September 20, 2003

The car stood in the mangled garage of the Nightsquad Firehouse. The ECTO-2 landed in the street outside.

"What the f*** was that all about anyway?" Ernie shouted. "The most powerful f***ing thing we've ever faced and you were taunting it?!"

"We need a plan." Bo replied, ignoring Ernie's rant. "We got three hours to think of a way to smoke this bitch. Ideas?"

"Sorry, fresh out." Jen said glumly.

"I guess we try something it won't expect." Bo said.

"What?" Ernie asked.

"A frontal attack." Bo said.

"ARE YOU INSANE?!" Ernie protested.

"We're low on options." Bo replied, his voice held an edge of anger.

"That doesn't mean we have to go killing ourselves!!!" Ernie argued.

"Shut up Ernie!" Bo shouted.

"I won't, I'm as much a part of this team as you and you can't force us to kill ourselves to prove what a hardass you are!!!" Ernie shouted.

"YOU F***ING PUSSY!" Bo screamed back, he then calmed down and walked into the basement, leaving a startled group of onlookers.

"Wow." Ernie breathed.

"It would be best for you if you don't talk to him for now." Jen said, her eyes were fierce, but her voice held understanding. "I'll go talk to him." Jen said, as she moved towards the door to the basement, and vanished into the gloom.

The rest looked at each other. "Could there be any significance to the fact that it stopped at the Brooklyn Bridge?" Fritz asked.

"Perhaps." Vincent responded. "Many entities have prohibitions against crossing running water."

"The Hain Witch ain't exactly a vampire, Dr. Belmont." Jeff replied. "Though I gotta give'em credit for coming up with a unique solution to the 'This world isn't big enough for both of us to be the absolute ruler' problem..."

"I do have one idea..." Vincent finally said. "Roland, it all depends on whether we have the time to make one more modification to the ECTO-2..."

Bo had just kicked a piece of dislodged railing when the voice startled him. "Mind telling me what that was?"

He couldn't meet Jen's gaze. "That f***tard Ernie, I just don't like it when people..."

"Give up?" Jen finished. "Bo, they're not giving up. They just think a frontal approach isn't the answer."

"What would they know?" Bo spat.

"As much as you do. Don't forget they were here when it started, they've been here from the begining." Jen said, she sat down on the edge of the balcony and allowed her legs to swing into the black void. "They're our friends, our allies...our teammates. Don't you even think about making them anything less then they are." Jen scolded. "Now you go back upstairs and do your job." Jen said.

"And that would be?" he asked.

"Our leader." Jen said, for a moment uncertainty wavered in his blue eyes, but he then dimissed it and paused at the door.

"Well, what are you waiting for? We got a prehistoric bitch that needs showing how we do things Downtown." Bo said. Jen smirked and joined him.

"Okay, I have decided that a frontal attack isn't an option we want, so we're gonna drive up onto the bridge and take the Hain Witch out."

"Isn't that the same thing?" Ernie asked.

"No we're not doing a f***ing Charge of the Light Brigade. We force it off the tower and then..." Bo looked around. "Where are Carlton and Fritzy?"

"I sent them on another errand." Vincent replied. "If my idea works, it will dovetail nicely into what it sounds like you're proposing."

Jeff Nash wasn't the smiling sort, but watching this group made him come close to it. Having only been in the Ghostbusting business for five months, he recognized that Nightsquad was something the Ghostbusters West Coast weren't yet: a close-knit unit more akin to a family than a team. We'll get there, though. And if we don't...hell, maybe Holbrook will be hiring someday...

Two hours had passed. The members of Nightsquad had each done what needed to be done to get the equipment, and themselves, ready...

Now was the difficult part, where each could be lost in their own thoughts.

Ernie had had enough. He borrowed Vincent's cel phone to make a call.

"Hi Lori, it's me. Ernie," Ernie sighed. "I got something to tell you." He spoke in a voice tinged with regret.

"I've seen whats going on TV. What is it Ernie?"

"Well....." Ernie began, he rubbed a hand behind his head as he spoke.

"Ernie...." Lori persisted.

"Well, we're going to fight that thing you saw on the television and chances are we might not come back."

"No......." Lori sounded less than enthusiastic.

"I'm..." Ernie began. But before Ernie he could finish his sentence he heard a loud slam and a click that signified that Lori had hung up the phone... "I'm sorry...." Ernie spoke into the phone, only the dial tone answered back.

Ernie reared back to fling it into a wall, but Vincent plucked it out of his hand before the throw.

Ernie fell against the floor with his face in his hands.

