From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2005-23/201
"Such pretty eyes..." the voice like rusty nails purred as it finished cutting the young punk's out of his head.
Before the creature knew it, it was sent reeling back with a jump kick. The source of it was a man in a black body suit, with a hood, a padded vest of midnight blue, and the two-toed tabi boots favored by ninja. He assumed a fighting stance, fists ready to strike.
"Son of a bitch..." the ninja breathed, bile rising in his throat. He'd seen more than one atrocity of a supernatural nature in his time, but this was making him more disoriented than he thought possible.
His opponent was tall, and pale, dressed in shabby, tattered dark clothes. A pouch was slung over its shoulder, and a bloody carving knife was gripped in its right hand. Its face was strangely indistinct, with phosphorescent green eyes glowing from under the foul-smelling fluids dripping from it. "Perhaps your eyes belong in my collection too..." the creature quipped menacingly.
"They leave off the Mystery Clown Spices?" Lance Dirkman quipped, munching on a french fry.
"I ordered a Double Whacko Burger with Cheese, Mayo, and Lettuce...they gave me a single with tomato and onions...I hate onions..."
"Just pick them off."
"It's the principle of the thing, Dirk...you know I don't consider onions a food substance..."
The complaint was cut short by the barking sound of automatic gun fire, not too far away.
"Oh hell..." Dirk breathed, re-wrapping his burger and putting it in the Krazy's sack.
Zack fired up the car, and took off toward the direction the gun shots came from. Dirk was on the radio calling for back-up.
"Fritters? Fritters? You read me? Damn it..." Andy snarled, holstering the walkie-talkie.
"Radiation might be playing havoc with the radio signal." Kyle warned. "One way or another, we'd better not stay here long, whether we catch the thing or not."
They had barely moved away from the converted SWAT van when they heard a loud crash, and something being thrown out of the nearby alley.
They were too busy to notice the flashing red and blue lights approaching them.
"Chaaaarge!!!" Andy whooped, and rounded the corner.
He turned the corner to see a fight between someone...or something?...in a ninja costume and a vomitously ugly creature brandishing a knife covered in blood.
The monster rushed the ninja, it's knife flailing, sending spurts of the dead gang-banger's blood spraying; the black clad ninja dodged the thrusts, but not quite as easy as he'd hoped. The ninja jumped and kicked the monstrosity, sending it flying into a dumpster.
"Okay...so there are two killers?" Will said, confused by what he saw. Andy's eyes went wide. The ninja costume was familiar, if colored a little differently...
"Don't anybody move!!!" Zach Fox shouted, brandishing his service revolver.
"Fancy meeting you guys here." Dirk quipped. "Now would someone tell us what the hell's..."
He didn't get to finish the sentence before the monster jumped out of the dumpster, grabbed the older, more beefy of the policemen, and swung him like a club, knocking over Dirk, Andy, and Jeremy.
Will fired his proton beam. The alpha particles splashed off the monstrous being, but "F***...it's not..."
"On my signal, switch off the beam..." the ninja commanded. He drew his arms back, hands together. "Now!!!"
Will's proton beam cut off.
A stream of shimmering blue energy fired from the ninja's hands, striking the monster. In a blink of an eye, the creature was enclosed in a sheath of ice, a good two inches thick.
The ninja staggered. "Still takes a bit out of me..."
The cops and Ghostbusters extracted themselves from each other. "Nice work, Mister Ninja..." Fox grumbled. "Wait a damn minute...I know you! We brought you in a couple years back..."
"I'm not who you think I am..." the ninja replied.
The four Ghostbusters' neutrona wands were still at the ready, pointed at the frozen creature.
"I think we got a problem..." Jeremy pointed out, as the ice was already starting to crack and seep liquid water.
The meter attached to Will's belt began to click loudly and vigorously.
"We've got to get away from here!!!" Kyle shouted. "The radiation is reaching dangerous levels!!!"
"But..." Dirk started to say, before Andy grabbed him and drug him off.
As they ran, they heard the explosion of the ice shell shattering...the monster howlilng it's anger and frustration...then there was another sound, like a giant rubber band snapping.
Silence...and the staticky clicks of Will's meter faded back to normality.
