HEARTS IN ECLIPSE
PART TWO

By Fritz Baugh


GBI Case File GBNY-1998-16/387
January 1998
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Sixteen
Ray was scratching his head as he studied the plans sitting before him on the table. "I dunno about all of this...I mean, I still don't understand why you did all this. I mean, what was wrong with the original system?"

"Nothing." Egon replied. What Ray was looking at was a set of plans for the Mark 2 Proton Pack, which Egon and Roland had first built a scant few months before. "But I knew we needed a configuration that could generate a more focused beam to work against Achira...plus I had some concerns about stretching the available supply of fuel for the system."

"I see that..." Ray nodded. "But it would seem to me it'd run through the plasma cores a lot quicker than the old system did. It's basic science--a smaller battery will recharge quicker, but lose it's charge faster and since it'd have to be recharged more often the individual cells would burn out quicker."

"They don't have a half life of anywhere near five thousand years, to be certain." Egon agreed.

"I do like the pistol system you made for Kylie, though." Winston chimed in. "I remember you sayin' you had ideas along those lines during our visit to Romania back in 91..."

"It was at her suggestion I implemented it." Egon noted.

"You guys and your toys..." Janine rolled her eyes. "Though I think I may throttle Eddie the next time he refers to it as the 'girl gun'..."

Louis hovered near the edge of the scene, working up the nerve to break in and tell them he was leaving. He gulped hard, and decided Oh, heck, just do it..."I'm leaving now guys goodbye"...how hard could that be. Heck, they probably won't even notice anyway...maybe I should just leave...yeah, the doorway's right over...

"Louis!" Venkman appeared, blocking his way, grinning brightly with the grin like the Cheshire Cat Louis had seen more than once. More than enough to know that Venkman was up to something. "You can't leave yet...we have so much to talk about still!"

"We do?"

Venkman put his arm around Louis and led him to the table where the other four were sitting. "Well, well, well...here we are...the long-time staff of Ghostbusters Inc, the six of us, once again one big happy family."

Ray shot up an eyebrow. "We're still not throwing Slimer in the Containment Unit, Peter."

"Raymond, Little Brother of my Heart, you wound me dearly."

"Um, Doctor Venkman, it's getting near dinner time and I really think I should..."

"Sit. Down. Mister Tully." Venkman said, grin still in place.

"Peter, have you been in Egon's mushrooms again?" Winston asked.

"Mister Zeddemore, it is only because you spent years hanging out with me that you are not more well known for your comedic wit." Venkman replied. "What's wrong with wanting to spend a little time with my dearest friends in the world? I mean, we missed so much the last few years. Sure we've been doing some catching up, but still...we're talking six years. That's a long time."

"That better not be a seltzer bottle behind your back." Egon said with some gentle sternness. He'd gotten quite good at reading Peter Venkman's moods over the years; there was something here that seemed out of place. He wasn't sure, though, having six years of rust at the art...

"Oh, please, Professor, I haven't pulled that juvenile gag since...oh, wait, I did it last Halloween. You should've seen the way some kid dressed like the Phantom Power Ranger jumped." Venkman pulled a newspaper from behind his back "Just the paper I've been saving since December..."

"Yep...one big happy family..." Venkman said beamingly. "I mean, look at this paper--they got my good side, didn't they? Though Spengs, well, you look like you were about to barf up your lunch...ah well, I know, you were worried about the new kids, afraid we were gonna take over and push'em out..."

"And look here...the new kids and Miss Janine. All smiles here, huh?" He flipped through the pages. "And they even spell my name right--they better, I'm famous after all...aw, look at this... they even talk about what we were doing all those years...'In the intervening years, Venkman moved to Los Angeles and married the Ghostbusters' first client, celloist Dana Barrett. He became an agent, first for Columbia, then founded his own small agency (actress Catharine Bartholomew being probably the most known of his discoveries).'" Venkman laughed "And of course now she's makin' time with Jon Dennison. But you read the tabloids, you probably knew that already.

Egon, Janine, Ray, and Winston all shared one flash of horrified realization.

"Peter..."

