, my friends will just toast you."

"I don't think they have the guts."

"Willing to stake your life on it, Dweeb?"

"I'll see you in Hell..."

Draverhaven leveled the photon gun.

Loone leveled his own weapon.

Seven Ghostbusters stood helpless.

Elizabeth bit Draverhaven on the rear end, hard.

He shouted with pain, his shot going wide and nearly hitting Loone, causing the other man to jump back.

Winston Zeddemore moved like lightning, grabbing Loone and belting him unconscious.

Venkman, meanwhile, took the opportunity to wrestle the photon blaster from Draverhaven's grip. Then he forceably drove his knee into the Draverhaven Family Jewels.

Egon, Janine, and the future Ghostbusters went over to John, Eden and TJ helping him up.

"Do not scare me like that again!!!" Eden was admonishing with equal parts anger and relief.

"You took quite a blast, JC..." Eric was commenting. "I could practically feel the backdraft from it. I thought for sure he put enough oomph in it to incinerate you!"

"You almost sound disappointed!!!" TJ spat out.

"Hey, wait!!! I didn't mean it like that!!!"

"We know you didn't, kid..." Janine reassured him, putting a hand on his shoulder.

John offered groggily. "I am eminently thankful..."

Janine hugged Egon tightly, not sure why she was so relieved this man she didn't even know was okay. But she was.

Egon hugged her back. He could sense her relief...and somehow, he discovered that he didn't feel threatened by it.

Ray and Winston were tending to Venkman. "I'm fine!!!" Venkman was gloating. "I told you the jerk had no backbone!!!"

"Looked like he was about to do it, to me..." Winston corrected.

Before they could go any further, Egon's meter began to react.

"Delta particle event? What..."

A shimmering doorway appeared. The Ghostbusters of the future recognized it as the same one that brought them to the Twentieth Century. On the other side, a tall woman with a severe, almost buzzed, cut of brown hair awaited them.

"This is our ride, I guess..." Eric explained.

"Ghostbusters..." Delphia called to them. "You have succeeded. Please gather Loone and prepare to return to your own time..."

Venkman, of course, was looking Delphia up and down like a side of beef. "So...anybody tell you I like tall women?"

"Don't even try it, Peter Venkman...your reputation well proceeds you..."

Venkman grinned. "I AM one for the ages."

"Will we ever see you again?" Ray asked the four future Ghostbusters.

"I can guarantee that, Raymond Stantz." Delphia answered for them.

Feeling it imprudent to continue further, the foursome went into the gate one by one---John now feeling good enough to hoist the muttering, semiconscious Loone over his shoulder.

"What about Loone?" Winston asked Delphia.

"He will be returned to your own time as soon as we verify that he is no longer a threat to temporal integrity. And the party truly responsible for his actions is dealt with." After sparing one last wave, the gate closed, and the Ghostbusters of the Twentieth Century were alone once more.

"Wow..." Ray was saying, shaking his head excitedly. "Ghostbusters from the future...there's so much I wish I could've asked them..."

"I know" Venkman said brightly "Not much---just next weeks lotto numbers"

Egon stood comtemplative. "I wonder who they were..."

Winston answered him silently. I got a theory or two...

Epilog One
Three Days Later
The disgusting creature howled with rage and desperation as the four particle beams held him in place. "This suuuuuuuucks!!!"

And with that, Peter Venkman released the foot petal and closed the trap on the whining creature.

"Y'know, when I found out this was the guy who gave Dweeb so much trouble, I thought he'd be tougher...we busted him and his whole gang in, what, half an hour?"

Ray, Egon, and Winston were adding their own smoking traps to the pile.

The four laughed and began the drive back to Ghostbusters Central.

"So you finish analyzing Dweeb and Loone's stuff, yet?" Venkman asked.

"Indeed." Egon responded. "The photon pack is quite an interesting concept, though it suffers the same flaw as the ionizing particle throwers utilized by Robo-Buster: the entity hit would simply recongeal in a short amount of time."

"I'm just surprised that they left Loone's stuff" Winston noted. "I woulda' figured that 'temporal integrity' thing'd have a problem with that."

"We wondered that too..." Ray admitted. "And the reason is simple: it's junk."

" 'Junk'?" Venkman asked incredulously.

"The 'time travel band' was indeed saturated with PK residue" Egon explained. "However, the systemry itself was defective and inoperable. Taking everything else we know about the incident, I would theorize that the...cult...that enlisted Loone brought hiim there for that purpose through supernatural means, and only allowed him to think his device had worked."

"That's even scarier in ways." Winston said.

"Indeed." Egon agreed.

"Let's just hope that Delphia and Romulus have this thing in hand, then..." Ray added.

Epilog Two
2023 CE
"They just left a few hours ago, Professor..." Jeremy was telling the tall, white-haired fellow glaring at him. "I mean, I thought they'd just pop out, pop back, and there you go--I mean, it's time travel, right?"

The tall man, in his sixties by this point, grumphed "It is clear that you do not understand basic temporal synchronocity, Mister Cranston..."

