LOVE SUCKS

From the Files of Fritz V. Baugh, Official Historian
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2004-22/003

February 14, 2004
Robert John Griffiths, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering) took a long, deep breath of the salt air rolling off the Pacific Ocean.

This must be just like living in paradise... he thought, an old song lyric coming into his head.

Tall (6'2") and blond, with a physique that had been well-defined by lugging around heavy electronics gear over the years, he cut an imposing figure laying in the sand. He'd spent the first twenty three years of his existance--all but the last one--living in Morecambe, England. Cold, wet winters. Cold, wet summers. Bloody place was cold and wet all the time...

He'd remembered the tinge of disappointment when he'd emailed the Ghostbusters UK. That team had formed in late 2002, joining up with the famous original Ghostbusters of New York City (Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore) to save Prime Minister Blair from a nasty supernatural demise. His heart had sunk as he'd read the letter...

To: Robert Griffiths [RobRULZTheWorld@griffiths7796.freeserve.co.uk]
From: Ben King Sr. [kingpin1055@hotmail.com]
Re: GBUK recruiting?

Dr. Griffiths,

Our CEO, Dr. Tommy Simpson, Iain Bennett, and myself are flattered by your interest in our organization. However, at this time we aren't hiring any additional field help.

Then he read the next section

I've taken the liberty, however, of forwarding your outstanding resume to the Ghostbusters International home office in New York City. The company's CEO, Dr. Peter Venkman, is in the process of starting a new franchise in Los Angeles, California, and he was specifically requesting promising engineering candidates (Ghostbusters deal with some very high tech equipment, and break it often, unfortunately)

I don't suppose there's much chance you could be in the LA area on May 10? That is the day Dr. Venkman and the new franchise's CEO, Dr. Joey Williams, are scheduled to hold open recruitment

We will definitely keep your information on file, however; we wish you luck in any event

Ben King Sr.

His heart had jumped a beat. He'd fantasized about California his whole life. Better yet, he had a lot of vacation time accrued...and a sizable chunk of money he'd managed to save. Even if I don't get the job, I get a dream vacation out of this...so why not?

Even better...he got the job. "Doctor Griffiths, you're in."

Being part of the North Team of the Ghostbusters West Coast was everything he'd dreamed it could be. Sure, there had been some hairy moments...the near destruction of the Sanchez Diner...being chased by zombies through a graveyard...the silicone spirit that had invaded Britney Spears...the mummy who was unfortunately immune to proton beams...more broken equipment to fix that he'd ever imagined (King had gotten THAT one too right; thank goodness Williams had later (literally) run into someone else to help with that)

He loved California. He loved the sun. He loved the sand. He loved the beach. He loved...

He smirked as he caught sight of a strawberry blonde woman in a pink bikini.

And most of all...I love the California Girls... And another song lyric started to bounce in his head

Of course, technically, the girl he was currently admiring wasn't a California girl--she was from Chicago. Her name was Chelsea Aberdeen, and she was the GBWC's Client Administrator. He presumed he was like every man on the team in wondering, wistfully, what it would be like to peel her out of that pink bikini, but it had become quite clear--especially since New Years--that her heart was spoken for.

That man was the one she was walking up to, a skinny man wearing blue trunks and fiddling with an electronic device about the size and shape of a remote control unit. His brow furrowed as the wind blew through his curly, unkempt brown hair.

His name was Fritz Baugh, and he was one of Robert's teammates.

"Friiiitz...are you going to fiddle with that thing all day?" she asked him, wrapping her arms around his torso.

"I'm trying out the software Professor Spengler sent...it's supposed to allow the meter to more accurately measure changes in air pressure and humidity, but I keep getting an error message..."

"He probably used Windows based software again..." she chuckled. "Come over here and help me..." she purred.

He grumbled as he pushed a button and got a loud, angry tone. "If it isn't important, can it wait?"

She smirked mischeivously. "I suppose it isn't important...I'm sure I can get one of these other beach hunks to lotion up my legs..."

Robert raised an eyebrow. A few feet away, Jeremy Hicks and Joey Williams sat up, suddenly attentive.

To their disappointment, Fritz turned off the meter and smirked back at her. "Well...I can't have that, can I?" he replied, clipping the meter to the waistband of his trunks.

