Book Five: Escalation

Transcribed by Ben King and Iain Bennett, GBUK, Dr. Fritz V. Baugh and Dr. Jeff Nash, GBWC, and Dr. Vincent Belmont, GBUKGS


GBI Case File GBI-2004-22/001
June 7th, 2004
One Day Until the End of the World
New York, 6:28PM EDT
"You slutty bitch!" the woman was screaming, lunging for Janine again. "If you weren't controlling his mind he could be happy...just let him go!!!"

"What in the hell are you talking about?" Janine shouted, but before she could recieve any answer, the pink-clad woman succeeded in grabbing her, with a speed that seemed impossible. She also started to choke Janine with a strength that seemed impossible.

"When you're out of the way...Egon will be mine! And we'll be happy!!!"

"Adonai in Heaven...is that what this is about?!" Janine realized with disgust and horror. "She's one of those EgonsStalkers like on the internet?! This is insane!!!"

"We'll get married...and have a couple of daughters, and they'll be WAY cuter than those stupid kids he had with you...and he'll forget all about them, and be happy with me and our daughters forever and ever and ever..." There was a loud, solid thud, and Janine could suddenly almost breathe again.

She opened one eye to see that Winston Zeddemore had body-checked her attacker into a filing cabinet.

Three tiny faces had appeared at the top of the stairwell. "Stay up there!!!" Ray barked at his son and the Spengler Twins.

"Mooom!!!" John shouted, and started to run down there anyway, but Eric--three years older an a bit bigger--managed to stop him. Eduardo and Roland, on the other hand, charged down the stairs to help. Kylie helped drag the frantic John back up the stairs. Garrett cursed his disabililty for one of the few times in his life--he would lose precious moments getting to the elevator.

"RAY!!! A LITTLE HELP HERE!!!" Winston yelled to him.

Ray grabbed a broom handle and charged the woman grappling with Winston, shouting "GOONGALA!!!"at the top of his lungs. The assailant moved out of the way at the last second, and Ray shattered the broom handle over Winston with a loud "CRACK!"

"...oops..." Ray said weakly.

"You defend her? After all the slut's done to him?" she howled, her eyes lighting up. "Oh, I get it...she lets you fuck her too..." with that, she stretched out her hand, and shot Ray with a blast of blue energy that sent him flying across the garage.

"Oh, you are gonna get it so brought on, Bitch!!!" Eduardo shouted, jumping off the top of the desk and drop-kicking the woman, sending her right into the storage lockers, the nearest one ironically marked "SPENGLER."

Roland and Dana helped Janine to her feet. "You okay, Mrs. S?" he asked.

"I will be once that bitch is in jail..."

Louis just froze at the top of the stairs. Dana was down there...Janine was down there...but he couldn't move any closer. He felt fear. He felt doubt. He looked around frantically, wondering aloud to himself if there was anything he could do to help.

Eduardo was doing an endzone dance by the fallen attacker. "What can I say? I am good..."

"Eddie!!! Look out!!!" Ray shouted as the woman's eyes opened again.

"What?" was all Eduardo could say before he was blasted accross the room in a wave of blue light. He sailed like a small rag doll over the top of the desks, and towards the front door before his body tumbled over a shipping crate. The woman got up, an evil leer on her face.

"He seems a little young for you, whore, but it's not surprising that you aren't very discriminating..."

Roland had his PKE Meter out. "She's corporeal, but putting off a double wave valence...I think she's posessed..."

"Please tell me you aren't going to defend her too, little man..." the attacker said dismissively, moving toward Roland and Janine.

Ray and Winston both jumped her, using their combined strength to hold her back. Winston grabbed her in a headlock, making her unable to move to blast them, though a few new holes were made in the interior of the old firehouse. Winston tightened the grip, in hopes of making it too painful to keep her eyes open to fire.

Eduardo grabbed her, too. "Like it rough, Chica?" Suddenly, the woman opened her mouth and screamed. As she did, an aqua blue stream of ectoplasm vomited out of it, almost hitting Eduardo. "What the fuck?" he shouted, falling backward, tripping over his own feet, "She's doin', like, the Linda Blair thing!"

In Ray and Winston's grip, the woman went limp. Roland had his PKE meter out. "It's ectoplasm all right," he said, "and the PK trace is fading. It had something to do with what happened to her, I'll bet..."

"That'd be my guess too..." Ray nodded. The woman who attacked them was out cold.

"Is it all right down there?" Kylie shouted.

"I think so..." Winston responded.

England,
10:29PM GMT
"Egon?" Ben asked, voicing the concern the others obviously felt.

"We continue our work...we can't guarantee that the system will be restored anytime soon. We must make sure that we stop Jeremy meeting up with the chosen form for Zuul before it's too late." Egon instructed. As the other Ghostbusters left to go back to what they'd been doing Peter remained in the lab.

"Spengs...it doesn't take a genius that this can't simply be a coincidence." Peter replied. "I mean...some big thing going down at HQ just as Gozer is about to plan a Reunion Tour and all..."

"Agreed, Peter. However we cannot assess the problem until contact with HQ is restored." Egon explained.

"You think the email might work? Should we try send a message to HQ...or Rich?"

Egon thought for a moment, in normal circumstances he'd be wary in letting Peter use any form of email system after what had happened...however this was neither the time nor the place for childish grudges.

"If there is a problem I highly doubt that the system will be back up any time soon...however, we will put Ben King Jr. to the task of monitoring both of the instant chat systems, the newer GBI system, and the email. If the lines of connection are restored and something has happened at HQ I believe they will send us a message post haste." Egon finally replied.

"Whatever you thinks best, big guy." Peter replied. "But if it's all the same, I want to keep a watch over things..."

"Naturally." Egon replied, "but remember, Peter...you're not the only person with someone you'd gladly go into an alternate dimension and back to rescue."

"Yeah...I hear you Egon." Peter replied with a weak grin and then left the room. A few moments later, Egon stood up and walked over to Iain's Lab where the translation work had resumed, Jeff and Fritz were bent over the book and slowly working their way through the remaining passages; which was still a long way off. Egon broke the silence.

"Fritz, we will need to step up searches for Mr. Hicks...we are quickly running out of time and with the recent events..."

"Understood." Fritz nodded. "What will be happening with Dr. Venkman?"

"For the moment, I will allow Venkman to keep watch over the communications lines. However, once we receive word from New York, I will ask him to return to work with the teams searching for Jeremy."

"Agreed." Fritz replied as he then turned back to the book. Egon walked out into the corridor, removed his glasses and allowed himself to collapse against the wall for a moment. "What in the entire periodic table of elements is going on in New York?" he thought to himself, "Janine...stay safe."

New York,
6:33PM EDT
The three kids were down the stairs in seconds, just about knocking Louis over. Eduardo had put on his proton pack, thrower at the ready, watching the unconscious attacker suspiciously.

"You okay, Mom?" John asked his mother as he and his sister hugged her.

"I will be, Johnathan..." Janine responded. "Once somebody explains what the heck just happened."

"Magic, I bet, JC..." Eric chimed in. "It's cool stuff...when used for good instead of evil. I've heard dad talking about it with Dr. Belmont! I've heard mom talk about it alot, too...there was this time when mom---"

"Eric, sweetie, can we skip talking about that warlock for one day? It leaves a bad taste in my mouth," Kylie called from the stairs, "now come on up here where it's safe, okay?"

Ray regarded his son with a little bit of apprehension. He'd been suspecting that Eric had...a sensativity to PKE flow. Maybe even potential..."The Gift" he'd heard Vincent and Liz both call it. I guess it wouldn't be a surprise... Ray admitted to himself.

Louis hung at the fringe of the moment of relief. As usual... he remarked to himself, That's where I've been for the last twenty-one years...the fringe...part of it, but somehow, not. Not in the way the guys are. Not in the way Dana and Janine are. Heck, not even in the way those newer kids are... Then, he bumped into something as he stepped back...and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

"You were the last avatar of the Keymaster..." a female voice spoke in his head, knowingly, "No wonder the Master failed..." He whirled around to see someone standing there, dressed in black, with a deep hood covering its face. The black-clad figure gestured before he could even utter a cry for assistance. The whole room was filled with blue light...the same shade of aqua blue that had spewed out of Mary Sue Gladstone's mouth. Everyone froze, as though they were statues. Even Slimer, who'd floated down the stairs with Louis, seemed frozen in place. The black clad figure went over to Ray Stantz.

"You are the one I want." the cold female voice spoke aloud.

"R...Ray..." Winston grunted.

"D...D..Dad..." Eric tried to cry.

The woman brought a hand to Ray's face. For ten seconds he stood there, totally still. He felt a tingling feeling in the frontal lobe of his brain. He felt as though a pair of hands were opening his mind like a book. He felt the icy burning of an invisible stare...reading him; reading his very thoughts. He gasped for breath, and closed his eyes. He envisioned in his mind a giant geometric shape. He thought about the infinity of the circle that bordered the diagram, and the six-pointed star that inhabited the circle, and the countless thousands of angles that comprised it, retracing it again and again. He read the words on the circle to himself. He repeated them over and over, tracing the shape anew in his head.

"Ego erectus claustra in mea mentem; Nemo penetrabo. Meam intelligentiam castellam est; Nemo perdetrabo. Meam mentem vacuus est; Nemo legerebo meam cognitatium. Cognitatio, fieri parmam; defendere mea ab hostes. Meam voluntas turrem ferri est; Ego tutum sum intramurum."

He said it again and again, and he redrew the shape, and he felt the tingling sensation stop. He drew in his breath. Both Liz and Vincent had drilled this exercise in his head a thousand times. He could even hear the voice of Vincent saying "It might save your life one day," and that of Liz, whispering "I just want you to be safe" in his ear.

He then uttered a garbled cry of pain. He felt as though cold daggers were stabbing into his skull. The daggers sent an icy wash over his entire skeleton, and he felt as though his nerve endings were on fire. The invisible gaze burned into his cerebrum. He felt his very memories being read...with every scanned memory reliving itself in a burning agony. He began to scream.

"Impressive..." the woman said, taking her hand away. "I see you learned a trick or two about mind barriers from one of the Hermetics...not that it was enough, of course." She reached into Ray's pocket, and extracted a set of keys. "This will prove useful..." With that, she turned, and walked toward to the staircase leading to the basement.

"S...s...stop...h...her..." Ray bit out as best he could.

"I...I..." Eduardo grimaced, trying to move his thrower.

Even upstairs, Kylie was frozen. And Garrett, who had just made it downstairs.

The Herald of Gozer walked into the basement, regarding the humming, red-painted device that dominated the room. Its enormous bulk dwarfed the black-clad intruder.

"There are a wide number of safeguards that protect this unit from being opened," she said aloud, savoring her recital of Ray's memories, "Since the only wholesale breach of the unit in the fall of 1983, a number of backups have been implemented." To their horror, the people upstairs realized she was letting them see what was happening. "You...you can't..." Ray said.

"What...what's she trying to do?" Eduardo asked.

"She..wants to open...the ECU..."

"Computer access...how mundane," she scoffed. With casual ease, she typed in Ray's username and password.

User Name:

Dopeydog

Password:

***********

Administrator Access Approved

Action

Locate Specific Entity

Specify?

Reference GBI Case File GBNY-1983-1/001

Power 8

Ectopresence 18

Scanning...

"Gozer...it has to do with Gozer..." Louis, despite his fear, managed to blurt out.

