GEMINI RISING
PART SIX

By Fritz Baugh


GBI Case File GBNY-1999-16/613
Interlude
There was a wheezing, groaning noise that split the silence.

A woman with short dark hair, and an old man sitting in a high-tech chair appeared from the ether. "What is this place?" the man asked.

"The domain of someone I think you probably would've gotten along well with, Ulforce." the woman replied, a slight smirk despite the grave state of things. "Sarim-Lar, Lord of the Izumo, the Warrior of the Thunders. And perhaps most intriguingly of all, the self-declared Voice of Knowledge."

Ulforce looked around, and stood up from his chair. He walked with a slight limp. "You knew him?"

"Not directly. But the Techno-Mage did...even Zandrik met him once, not long after the turning of the Age in 1991. For many centuries, he was rival to another being who coveted knowledge: the Master of Shadows."

Ulforce looked at her. "With everything else going on, why are we here, Delphia?"

"Sarim-Lar's null zone is at a different nexus of temporal activity than mine--one more advantageous to our efforts. And from here...perhaps..."

"Perhaps what?"

"I had intended for many years to visit this place, ever since something happened that doesn't very often: a prophesy of the Forever Swimmer, the oldest of the Children, has proven false."

Ulforce looked shocked.

"She forsaw the Fall of the Lord of Knowledge at the Cusp of the Millenium, and that he would fall at the hands of his final student: one of the Five Who Are One. Professor Egon Spengler."

"That's impossible." Ulforce shook his head. "I wasn't the Professor's closest confidant, but neither he nor Doctor Venkman ever indicated..."

"But that's just it, Ulforce--he didn't serve as Sarim-Lar's student. When the time Nuranalla saw came, Spengler was indeed carried away by the Lord of the Izumo, and tested. But he refused the offer. He was returned to Earth--and Sarim-Lar was instead destroyed by someone else."

Delphia inhaled. "It is time we find out who..." She gestured. "Ars...intelligo...tempus..."

The light around them swirled...and then, phantom images came into focus...

Professor Egon Spengler stood there, a ball of light near his hand. He looked younger than Ulforce ever remembered seeing him--but at the same time, with eyes showing a weariness he never saw either. He was in a sweater and tie..his hair curiously limp and simply gathered at the back.

Facing Egon was a giant anthropomorphic beetle, with a maroon carapace, standing some seven feet high. It's head, though, was bloated, with a huge, pulsating brain apparently having broken through it's helmet-like covering. Four of it's limbs resembled arms, but the last two were thicker, and more resembled legs...and were covered in a rather incongrous garment that looked, for all the world, like khaki cargo pants.

"Sarim-Lar?" Ulforce asked.

"Yes." Delphia replied.

"Your offer sounds generous, make no doubt about that. But I cannot accept it." Egon inhaled deeply, and turned to face the creature, his eyes hardening with determination. "It's a false choice--because my emotions. My humanity. Are just as much a part of who I am as my mind."

There was a rumbling. The sound of thunder.

Egon stood his ground.

"It was my humanity that allowed me to pass your tests...if I had never known Ray Stantz, I probably never would have recognized the first puzzle as being from an episode of Doctor Who. My theological discussions with Winston Zeddemore were what impressed upon me the meaning of the chicken and egg conundrum. And strangely enough, as my parents didn't believe in toys, it was a jock freshman named Peter Venkman who introduced me to the one your third test emulated."

"My feelings don't shackle me, Lord Izumo--they're what drive me to achieve what I have."

The creature stood silent for ten long seconds. A sparkling of violet light played around his armored carapace.

Then he flexed his hand, and the ball of light it held dissapated.

"You disappoint me, Egon Spengler. Very well, then...return to your shattered, miserable human life...wallow in the inane affairs of the chattering apes you call your friends. Burn with the frustrated lust for the one that spurned you. One day, you will look back upon your life and regret this decision..."

Egon vanished into a haze of light...

The insect like creature seethed. "All this time and effort...a mind capable of shattering the universe...what a waste."

"That's funny, Sarim-Lar...I once said the same about you."

The creature turned, and a black garbed man was standing there.

"Who are you, to talk to the Voice of Knowledge so brazenly?!" the creature snarled, the violet lightning starting to play about him again. "I will not..."

Sarim-Lar stopped cold in mid threat. "YOU?!" the creature recoiled. "But this is impossible!!!"

"Impossible? When I'm standing right here, beam primed to deliver the same fate that was in store for you anyway?"

