WORD TO YOUR MUMMY

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2006-24/209

Prolog
May 2006
A drizzle fell as the night watchman made his rounds. Guarding a cemetery wasn't exactly his dream job, but at least it was quiet. Sure, there were the occassional pranksters or kinky teenagers (he never understood that particular fetish, himself) but on the whole, most of the people he dealt with were not gonna give him much of a hassle.

He scowled to himself. One such prankster was strolling into the cemetery as though he owned the place.

He shone his flashlight on the intruder. He was a man with ashen, leathery skin, wearing a black trenchcoat; he looked back at the watchman with bulging eyes, and a cheshire leer.

"It's past normal business hours." the watchman warned.

"Not for my business..." the intruder replied, in an oily voice that gave the watchman the creeps.

"Listen, Buddy, you either leave now or I call the cops. I've got them right on speed dial and..."

The intruder snapped his fingers, and the night watchman froze in mid sentence.

"A little paralaysis to keep you out of my way...and a bit of Perdo Mentem and you won't even remember I'm here..." the intruder chuckled. "I could just destroy you where you stand, but maybe I'm going soft in my old age..."

The intruder left the frozen watchman and prowled among the graves for a good half hour until he found one that looked suitable.

"Born September 5, 1977 Died May 18, 1996. Our tenth anniversary, isn't it? Perfect."

"Ars...Rego...Terram..." he gestured, and the dirt and grass parted to expose the coffin underneath. He gestured again, and the coffin lifted out of the ground.

The intruder reached into his dark trenchcoat. "A tie to your living days...a fetter that will draw your essence back into its mortal shell..." He was gripping a teddy bear in a cheerleader costume, the number "96" embroidered on the back of its sweater. He set it on top of the coffin.

The intruder then produced a sword; it was solid black, with a blood red handle, and had runic symbols carved into its polished metal surface. The intruder took a second to appreciate the craftsmanship--not to mention the effort and money it'd taken to aquire the weapon--before placing it on the coffin, underneath the line bifurcating it.

The intruder grunted with approval, then produced his last item of the evening: a scroll. He studied it for a moment, then placed it back in his pocket.

Ars creo vis...creo corporem...rego corporem...creo mentem...rego manium...creo animae!

There was a red glow from inside the coffin. The intruder gestured and repeated the incantation. The coffin opened from within.

The intruder smirked, and snapped his fingers. The teddy bear levitated to him, and he tucked it back into his trenchcoat.

A hand reached out and grabbed the sword. There was another flash of light, and the black-garbed intruder was no longer alone in the cemetary.

"Where...where am I...where is..." the newly risen man, dressed in black also, his face concealed by a hood, asked in a parched voice.

"Where is who?"

"I...I don't know..."

"We will find out, my friend. Who are you?"

The undead paused. He regarded the sword he was now carrying. "I am the Soul Tracker..."

Los Angeles, California
August 20, 2006
"I think I see it..." Dr. Andy Harness stated as he studied the sky. He was having the oddest feeling of deja vu.

Beside him, Dr. Fritz Baugh shifted in the passenger seat of the ECTO-WC, and squinted to see if he could confirm Harness's sighting. He adjusted his eyeglasses (his vision was technically 20/20, but with some astygmatism) and sure enough saw a glint of light, which prompted him to exit the vehicle. He had a slightly unusual walk, but it was good enough to surprise many people when they discovered his left leg was artificial.

The small area wasn't far from the former warehouse that served as Ghostbusters Central West. The small, flat land there had proven perfect once before--during the team's formation over three years previous--for the same purpose it was being called for today.

A small, silver aircraft, bearing the logo of the original Ghostbusters and the inscription "ECTO-4", appeared, and with a graceful motion it stopped in mid-air, it's engines pivoting to a straight up-and-down attitude. The strange craft slowly lowered itself to the ground.

A minute or so later, after the noise of the engines had completely faded, the hatch of the vehicle popped open. Professor Egon Spengler, another of the famous men who'd founded the original Ghostbusters twenty-three years before, exited the vehicle. He adjusted his red eyeglasses as he regarded his greeting party.

