FLIP SIDE WAR
From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO
GBI Case File No. GBI-2007-25/310
From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO
GBI Case File No. GBI-2007-25/310
"It ain't Henry Rollins, but it'll do, right?" Kylie Griffin rolled her eyes fondly as they walked backstage.
"I'll take it over Nine Inch Nails." Eduardo retorted, more to amiably pick at her than any genuine disdain.
"You guys sound like a married couple." the third member of the party joked. With his long dark hair and pale features, he almost looked like he could be Kylie's long lost brother--but wasn't. Like Kylie and Eduardo, he was wearing a GBI VIP pass and a black t-shirt with the words "Mood Slime" in pink letters, made to look like they were dripping.
"I know you might have forgotten this, Ghoul Boy, but we are married....we're entitled." Eduardo retorted.
"Should I be jealous you call Jeff that?" Kylie quipped. "You used to call me 'Ghoul Girl' years ago..."
"Trust me, Kylie--you got nothing to worry about there." Jeff shot back. "He needs less facial hair and more curves to get beyond first base."
"The disappointment." Eduardo said sarcastically.
Kylie laughed, and the laugh was heartfelt--Eduardo had been hit hard by the recent death of Bess Napier, a woman he'd dated for a brief time (back when he and Kylie were still in their "Deny we have any feelings for each other" stage of their relationship). So the opportunity to shake him out of his funk and hopefully enjoy himself was one she insisted on from the moment that their boss, Dr. Peter Venkman, had extended the offer to them.
The offer was for VIP passes to the launch concert of the rock band Mood Slime; as Venkman just happened to be the stepfather of the new group's lead singer, he was in a unique position to treat his employees thusly.
They finally reached the backstage area, where the members of the band--bassist Ella Stephens, lyricist and drummer Danny Hart, and second guitar Tim Price--were making their last minute adjustments to instruments and make-up.
"This eyeliner doesn't make me look fat, does it?" Ella asked.
"No." Tim retorted. "Your butt does that." It was an old joke between the two of them.
The lead singer and guitarist was the young man born, nineteen years before, as Oscar Wilhelm Wallance, but known on stage as Oscar Venkman. He was currently getting exasperated with his stepfather. "Dad, I keep telling you, I wasn't nervous until you started asking me if I was nervous!!! I think I'll do just fine if you go to your seat with Mom!!!"
Venkman looked a little hurt, then playfully touselled his stepson's hair. "But Mister Rock Star, look, a hair's out of place!"
"You want we should throw this guy outta here, Oscar?" Eduardo asked breezily, with an exaggerated accent.
"Kylie! Eduardo! Jeff!" Oscar said, taking a moment to greet them all. "You guys the only ones here?"
"Of course not." Kylie replied. "Garrett's with your Mom and Jess. He said he'll probably drop in later."
"And we saw your Grandpa Charlie working the crowds, selling T-shirts" Eduardo added.
Oscar rolled his eyes. "Probably bootlegs, too."
"I don't believe we've met..." Ella said teasingly, looking Jeff up and down.
"Oh." Oscar said sheepishly. "Jeff, this is Ella Stephens...Ella, this is Dr. Jeff Nash. He works for my Dad--he's on the Ghostbusters West Coast and Nightsquad."
Ella winked at him. "Nightsquad, huh? I hear that bunch is very...rowdy." The last word carried an approving tone.
"Oh, yeah...Bo would get along great with you..." Jeff replied. "Though if Jen found out I said that, she'd murder me..."
"Get this--even Roland made it." Eduardo said.
"You're kidding." Venkman responded. "Roland's taste in music is almost as square as Egon's."
"He brought Grace." Kylie added. "It's sort of a date."
Oscar chuckled. "Well, crap, I guess that means we should put at least one drippy power ballad in the set, then..."
"A rock concert may not be the most romantic thing in the world..." Kylie admitted. "But how often to you get to go to a hot new act's launch national debut concert for free?"
"Stop." Oscar held out his hand. "I had a hell of a time to get Dad to stop with that kind of pressure."
There was a round of laughter, and then it was time for the guests to leave the band to their last preparations.
"Break a leg." Jeff quipped as they left. "But I don't mean that literally."