Jen was charging the last of the traps in what was left of the Trap Charging Apparatus and Shades was busy fixing the salvagable equipment that had been damaged in the explosion. The only light that filtered into the basement was the slowly dying sunlight that was let in by the hole in the roof. A chunk of the garage's floor tile broke free and crashed into the basement and startled both of them.

"Wha!?" He jumped.

"AH!" She braced herself at the sudden noise. Shades picked up the broken tile and studied it.

"Heh..... Just a tile...." He muttered. Shades fliped the tile like a Frisbee into the large cavernous hole which days ago had been the site of the Containment Unit. A few scraps of torn red metal were the only evidence of it ever existing. Jen looked at the hole with a long regretful look

"So much work was put into that unit. Now it's nothing but a pile of rubble." She said, briefly looking at the melted hulk of the completely destroyed cleaning chamber.

"Yeah, dumbass people really." Shades remarked, working on a damaged proton pack. "We're trying to save the world and they're trying to bring about it's destruction." He remarked, he glanced up to see the hatch that had covered the entry grid embedded in the wall. Most of it's red paint was flaking off. Jen loaded a trap cartridge into it's base and locked it into position.

"The 'Goth douche bags' as Bo called them, that freed the Witch and called Samhain? It would seem as though humans have a need to destroy themselves, and if not themselves then everything else..." Jen commented. Several chunks of debris shifted under her boot.

Bo ran a piece of metal tubing from the ECTO-1X's engine to the rear and started to hook it up to two tanks marked "Nitrous" and "Ether" He was mumbling something...

"Goddamn f***ing monsters never learn their f***ing lessons the first time we kill'em." Bo muttered angrily as he ran the tubing under ECTO's mangled rear bumper. He cranked a ratchet viciously, attaching the tubing to a split Y shaped connector that fed into both tanks. "But NOOOO They gotta come back so we can kick their sorry asses again." He emphasised 'No' like Venkman would.

Bo's ratchet slipped and he banged his knuckles. "Ow! Shit!" Bo rubbed his hand and muttered angrily. "I'm getting too old for this..." He trailed off as he got back to work.

Bo attached the skid plate over the tanks to guard them from bumps or other various things that might cause an explosion. " I f***ing hate ghosts...." Bo shoved himself out from under the ECTO-1X and stood up.

Shades walked back upstairs toting the hastily repaired Proton Pack and sat it down next to a destroyed locker. He walked into the office where Ernie was sitting... "You okay, Bro?"

"No....." Ernie mutted, his face was still in his hands. Shades grabbed a chair that wasn't a write-off and sat down beside Ernie, putting a hand on Ernie's shoulder.

"What's the matter?" Shades asked.

"I'm throwing my f***ing life away that's what." Ernie replied angrily. Ernie stood up quickly, grabbed the edge of the charred desk and overturned it. Even Bo stared at what he had just done. The force of the desk hitting the floor knocked some of the last remaining shards of broken glass out of their frames. They broke as they hit the floor. " I got my whole damned life ahead of me, I have a girl I love and I'm risking my life playing hero..." He shouted and kicked the desk, he then turned and stared at the blackened wall. Shades looked at Ernie from his chair.

"So what else do we do, Ernie?" Shades asked. "Let that f***ing thing win, and turn the entire city, then the world, into a demonic playground? Or just charcoal it? His tone softened, and he did something he rarely did: he removed his sunglasses. "Ernie, Don't play the hero. Be the hero. Whether you die today or not you have the chance to make the world safe for someone you love. And thats what it's all about."

Shades stood up, placed his glasses back on his nose and walked out of the office. Ernie stood there with a deep, thoughtful look on his face.

Bo slammed down the hood of the ECTO-1X and navigated around the big hole in the floor of the firehouse and walked upstairs. Lighting a cigar on his way up, he walked into the remains of the living quarters and dusted the debris off the sofa and sat down. He looked for an ashtray out of habit, but then remembered the devastation all about him. "What the hell? It doesn't matter any more..." He flicked the ashes onto the sofa, then the floor, and then laughed for probably the first time since this whole mess started.

Jen walked up the stairs and sat down beside him; he put his arm around her shoulders, and she wrapped her arms tightly around his waist.

"I love you." She whispered. Bo smirked and took a drag off of his cigar.

"You too Sweetheart." He replied, and they shared a kiss they hoped wouldn't be their last.

"Let's go kick some demonic ass." Bo announced, sounding eager to get it over with. Around him, the other members of Nightsquad nodded in unison. Strangely enough, so did Jeff Nash, in perfect synchronization.