"Welcome back to LA, Perfessor!" Andy said, with exaggerated glee.

"Hello Andrew." Egon nodded, pulling a small device out of one of the pockets of his blue flight suit. He punched a button, and the hatch of the ECTO-4 closed behind him.

"Glad you could make it to LA so quickly, Sir." Fritz shook his hand.

"I thought I told you years ago to dispense with the 'Sir' stuff, Fritz." Egon replied. "I admit when I heard about this, I became quite curious, and was glad I was able to clear the time to make the trip so quickly."

"The Missus can't be all that thrilled..." Andy joked.

"Actually, it worked out quite well. The Twins are spending a few days with their grandparents in Brooklyn until school starts, so Janine is using the peace and quiet to catch up on her reading."

"I still can't believe those kids are going to a normal school..." Andy rolled his eyes.

"We were quite adamant that John and Eden spend at least some time in a...well, normal school environment." Egon answered, his eyes narrowing just a bit as he pushed his control again, causing a hatch at the back of the ECTO-4 to open. He pulled out a small suitcase, and Andy put it in the back of the ECTO-WC. Egon closed the hatch, and pushed the control one last time, creating a noise that sounded, for all the world, like a car alarm being armed. "They need to get at least some interaction with other children, or they'll be socially stunted..."

Andy and Fritz both silently agreed that this was probably not a line for further questioning. "But we're still honored you took a personal interest in this..."

"How could I not? You have an entity in your care that is benevolent, knowledgeable, and verbal. The best study case we've had in New York is barely intelligable, and knowledgeable about very little other than the itinerary of the local ice cream trucks and the phone number of West Pier Pizza."

Andy chuckled. "Then strap yourself in, Professor...this is gonna be good."

"Those newfangled computer things really confuse me..." the semitransparent blue woman over Chelsea Aberdeen's shoulder said as Chelsea typed in some invoices. "For one thing, that's the same darn keyboard that hasn't made any sense to me since it showed up on typewriters..."

"The designer, I'm told, did it to keep the commonly used letters separated, so the gears didn't lock as much." Chelsea replied briskly.

"You're still mad about this morning, aren't you?" the ghost asked.

"I wouldn't say mad. Just...annoyed."

"I keep saying I'm sorry--I didn't even realize you were in his room..."

"It was the wisecrack about 'So I guess this is the beast with two backs and three legs, right?'. That was the part that annoyed me."

The ghost looked hurt. "Okay...that was outa line...but...it's how I deal with things. I was embarrassed too--it's been a long time since I walked in on someone doing that. Unintentionally. So I hoped a joke would cut the tension..."

"Well, it probably did help. And Fritz makes plenty of jokes about it himself. And you're a ghost, so this isn't as big a deal as it would be if it was, say, Otter." Chelsea glared directly at the ghost. "But if you really want me to stop being annoyed, leave me alone and let me work."

"But I'm nervous..." the ghost replied. "I mean, sheesh, this guy who's coming to visit little ol' me is one of the primo bad asses in the supernatural world. Just like you humans tell ghost stories, for the last twenty years we scare each other with stories about them..."

There was a banging and crashing noise. The sound of the GBWC's diminutive engineer, Otter Masterson, cussing. The ghost rolled her eyes. "Clean up in aisle six...looks like I got something to do after all..." With that, she phased though the wall.

Chelsea sighed. Things had certainly been more interesting around the former warehouse ever since Rachel Leavenworth had appeared and moved in. A homeless ghost, she'd decided the Ghostbusters were the most "interesting" place to be, and had worked almost gratingly hard to be useful to the team. And she'd certainly kept the place tidy (aside from the occassional blue drippy mess) and had even helped out on a case or two.

It's hard to stay mad at her, but, darnit...she floated in at just the wrong moment. Fritz and I'd agreed to a two-week sabbatical until... she couldn't help but grin with anticipation at the thought. Glancing at a pad of post-it notes, the top page sporting various doodling incorporating the phrases "CDB" "F+C 4ever" and "9-3-06", she shook her head. It's tough to think about anything else right now...

