CURTAIN CALL
PART THREE

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, Official Historian
With Contributions From the Rest of the GBWC Team
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2004-22/100

April 25, 2004
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year 22
Before Peter Venkman, Joey Williams, Kyle Stevens, and Peter Kong, in the center of the circle of chanting bird creatures, was an altar emblazoned with heiroglyphics.

Standing beside the altar, leading the chant, was a man wearing an ornate costume, black with golden accessories cast in an Egyptian theme, a glowing red scarab on its chest.

"He looks like Gerald Butler..." Kyle muttered.

"Who the hell's Gerald Butler?" Joey retorted

"I'll tell you later..."

Also standing beside the altar was the Ravisher, no longer wearing his hoodie, instead bearing Egyptian-style garb of his own.

And tied to the altar, dressed in a skimpy costume like something out of Cleopatra, was actress Catharine Bartholomew.

"Cath!!!" Venkman shouted. "Hang on--we're here!!!"

"Peter?!" Catharine shouted hoarsely, in surprise and hope. She'd given up screaming for help hours ago, but now...

The cult leader turned to the Ghostbusters. "Interlopers...you know not what you interrupt..." the man said in a deep voice. "Followers of Anubis, destroy them..."

"Oh hell..." Peter cursed as the bird creatures turned away from the ritual and moved toward them.

"The Sacrifice is at hand..." the black-garbed man said, turning back toward the Ravisher and Catharine. "The power of the Eye of Apophis will be consecrated with the blood of the Sacrifice, and within one turning of Ra's eye all will be one with Anubis..."

The Ravisher raised a talon. "Sorry, toots...we had our fun, but now it's time to go. Say hi to Jonny-Boy for me..."

Catharine Bartholomew screamed as the raised talon fell, headed for her exposed throat...

A Mickey Mouse hat fluttered under the Ravisher's nose.

It was such an unexpected sight, such a distraction, that the monster flinched--exactly as Peter Kong had hoped.

Before the Ravisher could move, could use the powers he'd sold his soul for to go incorporeal, Kyle Stevens physically rammed him. Though smaller than the Ravisher, Kyle was not a small man--he was large enough that he threw the creature off balance, it's talon missing its fatal mark by inches.

"What in the name of...?" the cult leader started to sputter.

Joey Williams sent a beam of proton fire whizzing about two feet away from the man's head.

"Look!!! The Gryffindor Quiddich team!!!" Venkman shouted, pointing at the far corner of the room.

The cult of bird creatures turned to look at the direction he pointed, and he took the opportunity to make for the altar.

"Back away from the altar, motherf***er!!!" Joey snarled in his best menacing voice, and fired again. Peter Kong fired as well. Neither tried to hit the man, but they did force him back.

The Ravisher howled and jumped for them, but with a year's worth of Ghostbusting experience, Peter and Joey snagged him in their proton beams.

"This one's for Jon, you son of a bitch..." Peter snarled, thinking of his former boss, the man who's death at the Ravisher's hands had led to the formation of the Ghostbusters West Coast.

"The trap, Doctor Stevens." Joey said with unavoidable satisfaction.

Kyle looked at the writhing, cursing monster. That night, he'd saved Jon Dennison from the original attack--only to have the monster appear in the hospital to finish the job. It had cost Kyle his job; but more, the senselessness of the death--and all he had learned about Joseph Snurf and the Ravisher had only made it seem even more senseless--infuriated the normally gentle doctor from Alabama.

Venkman's beam joined theirs. He'd known Dennison longer than any of them--twelve years ago, just before Venkman had married his longtime love, Dennison had hired Catharine Bartholomew for a movie project. It was the first prospect Venkman had signed, and started him into the agency business that had made the years away from Ghostbusting quite lucrative for him. Had made the prosperous life he'd been able to give Dana, Oscar, and Jessica possible.

Kyle unlatched the ghost trap from his proton pack, and tossed it into position. With a quiet prayer, he stomped the pedal, releasing the pyramid of white light that sucked the jackal-headed entity that was once Joseph Snurf into its innards. With a loud exhalation, he released the pedal, and the light vanished as the trap snapped shut.

"Rest in peace, Jon." Peter said quietly, with a nod. Beside him, Joey nodded in agreement.

Venkman reached the altar, the intended sacrifice sobbing with joy. "Oh, Peter..."

