WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CHELSEA ABERDEEN?
PART THREE

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBI Agent
GBI Case File No. GBNS-2004-22/203

September 26, 2004
Arkham, Massachusetts
"Sorry to keep you waiting..." a rich female voice called out of the ether.

Vincent Belmont turned to see the person he'd been waiting for. She was a woman probably in her fifties, with chestnut hair collected into a neatly kept style, and a lilac suit that made her look like someone who'd stepped out of the 1940's than a native of 2004.

"Not a problem, Professor." Vincent answered. "I know your time is valuable..."

Professor Alice Derleth, Miskatonic University, not only a highly regarded scholar of the Necronomicon but one of the small number of living humans who had actually faced down Great Cthulhu himself, sat down at the table facing Vincent. "I found something that might be of interest to your investigation--it matches all the criteria you came to me with." She pulled a sheaf of papers out of her briefcase.

He looked them over. "Holy God..."

"I hope for their sake your friends really aren't involved with this..."

"They have to be, Professor." Vincent shook his head. "It all matches too well--the Toad Island connection, the dreams my associate had. I fear for what will happen next..."

"As do I, Vincent." She looked around furtively. "And I apologize for taking as long as it did. You're an appointed Quaesitor, so you're probably aware that the Ghostbusters aren't...universally loved by the Order. I had to be careful."

Vincent shook his head. "That I never understood. Our goals mesh...the pursuit of knowledge, the protection of Earth from the supernatural...even Roger Bacon, who's reputed to have been one of the fathers of the Sons of Ether, is regarded as one of the greatest wizards of the Order for centuries."

"But to them that is the problem: the Ghostbusters are derived from an Etherite philosophy. There are always going to be those who think they're imprudent and dangerous....that they're crossing lines that even a Hermetic don't think should be crossed. Wizards can have long memories--and many still blame them for the drought of quintessence throughout most of the Nineties."

"Granted, there are things that mundane folk should never know about...but....but that's preposterous" Vincent sneered. "That's like blaming the weatherman for a hurricane..."

"I agree." she looked around again. "But ones close to Spengler and his operations, as well as ones who have had contact with the man claiming to be Archmage Fallagar--ones such as you and Lady Enlightenment--are being watched very carefully."

Vincent's brow furrowed. "Of that I'm aware already. During the June crisis I had...an eye-opening encounter..."

"What?"

"I'll speak no more of it now...perhaps once this situation is dealt with." Vincent stood, and shook Professor Derleth's hand. "I am in your debt, Milady...my eternal thanks."

"Be careful, Doctor Belmont. And good luck in the ordeal to come..."

JFK Airport
Jen noticed Fritz visibly stiffen as the passengers began to file out of Flight 67.

"There they are..." he finally said.

Not that Jen might have needed the confirmation in one case--one of the two passengers they were awaiting did, indeed, look very much like an older version of Chelsea Aberdeen, the woman that was the subject of their frantic search. When Pauline Aberdeen called out Fritz's name and moved to embrace the younger man, the resemblance was further validated.

"Hello, Pauline..." Fritz replied to her embrace. "Jim?"

Jim Aberdeen was a large man with a fuzzy mustache. Jen couldn't help but be reminded a little of her Uncle Egon's father-in-law. Jim grunted amiably as he shook Fritz's hand.

"God, Fritz, how bad is it?" Pauline remarked. "You look even worse than you did a week ago..."

"Not here, Pauline..." Fritz shook his head. "Jen, this is Jim and Pauline Aberdeen, Chelsea's parents. Pauline, Jim...this is Jen Spengler, one of the local Ghostbusters..."

"A pleasure to meet you." Jen said simply. "Despite the circumstances..."

"You're the niece of one of those oldtimers, right?" Jim asked. "My son Scotty's been Ghostbuster crazy ever since they saved him from that Bugbear last year..."

"Yes, Sir. Egon Spengler is my uncle." Jen replied. She'd been informed of the full story--that Jim and Pauline had divorced over ten years ago; Scotty was Jim's son by his second wife.

Fritz looked ready to stagger as they moved toward the baggage area. "We'll explain everything we've learned as soon as we get back to Nightsquad HQ..."

