New York City
October 2003
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty-One
Lord have mercy, this whole place smells like piss. Vince Belmont thought to himself as he scanned the dimly lit room.  The smell of cheap alcohol and urine permeated every inch of this place, but none of the patrons noticed.  I've been to six sleazy dives, each one worse than the last...I'm about to...  His eyes narrowed.  Aha.  Vincent made his way across the room, feet trying to stick to the floor like it was made of Velcro, even sounding like it being torn apart with each step.

Sitting at the corner end of a soiled bar-top was Bo Holbrook.  The solidly-built thirty-two year old man, once considered by many a Legend, was a shell of his former self.  His face was covered by a full beard, and he was clearly wearing the same clothes he had on a week ago.

A week ago...

It was only a litle more than a week ago that he and his friends, his three teammates and a number of other allies from Ghostbusters International, had saved the world from the clutches of what could easily have been one of the top ten worst enemies GBI ever faced. 

But at what a cost.

Two lives literally lost.  And two more lives lost to dispair; still alive, but given up.

Vincent was about to speak when, without averting his blank stare from his double shot glass of Jack Daniels, Bo beat him to it.  "What the hell do you want, Vince?"

Vincent motioned for a shot of Jack himself.  At least he noticed I'm here...that's something.   “Oh, I figured I’d come and join the Emo crowd and feel sorry for myself,” Vincent said as he downed his shot, “So, shall we drink fermented beverages to achieve higher states of mental incompetence…maybe howl at the moon?”

Bo didn't say anything.  “A mutual friend sent me to bring you back” Vincent said as he downed another shot.

“Well you and our mutual friend can sit on this shot glass and spin…” Holbrook snarled, casting his shot glass over his shoulder.

Vincent calmly removed his coat and placed it on the bar-top.

“I’m done with it Vince, Done. I got two of my best friends in the world killed playing hero. I want nothing to do with it anymore.” Holbrook said as he sipped from a bottle of beer.

“Total remorse…for not just your teammates, but your friends? Holbrook, I believe you have the heart of a romantic. You didn’t just feel loss….you felt like you couldn’t live without them! So, you want to come over tonight, eat Ben and Jerry’s, watch old movies and cry?” Vincent asked, incisively.
Vincent removed his glasses and vest, placing the glasses in the breast pocket of his vest.

“Why don’t you do yourself a favor too and tell the next poor sap…” Holbrook took a drag on his cigarette “Tell the next poor sap on the ‘Let’s save Holbrook train’ to not bother wasting his time.  Whether it's Elvira or Dirty Sanchez or House or even Venkman himself, they can f*** off.  I’ve found where I need to be and I’m here to stay. So you just put your little f***ing coat back on and your little f***ing vest and…”

Holbrook was unable to finish his sentence due to Belmont’s fist crashing square into the side of his face and knocking him off his barstool. Slamming into the floor with a thud, he pushed himself up to his knees.

“Just what the f*** do you think you’re doing Vince?” Holbrook asked as he wiped the blood from his lip.

“I was sent to bring back my friend, even if he IS an idiot. Don’t make me beat this into you, though I value our friendship more than ethical responsibilities.” Belmont answered while assuming some sort of martial arts stance. "Then again, our friendship IS an ethical responsibility…"

“f*** you!” Holbrook exclaimed as he tried to get to his feet. He was stopped, however, by Belmont ’s cheap black loafer landing in his chest and knocking him backward across the floor.

“I know I’m sexy, Holbrook, but I don’t bat for the other team…and Jill has nicer breasts.” Belmont said as he followed his former friend across the floor and planted a stiff kick to his ribs.

“You know, I was one of the few people who never bought into that whole Legend thing you do. I thought it was just something you made up so you…” Belmont said as Holbrook got to his feet. Only to be knocked over a table crowded with stinking barflies. They scattered quickly out the door. “...So you could stroke your own ego.  Impress all the newbies when they joined GBI.  Get them to kiss your ass and fear you.  But that was until last week.”

Holbrook crawls across the floor a bit more. “Should I even bother getting up again?” He asked. Belmont answered with a boot to the head.

“Last week I saw a man, fearless, a real honest to god Legend. Staring death in the face and not cowering for a second. Not even when he saw his friends killed in front of him” Belmont said as Holbrook propped himself up on the floor, against a jukebox. Belmont pulled a chair in front of him and sat down. “That man finally earned my respect, After all the bravado and bullshit you proved you were everything you said you were.” Holbrook slowly pulled himself to a standing postion against the jukebox.

“Now I see the man in front of me, and I don’t recognize him. I don’t know you, Sir. Of the 100,000 sperm…YOU were the fastest swimmer. What a waste.”

“Go f*** yourself.” Holbrook replied, breathing heavily as he finally staggered to his feet. Vincent calmly stood up from his chair and gestured at Holbrook, and his body lifted up into the air and flew into a wall. He gestured again, and his body sailed to the other side, slamming his bulk against the other wall. With another sweeping gesture, Bo’s body did a flip in the air and came crashing down on a table, shattering it into pieces. Bo dragged himself to his feet again, and swung his arm at Belmont . Belmont deftly stepped to the side, and kicked him in the gut with a vicious roundhouse kick. Bo doubled over and puked all over the floor.

