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
They encounter the Peoplebuster counterparts of Mick and Jason, and are helped to safety by a man named Victor Ulforce, who bears an eerie resemblance to GBWC CEO Fritz Baugh. Ulforce, in turn, takes them to Ellie, the Flip Side's living counterpart of GBWC Spirit Liaison Rachel Leavenworth.
In New York City, at virtually the same time, the debut concert of Oscar Wallance Venkman's band, Mood Slime, is interrupted by the appearance of the Extreme Peoplebusters. The Peoplebusters kidnap Peter Venkman and return to their home dimension.
They had a stowaway, though, GBWC and Nightsquad member Jeff Nash, who runs into the Peoplebusters' longtime enemy: Professor Ian Epimetheus. The same Professor Epimetheus who had once been the mentor to GBI co-founder Egon Spengler.
The selfsame Egon Spengler who has a plan to rescue his old friend, by rebuilding the ECTO-4's dimensional warp drive.
"It's difficult." Ulforce answered, rubbing his chin. It wasn't lost on the GBWC members that the gesture was as reminiscent of their CEO as Ulforce's entire face was. "Maverick Tanner visits Boo York every couple of months or so, and takes messages back and forth then if needed, but he's got to be careful. Peoplebuster Nash knows him, which makes him acting as a double agent dangerous..."
Mick looked a bit surprised. "Our Jeff knows a Maverick Tanner too. A minor wizard or something--we better tell Jeff when we get back. Make sure ours isn't pulling something on us..."
Jason looked up. "Is it just me...or is it getting colder in here all of a sudden?"
Aidan exhaled, a stream of frosted breath coming from his mouth. "No...I'd say you're right..."
"Packs!" Mick cried, and the four displaced Ghostbusters scrambled for their equipment.
"There's something happening..." Ulforce said. "I'm sensing a continuum flux of some sort..."
There was an explosion of ice in the middle of the room, coating the entire basement with a thin layer of frost. At the center of the ice were two men, one young, one old.
Mick, Rose, Aidan, and Jason were shocked to see their teammate Jeff Nash, still dressed in a Mood Slime t-shirt.
Ellie and Ulforce were just as shocked to see Professor Ian Epimetheus there.
"Well, that could have gone better..." Jeff said, collapsing to his knees.
"Victor! Ellie!" Epimetheus exclaimed. He waved before leaning over to help Jeff back up. "You got us where we needed to be, Jeffrey. I'd say that was a success."
"This whole place is screwy." Jeff shook his head. "It's like my powers are superamped, but harder to control. I got us here without any of the stuff I need back home--and got you along with me, which I couldn't do back home either--but man, look at this mess."
"And we ain't cleaning it up for you." Rose snarked.
Jeff looked up, incredulously, the daze from the transit fading enough to realize that four of his West Coast comrades were, impossibly, standing in this room a dimension away from where he expected them to be. "What the frak?!"
"We could ask you the same thing, Buddy." Jason replied, helping Epimetheus move the exhausted Jeff away from the ice patch. "It's been one of those days..."
This is nuts!!! Venkman thought to himself, gagging, trying not to vomit it up. He'd done that once already, and Remils had just stuffed it down his throat again. Is this how a Ghostbusting Hero of Millions meets his end? Overfed to death by a pint-sized maniac?
Worse, Venkman realized...was it even really possible for him to die here? On their first visit, they'd found refugees from their own world who were alive, well, and unchanged after decades. Egon's old mentor, Professor Epimetheus, hadn't aged at all in the thirteen years he'd been here. In his mind's eye, a vision appeared of his possible future: Jabba the Hutt, but with better hair.
With that, he lost the battle with the steamed broccoli.
"Oh no..." Remils said worriedly, scooping the semi-digested stuff up. "Weesa have to try again..."
"Out on a call." Peoplebuster Janine answered. "We got a call from the Sedgewick. Some meat with ice powers froze up a honeymoon suite; probably no big deal."