"This is Corkie for Allmusic TV, and we're on the scene were, just a few moments from now, a free concert is being held in Central Park by the hot new band Mood Slime! The concert is in conjunction with the release of their first national album, 'Killerwatt'!"
"The lead singer of Mood Slime is Oscar Venkman, the son of famous Ghostbuster Peter Venkman--the one Bill Murray played in the movies..."
"The actual concert is free if you show up, but will only be broadcast on Pay Per View." Ray Stantz explained to his wife of twelve years, Liz, who was sitting next to him. "Of course, since Oscar just happens to be our CEO's stepson, all the GBI franchises get the Pay Per View free."
"Peter has got to be busting with pride right now." Winston Zeddemore said. "Pardon the pun."
Janine Spengler was sitting on the couch, an empty spot beside her, legs stretched onto the coffee table. "I bet he feels about how I will when my kids win their first Nobel Prize." she joked.
"Yeah." Ray nodded. "Hey, Egon! You're about to miss Oscar's concert!" he shouted in the direction of the lab. "We know you hate the music, but...it's Oscar!"
"I'l be down in a minute!" they heard a muffled basso reply.
He adjusted his eyeglasses as he regarded the screens in front of him. These readings are odd...certainly unusual...but there's nothing sinister in them yet. He typed in a few commands, then picked up the Model 3.0 PKE Meter lying on the desk. He entered a few commands into the Meter, then stuck it into his pocket.
Grace Temple rolled her eyes at him fondly. "Roland, we're in like the second row...they couldn't be much better."
"I'm still surprised that AJ didn't want to sit with us."
"Hey, I understand." Grace laughed. "When I was a teenage girl, I wouldn't have wanted to go to a rock concert with my older brother and his girlfriend--especially if the rock star was someone I actually dated for a while."
"I guess when you put it that way..." Roland had to admit. "At least I convinced her to let Casey chaperone her instead. The Lord knows I won't have to worry about him letting her go to Oscar."
Grace nodded, having heard the whole story before--Casey Jackson and Oscar Wallance (Venkman) were about the same age, and had been good friends for a couple of years. But that was before Roland and Casey's sister had started dating Oscar; that relationship was over now, but Casey still seemed to be holding a bit of a grudge.
Of course, in the months since she'd met Roland and the other Ghostbusters a few months before--chasing away a spectral knight literally from a fairy tale, camped out on her front lawn--the complexities of Roland's family life had been one of the more mundane things she'd learned to deal with.
It certainly made it interesting. How many other men had she known could cancel a date claiming "I have to go help the guys take down a bunch of killer disposable razors animated by a malignant death force" and have it not be the dumbest lame excuse ever?
Garrett Miller was sitting nearby, munching popcorn. "Hey...look who's here!"
Dana's husband came up to them, beaming. "He threw you out, didn't he?" she asked.
Venkman shrugged. "He said I was making him nervous. I have no idea how that could be--just because I wanted to remind him how many people are here, how much money is riding on this, and suggest what songs he should play and in which order!"
Dana rolled her eyes. "I remember hearing about your brief career as 'Doctor Vee'...no urge to play Stage Dad here, no..."
"Ah well...I'm in the crowd tonight." Venkman said, flashing his Chesire grin. "That will be enough, I guess"
And more than some he thought snidely, but silently.
"Proud?" Andre Wallance replied, trying not to look sour about the whole thing. "Of course...my son is about to become a world famous musician...why would I not be proud?" Other than the fact he's about to become famous in a form of performance that can barely be called "music"...and you wouldn't know he's my son, as he's taken on his name for this career He sighed. He wished he didn't feel so bitter about that last part.
It was around midnight in England, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime event for the Wallance family. The same feed that the GBI Franchises were recieving was being provided to them too.
"Trying to find Jessica in the crowd?" Emilia teased her oldest full brother Hayden.
"Piss off, Emi." Hayden replied sharply.
"Watch your language, please, Hayden." Andre said firmly.
Hayden and Emilia's middle sibling Lars nudged her. "I think you hit a nerve, Emi..."
The part that Hayden hated most of all, of course, is that his siblings were exactly right.