Belmont straightened his tie.  “The man I knew is dead; all that’s left is his alcohol- pickled corpse that’s somehow managed to walk upright.”  Vincent turned to walk away, but Holbrook got a firm grip on his necktie.  Bo spun him around and headbutted him square in the nose;  Belmont staggered backwards, clutching his face.

“Let’s play, Merlin.” Holbrook says as he wiped the vomit from his chin.

Belmont smiled behind his bleeding nose, He hadn't been called ‘Merlin’ by Holbrook since the unfortunate events from weeks ago. “I’d be delighted, Mr. Holbrook.”

“Mr. Holbrook is my dad.” Holbrook exclaimed as he rushed Belmont, picked him up,  and crashed thru the large tinted window at the front of the bar. Sunlight poured in; the barflies scattered to avoid the ambience like they were vampires.   Holbrook and Belmont crashed to the sidewalk, and just lay there.

“Thanks, Gandalf.” Holbrook said as he placed his arm over his eyes to shield him from the sun. “Jesus Christ, I haven’t seen that in awhile.”

Belmont lay motionless on the sidewalk, grinning from ear to ear. “Don’t mention it, Sir. But theoretically you’re better off in the bar. Skin cancer is on the rise these days.” Holbrook started to laugh at him. “Shouldn’t we get up?” Vincent asks.

“Naw, f*** it. I know the owner. He wouldn’t call the cops on me.” Holbrook said as he reached into the breast pocket of his dirty flight suit and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, placing one next to Belmont and lighting one of his own. He tossed the lighter to Vincent.

“Jesus Christ” Vincent recoiled as he lit his cigarette. “You smell like three day old ass. When did you last shower?” Vincent pulled himself up and propped himself on a light post;  Holbrook did the same, and started to laugh uncontrollably.

"What?"  Vincent asked.

"You never talk like that.  It's hilarious.  You almost sound like me..."

“HALF of you, at the most, tubby.” Vincent retorted.

“Well aren’t you boys quite a sight…” a young woman's voice broke in. They turned to see a blonde woman looking down at the two disheveled men. “You know when I asked you to bring him back Vincent I didn’t mean with broken ribs and internal bleeding.”

“No focusing on my screwup…HIS is bigger.” Vince quipped as he pointed his finger at Bo and took a drag on his smoke.

Holbrook could only stare for a few seconds, thirty different things competing to be the one to make it to his voice box.  “I’d hug you sweetheart, but I don’t believe I can move my arms. Mr. Wizard here whooped the shit outta me.”

Jen Spengler, twenty-four year old former science student, and niece to one of GBI's founders, kneeled down and put her arms around him. “You know they thought you were dead for awhile. Until Vincent figured out where you were.” She said.

“Hell, I didn’t even need magic to find you. You SMELL like a corpse!” Vincent chuckled.

“If I weren't crippled I would give you such a smack, Merlin.” Holbrook yelled

Arcane Division Headquarters
An Hour Later
Bo had washed off the unsavory bar aroma and changed into a clean set of clothes. As he left the bathroom, a large puff of hot, misty air tumbled out the door behind him.

He made his way to the common room to find Vincent and Jen engaged in idle chit-chat over some freshly brewed tea. Bo noticed a cup of coffee, black, waiting for him by one of the larger chairs. He dropped down into the chair with a large ‘plop’ and proceeded to gulp down the coffee.

“Could have used a shave while you were at it, but it’s a start.” Jen said with a smile.

“One cannot rush perfection,” Belmont mused aloud as he sipped his tea and placed it on the coffee table.

“Here, here.” Bo belched, raising his mug on high to toast the notion.

The trio sat in silence for a couple minutes, Bo finished his coffee and lit up a cigarette. After taking a long drag from it he flicked the ashes into his cup. Vince uttered a ‘tsk’ and slid Bo an ashtray.

"I was thinking..."  Taking another drag from his cigarette, Bo finally said.  "Screw that, the mystery is killing me, Jen.  Last time I saw you...well, I didn't see you, all you did was leave this crapshit note about 'I have to get away...I have to deal with this on my own...If I don't leave now, this is all going to drive me insane...I can only pray that that fate will deal you good fortune and that you will be able to find someone...don't try to contact me...don't try to have Uncle Egon contact me'."  Bo rolled the cigarette between his fingers.  "Or did Gandalf decide I could wallow in my own stink while he tracked you down first?"

“She came to me. She can give you the details.” Vince bowed his head for Jen to pick up the conversation from there. She put down her teacup.