"I...I..." the creature stammered. "I don't...I don't understand!!!"

"That's exactly what the Master of Shadows said when he was defeated."

The beam fired.

"Josiah Nodus destroyed Sarim-Lar?" Ulforce said, even more shocked than earlier.

Delphia looked as close to shocked herself as he'd ever seen her. In truth...it'd been a very long time since anything had surprised her to this magnitude. "Nodus...the Knot with no past. The man who interfered with the Zodiac Lords and now threatens reality itself. Who could this man be? How could he have gained this power without us realizing it? Why did he interfere with what we foresaw? Who is this man?!"

"We know one thing, from the sounds of it." Ulforce mused. "It was someone Sarim-Lar knew. And feared."

End Interlude
Peter Venkman had trouble believing what he was seeing.

Standing right in front of him, his three Ghostbuster companions, their secretary, and the mysterious woman called "Pollux", was the man they had just defeated: Albert Einstein Nodus, and five weird-looking people--four men and one woman--dressed in pastel-colored parodies of their own flight suits, carrying what even looked to be some sort of bizarre proton packs.

The four men all looked like they were at least sixty years old. One was a black man, with greying hair, dressed in aqua and red. There was a pudgy, balding one in blue and pink. The tall one with the blond crew cut and ponytail wore the same colors, and was holding some sort of device with sparking prongs. There was a woman with long red hair, wearing a vomitously pink and blue jump suit. But the worst one had to be the stupid-looking one with the brown mullet in a brown and blue-green outfit.

"Oh hell..." Venkman muttered, and charged his neutrona wand.

Peter Venkman had trouble believing what he was seeing.

Standing right in front of him, his three Ghostbuster companions, their secretary, and the mysterious man called "Romulus", was the woman they had just defeated: Marie Curie Nodus, and the cast of the two movies that had been made based on the Ghostbusters' adventures. Sortof.

Peter was a little confused, though. Ernie Hudson didn't have white streaks in his hair like this guy did. Dan Aykroyd, well, okay, he looked fine...but the last time he'd seen Harold Ramis he was much greyer and much fatter than the one he was seeing. Why in the world was Annie Potts sporting that same haircut she'd had in 1989? And what was that egotistical ass Bill Murray, who'd kept sneering and refusing to do any more Ghostbuster stuff, doing here in full Ghostbuster uniform: tan jump suit, movie prop proton pack, the whole nine yards?

"Aw nuts..." Peter muttered, and charged his neutrona wand.

They were in the Null Zone headquarters of the one called Nodus, the one who had shredded time to pieces on June 13, 1999, by abducting two infants. She had been sent, along with one other, to try and restore time to it's proper flow. She'd found herself in a world she barely recognized, one where much of what could've gone wrong in her world did. With the distorted versions of the Five Who Are One, they'd defeated a opponent with an impossible likeness and claim, and made their way here.

Now standing before her was...dare she hope?

"Romulus?" she asked, tentatively.

They were in the Null Zone headquarters of the one called Nodus, the one who had shredded time to pieces on June 13, 1999, by abducting two infants. He had been sent, along with one other, to try and restore time to it's proper flow. He'd found himself in a world he barely recognized, a bubbly caricature of the one he knew. With the distorted versions of the Five Who Are One, they'd defeated a opponent with an impossible likeness and claim, and made their way here.

Now standing before him was...dare he hope?

"Pollux?" he asked, tentatively.

The man in red and purple, and the woman in blue and pink stepped toward each other. The blond man raised an eyebrow--the colors the woman was wearing, he realized, were the same as his. "This is Pollux?"

"Fascinating...." the man who looked like Harold Ramis mused. "So this, then, is Romulus..."

"Egon..." the woman who looked like Annie Potts said. The blond man looked at her when she said this. "Why does Romulus look exactly like Albert Nodus?"

"Gosh, Egon!!!" the woman in pink said. "Pollux looks just like Marie Nodus!!!"

"I didn't want to be Castor or Helen..." Romulus said.

"I preferred not be be Remus." Pollux replied.

"And neither of us wanted to keep spelling 'Clymenestra' " they both said in unison.

"Huh?" the man with the auburn buzzcut said.

"That's the same thing they said back at headquarters..." the man who looked like Dan Aykroyd added.

With that, Pollux and Romulus shared a quick hug. "Thank Einstien....it really is you..." Pollux said, with a sigh of relief.

"Well, unless two people from different universes guessed our code phrase..." Romulus replied. "And if you did that, well, close enough for me..."