"Hey, hey, hey, hey!!!" Venkman cut Egon off. "Let me finish. We gotta fact check this stuff, make sure I don't have to write a nasty letter... 'Stantz taught engineering at Stanford University for a couple of years before a laboratory accident led to his dismissal from that institution--until he returned to Ghostbusters he sold used autos for Perpetual Motors in Colorado.'...sounds good. Ray, how does that wife of yours afford all that stuff anyway? Does that line of work really pay that well?"

"Well, er..."

Venkman continued "'Zeddemore had obtained a commercial pilot's license and was flying for a small commutor line in Montana.' Heh, I know that sister of yours had to be glad to see you more often. Thank goodness Ray didn't take that job--it still amazes me he gets sick in small planes when he flew ECTO-2 like a monkey on crack...and Melnitz...hm..."

Oh shit... Janine thought to herself, feeling ready to vomit. We forgot all about that stupid f***ing article...

" 'Melnitz entered what her sister Doris Irwin called a "stupid rebound" marriage to Tully that ended in separation in 1995 and finalized divorce earlier this year. '" Venkman put down the paper and blinked a few times.


...

...

...

...

...

...

"Peter..."

"Doctor Venkman..."

"Listen..."

"SHUT THE F*** UP!!!" Venkman shouted, throwing the paper forcefully down to the table. "NOW SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!"

Louis suddenly wanted to vanish from the face of the Earth.

Egon got up. "Peter, calm down...you're overreacting..."

"You already knew about this?!" Venkman roared. "Even YOU knew about this already?! Just when the f*** did this start?! You were both at my f***ing wedding--was this already going on then?!"

"Well, er..." Ray started to reply, turning bright red.

"And you, Winston, you knew about this too?!" Venkman shouted. "Well, this is just f***ing great..."

"This is exactly why we didn't say anything!!!" Janine shouted back. "We knew you'd throw a fit!!! I was angry about the breakup with Egon...angry about the Ghostbusters...and though I didn't really realize it at the time I was emotionally reset to about the time I had just broken it off with Louis--I still felt comfortable with him, and..well, yeah, things happened. But I knew you woudn't see it that way. You'd take it like it was some sort of personal insult--which is exactly what's happening!!!"

"HOW CAN I NOT?!?!" Venkman screamed. "I was sitting there telling you 'get help' and 'don't get involved with that ass tick' again, and the whole time you were already playing footsie with the little turd, and nobody...none of my...friends..." he said the word like he was a child talking about brussel sprouts "...Saw fit to tell me!!!"

"And YOU!!!" he grabbed Louis by the lapel. "You just couldn't wait, could you? Swoop in like a f***ing vulture of love!!! Is that why you came back, Asshole? Hoping they'll screw up again?!" His green eyes narrowed menacingly. "Or because maybe you're hoping I'll f*** up again?!"

"That's enough." Winston snarled, grabbing Venkman and forcing him to let Louis go.

"I think maybe you better go, Louis." Janine said firmly.

Louis didn't even respond. He scampered out of Ghostbusters Central as fast as his legs could take him.

"And you're sitting there all right with all of this?!" Venkman turned to Egon. "You want to marry this woman, even after THIS?!"

Egon inhaled, fixing Venkman in his most intense stare. "I first found out about it when the marriage license was filed. I had her name flagged in my system. If it makes you feel any better, Peter, I then proceeded to destroy five hundred dollars of lab equipment in my anger."

He went over to his fiancee. "I would think if anyone could understand it'd be you, Peter--Louis Tully is no more relevant to me, the woman I love, and our relationship than Andre Wallance is to you, Dana, and your marriage. Less, in fact."

Venkman snorted. "I was just about to ask if there's anything else you're all keeping from Uncle Petey..."

"Look for what it's worth, I'm sorry." Janine said. "I'm sorry about all of it. Sorry about doing it, sorry I didn't tell you...but like Egon said, it's history. This time for sure--because I know now. Know where I really belong and where I don't."

Venkman's face softened some, finally.

"We're all sorry about that, Pete." Winston said. "We didn't want to upset you...especially not the way things were then. You'd just lost your oldest friend over one stupid fight--we didn't want to start another one."

