PANDORA'S BOX
PART ONE

Original Story by Barry Peterson
Adapted by Fritz Baugh


GBI Case File GBNY-1991-9/205
The Pentagon
Washington, DC
March, 1991
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Nine
(Prior To "Terror On the Jersey Turnpike")
"Another pile of requisition forms..." Corporal Andrea Albert, Army File Clerk muttered to herself. "How many $600 screwdrivers does Cheney really need?" She knew noone was around to hear it...the Secretary of Defense was notorious for punishing any signs of "disloyalty" (meaning "the smallest questioning of what Dick Cheney wants")...

Which made the giggle all the more unnerving.

She spun around, ready for anything...

But there was nothing there.

"Hansen, is that you again?" she muttered with exasperation.

The giggling just got louder.

"If you don't like the paperwork, maybe I should do something about it? a strange voice teased.

Corporal Albert's paperwork began to fly around the room, apparently of its own volition.

"...Baghdad is fully cooperating with our forces." Major Grahame dictated to his assistant, Captain Dechnik. "The President's decision to not mount a full-scale invasion appears, at the moment, to be the correct one..."

He stopped talking when one of the chairs in his office suddenly flew at him.

Grahame jumped out of his chair; the attacking item of furniture slammed into the map of Asia behind him, and clattered to the ground.

"Jesus!" Dechnik shouted. "Are you all right, Neil?"

"I'll be better, Suzanne, of someone could tell me what the Hell just happened..."

"What do you mean, stuff is flying around?" Lt. Peterson asked incredulously, not believing what he was hearing.

All doubts were removed when his phone suddenly picked itself up and started flying around the room.

General Caputo was trying to calm down his panicking subordinates; it was somewhat comical that he was saying "There's nothing to worry about!" as furniture was flying about the room.

Things got less comical as an alarm started to sound.

"What the devil is going on now, Sergeant?"

Sergeant Brozman looked over the room in a cold sweat. "Someone--or something has somehow successfully bypassed every safety system in this room! I don't know how, but it's done it..."

Caputo harrumphed, his orderly brain still trying to deny that all of this was happening. "It's only your imagination...mass hysteria..." he said, trying to convince himself as much as anyone.

Brozman shook his head, uncommon panic starting to enter his voice. "General, the only thing between us and the hereafter is this button..." he pointed to the large, red button under a glass cover "THE Button."

Caputo sighed, and accepted the inevitable. "Get me the President--and hurry!!!"

Ghostbusters Central
Varrick and Moore
New York City
Dr. Peter Venkman sighed, lounging against the reception desk, and sorting through the day's mail. "What an incredibly boring week. There's not even any interesting junk mail--it's all bills and coupons toward replacement windows."

Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' ever-efficient secretary (though she'd recently kept insisting her title should be "Client Administrator") ignored him. She rolled her eyes as Slimer floated nearby, eating a candy bar.

She perked up as the phone started to ring. "Maybe here's your excitement, Doctor Venkman..." She picked up the phone. "Ghostbusters...." she answered.

"Bet it's a prank call." Venkman snapped.

"Please hold for who?" he heard Janine ask. "The President?"

"Did I call that one?" Venkman chuckled.

"Yeah, right..." Janine told her caller. "And I got the Pope holding on the other line..."

Venkman gently took the phone. "Ghostbusters Central, Dr. Peter Venkman speaking...and how may we help you today Your Excellancy?" he said, with mocking brightness. He stiffened at the voice on the phone.

"You'll have to forgive my secretary, Mister President--she's a Democrat from Brooklyn. Very disrespectful."

Janine looked at him. "You're kidding, right? That really is the President?"

"It's either George Bush or Dana Carvey ." Venkman replied. He smirked. "It was only a matter of time--have you ever know a politician that didn't have a skeleton or two in his closet?"

JFK Airport
Two Hours Later
Undersecretary of Defense Jack Compford thundered at Colonel Sullivan "Well, who would you call?!"

Compford was an older man, in his fifties, dressed in a brown suit; his white hair was cut into a buzz. Sullivan was ten years younger, with a pencil mustache and thinning black hair; he was in uniform.