"Would someone tell me what the hell just happened?" Zach finally grumbled, puffing from the exertions and the pains where he'd been used to smack everyone around. "And where does mister Absolute Zero fit into this?"
"Sub Zero." Andy corrected.
" 'Sub Zero'?" Jeremy asked. "Isn't that..."
"Weirdo we turned over to you guys because we didn't know what do with him." Zach finished. "Except we were told he and his problem were taken care of, and we probably wouldn't see him again."
"And you didn't." the ninja replied, starting to remove his mask. "Because I'm not Sub Zero..."
Under the mask was a slightly gaunt and pale face, one all four Ghostbusters knew well. It was a little scruffier than the last time they'd seen it, and the long black hair was even longer, but was unmistakably the face of former occultist, comic book store owner, and GBWC member Jeffrey R. Nash, PhD.
Jeff shook his head. "Right before all the stuff went down with Ashram, I got a message from Sub Zero. Said he'd been thinking a lot over the year since I'd seen him; he said he suspected I had hidden potential, but it wasn't until the Gozer mess he knew for sure. So he offered to train me in the Lin Kuei arts...once the GBWC kinda went bye-bye for a while, the choice became simple."
"And after being out of touch you came back in the nick of time how?" Will chuckled.
"A ninja is never late, but is always on time. Other than that, I cannot say..." Jeff replied, sipping his drink. "A ninja's gotta have his secrets, you know."
Chelsea gave him a friendly hug. "Nice to have you back around, Jeff."
Jeff grunted. "Nice to see you back here too. And back where you belong." he said jovially, indicating Fritz with his eyes.
"Grife, that's right..." Fritz shook his head. "She was still gone when you left...so much from last summer is a blur to me still..."
"I can imagine." Jeff nodded. "You'll have to give me the full story on that when we get the time, man..." He looked at the stump that used to be Fritz's left leg. "That must be one hell of one."
"Definitely." Fritz replied, rolling to the trash to deposit an empty Diet Pepsi can.
Jeff realized Chelsea was looking at him intently. He looked around, and in the voice of Meatwad went "Do what now?"
"Don't ask me..." Jeremy rolled his eyes. "She was doing that to me earlier in the day..."
"All I know is that it isn't my fault." Andy chuckled, crushing a soda can on his forehead. "So does this mean I gotta call you Mr. Freeze Creepy now?"
"Hah hah." Jeff replied dryly.
"Maybe Captain Cold...or Snow Miser..."
"Keep it up, Jethro, and they'll be calling you The Ghostbuster Formerly Known As Andy Harness Before He Got Frozen Solid, Knocked Over, and Broken Into A Hundred Pieces."
"That ain't gonna work on a T-shirt." Andy parried.
Fritz shook his head. "Anyway...I think Kyle's done checking over all of you, and you didn't take enough rads to do permanent harm. I think maybe we should get a few hours of sleep--it's almost sunrise as it is, and one of our new Reservists is supposed to be arrive this afternoon..."
"We gotta hope that at least my little tussle with the thing slowed it enough it ain't gonna kill anyone else tonight." Jeff nodded.
"At least we have more information." Kyle added. "Maybe now we can find out what this thing is..."
"You're Rose Prevost?" the woman asked.
"Er, no...other Client Administrator. Chelsea Aberdeen."
The woman rolled her eyes and looked mildly embarrassed. "Sorry about that...I'm Dr. Jennifer Thompson. I understand I'm expected?"
Chelsea shook her hand. "Dr. Thompson, of course...Rose and the other are this way..."
Otter strode into the room, and his eyes just about fell out as he dropped a wrench. "Why, hello there, young lady." He puffed his blue sideburns. "I'm Dr. Masterson. Nathaniel Masterson. Wanna find out what I'm a master of?"
Jennifer calmly regarded the little man. "This is Otter, right? Rose warned me about him..."
"I'm sure what she told you probably didn't do him justice." Chelsea confirmed. "But it could be worse--you could've had to deal with our old boss. He took a lot after Dr. Venkman..."
"Then I'm glad I missed him." Jennifer replied, not entirely honestly. Truth to tell, the comment made her curious...
"But stay away from the new boss or I scratch your eyes out." Chelsea ribbed good naturedly.
