CODA AND TERCHI'S EXTREME ADVENTURE
Okay, maybe not so routine.
Egon nodded. "Vincent and Gabriel should be done with their assignment by next week." Egon's mouth turned slightly into a slight wry smile. "And I think he's rather nervous about meeting you."
Liz chuckled. "Something to do with my House's unusual role in the Order. But he has nothing to be nervous about."
Egon shrugged. "I take your word for it. If it helps, I will remind you that another of the Zodiac avatars should be returning any time now."
"Does she know about me?"
"Only that you're Ray's wife." Egon shook his head. "Nothing about your role in 1991, or your...ahem...real job. Ray was insistent on that."
Liz nodded. "It's what I asked him to pass along."
There was an indignant shout, the distinct sound of Slimer screaming, several female voices laughing, and then the Class 5 Full Roaming Vapor hurtled down the stairs, a slime-covered Charlene Zeddemore in pursuit.
A laughing Eric Stantz quickly followed, clapping and cheering. His father was just behind him. "Charlene! Wait!"
"Now I'm beginning to understand what Uncle Peter's always so grumpy about." she grumbled, wiping off slime.
"It wasn't Slimer's fault--he and Eric were playing, and they zigged or zagged at the wrong time." Ray explained.
She sighed. "I know, but still..."
Winston peeked down from the fire pole. "You okay, Charlene?"
"I'm fine, Dad." she answered. "Just in need of a shower now, that's all..."
Eric was still laughing merrily. "You don't have to look so happy about it, Kiddo..." Charlene grumbled.
As she went up the stairs, the doors into the garage opened, and the ECTO-1 pulled in. The four Extreme Ghostbusters started to get out. "Doctor Stantz!" Kylie said. "Thank goodness you're here!" She was about to say something else, but after noticing the woman and child she'd only seen in pictures, seemed to think the better of it.
"I take it things went well?" Egon asked.
"We don't know yet, Professor." Roland answered. "We removed the problem, but it wasn't a ghost, and I think there's still more to it."
"Oh?" Egon's eyebrow shot up.
Kylie kept glancing at Liz and Eric, trying not to stare.
"You'll see what we mean." Garrett said breezily, turning back to the ostensibly empty car. "You can come out now."
"Yeah, it's safe out here." Eduardo said. "More or less."
"You pick up a stray cat or something?" Ray asked.
That brought a face to the ECTO-1's window--but not a feline one.
"Terchi?!" Ray and Liz said in unison.
The diminutive humanoid made a cry of equal parts happiness, relief, and continuing confusion as he ran out of the car and embrace the two of them. "Miz 'Lizabef'!!! Mist' Ray!!! Oh me godfuss!!! You 'ave no idea 'ow 'appy I am to sees ya!!!"
"Well, he was definitely telling the truth about knowing Doctor and Mrs. Stantz." Roland noted.
"We're glad to see you too, Terchi." Liz said, as soothingly as possible. "But what are you doing here?"
"And alone, too!" Ray noted. "Back in Dragonsfall, you and Coda were practically joined at the hip!"
Terchi started crying. "I don'ts rightly know, Mist' Ray!!! An' Coda...oh me stars, what 'appened to 'er, I don'ts..."
Eric walked over hesitantly. "Ma-ma?"
Liz looked at her son. "It's okay, Eric."
Terchi stopped crying. He looked at Eric, both with wide eyes. " 'Oozat?"
"This is Eric, our son." Liz explained.
" 'Oly crife! You two done made a sprog!!!" Terchi laughed. He slapped Ray on the lower back. " 'Ood on ya, there!"
Egon cleared his throat.
Ray nodded. "Egon's right, we need to figure out what's going on here." He turned to Terchi. "We'll fill in everyone who you are, you sit down for a few minutes and calm down, so you can tell us what's going on."
Liz had reached out for help, not knowing the Ghostbusters had broken up in the interim. Ray was all she got, but it was enough--together they managed to defeat Lord Stalker.
Coda and Terchi were part of a small community of refugees of faerie and magic descent that Fallagar hosted, most of which had hidden in the Covenant's underground vault--Coda, Terchi, and a hobgoblin named Styx being the notable exceptions.
