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. Epimetheus and Nash use Jeff's ninja powers to teleport to Los Diablos--just in time for the Peoplebusters West Coast to find all of them.
Egon is bringing the Extreme Ghostbusters and Winston to the rescue, though, in the ECTO-4 and it's newly-rebuilt dimensional warp drive. The Ghostbusters find themselves fighting their undead counterparts in the middle of a baseball game played by the Flip Side's version of the Jersey Jaguars.
Then got buried in a snowdrift.
"What the hell?!" Kylie screamed. Only seconds before, it was a calm, warm late-summer's night in Boo York, much like it was back on Earth.
Now it was white-out blizzard conditions.
The troll in the stands cursed loudly, as his head popped out of a snowdrift. "They call this snow? They gotta be kidding!!
"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.
"We have to get back to Boo York." Epimetheus said. "Now."
"You gotta be kiddin' me!" Jeff spat. "We just got here! I don't know if it'll work again, and even if it does, I don't have the juice!"
"I'm starting to think leaving might be a really good idea." Aidan noted. "Even with the packs in Mode Three, they still have us out gunned."
"I have some ability to manipulate temporal energies." Ulforce spoke up. "It's how I was able to dodge the Peoplebusters earlier, when I first met you guys--I slowed the flow of time for everyone else, and moved out of the way where Knetge and Nielson were shooting. I can also speed it up--say, to accelerate the regeneration of Dr. Nash's metabolism?"
With a loud roar, Peoplebuster Jason started to smash against the door to the old firehouse.
"We're running out of time." Mick said. "Jeff? Your power, your call."
"Fuck..." Jeff muttered, suspicious of this for more than one reason. "All right. Get close."
Ulforce adjusted his visor, and then concentrated. Jeff's posture straightened. "Whoa...it's like a six pack of Jolt Cola poured straight into my spine..."
The air in the room began to chill again.
Peoplebuster Jason howled as he shattered the front doorway and barged into the garage of the firehouse, his comrades close behind.
"Get ready folks..."
"They probably heard that stuff about the Jags makin' the World Series, and Hell froze over." Eduardo quipped. "You all right?"
Kylie nodded. "Yeah...you see the others?"
"No, but you won't believe who I do see!"
In the middle of the field, there was a spot clear of snow, but blue vapors still billowed around. Standing in the middle of it, Eduardo and Kylie saw, were Jeff Nash, the Ghostbusters West Coast members who had disappeared in California, and three others.
Jeff looked even paler than usual, and staggered, like he was ready to fall over.
"You did it, Jeffrey!" an older man said excitedly.
Kylie gasped--she'd seen the pictures Egon had. "Professor Epimetheus!"
"Is that Frito and La Chica Fantasma?" Eduardo wondered. "They look different..."
Then one of the other snowdrifts exploded, accompanied by a howl of rage.
A Frankenstein-like monster with sideburns and a flight suit bearing the name "Knetge" charged Eduardo and Kylie.
"Oh Hell." Eduardo muttered, as he and Kylie dodged the enraged Peoplebuster.
"This place fucks me up..." Jeff said weakly. "My powers are all amped up, but I can barely control it..."
"And we got the Peoplebusters along for the ride. Wonderful." Mick sighed.
"Nas! Nas nas nas!!!" The Peoplebuster version of Aidan screamed, jumping on his counterpart.
"This isn't fair!!!" Aidan shouted. "Why is my Flip Side version gross?!"
"Shit!" Jason said. "This just gets better by the minute!"
"GET OVER HERE!!!" Scorpion Jeff growled, impaling Ulforce with his grappling hook, jerking the confused pseudo-Ghostbuster to him, and throwing him into a wall.
The thrown Ulforce just missed Peoplebuster Mick. "My luck wins again!"
"God Dammit, Epimetheus!!!" Mick shouted, grabbing the older man by the lapels. "My team's being demolished, and it's all your fault!!! Now fucking do something!!!"
"What the hell, Mick?!" Jeff croaked, still too weak to move. "That's Spengler's mentor! You can't..."
"I don't fucking care!" Mick retorted. "He could be Spengler himself and I'd be just as pissed!" He turned back to Epimetheus. "This is your stupid turf war with Peoplebusters we've been stuck in the middle of, and I'm fucking sick to death of it!"