"Would someone care to explain what the hell is going on?" the man who looked like Bill Murray broke in. "You can imagine we're all just a little on edge here..."

"Is that supposed to be Venkman?" Romulus asked. Pollux nodded.

"You said that Albert Nodus looked like John Spengler..." the man who looked like Ernie Hudson said. "Is that him? And who are those people?"

The man in aqua looked at him. "I was just about to say the same thing, sorta--Romulus said Marie Nodus looked like Eden Spengler."

Romulus and Pollux looked at each other. "Even split into two selves Winston figures things out..." Pollux said, with a slight smirk.

Both redheaded women's eyes went wide.

"All I wanna know is why we're traipsing around another dimension and run into a bunch of has-been Saturday Night Live actors..." the man with the brown mullet said.

The blond man and the man who looked like Harold Ramis were each studying--in a curiously similar fashion--vaguely similar devices. "Hm..." the blond one said. "This reading is strange."

"I would surmise you are getting a reading similar to my own?" the man who looked like Harold Ramis asked. "A static wave consistant with psychokinetic feedback?"

"Yes." the blond man replied. "Like a set of identical signals are being bounced off of each other."

Romulus stood in front of both groups. "We may not have a lot of time, so let me tell you what you're already guessing: Pollux and I were chosen for this mission because of our own unique relationship with this situation: we were born on June 13, 1999. And this all affects us just as personally as it does you." He paused. "Because we're Eden and John Spengler, from the year 2024."

"We were contacted on our twenty-fifth birthday by Lady Delphia and Professor Ulforce, the Chronomancers--Lady Delphia, a mistress of time magics, and Ulforce, the leading temporal physicist of the Twenty First Century." Pollux--Eden--continued. "They'd detected the massive upheaval in time centered around our day of birth."

"Because of various cycles in the time flow, the exact quarter century made it a relatively easy and safe jump." Romulus--Johnathan--continued. He pulled out the glowing orange chrono quartz crystal. "Ulforce gave us these, which as I explained to my bunch earlier, would shield me from the normal temporal paradoxes."

Eden pulled out her similar crystal. "The same. But then we each ended up in a past that wasn't our own." She looked at John. "Delphia said Ulforce was contacting you..."

John nodded. "Yeah."

"Time has been divided into two imperfect causalities." the man who looked like Harold Ramis said.

"We were told the same thing." the blond man added.

"And that the Five Who Are One must go to the nexus of the disturbance..." the man who looked like Dan Aykroyd said.

"Then..." the pudgy, redheaded man looked at "Aykroyd" with wide eyes. "Then that means..."

"When the timeline was fractured, so were the people in it." Romulus continued. "Some were shunted to one causality or the other. While some were divided into two imperfect temporal versions, one in each causality. Being at the center of the disturbance, by virtue of their role in bringing us into being, the Five Who Are One were among those split into two versions."

"The ten of you." Eden finished.

The Venkman who looked like Bill Murray and the Peter in the brown mullet blinked, each fixing each other with looks of intense disdain. "That idiot is supposed to be me?" Murray Venkman sneered.

"That egotistical jerk is supposed to be me?" the Peter in brown replied. "He looks nothing like me!!!"

"Wow!!!" the pudgy, nearly baldheaded man said excitedly.

"This is kinda cool..." the man who looked like Dan Aykroyd replied. "The other me sounds like Fred from Scooby Doo..."

"There was a lot of things in the employment questionnaire..." the Winston who looked like Ernie Hudson shook his head. "I'm pretty sure 'duplicates from another dimension' weren't..."

The Winston in blue nodded in agreement. "Being a Ghostbuster is never dull, is it?"

The Janine in pink went up to the one in tan. "Then you must be me!!! Gosh!!! This is so neat!!!"

The Annie Potts Janine looked like she wanted to throw up. "There is no way I would ever be that perky...I would kill myself first."

"Fascinating." both Egons said in unison. They both looked at Pollux and Romulus. "And you two, then, are our children?" the blond Egon asked.

"Oh my Gosh...that's right!!!" the Janine in pink squeaked. "That explains why Romulus has the same color hair as I do!"

The Annie Potts Janine gave her the skunk eye. "Could you do me a favor and not talk? You're bringing a whole new definition to self-loathing..."

Pink Janine blinked, confusedly. "Huh?"

The Ramis Egon cocked an eyebrow. "If you two are Johnathan and Eden Spengler, then who are the beings contained in your crystals?"