When they were finished, Kylie was looking at Liz with a new nervousness. "You're a member of the Order? You're a wizard like Vincent?"
Liz nodded. "We belong to different groups within the Order--different Houses--but yes."
"Fascinating." Egon stroked his chin. "Ray, I will have some questions about the matter for you later."
"I may not be able to answer all of them." Ray shrugged.
"Understood." Egon nodded.
"But now, Terchi, we need to know--what brought you here?" Liz asked, leaning over and putting a reassuring hand on Terchi's shoulder. "And did what you say earlier mean Coda's involved?"
Terchi gulped, then the phone rang. The sound freaking him out and he jumped back into ECTO-1.
"I got it." Eduardo rolled his eyes. "Extreme Ghostbusters, busting ghosts the Extreme way since 1997!" Eduardo listened for a second. "Hey, Professor, it's that accountant guy--he wants to talk to one of you!"
"Louis?" Egon asked, and Eduardo nodded.
Ray quickly moved to the phone "I better get this one..." He took the phone from Eduardo. "Hey, Louis, this really isn't the best time for...wait...what?" He stopped for a few seconds and listened. "No, actually, that sounds like something we do know something about, and..." His face went dark. "The gloom gem?"
This brought an intense look from Egon, and worried looks from the Extreme team.
"It can't be, Louis--the ones we got from you and that other victim are still here." He looked at Egon. "Right?"
Roland ran up the stairs. A few seconds later, he appeared at the fire pole opening, and nodded.
"Affirmative." Egon said.
"We'll be there as quick as we can--you and Sherm just stay there." Ray hung up the phone. "He says there was, well, he put it a 'weird blonde girl with big hairy feet' that attacked him. She had a gloom gem in her forehead."
"...oh my godfuss..." Terchi cried from inside the ECTO-1, peeking out over a door. "Y' found Coda?"
"Sounds like it." Ray nodded.
Roland came back down the stairs, with Winston close behind.
"Oh! An' yer friend Mister Winston is here too!!!" Terchi said. "Where's the grabarse guy, then?"
Ray chuckled and rolled his eyes. "Peter's out in Los Angeles with his family."
Roland looked incredulous. "Wait...I look like a hobgoblin but Winston is 'Oh, hey, Mister Winston'?"
"We met at Ray's wedding." Winston noted.
"An' Mister Winston don't look anyfin' like a 'obgoblin." Terchi said. "The color's all wrong and he don't have the jawline."
"I thought..." Roland shook his head.
"Jumpin' to conclusions, huh?" Eduardo elbowed him.
"Shut up, Satyr." Roland retorted, an uncommonly acid tone in his voice.
"We need to debrief Terchi about what happened." Egon said. "Roland--take the team to check out Louis's incident."
"I think..." Kylie spoke up. "I think one of us should stay here to get the story from Terchi.
"I agree." Egon nodded.
"There's more." Ray said. "When Coda attacked him, she did something to him, went through his memories--he said she muttered some phrase that meant nothing to him, but it does to us--'Shima Buku'."
"I think this means I better go with them." Winston spoke up.
"Logical." Egon agreed.
Curious... the entity controlling her mused. The physical form resembles that of the ice folk's young...but... It tugged on her pointed left ear. ...This is a mark of a different heritage. It poked her distinct, though not ample, left breast. And despite the youngling appearance, the body appears to have full adult fertility.
GET OUT OF MY FUCKING BODY, YOU BALDY ARSEHOLE GIT!!!
The image in the mirror convulsed suddenly. The darkness drained from one of the sclera. "...get....outa...m'...fuckin'...body..." came her voice, straining, an accent that wasn't there before coloring it.
I am impressed. the entity remarked. Your will is strong. And more...you are in communion with spirits of primal rage. They fuel you.
The girl convulsed again.
But while you commune with primal rage spirits...
You might say that I am a primal rage spirit...
One more convulsion, and the girl opened her eyes once more; sclera both black, countenance calm.
"That is why you have no hope of defeating me." The voice was calm and unaccented once more.