Robert shook his head. He wasn't sure yet if it was sickening or cute the way those two carried on sometimes...but deep down, he really hoped for the best for them.

"Aw, crap..." Joey muttered. "Here I was all ready..."

"Water under the bridge, Joey..." Jeremy sighed. "But she isn't the only one in the ocean...you talked to Gina lately?"

"I plead the Fifth on that one, Jeremy." Joey smirked.

"Oh ho...so how shortstaffed are we gonna be on this Valentine's Day, then? Kyle's got plans with that Gen chick, Fritz and Chelsea are going out...we get a call in the middle of the night we can count you out too?"

"Once again, I plead the Fifth..."

"Guys!!!" John Lipstyle cried, running up to Robert, Jeremy, and Joey. "I need two of you for a game of beach volleyball--quick!!!"

"Aw..." Joey grumbled. "But I'm comfortable..."

John pointed. "But Boss...you ain't seen our opponents..."

Joey looked up to see three quite attractive women, all wearing little more than dental floss; one of them was fondling a volleyball. "I'm in!!!" Joey said excitedly.

Jeremy looked at Robert. "Flip a coin for it?"

"Go on..." Robert told him. "I'm comfortable here..."

"Thanks, Dude!!!" Jeremy said, running off to join the others.

Joey was already trying out his pick-up lines. "I'm famous, you know..."

Robert shook his head, inhaled deeply once more, and closed his eyes. Might take a little nap...

Robert wasn't sure if he actually dozed off...but the next thing he was aware of was being jolted out of his repose by something landing on him...

"Bloody Hell!!!" he shouted, and tried to get up abruptly, opening his eyes to see that his attacker...

Was a woman of Latino extraction, with long dark hair and brown eyes that stared at him with embarrassment. She began to quickly babble, possibly an apology...

"Sorry, Miss...I'm afraid I still don't know Spanish."

She stopped, and gave him a curious grin. "Then let me start again...I'm so sorry about that. I didn't mean to land on you, but I tripped in the sand--I'm so very clumsy..."

Balance problem maybe? Robert thought, the very male part of his brain beginning to notice her sensually...pleasing physique, barely held in by her purple bikini.

"No problem." he said, clearing his throat and removing his sunglasses. "You all right, then?"

"Si..."

"Let me, um...help you up then..."

He did just that, in a weird way almost happy to get her off of him. Not because it was unpleasant, but just the opposite--he was afraid that he would be soon having an embarrassing physical reaction to her proximity. She is just bloody beautiful... he had to admit to himself.

"You...are not from around here, are you?" she asked him, brushing sand from her arm.

"Um, no...I'm from England originally..."

"It's the accent of course..." she said, staring at him. "It's quite stimulating..."

"I don't think I've heard it described that way before. Most people in this country think it means I'm either a highbrow snob or a movie villain..."

She laughed at that. "Then most girls need to raise their sights a little higher..."

He scratched his head. "Um...that didn't come out how I intended...my name's Robert, by the way..." he said, extending his hand.

She shook it with slow deliberation, and not without firmness. "No offense was intended, Robert...another accident like my tripping..."

"No harm done there. In fact, I keep wondering if I should ask how much I owe you for that..."

The woman's eyes narrowed, a bit of a mischievous smirk crossing her lips. "I could probably be talked into doing that again..."

"I don't let a woman fall on me twice until I know her name..." Robert replied, finding himself returning her mischievous look. I'm not just bloody imagining it, am I? I think she likes me...

"Isabel..." she replied. "So may I fall on you again now..." she leaned in close "Or would you rather fall on me this time?" she whispered into his ear.

"Oh Hell..." Robert exclaimed, his breath noticably labored.

"Okay, boys, let's see...score is fourteen to two?" one of the girls was saying.

"I still think we should've gotten that third point." Jeremy grumbled. "It was right on the line..."

John poked Joey. "Dude--look! Is that Robert?"

"Holy cats...and where did he get that babe-alicious woman?"

Robert and his new friend walked up to Fritz, still applying sublock to Chelsea's legs. Robert had to note to himself how suddenly less...interesting she looked to him now. "Hey...Doc..."

Though Fritz was wearing sunglasses, the raising of his left eyebrow was still a tangible sign of his bemused expression. "Yes, Robert?"

"If you and the Mates can get along without me for a while, Isabel and I're going to go grab a bite to eat. Talk."