Then the phone started ringing.

When the ECTO-WC came to a stop in the garage, just beside its sister vehicle (the ECTO-1N, the more "ceremonial" car that greatly resembled the ECTO-1A in its earliest days), Rachel had just about put the fire out. Otter muttered his displeasure. "Shoot...another experiment ruined..."

"I really should check you over..." Kyle Stevens stated. "I know you've survived worse that this--just this week--but it never hurts to be safe..."

"I'm only seventy-eight! Quit treating me like I'm old!!!" Otter whined.

Standing nearby, Jeff Nash and Jeremy Hicks rolled their eyes as the walked over to the SWAT van.

"Welcome back to LA, Professor." Jeremy said, greeting Egon.

"Glad to see you're doing well, Jeremy." Egon nodded. "Jeffrey, at this point it's strange seeing you somewhere besides New York..."

"If my Ninja Teleport trick let me take others along, I could've saved you some money..." Jeff joked. "Though if I did that, you wouldn't have gotten to fly out in ECTO-4, and that'd remove some of the fun..."

Egon looked back at Jeremy. "Still no problems?"

"I know you have Fritz and Kyle check me out every month or so..." Jeremy rolled his eyes. "It's been over two years...and nothing."

Egon nodded. "True. Louis and Dana never showed any after-effects either...but it never hurts to be safe. Plus there are various tests I just didn't have available in 1983..."

"Yes...Anyway, Professor, perhaps you should come meet the person you came all this way to see?" Fritz suggested.

Jeff looked around. "She was right here a second ago, putting out the Otter Inferno."

"Fine time for her to become shy..." Fritz rolled his eyes, thinking about earlier in the morning.

Chelsea sprinted out into the garage. "Guys! We got a call!!! And you'll never believe where from!!!" She handed Fritz a piece of paper.

He grimaced.

"What?" Jeremy joked. "With that look, I'd think we got called to Zagnut's house again or something."

Fritz looked at him. "That's exactly what's happened."

Jeremy's jaw dropped. "You're shitting me!"

Egon mused. "Hm...perhaps this is a manifestation of some sort of precognitive capacity..."

"Just a dumb joke that turned out right..." Jeremy rolled his eyes. "Ay-yi-yi..."

"One of Matthew Marshall's 'people' called the police--said that early this morning their mummy got attacked." Chelsea explained. "By a guy in black with a sword. Marshall emptied a clip from, er, his 'Gat' into the guy, and it only slowed him down. Detective Fox thought we should take a look at it too."

"Their...mummy?" Egon asked.

"Pharoah Tohnloq...though he calls himself 'MC Pharoah' now." Chelsea answered. "January 1, 2004--he was awoken at the museum..."

"(sigh)...Great. If this isn't a false alarm or a promotional stunt..." Fritz nodded, looking pained. Chelsea managed a fond smirk--she'd heard more than once his rant against "Most popular music recorded after 1989"...

"Well, we better find out. Suit up and get ready to roll!" Kyle prompted.

"Enjoy." Fritz muttered.

"I think you better come along on this one, Fearless Leader..." Andy said. "You're one of the only ones left who dealt with the mummy the first time..."

"I got thrown into Zagnut's swimming pool for it too." Fritz grumbled. "And that was when I had a complete set of body parts...and Ron was along to save me...and Jeremy was there. He's dealt with the mummy before too..."

"Due your prior experience, it really would be logical for you to lead the investigation personally.." Egon said.

Fritz rubbed his forehead and made a defeated noise. As far as he was concerned, being told to go by Egon Spengler was little short of a royal command. "I'll take the proton pistol and a neutron saber--I am NOT going to be thrown into the pool in a sixty pound proton pack again..."

Chelsea gave him a quick kiss, and the five Ghostbusters went to don their flight suits.

"You may come out now. I promise I don't bite." Egon said, eyes looking to his left.