Romulus and Pollux looked at each other. "We really can't be sure...but it's probable they're alternates of us." Eden replied.

"When Nodus kidnapped them, he raised them...us...in a different time track. They were definitely part of Nodus's plot." John added.

"So what next?" The Hudson Winston asked. "We let them out? We go straight to this Nodus character? What?"

"Ulforce and Delphia are almost literally holding the entire Timestream together with their bare hands." John shook his head. "Whatever it is, it's gotta be quick."

"This whole thing is making my head hurt..." the Aykroyd Ray commented.

Eden looked at him. "I think it's simple. You, Doctor Stantz..." and then she turned to the pudgy Ray "And you, Doctor Stantz, are both the 'real' Ray Stantz. You were divided into two imperfect duplicates when Nodus shredded the Timeline. But here, in this Null Zone, with both of you present...it should be possible to recombine you into the genuine Ray Stantz."

"Imperfect duplicates? Like Bizarros?" the redheaded Ray asked.

"Recombine? How?" Aykroyd Ray asked.

"Well, that might be the tricky part..." John shrugged.

The two Egons soaked this information in, and were now muttering calculations and passing their meters back and forth. "I think we can do it..." Ramis Egon said.

"Our energy signatures are already synchronized." the blond Egon explained. "It offers confirmation of your assertion that we're essentially the same being divided into two imperfect time tracks."

"And then there's this..." the Ramis Egon said, poking the blond Egon. When his hand touched him, there was a brief, reddish electric sparkle.

"Our forms are already trying to merge..." Blond Egon continued. "I think all it would take is just simply allowing it to happen..."

"But Egon..." the Janine in pink asked. "How do we know if it'll work?"

In a unified motion, both Egons shut off their meters and returned them to their belt packs. "By testing it."

John and Eden looked at each other. "Should we try to stop them?" John asked.

"It's not our decision." Eden replied.

The two Egons embraced, and for a few seconds, nothing happened other than a brief sparkle of red light.

"Egon, I think this is crap and all you're doing is looking gay..." the Murray Venkman grumbled.

Just about then, both Egons were surrounded by red light, and two voices shouted with agony.

"EGON!!!" Both Janines cried.

"Fool can't be stopped whenever he sets his mind to something..." Hudson Winston shook his head, but not without fondness. The Winston in blue next to him nodded in agreement, also not without fondness.

"Oh shit..." Murray Venkman gasped.

"I think...I think it's working!" the redheaded Ray cried.

I am Doctor Egon Spengler

I was born on November 21, 1944.

My parents didn't believe in toys, though I had one Slinky. Before I straightened it.

I became interested in the paranormal. It is not logical, but I did. Though I can't remember why...

I met Peter Venkman in college. He introduced me to Raymond Stantz later, after Ray had worked in private industry.

In 1984, we formed Ghostbusters Inc.

In 1984, we hired Winston Zeddemore to be the fourth Ghostbuster.

In 1984, I met Janine Melnitz. She fell in love with me, but I couldn't return the feeling.

After we defeated Gozer, we were sued and forced out of business for five years.

When we reunited, Janine had found someone else. She fell in love with Louis Tully.

Peter ran for mayor, with Winston as his running mate. He won, and Peter resigned on his first day. Peter hates me now...why can't I remember why?

Janine is married to Louis Tully.

Needing additional personell, we hired the five members of Ghostbusters 2000.

I still love Janine, though that feeling is improper, worthless, and moot anyway...

That is my life? No...that isn't right...

The flourescing form howled, a strange modulated cry of two voices.

"This is nuts!!!" the Peter Venkman in brown said.

"For once, I agree with him..." the Peter Venkman who looked like Bill Murray added.

I am Professor Egon Spengler

I was born on December 5, 1956

My mother doted on me...called me "Baby Spookums"...my Uncle Cyrus was a harsh taskmaster...why can't I remember my father?

I became interested in the paranormal because the Boogeyman lived in my closet.

I got a degree in grade school. I met Peter Venkman and Raymond Stantz in college.

In the 1980's, we formed Ghostbusters Inc.

In the 1980's, we hired Winston Zeddemore to be the fourth Ghostbuster.

In the 1980's, I met Janine Melnitz. Why can't I remember the date more clearly? She fell in love with me, but I could never admit that I began to return that feeling.

After we defeated Gozer, we adopted new uniforms and had a movie made about us.