"Detective Albert!" Winston called out to one of the cops standing outside. The man nodded, and a uniformed patrolman let the four Ghostbusters inside the crime scene.
"I take it you do know these guys?" Albert said, indicating Louis Tully and another man sitting next to him, who looked a lot like him.
"I know Louis; he's our company accountant." Winston answered.
"Good enough for me." Albert nodded. "Just let me know what you figure out if it's something my bosses will believe."
"It's great that you got here Winston this whole this was terrible and..."
"Slow down, Louis." Winston shook his head. Roland was nearby taking some PKE readings.
"So okay me and Sherm here were..."
"Sherman Tully, MD Dermatology, Mister Zeddemore." the other man said, shaking Winston's hand. After a few seconds "We met back in 1989 or so? The whole thing with you guys being stuck in Parkview and I helped Louis try to spring you before the Mayor did it?"
Winston shrugged. "Sorry, Man. A lot was going on then, and it was almost ten years ago."
"What you getting, Roland?" Eduardo asked.
"There's still some residual energy here..." Roland noted. "It matches the signatures of the gems we found a few weeks ago, but the amplitude is indicating a higher base energy level."
"Louis, back to what happened?" Winston asked.
"Well, okay, Sherm and I were sitting here eating our Clown Burgers and he was just telling me about his son James in the kitchen with an apple pie when..."
"The signal's picking up!!!" Roland shouted. "Her--or another one--is approaching!"
"Shit." Eduardo growled.
"Good." Garrett chuckled, adjusting his thrower. "I pretty much missed out on the last one due to all the fucking stairs..."
"...Still owe me a ride in the Ectomobile..." Sherman muttered.
The Ghostbusters ran outside. The cops were being manhandled by tendrils of violet energy. All of the assembled Ghostbusters remembered seeing similar ones a few weeks earlier, surrounding the Shandor Building.
"Fall back, Men!" Detective Albert shouted. "This is clearly Ghostbuster jurisdiction!!!"
"That's her!" Louis shouted from inside the Krazy's.
"Yeah..." Winston agreed. "I saw her at Ray's wedding...but..."
"Please stop, Miss Monkeyfang." Roland said. "We don't want to hurt you."
"Her eyes were normal then." Winston finished.
"Shima-Buku." the girl said. "I could scarcely believe my luck."
"And the voice is different, too--she had that thick Cockney accent like Terchi."
"I wish we'd had more time to ask questions back at the Firehouse." Roland added.
Winston adjusted his thrower. "Lowest power beam. We don't want to hurt Coda--we just need to stop the thing possessing her!"
"Got it." Roland nodded, as the other three adjusted their beams.
"And what kind of sorcery do you have to bear against me this time, Chieftain?"
Right about now... Winston thought to himself. I wish I'd asked Ray how to make these things fire the Crimebuster beams. Maybe I ought to have him create a setting...
"On three..." Roland barked. 'THREE!!!"
Four low energy beams hit the short-statured girl. She screamed and was thrown back...
"What the..." Eduardo muttered.
The girl was still.
"We can't have fried her at that setting." Garrett spat.
"Coda's something that isn't totally human." Winston noted, suddenly very worried. "The beam could have affected her differently...I don't know..."
"Then we'd better make sure she's all right!" Roland said, moving to the still form.
The next thing they knew, they were being thrown back in a blast of violet energy. A female voice laughed at them heartily.
Eduardo went flying through the Krazy's window, landing on Louis and Sherm's table
Garrett was thrown to the street, away from his wheel chair.
Roland hit the wall of the restaurant hard, and a sickening crunch came from his proton pack.
Winston was slammed into the ECTO-1. Shake it off, Zeddemore...this is still...
"Imagine my surprise." Coda's body moved closer, sparks of violet energy beginning to play around it. "After thousands of revolutions of this planet about its star...after hundreds of the lifespans of you ape-creatures...I find you."
"Yeah." Winston acknowledged. "Can't say I'm personally all that thrilled."
"No, I suppose you wouldn't be, would you?" the entity laughed. "I came here seeking the other Hearts in Eclipse. Two together called to me, even from the other side of the Gauntlet. I have yet to find them, but instead I found you. Your garments are different, and your new sorcery stinks of the material realm; the millennia have dulled your knowledge of the old ways, perhaps. But your appearance, your bearing--there is no doubt remaining that it is you."