Fritz, Will, and Detective Fox were sitting closely, watching the screen. Lance Dirkman was reclining nearby, looking really bored with the whole thing.
"Damn ugly dude..." Will whistled.
"Reminds me of my second wife's mother..." Zach quipped. "Only without the hair bun..."
Dirkman piped up when the two women entered the room (Sure, Otter was close behind, but Dirk didn't care...)
"Helloooo, Nurse!!!" he cried excitedly, getting to his feet. "I'm Lance Dirkman. Detective Lance Dirkman." He practically teleported over to Jennifer. "I'm a cop. But not one of those bad cops, like the ones that beat up Rodney King. I'm a good cop. I'm the best in the precinct at handling my weapon."
Chelsea looked ready to barf. Jennifer tried to gently remove the policeman's arm from over her shoulder.
Rose shook Jennifer's hand. "You want me to mace him for you?"
"I don't think that will be necessary..." Jennifer answered.
"Are you sure? I have a mace in my purse..."
"Don't you mean a 'can of mace'?" Dirk asked.
"No. A mace. A hammer with spikes on it."
Dirk laughed uncomfortably.
Otter jumped two feet. "HOLY MOTHER OF MICKEY MOUSE!!! That's where I've seen her before!!!" He skittered away with inordinate excitement.
"Do we even want to know?" Will asked.
"Probably not." Rose answered. "This is Dr. Jennifer Thompson, the new Reservist..."
There was a quick round of introductions. Jennifer was conspicuously starting to stay away from Dirk, who was conspicuously trying to keep close to her.
"I'm just glad you decided to give me a chance..." Jennifer said, when the introductions were over.
"Jill Belmont recommended you. Dr. Venkman looked over the paperwork and agreed you were qualified..." Fritz replied.
"Knowing Dr. Venkman, I'm not sure it was her academic credentials that impressed him..." Jeff smirked.
Otter ran back in the room. "It's you!!!" he was holding an issue of Playboy magazine that looked like it had been...roughly handled.
All the blood drained out of Jennifer's face.
Otter opened it conspicuously quickly--to a page that featured none other than new hire Dr. Jennifer Thompson, wearing her most winning smile..
...And absolutely nothing else.
"I thought your name sounded familiar!" Otter said, little short of literally drooling now. "This was one of my favorite issues..."
Jennifer grabbed the magazine out of his hand, and angrily tore it into little pieces. "I DIDN'T DO THIS!!! THOSE BASTARDS!!! I'M SICK OF THIS!!!"
Otter looked ready to cry when she dumped the confetti that had been his magazine over his head. Then she angrily stormed out of the room.
Fritz and Chelsea looked at each other, nodded, and the latter went in the same direction the angry new reservist had stormed off.
"So which issue was that?" Dirkman asked Otter eagarly.
Otter didn't answer him. He was in tears, sobbing as he cradled the remnants of his ex-magazine.
The Ghostbusters and the detective at the computer perked up when a tone sounded.
"Looks like it found a match..." Kyle said. "The description Jeff gave us made all the difference..."
Fox snapped his fingers in front of Dirk's nose. "Take a cold shower, Dirk...we may have something here..."
"According to the archive, the description partially matches a drawing of a Ninteenth century legend, when Los Angeles was still owned by Spain...there were three desperadoes who terrorized the local countryside. There real names were never discovered, but the Native Americans call them Darmond the Tormentor, Calent the Eye Collector, and the Blemisher." Kyle read.
"Calcent the Eye Collector..." Kyle continued. "...was known for his practice of murdering green eyed people and cutting out thier eyes."
"Why only green eyed people?" Fox asked.
"It doesn't say..."
"Any number of possibilities..." Jeff mused. "For one thing, it had to be pretty rare in the days when only Native Americans and Spaniards controlled the area..."
"Guess it's a good thing Dr. V's back in New York, huh?" Will deadpanned. "Otter, how's that little project going? Otter?"
Otter was too busy crying over his ruined magazine.
"Maybe we'll ask later." Will shrugged.
"You forget I lived most of my life in Indianapolis" Fritz said to Andy. "We actually had winter there...in fact, they're still unburying themselves from all the snow they got right before Christmas..."