"We're not on company time, Robert, so I don't have any say on what you do or don't do. I'll pass that along to Joey and the others, though..."

"Thanks, Mate..." Robert nodded. "I'd say I won't do anything you wouldn't, but lately that's not much of a prohibition..." he added, smirking. The fact that Dr. Baugh's face got a shade red when he did was of no small satisfaction to him.

"Um...yes, well, like I said, what you do on your own time is none of our business...enjoy yourself, in any case..."

Robert and Isabel walked off. After they'd left earshot, Chelsea sat up. "Isn't this a bit sudden?"

"Perhaps." Fritz agreed. "But that's their concern. Turn over so I can do your back..."

February 15, 2004
"LOOK OUT!!!" John Lipsyte shouted as one of the foul-smelling blobs lunged at Micheal Chad and Jeremy Hicks.

They jumped in opposite directions. The brown creature looked back and forth, cleared it's throat, and spat a stream of slime at Jeremy.

"AAAAGH!!!" Jeremy howled, as the odious muck coated him.

"Hang on, my man!!!" Chad said, taking the opportunity to shoot the creature in it's bulbous, protruding butt.

"Where's Ron?" John asked, looking to and fro, wiping some of the stinking slime--he'd been doused with it earlier in the encounter--off of his face.

A proton beam sizzled by his head to strike the brown creature. "Quit slackin' Lipsyte--still ghosts to bust!!!" Dr. Ron Daniels, coated with the same slime that everyone but Chad had been hit with at this point, was at the other end of the beam. A smoking ghost trap was clamped to the side of his proton pack.

"Jeremy--the trap!!! Contizzle the f***er!!!" Chad shouted.

" 'Contizzle'?" Jeremy muttered incredulously, as he unhooked his trap. "I don't want to know..."

Within a few more seconds, the little black box was smoking and the indicator light on it pulsing.

"No doubt about it..." Jeremy said, wiping more slime off of himself. "They had to be some of the worst slimers I've ever had to deal with."

"Hicks, I've been doing this longer than you--and they were the worst slimers I ever had to deal with..." Ron added.

"When someone said they thought that Mister Hanky from South Park was haunting them, I thought they were kidding." John shook his head. "They were just about right, weren't they?"

"Pretty much." Jeremy agreed. "I changed my niece's diapers a few times, and let me tell you it's pretty close..."

"I'm just glad none of that stuff got on me." Chad said brightly. "I guess Mister Clutch's luck worked for him again..."

John, Jeremy, and Ron all looked at each other. An evil grin appeared on each of their faces.

"GROUP HUG!!!" they shouted at once, taking Micheal Chad into a loving embrace.

Robert Griffiths slowly realized he was waking up...but even after he did, it took five more minutes to find the energy to open his eyes.

He was lying on a bed, sunlight peeking through the drawn curtains...Bloody hell...where am I?

He pulled himself upright, discovering that he wasn't wearing anything. He glanced to and fro, discovering that his clothes--his shirt, swimtrunks, and a pair of floppy sandals--were lying on the dresser.

He got out of the bed too quickly--his legs wanted to fall out from under him...he grabbed the dresser and managed to steady himself.

The last thing I remember was Isabel.... he realized. We had just had a bite to eat at the Burger Death...we were watching the sun go down and...

She started to kiss me...I started to kiss her back--no shame in that, right?--and then...then what happened?

He pulled on his trunks, and when he grabbed his shirt a piece of paper gently fluttered to the dresser surface.

The room has been paid for.
Sorry to leave abruptly
Muchas gracias for the wonderful time.
We shall have to do it again soon...

A lipprint followed

Isabel

And scrawled below that...a phone number.

Lord, did we really... he thought to himself incredulously. He wouldn't deny he'd felt the desire...but good grief, sleeping with her when he'd only know her a number of hours he could count on one hand? I doubt even Joey'd do that...it's just not proper!!!

Worse...

I don't even have a pleasant memory or two out of doing it!!!

The ECTO-1N was heading back to GBCentral West when John Lipsyte swerved it suddenly.

"What the hell?" Jeremy shouted, his drink spilling all over him

"Look!!!" he said, pointing. The other three Ghostbusters realized that they had swerved into the parking lot of the LA Sedgewick, and stumbling out of the entranceway was a rather dazed looking Robert Griffiths.

