GBI Case File GBWC-2004-22/001
"You're the Ghostbusters?" the guard asked.
"No. We're carjackers. We pinched their lorry and decided to take it for a spin. Sheer coincidence we ended up where they were called." Dr. Robert John Griffiths deadpanned from the driver's seat, his English accent thick with sarcasm. "Of course we're the Ghostbusters."
The guard opened the gate, allowing the car to enter. It was early morning on a holiday, so the museum was closed for visitors. But this was a special case.
Five Ghostbusters got out of the car.
Dr. Joey Williams was the nominal leader. He looked tired and hung over. Because he hadn't gotten much sleep and he was hung over. "Happy New Year my ass..." he muttered.
Griffiths got out of the driver's seat, and pulled out a cigarette.
"I'm sorry Sir, we don't allow smoking in the museum."
Griffiths muttered something vile and put it away.
"Not my idea of an ideal holiday either..." Dr. Ron Daniels broke in. He was a large man with a Southern accent. " Course, my holiday was all shot when I couldn't make it back to Georgia anyway..might as well make some money at it."
Jeremy Hicks adjusted his eyeglasses and grinned. "That's the spirit, pardon the pun. We are still more fun than the Stanford faculty, right?"
"I think just about anything short of Gozer returning is more fun than a Stanford faculty party..." Ron laughed. "Hey, you guys know Winston Zeddemore's wife worked for a museum? So maybe one of you guys'll get lucky here..."
"Well, it's either that or the LA symphony orchestra, since it's quite clear that Fritz has the secretary angle covered" Robert joked, elbowing Jeremy in the ribs.
"Don't remind me." Jeremy chuckled. "So, Ron, just how did Dr. Stantz meet his wife, then?"
"Well, Jeremy, it was like this..." but Ron was interrupted by the arrival of the head curator.
All five male Ghostbusters were suddenly quite attentive. She was about thirty, with long dark hair pulled back from her face, and large eyeglasses.
"You're the Ghostbusters? I'm June Chandler--Head of the Egypt exhibit. I'm glad you could make it."
"No problem, Ma'am. I'm Joey Williams. Doctor Joey Williams. CEO of the Ghostbusters West Coast. And single. So...how may we help you?"
"We know you said keep things bloody hush-hush." Robert added.
"This way..." she said, leading them to the Egypt wing.
There were the usual assortment of stuff you find in an Egyptian wing of a museum. A few gold trinkets. A mummified cat. Statues of various gods...
"Hey...this dude remind you of anyone?" Joey said, pointing to one statue with a jackal's head.
Jeremy adjusted his glasses and peered at it. "Yeah...fill the room with smoke and put him in a hoodie..."
"That's Anubis, or Anpu..." June informed them, wondering what they were talking about. "The Egyptian god of the dead. But my problem is right over here..."
She led them to a sarcophagus. The door to the sarcophagus lay on the floor about five feet away, and the interior was empty.
"When our first curator came in she found it like this." June told them.
Robert regarded it with Engineer's insight. "It'd take quite a bit of force to do this...Jeremy, pick it up."
"You're the one that's good with his hands."
"I'll get it..." John told them, and grabbed it. "Damn...that thing must weigh a few hundred pounds--I can barely shift it!!!" Jeremy and Robert went over to help lift it up.
"Dig this..." John said, pointing. "Scratches..."
"And all on the inside" Robert pointed out.
"This gets weirder all the time." Jeremy agreed.
Ron was scanning the room with his Model 3.0 PKE Meter. "This room's still putting out a 325, and it's probably been a few hours since whatever happened. When did this happen, do you estimate?"
"We were going through the security tapes while we were waiting for you. The cameras went completely blank around midnight, then came on again about fifteen minutes later."
"Happy New Year." Joey quipped.
Robert and Ron looked at each other. "Large PKE emissions have been known to screw up A/V signals..." Ron commented.
"Who was the mummy, anyway?" Joey asked, wondering what June'd look like without her glasses. Or her clothes.
"His name was Tohnloq..he's a rather obscure Old Kingdom pharaoh. I've got several documents about him if you think that might help..."
"Yeah." Joey agreed. "We can give them to Fritz and Creepy to look over--they'd probably put the rest of us to sleep. I'll also need your home phone number in case of an emergency."
"Ignore that last part, Miss Chandler. We still need to have Joey fixed." Robert said brightly.
"Have you considered the concept that it was a...well, conventional theft?" John asked.
"Unless the theif was like something out of a Captain Steel comic, I don't see how." June responded.