"Something I never told anyone...not even you...it happened when I was back in high school.  I had a shamanic dream. I was in a cave, it was hot and pools of lava lighted it. Before I had time to look around, I was attacked by a pack of small, black… demons. During the fight, one of them took a swipe at me and ripped a chunk of my body away. My energy body, that is.” Jen placed a hand on her right side. “Since then every time I visioned, that piece was missing; just a raw, bloody hole where there shouldn’t be one.

“After it happened, I talked to a friend who was learning Shamanism as well, and he told me that I was offered a challenge, which happens from time to time in a shaman’s life. They took my energy, and I was to challenge them to get it back. I tried so hard to get back to that place, but I just couldn’t.

“Months turned into years, I had more or less given up, as I had found temporary ways to fill in my ‘emptiness’ when I had to… until that fight with the Hain Witch. When I was knocked out, I found myself back in that place and those things were still there, lurking around like caged lions, with that one in the middle, standing like a god-figure, clutching my missing piece of energy. That wicked little creature squeezed my piece in its talons and I could feel it burn like salt. Once I was paralyzed with pain the rest of them circled me, ready to tear me apart. I was so scared, I couldn’t let them destroy me, but I had no idea what to do. With all the force I could muster and probably with the help of the noise from ECTO-2, I woke myself up."

“Wait,” Bo lights up another cigarette. “This friend--he that guy you been talking to online?  I thought he was just some pervert out to try and bang you.”

“We got back in contact with each other couple months ago."  Jen rolled her eyes, ignoring the last part of Bo's remark.  "When I got out of the Ecto-X I called him up, told him I had the dream again, and he insisted I come right over. He actually lives on a farm in Pennsylvania now.”

“Aaaaannd cue the montage.” Bo smirked.

Jen rolled her eyes but couldn’t help chuckling. “Pretty much.  I spent days meditating in his sweat lodge, or out by the creek behind the farmhouse. I gained energy, worked with a host of spirits and allies, made and energized talismans to help me.” Jen pointed to a small pouch tied to the hip of her jeans. “I slept very little in that time, so I could more easily slip into the proper trance when I faced the demons.

“Three days ago I entered that trance and stayed under for a day and a half. During that time I confronted those things, and I let them tear me down, layer by layer until I was just an essence. When I fully regained my consciousness, I literally pulled myself back together, but better. As it turned out the creatures had been feeding on my energy, having had a part of it for years now. However when I built myself back up, I was able to take back all the siphoned energy from them and they withered to dust. Then, anticlimactically, I woke up. I got back into town yesterday evening."

“Fascinating...” Belmont slowly shook his head, although he had already heard her tale.

“Sounds like you’ve had more fun than I did, at any rate.” Bo ground out his Camel into the ashtray and proceeded to reach into the neck of his shirt. He pulled Jen’s owl necklace off and tossed it across the coffee table.  "I threw it down in the pit that used to be our ECU after I read your note...then ten minutes later I found myself crawling into the wreckage after it.  It was like...I dunno, if I kept it with me you might come back, at least to get it."

Vincent smirked.  It reminded him of something Jen's uncle had said once about a certain "lucky coin"

“Ernie and Shades said ‘hi’.” Jen mumbled almost to herself, but looked Bo in the face. He didn’t acknowledge her, but raised his eyebrows for a moment in thought.

Jen reached into her medicine pouch, pulled a small feather pendant out, and attached it with the other feather on the necklace. “Cocked, locked and ready to rock.” Jen said as she replaced and adjusted the necklace to fit her again.

“Speaking of, now I remember what I was saying. I’ve got an idea as to what we’re going to do about that crater that used to be our HQ.” Bo said.

“Hell of a remodeling job.” Vincent said.

“No.  f*** that noise, I’ve got an even better idea, but first we gotta make some phone calls.”

City Hall
The mayor of New York, Edwin MacShayne, sat at his desk against the fading sunlight of a window behind him. He was signing some papers, but his mind was elsewhere.  Everyone hated my guts before 9-11...now, I'm America's Mayor.  A fourth term in '05 would be easy...but maybe I should set my sights higher.  Let Bloomberg or Lapinski have this shithole city while I move on to bigger and better things.   He grinned to himself.  President Edwin MacShayne...I like the way that rolls out. He sipped gently from a nearby coffee mug, pausing as "Hail To The Chief" started to play in his mind.  He gazed out the window and looked at his city...until the serene visual was broken.

**BEEP** “Excuse me, Your Honor, Two men are here to see you. A Mr. Dees and a Mr. Nuts” A voice crackled over a small speaker box on the mayor’s desk.

The mayor leaned over his desk and pressed a blinking red button on the two way. “I’m sorry, Ellen. What did you say?” He asked.

“Mr. Dees and Mr. Nuts, Sir, are here to see you.” The mayor’s secretary reiterated. “They say they’re from some sort of law firm.”

“Dees Nuts, You say?” The mayor asked completely oblivious.

“Yessir, Dees Nuts, These men are very adamant about informing you of the possibilities of Dees Nuts.” The secretary answered just as oblivious as the mayor. At that point a faint chuckle could be heard in the background as she spoke, which became more pronounced at the end.