Fritz stroked his skeletal nose as the sound of Venkman screaming for mercy wafted into the room.
"REMILS IS HAVING TOO MUCH FUN!!!" Peoplebuster Chelsea's head said from a nearby counter.
"Let him." Janine chuckled. "He used to try to get the real Peter to eat all the time. He really misses him."
Fritz suddenly convulsed. He grabbed his head, then pulled out his Bio Energy Meter.
"Something's happened..." he said. "There's an energy signature consistent with a dimensional transit event."
"Oh crap." Janine snarled.
"Get the others back here now." Fritz barked. "The pissant meat at the Sedgewick can wait for another time!"
With an indescribable sound, space and time pulled apart.
The glow faded, leaving a small, silvery aircraft behind.
"Dimensional Transit--Complete!!!" Egon shouted.
"That's nice." Winston replied lackadaisically. "Now all I gotta do is keep us from hitting the ground with a great big splat."
"Yeah. Some rescue that would be." Garrett rolled his eyes.
Egon, Winston, Eduardo, Kylie, Garrett, and Roland were all seated aboard the ECTO-4, the small aircraft the original Ghostbusters had built during their second heyday in the early 1990's.
Egon was nominally the designated pilot of the vehicle, but as Winston had earned a pilot's license in the intervening years, Egon instead had instead focused on the dimensional transit itself. The transdimensional drive had been assembled hastily, and it was agreed by all involved that having the device's designer (and the only one who really understood how it worked) not divide his attention was the best course of action.
The ECTO-4's seating space was limited; assuming they would need to provide Venkman and Jeff transit home, only Winston could join Egon and the Extreme Team, much to Ray's dismay. There would otherwise simply not be enough room; they were going over the plane's comfortable limit of capacity as it was.
"Are the controls working?" Roland asked.
"Sluggish." Winston replied through gritted teeth. "But considering how this place fucks with some of our other stuff, that's better than it could be."
Egon's hand was ready on the trigger for the ECTO-4's emergency parachutes.
After a few tense moments, the vehicle seemed to straighten and stop shuddering. "I think I got control back." Winston wiped his brow.
"Acclimation is taking place." Egon nodded, checking a few more readings. "It's taking on the properties we associate with ectoplasm back home--you could say it's responding to your will as much as your piloting skill."
"Whatever works." Winston replied. "Now where we gonna land?"
"We need some distance from downtown." Egon replied. "'l'll need the time to recalibrate the drive for the return trip."
Winston nodded. This part he knew--the first time they'd used it, Egon had to stay behind as he, Venkman, and Ray carried out their mission. The mission to save Shannon Phillips from Astorath and Nathaniel Blaque...for just a second, Winston's thoughts turned to his own encounter with the evil necromancer a few months before, before pushing it out of his mind.
Winston smirked. "If they're anything like the home town version, the Jersey Jaguars home field should be empty."
"Yeah, but it's Bizarro World!" Garrett retorted. "The Jaguars probably win the World Series every year!"
"Dollars to doughnuts, us being sucked away at just about the same time the Peoplebusters grabbed Venkman isn't a coincidence." Mick summarized.
"Indeed." Epimetheus nodded. "Ellie told me about the accidental transit last year, and it all fit into place: ever since then, the Extreme Peoplebusters, Winston Zeddemore, and Janine Melnitz have been hunting me more obsessively than before."
"The Peoplebuster West Coast leader is a psychotic time wizard." Ulforce said, with obvious disgust. "He went to Boo York right after Life Day, the Flip Side counterpart of Halloween..."
"The Flip Side has Wookies?" Jeff interjected.
"...And has been working with them ever since." Epimetheus finished. "Now I see why."
" 'Psychotic time wizard'..." Jason mused. "Sounds like ol' Bizarro Fritz isn't totally different..."
Ulforce made a disgusted noise. "I'd really rather not hear that name used on that freak..."
Epimetheus sighed. "Still...with their Egon gone, Dr. Baugh is probably the most devious mind the Peoplebusters have."