"Taxes aren't due 'till April, even in California, Fritz." Kyle deadpanned.
Fritz looked up with a start. "Kyle? Hm...I..."
"Fritz, we've been friends for eight months or so now, so please take this with the constructive sense with which it's intended: you look like hell." Kyle said. The physicist's normally smooth face was laced with stubble, his hair was a mess even by its normal standards, and he was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, save for the fact that his Mickey Mouse tie was gone.
Dr. Jeff Nash entered the room. "I see Fritz finally made it home..."
Kyle blinked. "How late were you out last night? I know it was New Year's Eve, but..."
"It's not any of your concern." Fritz responded curtly, his typing getting louder and more forceful.
"I bet..." Jeff smirked. "I take it dinner with Miss Aberdeen went better than expected?"
Kyle looked at Jeff. "What are you suggesting, Jeff?"
"You're the MD, Kyle. I'd think you'd be the last person I'd have to explain it too."
The sounds of the return of the ECTO-1N distracted the scene before it could go any further. "Did the North Team have an early call?"
"Yeah. Ron went with them..."
Fritz leaned back and exhaled loudly. "Aha!!!"
"Why do I get the feeling that that has nothing to do with what we're talking about?' Jeff deadpanned.
"I think I have made a breakthrough in the Ravisher case..." Fritz announced.
"Why am I always right about these things?" Jeff deadpanned again.
The other four members of the the North Team, and the team's Mobile Agent, all entered the room still in flight suits. "Hey! Dr. Baugh!!!" Joey grinned. "Glad you could make it!!!"
"I was just telling Kyle and Jeffrey that I think I've made a breakthrough on the Ravisher case."
"I'm more interested in the breakthroughs you made on our Client Administrator, but this will do for now..." Joey replied.
Fritz was referring to the incident that brought the members of the West Coast Division together. At a movie premiere in April, a jackal-headed creature calling itself "The Ravisher" appeared and murdered director Jon Dennison. Joey, Jeremy, Fritz, the aforementioned Chelsea Aberdeen, and Peter Kong--also now a member of the GBWC--and legendary founding Ghostbuster Peter Venkman were present at the first attack; Kyle was a practicing doctor when Dennison was wheeled into his care--and the actual murder took place. The complete team--including Jeff, Ron, John, Robert, Andy Harness, and Micheal Chad--fought the Ravisher not long after that at the Sanchez Diner, but the entity escaped.
"I've been going through some of the press clippings about Mister Dennison, the personnel files Peter was able to obtain, and Chelsea managed to get copies of the police reports."
"I figured all along ol' Dogface must have had some personal dislike of Dennison." Jeremy broke in. "He sure ranted like he did."
"Exactly. I think our initial theorem--that the Ravisher was just some monster sent to randomly kill him just to prove itself--was probably an error." Fritz nodded. "Think about some of the things the Ravisher said..."
"I don't want to, I've slept since then." Joey offered.
"You can't be forgetting me, Jonny...c'mon, you know who this is...Or, to be more accurate, who this once was!!!"
"C'mon...who else would hate what you did enough to ruin your moment of glory?"
"You damned fool...you really are stupid...But that's why you hire people who can actually think, steal their ideas, and then take the credit for them. Leaving them with nothing. One of them comes up with the idea for a blockbuster...and you kick them to the curb like yesterday's trash."
"Well, guess who's leaving this place in a black baggie today, Jonny-boy?"
"Well, I think I found someone who matches the criteria..." Fritz continued. "Take a look at this..."
" 'January 16, 2003...altercation at Disney Studios...forcible removal of staff writer Joseph Snurf. Threatened bodily injury to director Jon Dennison--according to Dennison, Snurf had just been fired for drinking on job.' " Jeff read from the screen.
"Dennison didn't file charges as the police escorted Snurf off the premises." Fritz added. "The personnel files confirm he was first brought to the studio by Dennison, and he, quote, 'contributed significantly to the concept work for Dance of the Skeletons', unquote."
"Figures Peter is in Muncie for the holidays..." Ron shook his head. "He worked there--he might be able to tell us more."
"Ask him when he gets back in a few days." Joey said. "In the meantime, Fritz, look over this stuff John has about the new case. But good work on the Ravisher thing, I'm impressed." He broke into his best imitation of Venkman's Cheshire grin. "I gotta get you laid more often--after glow usually puts me to sleep, but it seems to do wonders for you."
Fritz shot him an uncharacteristically rude gesture as he left the room.
Loud raps echoed around the spacious estate.