Rachel, barely peeking from out of the wall leading to the reception area, giggled nervously and floated more obviously into view. "Wowsers...you really are good."

"Busting ghosts to one extent or another for fifteen of the last twenty-three years does lend itself to developing a certain...for lack of a better term, hunting instinct." he said as he turned to face her. "Greetings. I am Professor Egon Spengler."

"Rachel Leavenworth." she replied. "Er, well, as I explained to the others, that's not my real name...but it will have to do until the day I remember it. If ever."

The five Ghostbusters appeared, now clad in their familiar dark blue flight suits sporting orange trim and the neon logo of the GBWC. They waved goodbye and left in the ECTO-WC.

"Well, as much as I really would like to listen to this conversation, I have a stack of invoices to get done, and I need to stay caught up before the 3rd..." Chelsea said, moving to the door. "Just remember you're a married man, Professor."

Egon managed a slight chuckle. "I don't think that's something to worry about, Miss Aberdeen. Though if it were Raymond..."

"Huh?" Chelsea reacted.

"Never mind. Old inside joke..." Egon replied. "My congratulations, by the way. Based on my own experience in the matter, I think you and Fritz will be a credit to the institution of marriage. And I'm quite pleased that it didn't take you fifteen years to reach that point."

Chelsea smiled and blushed despite herself. "Well, Doctor Venkman said the same thing, actually."

Egon cleared his throat. "In any case, perhaps we should get the business at hand, Miss Leavenworth?"

"Call me Rachel, Professor." Rachel answered.

"Your laboratory facility?" Egon asked Chelsea.

Chelsea pointed. "Straight back almost to the back of the garage, just past the ECU. Take the hallway on the right--the doors to the lab and the occult library are just before the staircase."

"Thank you." Egon nodded, and pulled out his PKE meter. Chelsea went back into the reception area

"I could've told you where everything was..." Rachel said. "Anything interesting?"

"Well...I can confirm you're a ghost." Egon deadpanned.

Rachel rolled her eyes. Oh, was this going to be fun...

Residence of Matthew Marshall
Beverly Hills
The ECTO-WC pulled up to the security gate. "This is Zagnut's Crib, [People who have unnatural relations with their own mothers]. What the [f-bomb] do you want?"

"The same cultured greeting we got last time, too..." Fritz grumbled from the passenger seat.

"Um..I'm Dr. Kyle Stevens. We're the Ghostbusters--Mr. Marshall contacted us with a problem regarding his mummy?"

"Oh yeah...I'll buzz you right in..." the voice responded.

"Behave, Fritz." Jeremy chided. "Remember that Zag pays ten times the standard rate--we get the payout, I'm sure we can allow you some kind of wedding bonus."

Fritz rolled his eyes. He still did not look happy about having to go on this call.

"Homies!!!" Matthew "Zagnut" Marshall greeted them as they got out of the ECTO-WC. The international rap superstar was a scrawny man, in his early twenties, with spiky blond hair.

"Nice to see you again, Zag." Jeremy returned the greeting. "Wow...it's been two and a half years. You've remarried your ex-wife and gotten divorced from her twice in that time..."

"[F-bombing] Bitch just don't recognize..." Zagnut replied. "What happened to the rest of the [f-bombing] posse? Except for you and the Hater with the pocket calculator, I don't know this bunch...like the [n-word spelled with an "a" instead of an "er"] who made Pharoah my homey?"

"Er...if you mean John Lipsyte, he's, well...deceased." Kyle replied. "We're the other members of the Ghostbusters West Coast--this is Dr. Andy Harness, Dr. Jeff Nash, and I'm Dr. Kyle Stevens..."

"Aw, man...so what happen? [F-ing] Ghost pop a cap in his ass?" Zagnut asked.

Fritz looked ready to throttle him. "John gave his life so that Los Angeles wouldn't be turned into charcoal. If you can't cut out of your narcissitic drug-addled haze enough to respect that, we have nothing more to say to you."

Zagnut blinked. He didn't know enough of the words the older man used, but he was sure he didn't like the sound of them...