Janine got tired of my indecision...when we hired Louis Tully, she flirted with him for a brief time just to make me jealous.

We defeated all the ghosts. We drove ourselves out of business. The rest all left, and I was alone.

Janine left me...why can't I remember why? But she came back...

Needing to defeat the disease spirit Achira, I recruited the Extreme Ghostbusters.

I still love Janine. I always will. Why can't I ever admit that to her?

No...that one's not right either...

Both Janines stared, their eyes beginning to tear up. They each whispered the name of the men...the man...that they both loved and always would.

Both Pollux and Romulus spared them a quick look that spoke volumes. Romulus looked at his chrono quartz--he realized it was starting to glow, but it's ominous pulsation was slowing.

The blurr began to shift...two outlines began to become one outline.

The being at the center of the glow opened one eye...he saw two right arms, as though through an out of focus camera lense...

Then they snapped together. The lens came into focus at last.

I...

I...

I REMEMBER!!!

I am Professor Egon Spengler

I was born on November 21, 1957

I am the son of Edison and Katharine Spengler. My parents didn't believe in toys, though I had one Slinky. Before I straightened it. My mother doted on me...called me "Baby Spookums"...my father and Uncle Cyrus were harsh taskmasters.

I became interested in the paranormal because the Boogeyman lived in my closet.

I got my first degree at age twelve. I met Peter Venkman in college. He introduced me to Raymond Stantz later. We worked together constantly save for a period Ray worked in private industry.

In 1983, we formed Ghostbusters Inc.

In 1983, we hired Winston Zeddemore to be the fourth Ghostbuster.

In 1983, I met Janine Melnitz. She fell in love with me, but I could never admit that I began to return that feeling.

After we defeated Gozer, we adopted new uniforms. A movie was made about us, but we were also sued and forced out business for two years.

When we reunited, Janine got tired of my indecision...she had an affair with Louis Tully.

I finally told Janine I loved her. We were together...but..

The Zodiac Imperative crippled Earth's psychokinetic network...the ghosts simply stopped appearing. Then Janine had her accident...it all fell apart. The rest all left, and I was alone.

Janine married Louis Tully. But she divorced him. She came back...

Needing to defeat the disease spirit Achira, I recruited the Extreme Ghostbusters.

I still loved Janine. I told her that. We're married at last. And just a few hours ago...

The red glow faded, and one man fell out of it. Pollux and Romulus caught him as he fell.

Both Janines shifted closer.

The Murray Venkman watched the result with some trepidation. The man who fell out of the "reintegration", at first glance, looked more like the one the idiot with the mullet had arrived with. Blond hair, a blue flight suit trimmed in pink...but then he noticed the pattern of his hair whitening. The nametag on that flight suit. And the design of his proton pack...

The Mullet Venkman watched the result with shock. The man who fell out of the "reintegration" looked very much like "his" Egon, but younger--more like the man he'd fought ghosts with every week in the 1980's. But at the same time, the greater detail to his flight suit and proton pack recalled the wierd Harold Ramis Egon who'd arrived with the egomaniac who looked like Bill Murray.

"Egon?" both Janines said at once.

"Professor?" Pollux asked, not hiding her concern.

His eyes shot open. A feral shout came out of his mouth. "EDEN!!! JOHNATHAN!!! YOU CAN'T HAVE THEM YOU BASTARD!!! NODUUUUUUUS!!!"

He slumped in their arms.

"Wow..." Aykroyd Ray managed to say, which put him ahead of everyone else.

"I remember..." Egon steadied himself, and rubbed his temple. "I remember I was leading my Mom, and the Melnitzes, and the other Ghostbusters to the recovery room...when Nodus appeared. He blocked the way with a forcefield..."

"Were that I were only here to offer my congratulations, Professor Spengler, but that would be...inappropriate, somehow. If only you knew the irony...that in the choice you made, the choice I could never have forseen, you solved the riddle that had confounded me, in a way I never could have anticipated. You have my appreciation..."

"And now, the Gemini twins will be introduced to their destiny..."

"As we were hammering at the field...my Meter began to detect a massive delta energy flux...and then..." He opened his eyes, and regarded his right hand. "It was like my entire field of vision shifted out of focus...there were two of me...and then I was here."

"But...what about the battle in Nodus Plaza?" The redheaded Ray asked.

"We certainly can attest that just a minute ago, there were two Egons, and they turned into you!" Hudson Winston added.

"I...I remember that too..." Egon replied. "But it's like some sort of overlapping dream. Vivid...but just a dream."