The engine of the ECTO-1X started and under Bo's deft handling it peeled out of the destroyed firehouse. Just as it did, the sign bearing the Ghostbusters symbol--surrounded by a purple circle instead of red--broke off and crashed to the ground, the glass case splitting in half and sparks flying, fueled by the last bits of electricity to be found in the firehouse's wiring.

"One more thing on the f***ing bill, Sammy..." Bo muttered virally and shifted gears. He then peeled out to the Brooklyn Bridge.

"Did we ever hear from Fritz or Roland?" Jeff asked. The ECTO-1X had already crossed the Bridge, and were nearing the former World Trade Center site.

"They'll be along when they can." Vincent answered enigmatically. "They had some problem with the equipment they were mounting on the ECTO-2..."

The car shook as a massive explosion erupted behind them. Several cars that had been passing by were thrown into nearby buildings or were sent hurling ahead of the ECTO-1X. A checker cab smashed into the roadway to the left of the Cadillac while a red Chrysler sailed over their heads and exploded in a fireball as it smashed into the tower.

"Sonofa..." Bo shouted as he slammed on the brakes. The car slid sideways and came to a halt.

They all got out of the car and examined the scene. Jen gasped as they looked behind the vehicle Cars just a few feet back had shattered windows and the state of damage became progressively worse until it reached the completely destroyed cars at the edge of the fire.

"What did that?" Ernie shouted over the noise. There were people screaming as they ran.

"Sooo Ghostbustersss." A voice hissed from above. The six Ghostbusters turned and looked up at the monsterous parody of the Twin Towers. A green glow surrounding a dark figure could be seen on the top of the tower. "You've decided to take up our challenge." The intermixed voices of the Witch and the spirit of Halloween mocked them.

"No, we're here for the sightseeing." Shades shouted back in sarcasm.

"Still have a sense of humor about the destruction of something you hold dear?" It hissed.

"They'll rebuild the Towers. Eventually. But you aren't going to be around to see that!" Jen shouted at the Hain Witch.

"I doubt it." It hissed. "We're more powerful then ever before. We no longer abide by the same rules. No more dimensions, no more Halloween!!! We are eternal!"

"Over our dead bodies!" Ernie shouted.

"I think that can easily be arranged." The Hain Witch's eyes flashed yellow, and it started to fire bolts of yellow fire at them.

Belmont howled a spell in return, the fireballs splashing off of a mystic forcefield.

"You seek to use your feeble magick against me?" the Hain Witch cackled. "I'm so amused by this I may destroy you with little pain..."

"Retreat!" Bo shouted. They ducked behind the ECTO-1X, crouching to talk with more ease.

"Good going, Ernie." Bo grumbled; Ernie's face flushed a little in shame.

"Even Belmont's not gonna be able to hold that back long..." Jeff noted.

"So what's the plan again?" Shades asked as a car nearby exploded.

"We blast the bitch." Bo said eagerly, he held up his gun while he wore a mischevious grin.

"Short..." Ernie said.

"To the point..." Jen commented.

"I like it." Shades said as he pulled his proton gun free from it's holster. The other three followed his example and they stood up. Jen, Bo, and Jeff walked down the left hand side of the car while Ernie and Shades walked down the right hand side. As soon as they had passed the radiator grill they shortened the gap between them and continued to walk towards the tower.

The strain was showing on Vincent's face. The shield started to buckle and distort. "Jeff--get Gandalf out of there!!!" Bo shouted.

Just as the field faded at last, Jeff pulled Vincent out of the way before the next fussilade destroyed him. They retreated behind the ECTO-1X, to give Belmont a moment to recover.

"On Three. ONE!" Bo shouted.

"Two!" Jen shouted.

"Three!" Ernie shouted.

"Fire!" Shades shouted and they commenced their attack, a beam of protons left each barrel and snaked towards the Hain Witch and wrapped themselves around it's unnatural figure, the Hain Witch simply stood there and laughed.

"You mortal fools, do you think you can defeat the combined powers of the Blair Witch and the spirit of Halloween?" It asked in a mocking tone. The four Ghostbusters continued to fire.

"Err Bo, I don't think the frontal attack is working." Ernie said as he tightened his grip on his particle thrower.

"Increase the power!" Jen shouted over the noise. The four beams' intensity increased and became harder to handle, but the barrage still simply rolled off the smug Hain Witch.

"Bo! They're overheating!" Shades shouted.