"Robert!!!" John shouted as he jumped out of the 59 Cadillac. "Man, we were wondering what happened to you!!!"

"Well, Chelsea did say he left with a knockout..." Jeremy chuckled, neverthless feeling a little concerned himself. Robert had never looked so pale, even when he'd first moved to California.

"I bloody don't want to get into it right now..." he said, his voice slightly slurred. "But I am so glad to see you mates...means I don't have to hail a cab..." He almost fell into the driver's seat.

The other four Ghostbusters looked at each other. "Um...are you sure you should be driving, Robert?"

"I'm not drunk or hung over, I bloody promise. I'm just bloody tired. Now are you going to get into the car or do your arses want to walk home?"

Fortunately, Robert's driving skills seemed unaffected, and the ECTO-1N made it home without incident.

"Why you guys, anyway? You're not a standard team..." Robert asked, getting out of the car. Strangely enough, he seemed just a little less befuddled and exhausted as he had when he left the hotel.

Ron shook his head. "Well, remember we didn't expect Fritz or Kyle in today..."

"Right..." Robert chuckled. "Or Miss Aberdeen for that matter..."

"Well, Joey never made it back..." John added.

"I still think he got all three of the volleyball girls." Jeremy interjected. "It'd be just like him..."

"Jeff of course only went to sleep a couple of hours ago..." Chad added.

"And with Harness visiting Green Acres and me God knows where...I get the picture." Robert nodded. "I'm sorry about that...believe me, I certainly didn't plan on that happening..."

"Nah, we'll forgive you..." Jeremy said mischievously, nudging Robert in the ribs. "As long as you give us some juicy details..."

"A gentleman does not discuss such things, Mates..." Robert said, heading further into the building. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need a nice hot shower like nothing else..."

"Man, this is starting to suck." Jeremy muttered. "Why am I about the only one around here not getting any tail?"

Ron shushed them with a glance. "Notice how he didn't say word one about how we smell like a pig farm and were probably permanently soiling the Ecto's upholstery? I'd say something is seriously wrong here..."

"Well, he could be, like, in love..." Chad suggested brightly.

"You guys are back?" Dr. Nathaniel Masterson (nicknamed "Otter") said from the reception desk, only just now noticing (he was fiddling with the team's broken coffee maker)

"Yeah, Otter. Any calls?" Ron asked.

"Just one. A girl. She had a really sexy voice so I asked her what she was wearing. But then she hung up--I hope it wasn't cause a ghost got her."

Ron shook his head. "Jeremy put those two stinkers away and hope the fumes don't get throught the ECU walls..." He tossed Hicks his ghost trap. "I'm claiming seniority privilege and getting next crack at the shower..."

February 17, 2004
'What the hell is this? Some kinda shoe polisher?" Otter asked, holding up a black object with a handle on it.

"Wow! I know what it is!!!" John said excitedly. "It's a vintage PKE meter--the type Professor Spengler used back when the company first formed. The ones in both movies were based on this, even though by the time of the Vigo battle he'd switched to a later version..."

Robert pulled a proton gun (not connected to a proton pack) out of the crate. "Dr. V. recently found some old stuff in a warehouse...said it was leftovers from an old LA franchise that was born and died back in the mid-80's..."

John blinked. "I've lived in LA my whole life and I don't remember that..."

Dr. Jeff Nash, an occultist with a pale visage that often got him mistaken (in this line of work) for a "good guy" vampire, blew dust off of a ghost trap. "Well, according to Venkman it lasted about five minutes. It formed right before the Main Office was shut down, and without any support it dried up quick..."

"Venkman just found this, and had it sent here--says if we can make use of it to go ahead..." Robert chuckled. As an engineer, he was amazed at how...well...advanced this stuff was still. Some franchises still used this design, twenty-one years after it was created--That's just how bloody far ahead of everyone else Dr. Stantz and Professor Spengler are...

"Probably his way of saving a few bucks on equipment costs..." Jeff deadpanned, drawing a few chuckles.

Chelsea appeared at the entrance to the room. "Sorry to interrupt..."

"What's wrong with Fritz? I thought for sure he'd be down here picking through this too..." John asked.

Chelsea rolled her eyes. "He's still wading through a stack of invoices Joey pushed off onto him. Robert--you have a visitor."

Robert raised an eyebrow. "Who is it?"