Venkman brandished his thrower to dissuade the cult leader and the bird creatures, who by now had realized that they had fallen for a really old trick. "You punks wanna sacrifice her you gotta get through me first."

The three younger Ghostbusters nodded with agreement at this.

The cult leader glared at them, but said nothing.

"And I already know you ain't my Daddy, so don't even try that one!!!" Andy Harness mocked, as he blocked another lunge from the armored creature calling itself "Herr Geistimann"

"Where the hell's Chad?!" Jeff Nash asked, poking into the muck with his thrower.

"I could start blasting..." Robert Griffiths mused out loud. "But I might hit Chad--I doubt his bloody luck's that good."

"Insolent dog!!!" Herr Geistimann howled, making a series of ferocious attacks that Andy deflected with his neutrona saber.

"I had an insolent dog once..." Andy drawled in return, continuing to sound profoundly bored with the battle. "Damn thing kept takin' dumps on the floor. And you wouldn't believe the way it acted during thunder storms..."

Just like in Star Wars, Micheal Chad managed to pop out of the slime covering the floor of the room, a long tentacle wrapped around his body. "Blast the damn thing, dawgs!!!"

Jeff and Robert fired, aiming for the spot from which the tentacle came. There was an angry roar, and the tentacle released Chad. Jeff and Robert pulled the chunky Canadian to his feet; as they were already dripping with slime from their fall into the room, it didn't matter all that much that he was completely soaked with it.

"Where's your bloody luck now?" Robert smirked.

"You hit it so it released me, right? Close enough for me..." Chad managed to reply in between coughing up slime.

That's when the creature fully surfaced--it looked like a giant cobra drenched in the slime of the room. It roared angrily.

"Great...where's GI Joe when you need him?" Jeff muttered. Spawn of Apep he reminded himself, the phrase Herr Geistimann had used to describe it. It really starts to fit the Egyptian theme here...jackal-headed assassin, giant pyramid...I wonder if they had anything to do with reviving that mummy back on New Years...

"Fire!!!" Robert shouted. The three Ghostbusters fired at the snake, but couldn't draw a bead on it--it moved so fast they had to dodge before they could snare it.

Andy, meanwhile, was beginning to feel the strain--the good news was that Herr Geistimann had been angered by Andy's insults, exactly as planned, and his swordsmanship was getting distinctly sloppier. The bad news was that he was pummelling harder and faster. I just need an opening...or some help...

Then Andy saw an opportunity.

With a rebel yell he dodged and feinted Geistimann's latest slashes, and slipped under his grasp before the large, armored being could process the unexpected move.

Andy swirled his neutrona saber defiantly. "You know somethin' Hot Dog? You suck. And you don't just suck--you suck a whole lot."

Robert caught Andy's eye--and realized what he was trying to do. Robert shot a blast that failed to hit the snake.

"Puny mortal fool!!! I will have your head for this!!!" Geistimann lunged again, sword slashing...

Andy jumped aside.

Robert's blast missed the snake again, but forced it to dodge left to avoid it...

...Taking it right into the course of Herr Geistimann's blade, lopping the creature's head straight off.

"Unglaublich!!!" Geistimann howled, dumbfounded, as his servant splashed into the slime in two pieces.

Three proton beams slammed into him full force.

"I got somethin' for ya, Darth Suckwad--an extended stay in the Ecto Containment Unit Hotel!!!" Andy quipped as he unhooked a ghost trap from his back. He didn't bother to throw it and stomp the pedal--he just shoved it in Herr Geistimann's face and tripped the side button.

Andy hoisted the trap. "Gosh I'm good."

"I hate to break this to you, Qui-Gon, but look at the indicator light--it blinks that fast it ain't gonna hold long..." Jeff pointed out.

"Then I suggest we make a getaway quick--before the bloody thing blows." Robert suggested.

Andy shrugged, then grabbed the severed head of the snake creature. He stuffed the trap in its mouth, striped doors down, and set the head deep into the slime. With one more smug grin, he quipped "Okay, now we can go..."

Fritz Baugh stared at the makeshift connection on his proton pack for a few more seconds. I'm not sure how long it'll hold, if at all

Ron Daniels and John Lipsyte dodged another blast sent at them by Frau Geistimann. Ron drew on years of Ghostbusting experience; John on the psychic senses that were his special gift.

"We'll hold the bitch, Fritz--find Jeremy!!!" Ron shouted.