"Whoa, wait a sec..." Aidan raised a hand. "Gone? What do you mean?"
Epimetheus adjusted his trenchcoat. "What do you know of my last visit to Earth?"
Rose spoke up. "You were Professor Spengler's physics mentor back at MIT. In 1978, right after you retired, you disappeared. Thirteen years later, in 1991, the Ghostbusters found out you'd been here. The Peoplebusters came after you, and after the Ghostbusters caught them, you left with the trap, intending to come back here."
Epimetheus nodded. "The Cliffs Notes version, but essentially right. But you see...the whole reason the Extreme Peoplebusters and the rest are after me more than ever is because I didn't make it back here immediately. I drifted for a time in some odd dimensional vortex...no perception of time. I wasn't sure if I was there for six seconds or six hundred years."
Ulforce chimed in. "The same vortex I found myself in, after some sort of accident... the memories are jumbled."
"Where and when I lost the trap the Peoplebusters were in, I don't know." Epimetheus shook his head. "But when Ulforce and I met up, there was another blast of energy...and a portal opened up near us. The portal lead here."
"But what you're saying is..." Rose summarized. "Peoplebusters Spengler, Stantz, and Venkman...are lost? And the others are after you because they think you know where they are, or were responsible for what happened to them...but you don't know where they are or what happened to them."
Epimetheus nodded. "Exactly."
Jason looked at Ulforce. Something about his part of the story didn't quite add up, and yet...
Jeff cocked an eyebrow. "I don't suppose just telling them you don't know where Peoplebuster Venkman and the others are would help?"
"Of course not." Epimetheus replied. "They think I'm lying. The Melnitz woman especially is ready to tear me to pieces--in her mind, I took her Egon away from her, and she's ready to kill over it."
Rose made a dry chuckle. "Well, at least that part didn't change between worlds..."
"So what's our next move?" Jason asked. "I don't know about you guys, but I want to get home."
"That's tricky." Ulforce mused. "All dimensional transits from this world to Earth have been accidental, involved equipment we don't have, or have been, possibly, created by one of our enemies."
"There is another possibility." Rose pointed out. "Egon--the real Egon--has built dimensional warp drives before."
There was a bit of a pride at the edge of Epimetheus's mouth for a second, but it didn't last long. "He doesn't know about the situation here. If the Peoplebusters--especially Melnitz--get their hands on him, the danger could be considerable."
"There's no chance at all they won't try something." Rose shook her head. "Peter is like a brother to him...they're coming after him, one way or another."
"Then we need to get back to Boo York." Epimetheus said. "As soon as..."
The building was shook by an explosion.
"GHOSTBUSTERS!!!" a loud voice that most of them realized sounded like Andy Harness bellowed. "WE KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE!!!"
"Oh shit!" Mick snarled, reaching for his pack.
"How did they find us?" Ellie asked.
"I bet it has something to do with them." Ulforce indicated the Ghostbusters. "The dimensional transit probably left some distinct energy patterns that were easy to track."
"And us zapping in probably didn't help." Jeff growled. "How could I have been so stupid?"
"Not your fault, Jeffrey." Epimetheus countered. "That was my decision."
They looked out the window, and there they were. The Ghoulish Andy; Terror Dog Jeremy; Vampire Kyle; Scorpion Jeff; the Peoplebusters West Coast that Jeff and Rose remembered from a year before. Frankenstein Jason and Zombie Mick from their more recent encounter. And a creepy looking version of Aidan Munroe--well, half of him, anyway. Only the left half of him was there, trailing spectral smoke from the open half of his body.
"Ogh. Gross." Aidan looked ready to vomit.
"Well, now we know what Peoplebuster Mick meant by seeing you in one piece." Jason offered helpfully.
"So are we gonna do this the easy way or the hard way?" Andy asked. "Aw, heck, I enjoy the hard way too much--Boys, storm the place!!!"
"I knew I shoulda stayed home today." Rose grumbled, thumbing the safety on her neutrona blaster.