"I bet your Midwest winters were nothin' compared to where I've been the last few months." Jeff chimed in.
"Yeah yeah, Creepy Freeze, we know..." Andy chuckled. "Anything yet?"
"No...but I'm looking"
"My meter's still flatline too..." Will contributed. He was with Fox and Dirkman in their car.
"I just hope this nutty plan of yours works, Fritters..."
"So do I...but since Calcent doesn't appear to be a ghost, and is emitting radiation, it calls for some unusual measures. I just hope this does it..." .
"Not nearly as much as we do..." Jeremy muttered.
Jennifer sighed after taking a sip of her coffee. "I wish I could be out there with them..."
"I know." Fritz nodded, very able to understand the feeling. "But you're not fully trained in all the equipment yet, and this situation sends standard operating procedure right out the window. Have you bust a couple of nice easy poltergeists before I throw you into something like this..."
Jennifer nodded. She didn't like it, but she understood. "Er...about that stuff earlier..."
"Hm?" Fritz didn't even look up from the console. He was monitoring the remote feed on the three PKE meters in the field.
"I didn't pose for those pictures. Well, I posed for the pictures--back in college, I did some lingerie modelling to help make ends meet. But this slimeball I used to date had the photos doctored to...remove the lingerie, and sold those to the perv magazine."
"Dr. Thompson, it was really none of my business. Even if you had really posed for those pictures, it doesn't change your qualifications or your fitness to be on this team one iota." Fritz then spared her a look. "But I appreciate you setting the record straight."
Just then, one of the meters started to react.
"I got it, Doc." Jeff replied. "It's practically the same f***ing alley we tangled in last night!!!"
Calcent moved in for the kill. It had been so long...so very long he wasn't able to hunt...since the magician claiming the power of some pagan god called "Hermes" had burned him, and sealed him away...
Calcent's contemplation of his would-be prey's pretty green eyes came to a halt as he was forcibly kicked from behind, away from the target, and slamming into a wall.
For a moment, he wasn't sure who the attacker was...but he had a gift for recognizing eyes, after all, and this one had the eyes of the warrior he'd fought last night, though his garb was different.
"Get the f*** out of here!!!" Jeff shouted at the gangsta. The kid ran, a slight trail of yellow liquid marking his passage.
Jeff was now wearing the new blue and orange GBWC flight suit, though the nonstandard boots he'd favored before had been replaced with his two-toed tabi "ninja" boots. He wasn't wearing a proton pack, but then again he had seldom worn one even before getting ninja training...
In favor of the weapon he levelled at Calcent, and fired--the proton rail gun.
Calcent staggered back as the shot hit him. Not wholly a beam of ionized particles, as he'd been hit with the night before...but projectiles with real mass, leaving a gooey pink splatter behind.
"Startin' it!!!" Andy yelled, jabbing a button on the vehicle's console. Though a lot of the "decorative" equipment of the ECTO-1S was gone, there was still a powerful PA system.
The sounds of Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" began to blare into the Los Angeles night.
Jeremy Hicks threw open the back door of the ECTO-WC. Kyle Stevens, his body wrapped in a protective radiation suit, jumped out, a bulky apparatus comprised of pressure tanks strapped to his back, a long, silver tube ending in a nozzle gripped tight in his hands.
Calcent looked around, confused. "What is this horrible screeching?" his voice like rusty nails snarled.
Jeremy, Will, and Andy appeared at the edges of the alleyway, neutrona wands in hand.
Jeff fired a couple more shells into the monster, then did a series of backflips that carried him back to where Will was standing. "He's all yours, Dr. Stevens."
The silver tube in Kyle's hands came to life, and a spray of pinkish-tinged psychomagnetherically charged ectoplasm blasted into the Eye Collector.
It howled in rage and pain. Then it jumped toward Kyle Stevens...
"Setting Three!!! Full stream!!!" Andy barked. Setting three was one of the innovations made to the Mark 4 proton pack system--whereas the original Mark 1's only had two settings, Attack and Confinement, the newer system boasted five. Setting three was designed to repulse an entity, drive it back if necessary. It didn't work as well against Calcent as it would've against an actual ectoplasmic being, but it did stun it.
