SEPARATED AT REBIRTH
"How did it go?" Janine asked as she greeted them.
"Another no-show...someone's stealing our business." Eduardo complained.
"Holy Heisenburg" Egon breathed.
"It' can't be!" Ray replied in startled surprise. The Anti-Ghostbusters, the Ghost Clones had returned.
"HOW IN THE HELL COULD THIS POSSIBLY HAPPEN! WEREN'T THE SUITS DESTROYED?"
"What could've happened is we got rid of some of our old uniforms of recent that had a small amount of saturation...heck, if they got themselves reanimated at a dump then there could've been a deposit or PKE...or they could have been near a lay line...it could have given them the boost they needed to wake them up...with them being disposed of more recently then the old tan ones, they'd have more of our memories, they'd know about us defeating the original Ghost Clones, and would know what to do! Boy, this is great!" Ray grinned with an enthusiasm the other three Ghostbusters knew well.
Badoom! The wooden double doors exploded, making each one of the Ghostbusters flinch and close their eyes. The force blew inward, showering wood and glass into the blacked out garage, the debris flew though the air and landed on the front of Ecto-1 and anything the stuff wouldn't slide off of.
"They're here." Egon muttered
"We're packing firepower..."
"And now, it's time to take back what's rightfully ours."
Half an hour before...
Janine sat on the couch as she watched over her two children and Eric, on the television was an old re-run of the Back to the Future cartoon, complete with live action host, Christopher Lloyd. However, the peacefulness brought on by the near-hypnotic allure of the television was broken when one of the window panes exploded and something large flew through the air, passing Janine's face with less then a hair's width. The object tumbled and landed noisily on the floor, the children were all yelling in terror.
"It's okay! It's okay!" Janine replied, doing her best to calm them down despite her own shock and rattled nerves. "Stay away from the glass, are any of you cut?" She asked, she was relieved when none of them appeared to have any injuries, upstairs she could hear a rumble of shoes and Peter and Egon rushed down the spiral staircase, stopping when they saw the scene.
"Is everyone okay?" Egon asked, his voice seeming to silence most of the action in the room.
"Yeah, only scared...you kids stay here, I'm gonna go get the dustpan..." Janine instructed, she then stood up and walked off in the direction of the kitchen. Peter looked down and spotted the object that had broken the window, it was a brick, and, in a cliched manner it had a note attached to it with a rubber band. Peter picked it up and extracted the note, handing the brick to Egon who scanned it with his PKE Meter.
"'It ends tonight'." He read ominously. "Who still sends notes on bricks these days?"
"I can confirm it, this brick has residuals of the energy I detected when we were going after the first stolen pack." Egon confirmed as the PKE Meter beeped quietly.
"Dammit, those jerks are throwing bricks through our windows, they could've hurt the kids!" Peter growled.
"It's been stipulated already that they may not know anything after 1991, Peter. That knowledge would include the Twins and Eric." Egon explained. "They are not completely at fault."
"But still, Egon...there are other ways to get a message to us then by throwing it through a window." Peter countered as Janine re-emerged from the kitchen with a dustpan and brush.
"We may not have noticed it until it was too late, however, it would appear that they plan to strike tonight...curious though, why would they warn us in advance?"
"Don't start rationalizing for them, Spengs, just be glad we know they're coming..."
"I think we'll need to call the younger Ghostbusters back, we may need to start preparing for a fight tonight." Egon explained he then looked at his watch and then out the broken window, it was getting dark outside. "Janine, could you take the children back to the apartment in SoHo, I don't feel it would be wise to have them here if there's going to be a firefight."
"Sure Egon," Janine replied, "I guess we'll have to take the Subway though." Janine replied. "C'mon kids, get your coats." She replied as she led the children down the staircase.
"Ugh...this is so not the time I was wanting to get back into uniform." Peter muttered as he laced up one of his ex-military issue boots.
"It's no longer a choice of whether we wanted to get back into uniform anymore." Egon commented as he clipped on his equipment belt. Before the physicist could continue the garage doors creaked open and the Ecto-1 reversed into the garage, it's engine was then shut off and the 'Extreme' Ghostbusters climbed out of the vehicle.
"Woah, okay...what's going on here?" Garrett nearly demanded as he slid down the rear wheelchair ramp.
"The clones are gonna be fighting us tonight, they threw a brick through the window upstairs." Peter replied as he slid on his armpads.
"Was anyone hurt?" Roland, who was closing Ecto-1's rear door, asked with obvious concern on his face.
"Thankfully enough no one was injured." Egon explained. "However, Janine's taken the children to our apartment in SoHo."
"Where are Dr. Stantz and Mr. Zeddemore?" Kylie asked.
"They went out to investigate an ectoplasmic event in Brooklyn that happened a little over a quarter of an hour ago... I can only hope they get here before anything happens." Egon admitted reluctantly. He then strode over to the staircase to the Basement and pulled along two Proton Packs. "Discard your current packs in the Basement and put these on, they're fully charged."
"Right." Kylie nodded in understanding and the younger Ghostbusters walked off in the direction of the basement stairs.
"I just wish I hadn't sent Ray and Winston out, we're going to need every member of the staff in order to have the best advantage." Egon replied as he checked the alignment of a Proton Gun.
"Egon, you've got a good head for getting us out of a crisis, but I doubt you could've seen them throwing a brick through the window...not unless you suddenly developed ESP." Peter replied in defense of his friend. "Mind you, with some of that stuff in the Lab, stranger stuff's happened." He smirked. "Besides, even if Ray and Winston don't get back in time, we still have the kids as backup, and I think they can handle themselves."
"I can only hope it's enough."
"Gentlemen..." A hollow version of Egon's voice spoke in the darkness.
"We're back." A hollow version of Ray's voice added.
"We're packing firepower..." A hollow version of Winston's voice continued.
"And now, it's time to take back what's rightfully ours." A hollow version of Peter's voice finished.
The next sound was that of four Particle Accelerators being armed and readied for fire, pointing them at the living Ghostbusters.
"Noh agin!" Slimer screeched, he then summed up his courage and shot straight at the clones.
"Get 'em Slimer!" Peter cheered.
"Wait! They'll have our memories, they'll know..." Egon began to protest.
"I've wanted to do this for so long..." Peter's clone smirked as he uttered those words, he then held up his hands, a Ghost Trap in one hand, the trigger in the other, he applied enough force to activate the trap, by the time Slimer realized what was going to happen it was too late, his momentum carrying him straight into the trap. "Ahhh...nothing like the smell of trapped Spud in the evening." The clone finished, sniffing the air and then momentarily gagged. The clone of the brown-haired Ghostbuster then dropped the device and kicked it into a corner.
"Alright you Pinheads, that does it, nobody picks on the Spud but me, got it!" Peter growled.
"Fire!" Egon commanded and Peter, himself, Winston, Ray and Janine fired at the clones who broke formation. The five proton beams being shot by human Ghostbusters scorched the doorway, just missing their targets. The clones, now in sufficient cover began to fire back, causing the five charter Ghostbusters to break apart, Peter, Egon and Janine using the basement stairs and one half of her desk as cover, Winston and Ray the other side of the desk, all the while being provided with cover fire by the Roland and the other younger Ghostbusters who stood either side of the three filing cabinets behind the secretary's desk. Janine winced as the table lamp on top of one of the filing cabinets exploded into wooden fragments and glass shards, it's remains clattering to the floor.
"Hey!" Janine snarled. "Do you have any idea how much those things cost!" She shouted and fired back, cutting holes in the floor near the Anti-Ghostbusters' feet.
"Give us some cover fire, we're going upstairs!" Ray bellowed above the roar of the fire and the younger Ghostbusters nodded in understanding, providing fire as Peter, Egon and Janine broke off to allow Ray and Winston to get up the staircase, they themselves returning fire as they climbed up the stairs. With the desk now unoccupied Egon and Janine moved over while Peter remained at the basement stairs, determined to get a few shots in on his double. He then ducked to the floor just as a beam demolished the end of the railing he'd been using as cover.
"Watch it!" He bellowed and then fired back, causing one of the ceiling lamps to come crashing to the floor, scattering glass everywhere. "Sorry." He replied sheepishly. The battle raged on, scoring mostly collateral damage, Janine's desk, the three filing cabinets and the railing bordering the edge of the second floor received most of the damage, huge chunks of which were blown out or melted. Eduardo had to brace himself against a singed and melted filing cabinet as part of the railing bordering Peter's old office collapsed.
"You know," Winston replied, gritting his teeth as several of the uprights of the second floor railing exploded. "for a bunch of ghosts, they're not doing that badly...especially against nine of us..."
"Well, we kinda taught them what they know." Ray muttered as he fired at Egon's double, grimacing as he took out some of the roof instrumentation on Ecto-1 by accident. "Sorry girl." Ecto-1 itself was in a sorry state, the car's windsheild sported a large hole, surrounded by splintered glass. The left hand glass cover of the forward siren light was blown out, as well as a small section of the plastic tube behind it. The car's front license plate lay on the ground, one corner of it smoking from where it had been blown at an early stage in the battle. Both of the car's driver side headlamps had been shattered, scattering shards of glass across the brick floor.
"Egon, we're not doing anything, all we're doing is giving this place a bad remodelling job." Peter shouted over the noise, the room was starting to fill with smoke.
"The problem is they're using the car or the lockers as cover, they've got us pinned down here and I doubt Ray and Winston can see much more from upstairs." As he mentioned the lockers, a stray beam seared across all eight of the wooden lockers, setting each of the nametags alight. Behind Egon there was a flash and then Eduardo collapsed to the floor.
"Eduardo!" Kylie screeched and dove for cover, checking her boyfriend for signs of life. Peter looked back in the direction the beam had come from, he could see that his own clone, as well as Ray's, both wearing fiendish grins on their twisted faces as they aimed their stolen Proton Guns at the humans.
"Hey no fair!" Peter complained. "You're not meant to do that."
"Who said anything about being fair!" Peter's clone shouted and readied his gun to fire, however he never even got to make a shot as he jumped to his right, hitting the deck as the clone narrowly missed a beam shot by an enraged Peter Venkman.
"I should have known they'd use the setting that can incapacitate a human." Egon muttered, he reached for his PKE Meter and began to scan the entities.
"Anything useful?" Janine asked, she then cried out a whoop of triumph when she struck the clone of Egon on the shoulder, sending a shot of his wild which scorched the ceiling, bring down several chunks of plasterwork and left a mark in the firepole.
"Nothing that I believe we can readily use...their signatures contain elements of our biorhythms, though I don't know if we can use that as a..." Egon was interrupted as a beam shot past his ear, lightly singing the hairs on the side of his head.
"Egon!" Janine and Peter shouted in unison, Peter then shot a volley of shots, striking Ray's clone in the knee and sending him sprawling while Garrett and Roland concentrated their fire on Winston's clone, blowing off one of the ghost's elbow pads, it seemed to phase him for a few minutes as he dropped his Proton Gun to nurse his arm, but it seemed evident that the injury wouldn't hamper him for long and they were right, within a few minutes he had picked up his gun and was ready to fire.
"They can regenerate!" Roland exclaimed.
"Hey no fair!" Garrett bellowed in protest.
"It makes a degree of sense, not having packs which can shoot ectoplasm, combined with the stolen energy from the spirits they captured...it means they're a lot stronger then last time, their energy won't be depleted nearly as quickly..." Egon mused, intrigued despite the situation.
"Aghh!" One voice yelped, it sounded like Garrett's.
"Ow!" Janine looked up, Roland had collapsed onto Peter's old desk and Garrett had tumbled over, taking his chair with him and was now sprawled on the floor. Kylie brushed tears from her eyes as she shifted over covering Roland's position, her face twisted with fury.
"Get over here you bastards." She snarled.
"Guys, we'd better do something, they're cutting down our numbers..." Winston replied, he then covered his head with his arm as chunks of plaster were cut out of the ceiling above him. In the reception area, Peter, Egon and Janine had all crept behind the desk, trying to give protective fire to the unconscious forms of Roland, Eduardo and Garrett as much as themselves. A bolt shot across the garage and struck Peter on the shoulder, sending him down.
"Peter!" Egon and Janine both cried in unison.
"Plan B." Egon's clone instructed.
"Plan B?" Peter's double asked in confusion. Ray's double then elbowed him in the ribs. "Oh!" He replied, his expression of confusion being replaced by that of pure evil. He adjusted something on his Proton Gun and fired, joining the beams fired by Ray and Winston's doubles. Egon's clone then unclipped the Ghost Trap that hung on the side of his pack and slid it out.
"Oh-no." Egon muttered, he knew what was happening, in front of them the beams straightened out, forming a shape which was cube-ish and with parallel and horizontal lines which crossed over at right angles. Egon's double moved quickly forward, staying beside the front of the car to use it as cover, he then slid out a Ghost Trap and hit it's pedal, as soon as the device was activated the bars and lines of the strange formation straightened and became physical, creating a cage. "HOLD YOUR FIRE!" Egon shouted, he'd never tested the effects of a standard Proton Beam on the cage before, it could pass through or it could ricochet around, injuring or killing the occupants.
"Shit." Winston swore, he could just see what had happened.
"I completely forgot about the Crime Busters modifications...they could be implemented to any standard Proton Pack." Ray muttered.
"Ray! Winston! Get out of here!" Egon ordered from beneath them. "You can't do any good if you're trapped!"
"C'mon home boy, let's get out of here!" Winston replied getting up and pulling Ray up with him.
"Stop them!" Winston heard Egon's double shout as he and Ray clambered up the spiral staircase and stumbled into the Lab, they locked the doors and made a dash for the entrance to the roof. They charged onto the tar covered roof just as they heard loud pounding on the Lab doors below. Winston threw himself into the pilot's seat and started Ecto-2's engine, the rotors of the gyrocopter began to spin as he and Ray hastily buckled their belts.