"But...Gozer was destroyed? Right?" Dana replied.

"Gozer was returned to its home dimension..." Ray answered. "But not all of it..."

...Match found. Containment sector 2F

Action?

Realign Containment interface to sector 2F

"A large amount of raw ecto matter littered the streets around Central Park West..." Ray continued, straining.

...Realignment of interface complete.

Authorize Grid Shutdown

Warning! This action will cause, in the event of an outage of the main power, a loss of containment viability for five seconds before the backup power generation can be activated! Sector 2F will suffer a containment breach hazzard. Any entity in sector 2F may potentially escape the Ecto Containment Unit! Do you wish to continue?

Yes

Administrator Access Level for User Dopeydog Confirmation. Please reenter password.

Password

***********

Running...

...Grid Shutdown Is Authorized

"Oh shit..." Janine whispered, a memory coming clear into her mind...


1985...
Cyrus Spengler nonchalantly pulled the handle, triggering a sequence of loud alarms.

"I really wish you hadn't done that, Doctor Spengler..." Janine said flatly. The ECU opened for a few seconds. A small, white figure popped out, only about a foot tall, wearing a sailor hat and a wide grin.

"Oh, how cute..." Cyrus remarked


6:40PM EDT
"The ectoplasm, marshmallowy in form, was collected with every ghost trap we had...we had to rig one of the packs to power the traps to hold it..." Ray struggled on, sweat forming on his brow, "until we got the new Containment Unit on line..."

"Now then," the Herald remarked, moving toward the wall unit that held the master power switch, "all that is left is this simple mechanical device." She pulled open the cover to the switch, freshly disarmed by the Shutdown Authorization.

"The marshmallow slime recongealed...into its last shape."

"The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!" Kylie said.

"Yeah..." Ray managed to nod faintly.

Dad... Eric thought to himself, looking at his father, If only I could do something...

"The Corpus of Gozer," the Herald acknowledged, "my master's form, and a large part of his power. With the Corpus free, and returned to him, he will be complete...and ready to assume his rightful place and consume this miserable little mudball"

"How can you do this? You're human!" Roland shouted. "Gozer will just destroy you too!"

"If it is his will..." the Herald replied. She selected one key from the ring she'd taken from Ray, and placed it into a waiting socket on the power switch. There was a flash of light. And suddenly Eric Stantz and John Spengler were in the basement with her.

"Huh?!" Eric exclaimed out loud.

"What in the name of the Kordath...?" the Herald shouted in shock.

Before she could react further, Johnathan Spengler jumped on her, howling with a fury surprising for one so young.

"Get the keys!!!" Ray shouted.

"Get off of me, dust mote!!!" the Herald snarled, throwing the redheaded boy off of her. She gestured with her outstretched hand, and Eric Stantz was hit with a bolt of blue force, slamming the small boy into the brickwork of the wall. Eric collapsed. "Tremble, Mortals--for the return of the Destructor is at hand!!!" she shouted, her amusement gone. Who was the older boy, that he could resist my power? the Herald found herself thinking. And the younger one...I sensed something in him as well... She angrily turned the key, triggering a red light to start blinking by the power switch, and on the ECU's control panel.

The Herald of Gozer yanked the large switch downward...

The entirety of the basement lighting went red, and a loud alarm started to sound.

"Oh shit..." Winston gasped.

"The odds of one specific entity being at the point of containment breach, even if it's in the same grid sector, are quite considerably low..." the Herald remarked, as a bit of the smug tone returning to her voice. The door to the containment chamber flew open, as the electronic klaxon blared out its unheeded warning. "But as I understand it, a man named Spengler once said that at it's root, magic is all about beating the odds."

A foot-tall white, puffy, cute looking figure popped out of the opening, before it slammed back shut.

...Backup Power Engaged

"Oh shit..." several voices said all in unison, as they realized they could move.

"GET OUT OF HERE!!!" Winston barked.

Eduardo grabbed Louis, who was still looking dazed. He spared a look over his shoulder to see Kylie grabbing Eden Spengler.

Thank God we left our girls with Beth and Kevin... he thought to himself.

Louis, meanwhile, was fighting off a painful feeling of deja vu. It was like something he'd experienced before, but couldn't clearly remember...

..."It's a sign"...

"No time for courtesy, Mrs. Venkman." Roland said, grabbing Dana. Not having actually been at the firehouse at that infamous day, her feeling of familiarity was more diluted...but still quite present.

Slimer screamed and flew through the wall.

Winston Zeddemore, Ray Stantz, and Janine Spengler, however, ran the opposite direction.

Garrett cursed his disability for the second time that day, wishing he could help them, and rolled out of the building.

Speechlessly, they ran into the basement. Winston's powerful arms scooped up Eric Stantz and Johnathan Christopher Spengler, and only then did they flee the building with all due haste.

Fortunately, the same phenomenon that had saved the firehouse from wholesale destruction nineteen years ago--when Cyrus Spengler accidentally opened the ECU--saved it today. The little white figure was growing rapidly, but it's substance was still ethereal. Its enormous bulk passed right through through the front of the firehouse, leaving little more than a marshmallowy glaze of ectoplasm.

The white giant slowly grew larger, and as it did, it became less and less ethereal, as the cetoplasm that made it, began to materialize and congeal. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man once more walked the streets of New York City.

The Herald stood atop an adjoining rooftop lifting its arms triumphantly to the sky. "Corpus of Zildrohar!!! Your day of destiny is at hand!!!"

The giant figure just lurched down the street, knocking over a billboard as he walked. Far below, hundreds of panicked New Yorkers screamed at the top of their lungs, trying to escape the giant Marshmallow mascot's heavy footsteps. Cars slammed into each other on the roadway and people merely exited their vehicles to make their escape on foot.

"ME LIKE GOING FOR WALKIES..." a booming, genial voice responded.

From their vantage point across the street, the assembled Ghostbusters and family caught their breath.

"Why does Mr. Stay Puft sound like a tard, anyway?" Eduardo asked in a staggered breath.

"He...he was formed out of the marshmallow ectoplasm we collected from the streets..." Ray explained, holding his son tightly, "he recongealed after it was loaded into the Containment Unit, but when Gozer's mind returned to it's home dimension, he was completely mindless at first. Then, he sorta started to form a childlike personality...he seemed to like Slimer..."

"I don't see Slimer." Roland noted.

"He's probably halfway to Pittsburgh by now," Kylie shook her head, "Everyone all right?" Several solemn nods followed.

"How much trouble am I in this time?" John asked, firmly in his relieved mother's embrace with his sister.

"You did just fine, Sweetheart..." Janine responded.

Ray spared a moment of thought, Eric just showed the first signs of genuine magical ability...she needs to know as soon as this is over..."

Winston Zeddemore had his cel phone out. He was already on the phone with Rich at the GBI office. "No time for explainations, Rich--we got a huge emergency brewing here. Get word to all available nearby franchises...it doesn't get much bigger than this..."

"How big?" Winston asked in suprise, "Oh..." he mused, watching the huge form of the Marshmallow man storming down the main street, "...about 500 tons."

Location: Unknown, Time: Unknown, Hour 0
Vincent awoke staring up dreamily into the night sky. He pulled his hand out of the water, where it had dangled off the boat whenever it was that he fell asleep. His hand was ice cold, and numb. The gondola he was lying in drifted lazily upon the waters' gentle waves. He no longer recognized the sky, or any of its constellations, nor did he see the sun rise. Wondering how long he had been asleep, he pulled out his pocketwatch and flipped the face open. It read "10:47," but the sun was nowhere to be seen.

Vincent sat up in the small watercraft and looked over the side of the boat. The thick mist that enshrouded the boat obscured the water below. Vincent, for a moment, thought that he saw the reflection of the stars in the water, but found that they did not flicker or wane, as waves upon the waters would do to a reflection. It seemed, in reality, that he was floating upon a literal sea of stars.

Wondering aloud, Vincent began to question how long he had been sleeping, and how long the gondola had been afloat. The last thing he remembered was speaking aloud the incantation of travel, but nothing after that. He only remembered looking up at the stars. He stared up at the stars again as he placed his cold hand in his duster, feeling the sharp tingling of feeling returning to his frozen extremity.

It was then, that the boat jolted, nearly throwing Vincent into the ice-cold waters. The gondola had hit solid ground.

"Good!" Vincent thought.

He looked up on to a sandy shore, just outside a forest as black and as gloomy as a patch of night that just refused to ever go away. He stepped out into the freezing waters of the shore, and dragged the small gondola onto the sands of the shore, and noticed the sand's flat gray color. In fact, nothing had much of a color at all. It was as if Vincent were staring into a long-forgotten black and white photograph.

He scanned the forest's edge, looking for a path he could walk. He trudged over the colorless sand, looking into the inky blackness of the trees. All that accompanied his lonely walk was a chill wind, and the slapping of the surf against the rocks in the water.

There were no sounds of activity coming from the trees. No comfort. Only a restless gloom. No crickets. No birds. No life.

Vincent could only wish for such luck, though, as the desolace of the shore was far from benign. He felt as if a thousand eyes were watching his every move, each one of them concerning himself with every step he took on to the gloomy island. The isle carried a malevolence with it. It was something that he could not shake. It was as if the shadows of the trees he kept looking into were alive.

New York, 7:10PM EDT
A somber group was assembled downstairs at Ghostbusters Central. Winston Zeddemore stood there in his uniform, donning his proton pack. He looked in a mirror nearby, and admired his uniform. He remembered back in the day when he first joined the Ghostbusters. The Khaki jumpsuit and clunky ghost-catching rays seemed like a silly notion, but here he was, after a whole two decades, wearing a blue jumpsuit...and a clunky ghost-catching ray on his back. Even after his first doubts, he came to love the company. It was then however, that reality had dawned on him...

"Please tell me you have a plan, Ray..." he grumbled.

Ray Stantz, his normally merry eyes grave, pulled on his work gloves. He looked in the mirror in his locker and ran his hand through his dishevelled copper-colored hair. He fiddled with his utility belt, and touched the black name patch on his uniform. It looked almost like a black hole in his tan uniform. A quick memory about starting the company with his best friends surfaced. He thought solemnly if that memory was just one of the many that were forcibly ripped from him only a short time ago...

"We trapped him before using just about every trap we have...but he was even more mindless then. He doesn't seem very cunning, but it just might be enough."

"Plus, there's the problem of laying out all those traps and keeping them energized long enough." Roland Jackson added.

Roland pulled on his work gloves and looked out of the corner of his eye at Ray. He made sure that everything was perfect, from his suit, to his utility belt. He wanted to live up to the standards of Dr. Raymond Stantz, and they were very large boots to fill.

Garrett nodded next to him. He zipped up the front of his uniform and flexed his muscles slightly, making sure that his uniform was snug, but comfortable.

Kylie Griffin, in a new and unusual development, had a uniform made, solid black in color. In fact, the only thing on her that was not black was her lilly white skin. Instead of the Mark 3 proton pistol she'd been using, she was armed with Ray Stantz's new prototype, created from the designs of the "proton rail gun" created by Dr. Nash and Dr. Masterson of the Ghostbusters West Coast.

A little napalm in this thing might help... she thought, devilishly.

Eduardo was not wearing a standard uniform. He'd come a ways since the days Roland's team had formed, though--instead of bell bottom pants and cowboy boots, he was wearing tan work pants and work boots. He insisted on keeping his favorite green shirt and orange vest, however.