"Let's not let this come between us anymore, Peter." Ray said, putting his hand on Venkman's shoulder. "We're a team again, a family again at last..."

"I would think if I can deal with this and move on, you certainly can." Egon said, extending his hand to Venkman.

"All right, all right..." Venkman finally exhaled. "But I...I'm gonna go home. I need to talk to Dana, I need to get away from all of you and process this." Venkman headed for the doorway. "If I need anything I'll call..."

Janine hugged Egon as the four contemplated their friend's exit. "Actually, it went better than I thought it would." Winston deadpanned.

The ECTO-1 pulled into Ghostbusters Central. The younger Ghostbusters were surprised to see Peter Venkman in the garage--gathering his coat to leave.

"Doctor Venkman? I take it the Professor's doing all right then?" Roland asked.

"Yeah..." Venkman nodded, quite distracted. He exhaled deeply, shook his head, and muttered something they didn't catch.

"Dr. V?" Eduardo asked.

Venkman looked at him, then over at Kylie. "For the love of whatever God you want to worship, you two get your act together. I hate sounding like a selfish ass, but I really do NOT want to go through this bullshit again..."

They were all stunned silent for a few seconds, as Venkman turned to leave.

Vincent tried to step in his way. ""Ummm...care to share your musings with the rest of the class, Dr. Venkman?" Vincent said with a touch of slightly nervous, but playful sarcasm.

"I'm goin' home, Spooky." Venkman replied to Belmont's question, gently pushing him out of his way. "If you really feel like knowin' ask Egon...or Janine..."

"But..."

"Good. Night." Venkman said with an uncharacteristically forceful tone in his voice as he slammed to door shut behind him.

"Yikes..." Vincent muttered after the reverberation of the door had ceased, and the firehouse was again quiet.

"Man..." Gabriel said as he lit a cigarette, "you are SO getting fired tomorrow."

No one laughed.

"...I'm not sure I blame him, really." Vincent finally said, once the younger Ghostbusters had been brought up to speed about the evening's theatrics.

"Niether do I." Winston agreed. "But as mad as he is tonight, imagine how mad he would've been six years ago, when it wasn't all over and done with..."

"Now what do you think he meant when he said 'don't put me through this bullshit again' to you two?" Gabriel smirked. It provoked a nasty look from Kylie.

"Why don't you use that little trick from the fix-it shop on your mouth?" Eduardo sneered.

"Maybe you'd better..." Martin started to reply, before Egon cleared his throat loudly.

"And about the fix-it shop job..." Roland started to say.

"The assistant was posessed." Vincent broke in. "It would appear that an item on his person was the catalyst..." With that, he pulled the glass jar holding the purple gem out of his front pocket.

"Hm..." Egon said, cocking an eyebrow.

"Wow..." Ray whistled.

Winston's brow furrowed. For some reason, the sight of the gem made him uneasy. He looked at his watch, and realized he was overdue to call Kaila--he excused himself and went to the phone in the bedroom.

"It was radiating a valence 4 when we pulled it off the assistant, though now it appears to be dormant." Roland noted.

"You're going to say 'fascinating'. I just know it." Janine teased Egon.

"Well...er...yes" he blushed slightly as Janine kissed him on the cheek. She went downstairs to wait for the order from West Pier Pizza.

"Possibly it takes some specific trigger." Ray theorized. "An action or invocation that the assistant did, maybe even accidentally..."

"The assistant said he bought it from some bum in the park. We scoured the place for two hours and..."

"Found nothing." Vincent interrupted Roland. "The only other thing we gleaned is the assistant was being yelled at by the manager, so either something the manager said or did or the assistant's response might have been the trigger..."

"I was about to get to that. Doctor Belmont..."

Vincent scowled as he looked at Roland. "I was offering a simple scientific observation, Jackson, based on studies of past posession cases from the Miskatonic library..."

"And I was offering an observation based on several months of field experience, including more than one possession case."

"I realize..."

"Do you?!" Roland asked harshly, an edge of anger obvious in his voice.

"Roland, what in the heck is wrong you?" Kylie asked.

"You ask me, maybe nothing..." Garrett replied.