"Cease fire!" Bo shouted, the four beams ceased, smoke drifted up from the barrels, the very tips of them were blackened and melted. Being the older Mark 1 proton pack designs, they weren't equipped with the safety cut-off of the newer Mark 4 design.

"And now, you shall die!" The Hain Witch shouted and lept from the tower, flipping an almost graceful arc to land on one knee. It's form was silhouetted against the flames, black as night save the yellow glow from its eyes. It raised its talons, and they glowed the same yellow.

"Err...Plan B?" Ernie asked.

"Plan B?" Jen asked, one of her eyebrows raised.

"Yes....RUN!!!" Shades shouted as the Hain Witch shot a massive blast at the Nightsquad members. As they ran, a large chunk of roadway exploded behind them and pieces of debris from the blast grazed Shades' arm and cut Bo's hand while they ran. They all lunged in behind the ECTO-1X as Bo jumped into the rear side door. They all flopped down around the rear door of the ECTO-1X, attempting to catch their breath.

"At what point.... Did we lose control here?!" Shades asked in annoyance, pulling off his sunglasses to inspect one of the lenses. A large crack split the lens in half.

"I didn't forsee this being so difficult...." Jen commented while still being out of breath. Suddenly Bo threw open the back hatch of the ECTO-1X.

"We are f***ing dead..." He growled. He grabbed the first aid kit as another blast hit the car, knocking the radar dish to the concrete.

"Your confidence is comforting, Bo." She said as she glowered at him.

"Yeah really." Jeff replied sarcastically. He was holding on to Vincent, who had apparently passed out. Ernie was sitting quietly and appeared to be contemplating something very deeply....

"He's right though, Nash, We just don't have the tools to kill it." She explained. The Hain Witch shot several blasts into the sky.

"What's the matter Ghostbusters?! The reality of your impending deaths becoming more apparrent now? At least have the courage to give us a decent fight before you die. Come to us." The Hain Witch mocked as it shot a few blasts off into Brooklyn.

Bo popped open the first aid kit and began taping up and sterilizing the cut on his hand "You know the way I see it if we're gonna get killed anyway we might as well just go all out in an attempt to kill that thing, send it to hell where it sure as f*** can't come back." He commented on the current situation, he was totally serious.

"I agree..... If that thing gets past us, it's not just New York that's gone. It's the whole damn world." Shades said in agreement.

"Right....." She also agreed. Shades reached into the first aid kit for some medical cotton and tape and began patching up his wound as Bo finished, Shades noticed the look on Ernie's face, the stern contemplative look.

"Ernie man, are you alright....." He asked, worry crept into his voice. Ernie didn't answer. Shades finished up on his arm, however he didn't take his eyes off of his friend.

"The ultimate sanction?" Jeff asked.

Bo nodded, and flipped open the panel covering his particle thrower's safety switch. "We do it. Five proton packs going off in unison should take that f***er out."

"Four." Jeff shook his head. "Mine's the new design--the destruct panel is locked, and I don't have the key for it."

"When we make our run, grab Gandalf and drive like f***." he handed Jeff the keys to the ECTO-1X. "And don't scratch my car." he added just as another of the Hain Witch's blasts hit it.

"Any last words, gang?" He said as he replaced the rest of the cotton in the first aid kit. Shades and Bo stood up, leaned against the rear of the ECTO-1X and shook hands. "I don't say this very often, because I got a reputation to maintain, but you guys are the best." He said, remembering some of the fonder memories the team had shared. The Hain Witch blew up several spots around the Ghostbusters, as they shook.

"I have a whole world to destroy, I'd like to finish up with you pitiful excuses for heroes..." The Hain Witch was becoming agitated with having to wait. Lightning streaked through the night air behind the Witch and lit up even more of the site. Bo looked at Shades and then looked at the Witch.

"If I was going to senselessly attack an unstoppable demon-god, You'd be my first choice to help." Shades said with a sly grin. Shades and Bo smiled at each other as Bo turned to Jen.

"I'll be waiting for you on the other side beautiful." He said as he looked at her fondly. Jen gave Bo a long regretful look and touched her hand to the side of his face as she fought back her tears.

"It's a shame you and I have to end our lives this way." She said in regret for all the things she'll never get to do, that they would never get to do. Jen and Bo grabbed hold of each other and exchanged a tight embrace.

"Death ain't gonna keep me from you." He said with a grin. Ernie broke his contemplative look and looked up at Jen and Bo, then Shades. He then turned to look at the Witch. Shades took up his Proton Gun.

"It's time..." He said as he switched it back on. Bo and Jen relinquished their hug.

