INTERMISSION

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, Official Historian
Some sections written by Jeremy Hicks, GBWC North Team
With Plot Contributions From the Rest of the GBWC Team
Addendum to GBI Case File No. GBWC-2004-22/100

April 30, 2004
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty Two
"Ashes to ashes; dust to dust..." the preacher spoke. An elderly man of African-American descent, with only a fringe of white hair remaining on his head, his calm voice nevertheless shook with genuine sorrow. "Lord, as we commit the flesh of Johnathan Parker Lipsyte to the Earth, take his soul into your Heaven above. Amen."

"Amen" the crowd, mostly African-American as well, repeated softly.

The preacher's sorrow was understandable. Twenty-four years ago he had baptized John Lipsyte. Seeing him every Sunday as he grew from a wide-eyed child to a man bounding with energy and promise.

Today, he eulogized him.

There was one group of Caucasian faces in the group of mourners--John's comrades, the eleven surviving members of the Ghostbusters West Coast, all dressed in dark suits. Dr. Joey Williams (the GBWC's CEO). Dr. Kyle Stevens. Dr. Andy Harness. Dr. Jeff Nash. Dr. Ron Daniels. Mike Chad. Jeremy "J" Hicks. Dr. Robert Griffiths. Peter Kong. Next to Dr. Fritz Baugh stood the GBWC's Client Administrator, Chelsea Aberdeen, also dressed for mourning. Even Nathaniel Masterson, the eccentric and diminuative engineer nick-named "Otter", was wearing a presentable suit, and for probably the first time since the GBWC had hired him a year ago, the blue dye was washed from his sideburns, allowing their natural white color to show.

Dr. Peter Venkman, chairman of Ghostbusters International and co-founder of the legendary New York City franchise, stood with his wife Dana. Joey couldn't help but notice that he'd never seen Venkman's age--only months away from his fiftieth birthday--seem to show the way it was today. Venkman looked tired, his normally energetic green eyes hollow and cold. It would've given Joey small comfort, perhaps, but Dana Venkman had noticed that too...

As the coffin was lowered into the ground, the sobbing woman next to the preacher lost it completely, wailing in despair, collapsing into the his arms. "I know, child, I know..." Evangelean Lipsyte had already buried her husband, and now, watching her son being returned to the Earth was breaking her...

Not far away, dressed in a shawl to keep her from being immediately recognized, was Catharine Bartholomew. She was dealing with a mix of emotions...guilt, that it was in her rescue that John Lipsyte had had to sacrifice himself. Gratitude, that his heroism had freed her and saved the city--possibly even the world. The feeling of intruding onto the sorrow of the friends and family of the deceased, a man she didn't really know. And the confusion and sorrow that wracked her over the fate of her former lover, Joseph Snurf, who had murdered another of her ex-lovers and nearly murdered her as the monstrous Ravisher. But in the end, he'd been betrayed himself, and the rememberance of his last pain-filled scream cut to her soul still.

There couldn't even be a funeral for Joseph Snurf--his body had disappeared when the pyramid vanished from Pershing Park.

Not far away from Venkman was his longtime brother-in-arms, Winston Zeddemore. Winston didn't know John Lipsyte, but Venkman had asked him to be present at the funeral--that Venkman somehow thought it appropriate for Ghostbusters International's most renowned African American member be present.

Next to Winston was an intense looking man about Jeff's age--Vincent Abraham Belmont was the leader of one of the other New York franchises--the Arcane Division--and was currently acting as leader of the Ghostbusters UK's new subdivision, the Graveyard Shift. He was a sorcerer of significant power and prestige, and had been involved with the Ghostbusters long before he'd put on the uniform.

With Vincent was his fiancee, Jill Valentine, a former member of the special operations unit called STARS. Both had made the trip from England on short notice, but Belmont had insisted on being present at the funeral of a fallen Ghostbuster.

One watched with dispassionate eyes.

Jeremy wanted to feel something...kept trying to remind himself that John was his friend, his comrade--for a year they'd watched each other's back in haunted houses, against ghosts, mummies, a succubus, and more he couldn't even find himself able to remember.

Truth to tell, he found himself bored. Bored at watching the little mayfly creatures mourning the passing of one of their eyeblink life spans...