"No time for helmets, we need to get out of Dodge." Winston muttered as he revved the gyrocopter's control handles which had once been attached to a motorcycle, the rotors had picked up enough speed and they began to pull away from the roof when Ray saw their doubles charge into sight. The clones pointed at them and tried to fire, though they missed. After a few moments of what seemed the be deliberation they turned and vanished back into the building.
Egon watched his double, he was about to ask a few questions when Ray's voice...no, not Ray, but his double shouted:
"They're escaping in Ecto-2!"
"Fine, Peter, get in the car, we'll follow them in Ecto-1." Egon heard his double order and both of them climbed into the car, a few moments later the engine was running and they shot out into the street, sending fragments of wood and glass scattering as they tore off in hot pursuit.
Ecto-2 rumbled over the New York skyline as it twinkled below.
"You think they can follow us?" Ray asked.
"I hope not." Winston replied as he piloted the craft, suddenly he bucked the machine to a hard right as a bright beam of yellow and blue energy just missed Ecto-2's forward landing gear. "Shit! They're firing at us!" Ray turned back, looking down at the street, he could make out Ecto-1, one of the clones was hanging out of the passenger side of the car, aiming a Proton Gun at them.
"Try keep her steady Winston, I'm gonna try get a shot." Ray replied as he unclipped his Proton Pack, twisted into a very uncomfortable position and aimed at the car. he closed one eye and fired, scoring some slight damage on the car's passenger door, scarring the white paintwork and shattering the window. "Dammit!" Ray swore, Winston pulled Ecto-2 through a tight turn, narrowly missing an office building. The pilot brought them up higher, hoping the altitude would keep them out of danger of being struck by any particle streams. Ray turned away for a brief second, not too far in the distance he could see the black shimmering surface of the East River.
"Hold on Ray, I'm gonna see if we can get to the river, even if they use a bridge we'll be gone before they can track us."
"Unless they drive Ecto into the river." Ray replied glumly. The larger office buildings had slowly made way for smaller apartment buildings as Ecto-2 flew over the Lower East Side, just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. The vehicle roared over two lanes of traffic as they passed over the FDR as Ray looked back, he could see Ecto-1 screech to a stop near the end of East Houston Street, and he could've swore he saw the occupants get and watch as Ecto-2 made it's way out across the open water and towards Brooklyn.
"Don't suppose there's a place in Brooklyn that we can use as a safe house?" Winston asked.
"None in Brooklyn...but there might be one near Midtown...but we got to go the long way, make those guys think we're hiding out in Brooklyn."
"I hear you." Winston responded, he then turned back and watched as Brooklyn began to unroll beneath them.
Times Square pulsed to the rock beat of the neon heart of the city; it had been a half hour since Ray and Winston had fled the Firehouse. The northern end of the square was bathed in red and blue light which was emitted from the combined glows of the Coca-Cola and Samsung billboards that dominated the sky above them.
Ray and Winston trudged along the street, having shed their equipment and uniforms along with Ecto-2 at a small installation that had been set up in the event that the Firehouse was out of commission. They were passing the large frontage of Virgin Megastore when Winston finally spoke.
"You think there'll be anything we can use at Egon and Janine's place?"
"I think so, there was some stuff Louis had to draft up when Egon and Janine chose their place in SoHo, stuff to cover damages...last we talked I think he said he'd installed a lab there for when he came up with some ideas and he wasn't staying at the Firehouse." Ray explained as they stopped.
"Guess that idea to give each other a set of keys to each other's apartments paid off, huh?" Winston asked.
"Well, it was that or kicking his door down, and I doubt he'd appreciate that." Ray mused with his slightly goofy smile.
"Okay, you sure that nobody will see Ecto-2? I don't like having left them at that place in Hell's Kitchen with those clones running around."
"You know they'll be safe, it was your idea to set up a series of safe houses around the city."
"Yeah...and the stuff I had to go through to get those sorted out to help prop up my coffee table." Winston added. "Okay, so we're going to Egon and Janine's place, you want to take the Subway? it's quicker."
"Yeah, we can take the 1 Train from here and then get off at West Houston Street and walk along to Green Street." Ray agreed. They doubled back towards the northern end of Times Square and went down into the Times Square Subway Station.
"I just hope that those goons don't find out about Egon and Janine's place...last thing we'd need is them stopping by as we're trying to get some extra fire power...you do know the code to Egon's lab, don't you?"
"Don't worry, I have that covered." Ray replied.
Egon watched as his clone paced backward and forward along the front of the energy cage, almost as if he were the caged one. The clone was rubbing his chin in a gesture and holding a stance so much like himself that it sent a shiver down the physicist's spine, Peter, who was now alert and held a scowl was shooting both his clone and the clone of his oldest friend evil eyes. He was sat on the floor, along with the other Ghostbusters, his pack discarded on Egon's recommendation.
Behind the desk, Kylie knelt with Eduardo's head in her lap; he was yet to wake up, and the prolonged state of unconsciousness was a thing to worry, the longer he remained under, the less likely he'd wake up.
The portrayal of events sent a queasy feeling into Peter's stomach, it reminded him of Janine shortly after her accident. In retrospect it had happened so long ago, they'd all gotten back together and made up.
Beside the side of Janine's desk were Roland and Garrett, the latter having to use the desk as support as his wheelchair just lay beyond the energy cage which covered Janine's desk, the filing cabinets and just a small part of Peter's old desk.
"Any ideas you have up your sleeve, Spengs?" Peter asked after he turned away from inspecting the younger Ghostbusters.
"At present I am out of ideas." At this proclamation Peter moaned and rested his head against his chest in resignation. "We can only hope that Ray and Winston can create a plan in our absence."
"Ray and Winston can," Janine replied, "Those two guys have created their own harebrained schemes which have worked."
"...ow...who hit me with Ecto-1?" A voice moaned and Kylie released a sound of great relief as Eduardo opened one eye. "We didn't win...did we?" He asked.
"No...but it's good to have you up and around." Kylie replied, gripping Eduardo's hand, he then squeezed back, making her smile.
"I have a suggestion on what you could do..." Egon's clone observed.
"I'm not listening to no spook, Buster." Peter replied, causing Egon to wince at the choice of wording. "Do you know how bad an idea it is to piss Dr. Venkman and his friends off?"
"Have you finished?" Egon's clone asked coldly.
"Well, I wouldn't mind taking you into a locked room for five minutes and giving you a piece of my mind, but something tells me that's not gonna happen."
"Don't try my patience, I don't know about my...counterpart, but I have a low tolerance at present...I plan on moving all of you into the Basement, and I would prefer it if you'd be willing to do it."
"You're kidding, right?" Garrett asked, his voice heavy with sarcasm.
"You can either come willingly or we can force you, and don't think we'll be careful in moving you, it isn't easy moving seven people." Egon's clone continued.
"We're not going anywhere." Peter added defiantly.
"Fine," Egon's clone replied. "I suggest you then go to sleep."
"As much as I'd like to do that, I'm not in the mood." Peter added.
"It wasn't a request." Egon's clone explained, he then extracted a object that looked like a spraypaint can, he popped off the can's lid and began to spray it at the Ghostbusters who eventually collapsed asleep.
"'Chloroform in a can', a marvelous tool." Egon's clone replied in approval of the device. He then looked up at his fellow clones. "bring the handcuffs, once the field has been disabled remove their equipment and bind their hands, we wouldn't be wanting anything unexpected, would we?" He asked, getting nods and vocalization of understanding.
"Whatever you say, Spengs." Peter's clone replied with a sinister smirk, he then knelt down and pressed a button on the Ghost Trap, disabling the energy field. With the field down, Ray, Winston and Peter's clones went to work as Egon's walked over to the staircase and climbed the stairs to the second floor.
Ray and Winston walked down a brightly lit apartment building hall until they reached the door to the last apartment on their right, a modest door barring their way from entering the apartment.
"I bet Janine probably got someone to babysit the kids as soon as she got here." Ray spoke.
"Probably." Winston agreed. "I know that Charlene wouldn't have been able to do it tonight." Ray glanced at Winston. "Basketball game, at her school, Kaila's taping it for me."
"Ah." Ray nodded in understanding, he then inserted the key into the lock, reaching for the handle, only to have it snatched away as the door opened quickly.
"Oh Mrs. Spengler..." A blond haired teenager began, but she stopped when she saw Ray and Winston. "Who're you?" She asked, narrowing her eyes in suspicion.
"I'm Ray Stantz, this is Winston Zeddemore, we're friends of Dr. Spengler's." Ray explained.
"Oh, Mrs. Spengler explained you might come calling." The girl replied, she opened the door wider, allowing Winston and Ray entry into the modestly decorated apartment, Janine's influence.
"Are the kids okay?" Ray asked.
"They're okay...though the toaster..." For the first time, Winston noticed some singe marks on the girl's shirt and a slight frazzled look to her appearance.
"We know all about that." Winston replied, the tone of understanding seemed to give the girl a reason to relax for a bit. Ray moved out of the small hallway and into the living room, sat on the floor with sleeping bags nearby were the twins and Eric, going over the remains of what could've been a toaster.
"Hey kids." Ray greeted.
"Will Mom and Pop be home soon?" Johnathan asked.
"You'll have to wait a little longer..." Ray began, not quite sure what to mention and what not to mention. "Things at the Firehouse have gotten...a little complicated, I'll probably tell it to you kids some day." Hoping that the children's curiosity would be satiated for the moment Ray stood up and walked over to Winston. "Excuse me, miss?"
"Erin." The girl replied, she seemed a little bit more relaxed now.
"Erin," Ray replied, thankful for the knowledge of her name, "could I borrow Mr. Zeddemore for a few minutes? There's an important matter we need to talk about, why we came here."
"Sure." Erin replied and Winston gave her a reassuring nod, however she spared a watchful look over at the so far innocent looking children. She knew better.
"You explain everything to the kids?" He asked in a hushed tone.
"No, I didn't want to get them worried." Ray replied honestly as he led Winston past a kitchen setup and into a small hallway which was marked with four doorways, one of which held a small terminal which was mounted to the wall, set into the terminal was a small, black screen and a keypad.
"You know Egon's code?" Winston asked.
"No, but we've programmed the lab here with all of our unique administrative codes for the manual shut-down of the Ecto Containment Unit."
"If it's all the same," Winston replied, "I think I'm glad I never memorized mine." Ray shrugged and turned toward the screen. He pressed a button and the following text appeared:
He typed in the his unique username.
"Man, sometimes a obsession with a cartoon can be unhealthy." Winston smirked. A second line of text appeared.
Ray typed in his unique password and waited for a few seconds.
Administrator Access Approved
Lab Status: Unlocked
Welcome, Dr. Raymond Stantz
The door emitted a soft hiss as a loud click sounded from the door handle, Ray reached forward and opened the door, stepping into a darkened room, Winston followed quickly and the door was closed behind him. The stood in near darkness, the black only broken by two rectangles on what was presumably a far wall, Winston could see the shapes and lights of New York though it, a pair of windows. Suddenly, harsh white florescent lights flickered on, causing him to shade his eyes as the light tubes above them illuminated. Once his eyes had adjusted to the light he let out a low whistle at their new surroundings, as a stark contrast to Janine's comfortably decorated apartment was Egon's utilitarian design of the lab, stainless steel, glass and wood, almost giving a uncomfortable contrast...though to Egon it probably felt like home, and there were signs that it wasn't completely sterile, sat in a corner was an old wood framed blackboard, a table of the periodic elements was hung on the wall and Winston recognized it as the faded chart they'd had hung on the wall in the Lab back at the Firehouse. Placed on a small wooden desk was a long piece of metal.
"His slinky." Ray added with a grin. Next to it was a photograph of Egon and Janine, and on the other side of that was a large, bulky black object which looked incredibly familiar.
"Is that..." Winston asked, pointing at the device.
"Sure is, Egon's very first PKE Meter, designed and built about 1973 or so." Ray responded wistfully, examining the long-forgotten meter.
"I don't suppose he'll be getting his security deposit back if anything goes wrong?" Winston asked as he studied a pile of components and half built equipment.
"Based on the legal waiver Louis drew up with the people who owned the building, I doubt it'll be a problem." Ray mused. "Anyway, start looking around, there's probably something here we can use along with our Proton Packs." Ray explained and he and Winston set off in different directions. Winston checked through a series of metal lockers near the blackboard while Ray checked a work area which currently housed the dimensional warp drive from the Ecto-4; the device was currently receiving an overhaul. After fifteen minutes searching Ray came back with a Proton Pack and Ghost Trap, both in need of charging, Winston, on the other hand returned with a Slime Blower, a PKE Meter, both of which needed minor work on putting them back together, and Proton Pistol.
"Hmm," Ray mused as he scratched his beard, "it's not as much equipment as we might be able to collect from the Lab and Basement at the Firehouse, but it'll have to do at such short notice." He then considered something.
"Something on your mind, Ray?" Winston asked.
"I think we need to call in outside help...we had nine Ghostbusters and that didn't do much to stop them...maybe we need someone who the clones won't be aware of...or at least won't remember all that well."
"Well...they didn't exactly know of Kylie and the gang...who do we call in then?" Winston asked. "Allies aren't exactly something we're lacking. Although try getting them on the phone once in a while..."
"Yeah...we need someone who can get here quickly...I think that rules out most of GBI."
"What about the Inquisitors? They pack some pretty powerful magic."
"They would be useful...but Liz is in Italy on Quaesitor business and I haven't heard from the Lupins since Egon's wedding." He shrugged.
"Ain't that the way?" Winston asked with an amused smirk.
Winston drifted off, as if he'd lost the thought.
"What about what, Winston?" Ray asked, looking up from his examination of the Slime Blower.
"I'm having a hell of a time trying to remember it...but...what about...those kids who helped us in '86? Y'know...those ones who stopped Draverhaven and Loone killing one of us?"
"Gosh!" Ray replied, as if more parts to the idea were falling into place. "I was talking to Egon about that a few days ago...we had help from..." He paused, confusion forming on his face. "We had help from..."