Being born paraplegic, with paralyzed legs, was a challenge he took to with incredible gusto, and became stronger, faster, and tougher than most human being with a full set of working body parts. It's why he was a successful Ghostbuster with ten years experience despite the obvious drawbacks of being confined to a wheelchair.
But here...in this strange world where living beings aquired the paranormal nature that, in his world, were associated with ghosts...
"YEE-HAAAW!!!" Garrett Miller was literally flying.
"Not so loud, Garrett!" Roland chided. "We're trying to not attract attention..."
"Aw, let him be, Roland." Eduardo said.
"Look at this!" Garrett grinned. "I can even move them!" He executed a few karate kicks.
"It's like back on the ECTO-4." Kylie explained. "The matter in your body is obeying your will the way ectoplasm would back home. Still...I can only imagine what a rush this is for you."
Garrett guffawed and grabbed her, taking her along for a bad aerial squaredance.
"Hey!" Eduardo complained. "That's my wife you're dancin' with!"
"I'm fair, Torgo." Garrett retorted. "I'll take you next..."
"Okay, okay..." Winston interrupted. "I know this is all an experience, but we're here for a reason?"
"Sir yes sir!!!" Garrett saluted, letting Kylie go.
Winston and the four Extreme Ghostbusters were loaded for bear; Eduardo, as usual, wasn't in a standard flight suit, but the rest were--Winston in blue, Kylie in black, Garrett and Roland in tan-grey. Kylie was hefting a Proton Rail Gun, while the rest were strapping Mark 4 Proton Packs. There were no ghost traps--Egon figured they probably wouldn't work here at all.
"I just wish Egon and Ray'd figured out how to open a comm line to back home." Winston said. "The very first time they came here, we managed to get a signal through a weird accident with Slimer and the shortwave, but they couldn't get it to work again."
"One of those million-to-one oddities, I guess." Kylie nodded. "Still, it would have been nice..."
They hadn't gotten very far from the ECTO-4's landing spot (as it turned out, the Jaguars were, indeed, world champions, but as the parking lot featured several monster trucks, a flying saucer, a racing pod team, and a Tim Burton-style Batmobile, the ECTO-4 blended in perfectly) when they heard a familiar siren.
"They're quick." Garrett commented.
"We can't let them find Egon." Winston said. "They know something is here, though, so they'd better find something. Namely us."
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Roland asked.
"No." Winston admitted. "But worse comes to worse, we still find Peter, don't we?"
"I love this plan!" Garrett grinned. "I'm excited to be a part of it!"
Only a moment later, a souped up monster truck with the Peoplebuster logo and a license plate reading PROTO-1 skidded to a stop
"Frickin' meat, sendin' us on wild goose chases..." Peoplebuster Eduardo grumbled as he pulled out his BKE Meter. "Still, the reading is solid."
"Just lemme at 'em!" Peoplebuster Garrett frothed, hopping up and down excitedly.
"We gotta find'em first..." Eduardo replied.
A mad doctor approached the mound brandishing a giant horse needle. But as the pitcher just happened to have a horse head, it wasn't as odd as it might have been.
"The playoffs look competitive as ever this year; it's expected to be the tenth straight World Series matching the Jaguars against the Chicago Demoncubs...those are always intense..."
As the doctor left the mound and play resumed, the pitcher whinnied, and looked thoughtful.
"I'd go with the fast ball." a smooth voice prompted.
"I always go with the fast ball in the seventh inning." the pitcher muttered.
The batter stepped up to the plate; he looked like a muscular bobblehead with tiny, spindly legs and huge arms. "I bet he's gonna throw a fastball." a voice told the batter.
"Don't tell me how to...huh?" the batter turned around to see Garrett floating nearby.
"AAAAHHHH!" the batter screamed, running away. "PEOPLE!!!"
Garrett grabbed the bat (which just happened to sport wings). "Substitute hitter!!!"