There was just enough humanity left to be disturbed by that thought, but it was fading quickly...

The Master's time grows near, Host. Your meatbag comrades will not be able to stop what is about to occur. Soon, it will be time to begin...

He almost cried out to Joey...wanted to grab Fritz by the lapel and scream "HELP ME!!!"...

...But he couldn't

Ghostbusters Central West
It had been a quiet ride back to the former warehouse that the Ghostbusters West Coast called home.

"We saved the city....probably even the world..." Peter Kong finally broke the silence. "We can't forget that..."

"Hard to take a lot of solace in that right now." Chad responded.

Peter Venkman slumped into one of the chairs in the reception area. Winston and Dana looked at each other--it was unnerving them to see him look so...defeated.

"Peter, we better get you back to New York pronto. Ray and Egon are worried sick about you and if they saw you right now, well, their fears would be validated."

"Why him?" Venkman finally said.

"What do you mean, Peter?" Dana asked gently, sitting in the chair next to his.

"Why is it an asshole like me can live to see his fiftieth birthday? I've faced more primal horrors and demonic masterminds than I can even remember...or want to. I've gone toe to toe with giant marshmallow men, dudes with pumpkins for heads, tentacle beasts that wanted to crispy fry New York City, killer dinosaurs, and guys that were good stand-ins for the Devil himself. I've been posessed, shrunk, turned into a cartoon character, and literally blown across space and time..."

"Why is it I'm still here...and a kid like John Lipsyte isn't?"

Winston put his hand on Venkman's shoulder reassuringly. "I wish there were simple answers to that, Pete. But you know there isn't. Maybe we've been luckier than we should've been, but you can't let that eat you up inside. We're in a job that can be incredibly dangerous--but all of us know that. John Lipsyte knew it, the same way a policeman or a fireman knows every day could be their last."

Winston sat down. "We don't go asking the fire chief or MacShayne why they didn't die and all those police and firefighters did."

Chelsea felt a lump in her throat. Venkman and Winston were New York natives--she knew Winston didn't have to tell his old friend which day he was referencing.

"Instead, we honor the service and sacrifice of those heroes. Thank them for all the people they did save--and that's what John Lipsyte did, Peter."

"You're right..." Venkman finally nodded. "I know...It just doesn't seem fair somehow."

"Let's get you home, Man." Winston said as he stood up.

"Winston's right, Dear." Dana agreed. "I think Oscar and Jess will do you a world of good right now."

Dana and Winston led Venkman out of the former warehouse; Vincent lingered for just a moment longer. "I hate making this so abrupt, but like Mister Zeddemore said--I think we need to get Dr. Venkman home before he crashes completely."

Joey nodded. "Hey, completely understood, Vince...just make sure to let us know how he's doing."

"I will, Dr. Williams." Vincent replied, shaking Joey's hand "You all take care."

There was a round of quick goodbyes, and then the Ghostbuster wizard joined his friends outside.

Fritz sat down and exhaled loudly, removing his glasses.

"You all right?" Chelsea asked, starting to rub his back.

"About as good as could be expected. I spent some time in Newark, as you might remember--I was already back in Indy by September 11, of course, but I have a lot of friends in that area."

"So some of what Mister Zeddemore said got to you a little, huh?"

"A little..."

Jeremy suddenly snorted, and turned and left the room briskly.

"J?" Joey asked suddenly concerned.

"He's been actin' wierder than usual lately...or is it just me?" Andy added.

Jeff was taking off his tie with great relish--he hated wearing it. "Give J a break...he and John were pretty close, and then there was that 'Prophesy' thing there at the end. And believe me, I'm more than curious about what it all means, but there'll be plenty of time to ask about it later."

"I agree..." Fritz nodded. "Let him be for now."

May 7, 2004
"This is just f***ing great..." Joey muttered out loud.

"Another bill?" Chelsea rolled her eyes. "You want me to take it to Fritz's desk now, or are you going to sneak it in when he's not looking again?"

"It's not a bill--it's from Ron"

"Where in the world has he been? He headed back to Stanford after the funeral and we haven't heard from him since. When I tried to call, I was told his phone was disconnected..."

"Thank you, Miss Exposition."

She replied to that by sticking out her tongue at him and pulling down one eyelid. "So what does it say?"