Not being sure of his pack's operational status, Fritz didn't need too much convincing. He moved quickly in the direction of the doorway Jeremy had been sent through moments before.

It was all a blur...the evil naked chick...being tossed by the winds..then...something was there...but...he couldn't remember, he...what happened?

Beware the snare of Anpu...seek those who follow the neon banner of the rat...the ludicrous one and the dragon of victory, the healer and the binder of spectres...but guard yourself, for the ten will be sundered...

La Llarona's prophesy? it came to him in a flash. What does that have to do with this?

"Jeremy? Can you hear me?" he heard a familiar voice calling to him.

He opened his eyes woozily, to see Fritz standing there. "Not so loud, Doc...I was just trying to catch up on my beauty sleep."

"If I was Andrew or Joseph, I might jokingly suggest that you'd have to be Rip Van Winkle. Are you all right?"

"To use one of the GBI Standard Phrases, 'I fell like the floor of a taxi cab'"

Fritz helped him up. "We don't have time to dawdle--Ron and John are fighting that enchantress, or whatever, and my proton pack's damaged. We need to get back there..."

Jeremy stopped, a sudden thought coming to him. "Fritz...that weird word you use to log into the GBCentral computer..."

" 'Veedramon'?" Fritz responded. "I told you--it's an anime reference, Digimon to be specific...but I really don't see the relevance to this..."

"What does it mean?"

"Jeremy..."

" 'Vee' is 'Victory'...'dra' for 'dragon'...'Dragon of Victory'..." Jeremy muttered to himself. "It's all making more sense now..."

With that, he turned and sprinted back to the battle. "Well, are you coming or what?" he called back to the confused Fritz.

Ron breathed a sigh of relief as Fritz and Jeremy ran into the room. Jeremy's proton beam joined theirs; it took Frau Geistimann by surprise, and the three beams were enough to hold her steady.

Fritz unhooked the trap from his pack and the writhing, cursing she-demon was sucked inside.

"That won't hold long--I suggest we get out of here before she breaks loose." Fritz noted.

"No need to tell me twice--book it!" Ron whooped, indicating the far door with his thrower.

"You okay?" John asked Jeremy. Something was buzzing in his head.

"I'm fine." Jeremy said curtly, and moved away from him.

Something is not...right with him...I gotta tell Joey and Kyle to give him the once-over when we get home...

It didn't take Venkman long to release Catharine--"One more skill I learned from Dear Old Dad" he quipped as he ably picked the locks holding her to the altar.

She hugged him tightly, sobbing the whole time. "I can't believe this...oh my God..."

"Bet you'll never accuse me of making up the Ghostbuster stuff again, huh?" he said brightly, trying to use humor to keep her from getting even more hysterical.

It worked. "Shut up!!!" she cried, nevertheless just a tinge of laughter working its way into her sobs.

"You are a real peace of work, Pal..." Joey said, his thrower still trained on the cult leader. "You are what we in the psychology business like to call 'A Sicko'"

A smile crossed the man's face. It made Peter uneasy. He still felt like he wanted to sneeze.

"You have captured the Ravisher, correct?"

"Not a moviegoer, I take it." Joey chuckled. "He's safely contained in a ghost trap, and will be soon deposited into our state-of-the-art Ecto Containment Unit. Kind of like a ghost version of the jail the police will be throwing you into."

"Joey..." Peter said, his unease growing.

"Think about that, huh? I bet Big Louie in block 5 will just love that handsome face of yours. From Cult Leader to Big Louie's Bitch in the space of a single afternoon--how does that grab you, Sunshine?"

"You don't need to pile it on, Joey..." Kyle muttered through gritted teeth. The crisis was far from over--they still needed to get out of this place.

"You have been more helpful than you realize, Mortal..." the man smiled, and made a gesture with his left hand.

It had become unofficial GBWC protocol to fit unused traps on their housing at the left side of the proton packs, and to attach used ones to the belt--to keep the two seperate. The trap with the Ravisher in it was hanging from Kyle Stevens' belt--until it jumped off of it and flew into the cult leader's hand.

"That's our property!!!" Joey shouted indignantly.

"And the being inside is mine." the cult leader retorted. Abruptly, he flew into the air, trap clutched in his grip. "In the name of your master, destroy them, my minions!!!" he howled, and flew through the doorway opposite the Ghostbusters.

"F***!!!" Joey snarled, and fired a blast at the retreating cult leader. The blast was deflected a foot away from the man's body, as though it were a stream of water hitting a glass window.