"I think Dr. Stantz and company tried frying back in 83..." he thought to himself.

Janine Melnitz Spengler opened her husband's locker, drawing out his faded blue uniform. She thought of him as she slipped into it, and she painfully recalled his absence in England. She zipped up the front, and fumbled for a spare belt. She realized sheepishly that the uniform was a few sizes too large for her. She had her own of course, which she had worn more than once, but just felt...closer to him this way.

If only Egon was here... she couldn't help but think.

"All we know is, we gotta stop him. Not just because he's destructive..." Ray said. "But because it's a sure bet that that woman doesn't want him over for S'Mores..."

"Unless they're really really big S'Mores..." Eduardo quipped.

Nobody laughed.


7:15PM EDT


The Herald of the Destructor smiled inside her black hood as she looked out upon the panicked New Yorkers running around in the city streets below.

"All is going as planned..."

She expanded her senses once more, and saw where the others were waiting. The small, but powerful, cult she'd assembled over the years had chosen the roof of an office building near the Chrysler building as its perch to watch the destruction. The small group sat in a circle, all enshrounded in black, with obscuring hoods identical to hers.

In the center sat a man, chanting. "Ragnarok" was the name he had chosen...the twilight of the Gods in Norse mythology...and he was a sorcerer. His appearance to the Herald had been one of the signs of the coming of the Traveller.

"But of course I will serve you, Herald..." he had said. "Your Vuulgus Zildrohar is but another face of my Infernal Master, Wyrmus Magnus..."

She joined her thoughts with theirs now.

"The Corpus comes, my Fellows..."

"We are ready" they replied, as one.

Stay-Puft nonchalantly knocked over a small building as he strode along. He didn't do it maliciously, but just seemed to not comprehend how large he was and how comparatively fragile everything else was...

"WALKIES FUN..." he boomed, cheerfully.


7:19PM EDT


Jessica Venkman about swallowed her popcorn when the show that was on suddenly was interrupted by a new flash. She wasn't watching it--she was about to put in Citizen Kane when a hyperactive Channel Six reporter came on.

As comprehension dawned, she yelled for her brother. Annoyed, Oscar Wallance sprinted into the room. "What is it, Jess?"

She only pointed at the TV screen.

"...Confirm that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the mascot of 'Stay-Puft Marshmallows' and seemingly opponent of the famous Ghostbusters, has once again been sighted in the streets of Manhattan. Mayor MacShayne has called a state of Emergency..." Vernon Fenwick was saying.

Oscar was on the phone as quickly as his legs could get him to it.

"Ghostbusters; I'm afraid we can't take any calls right now because we're having a big big problem and..."

"Tully, is my Mom there?" Oscar interrupted.

"Huh? Oscar, oh sure..." Louis said quickly. His voice was quickly replaced with Dana's.

"Oscar?"

"You okay, Mom?" Oscar asked her.

"I'm fine, Honey..." she replied. Oscar repeated that for Jessica's benefit.

"What's going on?"

"I don't know totally...but it's bad. And Ray thinks it's part of what your Dad went to England about..."

"Crap in a hat..."

"Stay where you are, both of you. It'll either be over soon or..."

"Or what?!"

"Or it won't matter where you are..."


7:21PM EDT

Three men stood in the middle of the street, amongst the abandoned cars and fleeing citizens, staring up at the huge form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man lumbering into view. Their black uniforms might have let them blend into the pavement, if not for their green stripe along their sides, and their visible No-ghost logo on their shoulders. Their silver "rosaries," with all manner of charms and holy symbols, glistened in the fading sunlight as black clouds cast their shadow over the frightened New York public.

Dr. Gabriel Martin plucked the cigarette nestled under his ear and tenderly placed it between his lips. His weather-beaten face and thick gray hair and goatee fluttered in the coming breeze. He took but a moment to adjust his glasses before lighting his cigarette, assessing the situation. He scratched at his unshaven cheeks, and then reached into his front pocket, drawing out another cigarette, and offering it to the man to his left before tucking it neatly behind his ear to fill the now empty cigarette space.

Dr. Harold Seward refused the cigarette offered to him before resuming his attentions to the several hundred ton marshmallow ad stomping down the street towards them, crushing the abandoned cars beneath its feet. He ran his fingers through his disheveled mop of brown hair as he reached for the proton gun attatched to the proton pack on his back. His red horn-rimmed glasses sat lazily on his face, hiding his blue eyes, and his thick moustache twitched in the wind. He felt no desire to adjust his glasses, but an overwhelming urge to get out from the path of the oncoming creature. His thoughts turned then to his wife and two children, who would probably be at this moment watching the whole fiasco unfold over the evening news.

Noriyuki Inugami, "Nate" as his companions called him, stared up wide-eyed, chewing his bubblegum noisily. He took a moment to whip his head to the side shaking his long black bangs out of his eyes, and a few solitary beads of sweat from his face. He adjusted his belt, sticking his thumbs in the belt loops lazily. He looked down to his left at Gabe, even dwarfing him with his tall and muscular build. Nate broke almost every stereotype about Japanese people that could ever be thought of. He chuckled as he blew a bubble, staring upward again, his eyes glazed over, seemingly half-asleep.

"May I ask what is so funny?" Harry asked him nervously.

Nate only continued to chew his gum loudly, then grinned as he pointed upward at the towering marshmallow man.

"Heh," he chuckled, as he pointed, "Marshmallow dude..."

Both Harry and Gabe slowly turned their gaze to stare at Nate, wondering for the fifth time in that day alone why they hired him in the first place. Their need to speak was drowned out by the the sheer absurdity of Nate's commentary.

"I'm glad YOU'RE amused, Mr. Inugami," Harry spat in harsh whispers, gesturing emphatically at the looming giant only a city block away, "but the people who AREN'T smoking non-perscription holistic medicine think that our jobs and lives are in jeopardy."

"Uh huh," Nate droned as he continued to stare upward, "you say somethin' Doc?"

It was at that moment that Harry had contemplated quitting Ghostbusting altogether; that is, until his cellphone beeped. He took one hand off of his weapon and answered it, muttering a nervous greeting as he looked upward at Stay-Puft. Sweat began to pour down his lily-white face.

"H-Hello?" he stammered.

"Harry?" asked the voice of Ray Stantz over the cellphone, "I tried to get ahold of you guys, but your vehicle radio is off."

"Yeah, well..."

"No time, Harry, I was wondering if you guys could meet us down on Barclay Street? We're going to try and stop Stay-Puft there."

Harry looked at his comerades, and nodded. "Yeah," he said, "sure, I..."

"Just a minute," Gabe grunted, folding his arms, "I wanna try something. We'll slow it down to give those guys the time they need to do whatever it is they're doing."

Harry sheathed his proton gun again and wiped his brow. "Ummm...we'll call you right back, Ray." Harry muttered as he pushed the OFF button on his cellphone.

"Now," he began, "tell me why we're not just meeting with the rest of them?"

"I have a plan..." Gabe mumbled, gesturing at him as if he were silencing a small child, something which Harry did not like.

"Do what you like, Dr. Martin, but I'm going to get the car ready if you don't mind." Harry grumbled feciciously, shaking his head.\par

"Good idea," Gabe said, "because we'll need to be out of here if this doesn't work."

Gabe looked over at Nate, who was still standing in the same position, staring blankly upward, like a cow chewing its cud. Gabe only shook his head in disgust.

"Idiot..." he muttered.

Gabe grabbed the large silver ankh that hung around his neck, and closed his eyes, tuning out the sounds of the wind, the sounds of the shouting people, the booming of Stay-Puft's footsteps, and Harry's nervous ramblings as he headed for their vehicle. He even managed to tune out Nate's annoyingly loud chewing. His mind reached out to the subtle energies permeating the space around him. Sorcerers of ancient Egypt before him, using the style of magic Gabriel chose called this energy "Heka."

He gripped the silver Egyptian talisman tightly as his mind reached out to the ether, conjuring spirits manifest in the cold astral sea to him, and began their bindings to work his spell. His will sought to bend and command these ethereal entities to spirit away the form of Stay-Puft, sending it back from whence it came. He gestured the spell's somatic components with practiced ease as the incantation left his lips...

"Tewet Bak 'Ne Bin A'Nen! Kem En A'Nen Netdjer Ne Mesedj!"

The wind picked up speed as a ghostly howl seemed to permeate the street as his voice echoed softly on the swift breeze.

Nate snapped out of his stupor, looked around, and crouched down into a martial arts stance, realizing now that he wasn't paying attention at all.

"Shit!" he shouted, "Oh...right. Yeah! Let's go." Nate closed his eyes as well. Everything around him was engulfed in unnatural blackness as his mind began to retreat into his subconscious. He heard disembodied screams, and twisted visiages of faces both human and inhuman raced before his mind's eye. Something black clawed away at his mind, and he began to panic all at once. He felt he should be used to this by now, but it seemed that he would never get over the anguish of Harmonixing. "Shit," he thought to himself, "I hate this part...hurts like a motherfu---"

It was his last thought before he let the darkness in his own mind take him. Nate let out a bloodcurtling scream that could be heard for miles. It wasn't only Nates voice crying out in agony, but something else crying out with him...some-THING, some terrible beast within him. He gripped his own head, feeling the urge to explode altogether, as his very body let out a great flash of light, as the swirling white energy that engulfed his body twisted his flesh, ripping apart his uniform, letting his proton pack fall to the ground.

When the energy dissipated, what was left of the young man was a terrible beast, almost tiger-like in shape, standing bipedal, eight feet high, with forearms reaching down to its feet. Its fur was a deep forest green, and thick black stripes wrapped around it like collosal tattoos. A torn Ghostbusters uniform draped from its muscular frame. It howled with a supernatural ferocity as it bared its white furry chest. It lunged at Stay Puft with a ferocity unmatched, and its yellow eyes flashed like lightning amongst the coming stormclouds.

The monster tore into Stay Puft's legs, clawing with animalistic fury, ripping chunks of marshmallow from its body. Stay Puft looked down, and its happy expression twisted to one of shock. It kicked once, taking out a shop window below, and tossing the monster from its leg. The monster's body sailed more than fifty feet through the air before it struck the side of a building. It rolled off the building and into the street again, only a few feet from Gabriel.

Ghostly images swirled around Gabe as he gestured again. He opened his eyes again, and shouted in the loudest voice he could muster. It reverberated upon the walls of the buildings on the streets as the wind blew harder still...

"A'Neni Ka En A'A'Ew!!!"

The spirits flew from their lazy orbit around Gabe and flew toward Stay Puft, with their eager skeletal arms outstretched, commanded by the sorcerer to whisk it away to banishment in the realms unknown.

Something happened, however...

Before the spirits reached the white giant, they evaporated with an eerie screetch. Nothing had happened, and Stay Puft continued its trek down the street.

Gabe stood looking up in shock, as the form of Nate Inugami arose from his unconsciousness next to him. Gabe looked around frantically, at a loss to explain the failure of his own spellcraft. "What sorcery is this?" He bellowed, "Dirty Pool! Someone else is pulling Stay Puft's strings! ALOT of someone!"

"Huh?" the woozy Nate mumbled as he stood up and cradled his arm.

"No time, idiot!" Gabe shouted as he grabbed Nate by his other arm and dragged him along towards their waiting vehicle, stopping only to retrieve Nate's fallen Proton Pack.