Chelsea turned with a mischevous glint in her eye. "That girl from the other day..."

"Isabel?" Robert said, jolted to upright posture.

"You remember her name at least--good going." Jeff said drolly.

Robert walked into the reception area perhaps just a little too quickly.

He had to admit to himself--Isabel was a remarkable woman--she looked almost as sexy in a shirt and mid-length skirt as she had in a bikini three days before.

She smiled when she saw him, and went over to kiss him on the cheek.

Chelsea just rolled her eyes and started to pretend to type something.

"I...Isabel...um...I tried to call yesterday, but I got no answer..."

She looked at him sheepishly. "I had things to do yesterday...I apologize..."

Chelsea clicked a key just a little too loud.

"Maybe we should talk over here..." Robert said, giving the GBWC's Client Administrator a "look".

"Are you all right, Robert? You seemed quite...exhausted when I last saw you..." Isabel said, with a hint of a smile.

"Um...well...yeah...I..." How can I tell her I don't remember a bloody thing? "I mean, after all we..."

"Oh yes..." she purred throatily.

Oh hell...

"Would you like to do it again?" she said, in a quieter but more sultry voice.

"Um..."

"You know you want to..." she said. And her eyes glowed red.

Jeff was adjusting one of the old proton packs when he heard Otter yelp.

"Otter?" John asked, full of concern.

"This shoe polisher thing started to go nuts!!!" Otter cried, holding up the old PKE meter.

"I think it's getting a reading..." Jeff said, almost registering amazement.

"Chelsea...tell the mates I'm gonna be gone for a while..." Robert told her, Isabel on his arm.

"Going to be as late as you were Saturday?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I can guarantee it..." Isabel answered for him, running her fingers through his blond hair.

Chelsea was about to make a withering remark but stopped. She couldn't explain why, but...

Just after Robert left the warehouse, Jeff sprinted into the room, Model 3.0 PKE Meter in hand...John Lipsyte and the puffing, out-of-shape Otter close behind, the latter holding the old meter. The arms on both were blinking slowly.

"That's the damndest thing..." Jeff muttered.

"What?" Chelsea asked.

"My readings confirm what the prehistoric PKE meter picked up...like there was a really brief spike of PK energy right around this area just a few minutes ago."

"Whoa..." John said, suddenly looking like he's just caught whiff of a stink bomb. "I feel it...like...um..."

" 'Um' what?" Jeff asked.

"Sometimes psychokinetic manifestations have a sort of emotional charge...sadness, anger, fear, that sort of thing..."

"So what you getting?"

John looked around. "An entire pharmacy full of Viagra."

"Robert..." Chelsea broke in, an idea she didn't like forming in her mind. "...Just left with his new girlfriend. And they could barely keep their hands off each other."

Jeff was now having the same idea Chelsea was. He didn't like it any more than she did.

Things were getting intense for Robert Griffiths...

He couldn't think anymore...

Ghostbusting...his friends...none of it mattered...

All that mattered was Isabel...

I must have her...

"You must have me..." she purred.

"Oh bloody hell yes..." he replied, his breath labored.

Fritz looked at the PKE meter Jeff had given to him, his brow furrowed as he studied the readings.

"And you say the time frame matches when Robert was talking with Isabel?"

"Yeah..." Chelsea answered. "They came bounding into the reception area just after Robert and the girl left..."

"I hate to admit it, but it's all falling into place." Jeff said. "It just doesn't seem in character for Robert to Go All The Way on the first date--unless he was being hit with some strong magic."

"You think Isabel is some kinda witch?" Jeremy asked, incredulously. "Man, and I wondered what she looked like naked, too..."

"We're not talking a cackling old witch with an army of flying monkeys, if that's what you mean. There's another possibility that's even scarier." Jeff paused. "She could be a succubus..."

"A...what?"

Fritz clicked some screens on the TOBIN database. "Succubus...the female version of Dar'ota...the male version is referred to as an incubus, but they have the same M.O.: they adopt a surpemely attractive guise, seduce their victims, and drain away their life force. It's possible to drain it all at once, but they prefer to...play just a little bit."

"And Robert was totally exhausted that morning." Jeremy nodded. "We just thought..."

"We know what you thought." Chelsea interrupted.

Fritz pulled out his own meter. "We need to find Robert, and quickly."