Behind them, Venkman and his three compatriots--Dr. Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore--were boarding Air Force One, all dressed in their distinctive flight suits. Egon was shouting a last goodbye and waving at Janine (the two had been a steady "item" for a year now) while Venkman was pretending to ignore Slimer's theatrical goodbyes.

"It's just not right!" Sullivan protested. "Sir. That's all I'm saying..." the two men walked up the stairway behind the Ghostbusters. "How can we allow four strangely dressed men without security clearance access to the innermost chambers of the Pentagon."

"I gave you General Badge's report about the ARMOR incident last year, Sullivan..." Compford replied. "And if that isn't enough, need I remind you that Zeddemore is a Vietnam vet with experience in SAC, and Stantz is the brother of an Air Force Captain? We have no reason to doubt they can be trusted..."

"They were also arrested more than once." Sullivan grumbled.

The tall, blond Ghostbuster, the one dressed in the blue flight suit with pink trim and a nametag reading "SPENGLER", cleared his throat as Sullivan and Compford belted for take-off. "Colonel...Sullivan?"

"Yes, Doctor?"

"I was wondering if you've solved the pneumatic problems in the the third exterior compressor aboard the B-162?"

Sullivan blanched "What?"

"Obviously your engineers have tried diminishing the air pressure by tapping into the hydraulic system?"

Ray Stantz practically jumped out of his seat to chime in. "Of course the resistance offered by the hydraulic system would easily compensate for any recurrances!"

Compford smirked and prodded Sullivan. "They just fixed your most secret experimental aircraft based on rumor and speculation. Like they really need security clearance?"

Sullivan shut up, which brought no small amount of satsifaction to Compford. He stared at the lanky blond Ghostbuster for a few more seconds, then went back to his reading: the outside of the file said "TOP SECRET". But inside was a report that started with one word: "Epimetheus"...

Washington, DC
Three Hours Later
The Ghostbusters were on the move pretty much from the second Air Force One hit the ground. They were escorted to the Pentagon in a motorcade.

"I always love running traffic lights..." Venkman smirked. "Where did you two hear about the B-162, anyway?"

"The October issue of Popular Machinery, where else?" Ray answered.

"Of course." Venkman rolled his eyes.

The Pentagon
Corridor A3, Level 1
The four Ghostbusters were now in full gear, each wearing a proton pack. Ray had set of ecto-goggles perched on his head.

"You ever make it to the Pentagon before?" Ray asked Winston.

"Couple times, but never this deep in." Winston answered. "I was small potatoes, and you normally have to be a pretty big french fry to make it this far in..."

"My PKE Meter is measuring a disturbance...this way!" Egon reported, studying the readings from his omnipresent accessory. Venkman liked to joke that "I think he even showers with the thing, but I guess we'd have to ask Janine about that..."

"You mean the same direction as all the screaming, crashing, and stuff being thrown from?" Winston asked rhetorically.

"Either that or the President's son is holding a party--I hear he's quite the drunk..." Venkman quipped

They made haste to the area the noises were coming from. As they got closer, shouts became more distinctive...

"Help!"

"...Don't know how much longer we can stay one step ahead!"

"And we're out of extra personell!!!"

They arrived to a scene that could only be described as chaos. Miliary and civilian employees running around, trying to either by turns catch or avoid equipment and furniture flying around the room of it's own apprent volition. Venkman took a second to glance approvingly at one civilian--a woman in her twenties with long brown hair in a sleeveless purple dress--before looking at Egon. "Well, it ain't George Junior throwing a kegger, is it?"

"Definitely a Poltergeist..." Egon stated. "The problem we have is that there's no time to move the personnel out of the room. We'd have to calm them first, and that might not be possible..."

"We could always shoot around them..." Venkman quipped

"Peter!" Winston growled.

Ray's eyes lit up, an idea forming. "One thing about Poltergeists: they're very playful."

"Yeah, but I assume you left all your Dopey Dog toys back at home..." Venkman told him.