Both Janines moved a step closer to him. Then gave each other a vaguely...jealous look.

"Yeah, this has got to be something you've dreamed about more than once..." the Murray Venkman rolled his eyes, giving Egon a smirk.

"What was that lightshow with the crystal about?" Aykroyd Ray asked.

"When the two Egons became one, there must have been a dispersal of temporal energy, which they absorbed when they were split apart." Pollux replied. "It's stabilized the degradation of the crystals."

"One part of the universe became whole again." John added. "It's lessening the paradox and the breakdown."

Egon stood up, and extracted himself from Romulus and Pollux. "I...I know you..." he said, eyes, opening wider. It was like he was seeing them for the first time...like a blinder had been pulled away. How obvious it was that Romulus had his jawline and Janine's red hair. That Pollux had his blonde hair and Janine's nose. But there was something else bubbling out of his mind unexpectedly.

"Well, er, we did admit..." Romulus started to say.

"No...there's something else...1986." Egon cut him off, and his brow furrowed in deep thought. "When Norman Draverhaven and Herbert Loone tried to kill Peter...the Ghostbusters from the future--it was you!" He turned and looked around. "And Eric Stantz! And...hm...I still don't think I know a TJ Anderson..."

Pollux ribbed Romulus gently. "You haven't met her in this time stream yet. It won't be for another twenty two years." she explained.

"With the timeline in shreds and this being a null zone, the laws of temporal integrity must be breaking down some..." Romulus added. "It explains why you'd remember that so clearly."

His head finally more or less coming together, Egon studied the eight other people he was sharing the room with. "Fascinating...temporal bifurcation into two sets of semifictionalized counterparts..."

"He sure still sounds like Egon." Redheaded Ray beamed.

"We must hurry." Egon said, looking at his friends. "The timestream stablized when I was reintegrated--we need to reintegrate the eight of you into the four people you're supposed to be."

"If you say so, Egon!!!" the Janine in pink said brightly.

The Potts Janine grimaced again. "Do I really have to take that back?"

"Yes." Egon answered. "She's the part of Janine that never gave up like you did."

"I still don't know about this..." the Venkman in brown muttered.

"I trust Egon, Peter." the redheaded Ray replied. "Do you?"

"We just saw it happen, Peter." the Aykroyd Ray added, looking at the Murray Venkman. "It's not like we don't know if it'll work now."

Murray Venkman made a dismissive noise. "Just as long as the real me doesn't have the mullet..."

"He doesn't" Egon assured him.

"I guess I'll see you on the other side, Zeddemore..." Hudson Winston said to his counterpart.

"That's Zeddmore." the Winston in blue corrected. "Or is it?"

"Let's find out..." the Potts Janine said, grabbing her counterpart.

The light was, understandably, four times as bright this time. Yellow, orange, green, and purple. The eight shapes distorted and compacted...

I'm Peter Venkman. I was born on September 21, 1950. In college, I met Egon Spengler, and it was by cribbing off of him that I graduated and got my degrees in Parapsychology and Psychology. In 1984, we formed Ghostbusters, and I met Dana Barrett. We dated for a while, then she dumped me because I couldn't commit to her. She married The Stiff and had a baby, Oscar. In late 1989, we got back together...Ghostbusters got back together...I ran for mayor in 1993, but quit on the first day...I had...for some reason I started to hate Egon, so I left, and moved to LA...Dana and I are married...

I'm Peter Venkman. I was born on October 25, 1957. My Dad was a con man, and was never home at Christmas, so I hated Christmas for years after that. My Mom was always alone. I met Ray and Egon in college, where I was a famous member of Tri Kuppa Bru. In the 1980's, we formed Ghostbusters, I met my pal Slimer, and I finally became famous--they even made a movie about me, though Bill Murray looks nothing like me. So when the Ghostbusters caught all the ghosts, and shut down, I went to Hollywood and became a bigshot agent...and have dated more than one hot starlet.

I'm Raymond Francis Stantz...I was born on July 1, 1952. My Dad was a Doctor, my Mom was a housewife...I have an older brother, Carl, and a sister, Jean, but we haven't spoken since my parents died in a plane crash in 1982. I witnessed a mass underwater sponge migration--was that all it took to get me into the paranormal? I worked in the private sector before meeting Peter and Egon. In 1984, we formed Ghostbusters, and became famous for ten minutes--then the ungrateful yuppies shut us down. Five years later, we came back, and were going better than ever until Peter and Winston quit to run for Mayor. And then Egon and I hired Jack Lowell and his team...