"Harry!" Gabe shouted frantically as he stuffed Nate into the back seat, "Call Ray! Tell him we'll be there in five minutes!!!"

Harry wasted no time in leaving the area as soon as Gabe was inside. He dared hazzard a single glance into the backseat of the vehicle, and saw Nate's dishevelled form. Nate groaned in pain as he laid accross the back seat.

"Shit!" Nate shouted suddenly, sitting up with a start.

"What?" Gabe asked, "You okay back there?"

"I swallowed my gum..." Nate mumbled as he laid down in the back seat.


7:28PM EDT
The ECTO-2 tore through the skies. Janine nervously weaved around the tall buildings as the craft sped toward the lumbering form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.

"ECTO-1, ECTO-2, do you read?" Janine repeated into the cockpit radio.

Ray Stantz grabbed the ECTO-1's radio. "ECTO-1 here, Janine..."

"Ray, he's still moving pretty much due south, down Broadway."

"You see anything else?"

"The bitch who sprung him, I think...she's floating nearby. You think she might be taking him someplace deliberately?"

"I'd just about bet the rent money on it."

Winston looked at Ray from the driver's seat. "Ray, I hope I'm wrong, but I got one guess..."

"Go on..."

"You think maybe they're taking him to some place that might, say, be utterly sizzling with residual PKE...maybe from a large man-made atrocity?" Ray's eyes went wide. Janine knew what Winston was talking about, as well.

"Adonai...you don't think..." she stammered into the radio.

Ray shook his head, and Winston remarked to himself that he'd never seen his old friend look so...old. Like any New Yorker, there was one day seared in their memory. Eduardo's brother Carlos had lost a lot of friends that day. And the Ghostbusters had very nearly lost Egon, attending a conference in one of the towers.


7:32PM EDT
A black Cadillac Miller Meteor tore down the street with sirens blazing. It was of similar vintage and make to the original ECTO-1, but in addition to its black paint job, it was adorned with a lot of antennae. The Ghostbuster logo on the doors was painted purple, and the license plate read "ECTO-1X" It was the familiar vehicle of the Nightsquad crew.

"They're heading where?!" Bo Holbrook did a double take as he gripped the microphone.

"The World Trade Center..." Ray's voice came back. "We're on our way further down the Avenue to set up the traps...but we need you guys to slow him down, and drain as much power as you can. Martin and the rest of the Arcane Division have tried to slow it down, but with little success. The Extreme team...they'll meet you at Barclay Street"

"Great..." Bo muttered "Like I need them slowing me down..." A chuckle came from one of the two guys in the back seat, causing the other to look at him quizzically.

"Behave". The blonde woman in the passenger seat said to Bo firmly. Which made both men in the back seat chuckle.

The four members of Ghostbusters Nightsquad had just parked and opened their doors when a second Cadillac pulled up. It looked even more like the ECTO-1 driven by the original four Ghostbusters than the ECTO-1X did.

In truth, the vehicle WAS the original ECTO-1, purchased by Ray Stantz in 1983, and retired when the team reunited in late 1988. The original Ghostbusters and their successors had driven the second ECTO-1, briefly known as the ECTO-1A due to the vagarities of license registration law, for the fifteen years since. In 2000, when Vincent Belmont and Gabriel Martin formed their own Ghostbusters franchise, Venkman had given them the original vehicle as a "launch gift"...complete with its non-working engine. It was something it took Ray Stantz a while to forgive him for...the fact that Ray got to help with getting the old girl running again had helped, though.

Bo snorted as the Gabriel Martin, Harry Seward, and Nate Inugami exited the vehicle. Gabe looked positively flushed. His face was beat red and sweaty as if he had been running for a very long time.

"We did what we could," Gabe shouted at Bo as he quickly donned his proton pack, "but that thing has an alternate source of power or something that we're not aware of."

"Or MAYBE your dark arts have empowered it even more..." came the cynnical voice of Kylie Griffin. She was followed quickly by Garrett, and Eduardo.

Gabe looked back and her and scowled, "Listen, little girl," he growled, "you'd better learn to get over---"

"Now is not the time for this, please!" Harry shouted nervously, "Each second we spend doing nothing brings that thing closer and closer to us!"

Bo looked at young Nate Inugami. He was still amazed that they grew Japanese people taller than 6 foot, let alone one that could easily win a toughman competition. Nate's uniform was ragged, and the zipper was busted, as if something had tried to peel him out of his uniform like a banana.

"What the fuck happened to you?" Bo said as he bit off the end of a fresh cigar.

"Uh..." Nate flushed, "Well, you know...the ladies love me!" he grinned as he itched the back of his head.

Bo merely stared at him as he lit his cigar. "Shut up..." he mumbled. "You ladies ready to go?" Bo barked out as he armed the cannon on his quad-super pack.

Gabe tossed Bo an annoyed glance as he armed his proton pack, and drew the proton gun. "I'm sure Little Miss smiles-and-goodness Griffin is quite ready, considering her ignorant commentary...the rest of us have been ready."

"Just keep that asshole out of my damn way..." Garrett muttered, arming his proton pack.

Zac Crago leaned in and muttered in Cliff Roswell's ear. "There something Yeti missing here?"

"Bo and the 'Extreme' kids don't get along...Tom told me the whole story, and I'll tell you later." Cliff replied.

"GENTLEMEN!" Harry cried again, "PLEASE!"

"Another day, another pay, what can I say?" Gabe smirked as he armed his thrower, "God, I wish Vincent was here..."

"Why's that, boss?" Nate asked, as he fastened a proton pack to his back, seemingly having forgotten how the straps actually fasten.

"Because all I have are you assholes for company," Gabe chuckled.

"The gizmo loaded and ready to go?" Eduardo asked Kylie.

Kylie hefted the proton rail gun. "As ready as I get..."

"Good luck, gentlemen," Harry said as he armed his own proton gun.

"You know, we had the black flight suits first..." Bo scowled.

"Bite me." Eduardo retorted.

Jen Spengler coughed loudly. "We're in position, Ray..." she spoke into her cel phone.

"Winston, Roland, and I aren't there yet, Jen." Ray's voice replied. "Give us at least five minutes if possible"

"Will do." Jen replied. "Janine?"

"Get ready...here he comes..."

None of them needed to be told. The vibrations and the booming, but squishy impacts of Stay Puft's feet were impossible to ignore.

The Ectomobile that carried Ray, Winston, and Eduardo pulled up a block away from the World Trade Center. They all jumped out, and threw open the back door of the car.

"You think this crazy scheme is gonna work, Ray?" Winston asked.

"It has to..." Ray replied, grabbing one of the round, orange traps that Egon and Roland had designed seven years before. "We link every ghost trap, old and new, we can spare into these proton packs...and hope we have enough suction to draw Stay Puft in, and enough power in the plasma cores to hold him long enough to get back to GBCentral..."

"It worked back in 1985, didn't it, Doctor Stantz?" Roland asked, dragging out the proton pack that had been selected to power the trap system. It was one of the Mark 2 packs of like vintage as the round trap--it had been designed to work with the plasma cores, and would provide a necessary focus. Winston drug out two old Mark 1's, the original proton pack design first used when the company first formed. Winston glanced at their serial numbers; it seemed, as though, they were two of the original proton packs that blasted the Marshmallow Man for the first time. After the sense of irony had passed, he checked their energy levels. He and Roland quickly plugged the cyclotrons into the Mark 2 pack.

"These things are still gonna work, right?" Winston asked, "the power supply on these things doesn't go bad, does it? We haven't touched these things in forever."

"No sir," Ray called back as he fished around for cable from the back of the vehicle, "they have a half-life of five thousand years. Even though we need to recharge them, the half-life of the uranium core will last five thousand years before needing to be replaced.

Winston chuckled, "Man, it's like a car battery that will last you 'till the car falls apart. Where can I get me one of those?"

Ray hefted a long length of yellow cable from the back. "Yeah, but like any battery, it can go dead, which is why we need to recharge them, and that we have. I'd never have the firehouse be with a single proton pack that wasn't fully loaded and ready to go."

Ray threw out the conduction cables they'd need. "You know as well as I do that this area is still hot with residual psychokinetic energy...that's why we've had so much trouble keeping the necromancers and other dabblers away from it over the last three years...if Stay Puft is absorbing that energy--and I don't see why not, he's still part of an evil god, no matter how goofy he is--even this may not be enough if Kylie, Gabe, Bo, and the others can't slow him down..."

Roland looked to the north...and realized he could hear the thunderlike stomping of brobdignagian feet...and with that realization, a bead of sweat dropped off of his head.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, his face grinning and cheerful, loomed before them.


7:38PM EDT
"On three..." Garrett Miller barked.

"THREE!!!" the voices of Kylie, Garrett, and Eduardo roared in unison. Garrett Miller, Eduardo Rivera, Jen Spengler, Zac Crago, Cliff Roswell, Gabriel Martin, Harry Seward, and Nate Inugami each sent a proton beam into the sky, hitting the beaming Marshmallow Man.

"You ready, Elvira?" Bo said, arming his oversize Super Pack.

"Don't make me hurt you, Holbrook." Kylie replied, wrinkling her nose.

"Keep fucking with me ya pasty bitch and you won't need that black eyeliner any more" Bo retorted, stomping out his cigar.

Both took aim.

"Yipee Ki-yah, Motherf..."

KROOM!!!

The massive oversize beam of the Super Pack and the plasma cartridge from the rail gun hit the giant creature right between the eyes. The night sky reverberated, as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man howled in pain, and started to fall backward.

"OH SHIT!!!" Nate screamed.

"TAKE COVER!!!" Jen shouted.

"He's falling over!!! Isn't this good?!" an exasperted Bo cried.

"Not when he hits the ground!!!" Kylie answered.

"What indignity is this?!" the Herald shouted, as the giant Marshmallow Man began to fall backward.

"You ain't seen nothing yet..." a Brooklyn-accented voice snarled, and the Herald was hit with a proton beam.

The Herald flew back some thirty yards, then turned around to face the ECTO-2.

"I don't have time for you..." she gestured offhandedly, and a stream of blue slime flew from her fingers, hitting the ECTO-2.

Janine uttered several curses as the small copter's works began to jam up; she began to angle for a roof nearby. The Herald turned back toward the Marshmallow Man.


Those nearby swore the sound was second only to the wholly human-engineered event nearly three years before.
7:42PM EDT
Oscar inhaled as the Channel Six feed disappeared into static... "It appears we've lost our signal...David? Are you still there?" Jessica Venkman grabbed onto her brother, and held him tightly.

"I'm...I'm still here, Vernon..." the newsman said, the picture starting to tentatively reappear. "The last attack actually staggered the Marshmallow Man...he fell over, and the sound was like a bomb exploding."

"Do you have any idea as to the conditions of any of the Ghostbusters?"

"I...I can't tell from here, Vernon..."

"C'mon..." Oscar said out loud. "If anybody can do this, it's Uncle Ray, Uncle Winston, and Aunt Janine..." He wasn't sure who he was trying to convince more--Jessica or himself.


7:44PM EDT
Ray picked himself off the ground, feeling woozy. A gash torn open in his forehead from where he hit the side of the ECTO-1. "What the holy hell just happened?"

Winston was by Roland. "Roland's out cold...I don't see any sign of injury, but he got knocked out."

Ray grabbed his walkie talkie. "Stantz to anybody---do you read? Griffin? Holbrook? Martin? Anybody?"

"ECTO-2 here, Ray...you guys all right?"