"I definitely recommend the fast ball for this guy." the first voice told the pitcher.
"No Sir, I don't like..." The pitcher squealed like a pig and ran, when he realized that a living being was talking to him. Winston, to be specific.
The stands were erupting in panicked cries of "PEOPLE! AAAGH!!!"--and one stubborn troll who stayed in his seat, muttering "They ain't gonna call the game because of this, are they?"
"I think we found them." Eduardo said drolly, unholstering his slime cannon.
"Junior, I've been playing baseball since you were nothing but a gleam in your Daddy's eye!" Winston replied just as jovially.
"Well, yeah, but you were watching the Jaguars!" Garrett retorted. "All you saw was a lot of losing!"
Eduardo was sitting near the bullpen. "You know, on the Flip Side, the popcorn and beer here are pretty good."
Garrett hit it...
...And it slammed straight into Peoplebuster Roland, who, like his three cohorts, had just entered the field.
"Foul ball!" Ghostbuster Roland shouted.
"He's getting better." Eduardo said drolly. "Ten years ago he probably would have called that a touchback."
"Shows over, Meatbags!!!" Peoplebuster Garrett howled. "Brooklyn Barrows is in the house again!"
"I think it's showtime, Eddie." Kylie said, jumping to the field. Eduardo looked at his popcorn, sighed, and then joined her.
Peoplebuster Eduardo drew a bead on Garrett. "I got a pitch for you." With that, he squeezed off a shot from his slime thrower.
"Hey batter batter!!!" Garrett shouted as the shot flew toward him. "Swing!!!" With that, he slammed the slimey shot straight back at PB Eduardo.
Both the goatlike Peoplebuster, and Garrett, had pretty much the same thought afterwards: That was not the smartest thing I've ever done; Eduardo was on the ground struggling with his own containment slime; Garrett, meanwhile, had enough of it on him that he was stuck to his bat--which was now panicked and trying to fly away.
Peoplebuster Garrett, meanwhile, was howling and blasting indiscriminately, hitting bystanders and players alike.
Eduardo made a quick glance in the direction of his thrower, still slung to his back. "Think it's time to..."
"Not yet." Kylie shook her head. With that, she flew over to the cheerleader who looked vaguely like her.
"Don't worry, Miss!" Peoplebuster Kylie said cheerfully. "The Peoplebusters are on the case! We'll take care of these people before you even make it home back to your coffin!"
Kylie tripped her. "Get some self respect." she snorted. "A cheerleader? Please..."
"I'll be a ghoul's uncle!" Peoplebuster Roland remarked. "There's a Meat Zeddemore after all!"
Winston beaned him with a speedball. Sigh...here I am playing baseball with Peter's life on the line in the outcome. Again.
"Get down Sir!" Roland pushed Winston out of the way just as one of PB Garrett's crazy shots nearly hit him.
PB Kylie got up, her eyes wide. "Hey! You're a people!!!"
Kylie tripped her again. "Hey! You're a genius!!!" she mocked.
"Get up you idiots!" PB Eduardo was screaming. "We ain't gonna let a bunch of ugly skin-covered mockeries beat the Extreme Peoplebusters!"
The Peoplebusters got in formation, slime throwers charged and locked.
"Uh oh..." Eduardo breathed.
"Say good night, Gravey!!!" Peoplebuster Roland grinned. "On three..."
The Extreme Peoplebusters fired as one.
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Ghostbusters West Coast Division Created by Andy Harness and Vincent Belmont
The Jersey Jaguars are a reference to "Night Game" (RGB-76008;#207), written by Kathryn M. Dreenan
I am so going to Hell for putting King Remils in a story. He came from one of Marvel UK's stupidest stories, in issue 22 of their RGB comic.
ECTO-4 created by James Van Hise and John Tobias. It appeared frequently in the Now Comics series. Mention is made of the events of "The Father Thing Trilogy" (RGB#9-11) and "Wild In The Streets" (RGB#20, 22)
Maverick Tanner created by Mick Nielson.