"What's wrong, Kylie? You really wanna know what's 'wrong'?" Roland said a little louder and angrier.

"Oh, do tell...this oughtta be rich." Vincent said through clenched teeth. "You have some problem with my abilities?"

"Oh, I don't have any problem with your abilities, Belmont. What I have a problem with is your whole attitude..."

"Roland..." Kylie said, starting to feel very uncomfortable with where this was going.

"Egon..." Ray nudged his old friend and pointed. None of the younger Ghostbusters noticed

"Let him speak, Chica. I think he's about to say what all of us but maybe you have been thinkin'" Eduardo interjected, drawing a nod from Garrett.

"My attitude?" Vincent asked, looking just a little surprised.

"Yeah. Your whole 'I was educated at the finest institution of paranormal knowledge in the world while you're still attending a third rate community college' attitude."

"I never..."

"Oh yes you have." Garrett interjected.

"Here's a news flash for you, Vincent." Eduardo said. "We were here before you were. We were the ones who busted Achira, and the Grundle, and the Vathek. We know what we're doing. But not according to you, it seems. What have YOU done in your illustrious carreer?"

"What have I done?" Vincent spat, calm no longer having hold on him. His words came like ice, and even the temperature of the room seemed to drop, "I may not have been a Ghostbuster before now, but let me tell you that not a night goes by that I'm not haunted by my experiences, MR. Rivera....it has left its scars...."

"Oh, yes, let's TALK about your experiences, shall we?" Roland scoffed, "You know what? I've been doing some digging as of late, and I've come across some disturbing stuff....concerning your file...."

Roland glared at Belmont, who had gone white in the face.

"I found a newspaper article...the one everyone dismissed as a hoax, and an Urban Legend...does the town of Silent Hill bring up anything?"

"Damn you to hell..." Vincent scowled.

Something seethed within Vincent. "How DARE you," he thought to himself, "how DARE you bring that little girl into this...how DARE you dig up wounds of the soul...I would strike you down where you stand...I could burn you to a cinder...I could twist your very body...I could wither you to uselessness...KILL you with but a word..."

...

...

...then Vincent realized what it was he was contemplating, and felt funny, as if his own rage were not his own.

Vincent's white knuckles relaxed, and Vincent breathed in softly. The chill of the room vanished, and a calm fell over Vincent.

"I don't think you understand..." Vincent replied. "I never intended to act otherwise. But I am a wizard, these things are my business..."

"That doesn't make you any better than us." Roland bit back. "I respect your knowledge, but I'm certainly not in awe of it--or of you. This is our team, not yours."

"Is that what this is really about?" Vincent rolled his eyes. "Didn't the Professor make it clear that Gabriel and I're here to help the team, not take it over..."

"No. It hasn't been so clear." Garrett broke in "You boss us around like we're the new guys, not the ones who've been doing this job. He's not the kind of guy to say it directly, but Jacko here's the guy who's called most of the shots in the field." Garrett elbowed Roland. "If we're anybody's team, we're his. Not yours."

"Well, er..." Roland said, a little embarrassed. Deep down he totally agreed with Garrett, but still felt uncomfortable saying it--it was too much like arrogance, in his eyes.

"Do I...really come off like that?" Vincent didn't look at Gabriel--Gabriel was his old friend, and he knew Martin would be on his side. He was half surprised Gabe hadn't tried to punch Eduardo or Garrett in the mouth already. He looked at Kylie.

Kylie felt torn for a few moments. On the one hand, Vincent continued to...for lack of a better term, cause this weird fascination in her. On the other... Eddie and the others..."Well...sometimes...yeah, a little bit. I don't think they're totally right...I think they're misunderstanding sometimes, but I see...I see why they're sayin' that...Professor, what do you think?"

They realized Egon, Ray, and Gabriel weren't even paying attention. Egon's meter was in hand. "Could you possibly go back to arguing?" Egon said absentmindedly. "It was provoking a fascinating reaction in the gem..."

"What?" Vincent asked, both he and Roland moving toward the counter the others were studying.

"Look at that..." Ray whistled. "As soon as it broke off the glow completely faded. You should've seen it a minute ago when Roland and Vincent were screaming at each other..."