[I am angry with my mother
I think she is promiscuous
And has sex with barnyard animals]
"Oh, Zagnut..." one of the three girls on the water bed purred. "You do it so good."
"Of course I do, [woman of questionable sexual history]." the scrawny man, in his early twenties with spiky blond hair, replied with a sneer. "I am the greatest musician in all of history!!! I cannot be stopped!!!"
The other two women in the bed started to whine. "Zaaaag...when is it my turn again?"
"Just shut your [mouth],[vulgar reference analogizing her to a sensitive part of her anatomy]. There's plenty of Zag to go around." Zagnut took another pull off of his joint. "That's how cool I am--[dog metaphor]s lining up to [perform oral sex on me]."
"I'll go get some more whipped cream!" the third girl said, giggling. She was Zag's favorite--her silicone breasts were the largest.
"What'll we do until she gets back?"
"Watch my videos, what else?" Zagnut replied, turning on the widescreen plasma TV. An image of Zagnut strutting, posing, and waving around a Glock filled the screen.
[Rhyming patter about Zagnut having intimate relations with his ex-wife, shooting her in the head, and then having intimate relations with her corpse]
"You are such a romantic!" the bubble headed woman said apparently honestly.
"You need to dye your [f-word] roots again." Zagnut replied.
"So is your buddy Wink gonna show up tonight?" the other girl asked. "He's not as good as you, but I'll [indulge] him anytime..."
There came the loud scream of the third girl, the one who'd gone to replentish the whipped cream supply. And a loud, deep, grating snarl.
"[Expression of extreme confusion]"
A few seconds later, the alarm bell rang; Jeremy, John, Robert, Ron, and Fritz made it to the desk quickly. Joey sauntered up a minute later. "So explain to me again why the North team is on call all day today?"
"Because you wanted to take all day Christmas off." Robert retorted.
"New rule: the South Team has to work every holiday. So what we got, Chad?"
"It's great, My man! It's Zagnut!"
"Who?" Fritz asked.
Chad blinked incredulously. "You never heard of Zagnut? He's only one of the most popular rappers in the world today, Doc!"
"I pretty much stopped paying attention to popular music in the early 1990's." Fritz said dismissively.
"Dawg, Zagnut is the MAN. He got his start doin' backup raps for the 2 Crew Run D.O.A. Humpers..."
Fritz 's face contorted with disgust. "Them I've heard of--they're one of the reasons I stopped paying attention..."
If Chad noticed this, he didn't show it. "Zag met M.C. Wink in jail back about '98, when Wink was in for threatening their manager with a Glock and Zagnut'd just held up his first liquor store. Zag did some raps for '[F-bomb] Tha Spice Girls' before doin' three discs of his own: 'The Real Wigga', 'The Matthew Marshall LP', and 'The Zagnut Show'..."
"Chad, enough, I think Fritz is about to lose his lunch." Jeremy broke in. "So what does he need with us anyway?"
"He says a mummy just broke into his house."
"A MUMMY?!" All five said in unison.
"Shyeah, right." John replied.
"So you find out anything about our missing 5000 year old friend, Doc?" Jeremy said, turning to Fritz in the back seat.
"Hm...this paperwork the museum sent presents an interesting portrait of our presumed adversary: Pharaoh Tohnloq was the grandson of the infamous Clown Pharaoh Ahagotsu, but wasn't very royal--he liked to sneak out of the palace in disguise. He'd say he was the son of a slave and/or a prostitute, and if anyone said 'But you look like Prince Tohnloq' he would violently attack them."
"Tohnloq didn't want to be pharaoh--he wanted to be a singer. But he had a big problem: he couldn't sing. So he started to perform in a manner the accounts describe thusly: 'He would scream loudly in incoherent, rhythmic obscenities, full of violent and lusciousness images and foul words, and if anyone challenged his talent, he attacked them'. This apparently continued when he finally became Pharaoh, and anyone who didn't act enraptured by his performance would be put to death."
"Oh my God." John exhaled. "That's horrible."
"Waitaminute..." Ron said, rubbing his head. "Liked to deny his patrician ancestry...coudn't sing...violent, lusty rhymes..."
"Pharaoh Tohnloq was the world's first Gangsta Rapper." Fritz summarized.
Robert looked ready to pull out his thrower and neutronize the squawk box. "We're the Ghostbusters, you bloody twit!!! You called us!!!"
"Sorry about that...that's the standard greeting Mister Marshall wants us to use...I'll buzz you right in--he needs you fast!!!"