Guys,

I know this is sudden, but there's the story: when I got back to Stanford, I had it out with the boss (Dean Yeager Jr. I call him behind his back) and basically told him to take his job and shove it.

And practically before I could blink, I ended up at GBI HQ at the right time--Tom, Dan, and Hell, even Chris (can you believe it?) were all there.

I have valued my time with the Ghostbusters West Coast, but this will have to serve as my official notice of franchise transfer: Ghostbusters NOMAD is being fully reactivated and I'm returning to that group. This is certainly nothing against any of you--you've all grown into a team of accomplished professionals over the last year, and I'm proud to have been a part of that. But I formed a deep bond to these three guys, and...well, frankly, I think they need me a lot more than you do right now.

I'll send full contact info as soon as we're completely up and running, but for now just email me through GBI headquarters.

I wish you all the best of luck, and thank you for your friendship

Dr. Ron Daniels

GBNOMAD

"That's depressing..." Chad winced.

"Oh, I don't know." Kyle disagreed. "Ron really missed the NOMAD guys, so maybe this will be a good thing for him."

"Look, Ron's gone--I don't like it either, but we'll deal with it. There's still like nine of us, you know, which is still twice the standard GBI team roster..." Joey tried to say as brightly as he could

"Considering Jeremy seems to spend most of his time hiding in his room, we're practically down to eight." Robert rolled his eyes.

"Joey and I've asked the central office to send us a list of prospective Mobile Agents from the GBIndependant rosters--somebody who could be, much like Ron was, a part-timer." Fritz said.

"GBIndependant?" Peter said quizzically.

"You never study..." Andy chuckled.

"The independant contractors--fully trained and accredited agents of GBI who either weren't able to raise the capital or recruit enough personell to start a full franchise." Fritz explained. "We're cautiously optimistic..."

The White Diamond; Newark, New Jersey
May 13, 2004
The large man crashed through a table.

The thugs that were with him stepped back.

The goateed young man in the leather jacket brushed off a piece of lint. "Why don't you mop up what's left of Ox off the floor and get your asses out of here. I don't really feel like playing with you today--maybe go bug Felix down at the Hello Kitty?"

The toughs grabbed the semi-conscious Ox and beat a hasty retreat.

"I wish Ox and his hoods would quit this crap..." the beefy bartender, a guy named Harvey, sighed wistfully. "Thanks for stoppin' him before I had to call the police, Leon..."

Leon Hogan took a swig of his beer. "No problem, Harv."

Two more men walked into the bar; the older of the men was in his mid forties, with short auburn hair and a matching beard. Behind him was a wiry Hispanic with a goatee.

"Don't look like regulars to me..." Harvey muttered under his breath.

Leon did a double take--he recognized the older man.

"So is this the place?' the Latino said, with an accent that conveyed some nervousness with the situation disguised under a thick layer of boredom.

"Yeah...the White Diamond" the older man replied in an excited tenor. "Hey! There he is--Leon!!!"

Leon nodded. "What brings you to these parts, Doctor Stantz? Fritz finally convince you to try the food?"

"These guys know Doc?" Harvey asked.

"You might say that--Doctor Stantz is Fritz's boss now."

"I told you last time--call me Ray. And this is one of the other guys in the New York office--Eduardo Rivera. Eddie, Leon Hogan..."

"Nice goatee..." Eduardo quipped.

"Yeah. I can see why they had me wear one of your jump suits..."

"You can keep it. I don't do uniform."

Comprehension dawned on Harvey. "Hold on, waitasec...you're Doc's boss? Stantz--Ray Stantz, the Ghostbuster?!"

"He catches on quick..." Eduardo deadpanned.

"Pleased to make you aquantance, Mister..."

"Just call me Harvey, Doctor Stantz." Harvey replied excitedly, pumping Ray's hand. "Sorry I didn't recognize ya...I guess I figured you looked more like Dan Aykroyd..."

"I get that a lot..." Ray rolled his eyes, but no offense in his voice.

"And as you guessed, I'm Eduardo Rivera, the Legendary Rico Suave of Ghostbusting..."

Harvey looked confused. "Um, if you say so...the name doesn't ring a bell..."