Jen and Pauline shared a worried look as he steadied himself.

Nightsquad Headquarters
Brooklyn, New York
Jen was about finished getting the Aberdeens up to date on the events of the previous week. "...Discovered that your sister, Mister Aberdeen, was keeping Chelsea locked in a room."

Jim Aberdeen shook his head, looking angry and ashamed. "What the hell is Dottie doing?"

Bo sat apart from the rest of them, as touchy-feely stuff was definitely not his forte. Fritz sat impassive, staring at the floor. As Pauline had noted, he looked even worse than before. His stubble was beginning to get distinct. His hair no longer held even the pretense of order. He hadn't even bothered to put on a tie.

"That's when Vincent and I were attacked by someone called 'Arvis', who matched the description of the Toad Island natives we'd begun to wonder about. Except that this particular example looked like he'd shot more steroids than Barry Bonds." Jen finished. "Here's the part that chilled me: Chelsea didn't want to fight any of it."

"When I told her Fritz was in New York, she looked horrified." A new voice broke in. The Aberdeens were startled by the appearance of Vincent Belmont, not literally out of nowhere, but close. "And said 'They'll kill him too...Vincent, you have to get him away...I'm not doing this TO him, I'm doing this FOR him...because if I don't...' "

"Don't what?" Jim asked.

"She didn't say. Or if she did, I was no longer in any condition to hear it."

"This is Dr. Vincent Belmont, Arcane Division." Fritz explained, then introduced the Aberdeens.

"His hair used to be longer, but I think those guys in England made him chop it off." Bo noted. Everyone ignored him.

"Arvis knocked Vincent out quick, and then came after me." Jen continued. "Right before he knocked me out..."

"And that f***er is gonna pay for that, by the way." Bo interjected.

"Chelsea screamed at me to not look for her. And then she said two names: 'Zach Norman and Geoff Sheppard!!! Then you'll understand!!!' "

Jim and Pauline looked at each other. "What does Geoff have to do with this?" Pauline asked.

"Who is Geoff Sheppard, Pauline?" Fritz asked, the first thing he'd said since the discussion began.

Pauline sighed. "I guess I'm not totally surprised she never told you...Geoff Sheppard was...well, I guess there's no other way to put it, but he was very nearly Chelsea's fiance."

Fritz was quiet for a few seconds. "What do you mean by that?"

"They met back when Chelsea was in, what, about seventh grade?" Pauline looked at her ex-husband.

"That sounds about right." Jim nodded. "It was right after the divorce, and you moved to Avon...'92 or so..."

"Anyway, they were in the same advanced placement classes." Pauline continued. "Got assigned together in ninth grade biology. They...well, he was her first love, Fritz. They went out all through high school..."

"I understand Pauline, really." Fritz said.

"Then where is he now?" Vincent asked. "If she mentioned him, then perhaps he knows..."

"That's not possible." Jim interjected.

"Right before graduation, Prom night, actually..." Pauline stopped and grabbed a tissue, the memories starting to bring tears to her eyes. "Chelsea was all dressed for it, looking beautiful...but Geoff was late. She started to get worried. I kept saying everything was all right...but I was wrong. A policeman rang our doorbell...Geoff..."

Fritz looked up for the first time. "What happened, Pauline?"

"The brakes in Geoff's car had gone out on the way...he'd...he'd plowed into a ditch only a few blocks away from our house..." She paused once more. "He was declared dead at the scene."

Jen gasped. Fritz looked back down.

"It was just a stupid accident...but on top of all that the police asked Chelsea a bunch of questions. She was there crying, dressed for the prom, just found out her first love was dead, and the police were grillin' her like she had something to do with it!"

Jim hugged his ex-wife. "It was eight years ago, Pauline...they were just doing their job."

"But that's why I was so happy when she met you, Fritz." Pauline finally said. "She'd shut herself off for a long time after that. Never dated in college, even though a few guys asked her, and some of her friends tried..."

"What have you got for us, Merlin?" Bo asked.

"In due time." Vincent replied. "What about the second name she mentioned--Zach Norman?"

Jim exhaled. "Y'know, I thought about it at the time how weird it was..."