The Mayor's leaned back in the chair.   Then his face turned bright red as, ten seconds later, it hit him like a ton of bricks.  “Dees Nuts… Oh Jesus Christ, it’s him…”

MacShayne bolted from his desk with a speed one wouldn't expect of one of his bulk, and tried to lock the door--but it was too late.  The large double doors flew open, and Hizzoner jumped back behind his desk just as quickly as he'd left it.

“HAHA, damn it feels good to be gangsta.” Bo Holbrook says as he casually strolled into the Mayor’s office with Louis Tully in tow. “How are ya doing, Eddie?” He asks the Mayor.

“I was doing better before you kicked my door in. I could have you arrested for that!” The Mayor said in an uneasy tone.

“Oh, You’re the last person who should be dealing out legal threats right now Eddie.” Holbrook said as he sat down in one the Mayor’s very expensive leather chairs and propped his boots up on his desk. “Hit em up, Tully” he said as he motioned with his hand for Ghostbusters International’s CFO to come forward.

Louis did just that,  walking up to the mayor’s desk and slamming his hefty briefcase across its stained oak finish. “I’ll save you the speech Mr. MacShayne. You know why we’re here.”

The Mayor slumps in his chair, the look on his face one normally associated with stomache flu. “Yes, I know why you’re here. Dammit.” He vomited these words forth more than he spoke them. “But I can’t afford to rebuild your firehouse! If I put forth every dime that it would take to restore that dump to when it was brand new, the 5th Precinct will go all to shit. It’s just not financially feasible.”

“Oh don’t you worry about that, Eddie. We got you covered” Holbrook said, and  sat up in his chair “Give em some, T.” Holbrook motioned to Louis.

Tully popped open his briefcase and reached inside to produce a manila file folder. He handed it to Edwin.

“What’s this?” Mayor MacShayne asked as he leafed through the folder.

"It's a decommissioned police station in the outskirts of Brooklyn."  Louis informed him.

"I knew that."  He really hadn't recognized it, but didn't want them to know that.  "Now why are these pictures here?"

“That’s what my client wants, your honor."  Louis answered, adjusting his glasses.   "Mister Holbrook has agreed to absolve you of all financial liability in regards to the repairs of his home and office. All you have to do is sign over complete ownership of that property” Louis pointed to the most recent photograph in the folder.

The sickened look the mayor had on his face was washed away by pure joy upon the realization he was off the hook. “FINE! That’ll be great Mr. Tully. I’ll have my secretary call up the papers, should take two or three we…” MacShayne was interrupted.

“Nope, I’m afraid not Eddie. We already got you covered.” Holbrook interjected. “Louis, Break it down for Hizzoner one more time.”

Louis once again delved into his briefcase and produced a set of papers that appeared to be legal documents and contracts. “All you have to do Mr. Mayor is sign these and you’ll be in the clear. Mr. Holbrook will be in full and complete ownership of the property in question and you’ll be absolved of all financial responsibility for any of his damages.”

The Mayor snatched the papers and hastily signed them, handing them back to Louis “There, take it. Now get out of my office. I have phone calls to make.” The Mayor said angrily as he snatched up his phone, realizing Bo no longer had the advantage on him.

“But just to be clear Your Honor.” Louis placed all the documents back in his briefcase and closed it. Holbrook stood up behind him. “Before you make that phone call you’ll want to know that although you signed away your financial liability in exchange for the property in question, you did NOT sign away your responsibility for the damage caused by my associate and his employees. You have no legal action or recourse than can be taken against GBI or any of the franchises involved in the incident.”

The Mayor’s face turned pure white and he started shaking with what could be anger, or disbelief, or both.

Holbrook leaned over the mayor’s desk just inches from his face. “It’s a pleasure doing business with you, Eddie.” He said.  "I may even vote for you next time....if I decide to vote."

“f*** you, Hillbilly.” The Mayor retorted, his voice trembling.

“Sorry Eddie” Holbrook stood up and made his way for the double doors, still hanging open. Louis was soon to follow him. “I’m busy today. Moving into a new place.”

The Mayor shifted colors from a pale ghostly white to beat red.

“But hey, After I’m moved in I’m not opposed to the idea.” Holbrook said as he took the handles of both doors in each hand while facing Edwin. Louis stood behind him holding his briefcase. “You gotta buy me dinner though…” Holbrook winked at MacShayne as he closed the doors.  "Wear one of those nice dresses you like so much."

The Mayor, furious, ripped his phone from his desk and heaved it at the door and bellowed loudly and incoherently.  Papers were strewn about his path of rage as he threw everything that wasn't nailed down at the door.

Louis Tully wiped the sweat from his brow “Don’t you EVER make me do that again…” He said to Holbrook, his voice warbling.  They were in the elevator travelling away from MacShayne's office

“Take it easy Tully.” Holbrook said as he lit up a cigarette. “You gotta admit it was fun bustin’ that asshole’s balls right?”