"Psychomagnetheric reaction?" Vincent and Roland said simutaneously.

"Okay, now that was creepy." Garrett commented.

"Agreed." seconded Gabriel.

"That's what my reading indicate." Egon nodded. "The PKE readings started to build as you were arguing--very reminiscant of the psychomagnetheric ectoplasm from 1988..."

"The mood slime..." Ray nodded. "Huh...too bad they didn't get it back an hour ago...THAT would've caused a reaction..."

"I think this requires some advanced study." Egon mused. "Vincent, Kylie, I want you two here with Ray to start looking through the database. Roland, after dinner take Gabriel, Eduardo, and Garrett back to the park to see if you can find the man the victim allegedly purchased it from." He went back to his meter.

Vincent and Roland looked at each other. "At the end of the day, we know who's team this really is..." Belmont commented. Roland nodded in agreement.

Apartment of Louis Tully
His head was pounding...like it wanted to explode...

He saw his answering machine light was blinking...he jabbed the button...

"Uncle Louis, it's Lawrence...could you loan me twenty bucks till Friday? I'm a little short this week and..."

He hit the skip button brusquely. Leeching parasite asshole nephew of mine...had more toys than God as a kid, and he's still a spoiled little shithead...

"Hey, it's Sherm. You know, your cousin? Anyway, I was thinking maybe I come over this weekend and go bowling..."

"Bowling?!" Louis howled, ripping the answering machine off the coffee table and hurling it into the wall. "My life is a f***ing joke and he wants to go bowling?!"

Louis collapsed onto the couch, head swimming with agony...How could I have been so stupid? They didn't want me back...they all wanted to laugh at me one more time...rub it all in that they have the kind of lives I can only dream about...I just wanted to find someone...and kept losing them to Ghostbusters. I just wanted somebody to love me--was that so wrong?!

I hate them!!! I hate them all!!!

And then, he found himself drowning in a sea of rage. It was purple.

Apartment of Peter Venkman
It hadn't always been easy keeping up with the payments on this place...and more than once over the six years he'd been living in Los Angeles he'd thought of selling it...but right now, Peter Venkman was glad he'd kept the flat he'd lived in during the Ghostbusters' first hiatus.

"Venkman residence..." Dana's voice answered. He wanted to be soothed by it, but he was still angry. And he needed to know...

"How long were you keeping this all from me?" he said simply.

"Peter? What are you talking about? Kept what from you?"

"Janine and Tully."

Dana exhaled heavily, and was quiet a good thirty seconds. "I'm sorry...none of us wanted to keep things from you, but..."

"I really should be furious..." Venkman paused, and sat down on the couch. "But maybe it was just as well...Janine was right. I would've gone mental. Spent my wedding night getting felt up by some amorous dude named Big Louie instead of practicing Jess's conception..."

Dana chuckled, and the laughter was infectious--Venkman chuckled back, already feeling better.

"I guess I have to look at it in perspective. I can only think how mad I would've been back then..." he continued, unwittingly echoing a point Winston had made after he'd left. "But Spengs and Redzilla are finally engaged--they're gonna be married. I think about something Spengs said--that Louis is even less relevant to them than Andre is to us...and he's right."

"It's good that you keep that in mind." Dana answered. "Please, I want you to do something for me--don't blame Louis for everything. He might not be blameless--yeah, he did move in awful quick once they broke up--but it wasn't his fault that Egon and Janine had a lot of issues. He didn't know about Egon when he was brought into the situation. Blame her for pulling him in; blame Egon for making her that crazy and desperate, but leave Louis out of it as much as you can."

Venkman nodded, even though he knew she couldn't see it. Dana's always been his voice of sanity.

"I agree with you that it was a situation he never should've gotten in the middle of. But now he's finally out of it. Don't try to drag him back into it."

"You're right." Venkman finally replied. "I promise--I'll call him right now, apologize for tearing him a new one...I really do think he's the best person to run GBI...maybe hire him a secretary of his own and everything."

Dana laughed. "Now you're thinking rationally again, Dr. Venkman."