"Janine, what the heck is going on?"

"They knocked over Stay-Puft. I'm on a rooftop across the street--the bitch who sprung him gummed up the ECTO-2s rotors, and I barely made a landing before he hit..."

"Kylie and the others...any idea?" Winston asked.

"No...there's a lot of smoke in the area, I... holy shit..."

"Janine?"

"Stay Puft is starting to get up..."

The Herald smiled. "The Corpus is not so easily stopped...not with the lingering scent of death in the air here..."

"The corruption of religions pays off so much better than even the Infernal Master himself forsaw..." Ragnarok noted, with a tinge of glee.

"The ritual?"

"It is almost time, Milady..."

Ray looked up to see a news helicopter as he plugged in the last connection. "It's connected, Winston--fire it up!!!"

Winston jabbed the arming switches on the two Mark 1 proton packs, producing the familiar hum of alpha particles being agitated.

"HERE HE COMES!!!" Ray cried, as the familiar giant form appeared out of the smoke. He was no longer cute, either--the combined blasts from Bo and Kylie's weapons had melted his face away, revealing a charred skull that was still aflame with burning marshmallow. The giant creature howled in anger and pain.

"STAY PUFT...HURT...NOT LIKE THAT..."

"Now, Ray!!!" Winston shouted.

Ray stomped the activator pedal that had been attached to the trap array. The ghost traps sprung open in unison, filling the darkening skies with their white light.

Ragnarok gestured. "In the name of Volguus...for the glory of Wyrmus Magnus..."

"Kalibah...Pargon...Redgormor....Pargon...Obilekth...Pargon....Volguus....Pargon!!!" Ragnarok chanted, his voice hissed, carrying on the winds throughout the entire city.

Below, in the streets, an onlooker grinned. He took off his tie and threw it to the ground, and tore his shirt open. He stared at the strange symbol tatooed on his chest, and began to whisper, and his voice gradually grew, joining Ragnarok's. He drew several stares from nervous onlookers.

"Kalibah Pargon Redgormor Pargon Obilekth Pargon Volguus Pargon!!!"

An old man, sitting on a bench in Central Park sat up upon hearing a whispering on the wind. He smiled, and began chuckling softly to himself, as he unbottoned his shirt, exposing a tattoo upon his chest. He dropped his bag of birdfeed, scattering the pidgeons he was feeding into the wind. He began to wheeze the familiar words as his voice joined the others...

"Kalibah Pargon Redgormor Pargon Obilekth Pargon Volguus Pargon!!!"

A young woman stepped out of a taxi cab and stared up at the form of Stay-Puft, hearing a whispering in the wind. She beamed, gleefully, peeling up her shirt sleeve, revealing a nightmarish tattoo. She began to repeat the words she heard, barely containing her own maniacal laughter as she raised her voice to the blasphemous stacatto...

"Kalibah Pargon Redgormor Pargon Obilekth Pargon Volguus Pargon!!!"

Ragnarok breathed in, taking in the sound of the city. Voices from all over carried their cries to the sky. It was beautiful to him. He looked to the Herald, and she smiled as well. They raised their arms to the sky, and cried out in unison, "Give us your souls! Leap into the arms of Volguus Zildrohar! Go to him! Give your life to call upon him! Release yourselves from the world and lend us your power!!!"

One by one, each of the Gozerites that revealed themselves drew daggers from their purses and pockets...

"Kalibah Pargon Redgormor Pargon Obilekth Pargon Volguus Pargon!!!"

...and stabbed themselves, cutting upward into themselves, spilling their own blood onto the ground as their frenzied chanting ceased. The chanting was replaced by the horrified screams of people yelling for help, and frantic calls for an ambulence. With the invocation of the final activation phrase, an unnatural wind began to howl around them all.


"It's working!!!" Ray shouted.

"Come on...just a little more!" Winston coaxed the equipment. Several sparks had begun to play around the junction. Stay Puft howled as his whole form began to destabilize...chunks began to pull off and fly into the trap beams.

Then an unnatural howling filled their ears.

"What the f..." Winston shouted.

Red lightning danced across the clouds in the sky, and the sun eclipsed to the blackest of night. A swirling mass of ghostly green energy swirled up towards the heavens, like a great tornado, parting the clouds, and the very sky above it. They looked around to see the sky splitting apart, an angry purple whirlpool of energy swirling within the cauldron of black storm clouds.

A dimensional rift... Ray realized.

He would swear, if for only a moment, the vaguest image formed in the portal...it was a face; featureless and emotionless. It quickly twisted into a face of fury as it opened its gaping mouth and bellowed. The terrible sound that emitted from its mouth reverberated throughout the sky, and resonated for miles. It sounded like the high pitched screech of an enormous bird of prey, and its amplified sound made everyone in the city cover their ears.

The makeshift device linking the traps exploded, sending sparks and shrapnel in all directions.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man uttered a burbling scream as his partially distended form began to be sucked toward the portal. Several of the other Ghostbusters appeared, still woozy from the shock of Stay Puft's fall.

"Doctor Stantz!!! Mister Zeddemore!!!" Cliff shouted.

"Don't get any closer!!! The particle flow of that portal has reversed, it..." Ray started to say, before the howling winds picked him up off the ground.

"Oh damn!!!" Winston cursed, as he too was ripped from the ground.

"We gotta do something!!!" Eduardo shouted through the winds.

Jen armed her thrower. "We could invert the flow through the gate like Uncle Egon and the others did in '83...cross the streams."

"But Ray and Winston would be caught in the ensuing explosion!" Gabriel shouted at her, barely audible through the roar of the hurricane-force winds, "I have an idea! Just sit tight!"

Harry hung on to the door of the Ecto-1 as Nate Inugami grabbed Jen Spengler and Cliff Roswell, stuffing them into the back. Zac grabbed Eduardo, whose footing was slipping out from under him.

"Hang on!!!" Eduardo said, grabbing Kylie, and holding her tightly in his arms.

Jen spared one last glance as she tried to reach cover... She saw Stay Puft, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore pulled into the angry purple portal's maw.

Kylie watched as Gabriel reached into the Ecto-1 and produced a large leatherbound book, and began flipping through pages, holding them tightly, for fear of the fragile paper tearing.

"NO!" she screamed in horror, "NONE OF YOUR WARLOCKRY!!!"

"SHUT UP, KID!" Gabe shouted as he stretched out his hand. "I GOTTA CLOSE THAT THING BEFORE IT STARTS TAKING CIVILIANS!"

"Obsignare, rima tempi et intervallia!!!" he shouted in a bold and powerful voice that could easily be heard now over the winds. There was a crackle of electricity that shot through Gabe's hand. A dull yellow light emitted from Gabe's body as several motes of golden light whirled around him, orbiting him in strange patterns. Gabe's hand burst into a stacatto of light and strange wailing sounds as a geometric pattern formed in the air in front of his outstretched fingers. The pattern looked as though it were an oddly shaped pentacle missing a few of its sides, set within a ring made of strange, alien lettering. "Exturbare malum laudatio innatus ordo!!!" He shouted amongst Kylie's pleas. The others looked on in awe as the strange circle of light hung in the air, revolving around hypnotically. Gabe made strange, sweeping gestures as the light grew brighter and flared for a moment. "FINITE, INCANTATEM!!!" He roared, as the sky crackled with red lightning. A swirling mass of yellowish vapors sailed upward, like a great funnel cloud, seeping into the gaping maw of the portal. And with that, as suddenly as it began, the winds dissipated.

The hole in the sky was gone.


"...ladies and gentlemen...whatever happened...the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is gone...but at what price for the Ghostbusters?" Vernon finally spoke, a note of genuine concern cracking through his journalistic objectivity.

Oscar Wallance and Jessica Venkman looked at the screen in mute shock and fear.


"Dad!!!" Eric cried at the screen, before he fell to the floor and started crying.

"He...he and Uncle Winston will be all right..." John said pleadingly. "They gotta be all right. They're all right, aren't they Aunt Dana?"

Dana Venkman wiped a tear out of her own eye. "I...I don't know..."

Eden hugged her friend tightly, her own blue eyes starting to wetten. Louis Tully pulled his glasses off and buried his face in his hands.


Janine looked at the abruptly quiet scene, fighting off the urge to either scream or puke up her lunch.

"Mrs. Spengler? You still there?"

Janine didn't know what to do. Cliff had repeated the same question four times before she hesitantly answered the radio.

"I'm here, Cliff...go ahead..."

"We've gotten everyone accounted for, no life-threatening injures...Roland took a bad hit, and Dr. Seward says he should probably go to the hospital to make sure he isn't concussed...and the ECTO-1X was knocked on it's side, so you can imagine the filth coming out of Bo's mouth right now."

"Yeah..." she nodded, joylessly. "I'll...I'll be down there as soon as I can. Make sure everyone knows I'm all right."

"Will do, Ma'am."

She stuck the walkie-talkie back on her utility belt, and spared one last look at the spot in the sky where two of her oldest friends in the world--her brothers in all but the most literal sense of the word--had vanished only moments before.

"Adonai...keep them safe..."

And then, inevitably, came the tears...

England, 10:32PM GMT
"...Sky News where we are bringing you footage live from one of our report helicopters in New York." Adam Bestler watched as the screen changed to a helicopter view of Manhattan, more specifically the site known as Ground Zero and the former spot of the World Trade Center.

"Isn't that Stay Puft?" Roger Johnson asked. Jill, Rosey and Molly came over to view the TV screen.

"Guys! Get in here!" Adam shouted. A few moments later the rest of the West Coast, New York and UK Ghostbusters entered the room.

"It's worse then we thought." Egon commented.

"Too right." Ben added.

"I guess we now know what that commotion at the Firehouse was all about then." Peter replied finally.

"It would appear so...it would seem that a coincidence is highly unlikely in relation to current circumstances." Egon agreed. "The fact that Stay Puft is a large portion of Gozer's form may prove some theories that if Gozer is to re-form in our world it needs it's complete being to perform the process. That gives credence to Vincent's theory of Gozer having a "heart."

"But where would they take it? I doubt Stay Puft could walk under the Atlantic for too long." Roger Kennedy asked.

"That remains to be seen." Fritz commented.

"What are you seeing David?" The voice of the newsreader asked.

"What you are seeing is the creature known as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man...those familiar with the Ghostbusters film and TV series will know that this was the form of the demi-god they fought in New York, it now seems, that in either a strange coincidence, or a spectacular publicity stunt, it is here, in the flesh!" A graphic displaying the words: 'Voice of Sky News Reporter David Anderson' appeared on the screen. "...and right now it is stomping it's way down town...along the Avenue of the Americas...we're..." There was a pause which might've meant the reporter was hearing something. "We're just receiving unconfirmed reports that the Marshmallow man is making it's way towards the former site of the World Trade Center...the Mayor's office called a state of emergency and has called an emergency meeting where they are planning on what to do during this situation...they have released a quick response informing us that this is an ill planned and totally inappropriate publicity stunt by the Ghostbusters..."

"Asshole." Peter swore.

"MacShayne shall receive a letter voicing my and GBI's contempt for his continued undue harassment of the company once I return to New York." Egon replied sternly.

"Woah hold it big fella...not before I get one in, big guy...I have my own axe to grind with him...besides...I'm sure there's some legal mumbo jumbo Louis can bring down on him." Peter added.