Kyle turned up the slime blower to full spray.
Calcent writhed, and threw it's carving knife at Kyle.
The knife severed the hose connecting the blower to the backpack.
"Oh shit..." Jeremy inhaled.
"We gotta hope that's enough!!!" Will shouted.
"It's still soaked in the slime." Kyle pointed out, starting to back off. "Just a few more moments of the song..."
Jackie Wilson continued to blare. Calcent screamed.
"Radiation is almost flatlined" they heard Fritz's voice over the earpieces they were wearing.
"Then now is the time." Jeff smirked, and inhaled. He made the same gesture he had the night before, and a blast of blue energy struck the creature, once more freezing it, this time encased in positively-charged mood slime.
They waited with bated breath as a few agonizing moments ticked away.
"Radiation level is completely normal."
They waited a few more seconds before Andy finally dared to say it. "Kick ass. We did it."
"I think this makes it official." Kyle exhaled, taking off the helmet of the radiation suit. "The Ghostbusters West Coast Division Version 2.0 makes it's first bust."
"Not as big a team as we used to be." Andy nodded. "But just as good."
The five Ghostbusters whooped and high-fived each other.
Zachary Fox shook his head. "I still don't look forward to fillin' out the report on this one..."
"But hey, the important part is that we have the guy on ice." Dirk beamed. "What? Somebody had to say it before the hillbilly did..."
Most of the team had just gotten up, having been out late the night before. Lunch (which looked more like breakfast) still lay on the table in front of them.
"We look good..." Andy grinned, his satisfaction obvious. "About time we got some good press."
"Well, we ARE good..." Jeremy agreed. "Egyptian gods, Sumerian gods, hobgoblins, werewolves...we smoke those bitches out and we do them in!"
"As observant as you are I wonder..." Chelsea rolled her eyes.
"I gave you an extra day." Fritz said with a sudden impish smirk. "I believe you owe me twenty dollars..."
Chelsea snorted and pulled out a twenty dollar bill.
"Oh, you know I'm just going to spend it on you..." Fritz chuckled. "I, of course, think it looks stunning..."
"You are an incredibly sweet and observant man..." she said kissing his cheek as she passed over the money. "The rest of you are a bunch of unobservant male dorks..."
The other male Ghostbusters blinked. Comprehension dawned on them.
"This was about the new hairstyle?" Jeff said. "I noticed, I just didn't say anything because my train of thought was 'Huh, Chelsea's got a new haircut. Okay...' and went about my business." he smirked "Don't ever question a ninja's observation skills."
Andy rolled his eyes "Whoa! Talk about some harsh talk, Chelsea.... I would say that your hair looks awesome, but it looks like what my evil ex did with hers. I'm gonna go off into a corner and cry now, so I hope you're happy" he said as he wolfed down another sausage biscuit.
"It's not that I didn't notice, it's just that we've all been busy trying to get the warehouse back to where it was before August" Jeremy looked around nervously. "And by the way Chelsea, it looks good on you."
"Okay, okay, you're all forgiven...but grife, if you'd just said something I wouldn't be out twenty bucks..."
Everyone in the room laughed.
Rose cleared her throat. "Okay, somebody has to ask--while we're celebrating, what about the eyeball killer? We can't exactly stuff him in the Containment Unit..."
Fritz took a bite out of his toast. "The 'project' we had Otter working on was modifying a freezer into which Calcent has been stored. It's kept well below zero degrees Celsius, and an internal speaker system keeps the mood slime positively charged, which seems to help keep him dormant." Fritz smirked. "Pardon the phrase, but he's safely on ice. "
They all hissed and threw napkins at him.
Anywhere else, the black trench coat would fit in well on a cold January day. But in the Los Angeles heat, it made him stand apart...
That is if his gaunt features, ashen skin stretched tight over his face like old leather, and oily black hair pulled into a ponytail, wouldn't already make him an unusual--and creepy--sight.
He regarded the former warehouse carrying the all-too-familar logo. The return of the Ghostbusters operation to Los Angeles was not welcomed...
His face contorted into a Cheshire grin.
...But then again, it's been a long time since I've had a real challenge.
With a gesture, he was gone. And a strangely cold wind blew outside Ghostbusters Central West