"Tell Oscar and Jess hi for me--I think with this mess with Egon in the hospital dying down I'll make it home for a while next week. Dennison's been on me about the Conquerer Duck contracts again; I really think he's about ready to bolt to Disney. Anyway...I love you. See you soon."

After Dana returned the parting and hung up, he called Louis's apartment. Busy signal? I thought he said he had an answering machine...

Central Park
"Just what I wanted to spend a lovely January evening doing..." Eduardo grumbled. "Looking through the crummy park for the second time in one day..."

"We got a job to do, Eddie..." Roland replied. He called Gabriel on his walkie talkie. "You got anything yet, Gabe?"

"Fraid not." Martin's voice replied. "I just talked to Mister Zeddemore and Garrett--they haven't had any luck either. Wonder whether the Professor and the rest at HQ are doing any better..."

Eduardo tried not to fill with bile at the thought of Vincent and Kylie looking over the books together "Oh, Vincent, the way you heft those ancient tomes makes me so hot..." "Kylie, I must say that, like these books, you are nicely stacked..." He shook his head angrily. Oh, c'mon, now I'm makin' stuff up...

"Eddie? You okay?"

"I'm fine." Eduardo growled. "Let's just find this bum so we can blast him and go home..."

Ghostbusters Central
Several empty West Pier Pizza boxes sat nearby as Ray, Vincent, and Kylie kept looking through the various sources of occult lore. Ray was on the computer, while Tobin's Sprit Guide and other books sat opened.

Egon was nearby, studying the gem stone.

Janine came into the room and gathered up the empty boxes (there were no leftovers, of course--Slimer made sure of that) "Not exactly the way I hoped to be spending your first night back, Egon..." she chuckled.

If there was any sign of how far he'd come over the years, he smirked noticably in response. "You know the doctors said not to overexert..."

"Maybe by your birthday..." Kylie quipped.

"My birthday's in October..." Janine replied. "We'll be married by then--maybe your birthday would be more realistic..."

Vincent raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And when is your birthday Kylie?"

"February 12."

"Aquarius..." Vincent mused. "The strange thing is, I somehow knew that already..." Belmont shook his head and went back to his book.

Egon looked over quickly, studying Vincent and Kylie for a moment. Aquarius? Why didn't it dawn on me before? He quickly scrawled a note reading "vb kg 6-91" before going back to the gemstone.

"Holy crap!" Ray suddenly exclaimed. "I think I got it..." he went over to Egon and showed him the book. "There's the design, right? And read the rest of it..."

Egon studied the page for a minute (he was, among other things, a gifted speed reader) "We had better call Winston and the others."

"Oh, yeah." Ray nodded, getting a little excited in that way that always worried Venkman. "Winston will definitely be interested in this..."

"Ibandi?" Winston replied incredulously from the steering wheel of the ECTO-1. "You're sayin' that some moldy Tangalli god is behind this?"

"Well, if it's the same guy, yeah." Ray's voice replied. "The gem design matches one referred to in Ibandi legends as 'Anthal-Noge', which translates to the 'Lord of Gloom'. The gemstones are supposedly shards of the evil one, and they seduce the unwitting into becoming his servants by stoking their anger and revenge fantasies. 'By placing the heart in eclipse, the gloom grows stronger'..."

"This guy know the Undying One then?" Winston asked. He knew that the gem had made the hair on the back of his neck stand up, now he was beginning to understand why.

"Yeah. Anthal was the brother and servant of 'Driano-Noge, He Who Never Dies'...just as the Undying One was scattered into the Moaning Stones, the essence of the Lord of Gloom was shattered into the 'gloom gems'...the 'hearts in eclipse'..."

"The motifs all match." Vincent added. "The design of the gem, the fact that the assistant at the fix-it shop being angry before he was posessed. While he was posessed, the gem had affixed itself to his forehead...again, matching the accounts of being 'marked by the gloom'."

"I think what all this means--it's more important than ever we find this peddler. He may have no idea what he's selling...but what if he does? And what if he had more than one?"

"You catch all that Eddie?" Garrett asked.

"Yeah, yeah...(sigh)...gonna be a long night, huh?"