"Indeed." Jen said, she shot a smile at Bo and then turned to the gruesome task ahead.

"Going down in the regular blaze of glory Shades?" Bo said with a mad, almost maniacal gleam in his eyes. "Ernie?" He realized Ernie wasn't with them anymore. "Ernie?!"

The other three Ghostbusters turned to see Ernie standing in front of the ECTO-1X.

"Ernie, what are you doing man? We got to do this...." Bo shouted

"Yes, It must be done Ernie." Jen said, a few starnds of blonde hair had fallen out of place and now hung over her face, she tried to brush them away.

"No..." Ernie repeated.

"Ernie, what's the matter man?" Shades asked, worried more then before. Ernie didn't remove his eyes from Witch's direction, he continued to stare at it.

"So this is it? This is your uprising? Pathetic." The Hain Witch sounded disgusted and crossed it's arms. Large dark clouds formed in the sky over the Witch and blotted out the stars.

"Shades, do me a favor...." Ernie began.

"Anything man." Shades said.

"Tell Lori that I'm sorry for what I'm going to do. Tell her I'll miss her." Ernie said. They all looked at Ernie, confused as to what he meant.

"And Bo..." Ernie began. Bo was slipping on his black leather gloves as Ernie spoke. "I want you all to get in the car and drive far away from here, I'm going to deal with the Witch myself." He spoke, his voice filled with hate.

"Ernie are you insane? You can't possibly take it on by yourself..." Jen spoke in surprise and horror at Ernie's plan. Ernie did exactly as they were planning to so, he pulled open the safety plate and jabbed the button, causing a play of sparks around the thrower's barrel, and a different, more ominous whine in the cyclotron.

"Ernie, No man, we go down, we go down together..." Shades protested as he put his sunglasses back on.

"How many times have I froze? How many times have you risked your lives for me without thinking twice, while I was snivelling in the corner like a coward? Now it's my turn." Ernie argued back.

"Ernie. Man..." Shades began.

"Bo, you were right, I was a pussy...but not anymore." Ernie smiled a little, it was almost forced.

"But Ernie!" Shades protested.

" 'Don't play the hero, BE the hero'..." Ernie shouted, as he charged the Hain Witch. "Bo, get them out of here. NOW!"

As quickly as possible, the rest of them piled into the damaged ECTO-1X, Jeff throwing the keys back to Bo. Shades, however, was still watching Ernie, a look of shock on his face.

"SHADES GODDAMMIT COME ON!" Bo shouted at Shades' back. Lightning began crashing around Ernie and the Ghostbusters in the car. "GET THE f*** IN HERE!"

"No man, He won't do it, He won't do it..." Shades shook his head as if what was happening around them was all in a dream. He didn't seem to be believing it.

"Shades, This is not the best time for this, the spot where we're sitting is going to be reduced to rubble in the next few moments!" Jen shouted from her window.

"No... He won't... He couldn't!" Shades shouted in protest.

"Dammit I don't give a rat's ass about your emotional attatchment to Ernie!" Bo threw open the passenger side door from the driver's seat. "GET THE F*** IN HERE! NOW!" Bo screamed from his seat, his face was flushed red with fury. Bo grabbed hold of Shades and dragged him into the car, shutting the door behind him. "Hold onto your asses people!!!" He hit the gas and the car flew forward.

Ernie had reached the Hain Witch and was looking it straight in its now fiery red eyes.

"So, the only member of Nightsquad left with the courage to face me? Do you not fear your imminent death? Perhaps I should torture you first, or turn you into one of my loyal minions." The Hain Witch mused.

"My ass." Ernie shouted, his voice filled with defiance.

"And what are you going to do? Those pathetic pop-guns you have cannot harm me!" It cackeled.

"No," Ernie began to smile, "but this can..." Ernie gritted his teeth and reached up grabbing the Hain Witch by it's tattered shroud, pulling it's neck down to eye level with him. Ernie thought to himself:

Shades...Jen...Lori...even Bo. This one's for you... Ernie laughed inside as he put the barrel of his gun to the Hain Witch's face and fired. At that moment, the cyclotron reached its critical mass. The last thing the Hain Witch saw before being surrounded in white, blinding light was "Ecto" Ernie Slaughter's defiant grin.

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" It screamed in pain and covered it's eyes as the light engulfed them both. The massive explosion formed around Ernie and the Hain Witch, they both screamed in pain as the powerful blast engulfed them both and they disappeared within it's bright light.

One of the horrific towers desecrating Ground Zero buckled, distorted, and--much like the one that had been there before--crashed to the ground.