"Um...Joey..." Peter gulped. "I think the natives are getting restless."

Sure enough, the bird creatures were advancing on the four Ghostbusters and the would-be sacrifice, cawing angrily. Venkman took a deep breath, and fired on them.

The blast knocked it back; "They're entities!!! Standard procedure!!!" he whooped, trademark cheshire grin appearing.

"Yeah...but there's like two dozen of them!!!" Kyle pointed out.

"Shut up and shoot." Joey deadpanned.

"Form a ring--Miss Bartholomew in the middle!" Kyle barked.

They did. The four Ghostbusters fired blast after blast, managing to catch a few of the bird-entities, but it was beginning to look hopeless. There were just too many of them.

"WHOO-HOO!!! A DUCK SHOOT!!!" a loud, Tennessee-drenched voice shouted, and suddenly four more proton beams tore into the bird creatures.

Joey's group turned to see Andy Harness, Jeff Nash, Robert Griffiths, and Mike Chad firing the beams.

The balance of power turned quickly. Within minutes, the squalking entities were safely contained.

"You know, it doesn't help GBI's image to have our employees caked with slime." Venkman quipped. "But then again, who am I to say anything about that?"

"With all due respect, Doctor V--Bite Me." Andy retorted. "You guys seen Fritters?"

"Last time we saw him he was with you..." Kyle answered.

"We got split up--him, Ron Jeremy and John went one way, we went the other..."

"We'll have to look later." Joey said with uncharacteristic firmness. "The cult leader took the Ravisher--and I got a bad feeling the whole show ain't over yet."

He floated into the Los Angeles night sky, the rain still pouring down--but as before, it was deflected before it reached him.

He hefted the ghost trap, a satisfied grin crossing his lips.

He crushed the trap in his grip, and as it shattered a cloud of familiar smoke was released. The Ravisher appeared, and genuflected before the man.

"Thank you once again, My Lord" the jackal-headed creature said.

"Your role is not yet played, my servant..."

The eight Ghostbusters followed Jeff's lead--his PKE meter was now definitely showing the flow of PKE toward the top of the pyramid.

Venkman made a gesture that meant "shush"--he was more than a little bit concerned about having to take Catharine along with them, but they agreed that splitting up again would not be a good idea--and that the cult leader had to be stopped. Now

The older man crept up to the corner of the next turn. A few seconds later, he jumped to face whatever was there, neutrona wand primed...

...And Ron Daniels, in a similar position, stared back at him.

"Very good, Doctor Daniels." Venkman played it off. "You pass the test on Sneaking Up On People Around the Next Corner."

Fritz, Jeremy, and John were there too, the bespectacled physicist studying his PKE meter. "I detected a sudden reconcentration of energy at the apex of the pyramid--we were going to investigate it."

"Us too. Wanna come along?' Joey grinned, slapping Fritz on the shoulder. Venkman shook his head, but not unfondly--Joey and Fritz really reminded him of a certain couple of long-time Ghostbusters sometimes...

"SpecterHarness..." Jeremy muttered. "That's Andy's log-in name...'the Binder of Spectres'..."

"Huh?" John reacted, not sure if he'd heard what he thought he'd heard.

"And Kyle's a doctor..." Jeremy continued quietly, talking to himself. "The healer..."

John got a chill down the back of his neck. I have got to let Joey and Fritz know about this

A few minutes later, the mob of Ghostbusters came to an opening. Through it was an open chamber, the rain pouring angrily from outside, the wind howling eerily.

"There they are!!!" Chad shouted. The Ravisher and the cult leader were there, the rain splashing away from the man, deflected before it even reached him.

"We have some unfinished business with you, Snurfy!!!" Joey shouted. "For one thing, you've been giving all us guys named Joseph a really bad rep..."

"Oh, boo hoo..." the Ravisher snorted derisively.

Ron looked at the cult leader. "He looks like Gerald Butler..."

Kyle nodded. "That's what I said."

"Who the bloody f*** is Gerald Butler?" Robert muttered. "I've thrown in with a bunch of bloody lunatics..."

The Ravisher continued to rant. "Jon Dennison was a piece of shit. He screwed me on the movie project, cut me out of the idea that I brought to him!!! It was MY idea to base the movie off the 'Skeleton Dance' short, but not to hear him tell it!!! That louse ruined me, and he got what he deserved!!!"