Robert muttered under his breath as the gates opened. "Twice in one day I've gotten attitude from buggers watching the door...We're charging him extra for that."
"Anything on the meter, Fritz?" Ron asked.
"Affirmative. It looks like a power valence of 5..."
"Hoh boy..." John sighed as the car pulled up to the house.
The six 'Busters exited quickly, and strapped on their proton packs. It....feels the same as the museum... John Lipsyte remarked to himself.
The Ghostbusters ran to the source of the PK trace, and there confronted the mummy who was threatening Zagnut and his two conscious girlfriends.
It was tall, but framewise little more than bones. Tattered, greenish bandages surrounded it's body, and a dusty, decayed headdress that must have once been ornate set on it's head.
"CUUUUURSE!!!" the thing shouted.
"DO SOMETHING, [SUFFERERS OF EXTREME OEDIPAL TENDENCIES]" Zagnut shouted from the bed. "I'LL PAY YOU TEN TIMES WHAT YOU CHARGE!!!"
"$50,000...done." Joey smirked, pulling his thrower. "I think our bandaged friend is in a state of 'De Nile' about being dead..."
Jeremy pointed his thrower at Joey for a second.
"Hang on, boys..." Ron broke in. "The mummy isn't a ghost--it's corporeal."
"So we can't shoot it?" Robert asked.
"Well, we can...but it may not hurt it much..." Ron answered.
"We also have to remember that this is a valuable archaeological artifact..." Fritz pointed out. "The museum would prefer to have it returned intact."
"Not to mention that they're gonna pay us too..." Joey added, priorities in place. "Try a low-intensity stream...on three..."
"THREE!!!" All six shouted in unison, having learned that drill well.
The six beams slammed into the mummy. It howled "CUUUUUUUURSE!!!" and staggered back.
"Is it doing anything?" Jeremy yelled.
"CUUURSE!!!" the mummy shouted again, lurching forward.
"Dial up to full stream!!!" Ron barked.
The mummy started to stagger back again, it's bandages starting to smoke.
"All we're doing is burning it." John shouted.
"We'll take what we can get!!!" Joey whooped. "Burnt toasty pharaoh, cooked to order!!!"
"We can't maintain full stream!" Fritz started to say. "The computer override will..."
The beams cut out.
"...Trigger the failsafe" he finished.
"CUUURSE!!!" the mummy bellowed angrily, lurching for them.
"Plan B--RUN!!!" Robert yelled.
"Well, at least he's going to leave the client alone!" Joey shrugged. And started to book.
"How long till the beams come back on?" John asked, rounding a corner.
"The cyclotron temperature has to fall to within 70% tolerance..." Robert answered. "Usually about thirty seconds or so"
"So all we have to do is not get killed in that amount of time..."
"Well, how bloody fast could it be?"
As it turned out, faster than it looked.
It grabbed Fritz and hurled him thirty feet into Zagnut's swimming pool.
"Oh shit!!!" Joey shouted, barely dodging the creature's grip himself.
"If only we knew what it's 'curse' was all about..." Ron mused. "Then we might know what to do to stop it..."
"You have my permission to ask him" Jeremy returned. "I'm more worried about the Doc--he hasn't come up yet and he don't float too well in a sixty-pound proton pack..."
John looked at the snarling mummy. "Maybe one of us should just ask him. Might be better than shooting first."
"Are you nuts?" Jeremy asked him.
"Probably." John allowed. "Hey, if nothing else, maybe I can distract it long enough to get Fritz up for air."
Ron unbuckled his pack. "I'll get him--I had some rescue training back in NOMAD..."
John Lipsyte holstered his particle thrower, and came out from under cover. "Hey there--can we talk?"
"CUUUUUUUUUURSE!!!" the mummy bellowed.
"Um, yeah...my name's John. I understand yours is...Tohnloq?"
"YEEEEEEEEEESSSS..." the mummy replied.
As he spoke, John reached into his mind...the power that had flared there sporadically since he was in his early teens was unreliable, but on this occasion it did his bidding. He could feel the creature's feelings.
"You want something..."
Robert checked his thrower, and smirked with satisfaction. "Throwers should be back on line."
"Let John do his thing." Joey said with unusual gravity.
"Your wrappings are cursed?"
Longing...I want to...
...want to perform
"You...want to rap?"
"YEEEEEES!!!" the mummy said, a bright tone in it's shout. "CUUUURSE..." it said, with a new, plaintive edge.
"But you can't...because of the curse?"