"What?" Pauline asked. "What do you mean?"

"Dottie never wanted me to tell anyone, but it always creeped me out when that stuff with Geoff happened." Jim answered. "Zach was my mentor in high school...college student, wanted to be a teacher, but signed up for the Navy Reserves to get some college money--he hadn't been called for Nam yet. Anyway, while he was tutoring me, he met Dottie--and since she was a few years older than me, they started to get real serious."

"Anyway, then in '70...just after Zach had popped the question...there was an accident one weekend while he was training. There was an ammo round that was supposed to be a dummy round, but wasn't--three reservists got hurt, two were in the hospital for months. The third wasn't so lucky." He shook his head. "It was Zach. He came out of it in a body bag."

"I know you talked about the guy who tutored you in school..." Pauline said, looking at him. "But you always said it was someone who got killed in Vietnam..."

"Like I said, Dottie didn't want me telling the truth." Jim answered. "Not long after that, she starting drinking. It was why she never married...kept saying it was 'just as well for the men in the world I didn't. They'd just end up like Zach.' "

"It makes it sound as though she was quite certain of that." Jen noted.

"Perhaps she was." Vincent said. "If what I've learned is connected to this situation...she may be completely right about that."

Fritz looked up again. "You did find something, didn't you?"

"Not me, Fritz, but an aquaintance of mine from my own academic days." Vincent answered. "In an old Hermetic chronicle...an account written by a Jerbiton magus named Fergus Aberdeen, some five hundred years ago..."

"Aberdeen?" Jim asked. "Is that an ancestor of mine or something?"

"I believe so, Mister Aberdeen. It would explain a lot...Jen's dreams, Chelsea's disappearance, the murder of both her and her aunt's past suitors. But for..." he glanced quickly at Fritz "...your daughter's sake, I hope I'm wrong."

The One Thousand, Six Hundredth, and Forty-Eighth Year of the Age of Pisces
Year of Our Lord One Thousand, Five Hundred, and Four

That it has come to this brings me little relief.

When Lady Lucindra, of the Williams Clan, began to petition for an alliance between our Clans, I could not help but look at it with trepedation. Lady Lucindra hath something of a sinister reputation...but one cannot always believe the wagging tongues of rumour and gossip. But mayhaps the wagging tongues are not always falsehoods...

I found myself in the company of Lady Lucindra's vassal, Danise of the Clan MacDuff; much fear was in her, for she hath seen much that spoke confirmation of the wagging tongues. That a man--or something resembling one--hath been seen about Lady Lucindra's castle.

In truth, I felt something dark in the aura about Lady Lucindra and her castle from the first...vis of an evil, perhaps even demonic, temperment. I felt it my duty as a Follower of Jerbiton to ascertain the truth...was Lady Lucindra a mere hedge wizard dabbling in dark magic? A member of the assorted pretender orders, such as those dedicated to Ra or Odin? Or worse--was Lady Lucindra a diabolist, an Infernalist that had sold her soul to the Enemy of All?

And I will not deny my own delight in the company of Lady Danise, or hers in mine. But to find the truth, we had to hide the Love that grew between us--Lady Lucindra looked upon me as a potential suitor and ally, and I would have to play the part until my true Love and I knew the truth...

And revealed the truth was, in a word: Dagon. My pater had encountered that word before in a forbidden book written by an Arab madman; Dagon is one of the Old Ones, a vile force of nature given unholy form.

Worse, the perverted beast sought the flesh of woman for it's own foul lusts, and to create unholy spawn that could live both in the world of Man and the dark depths of his Unholy Ocean; in return, Lady Lucindra would be granted Infernal power to do with as she wished.

It was my lady Love that Lucindra the Fallen sought to sacrifice to Dagon's foul embrace. But together with my Covenant, their Infernal design was spoilt. Lady Danise was freed from the Infernalist clutches before her transmogrification and defilement could occur, and we substituted the fiend Lucindra herself. She was dragged to the depths, the demonic tentacles of Dagon plumbing her every orafice even as she shouted out a last curse upon my Love, my self, and our progeny.