Louis thought to himself for a second “NO!” he said abruptly. “I have to do business with these people… YOU don’t... You can’t just walk into the Mayor’s office and treat him that way. There are consequences for stuff like that. I don’t know what, BUT THERE ARE!”

The elevator reached its destination and the pair was met by familiar faces. Jen Spengler and Vincent Belmont were waiting for them in the lobby. “So how’d it go, Hon?" Jen queried.

Holbrook stepped off the elevator in one smooth motion wrapped his arm around Jen as she stood up. “It went WONDERFULLY.”

“Is that so…” Belmont says as he stood up.  "Would that be why we heard MacShayne screaming from twelve floors above us?"

“Yeah that was great, wasn’t it?” Holbrook answered as he cleared the doors of the office and down the steps to the waiting vehicles, The ECTO-1X and the Arcane Division's ECTO-1.

“Vince, you take Tully home. Me and the Misses gotta go check out the new pad.” Holbrook ordered as he opened the door of the ECTO-1X for Jen. She glided onto the vinyl seats gracefully.

“I’ll meet you there once I clear up a few things at the home office.” Vincent answered Bo as he and Louis climbed into the other car. After they pulled out Holbrook got into the driver seat of the ECTO-1X and looked at Jen.

“Well, Hon, let’s go look at the new house.” Holbrook grinned.

“I’m very excited.” She smirked, rolling down the window

“Oh f*** yes” Bo gunned the engine and roared into the mid-day traffic, bound for Brooklyn.

212 Williamsburg St. E
Brooklyn, New York
"Are you really sure about this?"  Jen had to ask.  "It looks even worse than in the pictures..."

"Aw, c'mon..."  Bo beamed.  "I know I normally get really tired of people swiping lines from the movies, but this is definitely a unique fixer-upper opportunity!"

As they looked around the station, it wasn't too bad.  Granted, it was clearly in need of some new fixtures and drywall, not to mention repainting to cover up all the graffitti, but it was essentially intact.  Certainly in far better shape than the former firehouse Nightsquad had used for the last six years.

Jen remarked drolly.  "And the rats just make the decor, don't they?  Perhaps we should adopt one as a mascot.  Name him Squeaker..."

"Nah, I'll just buy a cat."  Bo replied.  "A badass cat."

"Squeaker will be happy to hear that."

Bo looked around.   "We don't really have a basement to stick the ECU in, but it can go where some of the reinforced holding cells are.  Jeff told me how they had to do that out west, 'cause their warehouse didn't have a basement either."

They continued their tour.  "And of course a nice garage to put the ECTO-1X in."  Bo shook his head.  "For half an hour I looked at the poor old thing, with all the holes from where the Hain Bitch took potshots at it, and wondered if it'd be worth it to fix it back up.  Thought about replacing it with a dragster or something."

"Obviously, you chose restoration."  Jen remarked with an affectionate smirk.

"Hell yeah."  Bo nodded.  "The Caddy is just too classic.  Plus I can rub it in a lot of the Johnny-Come-Lately franchises I got one and they don't!"

They walked around some more.  "And I can put a pool table in here..."  Bo sugested.

 "Wow! This place is great! When can we move in?"  Jen said with exaggerated brightness in a slightly higher voice "I'm gonna get my stuff.  Hey, we should stay here tonight. Sleep here! You know, to try it out!"

Bo gave her a dirty look.

"Hey, it was my turn..."  she shrugged.

One Week Later
Bo was grunting approvingly at the new paint job.  In a week, the decrepit old police station was already looking about 500% better.  A lot of work still needed to be done, most notably the installation of the new Ecto Containment Unit, but it was already giving him a very good feeling.

"Who did your remodeling, Tim Taylor and Al Borland?." the familiar droll tone of Vincent Belmont came from behind him.

"Jesus f***ing Christ!" Bo jumped. "You gotta stop doing that shit to me!"

"People really have got to stop calling me that." Belmont deadpanned."I quite enjoy the fact that I'm one of the few people who can almost make the Legend lose his cool."

"You are a weird one, Belmont."  Bo shook his head.

"Shhh...tell noone."  Vincent replied.  It was a little running gag they'd had going...and it was the first time they'd done it since the battle with the Hain Witch.

Jen heard the voices, and came to investigate.  She shared a quick hug with her old friend.

"If you two think you can leave the remodelling for a little while, I've got something for you."  Vicnent told them.

"Oh?"  Jen asked.

"I've got the list of potential re..."  Vincent stopped, realizing he was about to say "replacements" for Ernie and Shades, which was rather inappropriate.  "Reinforcements."

"The GBI home office gets many unsolicited applications."  Vincent explained as he started to take some papers out of a briefcase.  "And we've had some open recruiting calls, like the one in Los Angeles back in May.  I called LA and had their Client Administrator forward out some of the more promising ones..."

"That's the one Fritzy's banging, right?"  Bo chuckled.  "I keep telling Jen he's got to be a long-lost relative, he takes after Uncle Egon so much..."

"Wonderful."  Jen said sarcastically, ignoring Bo.  "We're getting some of Joey Williams' castoffs?"