The cult leader said nothing.

"That isn't true!" Catharine shouted. "Jon wanted you to get help, and you didn't--when you showed up to work stinking drunk that was the last straw..."

"You always took his side, didn't you, bitch?!" the Ravisher spat. "I don't know why I ever even tried--I didn't have Jonny-boy's bank account, and that's all chicks like you care about isn't it?"

"That's a little harsh..." Venkman said. "You got ex envy issues, don't you? I sympathize--you should've seen the Stiff who was my wife's first husband..."

"Shut up, Venkman" the Ravisher replied. "You go through an awful lot of trouble for this c*** you ain't even married too--does that wife of yours know about this?"

The cult leader turned to face the assembled group. "The time is now. The stroke of midnight approaches, and the moment for the sacrifice is nigh..."

"You ain't sacrificing nobody..." Joey snarled, and aimed his thrower.

" 'Ludicris'..." Jeremy muttered. "That's his log-in name...'the ludicrous one'..."

Venkman, Ron, Andy, and Jeff closed ranks around Catharine, particle throwers (and proton rail gun) ready to fire.

The man smiled. "You assume that your female friend was to be the sacrifice...she is not."

Even the Ravisher looked dumbstruck. "What? Then what was the f***ing point of all this?"

"The true sacrifice had to be readied." the man replied, eyes narrowing. "For the full power of the Eye of Apophis to be unleashed, at the moment of Ra's nadir, a corrupted heart must be offered as sacrifice. A heart with the blood of it's best friend and the one it loved staining it..."

Before anyone could react, his hand shot to the Ravisher's neck. "Yours, Joseph Snurf. You sold your soul for revenge. You murdered your best friend. The sacrifice of your woman was thwarted, but only because your death blow was deflected--for my purpose, it is just as good as if you had killed her."

The Ravisher screamed.

"Joe!!!" Catharine shouted. Even through all that she'd endured, the pain in the voice of the creature that was once her lover was real, stabbing into the part of her heart that was still his, and probably always would be.

"FIRE!!!" Fritz shouted, compelled by something that could only be called primal instinct.

The beams sizzled through the downpour, but just as the beams that the smaller team had fired earlier, they never reached their target, splashing against his forcefield--and worse, being sent right back at them, forcing them to scatter or be hit by the rebounded shots.

The Ravisher's body crackled with a blood red light. With one last howl of utter agony and terror, he seemed to be consumed by the same mists that he'd used to travel back and forth.

There was a dull thud, as out of the mists fell a human man, dressed in the same Egyptian finery the Ravisher had been wearing.

With a bloody, gaping hole where his heart used to be.

Kyle realized, with a chill, that the wound looked exactly like the one that had killed Jon Dennison a year earlier.

"JOOOOE!!!" Caharine screamed.

The cult leader was now laughing, a deep, gleeful laugh, as energy played around the red scarab on his broach.

"Rejoice, you pitiful fools..." his voice rang out. "You bear witness to the arrival of your new god..."

The man started to grow.

"With the sacrifice of the corrupt heart, only one turning of Ra's eye remains--before my power spreads to this entire accursed world. The world that turned its back on us millenia ago..."

As he grew, he began to change. The head of Gerald Butler disappeared. In its place, a jackal-like head not too dissimilar to the Ravisher's, but of a deeper, darker pelt, and bearing a pharoah-like headdress.

"Bear witness, for Anpu, son of Assar, chosen of Sutekh, Lord of Atrocity and God of Death, is ruler of your world now!!!"

"Oh shit..." Chad inhaled.

A bead of cold sweat dropped down Jeremy Hicks' brow. " 'The ten will be sundered...' "

"What the f*** do we do now?!" Peter shouted.

"Anpu...the proper name of the Egyptian God more commonly referred to by the Hellenization of his name, Anubis..." Fritz said, sounding a bit dazed.

"Sorry, Venkman...I'm terrorized beyond the capacity for rational thought..." The memory came unbidden into Venkman's mind.

"How bad is this?" Joey asked.

"It doesn't get much worse." Jeff answered. "Anubis was the God of Death, one of the big names of the Egyptian pantheon."

"Ray will love this." Venkman deadpanned. "That was the one major pantheon we never confirmed the existance of."

"Assuming we live to tell the story..." Ron retorted.

"One turning of Ra's eye...before his power spreads throughout the world?" John asked.