But I cannot live in fear. This day, Lady Danise and I will be united in Holy Matrimony. Let Lucindra choke on her Unholy Matrimony with the Hellspawn.

--Laird Fergus Aberdeen
Dragonis Cerulean
Filius of Lupus Cerulean
Follower of Jerbiton

Nobody spoke.

"And there's one more..." Vincent said.

The One Thousand, Six Hundredth, and Sixty-Ninth Year of the Age of Pisces
Year of Our Lord One Thousand, Five Hundred, and Thirty

I hath told thee already of Angus of the Clan MacDonald, who sought the hand of mine and Danise's eldest child, our daughter Hortense. A fine, strong man, of distinguished bearing but a gentle heart. A man Danise and I have come to love nearly as much as Jacob, the son of our own loins.

Well, he is gone. A horrible sickness took him, like none that anyone--Mundane or Gifted--had seen before.

My daughter is in anguish. My wife and I find our own souls heavy. And I have had a nightmare.

Lucindra, the Infernalist who tried to sell my Love to a Hellspawn, appeared in it, laughing. Mark this well, Sorcerer. she cackled. This will be the fate of all the daughters firstborn of thy Aberdeen blood, until one of them takes my place at the side of the Deepest One

I fear for the fate of my family if she is correct, and her curse was genuine.

--Laird Fergus Aberdeen
Dragonis Cerulean
Filius of Lupus Cerulean
Follower of Jerbiton

"Oh my God..." Jim Aberdeen gasped.

"We don't know for certain that this has anything to do with this..." Jen said tentatively, hoping to keep the Aberdeens from panicing.

" 'This will be the fate of all the daughters firstborn of thy Aberdeen blood, until one of them takes my place at the side of the Deepest One' " Fritz said. "Your sister, your older sister, has a fiance die tragically. Your first child, your daughter's childhood sweetheart, dies tragically." He paused, still looking down. "Maybe...in her own mind..."

"She's trying to make sure you don't meet Geoff Sheppard and Zachary Norman's fate." Vincent finished.

"Dorothy never told me anything like this before. I promise." Jim shook his head. "Up until a year ago, I probably wouldn't have believed her even if she had...is this what she really meant all those years, though, when she said that it'd be 'better for the men of the world' if she never married?"

"And why Chelsea..." Pauline was now in tears. "And why now?"

"We don't have the answers yet." Fritz said as he finally stood up. "But if it takes my last breath to find out, that's what I'll do..."

Vincent and the two members of Nightsquad shared a quick look. They noticed it too--their friend's eyes looked less dead and aimless.

September 27, 2004
He awoke in pain...the same pain that had been growing for the last two weeks.

He looked down at his left foot...it was now red, and starting to swell. He caught a whiff of an unpleasant smell.

It was just a damn sprain from the Ashram battle... Fritz grumbled to himself. It shouldn't be doing this...I was nowhere near Ashram himself when it happened...

He took a look in the mirror. Grife on a pony...you look like death warmed over... he thought as he looked at the reflection. I haven't eaten in three days...but I'm not hungry either. Nothing else seems to matter. He splashed some water on his face, thinking he'd probably never let his facial hair grow out so far in his entire life.

He wanted to slam himself into the door or something. I shouldn't get this worked up over this...it just isn't healthy to waste away like this over a woman...

There was a loud knock. "Fritzy? You alive in there?" Bo's voice shouted though the door.

"If you call this living..." Fritz responded.

Bo opened the door. "We just got a call from Toad Island."

Fritz visibly stiffened, and his features hardened with focus.

Elsewhere...
She awoke wanting to vomit, as she had every day for the last several weeks. For so long she could scarcely relate to the days when she didn't want to wake up and vomit.

Not that there would've been much to hurl--she'd barely managed to eat since her life had been ripped apart...again...and knew it showed.

She didn't care anymore. Her hair was a stringy, dirty, unkempt mess. Body hair that was usually frowned upon by American beauty standards had appeared on her legs and armpits, with little effort to stop.

She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. But I'm doing this for him...so that he doesn't end up like Zach Norman. Or Geoff...Dear God, Geoff...

There was a loud knock.

"The time grows near." her Aunt Dorothy's voice came from the other side of the door. "Arvis has returned with the food you requested..."