"If it makes you feel any better, remember one of theirs was one of Tommy Simpson's  'castoffs' "  Vincent replied.  "At least look at them before dismissing them out of turn.

"I admit I was half hoping to rope that Nash dude from California." Bo said, lounging back into the thirdhand couch they'd already set up just to have a place to sit.  "They've got like, what, fifty members?  And that's not even counting Ron Daniels as about five all by himself..."

"Well, this one kind of looks like Jeff."  Jen replied, looking at one of the profiles.  "At least the pale, vaguely Gothic part..."

"Jeff was not a Goth douche bag."  Bo retorted.  "This guy...what's his name..."

"Eric Rose."  Jen read from the profile.

"...For all we know he is."

"He's qualified, though."  Jen returned.  "It wouldn't hurt to at least interview him."

"What else we got?"

"Louis and Sherm forwarded this file on the Tri-State Paranormal Society."  Vincent answered.   "They've applied for GBI membership, but Rich isn't sure they're quite ready on their own yet."

"That is a big dude..."  Bo remarked, looking at one of the pictures.

"Zac Crago."  Jen replied.  "He has the nickname 'Yeti' "

"Fits."  Bo nodded.  "I'm not so sure about this Roswell dude, though.  What does this mean he wrote a paper about how he wishes Spider-Man was real?  No wonder Rich isn't sure about this bunch..."

"I just wish Tom would quit being stubborn and make the move..."  Jen rolled her eyes.

"Who's Tom?"  Vincent asked.

"One of my buds from when I lived in Pennsylvania way back when."  Bo answered.  "Tom Morgan.  He'd go great here--I just can't convince him to move to New York.  He says he doesn't want to get mugged or something, I just think he's being lazy."

"We could consider holding an open audition..."  Jen suggested

"Shit."  Bo spat.  "I heard about the freaks and losers that showed up at LA.  If Mary f***ing Sue showed up here, I'd probably kill the little bitch...'I wanna be a Ghostbuster so I can have Uncle Egon cornhole me and I wanna kill Janine because she's all wrong for him blah blah blah...' " Bo added in a mocking voice.

"Point.  Made."  Jen replied simply.

“Mary f***ING Sue?” Vincent said, flipping through a portfolio, “You guys aren’t having a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy, are you?”

Bo and Jen merely stared at Vincent.

Nightsquad Headquarters (At Least That's Still The Plan...)
Jen had just entered the garage and realized, with a start, she was no longer alone.

There was a young man sitting at the reception desk, grimacing as he flipped through a pile of disorderly papers, some of which were soiled with coffee stains and Cheesy-Poof™ dust.  "I think It'd take my first week just to sort all this lot..." he mumbled aloud, his voice tinged with a vague accent.

"May I help you?"  she said.  "We're not even open yet, so what did you do?  Break in?"

"I let him in."  the familiar voice of Jen's aunt (by marriage) Janine Melnitz Spengler answered.  She had just come back into the police station herself, carrying a pile of paperwork in a box.  Jen recognized it as one of the boxes of invoices that had been salvaged from the old Nightsquad firehouse, and had been stored at GBCentral until now.  "This is the sole applicant to be your new Client Administrator."

Jen blinked.  "You have to be kidding me.  You're just a kid!"

"I'll have you know I'm seventeen years old!"  the young man replied, his accent--(British, perhaps?  Jen thought to herself) becoming a bit more pronounced.  "Seventeen and three quarters to be precise--I'll be eighteen on January 20th!!!"

"Okay..."

"Mrs. Spengler says you've never had a proper Client Administrator and it shows."  the young man continued.   His voice was a little calmer, and his accent faded for the most part.  "I think your filing system is in need of some major help..."

Jen found herself grinning despite herself.  Nightsquad had been rather sloppy and unorganized with it's paperwork, not really feeling--at first--that they would be busy enough to not handle it themselves.  That changed, but the team resisted hiring new help.  "Everything's cool as is."?  Shades had said.  "We don't want to ruin our perfect chemistry by bringing in some outsider..."

That's inevitable now, isn't it, Shades?  Jen answered the memory internally.  "I can't hire you if I don't even know your name..."

"Oh."  the young man realized with a start.  He extended his hand.  "Benjamin King, Junior.  Though my Mum and friends usually call me Ben..."  he said as Jen shook it.

Jen stopped.  "Ben King?  I've heard that name before..."

Ben tugged his collar.  "Well, there is a Benjamin King Senior who's a member of the United Kingdom franchise.  He's..."  he seemed to be a bit hesitant to admit it.  "He's possibly, probably my father..."

" 'Possibly, Probably' ?"  Jen asked.

"It's a long story, Miss Spengler..."

Jen nodded.  "I'm afraid I can't promise anything until Bo meets you, but I'd say since you're the only person to apply, you stand a very good chance..."

The garage door opened, and the ECTO-1X pulled into the spot it was already looking perfectly right-at-home in.  Bo and Vincent got out of the car.