Epimetheus just stared back at him for a moment, then his eyes fell. His shoulders drooped. The lines on his face seemed suddenly more pronounced. He looked, indeed, like a tired old man.
"Then perhaps it is time to end this." Epimetheus finally said. "Now that I think we can..."
Winston finished extracting himself from a snowdrift, and took only a couple of seconds to assess the situation.
"NOW!!!" Winston shouted, pulling his proton thrower. The other Extreme Ghostbusters followed suit.
"You gotta be kiddin'..." Peoplebuster Garrett guffawed. "We know those things are useless here!"
Winston fired. The beam was red, and threw less sparks than the normal beam.
To the shock of Peoplebuster Garrett, he was held fast by it.
Winston turned a knob.
The beam pulsed, and a play of energy surrounded the Peoplebuster. With an unearthly shriek, Peoplebuster Garrett fell to the ground, and didn't move.
"Your information is a bit out of date, Pinhead." Winston sneered.
"What the sprock?!" Peoplebuster Eduardo shouted, as he was similarly downed by his Ghostbuster counterpart.
"Toro toro toro!!!" Garrett shouted, drawing the attention of Peoplebuster Jeremy, who was now in his Terror Dog form.
"You shoulda taken that other turn at Albuquerque, Meatsack!!!" Terror Dog Jeremy roared, pawing at the ground, snorting, and then charging.
Garrett shot him. "You didn't see Episode 2, did you?"
"ENOUGH!!!" the booming voice of Ian Epimetheus silenced the assembled mob.
There was a shriek, and they turned to see him floating in the air, Peoplebuster Kylie in hand, her weapon pointed at her head. "I think it's far past time for us to have a conversation like rational beings."
"Kylie! You do anything to her, Meatbag..." Peoplebuster Eduardo growled.
"Melnitz and Zeddemore." Epimetheus said forcefully. "Get them here now."
"You gotta be kiddin'..." Flip Side Eduardo snarled. "Why would we do that?"
"Because I think they might be interested in hearing the terms of my surrender to them."
PB Eduardo was on his Deth-phone already.
"I didn't think I'd driven him this far!" Mick gulped.
"Professor!" Ellie called. "You can't do this!"
"There's no other way." Epimetheus shook his head. "But trust me. I have an idea."
There were a lot of confused looks, among the living and the dead
"I taught school for a while in the Nineties." Egon explained. "It sort of stuck."
"Jeffrey explained that." Epimetheus nodded. "You're looking quite well--the years have been very kind to you. What is it now? Fifty?"
Egon coughed. "Well, not quite yet. It's good to see you again, Professor."
Epimetheus shook his head. "You're the Professor now, Egon. If I can't get you to call me Ian, 'Doctor' will be acceptable."
Egon dispelled the awkward pause by reaching into his flight suit pocket. He handed the older man a photograph. Epimetheus examined it, seeing Egon; an older--but still quite vibrant--version of the same young woman he'd met sixteen years before; and two eight year olds, a boy and a girl, with obvious resemblances to both of them.
The older man felt his eyes mist. "They're beautiful, Egon."
"Eden Marie and Johnathan Christopher." Egon elaborated. "Born June 13, 1999."
Epimetheus raised an eyebrow. "It took you and Janine another eight years?"
Egon coughed. "It's...a long story."
Epimetheus started to pass the photo back, but Egon refused it. "Keep it, Profess...Doctor. It's yours."
Epimetheus smiled. "You are the closest thing I ever had to a son, Egon. I look forward to someday meeting my 'grandchildren'."
"Well, Hello Handsome!"
Egon was shocked and, truth to tell, a little revolted when the Peoplebuster version of Janine appeared, wearing one of his--or, rather, one of his Peoplebuster counterpart's--flight suits to boot. He remembered being a bit annoyed (but secretly flattered) when Janine (the real Janine) had chosen colors similar to his own (after experimenting with a few other styles). The chalk-faced doppelganger didn't look nearly as good in it. The fact that she was looking at him with hungry eye sockets didn't help, either.
Roland followed last. "Everyone else is waiting at, er, Peoplebusters Central. Doctor Venkman is being held there."
"Is he all right?" Egon looked at Peoplebuster Janine critically.
"Other than probably gaining a few pounds from Remils feeding him, yeah." she grinned. "Your concern for him is so cute."