"Fritz, remember the Museum...they have an interest in this too..." Jeff whispered. "I understand wanting to punch this jackass out, but this is a job..."

"So where's Tohnloq, Zag?" Andy asked.

"Huh?" Zagnut asked, clearly confused.

"The mummy?" Kyle asked, starting to feel a little impatient himself. "The reason you called us?"

"Oh yeah...MC Pharoah..." Zagnut replied. "This way..."

The mummy of Pharoah Tohnloq, grandson of the infamous Clown Pharoah Ahagotsu, and World's First Gangsta Rapper, unsurprisingly didn't look a lot different than he did two and a half years ago. He was tall, but framewise little more than bones; tattered, greenish bandages surrounded its body. He was dressed a little better, though--baggy pants pulled down below his butt, hightop sneakers, a Lakers jersey with Kobe Bryant's number, a backwards baseball cap, and enough tacky jewelry to, well, outfit a gansta rapper.

The mummy howled something approving as the Ghostbusters entered the room.

"So this is Pharoah Tohnloq..." Kyle said, both impressed and disgusted by the creature.

"We call him MC Pharoah now." Zagnut informed him. "That other bullshit was too much of a mouthful."

"JOOOOOOHN?" MC Pharoah shouted, sounding a little confused.

"John...isn't here anymore." Jeremy told him. The mummy made a grumble that sounded sad.

"But Fritz and I are still here. You remember us, right?"

The mummy made a dusty chuckle. "POOOOOL!!!" it shouted, pointed at Fritz.

"I don't feel like swimming again today, thank you." Fritz replied crossly.

"Be nice to him, MC." Andy said. "He's getting married in two weeks!"

"[vulgar but positive expletive]!" Zagnut interjected. "So which wife is it?"

"First." Fritz replied impatiently.

"Okay. So how many times you married her already?"

"None, yet."

Zagnut shook his head. "You really are a [f-ing square]..."

"So why did you call us? Our Client Administrator said somebody had attacked the mummy..." Kyle asked.

"CUUUUURSE!!!" Pharoah howled.

"Man, it was some [man who loves pigs just a little too much] with a sword. MC, my bud Wink and I, we were [entertaining] some of my [lady friends], when this [party-pooper] with a sword and starts sayin' a bunch of shit about 'I am the Soul Tracker and this foul undead must be returned to the underworld' or some shit. He cut up MC's favorite vest before my posse could get here. [Stupid] guards...I pay them [enough money they could stuff it up their gastrointestinal tracts] and they couldn't do a thing. Emptied their gats in the [intruder's posterior]; popped enough caps in him to lay out the LA Lakers and he was still swinging his sword around."

"Fritz?" Jeff asked, the GBWC CEO already examining the readings on his PKE meter.

"There's definitely a lingering PK trace here...even with Tohnloq's signal set to be excluded." Fritz looked at Zagnut. "Where is the intruder now?"

"[Fellatio enthusiast] left when I said 'I'M CALLIN' THE [F-ING] POLICE, BITCH!' Said 'I desire not a confrontation with the local law at this time' or some shit."

"So what do we do now?" Andy asked.

"Search me." Jeff shook his head. "It doesn't sound like anything I heard about with the Lin Kuei..."

"We're going to need more information." Fritz replied. "Kyle, we'll see if we can find anything about a 'Soul Tracker' in the databases. Jeff, Andy, you two are our best fighters--I want you to stick to Tohnloq like glue in case that attacker comes back."

"Hey, [dudes]..." Zagnut broke in. "I mention I have a concert tonight?"

Ghostbuster Central West
"Soultracker?" Rose Prevost asked. "Is that one word or two?"

"We don't know." Fritz's voice replied. "We've tried both ways on the online TOBIN and found nothing."

"We want you and Chelsea to start checking the library." Kyle added. "There may be something in hard copy..."

"And ask Professor Spengler about it..." Fritz said. "I mean, hey, he's here--why not?"

Chelsea rolled her eyes. "So I take it you're not coming home tonight?"