The energy began to swirl. The voice of Coda Monkeyfang began to deepen, and a booming resonance came into it that Winston found uncomfortably familiar.
"Shima-Buku, Chieftain of the Ibandi, Binder of the Undying One, Sunderer of the Lord of Gloom. Creator of the Moaning Stone and the Heart In Eclipse. The true winner of the War of the Gods."
The jewel on her forehead glowed brighter, and the girl vomited violet ectoplasm.
"Gross..." Winston muttered.
The ectoplasm flowed around her, covering her. It began to darken in places, and took a shape. A tall, gangly, humanoid shape a good ten feet or more tall. Winston definitely thought of the Undying One, the ancient demon that had ruled over the land of his Ibandi ancestors. The creature before him was less...ornate is the word that came to mind.
Curiously, Winston found himself also thinking of a completely different demon, the "Master of Shadows" that had once challenged Egon to a battle of the minds (and lost).
"Take my greeting once more, Shima-Buku, and for the last time!" His hand glowed. "The greeting of Anthal-Noje, Lord of Gloom, Steward of the Undying One!!!"
Winston forcefully turned the dial on his thrower. Even dialing it to eleven may not be enough... "About time you stopped blathering and got around to it!"
"Enjoy your latest death, Shima-Buku!!!" the creature snarled.
Winston was about to fire, when the creature suddenly shuddered.
"NO!!! DAMN YOU, DUSTMITE!!!"
"I said..." a tinier, girlish voice snarled from within the writhing monster "Get out...o' m' fuckin'...body!!!"
"FULL STREAM!!!" Winston shouted, hoping one of the others--any one of the others--was there to hear him.
Eduardo had shaken off the impact, and though he had some cuts, he was there. Garrett wasn't mobile, but he could still fire--three full power proton beams slammed into the creature.
The she-child within me proves more tenacious than expected...
An arm erupted from the chest of the monster--the arm of Coda Monkeyfang.
"Eduardo! Watch out! Don't hit the girl!!!"
The monster howled, then threw the blast building in its hand to the ground. The explosion filled the parking lot with smoke.
Winston was thrown to the ground again; when he looked up, the smoke was already clearing.
Coda and the entity possessing her were gone.
"Somehow, I don't think it's dead." Eduardo quipped.
"It had us..." Winston shook his head.
"Could somebody give me a fucking hand over here!?" Garrett shouted. "At least bring my damn chair or something!"
"Aw, not so handy-capable now, are you Roller Boy?" Eduardo teased.
"I will still crawl over there and kick your ass, Torgo!!!" Garrett shot back.
"Eddie..." Winston sighed.
"Going, Boss." Eduardo chuckled, and went over to help Garrett.
Winston, meanwhile, went over to Roland, who was still groggy. "You okay, Roland?"
"Why are there three of you, Winston?" Roland asked. "No...wait...now there's only one of you again...I think that's right." Roland shook his head. "What happened?"
"That thing had us dead to rights." Winston answered. "It was about to blast us into chunky soup, but I think the body it's possessing is putting up a hell of a fight. She distracted him at just the right moment, but we might not be so lucky next time."
Garrett rolled over, he and Eduardo still shoving each other.
"We better get back to the Firehouse, and see what Ray, Egon, and Kylie have figured out." Winston said.
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Coda Monkeyfang and Terchi Bagwise created by Fritz Baugh. Advice on their accents provided by EGBFan.
Kaila McMillan Zeddemore based on a character created by James Van Hise and Phil Hester. Developed by Brian Reilly. Charlene Zeddemore created by OgreBBQ and Fritz Baugh, with some development by EGBFan.
Liz Hawthorne Stantz created by OgreBBQ. Developed by Fritz Baugh with some assistance from Jay Tigran. Eric Stantz created by OgreBBQ.
Reference made to material from Ars Magica, created by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein•Hagen; now owned by Atlas Games save a few concepts owned by White Wolf Games.
Detective Albert appeared in Slimer #7 from Now Comics.