Ron had just finished dragging Fritz out of the pool. The smaller man sputtered and spat. "Damn strap on the pack stuck...I couldn't get it off..."
"Good thing I brought my survival knife, I guess." Ron smirked. "And no CPR necessary."
"Yeah, he's already gotten mouth-to-mouth once today." Joey deadpanned. "Can't let him get all the action in the group..."
"So, um, what do we do with the mummy now?" Jeremy asked.
"I guess not. I keep hoping Otter will accidentally blow it up."
"Joey, you're the CEO--you have a responsibility to keep up with business..."
Joey grumbled for a few seconds, then did his best imitation of Doctor Venkman's Cheshire grin. He grabbed half the stack of paperwork and handed it to Fritz. "Okay, you win. I am officially naming you Co-CEO and here's your half of the paperwork. Get to work--it won't do itself."
"That is not funny..."
"Did I say I was kidding?"
They were interrupted by the clicking of the lock and opening of the door. Chelsea Aberdeen, the Ghostbusters West Coast's Client Administrator, walked into the room with a distinct perk in her step. Joey managed to catch Fritz's quick glance and smirk at her before turning away.
"Hey there...I was just working on the paperwork." Joey said to her brightly. "You look to be in good spirits this morning."
Fritz inhaled and coughed nervously.
"I had a nice New Year's Eve, Joey." she smirked, reaching into her handbag and pulling out Fritz's Mickey Mouse tie. She handed it to him with a wink. "Let's just leave it at that. So anything interesting happen yesterday?"
Joey told her all about the mummy.
"Okay...so after that, what happened?"
"It's most odd." Fritz replied. "Mister Marshall--er, Zagnut--came out, said he'd heard it all, and said he sympathized. So he asked the mummy to rap for him."
"Unfortunately, the thing can only rhyme in old Egyptian, and it's voice is terrible..." Joey informed her.
"Even by rap standards it was awful." Fritz interjected.
"But Zagnut offered to let it go on tour with him anyway--to be that guy who stands at the corner of the stage, arms folded, grimacing at the crowd. Tohnloq loved that idea--he still gets to be part of the show."
Chelsea shook her head, amazed and bemused by it all. "What did the museum think about all this?"
"Miss Chandler was none too happy." Fritz answered. "But Mister Marshall gave the Board of Directors a lot of money and a promotional deal, so they agreed to it."
"A mix of higher learning and lowest brow culture..." Chelsea rolled her eyes. "Will wonders ever cease?"
"Best of all, our bank account is $60,000 healthier..." Joey smiled. "Plus we can get free tickets to any of Zag's LA shows."
"I can't control my excitement." Fritz said with obvious sarcasm. Chelsea giggled.
With that, Fritz and Chelsea left Joey's office and went over to the main desk. After giving him the kiss she'd been stifling since she entered the building, she asked him bluntly. "What's wrong? It isn't because of..."
He gave her the kind of warm smile he seldom gave around anyone else. "Never." But his features darkened nonetheless. "It's Tohnloq. It makes me nervous that he's still...out there. Because we never did find out how...or why he climbed out of his sarcophagus..."
A tall figure wearing copper red armor was already in there. "So...I understand you managed some success..."
The woman, with long black hair and dark eyes, was quite striking even with her unnaturally pale skin tone. The tight purple body suit that showed off her ample curves didn't hurt, either. "Certainly better than your ridiculous gambit with that bugbear..." she snorted.
The armored man growled menacingly.
She smirked approvingly. "You are so cute when you're angry..."
"Frau Geistimann..." a loud voice interrupted. "Attend your master..."
They turned to the throne at the center of the room. Sitting in the throne, dressed in a black body suit decorated with ornate accessories, a pharaoh-like headdress, and clutching a scepter, was a man-size figure. With the head of a jackal.
The armored man and the woman both bowed to the figure. "Master Anubis, Lord of Atrocity, we await your word."
"Frau Geistimann...I have given you a mission...and I understand you have attained success..."
She stood up and went over to the creature in the throne. "I have, Lord of Atrocity. I present my success to you." With that, she pulled a parcel out of her cleavage and handed it to him. "The Pharoah wasn't even aware of its power. Less so now...that he's into rap"
"The Eye of Apophis..." he said, genuine glee entering his voice as he fondled the blood-red scarab. "You have done well..."
"I thank you, My Lord."
"With this, my plan will move forward...all we have to do is await the right alignment of the stars...and this world will feel my power."
With that, a deep, dark laughter filled the hall...
Ghostbusters West Coast Division Created by Andy Harness and Vincent Belmont