"...however those who may remember the Ghostbusters received similar doubts from former EPA representative Walter Peck who was dismissed for having a dangerous grudge against Ghostbusters CEO Dr. Peter Venkman..."

"Heh...Pecker's probably spitting out his dinner somewhere." Adam replied.

"...whatever the reason...we cannot simply ignore the fact that a one-hundred foot sailor made of marshmallow is making it's way to Ground Zero and...hold on a sec folks...we are receiving a word of an attempt of mixed franchises of Ghostbusters International will attempt to tackle this "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man..."

"I know we can count on Ray and Winston to mount a counter-attack along with the kids..." Peter replied.

"Not to mention Vincent's men." Egon added.

"Who else can there be?" Jill asked.

"There's the possibility that Bo Holbrook's franchise, Ghostbusters: Nightsquad and the franchise Richard Roy works with could be called into the help out...if the latent PKE at Ground Zero is high enough then Stay Puft could be given a tremendous surge in power." Egon explained.

"Hell knows the number of times the NYPD worked alongside the kids to stop those wackos opening portals to who knows where." Peter replied. On screen, Stay Puft passed the edge of Murray Street and stomped his way down towards the future site of the Freedom Tower.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we will be tying into a news unit on the streets of New York while keeping our footage from our helicopter above the scene. We will continue to broadcast until this event has been brought to an end..." The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man had now made it to Ground Zero and was grinning happily as several cars were left in varying degrees of squashed and crushed. The camera zoomed in a bit more and they could make out what looked like two ambulances, one white and one black parked at the corner of Church and Vesey streets at the north-east corner of the World Trade Center site. Stood among the two cars was a group of around twelve people.

"Looks like the Nightsquad and Belmont's crew are working with the Extreme sub division of the New York team." Ben Sr. commented.

"That's not going to go down well." Peter replied.

"Indulge me; why is that?" Joey Williams asked.

"Bo Holbrook has had a long-running resentment of the 'Extreme Ghostbusters'...something about who was the first official franchise of GBI." Peter explained.

"Ah." Joey replied as he rolled his eyes and turned back to the screen.

"We have received word that a combined strike force of Ghostbusters from TriBeCa, SoHo, and Brooklyn will attempt to capture the creature..." Agraphic displaying the words: 'Voice of Channel Six Newsreader Vernon Fenwick and outside broadcast reporter David Avington, Channel Six News' appeared on the screen. Within moments of the reporter's words going over the line a series of beams shot up at Stay Puft, then a few moments later a slightly brighter orange beam flared past the others, engulfing the Marshmallow Man's head. The struggle

seemed to be working...that was until Stay Puft started to topple over, waving his arms to try prevent the fall as he went.

"Oooh...that's not gonna be good." Roger grimaced. Everyone in the room winced as Stay Puft collided with the street below, causing several windows in nearby buildings to break upon impact with the street. Stay Puft's impact with the street send up a huge cloud which made seeing who was still up and about on the street more difficult. Through the newly-made smoke they could see Stay Puft was trying to pick himself up.

"Yep...not good." Adam agreed.

"It appears we've lost our signal...David? Are you still there?" The TV continued as the witnesses fell into an uneasy silence.

"I'm...I'm still here, Vernon..." A voice replied through slight static over the audio waves.

"Do you have any idea as to the conditions of any of the Ghostbusters?" Vernon asked.

"I...I can't tell from here, Vernon..."

"Ladies and gentlemen...you have just witnessed the whole bulk of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man crashing to the ground...he appears to be trying to pick himself up...we haven't received any confirmation of casualties at this time...but police and fire department officers are making their way to the scene as we speak."

Stay Puft appeared through the smoke, his chest and head were burning under a face which sent a involuntary shiver down Egon's spine, Stay Puft's entire face had burnt away, revealing a scowling, charred skull beneath the marshmallow which was splattering onto the blacktop as he stomped further down the street towards the large void which had been where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center had stood.

"Stay Puft...hurt...not like that." Stay Puft's booming voice just managed to come out of the TV's speakers. Suddenly a series of bright white lights shot up into action, causing the cloud to light up, the whole spectacle resembled a large cloud of light which looked like something from a sci fi B-movie.

"Looks like a series of linked Ghost Traps." Eric commented. The trick seemed to be working, Stay Puft's form began to destabilize and pour into the traps...but then something happened. There was a bright strobe of purple light as the frantic camera man wipped the camera wildly up to the sky.

"Something's happening...it looks...my God....what the HELL is THAT!?" The frantic reported commented. There was a large hole in the sky, and thick black clouds danced around it, as a giant featureless face pushed out of the clouds. The screen filled up with static as the sound cut off from a surge of noise.

"Bugger." Iain swore. "It didn't work." On screen they watched as Stay Puft screamed as his form was sucked towards the rift, on the ground the group of people who could only be the Ghostbusters who'd been seen earlier reconverged and watched as the large cartoonish entity was broken up. Debris, and what looked like bodies flew up into the giant hole in the sky.

"Shit." Peter swore.

"The people down there...it looks as though some people have been pulled into... are being pulled into...into...that...my God...!" The reporter replied, trying to find a decent way to describe what he was seeing. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm....utterly speechless."

The Ghostbusters in Britain could only watch as the group of Ghostbusters split up, presumably for cover as smaller, lighter street furnishing followed the two people into the void. As the two people and objects went, the last big white globs of Stay Puft hurtled into the void. Seven minutes after the portal had opened it vanished again in a flash of light leaving a stunned British audience watching at GBUK HQ.

"...ladies and gentlemen...whatever happened...the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is gone...but at what price for the Ghostbusters?" Vernon finally spoke.


11:23PM GMT
Ben King Sr typed away as he wrote up a report of his findings, however he paused when a pop-up chimed for his attention.

You have received a new message.

Ben dropped and saved what he was doing and opened the email, it contained the following message:

"To: Kingpin1055@hotmail.com

From: AlisterRecordsDepartment@hotmail.com

Subject: Your auction request\par

Dear Mr King,

It wasn't in any way easy, but I have found the record of the auction you requested...those architectural documents helped narrow it down significantly. The auction details are as follows:

Lot No. 539

Description: A gothic hound statue, believed to be of Victorian construction, at an estimated value of around 250,000, discovered in an abandoned quarry south of London.

I also have access to a set of notes made upon the discovery and collection of the statue...the statue was recovered from a quarry south of London known interestingly as 'Tonnes Quarry'...it was purchased in the auction by a man who later had it shipped to America...more precisely, California...however if there's anything more you need then it'd require more time.

I hope that has satisfied your query.

Yours Sincerely,

Daniel Sampson."

"Yes." Ben cheered, he then printed off a copy of the email, grabbed it from the printer and charged off to Iain's Lab.


11:38PM GMT
"Guys...I've got the name of the quarry." Ben spoke as he entered the lab, catching everyone's attention. Iain had been busy performing some more tests on Sarah while Fritz, Jeff and Egon had been working on getting the book finished.

"Oh?" Egon asked.

"Yeah...I was going through some of my books yesterday and I found a photo of one of those Terror Dog statues...I phoned the auction house who sold it...I didn't say anything until I could give you guys some hard data...but now I can..." he explained.

"Go on." Fritz said, anxiously awaiting Ben to continue.

"Okay...it seems that a little while after our nutball got put in here one of the statues was collected by Alister Auctions in London and sold to a man who had it shipped to California in... 1939..." Ben continued.

"Hmm...it would explain why there was a Terror Dog in LA." Fritz agreed.

"And why it'd be ready to meet Jeremy in LA...it must've busted out of it's stone skin only a few days before the Anubis bust." Jeff replied thoughtfully.

"And it being Hollywood...the tourists would sooner think it's a film promotion then an actual monster."

"Indeed." Egon agreed. "However...it raises the question, why wasn't the second statue sold?"

"No idea...they didn't say...there wasn't even mention of a second statue in the original listing... but as I said...we know the name of the quarry...Tonnes Quarry...somewhere south of London." Ben reported.

"'Tonnes'?" Sarah echoed. "I know that place...my father purchased it about five years back."

"He did?" Iain asked in surprise.

"Yes...he was thinking of turning it into a museum of the mining industry...it's about a half hour outside of London, along one of the A-routes."

"Thank you Sarah, Ben...we can now send a team to the site should Jeremy manage to re-awaken Zuul." Egon replied.

Location: Avalon? Time: Unknown, 1 hour after arrival.
It was finally after an hour upon Vincent's arrival that he found a small trail amongst the tangled trees of the woods. The forest was so black that he was completely unable to see more that a few feet from himself. He stood outside the woods for a moment, and stared in at the gaping maw of trees. It beckoned him forward, only if to whet his curiosity. He shuddered as he was suddenly reminded of the deep-sea "angler fish." The very forest of the island wanted to swallow him whole. He felt an uneasy chill. He pulled his duster on tighter as he stepped into the trees.

Vincent walked no more than a few feet before he had second thoughts. As he pushed deeper into the woods, it grew colder, until the very chill of the air was seen in his short breaths. In fact, that was all that Vincent could see....his own breath. He felt cold, and alone. Still, he pushed on through the trees.

His unease as he pushed through the foliage was magnified by his feeling of being watched. Vincent thought of shifting his perceptions into "wizard sight," but he dared not, for he feared what he might see. He knew something waited for him beyond the trees. He heard it breathing. Trying his best to ignore it, Vincent pressed on; taking each stride through the foliage as quietly and as quickly as he could manage.

Location: Avalon? Time: Unknown, 1 hour and 15 minutes after arrival
Vincent turned around to look behind him, and saw nothing. He couldn't even see the path he was walking on. The shore, and any sign of light and comfort had completely departed. He did not produce any light of his own, for fear of being noticed by something undesirable.

Vincent stopped. He held his breath in as he scanned the blackness around him. He listened to the slight rustle of the breeze through the trees. He listened to his shallow breaths as he beagn to breathe once again. He even listened to the quickened beating of his heart. His pulse raced as he felt a drop of sweat run the length of his cheek. His blood turned to ice, and his heart nearly stopped as he head something else...

...breathing. Yet the raspy breathing was not his own, and of that, there was more than one...it was more like "ten." Vincent had guessed then that it was the sound of about ten terrible things waiting to strike at him from the darkness.

Vincent needed light. He needed something to chase away the gloom of the forest, to light his path, and perhaps keep whatever might be watching him away.

There was a sudden rustling in the bushes to his left. Vincent looked to his left with a start, and then to his right. He stood perfectly still. He dared not even breathe. He just stood there, motionless. His heart rate not only started up again, but quickened pace.

He felt a presence there with him. There WAS something there with him, and it was not alone. He felt the hairs on his neck stand up, as he felt a quick, icy draft blow on the back of his neck.

Something was behind him...

Vincent opened his hand out in front of him, and held his palm up. He whispered the words of his spell, ever so softly. He tried not to think about what was behind him. He tried not to think about what it was that was watching him. He thought only of completing this incantation. His skin grew cold as he broke into a sweat. He gestured ever so slowly. It seemed to take forever and a day...

"Ego advocare ad meum manum Magum Tadeam! Ignis arcanus, purgare rica de fallacia, et evulgare tuum veram formam! Perforare caecus murus intermundum!"