The shockwave, the combined violence of the proton explosion and the fall of the monster tower was beginning to catch up with the ECTO-1X. Jen shouted something that was lost to the roar of the explosion. Bo eyed a covered switch on the dashboard as Shades sat with a stunned look on his face.

Bo flipped up the plastic cover on the switch, labled "Nitrous" He flipped the switch and laid the gas pedal to the floor as the speedometer dropped off the scale.

Bo and Shades screamed the f-bomb as they were thrown back into their seats.

They screeched to a halt several blocks away. There was still flame and smoke billowing from the disaster site, and sirens cut through the night.

The three remaining members of Ghostbusters Nightsquad, battered and bruised, slowly stepped out of the car and surveyed the scene. For several minutes they remained silent, absorbed in the images and memories that clogged their senses.

Jeff stayed in the car, and just watched them, feeling for the first time like he was intruding even at that. He didn't know Ernie very well--they did. This was their grief.

"Shit." Bo breathed.

"We...we did it?" Shades asked uneasily.

"It would appear so..." Jen began.

"BITCH AIN'T STANDIN' NOW!!!" Bo howled at the disaster site, flipping it off with both hands, the angry expression meant to distract from the tears that were wanting to form in his eyes.

Then something shifted inside the burning wreckage.

The remaining Nightsquad members watched, with churning stomaches, as a gruesome, smoldering figure pulled free of the devastation.

"In all our combined centuries...no fool has ever caused us such insult!!!" it spat. "Not the Ghostbusters who thrice bound Samhain...not in their fourth meeting, when they tore him to nothingness...not even you, when you affronted the Blair Witch before..."

"SHIT!!!" Shades shouted, tears in his eyes, and fired on the creature.

Jen joined in.

Shade's beam hit the Witch in it's torso while Jen hit it in its deformed pumpkin head. It reared back, almost startled but then shot the two bolts at the Ghostbusters.

Jen was hit by one of the blasts from the Hain Witch, knocking her a good twenty feet across the pavement.

"JEN NO!" Bo made a run for Jen as the Hain Witch fired blasts all around him; by then Jeff had jumped back out of the ECTO-1X, and together he and Shades were delivering a volley of cover fire. Bo snatched up Jen with as much tenderness as the need for swiftness allowed, and dived behind the ECTO-1X with her.

"Oh shit, Jen are you okay..." Bo asked, his face wore an expression of horror.

"I... I'm fine... It just winded... Me... Thats all..." Jen gasped, she looked up at him. One of the lenses in her glasses was completely broken, her jumpsuit was smouldering in places. Jen attempted to get up but she collapsed unconcious against Bo as Shades and Jeff ducked in behind the ECTO-1X. Shades was clutching a new wound on his forearm, blood was staining his flightsuit crimson.

"We gotta do something to end this Bo... We're gonna get killed if we don't... We need a new plan." Shades spoke. Bo laid Jen's unconcious body in the back of the ECTO-1X, next to Belmont, and then shut the rear hatch. "Is she..." Shades asked, worried for his friend.

Bo grunted angrily. "No she ain't, but that thing didn't do her any favors."

"We gotta do something and do it quick." Jeff noted. "When Jen blasted the thing, it actually slowed it down."

"So what does that mean?" Shades asked.

"It just had a proton pack blow up in its face." Jeff answered. "I think it's more hurt than it wants to let on...but we gotta move quick, because otherwise it'll start to regenerate all the energy it lost." He glanced at the remaining tower. "And around here, with all the deathforce still lingering in the area, that won't take long."

"Ernie's sacrifice wasn't in vain after all..." it occured to Shades. "It gave us an opening..."

"Ghostbusters!!! We have had enough of this!!!" it shrieked. "Show yourselves, or we will turn your precious city into rubble!!!"

Bo smirked, realizing Jeff was right. "Hot damn...you can hear it getting desperate..."

"RAAARGH THAT'S IT, WE GROW TIRED OF WAITING!" It screamed. In a flash, the Witch then appeared atop the ECTO-1X and pointed an open palm at Shades.

"Holy..." Shades began to shout.

"YOU SHALL BE NEXT!!!" The Hain Witch unleashed powerful energy blasts from both hands; Bo and Jeff were knocked away...

Shades took the other blast point blank.

Bo got a vague impression that he had seen Shades' skeleton like he had been X-rayed...

Once the blast died and the smoke cleared Ian "Shades" McPherson was gone.