I'm Ray Stantz...I was born on October 13th, 1959 in the Bronx, but moved to Morrisville when I was a kid. I read lots of comics books and pulp horror novels, which fueled my interest in the paranormal. There was a girl named Elaine Fuhrman there. After my parents died, my Aunt Lois looked out for me...I also had a long-lost Uncle Gaylord who ran a joke shop and an Uncle Andrew in Scotland, who had a castle. I met Peter and Egon in college, then in the 1980's we formed Ghostbusters and became really famous. By the early 1990's we caught all the ghosts and shut down, and I worked at Stanford until that lab accident then I became a used car salesman...

I'm Winston Zeddemore, born Dec 17, 1945...my Dad's a construction worker and my Mom, Evangelean...or was it Lucille? Why the hell can't I remember my own Mamma's name??? She gave him twelve kids. I joined the Army and was trained in Electronic Countermeasures, Strategic Air Command, Karate, and small arms. I was hired by the Ghostbusters in 1984, but wasn't there for very long before they were forced to shut down. I shaved off my mustache and did children's parties with Ray until the Ghostbusters got back together. In 1993, Peter ran for Mayor and I was his running mate--he won the election and quit on the first day...I've been Mayor of New York ever since, winning election in my own right in 1997...

I'm Winston Zeddmore, born May 2, 1954...my Dad's a construction worker, Edward Zeddmore. I went to boot camp then after a stint in the army did odd jobs like driving a cab and worked as a gas pump attendant. I was hired by the Ghostbuster in the 1980's. I found out I was a reincarnated Ibandi chieftain named Shima Buku, and a family heirloom was the key to the Collector's realm. I dated a girl for years...why can't I remember her name? When the Ghostbusters shut down after catching all the ghosts, I moved to Montana and became a commuter pilot...I live near my sister...

I'm Janine Melnitz...I was born October 28, 1952 in Brooklyn. I love reading...some people accused me of being too intellectual. I also play raquetball. In 1984, I was hired by the Ghostbusters to be their secretary...I fell in love with Egon Spengler pretty much at first sight, but he was too wrapped up in science...he never returned the feeling. When the Ghostbusters split up, we lost track of each other...five years later, when it came back, Egon wasn't any more receptive...so I started to date Louis Tully. We got married, but deep down I still...

I'm Janine Melnitz! I was born...well, it's none of your business, though I can't deny I graduated in 1977 because Egon saw my yearbook! I have a sister named Doris and a nephew named Victor! I was hired by the Ghostbusters in the 1980's, and fell in love with Egon Spengler pretty much at first sight! But he kept ignoring me, even after the Fairy Godmother made me more perfect! I flirted with other guys in hopes he'd notice me...guys like Paul Smart and Louis Tully! Egon told me he loved me once, when we found out the Fairy Godmother was an evil Makeoverus Lotsabucks...but then...I can't remember why we aren't together! The Ghostbusters downsized me out of a job after that, because they caught all the ghosts, and...what did I do after that?! All I remember is coming back to Egon just in time to help the Extreme Ghostbusters...and flirting with Gregor Samsa...and Egon and I dating on his birthday!

The flourescing shapes, which started as eight, became four.

"Fascinating..." Egon muttered. "Did I glow red?"

"Uh...yeah..." Romulus answered.

"Fascinating..." Egon repeated. "The same colors as the Zodiac crisis..."

I'm Peter Charles Venkman. I was born on October 25, 1954. My Dad, Charlie, was a con man, and was never home at Christmas, so I hated Christmas for years after that, and for leaving my Mom, Margaret, alone so much. In college, I met Egon, then Ray, and became a famous member of Tri Kuppa Bru. In 1983, we formed Ghostbusters, and I met Dana Barrett. I also met Slimer, but the less said about that the better. Dana and I dated for a while, then she dumped me because I couldn't commit to her. She married The Stiff and had a baby, Oscar. Meanwhile, I finally became famous--they even made a movie about me, though Bill Murray looks nothing like me--and threw myself into more than one empty affair. In 1986, we were forced to shut down...but in late 1988, Dana and I AND Ghostbusters got back together...she moved to LA to continue her musical career, but when Ghostbusters had to shut down again, because of the big fight I had with Egon, I went to Hollywood, finally married Dana, and became a bigshot agent. In addition to Oscar--whom I couldn't love more if he was my own flesh and blood--we have a daughter of our own, Jessica. I split my time between Hollywood and GBI...