"Tell me how much you want me..." she said, pulling her shirt away to reveal the most spectacular breasts he'd ever seen.

"Oh yeah..."

She now stood before him, achingly beautiful in her nudity.

The ECTO-1N rolled down the street, sirens blazing. "Turn left..." Fritz barked to Jeremy, who was driving the car in Robert's absence.

"You realize..." John said from the passenger seat. "We're heading toward the LA Sedgewick. It's where we found Robert the other day..."

"Maybe it's her favorite spot to...y'know..." Jeremy offered.

Sitting in the second row of seat, next to Fritz, Chelsea Aberdeen nervously adjusted her collar. She was dressed in the same kind of tan flight suit sporting a neon orange Ghostbuster logo as the rest, the name ABERDEEN on the chest patch. "So why were you so insistant I go on this one? You realize I've used the packs once or twice in training, but I've never been on a bust before..."

"Insurance." Jeff answered from the back. "If we're really dealing with a succubus, there's the possibility she could throw some mean shit at us. Shit that as a girl of the female persuasion, wouldn't be as effective on you..."

"Plus having you along may fortify our own defenses. Especially his, of course..." Jeff teased, poking Fritz in the back of the head.

As John semiprophesized, the ECTO-1N stopped at the LA Sedgewick. "He's definitely in here..." Fritz said, studying the meter. "And there's a slowly building PK source close to him..."

"Say how much you want to be with me..." came the words...throaty with longing...he didn't realize there was no sound attached to them. They were both naked now, his desire more than obvious...

All he could think of was how much he wanted to be with her...the feel of her warm hands and soft body...the longing to become one ecstatic whole with her...

"...oh hell yes..." was all he could moan. His mind was no longer his own...

She smiled and her eyes glowed red. "Then we shall be together..."

He had no idea what happened next...the line between pleasure and pain so blurred by his ardor...

All he knew was that it was the most intense thing he'd ever felt...

And that he wanted more of it.

There was a sound...a door being kicked open by a foot wearing a black paratrooper boot.

"ROBERT!!!" a voice...three voices? shouted...

An electric sizzle...

And the voice of Isabel shouting in surprise, rage, and pain...

Jeremy Hicks kicked open the door to reveal a scene that reminded him of an old sci-fi-horror movie he'd caught once about a naked space vampire.

"ROBERT!!!" he, John Lipsyte, and Jeff Nash shouted in unison. Isabel looked up in shock and surprise...Robert looked totally unaware of what was going on, and lurched like he was in a drunken stupor...

But it was enough of an opening for the threesome to open fire, hitting the surprised Isabel full-on.

They'd already been warned that the flow of energy in the room meant that she could probably take it--Fritz was looking at his meter, his expression grave. Chelsea was right beside him, thrower unholstered but still silent. She wasn't going to fire until she had to...

Isabel picked herself off the floor. She pushed one dark lock of hair out of her eye, and the corner of her mouth turned an enigmatic smile.

"Don't move!!!" Jeff barked.

"You weren't there that day, were you? A pity...you might have made almost as interesting a challenge as Robert..."

"Challenge?" Jeremy asked.

"Si...after so may years the quick jumps...the would-be Rico Suaves more than eagar to...accomidate a beautiful woman become boring. Better a man with a lot of self control..." she looked at Jeremy and John. "You two, and especially the other one with you, are such seething cauldrons of lust that you would've been too easy...but Robert...such passion yearning to be released, especially with so many fertile specimens around...but his self-control is considerable. It was worth it, though...his energy is..." she leaned her head back, licking her lips..."...magnificent..."

Jeremy felt a bead of sweat falling down his face. She was just simply...gorgeous. And completely naked. Tell me to shoot soon, Fritz, or I don't know if I'll be able to... and realized that suddenly Isabel looked different. A woman with red hair he didn't recognize, but somehow felt he should. Because she was HOT.

To Jeff Nash's eyes, Isabel suddenly looked different...her hair now a dark shade of crimson, like wine...I don't chare if she makes herself look like Marie...it's a trick...it's gotta be..."

John Lipsyte suddenly found himself looking at a woman with a striking resemblance to Beyonce Knowles. "What the..."

Fritz blinked. And suddenly Isabel had shorter hair, a familiar shade of strawberry blonde...he had to physically turn to see that another woman with that same strawberry blonde hair was still standing next to him.