She wanted to vomit again as the door opened, to admit the large, ugly creature and her Aunt. She never realized until her aunt came to her, fearful, what she had endured...how much they had in common...but even, with all that sympathy, all she knew she must do, she couldn't supress an urge to grab Aunt Dorothy and strangle the f***ing life out of her.

She was less ambivalent about Arvis. It was quite clear the slow-witted thug was constantly eyeing her, and the look obviously transmitted the message that "If I didn't think Lady Lucindra and Lord Dagon would flay me alive, I'd ensure you were...suitable for His Lordship. Personally."

She eyed one of the items in the small bag. Unsalted peanuts. That was her option...Arvis doesn't know, Aunt Dorothy either didn't notice or forgot. She didn't have the most powerful allergy to the item...but a bag this big, pure peanuts...that could be a way out of the Hell her life was coming into.

But if I do that...would this damned curse continue? If Scotty's first child is a girl, would she be next?

This time she did cry. And didn't notice the pure anguish on Dorothy Aberdeen's face as she did.

It was a bit of an unusual sight to see the ECTO-1X with sirens and lights blazing on a pleasant Sunday morning. But this wasn't a normal Sunday morning.

"Kenneth Grahame and his staff have been keeping an eye out for your girl, her aunt, and the giant f***tard who plowed Jen and Gandalf--and earlier today they saw the big f***er." Bo explained as he drove the car. "Since Kenny has our number, he called as quick as he could."

"So what did they see?" Fritz asked.

"We'll hear more when we get there..." Jen shrugged.

As the ECTO-1X entered the grounds of Toad Island, Vincent winced.

"Vincent?" Jen asked.

"The quintessence in this area...I wasn't expecting this. It wasn't like this the other day..." Vincent noted.

Fritz pulled out his PKE meter.

Error: PK Level Exceeds Sensor Tolerance Parameter.

"It wasn't doing this the other day either." Fritz noted.

All four Ghostbusters had returned to Toad Island to consult with Kenneth Grahame after Arvis's attack and the Aberdeens' disappearance. They'd learned that Arvis was an old roustabout, probably the strongest man on the Island. And had been seen in the company of a woman matching Dorothy Aberdeen's description more than once over the previous few months.

"If it's enought to sizzle Merlin and the meter, why didn't any of the sensors go off anywhere else?" Bo asked. "I'd think a trace that big would probably be noticed all the way to Jersey..."

Jen shook her head. "It matches one of the details from the 1989 incident: Uncle Egon said Toad Island exists inside a psychokinetic phase bubble...PKE can be accumulated there to frightening levels and not leak out, not be detected anywhere outside the bubble. It's why they didn't know that Dagon was about to manifest until they went into the Island itself."

They finally arrived at the small shack occupied by Kenneth Grahame, unofficial liason between Toad Island and Ghostbusters International.

The four Ghostbusters didn't waste much time on frivolities. "What did you find out?" Vincent asked.

"Arvis was sighted this morning on one of the midways...he bought some food, and then entered the Tunnel of Lovecraft." Kenneth explained. "He hasn't been seen since."

"The Tunnel of Lovecraft?" Bo asked incredulously.

"Were you aware that the supernatural energy levels on this Island had increased geometrically since last week?" Fritz asked.

Kenneth looked horrified. "Of course not...but it might explain something. Nogad...the Dagon worshipper...he's been raving like a madman since yesterday."

Fifteen years earlier, Nogad had tried to reinstitute the breeding program between the Deep Ones and captive human tourists. He had been stopped by the Ghostbusters and abandoned by the Deepest One--and had spent the intervening years in the Toad Island jail.

He was also one of the uglier inhabitants of Toad Island, despite--or maybe because--he had more human features than many of the other hybrids. Skin that was unblemished, but a sickly blue-green. A more defined nose, smaller lips pulled back in a near-perpetual leer, bushy eyebrows, and a bald head that ended in an almost cone-shaped point.

"Ghostbusters?" the fiend sniffed. "You're different than before..."

"What's going on?" Vincent asked Nogad.