"Those...those future Ghostbusters." Winston replied, a little hesitantly.
"Yeah!" Ray replied, his face brightening. "Talk about someone that the clones would never expect! Only problem is, how do we contact someone who comes from the future? Again, the Ecto-4's drive is out of action...and we don't even know what year they came from."
"And Delphia hasn't left us any contact info either--it's more she shows up when she needs us to do something". Winston noted.
"Winston, this is where we take a page out of Back to the Future's book." Ray replied with a knowing smile.
Winston glanced at his watch and then out of the window, it was getting on to Eleven 'o' clock and thankfully enough Ecto-1 hadn't yet pulled up outside the building, for this, Winston was grateful that none of the documentation about where they lived was stored in the Firehouse filing cabinets, though it was bound to happen that sooner or later the clones would go through Egon's wallet.
"Finished." Ray announced, he then folded up the letter he'd been writing and put it into an envelope, he then wrote the address of the Firehouse on the front of the envelope, stuck on a stamp and then turned the letter over and scrawled several lines of text on the back, he then handed it over to Winston for his approval.
The front read:
The back of the envelope read:
-Dr. Ray Stantz, Ghostbuster.
Winston then studied the letter.
I'm not sure who is still there and who isn't, so please excuse me if I make a mistake or two...I'm not much of a seer. Okay, this is a request for help, I, Dr. Ray Stantz of the Ghostbusters and my team-mate and friend Winston Zeddemore need the help of the Ghostbusters, either from the team who helped us stop Norman Draverhaven from murdering some of us...or the current generation of active Ghostbusters. The circumstances of the request I can only vaguely mention, in case this somehow affects the timeline...future history...something like that..., one of our oldest enemies that we thought we'd never see again has returned...if you need additional information then take a look at the file with the following entry number: GBNY-1983-1/111. If you are willing to help then we would like to meet up so we can explain in further detail, outside Dr. Spengler's residence in SoHo, around 11:50PM of Tuesday, September 16th, 2003 Expect to be spending the night there.
Dr. Ray Stantz.
"Looks good Ray, what do we do next?"
"Next, we go up to the general Post Office on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 31st Street, it shouldn't take us an hour going each way, that's why I told them to come here ten minutes before midnight."
"Right, let's get going then." Winston replied, they exited the lab, careful to lock it behind him and they walked into the apartment, the lights were now low and Erin was sat in an arm chair with a small reading light switched on, illuminating the book she was now reading.
"Hey." Ray greeted quietly, she looked up, closed the book and stood up, following them into the 'hall' which still had it's ceiling light on. "Could you watch over them while we're out? A feel sorry for keeping you here this long, I hope it hasn't affected things..."
"It's okay Dr. Stantz...I didn't have any big plans for tonight...I'll just add it to my bill." She replied with humour in her voice...do you know how long you'll be needing me?"
"Well, after we get back from the Post Office up on 33rd, we're coming back here and stay the night...though can you babysit the kids in the morning...we might need you to do a few more hours before we know that Professor Spengler and his wife are fee to come back here."
"I guess I can...I have a few free periods before my modern literature lesson."
"If you can do that then that'd be great." Ray replied thankfully, shaking her hand, they then stepped out of the apartment and into the hallway, making their down to the street and then walking to the subway station on West Houston Street.
Ray and Winston disembarked the 1 Train at the 33rd Street station and climbed up the street level. and walked west, moving south a block when they reached the intersection of West 33rd and 8th Avenue, they then climbed the stone steps and entered the main sorting office, painted on one wall was a large mural depicting the motto of the US Postal Service. The room was gloomy, illuminated by mood lighting now that most of the ceiling spotlights were off, near the back only a few booths were open, sitting in them were people who were bored out of their minds, presumably from the tiresome existence of the night shift. Ray and Winston approached one desk clerk who was holding up his head with a hand.
"Hi...I'd like to make a special delivery...could you deliver this letter specific to the date and address I've written on it?"
"A Back to the Future fan?" The desk clerk asked, just covering a yawn.
"You could say that." Winston replied with a roll of his eyes.
"Sure, whatever...you paid the postage." The man replied, accepted the letter and dropped it into a plastic tray. With the letter dropped off Ray and Winston exited the building, they'd made good time in getting there, it had been about twenty past eleven when they'd exited the subway station, if the timing was as good on the way back then they'd only need to wait about ten minutes to see if their call for help had been registered or not.
"You sure this is gonna work?" Winston asked.
"It worked in the movie." Ray replied.
"Ray, man, I love your optimism." Winston replied with a smirk.
Winston Zeddemore checked his watch, it was now ten past midnight.
"I don't think they're gonna turn up, Ray." He replied sympathetically. "Looks like the faith in Hollywood has failed again."
"I'm sure it's only a delay...if those guys really have a time machine then it's probably simply temporal displacement...I believe time will be a few minutes off in their time...we could be talking about a difference of more then five minutes depending on how far into the future they are. Besides, it needs to be kept in mind that time moves in both places...like that time tunnel back to Victorian England..."
"Yeah." Winston replied, nodding in understanding, remembering the time they'd nearly destroyed Christmas by letting Ebeneezer Scrooge beat the three ghosts.
"Besides, pinpointing temporal coordinates isn't an exact science...pinpointing a specific time, down to a specific hour is very difficult...it's easier to pinpoint a specific year then a month...or a day..." Before Ray could continue there was a bright white flash outside, alerted, he walked over to the window and down in the street was a large, circular portal. "That should be them." He concluded and they both exited the apartment building, stepping out onto the street to greet the temporal visitors.
"Word of advice Ray, if you ever build a time machine, try not to use Stargate as inspiration." Winston replied in a light hearted tone. Within the swirling light, Ray and Winston could make out five shapes which were human sized.
"Okay, you guys know the drill, be careful what you say, in 2003 they have children...their memories may be blurred but we're gonna have to take on aliases." Replied a tall Ghostbuster who was dressed in a purple with red trim, sleevless jumpsuit, a red shirt beneath that bore the famous 'no-ghost' logo, on his chest a rectangular patch represented the space where a nametag had once been. He adjusted a strap on his Proton Pack as he spoke, this was one Johnathan Christopher Spengler, aged 24.
"You sure they're not gonna recognize us?" A second Ghostbuster, dressed in a tan with green trim jumpsuit and wearing a blue and red bombadier jacket with the 'no-ghost' logo sewn onto the chest on top of that, like the first Ghostbuster his nametag was also missing. He had a thick mess of brown hair which was held back by a pair of antiquated aviator goggles, a present from his father, this was one Eric Stantz, aged 27.
"Hopefully they won't remember anything specific about us if Father's theoretical Fourth Law of Temporal Integrity is correct, however we have taken some extra precautions, such as the obvious removal of our nametags and our...eh...'drastic' measure of restyling our hair as not to indicate any genetic relation..." Replied the third Ghostbuster, dressed in a purplish blue jumpsuit with magenta trim with the sleeves rolled up. She studied a small device they all knew as the GBX, a portable radio/Ghost Trap and PKE Meter built into a device that was barely bigger then a cell phone or the main component compartment of Egon Spengler's beloved PKE Meter, this person was one Eden Spengler, aged 24, like her brother her hair was dyed midnight black, while her brother's was tied back into a pony tail, resembling the teenage hairstyle of another offspring of one of the four founding Ghostbuster families (admittedly an adopted offspring), the fact he'd been adopted never made an issue. Eden's hair, however, was styled in a more feminine, braided pony tail which swept around her left shoulder and lay against the back of her jumpsuit.
"Anyway...I'll take James as my alias." John replied.
"Well," Eden mused, "if we are adopting aliases which start with the first letter of our real name, then I shall take Elizabeth."
"I'll go with Edward." Eric shrugged. Unlike the others, his hair was pretty much as normal, though he'd been tempted to change the style should it look too much like his younger self's haircut.
"I guess I'll have to go with Megan." A fourth Ghostbuster responded, she was dressed in a green jumpsuit with yellow trim, it's nametage removed. Her had mixed Asian ancestry, topped with long jade hair which was tied back in a pony tail and held back with a green headband, this was one Marie Lupin, aged 26.
"A wise suggestion. Mother said you were at their wedding, though you were too young to remember it." Eden noted with approval. "TJ, will you be adopting an alias for this mission?" Eden asked.
"Having never been a member of the Hook and Ladder 8 Kindergarten, I'll stick with my name thank you very much." The fifth Ghostbuster replied crisply in a British accent. Dressed in a purple with orange trim flightsuit. She had thick brown hair This was TJ (short for Tessa Jane) aged 25 and a native of England and an unintentional trendsetter--her Proton Pack, unlike the ones worn by her four fellow Ghostbusters, had been customized for the Proton Gun to be hooked on the left hand side, it being devised for specific left-handed fighting.
"Lady Delphia said something before we left HQ," John added. "We must try to remain in the past as little as possible...a paradox will begin to build the longer we're there. It would be very bad if we encounter our past selves." John warned. "Not a problem for TJ, and probably not Marie, but Edie, Eric and I've gotta watch out.
"No kidding." TJ replied dryly as she checked her Pack.
"Indeed, however, this should be an interesting test to see if the Blinovich Limitation Effect is more then just a theory." Eden mused. They then stepped toward the portal.
"Hey." Ray greeted with a smile. "Thanks for coming, I wasn't sure if you'd get the message or not...you didn't say what time you came from..."
"That's quite understandable Dr. Stantz." Eden replied. "Don't feel uncomfortable or embarrassed if you do not remember our faces or names, the Fourth Law of Temporal Integrity deliberately causes the memories of time travel and time travelers to fade abnormally, it's a part of how time flow works." She replied with a smile.
"Phew." Ray replied.
"Yeah, sorry about being late." John replied with an apologetic smile. "Your letter got lost behind one of the filing cabinets for a few years." (It really hadn't, but he had to make the joke.)
"That's okay...anyway, you already know who I am, and presumably you know Winston."
"We do." Eden replied. "I'm Elizabeth, this is my br...uh...'brilliant' co-worker, 'James', my other co-workers 'Edward', TJ you know." She indicated the two other Ghostbusters. "And the woman you may not remember is 'Megan', she wasn't with us the last time we met."
"Your letter was a little vague..." Eric trailed off.
"Yeah," Ray replied, rubbing the back of his head and chuckling a little hesitantly. "Sorry about that...but I wasn't sure what to mention and what not...but we have a problem, that's why we resulted to calling you, if anyone can really help us, you're probably as close as any." Ray explained.
"I think we better go inside before someone calls the cops." Winston suggested.
"Good idea." John nodded and they entered the building.
"Please try to keep it quiet when walking through, my kids and Professor Spenglers' are sleeping in the living room and I don't want to wake them up at this hour." Ray warned, Winston watched as 'James', 'Edward' and 'Eden' exchanged worried looks. They entered the apartment, Ray explained that the new additions were friends and Erin nodded, they then moved to Egon's lab, the visitors doing their best not to wake the three sleeping children on the living room carpet. Ray unlocked the lab and they entered the room. "Okay..." Ray replied, leading the 'future' Ghostbusters into Egon's lab. "You remember the casefile I mentioned in the letter?"
"Yeah," John replied, crossing his arms over his chest. "Casefile GBNY-1983-1/111, the Ghost Clone case...but what does that have to do with your call for help?"
"It has everything to do with it, they're back, the Ghost Clones, the Anti-Ghostbusters have returned." Ray explained. This news came as a surprise which didn't totally surprise Ray.
"Can I have a moment to talk with my friends?" John asked.
"Sure." Winston replied, gesturing with his hand that the Ghostbuster was free to do so.
"Thanks." John nodded and then formed a huddle with the other four Ghostbusters while Winston leaned over to talk to Ray.
"They seem a little surprised to you?" He asked.
"I'm not really surprised Winston, if they do help change the odds here then if there's any record of this event, I doubt it'll be for public viewing." The huddle-meeting appeared to have adjourned and the five future Ghostbusters turned back to face Winston and Ray.
"Despite this...unexpected surprise...we're willing to help...however we need to be briefed totally on the situation." John explained.
"Sure." Ray replied.
"First off, they're not like the were the last time we dealt with them," Winston explained, "They're smarter, smart enough to steal four Proton Packs, three of the Mark 4.0s that Dr. Stantz and Professor Spengler devised earlier this year...they also stole a Mark 1.0 which we had on display in a glass case...don't asked." Winston added the last remark as an aside.
"What's worse," Ray took over the explanation, "the clones have managed to devise a device that can transfuse ectoplasm from one entity to another, we believe they have increased their ambient PKE through this method."
"Strengthened PKE Matrix/Construct through direct ectoplasmic transfusion! It's not exactly a usable knowledge to us...but it is plausible." Eden commented with scientific enthusiasm.
"Not really the time for that right now..." John replied through the corner of his mouth.
"You'd feel right at home working beside Egon." Ray commented with an amused smile. "I just hope we can save him..."
"Don't go thinking he's done for, home boy...this is just the second pitch, we got plenty more innings to go." Winston replied in a level tone, fixing a reassuring look on Ray.
"I know, Winston..."
"Is there anything else?" Eric asked.
"At present, the clones have captured the others, we're the only ones they didn't capture...we managed to escape in Ecto-2, we have equipment here and at Ecto-2's location." Winston explained.
"Do you have a plan of attack?" TJ asked.
"Not at present, we were waiting to find out how many people we'd have to work with before we finalized anything." Winston replied.
"We can work on one tonight and then try get some sleep before morning." Eden replied as she unclipped her Proton Pack and leaned it against the wall, the other Ghostbusters also unstrapped their equipment as they prepared for a night's work.
"Hey," Ray replied as Eric stowed his Pack on the floor. "I got my son an identical pair of goggles." Eric laughed a little uneasily. Ray frowned but then shook his head. Nah.