"And you guys didn't even bring me in on the case." Winston pointed out, with a slightly mocking tone.
"We didn't want to get you arrested too." Ray replied.
"Looks like the opening act's wrapping up." Janine pointed out, handing Egon a Twinkie. "What was that group called again?"
"Toilet Sushi." Liz answered. "They're one Peter's agency manages..."
"Here they come!" Winston pointed, as Oscar and his bandmates took the stage.
"IT'S FINE, ROLAND!!!" Grace laughed.
"WHAT?!" Roland asked.
Jeff laughed loudly. "COMPARED TO THE LAST CONCERT I WENT TO, THIS IS NOTHING!!!"
"WHAT CONCERT WAS THAT?"
"ZAGNUT BACK IN '06. HE HAD THE MUMMY WITH HIM AND EVERYTHING..."
"And now a little something slower...for a friend of mine who's brought his date..." Oscar told the audience.
Grace nudged Roland. "It's so cute the way you're all embarrassed by that."
But Roland didn't get to say any more than that, because a sudden wind kicked up.
Venkman muttered bitterly "This has got to let up! If this thing gets cancelled, I'm gonna be out an assload of money!"
Oscar grabbed his microphone. "Hey, everybody, chill! Nothing to panic about!"
"Is he right?" Dana asked her husband, while simultaneously looking around to try and locate her daughter Jessica, who was with Charlene Zeddemore.
"I was about to say probably, but now I'm not so sure!" Venkman replied, pointing. "Look!"
"We gotta evacuate!!!" Garrett called.
"Is it just me, or is there something distinctly not natural about this?!" Kylie shouted over the gale.
"Well, 'not natural' is kinda part of our job description, right?" Eduardo shouted back.
"I hate to be using a cliché, but..." Jeff paused, realizing that something about this was really bugging him. "I got a bad feeling about this." And he meant it.
Then the unnatural weather phenomenon vanished, just as quickly as it had appeared.
The green smoke dissipated...four dark shapes became clearer.
When he saw them, it all fit together in Venkman's head. Where he had encountered a tornado like that before--twice before.
"Say what?!" Garrett said incredulously.
Literally jumping out of the impact site was a man wearing a tan flight suit, with something resembling a cross between a proton pack and a slime blower strapped to his back. He had a muscular torso and legs, but had no arms at all. His face had a solid jawline and a thick head of reddish-brown hair, but his face was pale and rotting, with teeth missing and the bones of his neck exposed.
"This anything like a duck shoot?!" another of the new arrivals asked. He had arms, unlike his comrade, and was wearing an identical slime pack. He was a little chunkier in build, and all of his exposed skin was pure darkness, save for a wide, leering grin and two blank white eyes.
"Golly, Eddie! I think it worked!" the third member of the party squeaked excitedly. She might have looked relatively normal next to the other two, with her blonde hair and tan skin--if it wasn't completely obvious that the tan skin was slathered on make-up of some sort. She was dressed in a pink cheerleader outfit; in her right hand she carried a pistol that looked like a smaller version of the others' weapons, and in her left hand a pom-pom.
The last member of the party might have been the most freakish of them all. He was dressed in a full flight suit, complete with a name tag reading "RIVERA", and a slime pack. The bizarre part was that his long face ended in a little black nose, and was covered in white fur. The horns sticking out from under his unruly brown hair and matching beard under his chin only completed a very goatlike look.
All four of them wore the same symbol--the three men on their right shoulders, the girl on the front of her cheerleader costume: A generic-looking blond man covered by a red circle and slash.
"Man, somebody tell me this is just a contact high..." Eduardo said to Kylie, mostly rhetorically.
The goat man pulled something out of his belt. "Rivera to PB Central. Confirm successful transit. I'd say we're in whatever the Epimetheus world has in place of Boo York, exactly as planned."
"Confirmed, Rivera" a voice came out of the device. "I'll let Mister Zeddemore and Ms. Melnitz know."
"What the f*** is going on?!" Eduardo shouted. "Those weirdos look like...they look like..."
"They look like us" Kylie finished the thought.
Then a familiar ring interrupted Ray's tirade about the satellite company.
"The phone? Now?" Janine grumbled.