Fritz made a disgusted noise. "Unless the attacker shows up before the concert, probably not. We couldn't talk Marshall into cancelling, so we'll..." he paused, and Chelsea could somehow hear him shuddering at the thought. "We'll have to attend the concert to provide security."

Rose took the piece of paper from Chelsea's hand. "Let me go ask Egon...I was really wanting to get a chance to meet him anyway..."

Chelsea chuckled "I just hope you brought your earplugs, Dear..."

"I doubt that will be enough..." Fritz replied. "First time in my life I've found myself wanting something to attack sooner rather than later..."

Egon was taping as Rachel kept talking. "...And incidentally, I have met Slimer once before. He was a keynote "speaker" at the Benign Poltergeist Rally in August 1988, right before you guys went back into business. He talked for about 45 minutes and nobody understood a single word he said."

"You can't understand him any more than we can?" Egon interjected, with subtle amusement. "I wonder what Peter will think of that revelation..."

"Makes you wish the later cartoons, the ones that sucked, were right, huh?"

"On that...singular count, perhaps." Egon answered carefully. "But please, I'm quite fascinated by this mention of a Benign Poltergeist Rally."

Rachel seemed to take a minute to collect the answer. "The BPU--Benign Poltergeist Union--has been a paranormal line of defense against malevolent spirits in America since the 1920's, and you guys have always been of high interest to the group. Our primary role is actually self-government of the paranormal realm, since the convential political system seems unwilling to accept our presence and is incapable of coping with the legal and physical peculiarities of the supernatual realm. No political entity in the United States dares recognize us as an official governing body, but our services have aided the traditional system on certain occasions. For instance, we once had to settle a dispute concerning a former Greek demi-goddess who wished to open a resort hotel in Channel Islands..."

"That definitely sounds like something Peter would want more information on. Continue, please..."

"Okay. Well, the theme of the conference that year was 'BPU-- Our Position Between Two Realms'. Slimer was the only known ghost maintaining an amiable rapport between himself and the Ghostbusters (such as the organization was at that time), so we thought it might be a good idea to ask his opinion on their role in spiritual affairs." Rachel added puckishly "We quickly learned that we were mistaken..."

Egon nodded and made a vaguely amused noise.

Rachel continued "We realized it would only be a matter of time until our presence was discovered after franchises began to appear. My simultaneous membership in the two organizations has finally broken the unwritten rule of no contact between the BPU and the mortal world. I expect the two organizations would have much to offer each other, but Mrs. Winchester, long-standing head of the group, is a bit set in her ways. It might take a while to bring her around."

Egon nodded, and scribbled a few notes. "Fascinating. I can understand the reluctance--I can only assume our reputation is rather...ferocious in certain corners of the spirit world."

"We're the ghosts that just want to live in peace, not the ones that suck out spinal fluid or destroy the world. I think there's a lot of ghosts, though, that don't think mortals are sophisticated enough to know the difference."

"Most aren't" Egon replied. "But making that determination has been a priority of ours, I assure you. We definitely prefer to help spirits resolve their problems and cross to the Other Side to mindlessly blasting and containing them, but most of the spirits we're contacted to deal with, unfortunately, do call for that course of action."

"I know...but politics can be horrible." Rachel rolled her eyes.

"I'm an environmentalist and a Deist, Miss Leavenworth." Egon replied. "That hasn't been a popular set of political views the last few years. And there are even politics in the human paranormal community, unfortunately--I gather the Order of Hermes holds me in the same regard most Republicans hold Bill Clinton. Even though Peter fits some of the personality traits better..."

"Some of those wizards are creepy..." Rachel shivered.

"But then again, there's more than one close friend of mine who are Hermetic wizards." Egon countered. "And one of them is a conservative Christian Republican. I think too many people get too worked up about such labels nowadays."

Rachel nodded. She was really getting to like this guy. "Agreed."

There was a knock at the door and Rose entered. "Dr. Spengler? There's a complication with the case, and Fritz wanted to ask you if you might give it a look."