Peter stirred and finally awoke, he was in bed, back home and safe. At his side was Dana, she slept, not surprising, it appeared to be very early in the morning. He studied her face for a few minutes, relieved to be back home, he was safe and there was no danger of nightmares of past enemies or old boogiemen. Satisfied of the sanctuary of the house, he swung his legs out of bed and stood up, gathering a dressing gown from a nearby chair. He tied the robe's belt and walked into the on-suite, turning on two lights positioned either side of the mirror above the washbasin. As he walked across the cool tilework he could hear the dull throb of early morning New York traffic. Once positioned in front of the mirror he studied his reflection, checking for any rogue grey hairs that might've escaped his attention, the colour was highly dubious as to it's authenticity. With that check performed and no noticeable greys in sight, Peter left the bathroom and turned off the lights, careful to creep quietly out of the bedroom as not to wake Dana. He walked down the hallway to the staircase, he passed a door on his left which bore a Slipknot poster, loud music which had been turned down drifted from beneath the door, Oscar's room. Further down the hall on the right was another door, this one held a New York state license plate was taped to the door, it read: J3551CA, Jessica's room. Peter smirked at the license plate which bore his daughter's name, no matter what he and Dana did their daughter was stubbornly following her brother in his interests and habits. The moment of amusement over he walked down to the staircase and descended it. He entered the kitchen, went through several cupboards until he found a box of cereal, with cereal and milk in hand he poured a bowl and made himself a drink of milk and went to the living room where he froze in the doorway. Unexpectedly there was someone watching TV, and as he knew that Dana, Oscar and Jessica were upstairs. Sat on the cream sofa were four people, watching old TV re-runs of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon...which hadn't aired in years, but it wasn't the TV nostalgia trip which had caused him to freeze, the four people sat on the sofa had their backs facing him, but he could see straight through the backs of their heads and at the TV screen which now looked blurry with a green haze. Each one of them wore a tan jumpsuit which was badly soiled, dripping green and white ectoplasm onto the sofa, Dana's gonna be pissed off. As if sensing his presence or his thoughts, the four intruders stood up, turned and faced him. Plastered on each one of their faces was a vicious, insane and utterly evil grin. The foursome levitated over the sofa, landed in front of it and began to walk steadily towards Peter. The mug of milk and bowl of cereal fell to the floor as Peter turned, he could grab Betsy from his office. He tried to run but it was like trying to run through molten marshmallow, he could barely move. The ghosts approached and Peter raised his arms to defend himself.
...hhhhh." Peter bolted up from where he'd been sleeping on the floor. He waited a few minutes for his breathing to return to normal before exploring his surroundings. They were in the Basement, that much was obvious from the cold metal floor and the cool air in the room, around him stood the energy cage, casting a white glow around that merged with the red glow from several emergency lights which were set up around the room, on the opposite side of the room he could make out the shape of the Ecto-Containment Unit, though he could hear it as it hummed to itself, everything seemed to be okay at present, though the presence of the red emergency lighting informed him that the power hadn't yet been turned back on...
As long as it wasn't left off for another day. He thought. Otherwise we'd better start looking for a new Firehouse. He looked around inside the cage, in the gloom he could make out the sleeping forms of Kylie, Garrett, Eduardo and Roland. Peter squinted, trying to ajust his eyes to the dark.
"Good morning Peter, I trust you had a good sleep?" Egon's disembodied voice asked from the gloom, Peter stared and could make out Egon and Janine, the latter of which appeared to be asleep but holding onto her husband.
"Ugh...not the best sleep I've had in years...are we where I think we are?" Peter asked.
"You are correct, it seems after we were rendered unconscious they decided to bring us down to the Basement...and give us handcuffs." Egon explained, showing his bound hands.
"I'd wondered about that." Peter muttered, looking behind him to see his restrained hands. "Any idea how long we were out?"
"I'd hazard a guess of about two to three hours, it's now past midnight."
"Great." Peter muttered. "Is everyone okay...is Janine okay?" He added.
"Apart from our equipment having been removed and our hands being bound, we all appear to have been unharmed."
"Finally, you've woken up." A voice spoke from above them, Peter and Egon looked up, stood above them at the top of the metal staircase was Egon's clone, he walked down the staircase and over to the cage, sitting down into a chair which he'd brought over to face the Ghostbusters. "I assume you're curious as to why we haven't done anything to you?"
"Not that I really want to know...but I'm not exactly in the situation to do anything about it." Peter replied coldly.
"Quite." Egon's clone mused. "However, at present I don't feel like revealing my plans for you...yet." Above them the clones of Winston and Ray carried something carefully down the staircase, it was wrapped in a tarp but even if it hadn't it would've been a trick to see any detail in the gloom, the two clones carried the object over to a desk behind the cage and Egon's clone got up to inspect it. "You will find out in time, of course, but it won't do any good." Egon heard himself speak.
"Where the Ghostbusters will be held ultimately defines how easy or difficult it would be to rescue them." Eden explained, spread out on a table before them were architectural and construction blueprints for the Firehouse. Included were sketch diagrams which accommodated the modified layout, Ray was sure a more official set of plans existed but they were probably at the Firehouse. "Now, if I remember correctly, you said that Professor Spengler, Dr. Venkman, Mrs. Spengler and the 'Extreme' Ghostbusters were being held captive..." She placed a finger in the rough position of Janine's desk. "Here."
"Yeah." Winston replied.
"And that they were being held in an energy cage, the type created by an altered Ghost Trap using the frequencies and specifications you devised when your team acted as a crime entrapment team."
"Right, I don't know about our current line of Ghost Traps, I know Kylie's Mark 2.0 Ghost Trap can't be modified for that use...but the Mark 1.0s can be easily adapted if you know how." Ray explained.
"Which they do." Eric added.
"I think we're going to need a better idea of what's happening there, presumably they may have moved the captured Ghostbusters since then, it has been about three hours or so, correct?"
"Yeah...and the longer we wait, the more likely they might do something to the others." Winston added darkly.
"Who do you suggest should act as a scout?" Ray asked.
"Neither one of you, we can't afford you or Mr. Zeddemore to be captured...someone who can get out of there quickly and knows that building like the back of his hand..." Eden mused. She and John then looked at Eric.
"Nuts." Eric muttered.
Eric climbed up the staircase from Franklin Street Subway station and ran around the the back of the apartment building next to the his intended destination, coming up on the north-east corner of the block which held the Firehouse. He looked out from the corner of the building he was using as cover, there didn't appear to be anyone outside, in the glow from the streetlamps he could make out the 'no-ghost' logo which was printed on the sign, it was dark, telling him that either the sign had been shut off or the power hadn't yet been turned on, he along with his fellow future Ghostbusers had been briefed on the firefight which had been fought in the garage. With the coast clear he crept along the sidewalk, keeping to the shadows that hugged the buildings. He paused at the entrance to the cafe in the building next to the Firehouse, he'd been told there was a secondary entrance into the Firehouse through a second garage maintenance bay which was housed in the alley, however, deciding that this could serve as an additional entranceway for now, he crept past the chain-link fence and paused in the archway on the ground floor, the remnants of the wooden garage doors had been swept up, making sure that if anybody drove by they wouldn't stop to investigate. He paused as he took a deep breath and then strained to hear any sound.
"...Make sure the Restabilizer unit is down there, he wants to make sure everything is ready for when the time is right." It sounded like Ray Stantz, but there was a tone in the voice which made Eric shiver.
"Sure thing." Replied a second voice, it sounded just like Peter Venkman's, but it held the same, alien tone that was present in that of Ray Stantz's duplicate. Eric took another deep breath and then cautiously peered into the firehall, Ecto-1 obscured part of his view but he couldn't see anything that remotely resembled an energy cage, he watched as Peter's clone vanished upstairs while Ray's vanished into the Basement. Eric pulled himself away and crept into the alley beside the Firehouse, he then reached for his GBX and activated the radio.
"Eri...er...Edward to Elizabeth...do you read me, over?"
"Loud and clear." Eden's voice replied quietly. "Do you have anything to report?"
"Yeah...looks like they've taken the others into the Basement...there seems to be some sort of organization going on...something about a restabilizer unit...nothing very clear...over."
"Can you get a closer look?" Eden asked.
"That's a negative, I think if I get any closer they'll probably see me...I knew I should've studied an invisibility spell or two..." Eric added jokingly. "Any suggestions? Over."
"You might as well return to base, goodluck."
"Yeah...I just love riding the Subway." Eric replied into the radio and signed off, he clipped the device onto his belt and crept away from the Firehouse, hoping nobody'd seen him and make a call to the police about a suspected prowler. Things were bad enough that the company in the next twenty years time would have more then it's fair share of nutballs who liked to follow the important members of the team, to such an extend that one of them causes a near disaster in early 2004. Out of eyesight from the Firehouse, he walked back to Franklin Street Subway station, using a rail card he'd purchased using pre 2020 money. Within fifteen minutes he had disembarked at West Houston Street and was at the Spengler residence within another ten minutes.
"They'd moved all of them into the Basement?" Winston asked.
"Looked that way, I don't think they'd have much of an advantage if they moved them to one of the upper floors." Eric explained.
"I guess they think they can use the Containment Unit as a bargaining chip if we try attack them on our own." Ray theorized, gesturing at Winston. "But this talk of a Restabilizer unit...there's not many pieces of equipment that have that as a term or part of it's name, the Molecular Restabilizer is one of them." Ray explained thoughtfully as he scratched his nose. "The problem is trying to guess what they can do...it's bad enough fighting a carbon copy of yourself...but this is worse when you keep in mind that they're not human, and almost certainly pure evil...there's bucketloads of knowledge all four of us have which could be used to cause any amount of damage."
"Too true..." Winston muttered.
"It looks like a main confrontation will have to be our choice of attack, confront them with all of us and hope the number of extra firepower upsets them enough for us to trap them." John suggested.
"It's one of the few plans that can plausibly work..." Ray mused.
"Can Ecto-2 be used in a plan of attack?" Eden asked.
"I don't see why not, it'd mean not all of us would be entering on the ground level...means if they try get us on the First Floor then some of us can get them on the Second."
"A pincer tactic." Winston approved.
"Generally Ecto-2 has only been able to carry two passengers...but I got an idea from The Mummy, and might be able to get four people on board." Ray explained.
"You're sure it's a safe idea?" Winston asked.
"I'm sure it'll work." Ray replied.
"Just never tell Peter that, I doubt telling him 'sure' will make him any more confident, it might make him think he's going to his death." Winston mused.
Egon watched as his clone studied the device's construction, he then began to assemble a power unit which Egon recognized.
"I see it didn't take you too long to acquaint yourself with my lab." Egon replied dryly. The clone shifted slightly, as if considering whether to turn towards his captive.
"I believe it to be closer to reacquaintance then new acquaintance, Professor Spengler." The clone replied coldly. "Yes, I have been studying some of the documentation upstairs, so it is now 2003? We certainly have got a lot to catch up on."
"As a means to have a better understanding of us, maybe. But in no way catching up with a life that you never had." Egon replied coldly to his clone.
"And what do you know of stolen lives!" his clone spat, losing the scientific coldness that was too close to home for Egon to like. "You haven't had a life stolen from you, you haven't lost loved ones or those you've cared about."
"You are wrong, and it would seem your reading up on the events between 1991 and 1997 is rather sloppy...in that period of six years I was told a lot of truths, things I didn't like but had to accept, I was taught the folly of taking things for granted...you are yet to learn that lesson."
"It hardly matters, with you and your...'friends'...out of the way we will resume out responsibility."
"It was never a responsibility you had." Egon countered. "You and those other three 'Ghostbusters' are an unfortunate by-product of a mix of ectoplasmic saturation and our mental imprints." Egon explained. "As soon as Ray and Winston get here we will trap you and burn the uniforms you came from, we will make sure something like this can never happen again." Egon replied coldly.
"I highly doubt Dr. Stantz and Mr. Zeddemore are adequate in stopping us, maybe they should call in those brats, the Junior Ghostbusters! What great help they were, running into trouble and getting themselves caught, we should've let Samhaine kill them for what little good they did." Egon's clone lectured. "And what of your other great allies? The Crime Patrol? They're all too old to be of any use...face it, your list of allies consists mostly of geriatrics and people you can't get in contact with, I am not impressed at the little threat your 'friends' pose, we will track them down, in time. Compliments of the bio-rhythm scanners built into the PKE Meters, the ones we were so proud of." Egon's clone turned away. "Oh, there is one more thing..." He added and sprayed the spraypaint-like can in Egon and Peter's faces again, causing them to slump over, once again unconscious.
Ray, Winston and the future Ghostbusters stood atop the roof of Egon and Janine's apartment, the former were now dressed in their jumpsuits once more, Winston watching as Ray finished he last minute adjustments to the gyrocopter's wings. Once finished he checked his watch, it had just gone four in the morning, they'd had very little sleep, most of it restless.
"So you guys know what to do?" Ray asked.
"Yeah." Winston nodded. This was where the team would be splitting up, and hopefully fight a successful battle.
"Hey, just in case we don't make it..."
"Don't say it Ray, we've dealt with worse pondscum then this." Winston replied. "Just get there without crashing into anything."
"I'll do my best." Ray nodded, he then helped strap Eric and Marie into the two harnesses which were mounted to Ecto-2's wings, TJ had strapped herself into Ecto-2's passenger seat. "See you at the Firehouse."
"Sure." Winston nodded and he quickly led John and Eden from the roof, they'd be making their way to West Houston Street Subway station. With the two Ghostbusters strapped tightly to the craft, Ray walked around to the front of the vehicle and climbed into the pilot's seat, he started the craft's engine going and slipped on his flight helmet as the roters began to spin, once they were going at full speed he lifted the craft up from the roof and made a beeline for the Firehouse, he knew he'd get there sooner then Winston would, but they'd planned for Ray to swing around the block to come up behind the Firehouse just before they entered shooting distance to avoid being spotted and shot at. In the distance the sky was starting to lighten although the city's streetlamps still burnt brightly below. The four Ghostbusters remained in silence as Ecto-2 finally flew over the apartment complex behind the Firehouse and hovered there, hoping that none of the clones would look up through the skylight in the roof over the Lab. Ten minutes after arriving at the scene Ecto-2's radio chirped and TJ snagged it.