"Ra was the god of the sun..." Jeff answered. "Had the head of a hawk. One turning...means one day. By this time tomorrow..."

"I don't think we wanna go there." Joey broke in. "Okay, guys...Dr. Venkman, do you want to do the honors?"

"Your team, Dr. Williams."

"Heat'em up!!!" Joey barked.

"Full stream!" Fritz added. If that isn't enough I don't think we need to worry about the safety cut-off...

Joey smirked. "Let's show this dog-faced f***tard how we do things out West!!!"

The twelve Ghostbusters fired again. The beams hammered into the giant, jackal-headed god, but even though they seemed to reach him this time--instead of bouncing off a forcefield--they didn't seem to be doing much damage either.

Anubis turned and glared at them.

"I grow weary of your interference..." he said simply, and they were surrounded with an inferno of black fire.

It was cold as night, and just as dark. It ensnared them, and one by one, they felt their strength fail...and they crashed to the ground...

Beware the snare of Anpu...seek those who follow the neon banner of the rat...the ludicrous one and the dragon of victory, the healer and the binder of spectres...but guard yourself, for the ten will be sundered...

That's the Prophesy!!! The one La Llarona told me...where did you hear it?!

I saw it...in a vision, just before I joined the team....you were in it...

What's happening?

Peter?

I couldn't save Dennison...now I can't save anybody. Stevens want to go smash...

...Chelsea...

My life is like a frickin' cartoon...

It's everybody...

Dawg, looks like our luck has run out...

Chris...Dan...Tom...I'm sorry...

Bloody hell...it's like everyone's in my damn head...

They are, Robert...

That empty sound over there must be Harness...

Hey, Joey. Bite. Me.

It's like...my power's gone into overdrive...

Rational. We are in the geographical center of a psychokinetic surge probably well over two hundred cupcakes at this point.

I feel so funky...

Beware the snare of Anpu...seek those who follow the neon banner of the rat...the ludicrous one and the dragon of victory, the healer and the binder of spectres...but guard yourself, for the ten will be sundered...

It's happening, isn't it?

I don't believe in prophesy...

Hate to break this to you, but they happen--I've found myself at the center of one or two. It sucks, but you deal with it...

Beware the snare of Anpu...

Anpu...Anubis...the nasty dude we're fighting right now...

seek those who follow the neon banner of the rat...

Neon...like our Ghostbuster logo...

But banner of the rat?

Rat. Fink. Vermin. Venkman.

Since Dr. Venkman is the founder closest to us...

Like I came up with it or something. But I guess 'neon banner of the angry redheaded minyan' doesn't sound as catchy...

the ludicrous one

the dragon of victory

the healer

the binder of spectres

That's you four. Our leaders.

I think I'm hurt

Maybe they didn't know you were joinin' when they wrote the prophesy...

but guard yourself, for the ten will be sundered

Sundered? Like...

Smoked like bitches, maybe

She told the prophesy to me...maybe that means...

No.

We only have one shot at this.

What are you saying?

I need all your strength to do this...

What are you planning?

I can feel it...his power's growing, but not complete yet...the amulet is the key...

John, you can't do this!

Problem is, Boss. I'm the only one who can

His limbs were practically Jello...his head screaming, pain racking every cell of his body. But his power was growing--the gift and curse of his birth, the hidden power of the mind all could posess but only a few--such as him--do.

My power is giving me strength...enough to resist the spell, but only for a minute...I need all of your help...

Help me...

You got it

Indeed

Kick his dog ass

Because the whole world's balls are in the vice here...

John Lipsyte could feel it. The courage and will of his teammates flowing into him...even...illusion or no...Otter and Chelsea so far away. He was the only one who could act...

But he was not alone.

Anubis looked to the roiling sky, the pouring clouds parting to form a dark, angry hole, unnaturally purple lightning playing around it.

Dimensional gateway...to allow his full power to spill out...once it does...

John unstrapped the proton pack he was wearing. He dropped it to the ground, and crawled over to the still form of Dr. Fritz Baugh. He unstrapped the prone physicist's pack, and with a grunt settled it upon his own shoulders.

What are you doing?

The only answer John gave was to ramp up the power setting. An ugly whine started to come from the damaged pack

I remember that noise...and I really really don't like it...

The Eye of Apophis floated in front of Anubis.

Only one shot...

KROOM!!!