Bo looked around, a look of surprise on his face.  "Who fixed the f***ing garage door?"

"That would be me..."

They turned to see a man in dark clothes, with long, black, stringy hair step out of the shadows of the garage.

"I'll warn you, this is the wrong place for vampires, Pal..."

Janine rolled her eyes.  "This is your other applicant---Eric Rose."

Bo looked at the man.  "Great.  Did Mrs. Spengler mention that Goth douche bags blew up my last house, and I'm not real sure I want one working for me?"

"I'm not worried."  Eric replied.  "I'm not a douche bag."

"I'll be the judge of that."  Bo retorted.

"Says the man who let a bunch of Goth douche bags blow up his house."

"Listen, Mister Creepy..."

"He did fix the garage door, Hon..."  Jen pointed out.

"And the coffee machine!!!"  Ben pointed out brightly.

"Who the f*** is that?"  Bo asked.

"I think he's our new Client Administrator."  Jen replied.

Bo looked around for a minute.  "You fixed that f***ing coffee machine?"

Eric only nodded slightly.

Ben came up to Bo with a cup of coffee.  "Here you go, Sir, just the way Miss Spengler says you like it..."

Bo sipped the coffee.  A look of wonder came on his face.  "You got that piece of shit coffee machine working."  he glanced at Eric, then over at Ben.  "And you made the best cup of coffee I've had in years."  He grumbled, but with a pleasant tone, as he walked to his under-construction office.  "Sorry I don't have any smoking ghost traps to give you guys..."

"Translation:  Welcome Aboard."  Jen smiled.

One Week Later
Bo looked over the former police station, now almost done. 

He was a little surprised when Professor Egon Spengler, one of the founders of Ghostbusters International, walked into the construction site.

"Egon?  What's up?"  Bo asked  "I thought Belmont was dropping in today..."

"Something else came up."  Egon told him as they shook hands.  "I needed to send him to England."

"England?  What the f*** for?"

Ben Junior, sitting at the reception desk, noticably leaned in the direction of the conversation.

"They've had their own bout of bad luck."  Egon replied.  "It starts similar to yours--a massive containment breach--but gets worse.  They didn't have the fortune of cutting a deal with the authorities."

"Great."  Bo shook his head.

Jen heard the voices, and came to investigate.  She shared a quick hug with her uncle.  "I hope everything's well, Uncle."

"No complaints."  Egon replied.  "I was just telling Bo that something came up, and we had to send Vincent to England."

"Unfortunate, but I think we can handle things without him now."  Jen said.

Egon's cel phone rang.  "Hm..."  He answered the phone.  "Yes, Dear.  I'm at Nightsquad's now, with...they what?  Crumbs.  Try to confine the damage and I will be there as quickly as I can." He hung up the phone.  "Jennifer, Bo, I have to go..."

"My cousins are in trouble again, aren't they?"  Jen asked with a smirk.

"Very much."  Egon answered, making a quick--but polite exit.

Ben leaned back, looking thoughful.

Bo put his arm around Jen's waist.  "And that's why I'm never having any kids.  Even if I didn't hate babies, Brooklyn genes and Spengler genes are just too volatile a combination..."

" 'He'll be a great scientist some day if he doensn't blow himself up first' "  Jen chuckled.  "That's what Grandfather said about Uncle Egon a lot.  I have no doubt Eden and Johnathan will do just fine..."

They were interrupted from further discussion when a man walked through the still-unocked door.  "This is...the Ghostbusters Nightsquad, correct?"

Bo was about to tell the man they weren't open yet, but stopped.  There was something about this guy he couldn't put his finger on...it wasn't just that the man was a little unusual looking, with dreadlocks and a pair of sunglasses obscuring his eyes (Shit.  Shades wore his even in the dark), there was something else.  He felt Jen tense beside him.

"Maybe you can help me..."  the man shook his head.  "Perhaps..."

Jen quietly backed away from Bo and the visitor, moving toward the reception desk.  Ben also looked a little uncomfortable.  "Who is that?"  he whispered.

"I don't know."  Jen replied, turning so that her body was between the visitor and the PKE Meter she pulled out of her pocket and activated.  "But there is an unusual flux at work around him..."

"Perhaps what?"  Bo asked.

"Forgive my rudeness.  My name is Leon Vega, and I have..."  he looked at Bo.  "I have come to join your team."

"Join our team?"  Bo repeated incredulously.

"I'm a med student, and perhaps you could find that useful?"

Bo had to stop for a second.   The new guys out west had a full-blown Medical Doctor on their team, so a med student sure couldn't hurt.

"Perhaps we should discuss this further?"  Jen said to Bo, giving him one of those private looks...

"Right this way, Mister Vega."  Bo said amiably.  Leon smiled in reply, then passed out.

"Figures this shit happens the minute Belmont leaves the country."  Bo grumbled.

The mysterious "Leon Vega" was lying on the couch.