"Ground Control to Air Unit, do you read me, over?" Winston asked.
"Copy you loud and clear, over." TJ replied into the radio.
"Have rendezvoused at Franklin Street Subway station, moving into position as we speak, plan to crash the party in five." Winston informed them.
"We roger that." TJ replied, Ray then brought Ecto-2 forward and landed it on the first of two landing pads, the second being designed for Ecto-2's successor, Ecto-4.
"Use extreme caution, these guys know almost everything we know. Over and out." Ray quickly shut off the vehicle's engine and dismounted, unfastening Eric's restraints while TJ sorted out Marie's. Ray led the team over to the door to the roof, he tried the keypad and was rewarded when it unlocked, the power was back on. Before moving down into the stairwell he slid down his Ecto Visors, having dumped his helmet in Ecto-2's pilot seat. With the visors on he led the way quietly down the staircase into the Lab.
On the ground Winston, John and Eden passed the front of the cafe next to the Firehouse and slipped into the alley. They ran down the concrete ramp until they were confronted by a pair of wooden doors with faded paint and dull glass windows. Winston rifled through one of the pockets of his jumpsuit and extracted a ring of keys, he unlocked the padlock holding the two doors closed and opened one of them, ushering the younger Ghostbusters to go in first. Once that was done he covered them as they entered a musty room filled with odd artifacts and junk, it had become a store room for all the stuff that couldn't be stored in the Firehouse, including a very large rectangular shape which was covered in a protective dust sheet. They made their way down a staircase and along a very short corridor, they opened one metal doorway and entered the small spare room in the basement, they moved up to the wooden door which separated them from the main part of the Basement and waited. On the other side of the door they could hear voices.
"I guess you're all wondering why we brought you here?" Peter's clone smiled, his stolen Proton Gun in his hands, at his feet lay a beeping Ghost Trap, presumably the one containing Slimer.
"We kinda wondered that, Pinhead...but we didn't really care to ask." Spat Garrett, taking a moment to look at his wheelchair which was propped up against the wall by the elevator access.
"Shut up, you're just some bad Junior Ghostbuster impostor." Snarled Winston's clone.
"A what Ghostbuster?" Eduardo asked.
"Silence." Egon's clone commanded.
"You've got some nerve ordering people around here, bucko." Janine retorted, she was being held in a separate cell, much to the confusion of most of the captured Ghostbusters.
"It needn't matter, within the next two hours we will be resuming our place here." Egon's clone replied.
"How many times must we tell you morons? You're not the Ghostbusters!" Peter bellowed.
"We intend to be, taking over all operations and practices of this company." Egon's clone added.
"Yeah." Ray's clone jeered.
"Oh yeah? And how do you plan on that miracle? You don't look like Tinkerbell and he sure as hell doesn't look like Peter Pan." Peter retorted, pointing at his clone. "People'll known you guys aren't the real deal, green isn't this season's colour if you get what I mean."
"Fortunately there is a remedy for that little...'inconvenience'...isn't there, 'Professor'." Egon's clone replied, speaking the word 'professor' with a sarcastic tone. "1984, Dr. Stantz designed the device that would help you combat a very nasty case of molecular destabilisation." Peter turned to look at Egon who had shocked understanding in his eyes.
"What's he going on about, Egon?" Peter asked.
"He intends to use the Molecular Phase Amplifier to adjust his molecular structure...he can make himself human."
"Is that possible?" Roland asked.
"It is very possible, it was designed to restabilise my molecular structure when I was bombarded by backlash from the Molecular Destabilizer." Egon explained.
"But that's only the second part of the plan." Egon's clone sneered. "We can't allow a second group of Ghostbusters...a team of impostors...to ruin things...that's why we have a special place reserved for all seven of you within the Containment Unit...complements of the Atomic Destabilizer."
"...Which will temporarily convert us into ectoplasmic entities, a brilliant plan, I only wish it was the case where I'd been explaining it so we would never have to use it." Egon replied coldly.
"You never could reach your true potential!" Egon's clone snarled. "You were too human to realize the grand scope of your intellect, this planet could be your oyster! You've already invented equipment which can reduce blocks of a city to ruin at a time! I will not make the same mistakes, Egon Spengler...however...I am not totally without reason...after all, this...'masquerade' we will be pulling over the eyes of the retarded populous of New York City won't be complete, not without a Janine Melnitz to complete our status quo. But I will reveal my plan for Ms. Melnitz in time."
The Lab had been ransacked, someone had been looking for something specific. Pieces of equipment littered the floor along with papers and blueprints.
"Anything?" John whispered behind Ray.
"Nothing...coast is clear." Ray replied back, they then filtered into the Lab and then moved across to the double doors which stood ajar. Ray stuck the barrel of his Proton Gun through the gap and peered through, there was nobody in the landing. "You take the bathroom," He instructed Eden, "while you scan the stairwell." Both of the future Ghostbusters nodded and Ray walked over to the bedrooms, he checked each in turn, all were empty and all of the beds were neatly made, nobody had slept in them during the night. Moving through the building wasn't made easy by the little light which filtered in through the windows, but it was better then nothing, turning on a light would've been the equivalent of shouting 'Hey, we're here, we surrender!'. With the third floor checked, they made their way down into the second floor, the rec room and kitchen were deserted. They then crept down into the first floor, checking the office and the rear storage area, again, all was quiet. They moved over to the staircase and flagged both sides of it, ready to fire if need be, the stairwell was empty. They paused at the bottom of the staircase as Ray extracted his radio.
"Winston, do you read me?"
"Loud and clear, Buddy."
"We're outside the door to the basement, we're ready."
"Okay, kick the door in on three."
"One...two...three!" Eden counted as Ray and John both kicked the door...
Winston and Eric kicked. The door sprang open, they both charged into the basement, followed by Marie and TJ.
"It is necessary that we convert ourselves to a physical form, as your lackey mentioned..."
"Hey!" Peter protested.
"We don't appear human." Egon's clone explained. "In this form we cannot replenish our energy easily like you...instead of food we'd have to capture and devour creatures...and as scientifically interesting as that is I have no desire to prolong that any longer then we need to...hence the Molecular Phase Amplifier...of course, we cannot complete the process instantly...it would take several treatments over the course of a week, but by the end of it we would be as corporeal as you are."
"Why are you explaining all of it to them?" Hissed Peter's clone. "They could use that knowledge against us."
"How? We'll send them to sleep as soon as we're ready to change them into ectoplasmic entities, and, well, as soon as they're dumped into the Containment Unit the entities in there will finish them off soon enough."
"Okay, so you plan to zap and trap us...what's Janine got to do with this?" Peter asked skeptically.
"As I mentioned, we need to retain the status quo...and I am not totally unfeeling towards Ms. Melnitz...however without so many human emotions to cloud my judgment I now know I love her...unfortunately I could never have the real Janine trust me or return my love...so I'll have to create her mental imprint in the way we were created, she has in fact unwittingly provided the mental imprint to start the process, all I shall need to do is remove her jumpsuit before disposing of her, and bombard it with PKE until the saturation is at such a level as that the jumpsuit can...hmm..." He smiled slightly. "'Get up and walk away'."
"YOU WILL NOT HARM MY WIFE YOU INHUMAN CREATURE! YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THEN A FAILED CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENT, AN ACCIDENT GONE AWRY, IF YOU SO MUCH AS TOUCH ONE HAIR ON HER HEAD I WILL MAKE SURE YOU SPEND THE REMAINDER OF YOUR EXISTENCE IN A PARALLEL DIMENSION NOT FAR FROM HELL ITSELF! Egon bellowed, fire in his eyes, Peter and Eduardo leaped up to restrain the physicist.
"Woah...woah, cut it out Egon." Peter shouted, wresting with the seething physicist.
"An idle threat." Egon's clone said dismissively.
"He may not be able to do any damage while in that cage," Janine started, "But I'll make you hurt so hard you'll wish you'd never been reborn." Janine spat, eyeing the clone of her husband coldly.
"Why, Janine, I'm heartbroken." Egon's clone mocked.
"You bozos are lucky you got the drop on us otherwise I'd be kicking your asses so fast you wouldn't know what hit you." Garrett replied.
"How entertaining, a disabled teen kicking our asses. I can hardly wait." Winston's clone chuckled coldly.
There was a sudden crashing sound up on the staircase as the door burst open and Ray and two Ghostbusters Peter didn't recognize burst into the room, down beside the Containment Unit the door there sprang open, letting Winston Zeddemore and three other unknown Ghostbusters enter the room, they trained their guns on the four clones who for the first time looked genuinely surprised.
"Drop the guns and we'll make sure you go away quietly." Winston ordered.
"I doubt it." He heard his own voice say and then the Ghost Clones split, the clones of Ray and Winston started firing at the real Winston while the clones of Egon and Peter started shooting at the real Ray, all the while watched by the captive Ghostbusters near the back of the room. TJ and Marie retreated behind the corner of the Containment Unit, shooting a volley of shots while Winston ducked and rolled, he released a stream that cut just in front of his own clone and the clone of Ray, the two Anti-Ghostbusters skidded to a stop just short of the beam and ducked sideways splitting from each other. Ray, meanwhile aimed his Proton Gun at a fire extinguisher which was bolted to the wall while Eden and John provided cover fire.
"Hey, Francine! Get down here!" Ray heard the clone of Peter speak, a snide tone in his voice. Ray ignored it and fired, successfully hitting the fire extinguisher, it exploded, showering Egon and Peter's clones with foam, temporarily stopping their attack. With the foam covering them they looked even more like the clones from 1983, who had been covered in Stay Puft's remains. Eden, John and Ray then concentrated their fire on the two clones, pushing them back into the middle of the Basement. Eric, who'd positioned himself against the outside wall of the Basement sprinted along the perimeter, TJ and Marie providing cover fire as he ran past the elevator access, snagged the wheel chair and slid over to the cage, narrowly ducking a shot that left Winston's clone's Proton Gun, he slid to a stop and grabbed the Ghost Trap, he disengaged it and the cage vanished.
"Nice work kid, don't suppose you have a set of handcuff keys." Peter quipped.
"One sec..." Eric replied, he stuck his tongue into one corner of his mouth as he unclipped a device which looked like a Swiss army knife and pointed at several of the tools, trying to remember, he then extracted a small, needle-like tool and slotted it into Peter's handcuffs, a moment later the handcuffs lay on the floor and Peter was rubbing his wrists.
"Thanks." He replied, he then quickly ran and scooped up his Proton Pack, sending a few shots in the direction of Ray's clone who was trying to take out Marie and TJ. By now the clones of Peter and Egon had cleaned off the foam from their eyes and were trying to hit Ray, Eden or John while slowly being forced back. Behind them Eduardo and Roland both held up a long and very heavy piece of piping, they both swung a few practice swings.
"On three..." Eduardo spoke and Roland nodded.
"THREE!" They both yelled in unison and swung the pipe, striking the two clones in the backs of the legs and sending them sprawling, the two proton beams going wild and searing the ceiling. Ray, Eden and John all charged down the remainder of the staircase and aimed their guns directed at the two clones' faces.
"Don't even think about it." Ray growled. Ray and Winston's clones, seeing that their partners had been captured now used the Containment Unit as cover as they fired at TJ and Marie who were now using a desk as cover. Both Egon and Peter were wearing packs now, the latter of which was working the Swiss army knife on Janine's handcuffs. Kylie was busy helping Garrett back into his wheelchair and Roland and Eduardo were both slipping into their Proton Packs. Eric, now working alongside TJ and Marie took careful aim, using the Containment Unit as a shield was a stupid idea.
"A bloody stupid idea for a human..." TJ quipped. "But a great idea for someone trying to make sure they're not shot."
Eric aimed his shot and fired. Within the time it took to impact it felt like time had slowed to a crawl, the beam fizzled through the air, twisting and waving towards the glowing green head of the clone of Winston Zeddemore, who's expression changed from anger to surprise, he then ducked, just missing a direct shot between the eyes which most likely would've caused a hell of a mess to his ectoplasmic construct. The beam fizzled past and stuck a section of piping that was exposed where it came out of the wall and went into the Containment Unit. The section of pipe glowed and a small portion of it burst, spewing white smoke into the Basement. Within moments of the miniature explosion the Containment Unit's klaxons began to sound as the emergency lights flashed, adding a red tint to the formerly white light of the Basement. With the klaxon suddenly sounding, Eden, John and Ray's attention was drawn, allowing the two clones to share a nod and jump up, sending the Ghostbusters sprawling, they then charged up the staircase.
"Ray! Winston!" Egon's clone shouted and the other half of the team ducked and jumped blasts of protonic fire as Egon, Eric and Roland charged over to the Containment Unit. Peter, seeing the fleeing clones led TJ, Marie, Kylie and Eduardo up the staircase to the garage, passing Ray, Eden and John who were picking themselves up.
"The Containment Unit is leaking cooling fluid from the coolant system, if we don't repair that pipe and restore the coolant system within the next twenty minutes the laser grid will go critical and explode!" Egon shouted as he inspected the Containment Unit status displays. "First, we need to stop the flow of the coolant, you should be able to find a valve on the burst pipe." Eric and Roland charged over to the valve, followed a few moments later by Winston. Eric and Roland grasped the valve, then Winston replaced Roland but it did little good.
"The valve's jammed open!" Roland shouted to Egon.
"You have to try, if you can't close the valve the damage can't be repaired!" Egon shouted as his hands flew over the keyboards. Winston stared straight into the Eric's eyes as he adjusted his grip on the valve.
"We can do this...heave!" Winston instructed, both of them worked the valve, grunting as they put their full strength into moving the thing. The valve then gave a little, then a little more, and then spun freely, they worked it quickly, the cooling fluid spilling out and soaking the floor, eventually the valve spun closed and the fluid stopped flowing. The klaxon fell dead for the moment, the impending disaster prevented for a few minutes.