"I've seen it in my dreams..." Nogad smiled a crooked smile. "The Deepest One and his Consor are about to return. They'll free me, and smash this place and all of Grahame's race traitors to bits!"

"I highly doubt that." Fritz responded. "Do you know what Arvis and Dorothy Aberdeen are up to? What they want with her niece?"

"Arvis was one of the few who supported me..." Nogad mused. "He will be rewarded richly if he is helping the Deepest One return...as for the others, well, I know not. But I can only imagine one single use the Deepest One would have with human breeder cows."

Fritz moved toward the cell with a surprising intensity. Nogad backed off, suddenly fearful of what he saw in this emaciated human's eyes.

"We're done here..." Fritz snorted. "If this son of a bitch knows anything else useful, we don't have time to let Bo beat it out of him..."

Bo threw the nub of his cigar at Nogad as they left. "Too bad..."

"But I do know one thing..." Nogad finally said. "I can sense it. One of you. The stench of death is hanging about one of you."

Vincent scowled at Nogad. "Silence, wretch...or I may return if only for the pleasure of subjecting your mind to the most horrible of arcane tortures...couple that with Bo, and you will experience a mental and physical Hell that you could not possibly comprehend..."

Nogad only cowed his head.

The four Ghostbusters and Kenneth moved back toward the parked ECTO-1X. "We don't have time to call the others..." Fritz said firmly. "There's no telling what kind of danger she's...everybody's in."

Vincent looked at him hard for a few seconds. "Agreed. We at least need to check out what we have learned."

"Kenneth..." Jen turned to their host. "If you don't see or hear anything of us in two hours, call both these numbers. One is Nightsquad headquarters, the other is Ghostbusters Central. Tell them everything you told us."

She wanted to vomit again.

"Purification is necessary..." one of the servitors said. "You must be cleansed before being presented to the Deepest Ones."

She cringed as the two hybrids--thankfully, at least they were female hybrids--scrubbed her naked body. Though she could easily imagine Arvis hiding in the shadows, watching and masturbating himself stupid at the sight. A thought that did nothing to ease her queasy stomach.

Why does it matter anyway? she grumbled to herself. I thought Aunt Dorothy made it clear that there would be some "transmogrification" involved...what the f*** does it matter if I'm "purified" or not?!

They finally finished, and they wrapped her in a short, sleeveless--and easily removable--robe. As the two servitors moved away, Dorothy appeared, dressed similarly.

"It is almost time..." Dorothy said simply.

"Like I wasn't aware of that..." Chelsea replied, angrily.

"You look beautiful..." Dorothy said, as she ran her hands through Chelsea's stringy hair.

"I look like Hell. I hope you're proud."

Dorothy moved back, feeling stung. "Chelsea..."

"I can't believe I agreed to this." Chelsea shook her head angrily.

"You know there's no choice..."

"No choice?!" Chelsea shouted, her voice becoming louder and stronger from the anger. "There's always a choice--I worked for the f***ing Ghostbusters!!! Why did I let you talk me into this, instead of going to Fritz and the others in the first place..."

"A Navy man's daughter, indeed. You never used to curse like that..."

"I've never been sacrificed to a demon before!!!"

"You know why you couldn't go to them." Dorothy replied, now beginning to return the anger. "You think I like the way this has worked out?! You think I wouldn't trade places with you?! But I can't--the Deepest One requires a Consor that is still fertile at the time of the transformation. And I'm not."

Dorothy grabbed her and continued. "And it's more important than ever if Fritz Baugh is in New York City. If the curse hasn't been activated yet, the closer he is to you, the more likely it will be. And if it already has..." she inhaled. "The danger the closer he gets to you is even greater."

"As I keep saying to you--this isn't for me." Dorothy continued to rant. "I've lived my life alone. It's too late for me now. I know you know exactly what it's like to have the man you love die--do you really want that to happen for a second time? This is for Scotty, and any daughters he or his descendants will have. You make this sacrifice today, and none of them will have to watch their Zachs or Geoffs or Fritzes die!!!"

Chelsea couldn't help herself. After weeks of hunger and fear, she lashed out. She slapped her aunt as hard as she could.

Dorothy staggered back, an incredulous look on her face.