"Get it." Egon said calmly. "It may be nothing, but..."
Janine got up to grab the house phone in the rec room; it was one of the many features that had been wired into the building during it's electronic upgrade eight years before. "Ghostbusters."
"Huh." Ray exclaimed as his cel phone began to play "Cleanin' Up The Town". "It's Peter." he remarked when he saw the caller ID. "Hey, Peter, you know those jerks at the satellite company have lost the concert feed?"
"Egon--it's Fritz Baugh from Los Angeles. He said...wait...what?"
"Slow down, Peter, what did you just say again?"
Egon, Winston, and Liz looked back and forth between the two conversations.
"Peoplebusters?!" Ray and Janine said seperately, but in perfect unison.
Janine chuckled dryly, handing the phone to Egon. "I think you better take this one, Dear..."
"Stay on the line with Fritz--we're on it at the park!" Ray shouted, heading for the fire pole.
He and Winston suited up, piled into the ECTO-1, and were screaming through the streets of Manhattan in record time.
"Well, at least we don't have to worry about the crowd panicking." Roland commented dryly.
"Any ideas what to do about this?" Eduardo asked.
"Well, let's see...giant crowd. We have no proton packs. Who needs a plan?" Garrett said brightly.
Kylie got a glimpse of Venkman. He was gesturing at his cell phone, and making a gesture--like a circle with a slash through it. "I think help's already on the way...we just gotta contain this until they get here..."
"With what?" Roland asked.
"Style." Jeff answered, disappearing.
"Nash, wait, what..." Roland started to protest.
"So where do you think we are?!" Peoplebuster Kylie asked excitedly. "Exactly?"
"Looks like maybe the Park." Peoplebuster Eduardo answered. "Except for all the trees, and no fountains with skulls and blood coming out, anyway..."
"We want TriBooCa!" Peoplebuster Roland exclaimed. "I bet the taxis here don't take ghosts, either!"
"Who cares?!" Peoplebuster Garrett shouted, starting to fire his slime pack again. "Look at all the people! We're in the corner of Meat Central!!! Boo-Yah!!!"
"The mission, Miller!" Peoplebuster Eduardo growled. "The mission isn't to bust people, it's to..."
"HALT, YOU ECTOPLASMIC FIENDS!!!" Jeff Nash shouted, in loud, stilted dramatic tones as he appeared. "THE GHOSTBUSTERS WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO INVADE OUR WORLD!! WE WILL STOP YOU!!!"
"Who's this jackass?" Peoplebuster Roland asked.
"Jack Frost." Jeff answered, gesturing downward.
Peoplebuster Garrett, who had already started to run to attack, suddenly found himself slipping on a patch of ice, and was sent crashing into the audience.
"Maybe not my best idea..." Jeff admitted to himself.
"Wait a minute..." Peoplebuster Eduardo mused, scratching his beard. "I knew the haircut looked familiar. Ice powers instead of fire, but that fits this screwed up world--you're the meat version of Nash!"
"He looks better without skin." Peoplebuster Roland guffawed.
"Maybe we can arrange that!" Peoplebuster Kylie squeaked, firing her small slime gun.
I gotta do something or the crowd is gonna riot! Oscar thought to himself. He turned and shouted to the rest of the band: "Skip to the next song on the set!"
All three members of the band just looked at him dumbstruck.
"Just do it!" Oscar barked.
Shaken by the force of his words, habit born out of long hours of practice kicked in. Fortunately, the song after the planned "drippy love balad" was a rollicking number that fit a fight scene quite well.
Don't let me down on this, Dad... Oscar thought to himself as he sang.
"Wow!" Peoplebuster Roland realized. "We're at a concert! I love hard rock music!!! If only I'd known--I could have brought my violin!!!"
"Keep with the plan, Jacko!!!" Peoplebuster Eduardo snarled.
Peoplebuster Garrett, meanwhile, was starting to pull himself upright--not easy with a bulky slime pack and a lack of hands.
He heard a meat voice imploring the crowd to stay back. "You know how dangerous these special effects can be!" Something about that voice...