"She's sending out a wave...it's..." Fritz started to say, his throat unusually parched at the moment.

"You might have been a greater challenge, Senor..." she purred. "Between your own self control and the hold of love on your soul, your corruption might have been interesting..."

"Shut. Up." Fritz bit through his teeth. Even knowing what was happening, the "pharmacy full of viagra" effect she was broadcasting, it was hard to concentrate...and somehow he began to suspect that Chelsea Aberdeen's proximity was only making it worse.

She must have realized it too, because she blasted Isabel. The naked woman was knocked back by the beam.

"Your crap doesn't work on me." Chelsea snarled.

"A thousand pardons..." Isabel smirked, her expression hardening for the first time. "Dressed like that, I mistook your for a man..."

"Eat alpha particles, you demonic bitch!!!" Chelsea shouted, and blasted her again.

"We gotta...the trap..." Jeremy said, only barely coherent.

"Robert...is he..." John said, just as addled.

"Guys--would you please just pull it together here?!" Chelsea said, looking worriedly at Fritz. "You know I can't do this alone..."

"You mortal strumpet." Isabel's voice broke through the room, now resonating with supernatural menace. "You assume because you are female I have no power to oppose you?" Her eyes glowed a firey red. "You are trapped in a room full of males stewing in their own testosterone...I don't have to deal with you--it will only take the slightest push..."

"Run..." Fritz said simply and with labored breath.

"Fritz..." Chelsea responded. "What..."

"It's taking every ounce of willpower I have to keep from dragging you down, tearing off your flight suit, and..." he paused, not elaborating any further on that point.

Jeremy dropped his thrower, and grabbed her roughly. "I saw you on the elevator and just wanted you then and there...let me do what that uptight f***wad never could..."

"You just get your damn hands off of her..." Fritz snarled, a savage tone coming into his voice.

"Butt out!!!" Jeremy shouted, and punched him in the gut.

John moved over to her. "You ever think about jungle fever, Miss A?"

John and Jeremy grabbed her, and threw her onto the bed before she could react.

"What the hell are you guys doing?!" Jeff snarled, interposing himself between them and the bed.

"You'll get your turn when we're finished." John said cheerfully.

"You are not doing this..." Jeff shouted. "That's Chelsea--you're forgetting about..."

Jeremy tried to punch him. "You're crampin' my style, Creepy!!! We said you can go when we're done!!!" Jeff dodged the first one, but John snuck up behind him and grabbed him. Jeremy slugged him a few times, and threw him to the ground. "Maybe he's gay...that'd explain a thing or two..."

Jeremy turned back toward the bed, and got kicked in the head.

"Oh, you tease...you know I like it rough, right? And I'm good with my hands..."

Fritz caughed up blood, and hurled himself at Jeremy. "Over my dead body!!!"

Isabel cackled. This was going even better than she hoped.

Jeff landed next to the semiconscious Robert Griffiths, only barely conscious himself, visions of the woman with the crimson hair dancing in his head.

Robert had no idea where he was...all he remembered was the longing...What the hell have I been doing? he thought to himself.

Isabel... he remembered, his eyes shooting open. What the bloody hell has she been doing to me?!

He looked up to a sight of horror. Isabel, cackling madly, somehow despite her beauty and state of nudity, repellant for the hateful glee on her face. Fritz, John, and Jeremy beating the stuffing out of each other...Chelsea watching the scene looking ready to cry or scream or both...and Jeff lying next to him...

Jeff? he realized, starting to scan the fallen Ghostbuster. I may be bloody naked but there's still a chance...

Isabel cackled with glee. "Go ahead, my friends...indulge yourselves...let the energies flow...and perhaps I may let the winner have their way with me when he is finished..."

"Don't you already have a date, Bitch?" a voice with a British accent deadpanned. There was a loud hiss, and a glowing yellow energy blade suddenly errupted from between her ample breasts.

They looked up to see Robert Griffiths, the modified handle of Jeff Nash's neutrona saber (customized by Otter to resemble the Master Sword from the Zelda games) in his hands, the blade plunged into Isabel's back.

"Man...what..." Jeremy stopped, the fuzz clearing out of his head, and he suddenly realized what he was doing. "I was about to..." he let Fritz go, and fought the sudden urge to let his lunch come back the way it came.

"A little help here, Mates--I'm here starkers holding nothing but a sword!!!"