Egon winced, but decided against asking for clarification.
"The deal is simple." Epimetheus explained. "I traded my surrender to the Peoplebusters for the lives and freedom of the various Ghostbusters, including Peter. I will be freed, in turn, if I can arrange the return of their versions of Spengler, Stantz, and Venkman."
"We always knew you were holding out on us." Janine snarled.
"I've given up trying to convince you otherwise." Epimetheus snorted. "But what's changed now is that my old student is here, and if anyone can find out where the Peoplebusters are, it's you." He placed a hand on Egon's shoulder.
"No pressure, right?" Egon quipped, punching some figures into the ECTO-4's console. "Fortunately, you're right. I have the readings I took when you disappeared from Earth sixteen years ago, which should lead us into whatever dimensional vortex you and the Peoplebusters were shunted into."
"There's a truce in effect until either twelve hours passes, or after we return with the Peoplebusters." Roland explained, sitting in the copilot's seat. "So the clock is ticking."
"I could say the same thing about you." Winston snapped back at his Peoplebuster counterpart. "We just had this bad habit of missing the other guys visits to the other's worlds. Where's Peter?"
Winston called up to the fire pole. "REMILS! Bring the guest downstairs!!!"
The Extreme Ghostbusters looked at each other " 'Remils'?"
A bald, pudgy little man flew through the garage roof from the second floor, dragging along, the Ghostbusters were relieved to see, Peter Venkman.
"Peter!" Winston cried. "God, Man, you look like you've been in a food fight."
"I'm too happy to see you to come up with a sarcastic remark, so you better all mark this date on your calendars." Venkman said.
"But that's a sarcastic remark right there, Pete." Winston retorted. "You blew it." He looked at Peoplebuster Winston. "Can we get this crap off of him?"
Jason, Mick, and Aidan hadn't encountered Peoplebuster Fritz the previous year, so the undead version of their team CEO was a new quantity. Whether Peoplebuster Fritz was more unnerving than Victor Ulforce, though, was a question they were all grappling with.
"I don't know how Fritz is gonna take all of this." Rose said. " 'For some reason, he has two duplicates on the Flip Side.' "
"I think he's gonna be too busy changing diapers soon to worry about that." Mick retorted.
Aidan was staring at his counterpart, who was staring back with the one eye it had. "What the hell happened to make you like this?" Aidan finally worked up the nerve to ask.
"Nas?" Peoplebuster Aidan answered.
"What kind of answer is that?"
"Nas nas nas." Peoplebuster Aidan replied.
"Yousa gonna take Remils new friend Pee-tah away?" Remils asked worriedly.
"That's the plan." Winston answered, as Peoplebuster Winston set Venkman free. He felt oddly sympathetic to the wretched little man. "But you'll have your Peter back pretty soon."
Remils' eyes widened with anticipation.
"We hope." Eduardo whispered to Kylie.
"I think that's the understatement of the century." Epimetheus noted.
Multi-colored mists swirled around...whorls and patterns...
"It's a lot like the clouds of Jupiter..." Roland mused. "If they were phosphorescent."
"Dimensional shunt was successful." Egon noted, form the ECTO-4's controls. "This is the place Professor Epimetheus and the Peoplebusters should have arrived, according to the readings I had on file from 1991. Would you please stop that?" The last bit was to Peoplebuster Janine, who was playing with his hair.
"I can't help myself..." she purred. "You may be alive, but you're so much like him it's hard to resist..."
"There!" Roland called. "I see something!"
Egon tweaked the vehicle's thrusters, taking it closer to the object Roland indicated.
Egon was studying the instruments. "There's a massive bubble of delta energy around that location." Perhaps out of reflexive habit after years of having to re-explain things, he clarified. "A time anomaly of some sort."
"That's it..." Epimetheus breathed, rubbing his head. "It's starting to feel...familiar..."
"You must work quickly, Roland." Egon told him. "The protonic charge in the suit will only protect you for a short time before the temporal distortion starts to affect you too."
"Understood." Roland said simply, the light attached to his chest shining into the dark object. He gingerly stepped inside from a hole ripped into one corner.
"What the Hell is it?" Janine asked.
"I swear it looks like..." Roland inhaled. "Kind of like the old physics lab back at NYCCC. Maybe slightly better, but...and it's also kind of a mess. There's...there's test tubes that seem to be floating in midair. Not in the zero-gee sense, the completely motionless sense, like a frozen 3-D picture."