A massive blast of proton energy erupted from the neutrona wand in John's grip--the wand was destroyed and the black gloves seared into his flesh by the chaos wrought by the overcharged beam.

But the stream hit its mark.

The Eye of Apophis took the blast full, and though undamaged by it, was knocked out of Anubis's control, and thrown to the ground.

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF SUTEKH?!"

John leaped and snagged the glowing bauble, red-hot fury being poured into his already damaged limbs.

"You will give that back to me, Mortal Dustmite..." Anubis snarled

"My ass." John snarled back.

"I would suggest you honor Lord Atrocity's order" a deep voice growled.

John turned to see Herr and Frau Geistimann, the former angrily brandishing his sword.

John smirked.

The power of the Eye blazed forth, crimson fury ripping into the two henchmen and their employer.

Anubis seethed as he stepped back. "I see you have unusual power of the mind for a mortal...otherwise you could not tap the power of the Eye at all...but all of your efforts are in vain. It will destroy you in moments. Only a god can use it's power without paying the price..."

"A few moments is all I need"

The Geistimanns howled as eleven streams of proton fire was split between them.

Anubis spun to see the Ghostbusters West Coast, the power of the spell sapping them broken.

The jackal-headed creature shouted angrily, and leaped at John.

The power of the Eye of Apophis reached out again, tearing and tattering the screaming god.

"John!" Joey cried. "Drop the rock and get out of there!!!"

"Sorry, Dr. Williams--I got one more thing to do..."

The power of the Eye...the power of the energies boiling in this place...the faith and friendship of his comrades...all gathered in him.

This was his moment of destiny. The reason he'd been given his power. The reason he'd become a Ghostbuster.

He hoisted the glowing stone, and the hole in the clouds began to grow smaller.

"No!!!" Anubis shouted. "I've planned for this day for over two thousand years!!! I will not be denied!!!"

Tendrils of purple lightning snaked from the portal, wrapping Anubis and the Geistimanns in their embrace.

Anubis howled and fought.

John unstrapped the damaged proton pack he was wearing, and the power of Eye sent it hurling into the writing god, knocking him into the portal.

Shouting obscenities in German, the Geistimanns were drawn in after him.

The portal exploded as the damaged proton pack finally breathed its last, the angry fire of atomic inferno claming it.

And the world around the twelve Ghostbusters dissolved into the purest of white light...

Joey awoke with a start...he didn't know how long had passed--probably only a moment...but around him were his comrades, similarly battered and bringing themselves to consciousness. Catharine Bartholomew also lay nearby, still dressed in the Egyptian garb the cult had placed her in.

The rain was letting up.

With a start, Joey realized he was on the ground at Pershing Park; the ECTO-1N and ECTO-1S, lights still blazing, and a sizable contingent of LAPD and National Guard troops--called to cordon off the pyramid--were nearby. The pyramid itself was gone...as though it had never existed.

"John!!!" he called.

"Over here..." he heard Jeremy's voice, sounding about to break.

The first thing that hit them was the smell...Kyle knew too well the smell of burnt human flesh.

John Lipsyte looked like he'd been cooked alive. The tan sleeves of his flight suit, the arm pads, and most of the black work gloves had been burned away...charred bone showed through charred flesh.

"Hang on there, John..." Kyle said quickly, his years of medical training kicking in.

"WOULD ONE OF YOU F***ERS CALL AN AMBULANCE!?!?" Andy Harness shouted at the police.

Incredibly, John opened his eyes, and smiled. "We got him, guys..." he croaked weakly.

"John? JOHN!!!" Jeremy called out to him.

Kyle was performing CPR...several med techs had appeared...

There was a sparkle of light...and a second John Lipsyte appeared. His features whole and healthy, dressed in his tan flight suit..

And translucent.

"Oh God..." Ron inhaled. And realized that tears were forming in his eyes.

" 'The ten will be sundered', I guess it was just supposed to be this way..." he spoke. "It was an honor to serve with you guys...you were the best friends I could have ever asked for..." he looked up. There was so much he wished he could tell them...the darkness he saw growing in Jeremy Hicks...the choices that lay ahead for Ron Daniels and Joey Williams...the ordeals Fritz Baugh would soon be subjected to...

But he was being called to the Other Side.

"Ghostbusters Forever..." the ghost of John Lipsyte said, giving his teammates one last high five, then fading into the ether...

The Saga Continues...

GBWC: Intermission

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