Bo's eyes widened, Shades' trademark sunglasses could be seen sitting in the middle of the small crater made by the energy blast, the cracked lense now had a chunk of glass missing from it, one of the metal arms melted out of shape.

"YOU BITCH!" Bo shouted in anguish and horror at what he'd just witnessed.

The Hain Witch leaned closer, a malicious grin spread on it's face.

His head was full of fuzz...but he heard the shouting...and noticed something that he would find no explaination for for some time: the air in the nearby area cooled some ten degrees.

Bo leapt to his feet and lunged at the Hain Witch on top of the car but was caught by the throat by its cold dead hand. It seemed to examine him for a few moments before it spoke.

"You, Ghostbuster, have been far more trouble than you are worth. This game ends now!" It said, Hain's original voice crept in now and then. The Witch reared back, preparing to stick its claw through Bo's skull...there was a flapping sound...he scrambled for this thrower to give the ugly creature one last blast...prepared one last blob of spit to hurl at it...

When suddenly, there was a gargling sound, and the Hain Witch recoiled in pain. Bo's sight vanished in a haze of pink fluid, and he felt himself being dropped. He tumbled to the ground, stunned.

"Oh...shit!!!" He heard Jeff shout. "F***in' A!!!"

Bo looked up woozily, cleaning the liquid from his eyes.

The ECTO-2 floated overhead, something new on its underside--a hastily installed Slime Blower, the device that Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler had first created in 1988 to carry and fire psychomagnetheric ectoplasm.

The Hain Witch was covered in pink slime, and was smouldering.

"We were almost too late..." Roland said.

"Holbrook!!!" Fritz shouted, and shoved something from the copter. A parachute opened, and their "present" landed more or less softly nearby.

Bo's heart jumped when he realized what it was. "The Super Pack!!!"

"I replaced the flow regulator." Fritz shouted. "It's from the newer system, so you should be able to fire for twice as long!!!"

"Game Over, Bitch." Bo sneered as he fired up the Super Pack. Even with all that had just happened, the rumble of its activation made him very very happy.

Jeff felt woozier than he should...and strangely cold.

"I need your help, Dr. Nash..." he heard Vincent say.

Jeff picked up his thrower. Vincent shook his head.

"I don't have the energy alone, but you have more energy than I anticipated. If you let me borrow some of that...it might be enough." Vincent explained.

"Hey! Hain Bitch!" Bo shouted.

The Hain Witch turned...

KROOM!

...And got shot right in the face .

The pumpkin melted away, leaving a partially exposed skull, its eyes still glowing red--but the glow was distinctly dimmer than before.

"You PATHETIC FOOL! You will pay for what you've done to us." It hissed, its voice slightly garbled by the lack of proper lips.

He beckoned with his hand. "Come get some...." Bo then cranked the neutrona power on the Super Pack.

"We'd be delighted...." It leered and began to glide towards him.

"I've been waiting for this all day..." Bo sneered.

The two of them locked eyes as they circled each other, knowing that this was it. Whoever came out on top of this final struggle would either destroy the world or save it. It was now the time for fate to decide.

"Such a weak and feeble race," It mocked, "we're going to rip you apart limb from limb." It spoke, deadly serious.

"You've already lost...." Bo spoke, he was now speaking in his old cocky tone.

"ARROGANT FOOL!" The Witch screamed in rage. As the Hain Witch reared back with it's claw to slash Bo, he ran forward, ducked under its claws; he shoved the oversize proton gun into the murderous composite demon's midsection and pressed the fire button.

The next few seconds seemed to pass in slow motion.

"OH NOOOOOO!!" The Hain Witch screamed a second before the pack fired. A giant red proton stream engulfed the Hain Witch whole, it could be seen writhing and struggling inside the overpowered beam...

The winds threatened to knock the ECTO-2 out of the sky. Roland was forced to back away from the scene of the battle

"Ars...perdo...vis..." Vincent chanted, Jeff right beside him.

As Bo fought, a faint sound could be heard above the roar of the pack. A strange shimmer had filled the air. The Hain Witch raised its claws and fired a blast of fire at Bo.

"F***...this is it." Bo thought, bracing himself, but he was left dumbfounded when he didn't feel any burning. He then slowly opened an eye and gasped, the fire had enveloped him, but wasn't burning him. When the fire died out Bo looked around, the was a small circle of pavement that he stood on that was concrete grey, a large area around that though had been charred black.

The Hain Witch simply stared at him, and Bo was sure he could see a look of similar dumbfoundment on the Witch's face.

Mister Wizard comes through again...Bo smirked.