"Okay, that gives us some time..." Egon shouted. On the wall a red beacon began to rotate, the beacon itself was set next to a clock which was set at twenty minutes, the whole thing changed from 20:00 to 19:59 as the clock began to count down. "Now we need to repair the pipe, you only stopped the coolant leak, without the coolant the Laser Grid system will overheat, once it reaches critical it'll overload and explode, thankfully enough we'll be vaporized when that happens and so won't be ripped apart by the demons in the aftermath..." Egon explained quickly, his glasses on the tip of his nose. "We will need a section of piping, about 3.5 inches long and with a diameter of exactly 2.35 Inches across."
"Ray," Winston began, looking over at Ray. "What's the diameter of one of the Slime Blower tanks?"
"Winston, that's brilliant!" Ray congratulated. "Edward, can you remove that burst section of piping while I retrieve the Slime Blower from Ecto-2's storage compartment?"
"Sure thing." Eric smiled as he removed a tool from his belt. Ray unclipped his Proton Pack and charged up the staircase, taking note that the clock now read: 15:45.
Peter charged up the staircase in pursuit of the clones.
"Get back here you bastards!" He bellowed, he reached the top of the staircase and froze, behind him TJ, Marie, Kylie and Eduardo stopped several steps behind him. Pointed directly in Peter's face was the barrel of a Proton Gun. Peter's clone grabbed him by the hair, turned him around and made him face the other Ghostbusters on the staircase to the basement, the clone then held the gun at the base of Peter's head, near the top of the spine.
"I've always wondered what Proton Reversal looked like." He spoke into Peter's ear, the menacing tone in his voice made Peter shake involuntarily.
"Watch the hair, pal." He said, gritting his teeth.
"What was it I said when we first met? Oh yes... My name is Dr. Peter Venkman, I agree, one of us should go...namely you!" He replied, he then raised up the Proton Gun and slammed the barrel against Peter's head with a sickening crack. Peter's clone then charged out of the building as Peter's world spun, thankfully enough there were people there to greet him as he blacked out.
Ray charged up the staircase, stopping at the top when he saw Peter.
"Peter! What happened!"
"The clones...is the Containment Unit secure?" Kylie asked.
"Shit." Ray swore, he then bolted up the staircase, swung onto the landing using the banister post, charged up the spiral staircase and ran into the Lab, he took the stairs to the roof two at a time and burst out onto the tar roofing, he unlocked Ecto-2's equipment compartment and unhooked the Slime Blower, he the dragged the heavy piece of machinery back down the stairs and into the lab, he then ran out into the landing and to the firepole. "Sure hope this works." He muttered and then fed the device through the portal and then clambered onto the pole, he then wrapped his legs around the brass pole and then wrapped his single unused arm and made a small prayer, he then pushed away and slid towards the ground at speed, careful to bring his legs out before he hit the ground, the landing would've surely won him gold, or at least silver if he'd done it at the Olympics, he raced over to the staircase, passed the unconscious Venkman and charged down the stairs, he scrambled onto the metal landing and then ran down the stairs. As he ran across to the others he noticed the clock on the wall, it now read: 10:01. Ray dumped the Slime Blower on the floor and proceeded to remove one of the tanks, uncoupling several hoses and unscrewing the maintenance panel to rip out the inner pneumatic works. he then lifted the pipe up for Egon's inspection.
"It'll do." Egon replied quickly, Ray the began to move towards the bandsaw set on one of the tables when Eric caught his elbow.
"Allow me." He replied, first he unclipped yet another device, this time it was rectangular in shape, he pressed it against the tube and it held on, probably with magnets. "3.5 Inches in length." Eric spoke and to Ray and Winston's surprise a red, dotted line shot from the device, there were numbers along the line which stopped at 3.5 Inches, exactly at the end of the pipe. "Stand back." Eric warned, he then lowered the goggles to cover his eyes as he extracted a tool from a pouch on his belt, the object looked like the handle of a knife. He pressed a button on the side of the handle and a red knife blade flashed into existence, the Ghostbuster then started to cut through the pipe.
"Incredible, a precision laser-bladed knife!" Egon replied in astonishment, despite the impending explosion.
"Not now home boy, do we have to do anything else?" Winston asked.
"Try follow the clones, take Ecto-2 if they've escaped on foot, you should be able to track them with a PKE Meter...I've set this one to scan for any mixtures of PKE and human signatures, the clones should stand out like a sore thumb."
"Right." Winston nodded in understanding and charged off in the direction of the garage. "Follow me, James." He shouted and John followed.
Winston took the steps two at a time.
"TJ, Marie, come with me, we're gonna try track those bastards, you two can try stop them if they're on foot." Winston instructed and the two female Ghostbusters followed, they charged onto the roof and Winston jumped into the pilot's seat, passing the PKE meter to Marie. "You know how to use that, don't you?"
"Yes." She replied quickly. John and TJ strapped themselves in as Winston started Ecto-2's engine, within five minutes of starting the machine's engine they had taken off, in pursuit of the clones.
Ray glanced up at the clock, it read: 08:35. He then glanced down as Eric cut through the last section of the pipe.
"Done." He shouted, he then jumped up, ran over to the pipe and stood there, holding the pipe while he searched through one of his pockets. "A little help here!"
"Sure." Ray replied as he grabbed the pipe. Eric then produced a small device which looked like an L-Shaped flashlight, he tucked the device into one of the chest pockets in his jumpsuit and quickly ran the laser knife around the burst pipe, two minutes later a section of red piping clattered to the floor and Ray inserted te newer section of grey pipe. Eric then plucked the device he'd stowed in his pocket and raised it to the edge of the snugly fitting grey pipe. "Close you eyes." He warned and Ray complied, Eric then ran the device over the edges of the pipe, melting it to the red pipe at either end. After four minutes of work he turned the welder off and shoved his goggles back to his hairline, he then spun the valve until it stopped, the valve was open. "HIT IT!"
Egon complied and hit a button on the control console, a set of lights went green and a diagnostic screen showing an outline of the Containment Unit with it's coolant system went green and the 'coolant' on the diagram began to move. Ray looked up as the clock ticked, one minute forty-nine...one minute forty-eight...
The coolant made it's way home and the status bar on the console went green, causing the red lights to stop and the clock to stop at one minute and five seconds.
"For now it'll hold, but I'll have to activate the secondary system and perfom a complete replacement of that section of piping later today." Egon announced, the Ghostbusters without weaponry collected their gear and they made they way up the staircase, they found Kylie and Eduardo loading Peter into Ecto-1.
"What happened?" Egon asked.
"They cold knocked Dr. Venkman, he's out cold...we were gonna try take him to a hospital." Kylie explained.
"I'm afraid that'll have to wait, we must make contact with Winston and see if we can capture the clones, you stay here with Eduardo and the others and keep watch over the Firehouse until we get back...we can't afford anyone going down into the basement and doing anything with the Containment Unit in it's fragile state."
"Sure." Roland replied as Ray, Egon, Janine, and Eden climbed into Ecto-1, moments later Ray pulled the car out of the garage and onto the street and pulled away. The sky above them was now turning grey as dawn approached.
Peter looked up at the roof of the building in front of him.
"My name...is Doctor...Peter...Venkman." Up there he saw his clone, he'd nearly forgotten about the clones because of them being worked off their asses for the last few days, but the sight of himself in a soiled tan jumpsuit, with green transparent hands and head brought it all quickly back.
"No way," Peter argued. "I'm Dr. Peter Venkman, got that?" He asked, he then pointed at the clone of himself on the roof. "This town's only big enough for one Peter Venkman."
"I agree...so one of us should go." The clone replied in a tone which practically said: 'That means you.' The clone then fired a stream of green energy, striking the wall behind Peter.
"Why do I say stuff like that?I always get in trouble!" He muttered from his position on the ground, he then grabbed his Particle thrower and fired back, striking a bolt of green energy that his clone had fired just moments before. Sweat formed on Peter's brow as he fought against his clone, failure was not an option, however the fight was going nowhere. Peter quickly shut off his beam, rolling out of the way moments before the clone's beam smashed into the sidewalk. Peter's clone, realising that he no longer had the advantage of the roof, leaped, landing with ease on the sidewalk; he then stood up to his full height and started to scan the alleyway. Peter kept his breathing as quiet as possible, he was currently crouched behind a dumpster, listening to the boot steps of his clone as he slowly got closer.
"Olly Olly oxen-free." His clone called out, it sounded like Peter's voice but there was an alien tone in it...as if the clone knew the words but not the meaning. That was it, the clone was going through the motions of being Peter Venkman. And tonight, the role of Dr. Peter Venkman will be played by... The clone paused every so often to probe a pile of garbage with the barrel of his Particle Thrower. Peter's mind raced over what he could do, he then settled it on something that would cause a lot of confusion for his double, the Proton Pack at that stage had two types of self destruct...the big kind which could reduce everything for a quarter mile into a smoking crater, or the second kind which destroyed the pack, caused a bright flash with a loud bang and generally would only demolish a building...it so happened the area they were in was run down and any real estate damage would be minimal. He chose the second option and flipped up the small panel set behind the activation switch and pressed the button forward instead of down. He then shrugged himself out of the Pack and threw the heavy piece of equipment into the alley and took off at a sprint. Five minutes later he felt the ground beneath his feet shake and he then closed his eyes, a bright flash went off behind him and a loud boom reverberated around him.
He opened his eyes, but the brightness was still there, searing his retinas...but there was something different...there were voices. Peter blinked a few times.
"...he's coming around..." A distant voice replied. Suddenly something shook beneath him, it wasn't the ground shaking from an explosion, it was the seat of a car shaking. He could now make out Ecto-1's distinct siren, though there was a lot more air moving about then he'd like.
"Hmm...Ray mist be driving." He muttered, keeping his voice low...he felt he had a headache coming. Someone near the front of the vehicle chuckled. Peter blinked a few more times and everything came into focus. He looked around, moving his head stiffly, sat around him were Janine and a girl Peter didn't recognize, sat in the front he could make out Ray in the driver's seat and Egon sat next to him, a PKE Meter in one hand and what might've been the radio handset in another. "I'm sorry...do I know you?" He asked, flashing the woman he didn't recognize as much of a winning smile as he could muster.
"Don't even try, Dr. Venkman, while it would not technically mean incest, I would never in my life sleep with you." The girl replied with a hint of humour, provoking a bout of laughter from Janine. "Besides, I carry mace." She added, removing a can of the repellent from one of her jumpsuit pockets. Next to her a boy with aviator goggles began to laugh.
"I have no idea why you said that, but I doubt anyone's said that to Dr. V before." Janine replied. Peter frowned.
"I do know you." He replied, though with confusion.
"Don't worry, it's the hit to the head, you'll remember me soon enough." Eden hated to lie, especially to her father's best friend, but she couldn't let him know.
"What happened?" He asked, a little groggy.
"You got knocked out cold, Dr.V...you double did a real number on you." Janine replied.
"And you're worried about me?" Peter asked, his sparring behavior quickly returning.
"Not on your life." She replied.
"Left!" Egon suddenly announced, and then Peter, Janine and Eden were sent sprawling into the passenger side of the car.
"Egon...could you give Ray and us a little more warning...I might have a concussion here." Peter moaned. Peter was now wishing he'd still been with Dana, Oscar and Jessica on their short trip to LA when this thing came up.
"Sorry Peter, but we're right on their tail...right!" Egon suddenly shouted, sending the passengers sprawling into the driver's side of the car. "We've managed to track them down, Winston's flying in Ecto-2, it took about ten minutes after we left the Firehouse to find them, but apparently when they were two blocks away from the Firehouse they stole a taxi, they were heading north for about five blocks when one of them spotted Ecto-2, thankfully enough Winston has been relaying directions and we're now only three blocks away from them, they've been heading North all the way...I presume they're heading to a specific point of interest in the northern part of the city. I believe if they had intended to make a retreat so they could reorganize themselves then they could have escaped over the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges. It raises the question, what is north of the Firehouse that could be of interest to them?"
"They're still heading north along Sixth Avenue, looks like they're nearly past Madison Square Garden...how you guys doing?" Winston asked into the radio handset.
"We're just passing 29th Street, Winston, we're hoping to overtake them when we near Times Square and then hopefully take them off the road." Egon explained.
"Roger that." Winston replied, in the distance he could see the large grouping of buildings that marked Times Square.
"Raawwwrrrr...Raawwwrrrr...Raawwwrrrr..." Tourists mulling in Times Square turned to the sound of the siren, even in the early hours there were more then a few people out and about in the area also known as 'The crossroads of the world'. At first they saw a Taxi screaming towards them, and almost believed the siren belonged to it, but appearing quickly in hot persuit was something that would add that hint of the unusual to their trip, the sight of a converted 1959 ambulance with enough lighting for a disco, this was none other then Ecto-1.
"Please excuse me, Dr. Venkman." Eden spoke as she clambered over to the passenger side of the car, she then unhooked her Proton Gun and then wound down the window. "I'm in position, Professor Spengler."
"Excellent, fire only on my signal." Egon warned, he too had his Proton Gun unhooked and in hand.
"Understood." Eden acknowledged.
"Aim..." Egon instructed and two Proton Guns were aimed at the Taxi, however they were sent rocking as the yellow Taxi slammed into them, sending them shooting across the road, Ray spun the steering wheel furiously as he tried to compensate, just avoiding having the car spin and fishtail.
"Sorry girl." He muttered and brought the Cadillac ambulance slamming into the Taxi, sending it shooting across the central walkway as they ran through the central point of Times Square.