I'm Raymond Francis Stantz...I was born on October 13, 1959 in the Bronx. My Dad, David, was a Doctor, and my mother, Carolyn, was a housewife who was born in Scotland. I have an older brother Carl and a sister Jean, but we haven't spoken since my parents died in a car crash in 1970. I was raised in Morrisville...my high school crush was Elaine Fuhrman...my Dad's sister, Aunt Lois, looked out for me. She had another brother, Uncle Gaylord, who ran a joke shop. Mom's brother was Uncle Andrew, who lived in Scotland and had a castle. I read lots of comics books and pulp horror novels, and witnessed a mass underwater sponge migration, which feuled my interest in the paranormal. I met Peter then Egon in college; we were together except for that time I worked in private industry for a year. In 1983, we formed Ghostbusters, and became famous. Three years later, we were shut down by ungrateful yuppies, but came back two years after that. In 1991, I met Elizabeth Hawthorne...and Ghostbusters was forced to shut down once again. I worked at Stanford for a while, until that lab accident then I became a used car salesman...I got married in 1995, and a year later our son Eric was born. I'm back with GBI now...

I'm Winston Zeddemore, born May 2, 1953. My Dad, Edward Zeddemore, is a construction worker, and my mom is Lucille. In 1971, I was drafted and sent to Vietnam...I was trained in Electronic Countermeasures, Strategic Air Command, Karate, and small arms. After that, I did odd jobs like driving a cab and worked as a gas pump attendant. In 1983, I was hired by the Ghostbusters, and I shaved off my mustache. I found out I was a reincarnated Ibandi chieftain named Shima Buku, and a family heirloom was the key to the Collector's realm. I met Kaila MacMillan, someone Janine knew from the Museum, and we dated for years. When the Ghostbusters had to shut down in 1986, I did children's parties with Ray until the Ghostbusters got back together. When the Ghostbusters shut down again, after that stuff with the Zodiac Lords, I married Kaila and moved to Montana near my sister. I became a commuter pilot before going back to GBI, and we have a daughter, Charlene...

I'm Janine Melnitz...I was born on October 28, 1958, and I'm the younger daughter of Fritz and Denise Melnitz. I have a sister, Doris, and a nephew, Victor Irwin. I graduated high school in 1977, but never had a steady job until I was hired by the Ghostbusters in 1983. When I met Egon Spengler, I fell in love with him pretty much at first sight. But he kept ignoring me...even after the Makeoverus Lotsabucks starting making me more "perfect"...though he exploded with jealousy when I dated Paul Smart. When the Ghostbusters broke up, I kept close to him...and then when they got back together in late 1988, he kept ignoring me to concentrate on Dr. Venkman and his problems. I got mad and had a fling with Louis Tully...but a year later Egon finally came clean, when we stopped the Lotsabucks! He admitted he loved me too. We were a couple. We were together. Then...an accident robbed me of years of memory. The Ghostbusters broke up. I rebounded with another fling with Louis that led to a disasterous marriage. I divorced Louis and came back to Egon just as he formed the Extreme Ghostbusters...after that stupid flirtation with Gregor Samsa, we got back together. A year ago, we were married at long last. And just this morning...

Egon Spengler spared a look of concern for all of his friends, but he moved to catch the woman that appeared as the violet light faded...the woman wearing a flight suit the same blue as his own, but with orange trim..."Janine!"

She muttered for few seconds, then her eyes shot wide open. "YOU PIGF***ING SON OF A BITCH!!! NODUUUUS!!!"

"I'm here, Janine, I'm here..." Egon said, gripping her as tightly as he could.

Venkman pulled himself up. "That was a nightmare. I was a self-centered egomaniac AND I was nice to Slimer at the same time..." Romulus was helping steady him.

"Janine! Egon!" Winston said, getting up on his own. He staggered closer to them.

"I was watching the babies..." Janine clutched her husband for dear life. "Waiting for you and everyone else...when...that sicko Nodus appeared....

"Your children have been chosen for a higher destiny, Janine Melnitz, one far greater than a fallen intellect like him and a harlot like you could have ever given them."

"The asshole blasted me, and I saw the cribs start to float away, and....Adonai, my children, what did that f***ing sicko do to them?!"

"We still don't know." Egon tried to reassure her through his own overwhelming panic. "But I assure you we are going to find out."

Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore nodded as one in agreement.

To Be Continued

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