"Aw, c'mon, you've seen Doctor Strangelove..." Ray replied, grinning. "To the War Room!!!"

A Few Minutes Later
A toy F-16 was hurled into the hallway.

Before it could hit the ground, it stopped, turned, and started flying down the corridor.

"And they said it wouldn't fly..." Ray smirked.

He turned and sprinted back to his waiting companions, jumping over the mass of toy war planes, tanks, soldiers, and jeeps covering the floor.

I feel like I'm in a Lizardo movie--and I'm Lizardo Ray chuckled to himself. "Ready or not, here he comes!!!" he told the others in a loud whisper.

At this point, all four Ghostbusters were in ecto-goggles. The room was completely dark.

"It's a good thing the government makes all these scale models..." Ray said. "How could a playful Poltergeist resist?"

"We could've always used a trail of pizza..." Winston pointed out.

"I thought we were dealing with a Poltergeist, not Slimer..." Venkman retorted.

With the goggles, the creature's entrance became obvious. It walked into the room almost nonchalantly, probably because it didn't think there was the slightest chance it could be seen.

"He did it..." Ray whispered. "He took the bait..."

The Poltergeist was tall, with spindly limbs ending in claws. Its head, though, was incongrously large and solid looking, with a large jaw, human lips, and one giant eye that looked around eagarly. An eye that would've been a very human looking blue eye, save for the orange cornea surrounding it.

"Get ready guys..."

It picked up a plane and a tank, then looked at the other shiny toys. The bigger, neater ones by the desk--the desk behind which the Ghostbusters were hiding...

"Just a few steps more..."

It reached for the toy soldier that Venkman had set to be flipping the bird...

"NOW!!!" Egon barked.

Four proton beams slammed into the purple Poltergeist; as they did, it materialized fully, the power it was using to stay invisible drained by the beams.

"Signed..." Venkman remarked.

The Poltergeist writhed and shouted as Venkman threw a ghost trap.

"...Sealed..." Venkman continued as the entity was sucked into the trap.

"...Delivered" Venkman finally finished, handing a piece of paper to Colonel Sullivan. Winston stood nearby with the smoking trap. "Your bill, Colonel..." Venkman smirked. "Now if you'll point us to our first-class seats on Air Force one, we'll go away and let you write up some requisitions for $600 can openers or something..."

Sulilvan caughed, and grumbled.

Compford stepped forward. "One moment."

"Something else, Sir?" Ray asked.

"It is my understanding, Doctor Spengler..." he looked at Egon. "That you are familiar with the works and theories of Professor Ian Epimetheus?"

Venkman had known Egon, at that point, for well over seventeen years. He didn't see Egon Spengler look shocked very often--which is why it was all the more noteworthy when it did occur. This was one of those times.

"Professor Epimetheus?" Ray asked, looking almost as shocked. "It couldn't be, could it?"

Venkman sighed. "Okay, I'll bite--share with the class. Who is this Professor Epidural guy and why all the worried and shocked looks? I haven't seen that look on Egon's face since Janine joked about dressing as Lady Godiva for Halloween..."

Egon coughed and cleared his throat. "I'm sure I told you about him before, but you've slept since then." He adjusted his glasses. "Professor Epimetheus was one of my Physics instructors at MIT. He was interested in Dimensional transference theory..."

"You mean like..." Venkman started to say.

Egon gave him a look, to remind him that there were certain inventions of his he didn't want Venkman mentioning with an Army Colonel and a Presidential Administration official standing two feet away from them. "He left MIT not long after I transferred to Columbia. He died a few years after that, not long before we tried to....unsuccessfully translate his theories into a working experiment."

Venkman's eyes went wide. He realized he knew what Egon was talking about. "I just had to ask..."

Egon looked at Compford. "And why are you asking me about Professor Epimetheus?"

"Because, as one of his most notable former students, Doctor Spengler, if there's anyone in the world who might be able to figure out what really happened to him, it's you."

All four Ghostbusters looked at each other.

"Come this way, Doctor, and I'll show you what I mean." Compford said enigmatically, pointing to a door marked "No Admission"

To Be Continued
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