"The time distortion." Epimetheus offered. "It's a single instant that's been frozen in place, like a Polaroid."
Roland continued to look around. His attention was drawn for a second to a design, a stylized letter "P" in black and yellow, before he saw...
"Doctor Epimetheus! Did you say your portal was a round, metal device about two meters high?"
"That's correct, Doctor Jackson."
"Then I think I'm looking right at it." Roland noted. "It seems to be half buried in one of the walls. And...I see a ghost trap!"
For a second, though, he watched something else. Next to the portal, a strange contraption consisting of gyroscopic rings...it reminded him of a diagram he'd seen of the prototype dimensional transit device Ray and Egon had built back around the time Roland was born.
Most notably, the rings blurred and changed positions as he watched.
"What the hell..." he breathed.
"We're running out of time, Roland!" Egon barked. Grab the trap!"
Roland cursed under his breath. There was a mystery that intrigued him here, and he hated having to leave it to solve another time.
"Yeah." Rose exhaled. "Looks like another one of Egon's ideas has saved our asses, huh?"
Winston rolled his eyes. "Ray's actually. He thought that if we combined the negative ionization setting with an unbuffered dispersion beam, we could knock them on their asses. Looks like he was right." He smirked at her. "Contrary to popular belief, Egon doesn't come up with all the ideas around here.”
"That sounds good." Rose nodded. "Not that I have any idea what a lot of that really means..."
"The positive ionization is setting three on the Mark 4 Proton Pack." Kylie explained. "Unbuffered dispersion is what some would-be competitor with a Ghostbusting robot tried back in the '80's. It just blew the ghosts up and made them angry."
"But since a lot works opposite here, it just shuts a Peoplebuster down." Eduardo finished. "Like a taser."
"Awesome." Jason whistled.
The Peoplebuster Fritz gave Ulforce a strange little smirk.
"I look forward the end of the truce." the unliving man said. "It will be quite interesting to catch you, get you into my laboratory, and try to find out what you really are."
Ulforce was silent for a few seconds. "Oh really?" he finally said.
"Oh, I know what we all assumed." Flip Side Fritz said. "We all assumed that you were my meat counterpart, somehow transplanted here. That was..." Fritz chuckled, savoring the thought of Ulforce's reaction. "...Before last year's incident, when I encountered the real deal."
"Leader of the Ghostbusters West Coast. Missing a leg. His own Chelsea." Fritz's eye sockets narrowed. "I don't know how I could have ever expected differently."
"Shut up." Ulforce snipped.
Ellie and Jason, both nearby, looked concerned. Ulforce looked at Jason. "Is there some truth to what he's saying?"
"Um, well, yeah." Jason admitted, disconcerted over the way Peoplebuster Jason was scowling at him. "Fritz's been with the GBWC since it was founded--and been the boss for the last three years."
Ellie knew Ulforce better. She could detect the tinge in his voice. "Interesting." was all he actually said, but a lot more was hiding behind the word.
Remils started looking at the ceiling and drooling.
Both Peoplebuster Fritz and Ulforce's brows furrowed in a similar way, as the former pulled out his BKE Meter.
"I think they've returned." Fritz said simply.
The sound of the ECTO-4's jets provided confirmation.
Within seconds, most of the occupants of the Peoplebuster firehouse where on the roof, as the ECTO-4 angled in for a final approach.
"If they've done anything funny to Janine, and reneged...well...it's gonna be unpleasant for somebody." Peoplebuster Winston growled; though notably, unlike the Extreme Peoplebusters, he hadn't drawn his weapon. Yet.
A few moments later, the ECTO-4 emptied. "Professor?" Jason asked.
Egon silently held up a ghost trap, and placed it on the ground.
Peoplebuster Janine stomped on the pedal.
The familiar cone of light sprang out, and into it materialized the three original Peoplebusters, the undead versions of Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Ray Stantz, still writhing in anger and pain
"Epimetheus!!!" Peoplebuster Egon shouted.
"You meatbag scum!!!" Peoplebuster Venkman added.
Peoplebuster Ray was the first one to realize they were no longer in Ghostbusters Central in 1991. "Huh?"
Just about then, Peoplebuster Janine called Egon's name and tackled the appropriate Peoplebuster hungrily.