"He did have some paperwork in his coat."  Ben announced.  "But it's odd--an Algerian passport and a British driver's license..."

"So he's not the run-of-the-mill street crazy or drunk?"  Bo asked.

"He's definitely got an odd valence pattern."  Jen said.  "It doesn't resemble what you usually get with a posession...and the level is too steady to have been a result of contact with an outside force."

"Why don't we just ask him when he wakes up?"  Ben asked.

To their shock, when they turned around the couch was empty, and the paperwork they'd taken out of the mystery man's pocket was gone.

Leon Vega leaped to another rooftop, then stopped to collect himself, breathing hard.

How could I be so stupid?  Going to the Ghostbusters? Asking to join?  Ghostbusters are the last ones I should be going to--they exist to destroy monsters like me...

He got up, and looked at the New York skyline one last time.

I must go home...to England.  Perhaps there I will find a solution to this dilemma...before it destoys me.

October 31, 2003
It was Halloween.

All things considered, Bo thought, that made it just perfect.  Another stab to the eye of the enemy who'd cost them so dearly.

They were near one of the many craters in the area known as "Ground Zero"--but this particular one was of special interest.  It was the sight of Ernie Slaughter and Ian MacPherson's last stand against the Hain Witch.

A wreath--the Ghostbusters logo in purple--was tied to a pole still standing in the area.  In addition to Bo and Jen, the original Ghostbusters, Janine, and Roland were present from the Main Office.  Louis Tully and Rich Roy from GBI were there.  Boris Meely, the official GBI photographer.  And Bo'd had a call earlier that day from Jeff Nash and Fritz Baugh.

A few other people were there.  Fans, mostly.  A couple of people Bo recognized from cases they'd had over the years.  He stiffened when he saw...

"Lori?"  Jen said aloud, moving toward the woman Ernie'd cared about more than any other.

Lori just embraced her and hugged her.  "I never...never even really got to say goodbye to him..."  she finally sobbed.

Bo found himself becoming uncharacteristically misty-eyed.  "Ernie and Shades both died heroes, Lori.  I hate to sound like a goddamn cliche, but when the chips were down he came through for us.  He died for you, Lori, and for all of us--so that we could be here today making soppy speeches about him instead of being enslaved or dead at the hands of a death bitch."

"Louis tells me GBI wants to get a memorial set up here--just a tiny plaque or something, because there's gonna be a lot of people this spot will need to memorialize.  All I can say is, as much as I appreciate the thought, the real memorial to their memories is gonna be down at a former police station in Brooklyn.  Where some rookies are gonna help Jen and I continue the fight they started."

Nightsquad Headquarters
The building was fully lit, save for the dark sign sporting the familiar purple-colored Ghostbuster logo.

The freshly-polished ECTO-1X sparkled in the light.

A neat, orderly reception desk stood ready, a nametag reading "Ben King, Jr.--Client Administrator" adorning it.

A plaque hung in the main reception area, sporting the purple Ghostbuster logo, and the phrase "Ready to Believe You Since 1997."  Below that, the first promotion picture taken of Bo Holbrook, Jen Spengler, "Ecto" Ernie Slaughter, and Ian "Shades" MacPherson when they became Ghostbusters International's first new franchise.

And below that..."Ernie and Shades:  True Legends Never Die"

Ray made a satisfied grunt as the last diagnostic came through.  "Software is all working.  No detected problems in the hardware."  He turned to Bo, standing by the giant main power switch.  "You may fire when ready, Gridley..."

Bo threw the giant switch with a satisfied grunt of his own.

The giant round shape of the Ecto Containment Unit rumbled, and began to hum.

Everyone in the room breathed a little easier a minute later, when Ray once again announced "All systems green."

The new roster of Ghostbusters Nightsquad stood together, all in their new dark flight suits sporting the purple version of the no-ghost insignia.  Eric Rose scratched himself.  "Don't worry...it stops itching after you get slimed a time or two..."  Venkman told him.

Roland stepped forward, holding a ghost trap with a jury-rigged plasma core attached to it.  "I believe you should do the honors, Mister Holbrook."

Bo took the trap after Roland removed the plasma core.  "Gladly, Mister Jackson..."  He held the trap up for a second, and had to admit he was more than pleased his request had been remembered.  "Make sure that's hooked up to a power unit, but don't let Roland empty that. It's going in my ECU as soon as I have one again." 

The Hain Witch is in this trap.  Bo remarked to himself.  The bitch that blew up my firehouse and killed two of my best friends.  I wish they could be here to see this...hell, I wish Vince, Fritz and Jeff were here to see this...

He carried out the procedural opening and unlocking of the system slowly, savoring the moment.  The trap was put into place.  He paused for a moment, his hand on the lever that would send the contents of the trap into their new home.

"Noone f***s with Nightsquad, Bitch."

He jammed down the lever, nodding as the metallic flushing noise and the green light confirmed that the new ECU was no longer unoccupied.

"Ben, go turn on the sign."  Bo told the teenage Client Administrator.  "Nightsquad is back in business."

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