Six months or so before, Fritz and Joey were visiting the GBI offices in New York City. They went on a bust with Doctor Stantz that ended up being the ghost of Leon's late brother, Nick. With Leon's help, they'd solved the mystery of Nick's death and allowed him to pass to the other side.

"So...Ray...what brings you to these parts? Pardon the phrase, but Jerzee ain't your usual haunt..."

"I know...we've got more than one New Jersey franchise to handle things....but while this isn't a bust, it is GBI business." Ray answered. "I'm here on behalf of Joey and Fritz to talk to you..."

May 15, 2004
The door to Ghostbusters Central West opened. Chelsea Aberdeen looked up to see two men walk into the garage--young men, one with a leather jacket and a goatee, the other with slightly long dark hair that looked like it would obscure his vision. A bit like Jeff, actually... Chelsea noted to herself.

"May I help you?"

"You must be Chelsea? We've communicated by email--I'm Will Ketcham, with GBIndependant..."

"Dr. Ketcham. Of course..." she replied cordially, shaking his hand "Pleased to meet you!"

"You're...Chelsea?" the goateed man asked, with an interest that seemed slightly suspicious.

"Chelsea Aberdeen, Ghostbusters West Coast Client Administrator." she replied, shaking his hand. "And you are?"

"Totally in awe of Doc's taste in women, Miss Aberdeen."

But before Chelsea could recover from her shock and ask any further questions, Fritz's voice broke in "Leon!"

The goateed man looked up. "Hey, Doc...I see you're doin' real real well here..."

Chelsea looked back and forth. "And this is?"

"Leon Hogan" the younger man replied. "Though if Doc is anywhere near as reluctant to talk about me as he was about you..."

"Um...of course I mentioned Leon. He's someone I knew in Newark. Joey and I worked with him on that case back in September."

She brightened up. "Ah...THAT Leon! So what brings you here?"

"Joey didn't tell you?' Fritz shook his head. "He's the newest member of the North Team."

"...As it turned out, the Class 3 was identified as Nick, Leon's older brother, who'd died in a robbery back in '88." Joey told the assembled team a half hour later. "Leon agreed to help out in reasoning with Nick, finding out the truth--Blackstrom, the guy who hired us, was actually the robber who killed him."

The rest of the group eyed their newest member with suspicious eyes.

"I know Leon's not John." Fritz stepped forward. "But he's street smart, tough, and doesn't scare easily. If Joey and I didn't think he would be an asset to this team, there's no way we would've asked him to be on it."

Joey added. "And make no mistake--he may be one of Fritz's old friends, but I agreed with this idea. In fact, I was the one who thought of it first, not Fritz."

Leon was wearing his newly-comissioned flight suit, the standard GBI tan, but the orange GBWC "no-ghost" logo and the chest patch reading "HOGAN" were obscured by the black jacket he insisted on wearing over it.

"Look, I don't know any of you guys yet." Leon finally said. "But I imagine since you've worked with Doc for like a year now you know this guy's nuts, but he's got your back, right?" There were several nods. "Don't think I'm gonna be any different."

"Welcome to the team!!!" Otter finally said. "Think you can get me a jacket like that? I bet the chicks dig it..."

"Names Mike Chad, but call me Chad. Or Mister Clutch--cause when I'm around nothin' goes wrong."

"Ignore him." Andy rolled his eyes. "An authentic Yankee huh? This'll be interesting..."

"Dr. Kyle Stevens. Nice to meet you--I'm the team doctor."

Jeff just shook his hand. They sized each other up.

"There is one more thing..." Joey interrupted. "This is Dr. Will Ketcham, formerly of the Maryland Ghostbusters..."

"Formerly?" Robert asked, pulling out a cigarette. Leon pulled out a lighter and handed it to him.

"A little problem with slime clogging up the bay led to us getting sued and shut down. Wasn't even our fault--damn bureaucrats..." Will answered.

"Ta-ry having Der Terminator in charge of your state" Peter replied in a thick Austrian accent. "So do you have a little brother named Ash?" he added, in his normal voice.

"Ahem...Dr. Ketcham is now in charge of Ghostbusters Independant, the umbrella name of GBI's independant agents."

"We asked him to find us a new Mobile Agent. Ron is irreplaceable, but hey, we're used to having a great big group around and like having that flexibility." Joey explained. "Since Will accompanied Leon here, I'm hoping that means that, maybe, you found someone?"