"Vincent, Kylie, and Ray will be joining you shortly." Egon explained. "I'll keep working with the gem...if I can find a way to key into it's particular psychomagnetheric harmonic, we might be able to track additional gems without requiring them to be activated first..."

Ray came into the room, zipping up his tan colored flight suit. Other than the brown on his collar and cuffs, his uniform was all but indistinguishable from Vincent's. "You think we should call Peter?"

"I think it would be best to give him time to cool down." Egon answered.

Ray nodded as he strapped on his utility belt. "That's what I was thinking...but it never hurts to double-check."

Janine held out the key to her yellow Volkswagen. "You know the drill--you scratch my car, Eric becomes assured he's an only child..."

Ray chuckled as he took the key.

Janine leaned over and kissed Egon on the cheek. "Feel bad you're not going out with them?"

"A little...but I trust any and all of them to do the job right."

Vincent grunted as he placed a proton pack in the trunk of the yellow Volkswagen. "I thought Doctor Stantz worked at a car lot before coming back to New York...why in the world is he driving Ms. Melnitz's car?"

"He said he sold it before he moved back--no way it'd make the trip from Colorado, and the didn't want to pay the freight to ship it here." Kylie replied.

Vincent suddenly turned to face the firehouse door. His mystic senses had come into focus with a warning.

The door burst open, angry violet energy playing around it.

"Kylie--behind me!!! Ego Parma Mag--" he started to cast a defense spell, hands beginning to form the gestures called for in the formulaic spell...

...A tendril of violet energy slammed into him before he could finish. As Vincent struck the wall behind him, he felt the sting of embarrassment, having let something like that get the drop on him

The man that stepped into the doorway was seven feet tall, with muscles that would give the Incredible Hulk adequacy issues; stranger still, he was wearing some grotesque parody of the Ghostbuster flight suit cast in lime green, with purple trim on it's collar and cuffs.

Most frightning of all, Kylie realized, on his forehead was a glowing crystal. Identical to the one in the forehead of the posessed fix-it shop assistant earlier in the day.

"Get out of my way." the man growled in a deep voice.

Ray, Egon, and Janine heard the sound of the door slamming open. Cries of anguish first from Vincent, then from Kylie.

They didn't have time to react before the muscular intruder burst into the room from the fire pole shaft, damaging it on the way.

"Get behind me!!!" Ray said, before he realized he hadn't donned a proton pack.

"You can't stop me, Stantz. Noone can stop me!!!" he bull charged Ray, grabbed him, and hurled him into wall at the far side of the room. Ray bounced off of it and slumped into the couch, stunned and dazed.

"I don't know who you are, Beefbag, but I came through the Brooklyn school system. If you think I'm afraid of..." Janine's threat tapered off. She and Egon noticed it at once...the colors of the monsterman's Ghostbuster uniform had no meaning to Vincent and Kylie, but the betrothed had seen it before. And the nametage reading "TULLY" only sealed the deal.

"Louis?!" they both said at once, incredulously.

"Aw...you remember..." the giant grinned, adopting something that neither could help think of as a grotesque parody of Venkman's Cheshire grin. He grabbed her roughly. "Bet I'd be man enough now, wouldn't I? Wouldn't be faking it this time?"

He then hurled her with an intentionally casual and dismissive air onto the pool table in the center of the room.

"Janine!" Egon called.

For a second, the monster that used to be Louis hesitated...even propelled by the mystic crystal, he withered beneath the glare that Egon Spengler gave him. "If you're hurt her..."

"Oh, I know I'm not as good at that as you are, Spengler..." Louis snarled in reply, and grabbed him.

"He...just got out of the hospital...don't..." Janine managed to call through the pain weakly.

"I'm not going to hurt him. Not yet." Louis spat back. "I want him and Venkman both--tell that smug bastard I'll be waiting for him where it all began, and if he doesn't get there quick...well, I won't promise anything..."

"Louis, this isn't..." Egon started to say, planning to try and talk him out of his anger as best he could. He hadn't hurt anybody badly yet; maybe...

But before he could go further, a tap from the transformed accountant turned the world into darkness...

To Be Continued

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