"FIRE!" Egon instructed and two beams of protonic energy shot at the Taxi, searing it's driver side paintwork. Suddenly the car shot backwards, Ray's clone had hit the breaks and was now zooming across the pedestrian walkway, the two damaged cars were then separated by No. 2 Times Square, their way blocked by several thousand tonnes of steel, concrete and neon billboards. Peter climbed up from his resting place and looked out of the driver side window of the rear part of the cabin, a block away, speeding up Broadway while the Ecto-1 sped up Seventh Avenue. Peter moved forward and wound down the window behind Ray and aimed his Proton Gun out of it, trying to get a lock on the Taxi, however every few seconds something would get in the way.
"No good, there's too much stuff getting in the way." He reported. "Ray, any way you can get us onto the same street as them?"
"Let's find out!" Ray replied and he swung the wheel hard, pulling the car through a hard left turn, he spun it wildly the other way, bringing them out behind the Taxi with only a gap of two blocks which they were quickly closing. It was obvious that the clones wanted to rid themselves of their persuers, going to the point of driving on the wrong side of the road and swerving dangerously onto the sidewalk, all the while being closely followed by Ecto-1.
"Ecto-2 to Ecto-1...guys I don't think they're gonna stop...is there anything that would interest them up here? They seem to be making a beeline straight up Broadway towards Columbus Circle." Winston reported.
"They could be planning to open a gate, think carefully about it, what place north of Columbus Circle could have the potential latent PKE to allow a man, or in this case, an ectoplasmic clone of a man with the right knowledge to open a portal to another dimension?" Egon asked, keeping the radio open for Winston to hear.
"Ugh...don't tell me..." Winston muttered.
"They could be heading to 550 Central Park West." Egon announced.
"Would there be enough PKE to open a gate there? That place was pretty badly wiped out last time we were there." Peter asked.
"Keep in mind a monumental amount of PKE would have been spilling out into our world there, it was so strong that being there was nearly enough to give the uniforms the ectoplasmic saturation they needed to come to life...there's been records of events of great magnitude by emotionally, or psychically to leave a large amount of latent PKE for years...I suspect if we did a study at the World Trade Center site we'd find lots of it...with enough latent PKE, all my double would need to do is chant the appropriate spells, be them in Sumerian, English or other languages."
"Swell, so he could summon Gozer?" Peter asked.
"No, to summon Gozer would require extremely long and complex rituals which would take years to have effect, such is why Gozer only finally arrived in the 1980s and not the 1920s when Shandor performed the rituals...admittedly the appearance of a deity could be a lot quicker if they have a specific wish to come to the mortal world..." Egon mused. "But I am yet to witness such an event."
"It doesn't mean that they can't bring something else through which is just as nasty..." Ray added. "They could bring in some of the primal powers of the universe...alternately they could summon Cthulhu...Nyarlathotep...Dagon...the list goes on...it really depends on how much latent PKE we're talking about and just what incantations may come to Egon's clone's mind...whatever comes to mind could cause a heck of a lot of damage, both physically and spiritually...we have to stop them if that's their plan."
"Aren't you glad life's always this exciting?" Peter rolled his eyes at Eric's comment.
"Only if I live to tell the tale to beautiful ladies." Peter replied.
"'Beautiful ladies'?" Janine asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Dana...tell the tale to Dana." Peter added hastily.
"Much better." Janine approved.
Winston had been listening to the conversation as they'd talked, down below he was passing over the south-west corner of Central Park, four blocks away at the corner of Central Park West and 66th Street, Winston could make out the 22 story bulk of the Shandor Building, more commonly known as 550 Central Park West, the building was styled in the school of art deco, the first eighteen stories of which were clad in brickwork which started in deep reds but went into lighter hues near the 18th story, other parts of the building, specifically the ground floor, was clad with tan coloured stone. Up on the 22nd floor, the building's crowning roof cap designed in the style of an ancient temple had been completely rebuilt, evidence to this was some scaffolding that even now was yet to be dismantled, however it was evident that the building was being reoccupied, as indicated by the lights in the lower levels, fewer lights shone in the upper floors. As Winston neared the area he could see a Taxi going towards the building, it then skidded and smashed into a lamppost. He grabbed the radio again.
"Guys...where are you? I think I just saw them hit a lamppost outside the Shandor place...looks like they're heading inside."
"Sorry, Winston...we got held up at Columbus Circle. Estimated ETA, three minutes." Egon reported. Satisfied that backup was on the way, Winston carefully landed Ecto-2 on the roadway, much to the protest of other Taxi drivers who blared their horns angrilly as they swerved out of the way. Winston climbed out of the pilot seat and set to work unstrapping John as TJ unstrapped Marie from the wings, both Ghostbusters were glad to be on level ground again.
"Raawwwrrrr...Raawwwrrrr...Raawwwrrrr..." Winston looked up as Ecto-1 skidded to a stop, parking partly on the sidewalk. The remainder of the two factions of Ghostbusters climbed out of Ecto-1.
"This place just gives us the old vibes." Peter muttered, looking up at the roof, two decades later and with a sky that was quickly turning blue the building still sent a shiver down his spine.
"Unless they sealed it up during the reconstruction work, presumably the staircase to the temple will have been left untouched." Egon supposed. "Excluding manmade flight, that is the only way to get up there."
"Well, what're we waiting for? Let's go!" Peter yelled and they charged in, much to the surprise of the doorman.
The elevator pinged softly and Peter, Egon, Ray, Winston and Janine stepped out onto the 22nd Floor, a moment later and the second one opened up, allowing John, Eden, Eric, TJ and Marie to join the five founding Ghostbusters.
"Follow me." Peter instructed and they followed, walking along the corridor until the reached apartment 2206, he knocked on the door and waited. "Hello, Encycleopedia Ghostbustica...by two volumes get one free..." There was no answer. "Okay." He replied and then pulled out his wallet, he inserted the credit card into the thin gap between the door and frame and fiddled with it, eventually unlocking the door. "One of the few con tricks Dad taught me that I still us...I didn't have a nail file on me." He explained and opened the door, the site that greeted them surprised them. Apartment 2206 was deserted, not a single piece of furniture could be found, all of the walls had been replastered and the windows replaced, but the place was completely empty, as if it had never been occupied.
"Maybe it's between tenants?" Ray suggested.
"Or maybe no-one wishes to live here." Egon spoke solemnly as he studied his PKE Meter.
"I wonder how much a place like this costs..." Peter mused.
"Don't even think about it, man." Winston warned. He then walked over to the door to the kitchen and pushed it open, incredibly enough he could feel a breeze. "Hey guys, check this out!" The other Ghostbusters fanned into the room, the kitchen had been remodeled, but bizarrely the steps up to the temple above were still uncovered, almost as if left like that for maintenance...or that it had never been finished.
"How incredibly odd." Egon announced, studying the plasterwork near the doorway.
"We haven't got time to stop and gawp at the plasterwork if those guys intend to bring forth something slimey with lots of teeth." Peter replied and they quickly climbed the stairs, the walked out into the balcony surrounding the temple, only two empty plinths and work equipment indicated that anything had happened prior to 1983, the building had been perfectly rebuilt, with the exception to the missing statues of the Terror Dogs.
"I don't even want to know where those Terror Dogs went...so, where are they?" Winston asked as they moved about, checking all the potential hiding places around the temple entrance.
"Maybe they went home?" Peter suggested with a shrug.
"Negative, I'm registering them on the PKE Meter...we should be right on top of them..." Egon explained.
"More appropriately, they should be on top of you!" Egon and the others looked up, the four Anti-Ghostbusters had their stolen guns trained on the real Ghostbusters.
"Oh man I give up." Peter complained. "When are you jokers just gonna give up?"
"When you're dead." Peter heard his clone reply.
"Well that isn't gonna happen." Peter retorted. "We're the Ghostbusters and we're gonna make sure it stays that way, no green guys in mucky jumpsuits or two nuts with a gorilla or even a guy with a orange, plastic scifi ray are gonna tell us different! Got that?"
"Talk is cheap." Winston's clone replied and fired a stream at Peter, who rolled out of the way.
"No, I'm really done with this...we go out there every single day risking our lives to save people...that's what a Ghostbuster does...you guys aren't gonna do that, you're gonna go out there and hurt people...and you say you want to be us...you guys are what we fight against...evil things!" The four clones shifted uncomfortably, as if what Peter had said had struck a nerve.
"Irrelevant. Once we're in control we will do away with any paranormal threat." Egon's clone argued.
"Is that how it plays?" Winston asked. "He does all the ordering," He pointed at Egon's clone, "while you three do the work? Doesn't sound fair."
"That's a tyranny, not a democracy." Egon added.
"Yeah..." Peter's clone agreed. "Why the hell do you get the order us around? I'm...he's..." Peter's clone faltered, he then pointed at Peter. "He's their leader, what happened to our status quo?"
"Yeah!" Ray's clone agreed.
"You sniveling cowards! They intend to trap us, don't you see! They're manipulating you into thinking that we're not equal! The only equanimity is with us and the other humans...we can be Gods!" Egon heard his clone argue.
"He's an ego maniac, the lack of other human emotions has made his pride in his own intellect cloud his judgment."
"No Egon, he's an Ego-n maniac." Peter grinned.
"I'm done with this!" Peter's clone announced and began to walk away.
"Don't you dare turn your back on me, Venkman!" Egon's clone growled and then launched himself onto Peter's clone's back, they both stumbled off of the roof of the temple and onto the balcony, Ray and Winston's clones leaped down quickly, moving over to their fighting friends.
"You were always so goddamn scientific! You couldn't have gotten a girl without me!" Peter bellowed.
"Really? Who got you through graduate school you moronic jock?" Egon's clone argued as they wrestled on the floor. Egon and Peter shared a slightly uncomfortable glance.
"You don't really think that...do you?" Peter asked. The clones were quickly moving towards the edge of the roof near the stone plinths.
"Moronic jock! I'll show you moronic you pencil-neck geek!"
"GUYS! LOOKOUT!" Both Rays shouted in alarm as Peter and Egon's clones tumbled over the side of the roof. The other Ghostbusters and clones charged over to the edge of the roof and peered over, holding onto the ledge for dear existence was Peter's clone, Egon's held onto Peter's clone by the latter's boot.
"I will not be defeated!" Egon's clone bellowed, his eyes almost turning blood red. "I won't let you trap me, Professor Spengler...and I will reveal all your secrets...I will tell them how to phase past the laser grid system...I will reveal all of the secrets of the Containment Unit, and then, they shall come for you...you and your friends, and slaughter all of you in the night!" Egon shivered as his clone cackled maniacally.
"Get. Your. Hands. Off. Me. You. Damn. Dirty. CLONE!" Peter's clone bellowed and kicked with his free leg, planting the boot square on the clone of Egon's hands.
"NNNNOOOOooooooooo!" Egon's clone screamed as he fell to the street below.
"Do you think a clone could withstand a fall like that?" Winston asked.
"Even though it was not human, it's conceivable that a fall of that height could destroy an entity's PKE construct, meaning it'd have to start over." Egon explained, they then watched as the clones of Ray and Winston helped pull the clone of Peter up onto the roof. They then stood there, eyeing their respective counterparts suspiciously.
"And what now?" Peter's clone asked.
"If you are willing, we will trap you in the Containment Unit." Egon explained.
"Something tells me that's either option." Winston's clone retorted.
"Not precisely true, if you are willing, then we will incarcerate you within the Ecto Containment Unit, however, if you are not willing, I have an alternative lined up for your...ahem...partner who is now...'street pizza'."
"Ugh..." Peter moaned at Egon's joke.
"Which is?" Ray's clone asked.
"A non-return trip to an alternate dimension." Egon explained.
"Fine, we'll go willingly." Peter's clone replied. "But keep in mind, that is what you could still become, Egon Spengler."
"Not when he has three brilliant friends and a wife to keep him in check." Peter replied with a grin, slinging an arm over Egon's shoulder and provoking the physicist to raise an eyebrow. Ray then unclipped the Ghost Trap from his pack and threw it out in front of the remaining clones, he then stepped on the trigger and they were sucked into the trap.
"We'll meet again someday..." Peter's clone added before the trap's doors closed, left in their place were three Proton Packs and smoking jumpsuits.
"I highly doubt it." Egon replied, pushing up his red rimmed glasses. "We will need to trap my double in a separate Ghost Trap." Egon explained.
"Is what he said true?" Ray asked. "Could he be able to give away technical information about the Containment Unit?"
"Any details I knew before 1991 will be available to him...however, I don't intend to incarcerate him in the Containment Unit...I intend to send him to an alternate dimension with no way of return unless I reopen the portal to the dimension at those specific co-ordinates...I intend to use the Dimensional Gateway."
"Well, let's go clean up your double, sure he won't be back together yet, but the sooner we have him in a trap, the better." Winston replied and they turned to leave the roof, making sure to collect the jumpsuits and Proton Packs.
The Ghostbusters studied the scene, on the roadway lay the mucky blue jumpsuit with pink trim which had been worn by Egon's clone, the clone of which was splattered across the street in a sort of pseudo-T-1000-esque scene.
"All we'll need to do is activate a Ghost Trap and collect up all of the ectoplasm, then simply keep the trap full until I can activate the gate." Egon explained. Stood a bit away were John, Eden, Eric, TJ and Marie.
"Well," Eden began. "I don't know about any of you, but I thought that was worthwhile."
"Yeah, we got to see the ghost clones first hand!" Eric grinned.
"And it was kinda cool seeing Professor Spengler and the others when they still busted ghosts." Marie added.
"Yeah." John agreed, sat at the corner of the building were two bums, one of them dressed in a tatty lab coat with a mangy toupee, the other was stroking a plastic, orange ray guy while a very dirty monkey scampered around his shoulder. The second bum looked up, froze and then screamed, pointing his hand at John.
"WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME!" He screamed and ran.
"...In Nicaragua...Norman? Norman! Where are you going!" The first bum shouted as he ran after his fellow bum.
"Why is it that someone always looks oddly at me and screams every time I go back in time!" John replied, mortified.
"I guess you just attract the weirdos." Eric quipped with a grin.