"Egon, quit trying to scare him" the short, grey-haired lady scolded him gently. She had a noticeable Brooklyn accent.

"Hmmmph..."

The third old-timer, a short, plump man with a bald pate and snowy beard resembling Santa Claus (and got a big thrill out of playing the role every year) chuckled and shook his head.

"So, Uncle Ray..." Tsukiko Marie Lupin (usually referred to by her middle name) asked the plump man. "How long do you think it will take, then..."

"Hmm...I can't really say with certainty...it's been forty years and the memories aren't clear..."

"I've theorized that there's a Fourth Law of Temporal Integrity that causes memories of time travellers to blurr and fade abnormally..." the tall man started to say. The grey haired woman gently clapped a hand over his mouth.

Something began to call for the tall man's attention on his belt. He produced a GBX and studied it. "Delta waves...I would thus theorize they are returning..."

The shimmering doorway opened and Delphia appeared. The three elderly people were well aquainted with her by now---the day in the park some forty years before was not their only meeting.

"Professor Spengler...Mrs. Spengler...Doctor Stantz..." Delphia nodded.

"Lady Delphia" Professor Egon Spengler nodded back.

With that, four familiar faces stepped out of the doorway, which faded away.

"I take a day off and you go on a trip through time without me..." Marie grumbled jokingly.

"You can take my place next time." TJ Anderson retorted, sharing a quick smirk with her friend.

"Wowsers, Pop..." Eric Stantz was saying to his father. "Let me tell you, time travel is pretty cool...Mom not here?"

Doctor Raymond Stantz shook his head. "Nah...she's working on one of her little projects, and you know how she is."

Janine Melnitz Spengler grabbed both of her children by the ear and drug them over for the perfunctory lecture. No mean feat, considering her son was almost a foot and a half taller than her.

"Johnathan Christopher and Eden Marie Spengler, you two have got to stop worrying your poor, old, grey-haired mother like this!!!"

Egon smirked with affection and rolled his eyes. Janine could sometimes simply be the Stereotypical Jewish Mother.

"Uh...we're sorry?" Johnathan Christopher stammered.

"Profusely sorry?" Eden offered.

"Well, okay then" Janine beamed, releasing them. "I brought chocolate chip cookies--assuming your father didn't eat them like I told him not to."

Egon cocked an eyebrow. "After all of these years, I know better than that."

"Then we had better get them before Slimer finds out they're here." Eden said simply, causing a round of knowing laughter.

As the Ghostbusters and their predecessors filed up the stairs, Johnathan Christopher Spengler found himself lost in thought for a moment. Why is it Loone freaked out when he saw me, anyway? And what is up with Delphia giving me that eye all the time? Hm...maybe I'll never know...

Epilog Three
The Twenty-Fourth Century
The shimmering portal opened again, and Delphia Tesmihirus gazed upon her Twenty-First Century self. though seperated by three hundred odd years of time, they looked no different save the differences in their clothing.

"I take it the mission was successful?" the older Delphia asked.

"Yes." the younger answered. "If Lord Romulus would oblige..."

The man standing next to the elder Delphia went up to the portal and took Loone from the younger Delphia. "My thanks, Lady Delphia"

"Always in the service of the proper flow of history..." the younger Delphia nodded, and faded away.

Beside him, a lady in an ornate black robe blanched visibly.

"Felice Aragon Rivera D'Amato..." Romulus said sternly, pulling the woman to her feet. "On behalf of Ghostbusters Intergalactic you are hereby under arrest for attempting to violate the integrity of the time line..."

Felice cursed to herself, her failure complete. She'd failed. They had even ferretted out her true name, so she had no where to hide. "How, Romulus...how did you do that?"

She stared at the six-six man, his green eyes and red hair as far as she could tell identical to the man Loone had seen in the Twentieth Century. He even wore the same colors, purple and red, though the cut of his outfit was different--a white strap went over his left shoulder, emblazoned with a smiley face with a bullet hole through it's forehead.

"That's for me to know and you to probably never find out." his basso voice rumbled, in perfect turn of the Millenium English. Several uniformed Ghostbusters led Felice out of the room.

"The Lords of the Kordath will get revenge for this, Restless Warrior!!! Mark my words!!!"

"Yeah, I've had about enough of that for one day, thank you..." Romulus smirked as she was led out of earshot

"So everything will occur as it was ordained..." Delphia mused.

"Yeah." Romulus replied. "Draverhaven and Loone, once we send him back, go into the looney bin until budget cuts in the early Nineties throw them out on the street, where they refuses to accept any help. They pretty much fade away, except one minor incident years later."

"I would say that the Twenty First Century Ghostbusters did well. They preserved the temporal integrity well. A difficult task, especially with the volatility of Egon and Janine Spengler's timelines over the next few years..."

"I know" Romulus smirked. "I think Winston figured out who Eric and the Twins were, but he knows how to keep his mouth shut. But you're right--the wrong word and it could've really messed things up. I could have never been born at all. Or worse..." Romulus shuddered, his face pinched with a sour thought "...I could've been a Tully..."

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