"Hey...wait a minute..." Peoplebuster Venkman realized. "Where's...what's...I..."
"PEE-TAH!!!" With that, Remils tackled him in a manner uncomfortably similar to Janine's takedown of Egon.
"You guys are home now." Peoplebuster Winston told them. "How long do you think until they come up for air?" He gestured at Peoplebuster Egon and Janine.
"If they're anything like mine, it'll be a while." Venkman quipped, drawing an eyeroll and a cough from Egon.
"I would recommend a full assortment of tests as soon as possible." Egon told Peoplebuster Fritz. "They were held in temporal stasis for, at least relative to our continuum, over sixteen years."
Fritz just smirked.
Peoplebuster Garrett grinned. "So does this mean the truce is over?"
Peoplebuster Winston held up a hand. "No. They held their end of the bargain, we'll hold up ours. You may all leave this place in peace, as agreed. Even Epimetheus."
"The Extreme Ghostbusters, Peter, and Jeff will be coming back with us on the ECTO-4." Winston nodded at his counterpart. "As soon as we figure out how to get Mick and the West Coast boys..."
"...West Coast crew..." Winston corrected himself with a chuckle. "...Back to LA"
"They were refracted here from the initial transit of the Extreme Peoplebusters." Fritz interjected. "They should transit back to their home dimension shortly."
"You gotta be kidding me." Mick snorted.
"I never kid." Peoplebuster Fritz retorted.
"How you doin', Egon?" Peoplebuster Janine purred.
"I feel like the floor of a taxi cab." Peoplebuster Egon answered. "But improving by the nanosecond."
"Let's get out of here before this turns into the wrong kind of porn." Venkman quipped, grabbing Egon and Winston. "And I apologize in advance if I barf on the floorboards, Ziggy--I don't think I'll be eating until at least New Year's"
"Son of a bitch!" Mick shouted. "It actually worked!"
"I admit, I had my doubts." Aidan nodded. "When Dead Fritz said that the transit would wear off, it sounded like he was full of crap. But here we are."
"Looks like about where we left, too." Jason added. "Thank goodness the traffic isn't as bad. Hell, what time is it, anyway? My watch is still all screwy from the Flip Side."
Rose shushed everyone. She was on the phone with GBCentral West (who had been apprised by Jeff what was going on with the Flip Siders. "Holy cow...we'll be right there."
"What?" Mick asked.
"Jeremy said Chelsea took a hit while we were gone." Rose shook her head. "Something about the Soul Tracker hitting the warehouse. She's been in the hospital since then and...she went into labor about three hours ago."
"Heh." Jason chuckled. "I guess we'd better get back to HQ in time for cigars, right?"
Mick chuckled along, and gunned the SWAT van's engine. But as he did...an incident from just before they left the Flip Side played in his mind.
Ulforce grabbed Mick's shoulder. "I wish I had the time to explain better" he said tersely. "But whoever that man on Earth is...I assure you he's not Fritz Baugh."
Mick chewed his bottom lip. I can't believe what he's saying for a second, but at the same time, I don't get the feeling he was lying, either. Who the fuck is that Ulforce guy, anyway?!
A falling star? This could be an ill omen...
With a little magic, he followed the falling meteorite. It impacted in the Hudson River, and he followed it.
A few simple Rego Aquam and Rego Terram spells, and the still-warm object floated to him.
He concentrated, an Intellego Vim spell giving him a detailed astrological view of the skies. An arrival? An arrival of something of great importance? Hm...
His cell phone began to ring.
"Greetings. Yes....That's wonderful, Rose. 3:03 AM, you say?" He looked at the meteor. "An arrival of something of great importance?" "I will contact Fritz later today, after he's had some sleep. Until then, pass along my regards."
After Rose hung up--she had many more calls to make--Vincent studied the meteor with a wry smile. I think I know what little Abigail Pauline will be receiving for her first birthday...
Extreme Ghostbusters Created by Fil Barlow
Ghostbusters West Coast Division Created by Andy Harness and Vincent Belmont
The Peoplebusters created by Tony Marino in the RGB episode "Flip Side" (RGB-175001;#402). Professor Epimetheus created by Barry Peterson for Now Comics; he was mentioned in the 1992 3-D Annual, but never appeared in print.
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.