"YOU EVIL BITCH!!!" Jeremy shouted, blasting Isabel.

John, Fritz, Chelsea, and Jeff joined in quickly enough.

Robert moved out of the way as the beams washed over her. She writhed and hissed, and her perfect naked features...her too perfect naked features...began to distort and change. Within a few seconds, the beautiful vision was gone, replaced by a green skinned monster with leathery skin, bat-like wings, and horns on it's head instead of hair.

John reached to his back to retrieve a ghost trap. Robert put his hand on his shoulder. "Let me..." he said firmly.

He spared one last look at the creature that had both delighted and tortured him over the last few days. He stomped on the pedal to open the trap.

The creature turned back into Isabel. "Robert...don't do this!!! I love you!!!"

"Sometimes...love sucks." he snarled, and released the pedal.

For a good five minutes, there was no sound in the room other than labored breathing and the blinking of the trap's status light.

Robert grabbed his flight suit from where it had been thrown on the dresser. "Mates...I..."

"It wasn't your fault." Fritz said evenly. He and Chelsea had just been holding each other for the last few minutes. "The magic it was throwing out was powerful..."

"Not powerful enough, though..." Jeff added. "It took enough of her energy to turn us into Tri Kuppa Bru pledges that she loosened her grip on you...you saved us, my man."

"I just don't feel like it...I feel..."

John and Jeremy each looked at each other, then at Fritz and Chelsea. "I...um..." Jeremy gulped hard. "I'm sorry about all of that...I..."

Chelsea shook her head. "It wasn't your fault."

"Me too...that was so..." John stuttered. "I keep thinking with my power I shoulda been more..."

"Don't sweat it." Jeff said. "Look, let's just get back to HQ before Otter burns the place down..."

February 20, 2004
"Naked demon chick? And I missed it?" Andy Harness said incredulously.

"I missed it too, if it makes you feel any better..." Joey told him. "And so did Ron--he had to be at Stanford that day..."

"For all the good that's doing me lately" Ron rolled his eyes. "I'm beginning to think that the guy running the place is one of those 'Dean Yeager' types and out to get me..."

They all clammed up when Robert entered the garage. He didn't spare a look as he went over to the ECTO-1S. He popped the hood and began to work on it.

Joey leaned in close to Ron and Andy. "Could I get you guys to leave us alone for a few minutes?" The two nodded.

"I gotta check out that old pack Mister Creepy told me about..." Andy said just a bit too loudly. "Wanna come, Ron?"

"Sure!" Ron said, almost as loudly, and the two walked off.

Joey went over to Robert. "How you holding up, Robert?"

"Kyle said the damn thing knocked something fierce on their job yesterday. Looks like a few adjustments should fix it..."

"I take your word for it. You're the engineer, I'm the parapsychologist. Which is three quarters psychologist, after all..."

Robert stopped. "Would it matter to you if I said I didn't want to talk about it right now?"

"Of course it would. But you underwent a hideous ordeal...something noone should have to go through. Something that could be compared psychologically to rape, with the stigma of Things Like That Don't Happen To Guys added on."

Joey looked him in the eye. "When you are ready to talk about it, we're here. And if you don't feel like that's best..." he handed Robert a business card. "This guy's highly recommended by Dr. Venkman. And he even takes GBI med plan vouchers."

They both laughed.

"Maybe...maybe I will, Joey. I haven't been able to look anybody in the eye since all of that...on top of what happened to me what happened to all of them because of it..."

The alarm bell rang.

"This so ruins our bloody Kodak moment." Robert deadpanned.

"North team...you're up on this one!!!" Chelsea's voice came over the PA system.

"Back to reality..." Joey smirked. "Let's go kick some ghost ass, Dr. Giffiths..."

Robert pulled on his ecto-visor as John, Jeremy, and Fritz (clutching the work order) ran into the garage. They're a good crew... he remarked to himself. I'm damn lucky to know them...even if they are a bunch of bloody lunatics...

He found himself thinking of Isabel one last time as the ECTO-1N pulled out of the garage, siren blaring.

Like I said...sometimes, love sucks...but that doesn't mean we give up, either. I'm still young, after all...someday I'll find a real woman who really loves me...

And you can just burn in that.

Questions? Comments? Visit the Ghostbusters West Coast or Ectozone Message Boards