The speaker, while wearing a t-shirt of a design that seemed to be common (black with pink words on it), had a face that Peoplebuster Garrett recognized--albeit in a more decayed form--from years of press material even before he was hired by Peoplebusters International. "Peter Venkman?!"
"Oh shit..." Venkman inhaled.
Jeff dodged one blast of slime, but though the crowd was being placated by Mood Slime's song, he knew he was still fighting with one figurative hand behind his back. There's just too many people around here...
"MEAT VENKMAN!!!" Peoplebuster Garrett shouted to his cohorts. "I FOUND MEAT VENKMAN!!!"
"I thought his name was Pete Venkman!" Peoplebuster Roland guffawed.
"Oh shit." Jeff said.
"This is better than we ever could have hoped!" Peoplebuster Eduardo said gloatingly. "Forget the scouting mission to test the transit--grab the meat version of Venkman!"
Peter Venkman looked around himself, and assessed the situation. Ray, Egon, and Winston were on the way, but they couldn't just teleport to Central Park from Ghostbusters Central (not even with Liz's help--she would need time to prepare such a spell). This was a rock concert with thousands of innocents in close proximity.
And if these "Extreme Peoplebusters" were as uncaring about "meat" life as the Peoplebusters he'd had the misfortune of dealing with twice before, those innocent bystanders would be in danger as long as the situation went unchanged.
He made one last glance to Dana. "Trust me on this..." he said quietly, hoping she'd at least see the words if she couldn't hear them.
Venkman held up his hands and loudly told them. "I surrender. Just leave everyone else alone. Take me wherever you need to, but just pack up and leave. If you do that, I'll go with you peacefully...quietly...I'll enjoy it!"
"You can't..." Kylie started to protest.
Peoplebuster Eduardo stroked his beard, and his eyes narrowed. "Deal."
Peoplebuster Garrett looked incredibly disappointed at this, truth to tell. "Dammit...I was hoping for more violence..."
With that, Peoplebusters Roland and Kylie fired, trapping Venkman in a ball of sticky green ooze. "Whoops, sorry...premature ejaculation!!!" Peoplebuster Roland joked.
"His jokes aren't any better than yours..." Garrett quipped to the real Roland, to hide the incredible feeling of helplessness he was feeling. He hated the thought, because it parallelled his freakish duplicate, but he was wishing for a little more ability to inflict violence at this moment himself.
Peoplebuster Roland grabbed the ball of slime holding Venkman, and walked it over to the others. Peoplebuster Eduardo pulled a shimmering orb out of his flight suit pocket. "I think Mr. Zee and Frito are gonna call this a more successful test than any of us ever hoped for..."
"We don't know if the return trip's gonna work yet, Torgo..." Peoplebuster Garrett retorted.
"Dad!!!" Jessica Venkman's voice called out of the crowd. Venkman managed to get one last glance at her and Dana, who was having to get Roland's help in holding her back.
Peoplebuster Eduardo uttered an invocation, and shattered the orb. A tornado much like the one that brought them appeared almost instantaneously.
"If only we could do something..." Kylie snarled helplessly.
As the tornado closed in, there was a sudden blur of movement. It took Kylie half a second to realize what it was: Jeff, leaping into the swirling vortex with Venkman and the Peoplebusters just as it closed.
The tornado disappeared, leaving the skies clear once more.
The crowd erupted in racous applause.
"The Professor ain't gonna like this one bit..." Eduardo stated.
"Thanks for once more belaboring the obvious. Torgo." Garrett retorted.
I hope to God you know what you're doing, Peter. Dana thought to herself. For once...
Mention is made of "All Hell Breaks Loose" by Bo Holbrook, Ben King, and Fritz Baugh. "Chronicles of Gozer" is available at the Chronicles of Gozer web site.
Liz Hawthorne Stantz created by OgreBBQ.
Mood Slime and Grace Temple created by Rosey Collins. Some allusions are made to events depicted in her fan fictions, available on Fanfiction.net. She also contributed some ideas for the Extreme Peoplebusters.
Corkie and AllmusicTV are references to Ghostbusters: Legion, written by Andrew Dabb.
Thanks to Jason Knetge for the "Grandpa Charlie selling T-shirts" line. I can't believe I didn't think of that myself...