With the final words of the spell, an eldritch humming, like a chorus of disembodied men, humming a single rich baritone note echoed throughout the woods. With a spectacular burst of light the entire forest around Vincent lit up in a flash, and an eerie blue flame erupted from Vincent's upturned palm. Vincent let out a yelp as he saw several black humanoid shapes loom before his eyes. He had no time to see anything distinguishing as he heard the terrified screeches of the inhuman creatures, and the black shadowy horrors retreated into the forest beyond the light of the flame Vincent now carried. At once, the forest was alive with the rustling of retreating figures, and the harsh, vulgar whispers of the offended creatures.

Vincent surveyed his surroundings in the light of the blue flame. The forest again became quiet, but the light was no more comforting. He knew that the creatures were still there, just beyond the light of the flame, waiting for it to go out.

Vincent continued his trek, but stepped lightly as he saw the shadows writhe around him. Everything stood on the outside of that small radius of light. They waited for him.

Location: Avalon? Time: Unknown, 2 hours and 35 minutes after arrival
Vincent came upon a clearing in the trees. His arm still held aloft, carrying the eldritch fire he used to light his path. He could even look up and see the night sky. The sight of the stars was a great comfort, and he sat down upon a large rock in the clearing. For the first time since he got off the boat, Vincent felt tired....very tired. He felt as though he had been walking for days. More so, he was famished.

He knew why he was hungry. He knew that the use of magic drained the human body of its energy and its nutrients. He needed to eat, and cursed himself for not having the foresight to pack a bite to eat before he came. He then realized that he never had the time to do so. In fact, he remembered being chased by hit wizards, intent on killing him. He also realized that he had no clue how long he was afloat before sailing up to this haunted isle. He felt the subtle tingling in the tips of his fingers. It was a sure sign that he needed food.

A sharp pang hit his stomach as he thought of sustenance...

He looked to see what was in his satchel, but found nothing but what he had bought from Egg Shen at Arcane Alley.

"What I wouldn't give for something to eat," he thought to himself, "a warm plate of chicken curry, perhaps a plate of sushi..." Vincent's stomach growled. He felt sleepy. "Warm muffins with sweet butter...a side of roast...eggs and bacon...a pizza with the works..." A hunger pang shot through Vincent. His eyes grew heavy. "Some of that sweet warm tea I had with Mr. Hurt at his bookstore..."

Vincent yawned as he laid his head back on the rock, he did not notice the flame in his hand diminish. His eyes grew heavy, and the world around him seemed

to fade into blackness. He felt a swimming euphoria as his body began to grow cold.

England, 1:18 AM
June 8, 2004
"NOOOOOO!" Jill Valentine howled as awoke with a start, "No, please! Stop!"

"NOT VINCENT!" she screamed. "VINCENT! WAKE UP!!!"

She continued to wail at the top of her lungs. Tears streamed from her eyes as she crawled out of her sweat-soaked sheets. She curled up on the end of the bed and cried. She wanted it all to end. She wanted her nightmare to go away. She wanted to be home, and she wanted to see Vincent again.

It was only moments before the door to her room burst open. Iain Bennet came tumbling in, waving his custom proton pistol in every direction. He was followed shortly by Tommy Simpson and Jeff Nash, both looking wildly around the room. Fritz, too, poked his head into the room, slowly passing the doorframe, holding aloft his PKE meter, scanning the room before his eyes came to rest on the cowering Jill Valentine.

Fritz quickly sat down at the foot of the bed and placed the PKE meter on the nightstand. Several other Ghostbusters gathered outside the door, trying to peek in. Rosey Collins pushed her way through the crowd and into the room.

"Miss Valentine!" Fritz shouted, grabbing Jill by the shoulders, "Miss Valentine!" he shouted again. He shook her slightly, and watched her labored breathing relax as she began to scan the room, as if waking from a vicious nightmare.

Rosey sat on the foot of Jill's bed, and placed her arm around her. Fritz leaned back.

"Are you alright, Miss Valentine?" Fritz asked her, looking into her eyes.

Jill only wimpered as she stared blankly at Fritz, and then to Rosey, and then to the other men crowding her room.

"Was it a nightmare, dear?" Rosey asked.

"V...Vincent..." Jill muttered, barely able to breathe more than a whisper, "...Vincent. Something's happened to Vincent..."

Fritz moved in front of Jill and looked into her eyes.

"It was just a nightmare, Miss Valentine," Fritz reassured her, "...just a nightmare."

Jill only shook her head slightly.

"It was only a nightmare, Miss Valentine. Vincent isn't in danger. He's fine. He's just out making a last minute preparation, and he'll be back shortly." Fritz explained. He felt bad, however, for he knew that it was a lie. In truth, he knew that he had no clue where Vincent had run off to, nor any knowledge of his safety.

"Remember the things that Vincent can do, hon," Ben King Sr. chimed in from the back row, "I don't pretend to understand all that wizard stuff. I do know that he can take care of himself."

"Hell," Iain said, matter-of-factly, "there isn't bloody well shit I've seen that Ol' Belmont COULDN'T do."

Jill only looked around at those speaking to her.

"Yeah," Fritz smiled, "in fact, he'll probably thrash us when he gets back for looking at his lady dressed in nothing but a noodle-string belly shirt and a pair of boxer shorts!"

A chuckle rippled through the crowd of concerned Ghostbusters, easing everyone's mood. Jill even managed a weak smile.

"On that note, Valentine," Jeff Nash said, pointing an outstretched finger in her direction from his folded arms, "you don't look so good."

Rosey looked more closely at Jill. Her face was white as her bedsheets, and she was still sweating profusely. Rosey placed a hand to Jill's forehead.

"Jill, dear," she said, "you're burning up!"

Fritz adjusted his glasses and turned to Ben Sr.

"We need some cold water and an ice pack, Ben. Could we get something for her?" he asked.

Ben merely waved his hand, already on his way out the door.

"Already ahead of you..." he called back.

Iain stood up and turned around to the crowd. He began waving his arms, ushering them out.

"C'mon, mates," he said, " give the lady some room, will ya? Move along, then."

The crowd backed out into the hall, and began to disperse down the halls, going back to what they were doing, all asking each other questions about what they had just witnessed. Rosey stayed in the room to keep Jill company, while Jeff and Fritz were the last to leave the room. Outside the door, Egon Spengler and Peter Venkman stood, waiting expectantly with their arms folded, and with Egon holding a PKE meter; something Fritz began to wonder was actually attatched to his hand or not. While Egon looked concerned over the situation, Peter looked as though he were still hung over from the night before.

"Is she alright?" Egon asked.

"Yeah," Fritz said, looking at his PKE meter, "she looks like she wrestled with one hell of a nightmare, but something concerns me, though."

"I would surmise that you were able to read that little PKE spike, as well?" Egon mused.

"Yes," Fritz agreed, "right before Iain rammed the door, I caught a small bit of PKE activity coming from the room. The signature was faint, but I'm sure it came from Jill."

"Hmmm...." Egon wondered, staring again at the PKE meter's blank screen, "...fascinating."

...

...

All four men stood in the hall, silent, until Jeff broke the awkward pause.

"Ya know," he said, "I've often heard of this phenomena called "lucid dreaming." It can include shared dreaming with people you have a special connection to. Maybe Belmont IS in trouble, and she's gettin' some sort of "psychic SOS" or something. I mean, they're lovers, right?"

All of their expressions became grim.

"I wonder..." Fritz mumbled.

"Wonder what?" Egon asked.

"Obviously, we know that before an earthquake hits, you'll feel a slight tremor before the quake?" Fritz aked.

"Yeah..." Jeff grunted.

"Well, there's been alot of strange crap going on...and I'm wondering if we're just feeling that tremor now....before the quake?"

"This could only be the beginning...our strange night visitor...Miss Valentine's nightmare" Egon interjected.

"You sure know how to paint a rosy picture, Fritzy...all I know is I missed something about Jill in a noodlestring bellyshirt and boxers..." Peter yawned.

Egon, Fritz, and Jeff looked at each other for a moment, trying to puzzle out whether Venkman had anything relevant to add in his absurd and inappropriate commentary. Ben King Sr. joined them in the hall, carrying a small bowl of cold water, a washcloth, and a bag of ice. All of the men turned to stare at him. Ben looked rather taken aback.

"Ummm...is there something I can do for you gents?" Ben asked, utterly befuddled.

Location: Avalon? Time: Unknown, 2 hours and 35 minutes after arrival
"VINCENT! WAKE UP!!!!"

Vincent awakened with a start, and looked in horror to see something sitting upon his chest as he slept. It was a gaunt humanoid creature, with skin as black as the forest. It had its long fingers wrapped around Vincent's head, and its touch chilled Vincent to the bone. Its mouth, terrible to behold, was a large, gaping maw. The orifice was toothless, and its lower jaw hung down, seemingly unattatched to its head. More terrible still was its eyes; two sunken recesses, even darker than its obsidian skin, with only two small greenish lights as its eyes, barely larger than fireflies.

It breathed in with heavy labored breaths, as if it were desperate to breathe, but couldn't. Vincent found, to his horror, that it was he who could not breathe.

Vincent struggled to reach into his satchel as he stared into the face of the vile creature. His fingers reached into the satchel and drew out a small leather bag. Feeling his strength leave his body, he forced his index finger into the bag, opening the draw string enough to fit his hand into the bag. It was by sheer force of will that allowed Vincent to whip the bag into the face of his captor, spilling out a strange glittering dust onto the creature.

The creature recoiled, and rolled off of Vincent, rolling around on the ground, holding its face. Sickening green smoke roiled out from under its fingers as it clutched its face in pain. Its inhuman howls echoed in the night.

Vincent got to his feet, feeling his strength quickly return to him. As he watched the creature writhe on the ground, he realized its nature, and its name. He withdrew another object from his satchel; a small dagger.

"Magicus de Nympham deminuere per ferreum, Ego vincire tuum!" Vincent shouted as he threw the dagger into the dirt where the creature lay.

"Human magic is forbidden here, Sorcerer!" the creature hissed. It's croaking voice sounded labored, and it could only speak no louder than a whisper.

"You are one of the fey folk, aren't you?" Vincent snapped at it, "You are a Sluagh....a stealer of men's souls!"

"This is the isle of Oberon!" the Sluagh hissed back, "You are tresspassing!"

"This isle doesn't belong to the faeries. This isle is the resting place of the kingdom of Camelot, and the wizard, Merlin Ambrosius." Vincent retorted.

"This isle was once a part of Arcadia, sorcerer..."

There was a long silence.

"Why have you come to this place, sorcerer?" the Sluagh asked.

"I seek the wizard, Merlin Ambrosius." Vincent stated, plainly.

"You will find nothing here but death, sorcerer!" it hissed, its unhinged jaw swaying sickeningly from side to side.

Vincent raised an eyebrow, and reached again for the strange bag of powder that he had used on the creature before.

"WAIT!" the creature pleaded, "Wait....stay your hand, son of man, for you have already bound me. That wicked powder would kill me. It burns our kind."

"And give me a good reason why I shouldn't..." Vincent growled, "...you tried to feed on my soul. That sorta pisses me off."

"I would show you where the enchanter you seek sleeps!" it cried out in its weak rasp, "I'll take you through the secret paths, and I will bid my kind to lay no hand upon you!"

Vincent's hand slid into the bag.

"You have bound me already! I can do you no harm! Show mercy, sorcerer!"

Vincent retracted his hand from the bag, and pulled the draw string on it, and placed it back in his satchel.