"C'mon, let's get into Ecto-1." Eden spoke as she walked over to the car, a small tailback was forming because of the bottleneck caused by Ecto-1 and Ecto-2.
The vortex swirled as white light flashed, it reminded Egon of the portal from Stargate.
"Well, thanks again for helping us, kids." Ray replied as he shook hands with the time travelers.
"Hell knows how things could've turned out had you not stopped by." Winston replied.
"Ah...I'm sure you guys would've thought of something else..." John replied.
"It's been great...thanks for giving us this opportunity." Eric beamed with a grin that deeply unsettled Peter.
I've seen that grin before, I just know it...
"Now, concerning the case file for the last few days..." Eden began.
"While a casefile will be written, it will not be open to public reading...only on a need to know basis." Egon explained.
"Excellent." Eden replied.
"Hey...I don't suppose there's anything you can tell us?" Garrett asked.
"Roller-boy just wants to know if his name is in the Ghostbusters Hall of Fame." Eduardo quipped.
"Well..." TJ mused, rubbing her chin. "Should we tell them anything?" She asked.
"As long as it is nothing too...informative...though Lady Delphia will surely have a strong lecture with us in the morning." Eden replied.
"Lady Delphia is around in your time?" Ray asked, impressed.
"Okay..." TJ continued. "Mr. Jackson...make sure you keep up your studies...it will be very important..."
"Mr. Rivera, make sure you keep yourself out of trouble, don't give your brother Carlos any ammunition against you." John warned.
"Garrett..." Marie began. "For the love of God...stop running your wheelchair down staircases..."
"I get paralyzed further?" Garrett blanched.
"No...it's just insane...and really annoying." Marie finished, making Eduardo burst out into laughter.
"Kylie, don't underestimate Eduardo, he's not always as dumb as he looks." Eric added.
"Hey!" Eduardo protested.
"And one final thing..." John added. "Professor Spengler, Dr. Venkman, please...if you guys do feel the need to punch each other ever again, make sure you talk to your wives first..."
"Will we see you again?" Ray asked.
"It depends..." Eden replied and they walked into the portal, after a few minutes it vanished in a brighter flash, leaving the Ghostbusters from 2003 standing alone outside Egon and Janine's apartment.
"Congratulations." A voice spoke.
"Yeah, nice work...I didn't know it'd be twenty years before I'd get the chance to say this, but thanks again." Replied a 64 year old Ray Stantz.
"And you are correct, Lady Delphia will be having a talk with you tomorrow morning." Lectured a 66 year old Egon Spengler. "It is thankful that you didn't reveal too much, however, you deserve a break, and a celebratory drink of two for a job well done, you will have this afternoon and evening to relax, though I expect you to report to Lady Delphia first thing in the morning."
"Sure, Pop." John replied.
"Affirmative, Father." Eden added and the five Ghostbusters exited the room, eventually followed by Egon and Ray.
"My memory's a little hazy now...but in hindsight, do you think we could've beaten the clones without needing the help of the kids?" Ray asked.
"I doubt it." Egon replied. "Though, I'm sure it'll really annoy Venkman when he finally realizes just what it was about 'Edward's' smile that unnerved him." Ray chuckled loudly.
"Sometimes it's for his own good not to tell him of some things."
"Definitely." Egon agreed with a thankful smile.
The buzzer at the front door sounded and Peter Venkman quickly moved across the Firehouse's garage, the damage from the battle less then a month before had now been repaired, even to the extent that the Firehouse had been given some exterior renovation, Ecto-1 which also stood in the garage was back in pristine condition, awaiting the car show that the forth Ghostbuster intended to enter her in later in the week. Peter approached the door and grasped the lock, he unlocked it and swung it open, only to be greeted by the sight of a slightly uncomfortably former Mayor and current Governor, Lenny Klotch.
"Lenny!" Peter greeted, ready to welcome the politician with a hug.
"Do not touch me, Peter Venkman." Lenny replied. "Just keep it in mind I am doing this because you saved my city, twice...I am not doing this because I am your friend." Lenny replied irritably.
"Whatever floats your boat, big guy." Peter replied, gesturing for Lenny and his secret service-like bodyguard to enter the Firehouse. "Drinks are over there, and guests near the desk." He pointed out the two separate areas. "Hope you have a good time."
"I doubt it." Lenny returned.
"That's the spirit!" Peter beamed and he then turned on his heel and walked back towards Janine's desk. Suspended over the desk on the very edge of the second floor was a large banner, written across the banner were the following words:
1983 - 2003
Happy 20 Years, Ghostbusters!
The 'o' in the word 'Ghostbusters' was replaced with the famous 'no-ghost' logo, as was standard with the company logo, it was how it was done with the movies, the cartoons and the company letterhead.
Stood beneath the banner were an interesting assortment of people who knew the Ghostbusters through the last 20 years of operation, one of the guests specifically invited to the event by Peter was one Mrs. Agatha Faversham, a client who had hired the Ghostbusters for a specific case, and in doing so had won the devotion of Peter Venkman who made the effort to spend two hours every Sunday to take her some groceries and trade stories. Although she now required the use of an ornately carved cane, the years had not been harsh on her appearance and she was as elegant as ever.
Invited on Ray's request was a small, mousy man with a white stubble, this was one Mr. Howard, owner and operator of Howard's Pulp Magazine Archive.
Taking a few promotional pictures for the event was Boris Mealy who now had a regular contract set up with GBI as the company's official photographer, he'd enjoyed the time he'd worked alongside the Ghostbusters when at Tombstone that he'd nearly jumped at the chance at a steady contract doing promotional photos either for the company website or promotional documents.
Stood staring over his drink at either Janine, or Dana Venkman, the two great and lost loves of his life, was Louis Tully, to him being there was mostly a mandatory thing and the half muttered excuse 'I'd better be there just to make sure you're getting your money's worth', in truth however he simply wanted to see Dana again, he didn't get to see too much of her these days, and it was almost impossible to let her go.
A loud voice with an Irish brogue burst into laughter, this voice belonged to NYPD Chief 'O' Malley, he'd been invited and had happily replied to the invitation, he owed his life to the Ghostbusters and considered them friends, it worked well in a person's favour when they save you from a Bog Hound.
Stood beside Chief 'O' Malley and glaring into his drink was one Inspector Frump, he was attending the event more out of duty, and a swift word from Chief 'O' Malley then actual friendship, even though it was eighteen years since he'd first had to get acquainted with the Ghostbusters, he refused to give them his trust, though he did give them the benefit of the doubt when it came to what they battled, he'd seen too many weird things to not believe in ghosts. Meanwhile, over by the food table stood Steve Griffin, Kylie's father who eyed Slimer warily as he picked up some food, Kylie had insisted that he come along, although, had she known that her mother was in the country (She may've been for what little good Jill Griffin did in announcing her presence before arrival), she still wouldn't have invited her for obvious reasons.
Beside Steve was a woman with long blond hair and an aire of the country about here, this was Ray Stantz's cousin, Samantha Stantz who had been lucky to have her cousin visit just as she was becoming the victim of a series of events perpetrated by the undead and restless farmers who had inhabited the farmland she ran before her.
Stood beside Ecto-1 were five people none of the senior Ghostbusters ever expected to see talking to each other were Charlie Venkman, Lois Stantz, Katherine Spengler and 'Big Ed' Zeddemore with his wife, Lucille.
"So, imagine my surprise, when my boy sends me a message telling me that he'd gone into business with his two college buddies...as a 'paranormal investigator and eliminator', as he called it." Charlie Venkman spoke as he told the story, provoking laughter from the other four members of the group that had formed due to their relation to the various members of the Ghostbusters. Charlie Venkman specifically was having a ball of a time, he was still being investigated and suffering dearly due to the ENRON scandal of the previous year. He'd been delighted at the chance to spend some time with his son and be able to ignore 'those pesky government types'.
"I must admit, at first I was a little worried about Ray." Lois Stantz admitted. "But after he and the boys helped out my little ghost'problem', I knew he was in a job he'd always love." She confided with a warm smile, since the incident involving the phony spiritualist, Dr. Alfred Basingham, she had resolved to be tougher against would be con-artists, but not to the extend of losing the friendliness that showed her relation to Ray.
"Until about seventeen years ago, I didn't even believe Winston actually busted ghosts...just ran around putting on light shows with his weird friends..." Edward Zeddemore added.
"It took a thing Egon calls, the 'Brooklyn Triangle' to get him to think otherwise..." Lucille replied.
"Yes..." Edward replied with mock anger. "And I know now that Winston does a worthwhile job." Edward Zeddemore had been skeptical of his son's usefulness after he'd left the construction industry, but after falling into a strange world of lost objects which was ruled by a strange character known only as 'The Collector', the experience had tought him that his son's work was very important and worth the elder Zeddemore's respect.
"Being a Ghostbuster certainly didn't sit well with Edison...but I think it helped form some new bonds between him and Egon before he died...I think it did Egon some good to know that his father respected Egon's work and dedication to his friends." Katherine Spengler added. As had been noted, since her husband's passing she had adopted a less formal attitude to life, and while she might mention Egon's name with a sarcastic comment, she was proud of her son.
Speaking of which...
The Ghostbusters themselves were congregated near Janine's desk. Sat on the sofa which had been moved down from the rec room was each one of children from the two generations of Ghostbusters. Sat on one end were Beth Rivera, her son Kevin, his girlfriend Kelly Williams was sat at his side and bouncing on her knee was Kylie and Eduardo's two year old daughter, Conchita Rivera. The invitation had been extended to the whole New York Rivera clan, however the older Rivera brother, Carlos had 'politely decline', as he wife preferred to describe it. Next along were Eden and Johnathan Spengler, who were both studying Conchita with expressions of scientific curiosity, however John's had the added point of worry based on the light of mischief in his eyes. Next along on the sofa were Oscar and Jessica Venkman, at being sixteen, Oscar was the only child in the Firehouse who was close to drinking, legally, however he daren't try grab a glass of champagne should his mother spot him. Jessica, however was looking around the room with interest, spotting people she recognized from her father's stories back when the team were first doing battle with the likes of Gozer, Samhaine and the Boogieman. Sat beside them with a few members on some of the chairs from the dining table were the available representatives from the Jackson family, namely Roland's brother Casey who had been spending some time talking to Jessica, and his oldest sister Tara who'd come along with their mother who was interested in seeing where Roland worked. Tara had a strong reason to be there, having been saved by her brother from a parasitic entity which had possessed a music agent.
The Ghostbusters themselves were busy in conversation about old times, those present were Professor Egon Spengler and his wife, Janine. Stood next to them was Ray Stantz who spared a look to watch his son Eric who was playing with Winston's daughter, Charlene. Winston Zeddemore with his wife Kaila and Peter's wife, Dana Venkman.
"I think that's everyone...the Governor's here so that mean everyone we invited who doesn't hate us is here." Peter Venkman informed the group of married couples.
"I suppose you're ready to begin then?" Egon asked with a raised eyebrow.
"However could you tell?" Peter asked, flashing his chesire grin. He then walked over to the food table and collected a champagne glass, he then walked over to his friends and climbed up onto Janine's desk, tapping a teaspoon against the crystal. "Yo, everybody...can everyone who wants one and is legally able to grab a champagne glass from the food table." Peter waited as the guests collected a champagne glass and then stood, waiting for him to speak. "Right...as you all know, this company was founded twenty years ago today...sure, we haven't been open every single day of those twenty years...but through good and bad...in business and bankruptcy...we've managed to pull through...It's actually true that not everyone we invited came here...there was one guest speaker who I sent an invitation to...with a fruit basket...and let's just say that I won't be able to read the reply he sent, to Jessica for a good few years..." The group broke out into light chuckling. "That's why I propose a toast, to the Ghostbusters, another twenty years of business!" Peter held up his glass and the others did the same. "Have a good time, folks, and don't forget to get a piece of cake." Peter added and jumped down onto the floor.
"Caaakeh." Slimer drooled enthusiastically.
"Adequately symbolic Venkman, I doubt I could've done better." Egon mused with an amused smirk.
"My husband getting sentimental?" Dana added. "Must be old age." She smiled.
"Hey hey hey, there's nothing old about me." Peter mock-protested.
"Is that why your hair has managed to stay so brown for so many years?" Ray asked teasingly.
"That does it, no more cartoons for you." Peter chided.
"You guys wonder if we'll actually be in business in twenty years?" Winston asked, raising a quizzical eyebrow.
"I do hope so, I would love to see the type of technology that we could use to make Ghostbusting even more state of the art." Egon mused.
"Yeah." Ray agreed.
"Egon, didn't we agree not to mention that?" Peter asked, as if telling off a naughty child.
"Oh, yes. Of course." Egon replied, a little reluctantly.
"Besides, we've seen what knocks us outta business, this time around we'll know what to look for, nobody can stop us!" Peter smiled.
"I guess then, we should have our own special toast?" Winston asked.
"What for?" Peter asked.
"The future." Winston explained.
"Yeah...I like that." Peter nodded. He then held up his glass. "To the future."
"The future." The other Ghostbusters and their wives toasted. In the background the phone on Janine's desk began to ring.
"Typical." She rolled her eyes. "I'll go answer it." She excused herself and walked over to her desk, placing her champaign glass on the desktop.
"You ever think this job'll get to boring?" Winston asked.
"There's that negativity again!" Peter chided. "If we listened to you we would've been spending the apocalypse in Aruba."
"You guys got a call!" Janine shouted and Roland, Garrett, Eduardo and Kylie who had been conversing amongst themselves, mobilized for some ghostbusting, she then hit the fire alarm.
"Something tells me that this line of employment will never become dull." Egon replied with a smirk.
"You can put that in print." Peter agreed and they watched as the 'Extreme' Ghostbusters, now clad in uniform, ran towards Ecto-1. Janine walked back to join the group as they watched the car pull out of the garage. "Never a dull moment around here."
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Ghostbusters 202X Created by Fritz Baugh and OgreBBQ