"I hate you!!!" Chelsea shouted.

Dorothy hit her niece back, sending the weaker woman crumpling to the floor. "That's all right my Dear..."

She turned away, tears welling in her eyes. "You can't hate me any more than I hate myself..."

One of the classic, quintessential carnival rides is the "Tunnel of Love", so called because the boat ride invariably involved a trek through a very dark tunnel, encouraging couples to hold onto each other...and providing an opportunity to make out unobserved.

"Someone has a very odd sense of humor..." Vincent noted, as they approached the Toad Island version of the attraction. It had been renamed "Tunnel Of Lovecraft". "Dagon appeared in the Necronomicon, which H.P. Lovecraft popularized..."

All four Ghostbusters were fully equipped and armed. All were in black flight suits--though Vincent's Arcane Division uniform featured green stripes along the sides. Instead of his Ghostbusters West Coast uniform--the classic khaki similar to the ones the original Ghostbusters had started their careers in--Fritz was wearing the Nightsquad colors at Bo's insistence.

"Yeah, well, just keep your hands to yourself, Gandalf." Bo joked.

Vince and Jen both shot him a dirty look.

"Lucindra the Wronged, Consor of Dagon, the ones who owe you beg your audience..."

The pool was the same one from which Lucindra had been summoned before, but this time Dorothy was standing upright, still dressed in the sleeveless robe. Chelsea stood beside her, a bruise on her face where her aunt had hit her. Her eyes once again looked dead and resigned.

As it had before, the water in front of Dorothy began to bubble, and morph like a cgi effect...a woman made out of water. Drawn cheekbones and an aristocratic forehead, with a rain of dark curly moss serving as "hair"

"The time grows near..." the cold, melodic, Scotch-tinged voice replied. "The Deepest One begins to stir...and he will be...hungry. But it will not be for food he hungers...and I have little urge to feel his clammy embrace again." The water woman looked at Chelsea. "This, then, is to be my replacement?"

"Yes, Milady..." Dorothy answered, gently removing her niece's robe, to allow Lucindra to study the younger woman's nude form. "She is my niece, the elder child and daughter of my brother, James of the Clan Aberdeen."

"She looks a bit underfed, but she is young, and her womb ready to recieve the Deepest One's seed." Lucindra smirked, nodding. "She has already been victimized by my justice once. And what is thy name, Daughter of James?"

"Chelsea Denise Aberdeen." Dorothy responded.

" 'Denise'?" Lucindra repeated, her blank eyes narrowing. "All the more appropriate that thee pay thine ancestors' debt...for it was with my betrayal by Danise Aberdeen that put my curse on your bloodline." The woman of water smirked once more. "Thou even resemble her...it will make watching what happens to thee all the more...satsifying."

"Thou hast done well, Dorothy." Lucindra gestured, and Dorothy re-tied Chelsea's garment. "The moment is at hand, and..."

"Lady Lucindra?" Dorothy asked.

"I sense something...a power. A magus...on my Island? And..."

Arvis and one of the other Toad Island servitors appeared. "Milady!" the servitor cried. "Grahame has betrayed us again! There are Ghostbusters on Toad Island!!!"

"Ghostbusters?!" Lucindra howled.

Ghostbusters? Chelsea Aberdeen said to herself, and unbidden, the fog of dispair gripping her soul found itself lifting just a little bit.

"They must not be allowed to interfere...I've waited five hundred years for this!!!" Lucindra snarled. "Stop them!!!"

"This has got to be the wierdest Tunnel of Love experience I've ever had..." Jen said, eyes straining to see anything in the darkness outside the boundaries of her flashlight beam.

"I've had stranger." Bo joked beside her.

"I think Doctor Venkman said the same thing right before he was attacked by Deep Ones..." Vincent retorted.

There was a loud splashing, and several creatures popped out of the water. They were of a purer strain of Deep One, less removed from their undersea origins, larger, with scaled skin, no hair, and large, liquid black eyes.

"You just had to say it, didn't you?" Bo rolled his eyes.

"In the name of the Deepest Ones...the Ghostbusters must be stopped!!!" one of them shouted, and en mass, they jumped for the boat.

To Be Continued

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