2:45AM GMT
Night had descended upon the GBUK HQ building and most people slept. All people that was, except Egon Spengler, Jeff Nash, Fritz Baugh and Iain Bennett who were were trying to get the last remnants of the book translated before dawn of the 8th. The hallways and rooms of the building were quiet, as quiet as the grave. That is, until a loud claxon began to sound and red lights began to flash.

"Damn." Iain swore and got up so quickly from the table he made the stool he had been sitting on topple over. The four Ghostbusters charged out into the hallway. "The Containment Unit's breaching...Egon...I'll need someone to monitor the 'Unit in case there's more damage then I'm expecting."

"Agreed." Egon spoke and they both ran towards the door to the kitchen which would eventually lead to the basement. Fritz and Jeff were left in the hallway as the sirens continued to blare.

"I'm going back to the lab." Fritz shouted and Jeff nodded in understanding. A few moments later several of the formerly sleeping people upstairs began to migrate down into the lobby. Tommy came first, followed by Sarah, Ben Sr and Joey.

"Did someone drop off another midnight surprise?" Joey asked as he rubbed sleep out of his eyes.

"Is someone down there?" Tommy asked, knowing full well that the sirens related to the Containment Unit and not a security breech, or even a fire.

"Yeah...Iain and Egon are sorting it." Jeff explained, jerking a thumb in the direction the two Ghostbusters had vanished.

"Good..." Tommy nodded his approval. Suddenly there was a loud whoosh and Jeremy stepped through a newly-formed portal into the Reception Area.

"Shit." Ben swore, he grabbed onto Sarah's hand and pulled her away from the staircase. Tommy and Joey grabbed whatever they could find as Eric and Adam, who'd been coming down the staircase leapt over the rail and vanished in the direction of the basement, presumably the Armoury. Ben and Sarah vanished through the wood and glass door in the direction of the labs as Tommy tried to club Jeremy with a coat stand from the Reception, Jeremy in turn grabbed the end of the coat stand, wrestled it out of Tommy's hands and used it to clobber him around the gut, sending him sprawling to the floor. Jeff tried to attack using one of the heavy table lamps but was sent staggering back by a kick to the gut which knocked the wind out of him. Joey, brandishing a notice-board he'd taken down from the wall, entered the fight with the intent to clobber Jeremy in the head with the thing. However Jeremy, having turned in time to see the attack seized Joey by his neck and lifted him off of the floor.

"Je...Jeremy." Joey managed to wheeze. "For...God's sake...put me down."

"I'll allow you that wish...mortal." Jeremy replied and then flung Joey over the reception desk, taking out the computer monitor as he went.

"That does it." Jeff replied. "You may be in my friend's body...but like the song says 'With Karate, I'll kick your ass'." Jeff replied as he took up a fighting stance. However even the best fighter wouldn't have been able to stand up to Jeremy's next attack, with the wave of a hand Jeremy sent Jeff flying back and crashing into the door, sending broken frosted glass and wood panelling crashing to the floor. "Dirty trick." Jeff muttered as Jeremy walked past. Fritz slid out of the doorway of Iain's lab after hearing the noise. His eyes went wide as soon as he saw Jeremy and he vanished back into the lab, a few minutes later he returned with a Proton Pack he knew didn't hold a total charge.

"Stop or I'll be forced to shoot." Fritz replied sternly. Jeremy studied him with a look which bordered on near curiosity but then laughed. Fritz then fired and the beam struck Jeremy, making Jeremy stumble back. "You've used a lot of your energy in this...portalling into the basement...doing whatever you did to their Containment Unit...then dispatching the others...you don't have a great deal or power left."

"Foolish mortal." Jeremy spat and he swung his arm up and released a blast of purple energy from his right hand, the force of the blast was so intense that the metal watch on his right arm split along its strap and clattered to the floor. He then aimed the blast at Fritz and released a volley of energy, Fritz, to his credit was able to dodge several of the blasts as they seared the wall behind him and release several shots from his Proton Gun. However the shots Jeremy had released had caught him into a disadvantage of location and Jeremy picked off his gun and knocking Fritz back through the door of Iain's Lab. Jeremy then turned his attention to the closed door of a room marked LAB: Simpson. He sent a purple blast at the door and it exploded into the room, provoking a surprised: "Woah!" Jeremy stepped into the darkened room and peered around. He then spotted Ben and Sarah hidden behind a large table.

"Get away from her, mortal." Jeremy demanded, his eyes now glowing bright red.

"Not doing, mate." Ben replied as he stood up.

"What threat do you offer? You are weaponless..."

"I still have a job to stop you." Ben countered. "I can't let you take her."

"Pathetic." Jeremy replied. He then raised an arm and sent Ben crashing into a white board behind him.

"You...know...that wasn't the best thing you could...do." Ben replied, spitting some blood as he pulled himself up.

"The mortal resists?" Jeremy asked in some surprise. "He is defiant...yes...nearly as defiant as my host...no matter...you will fall as easily." Jeremy raised his hand once more and brought the white board crashing down onto Ben. "Now...Gate Keeper...you shall awaken." Jeremy spoke as he narrowed his gaze on Sarah.

"Get away from me you freak." She said as she got up and ran for the door, however she was prevented from escaping when Jeremy snagged her right arm and swung her around until she faced him. He then kissed her and she resisted for a few minutes before she complied and they shared the embrace. They then broke the kiss.

"Key master." She purred in a daze.

"Gate Keeper." He returned. "You aren't fully awakened yet...but when you are we shall bring forth our master." He replied and then raised a hand, pointed it at empty air and then a portal opened. With the woman now willing he led them both towards the portal, and then through it. Once they'd stepped through it, the portal closed behind them. Outside Fritz limped into the doorway.

"Oww...anyone get the number of the black cab that hit me?" Ben asked as he shoved the white board off of himself and used a desk to pull himself up.

"Sarah's not here?" Fritz asked as he adjusted his glasses.

"Damn...looks like Jeremy got her." Ben replied as he wiped blood off of his mouth.

"This is extraordinarily bad." Fritz commented.

"No shit, Sherlock." Ben agreed. Moments later Egon and Iain returned.

"What's happened here?" Egon asked, visably concerned.

"Jeremy...Vinz...he's gotten Sarah and they're gone." Ben replied. The remaining Ghostbusters were now filtering downstairs, Adam helped keep Joey stable while Eric had Jeff stretched across both of his shoulders and his feet dragging along the floor.

"It's begun." Egon spoke. "The coming of Gozer is at hand." The rest of the group shared worried glances, they knew what would most likely come next.

Location: Avalon, Time: Unknown, 4 hours after arrival
Vincent followed the strange creature through the forest for what seemed like forever. It seemed almost ape-like with its shambling gait. It spoke to him the entire way, telling him about the isle of Avalon...

"Avalon was once a realm of the faeries, Sorcerer, yes. It belonged to the noble sidhe, and great Oberon held his court here. It wasn't until the Enchanter came that the humans did, with their great castle of gold. Camelot. Camelot is the name of the accursed city. It is a realm of man and his God, a realm unfit for faeries. The city of gold chased out the sidhe, and the darker things came to play. Yes... The darker things. Camelot has shut its gates. The way is shut. Camelot sleeps; Oberon's curse, it is. Only the Enchanter sleeps of his own will."

Vincent and the creature reached a clearing in the trees, and stopped at a small grove. For the first time sice he set foot on the isle, Vincent saw green. The colors here were brighter, from the grass on the ground, to the leaves of the trees. There was a small waterfall that cascaded with blue water from the small cliff face that stood before them. He saw the crystalline water reflect the light of the moon, casting a comforting glow to the surrounding area. Beyond the waterfall, Vincent could see an obvious cave entrance.

"You are here, sorcerer, please do what you have come to do and leave. I cannot hurt you, but I do not think the others of my kind will listen to my words. It is dangerous here. Leave quickly!"

Vincent felt a presence here other than himself and his dark fey companion. It was sinister, yet, not as the Sluaugh would be. No; this was something different entirely.

"Wait..." Vincent interrupted suddenly, as he waved at the creature to silence it, "...something's here..."

Both Vincent and the Sluagh looked around. Vincent stared into the trees behind him as the creature next to him sniffed the air. It's head snapped up, like a bloodhound, catching the scent of the uninvited guest.

Before it could do anything, however, the creature let out a howl of pain and agony as Vincent saw it's body emit a plume of greenish smoke as its twisted form dissolved into a shadowy puddle. Startled, Vincent looked around frantically.

A voice chuckled from the trees.

"The Sands of Suleiman," the voiced drawled, "I have some of that, too....very effective against things not of the earth..."

"Who's there?!" Vincent shouted, "Show yourself!"

"Thank you for leading me here, Dr. Belmont," said an oily voice from the shadows of the trees, "when I have the staff of the great Merlin, nothing will stop the summoning of Gozer!"

Out from the trees, stepped a pale and gangly man. His thin features were almost skeletal, with his skin being stretched over his face like old leather. His oily black hair was slicked back, and his hair was pulled into a ponytail. His black smoking jacket and vest were adorned with a number of talismans, and an all too familiar pin; a pin with the symbol of the Order of Hermes. His face twisted into an evil cheshire grin as he stared at Vincent with his blood red eyes.

Vincent shook his head in disbelief.

"You..." he whispered.

June 8th, 2004
The End of the World
Atlantic Ocean, HMS Northumberland, 15 miles off the coast of England, 5:00AM GMT
Dark waters lapped against the steel hull of HMS Northumberland, darker then any of it's woken crew had ever seen, but that seemed to be part of the odd climate that the vessel's crew were witnissing as they slowly made their way to port.

Admiral Sir Alen West of the Royal Navy rested his hands on the railing of one of the ship's decks as he looked out at the vast blue ocean and frowned, he didn't like it, he'd been awakened by one of the other crew members who had spotted some very unsual weather activity and had come up on deck as soon as he'd been notified. He adjusted his peaked cap and zipped up his dark blue jacket, the air had grown eeirly chilly for June, even on the open water. He reached for the pair of binoculars that hung from his neck and used them to look west, noting the black stormclouds that lined the western skies and were making a good job of blotting out the moon.

"Sir!" Admiral West turned to face an ensign, a fresh faced youth who was holding a crumpled sheet of paper with complex-looking barametric graphs printed on it. "The weather report, sir." The ensign explained.

"Right." Admiral West nodded as he took the sheet of paper from the ensign, who briefly glanced out at the storm clouds as a few white flashes went off.

"Dismissed, Ensign." Admiral West replied and Ensign replied and returned with understanding his superior's order, wasting no time with his salute and walking away quickly to attend to other matters. Admiral West turned back towards the darkening sky and let an expression of pure concern filter onto his face, he studied the charts and glanced up again. He could hardly believe what he was seeing. He'd happened to have seen those exact same signs once when he had been briefly stationed in America, but it couldn't be possible that such readings could occur in the British Isles, at least not of this magnitude...and the sheet of paper was having none of it, it predicted clear skies.

"Hurricane...I'm sure of it..." He muttered darkly to himself, "But there's no damn mention of a bloody hurricane..." He turned and began to walk briskly toward a metal staircase which would eventually take him to the Northumberland's Bridge. As Admiral West continued to climb, he barely noticed that the dark waters surrounding the ship were begining to heave and toss, as if they were being stoked up by the odd storm that was approaching the British Mainland. He had to radio in this weather anomoly, if for nothing else to alert the RNLI and the Coastguard that there was a storm coming, and it looked like it was going to be an incredibly bad one...

To Be Concluded

Questions? Comments? Go to the Ectozone Message Board