"Yeah." Will replied, starting to grin. "Me."

Even Joey looked a little surprised.

"You guys are getting quite the reputation, especially after that pyramid incident. The Nightsquad or UK guys would argue with this, but you're in the running for GBI's best franchise right now."

Andy caughed loudly.

"Okay, Nightsquad, GBUK, or East Tennessee...anyway, I talked it over with Louis and Professor Spengler, and they agreed it would be a good idea to...y'know, sorta keep my feet wet in field work with a franchise. Since Maryland is kaput and New York is kinda crowded, we thought of here--especially since as a 'part timer' I can keep up with GBIndependant stuff."

"You're the guy who came up with the TOBIN network, right?" Jeff asked.

A couple of the Ghostbusters looked at each other. Will seemed just a tad embarrassed. "Well, yeah...Professor Spengler and Dr. Stantz helped with the coding, and let me upload a lot of their database, but...yeah...I guess that was my baby."

Joey looked pleased as he slapped Will on the back. "Quite a surprise, Will, but a pleasant one. I guess this makes it official--the GBWC is back up to full strength."

May 24, 2004
Why are you putting my friends through this? Haven't they suffered enough with the loss of one of our own?

Shut up Host. You're constant struggle to keep me under control is failing and you know it. Your mental barriers are weak, and I will break them in no time. And I care nothing about the one that died. I never knew him. At best he would have made a good snack.

Jeremy Hicks awoke, sweat pouring from his temple. His nostrils flared and his teeth gritted. His eyes glowed red for a second...and a very feral tone came from his throat...

"Now, get my good side this time, Boris--last year you made my nose look fat..." Joey was teasing the photographer. Boris Meely was an old friend of Peter Venkman's--they'd met on a case way back in 1985. While Meely (who, more than one GBWC member noticed, looked a lot like a skinnier version of Ray Stantz) hadn't been impressed with Venkman at first (in fact, he kind of thought he was a psycho) they'd became reaquainted ten years later, when Venkman was working as a Hollywood agent. Meely became Venkman's publicity photographer of choice, and now counted Ghostbusters International among his contracts.

"Joey, Boris didn't make your nose look fat--your nose did that all by itself." Andy retorted.

"I really wish you'd lose the jacket for the publicity shoot." Fritz chided Leon.

"Hey, I want people to recognize me, Doc." Leon replied.

The various members of the Ghostbusters West Coast were forming in the former warehouse's garage area with their vehicles, the ECTO-1N (the practically required 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor replivehicle, this one particullarly styled similarly to the New York office's car when it was known as "ECTO-1A") and the ECTO-1S (a converted SWAT van). All of the Ghostbusters were wearing their tan flight suits; Otter was in his usual overalls (but at least they were clean overalls for once); Chelsea was dressed professionally in a purple sweater vest and skirt. She was currently adjusting Fritz's collar.

"We all ready to go?" Boris asked.

"We will be as soon as J works his ass down here..." Jeff replied.

"I reminded him about it yesterday." Joey added. "Maybe I'd better make sure he's all right" He thoughtfully turned to Peter Kong, who was playing his Game Boy. "Hey, Pete, go dig up J, would you?"

Kong rolled his eyes, and walked off toward the quarter area.

"So is Dr. Vee gonna make it? He is back in LA. And we know he enjoys having his picture taken..." Boris joked as he adjusted one of the lights.

"Nah." Chelsea replied. "He's on a publicity tour for the twentieth anniversary of the movie--I even hear he's gonna be on Allmusic TV with Corkie again..."

"She's still with Allmusic TV? I thought there was a clause in your contract that they fired you once you hit twenty five..." Robert deadpanned, snuffing out the end of a cigarette.

"The tan looks good." Joey beamed, smoothing his flight suit.

"Meh. Lots a teams have their own colors." Andy replied. "Like my boys back in East Tennessee wear camo...those punks in Brooklyn wear the black and purple...and the big guys each have their own seperate look. I keep thinkin' maybe we aughta' try something different..."

Joey looked thoughtful for a moment. "I dunno...I like it like this. Tan is the classic Ghostbuster jump suit color. It's what they wear in both the movies..."