Time seemed to slow down, and the sounds of the battle, chopper, and even New York seemed to have become silenced. A breeze too chilly for mid September blasted from the east.

"SHOOT HER, YOU IDIOT!!!" Vincent howled.

Bo grinned and immediately pressed the trigger. "Say hello to Adolf Hitler for me!" The beam was dazzling, in a white cascade of energy, the area lit up like a flare. Bo held his thumb on the button even though the kickback was slowly forcing him back towards the ECTO-1X. He cranked the power to whereever it would go and the Witch let out a blood curdling scream, beginning to disintigrate from the beam's power. The Super Pack's Proton Gun began to spark and give off smoke, then the barrel exploded. The pieces oddly seemed to bounce off of him. The cold wind blew Bo's hat off his head and it landed back against the ECTO-1X

"I CANNOT DIIEEEeeee......." The Hain Witch screamed, melting like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.

"Maybe you can't die..." Jeff Nash shouted. "But you ain't gonna like where you're gonna be, either!!!" He hurled a trap into place.

Bo nodded.

Jeff stomped on the pedal. The Hain Witch was sucked, howling, into its innards, the yellow and black striped doors snapping into place behind it.

There was another ominous rumble....the second tower created by Samhain, like the first, like the true towers on that day of infamy, crumbled.

"Don't.... f***...with Nightsquad....." Bo said in between breaths. He stood there for a moment; a light breeze passed over the disaster area, shifting loose papers and the collar of Bo's flightsuit. Smoke drifted lazily into the sky, passing the glowing skyscrapers that lined Manhattan Island.

The aftermath of the Hain Witch's defeat was quiet. He could even hear the wind, not a single horn or siren could be heard from the city.

"Bo?" Jeff asked, picking up the trap.

"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." Bo grunted, picking up his hat and Shades' sunglasses. When he reached the car there was already a small crowd of people gathering to see if it was really over.

"Did they really do it??" A onlooker asked.

"I don't know, I don't see that monster anymore and the sky is clearing... they did it... they actually did it...." Another onlooker said. The crowd looked stunned but slowly a faint chant of "Ghostbusters" began to break out.

Epilog
September 24, 2003
"Mayor MacShayne re-iterated that there was no danger to the city at large, and reports that 'monsters' had erected an 'effigy' at Ground Zero and were 'fighting over it' were just examples of 'blind panic" and 'rumormongering' running out of control."

Roland snorted and turned off the radio. Vincent chuckled beside him. "We shall have to make sure that Fritz and Jeff find out about that statement. They shall be quite amused that we were all fighting 'blind panic'."

"I'm sure the LA press is just as dismissive." Roland shrugged, as he guided his blue mustang to the wrecked firehouse that still, technically, served as the headquarters of Ghostbusters Nightsquad.

Roland opened the door, and wasn't sure whether it was better or worse that daylight was streaming in. It made the sight less ominous, but also a lot clearer how much damage had been done, and how much work was going to be needed to get this place back in shape. I wonder if our firehouse looked this bad in 1983, after Peck blew the original Containment Unit...I'll have to ask Doctor Stantz when they get back tomorrow...

"Bo?" Vincent called into the darkness.

"I'm here, Belmont." they heard his voice reply from a part of the garage still covered in shadow.

Roland bit his lip, wanting to mention that his three teammates were going to be released from the hospital that afternoon...but stopped himself, not wanting to add any reminder that the Extreme Ghostbusters had actually gotten the better deal by being hospitalized.

"What's wrong?" Vincent said. The fact that Bo hadn't referred to him by one of his usual nicknames ("Gandalf", "Mister Wizard", "Merlin") put Vincent ill at ease. Something else is wrong?

They found Bo standing there, disheveled, and couldn't help but wonder if he'd even changed his clothes since the tragic events of four days before.

He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and handing it to Vincent.

Dearest Bo,

I can't express how terrible I feel, for myself, you and the others...

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 to help replace those you have lost.

Please, don't try to contact me. Don't try to have Uncle Egon contact me.

Goodbye,

Jen.

"Now I'm the only one..." Bo stated simply, taking the note back and crumbling it.

"Bo..." Vincent started to say.

Bo held up his hand. "She left this with it..." It was Jen's owl pendant. He dangled it from his hand for a moment, the morning sun glinting off of it.

Bo angrily hurled the note and the pendant into the giant hole in the floor, only a slight sound marking the pendant hitting the floor below.

Bo turned away from the dumbstruck Roland and Vincent, fading back into the darkness filling the ruined building.

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