"Well, though as Doctor Venkman pointed out once, only in the case of the first movie was it accurate. By the time of the Vigo crisis they'd switched to the mutlicolored uniforms, but somebody--he suspects Reitman or Aykroyd--preferred the uniform tan, so they kept it."

"True, Fritz. Of course, I gather that movie is a huge sore spot with some of the main office..." Will said.

Joey rolled his eyes. "Just don't get Mrs. Spengler started on it...I think she'd still throttle Ramis given a chance..." He looked up as he heard rushed footsteps. "Hey, Pete, J, about time you could...Pete? Where's Jeremy?"

Peter exhaled a few times. "His uniform was still hanging in his closet, but his room was a mess--clothes thrown onto the floor. And his duffle bag is gone!"

The assembled Ghostbusters looked at each other.

LAX
“I'm sorry sir, there are no direct flights to England. There's one with a stopover in Atlanta, one in New York, and one in Toronto,” the lady at the ticket counter said.

He remembered what had happened in New York a little over 20 years ago. He had no interest in Atlanta, but needed to see someone in Toronto.

“The stop over in Toronto will do just fine, thank you,” he responded with a smile. He could've swore that his smile made the lady blush a deep cherry red.

“And what are you taking with you?”

“Just this backpack full of clothes.”

“And how will you be paying?”

“Credit card,” he answered as he pulled it out and gave it to her. It was a GBI SuperCard normally for company business that he'd swiped from Joey's office. As he was waiting for it to clear, he had another conversation between his two halves.

Why do you need to go to Toronto?

My last host was never this curious, so shut up.

Your last host didn't know what hit him until after you lost.

There was a fury of mental blows and attacks at every mental block Jeremy had put up to keep the thing from taking complete control over his body, and most of them broke like tumbling wooden blocks, some like a rock wall being blown up by dynamite, and the rest like tissue paper. And amist the debris, laid an unconcious mental image of Jeremy.

That's why I told you to shut up, foolish mortal.

Then a barrier erected itself around Jeremy, imprisoning him in his own mind.

“Your card has been approved. Have a nice flight Mr. Hicks.”

“Thank you. And you have a nice day yourself,” he responded with a smile as he walked towards the terminal.

"I sweeped the room for valences--it does look like there were signs of a PKE spike in this area within the last twelve hours, though it's faded now." Fritz reported, the arms of the PKE Meter Version 3.0 low, lights dim.

Joey shook his head. "I thought this was all about what happened to John, but now I'm really beginning to wonder...this started right after the battle with Anubis..."

"You think this has anything to do with that?" Robert asked.

"I dunno..." Peter replied. "I don't know how to explain it, but...in that pyramid I could smell the trouble. Granpa Jake says maybe I finally got some of Dad's knack for it. What I'm getting at is that this doesn't smell the same..."

"There's only one way to know for sure." Jeff summarized. "We need to find J as quick as possible..."

"Chelsea will email GBI headquarters to have the rest of the franchises keep an eye open for him." Fritz said as he stowed his meter. "Hopefully, wherever he turns up, we'll find out about it..."

The next few hours were filled with being comfortable, relaxed, and treated like a king. He was used to being treated like this. He had been king of an entire race once...

But that was in the past. He had to prepare the gate for the coming of his master. Then he would be a king again, and all would bow down before him and his master.

And the mate his master made for him. He wondered what form she had taken this time, but he knew that she had good taste when it came to a host. He on the other hand kept taking what was ordained for him, decendants of ancient worshippers of his master. And they continued to be dorks, unaware of their potential for greatness...

Except this one. He seemed to be aware of his heritage, and seemed to be aspiring to the greatness ordained to him. But it was almost impossible without his friends and family.

He dismissed the thought for that was looking into a possible future, one where he and his master failed again. He needed to concentrate on the immediate future, and where he needed to meet his 'friend' in Toronto and what to tell her to do while he searched for his mate.

There were many memories of different women that had been in his life, but no one that would have been chosen. Then he came to the most recent memories, the time Jeremy spent with the GBWC. There was a memory with an unexplained vision of a woman that he had never seen before. That was it, she was the one.

“She will be perfect. This time we will not be stopped.”

Just what is up with Jeremy Hicks? The terrifying answer...

Chronicles of Gozer Book One: Revelation

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