Rachel faked outrage. "Hey! The man is dealing with me! Wait your turn!!!"

Rose gave her a look, and filled Egon in on the situation.

Egon's brow furrowed, as his computer brain started churning. "Hm...I wonder if it's somehow related to the shinigami of Asian legend..." He looked at Rachel. "We shall continue later, I promise."

Rachel laughed and did a midair twirl. "Okay, Prof...business before, well, other business I guess. I think the laundry's ready anyway...you know how difficult it is to clean slime out of jump suits?"

When Rachel phased out of the room, Rose took a long look at Egon. "It's about time I got to meet you."

Egon looked at her quizzically.

"I was on lunch when you arrived." Rose explained. "But I've been hearing stories about you for years."

"Um..."

Rose chuckled. "No, no...no Mary Sue Gladstone here. I heard a lot about you in the mid-Nineties. I worked in day care with someone you might know--Janine Melnitz?"

Egon smacked his forehead with his hand. "Of course...Rose Prevost...I apologize, I'd completely forgotten." He shook Rose's hand warmly

"I'd moved back to Maryland before she went back to Ghostbusters, and I was even invited to the wedding, but I had too much going on to get away." she explained. "Then I moved out to California, of course..."

"Which is why she recommended you for the Client Administrator job here." Egon nodded. "It is an honor to meet you as well--I understand you gave her a lot of support during a very...troubling time in her life."

Rose dearly wanted to add Dude, I was one of the ones who talked her into finally dumping that twerp Tully. "She's a good person. She deserved better than what she was doing at the time."

Egon wasn't sure how to respond.

"Oh, I understand all the history." Rose said. "But she's much happier now than she ever was--I hear it in her voice everytime we talk on the phone."

"It was a dark time in my life too, Miss Prevost..."

"Call me Rose."

"Rose...at least she had the one thing I didn't in that time: a supportive friend. Thank you for that. It probably helped everything else--the reunion, the wedding, the Twins--happen."

"If you both owe me that much, howcome that daughter of yours isn't named Rose Marie Spengler?"

"Um..."

Rose laughed. "I'm kidding, of course. Sheesh, I'd hate to think what you were like before she loosened you up some."

Egon smirked. "It is a painful thing to consider..."

Even with earplugs, even quite a distance from the stage, even inside the ECTO-WC, the sound was still louder than he'd listen to anything he'd want to hear.

[I went up to my wife, whom I suspect to being promiscuous
I forced her to fellate me at gunpoint
Then I shot her in the head
And had intercourse with her still warm corpse]

"Zagnut's Love Song" Fritz read from the program, shaking his head ruefully.

A text message appeared on the ECTO-WC's monitor, a signal from Will Ketcham indicating everything was fine for the moment (since there was no way that, as close as the rest of the team was to the stage, any audio transmission would be blotted out by the overpowering sound of Zagnut's "performance". Will's return to LA that afternoon had been fortuitous--as a former bassist in a band, he could fit in at a concert better than any of them (though he was more of a heavy metal type. "Why couldn't this wacko go after Dethklok or something?" he'd joked.) On the main monitor, Fritz was also IMing GBCentral West.

ProfESpengler: I did mention the vague similarity to the Oriental story of the shinigami
ProfESpengler: Sometimes translated as "Soul Reaper"
ProfESpengler: But the similarity may only be superficial
Veedramon: Possibly. But every bit helps.
ProfESpengler: Indeed, Ray says the idea of the shinigami didn't even take hold until after WW2
ProfESpengler: Influenced by the Western legends of Charon and other ferrymen of the dead
PrincessMushroom: Isn't there something about that in one of the new anime cartoons? :P
Veedramon: Bleach. Yeah...but it is just a cartoon
ProfESpengler: Ray is the one you'd have to ask about that. I'll see if I can get him online if you wish
PrincessMushroom: Anything to get Fritz home quicker.
PrincessMushroom: I think I can hear the concert from here. :D
Veedramon: Hah hah
Veedramon: I'll send the idea to Jeff--he spent time in the Orient.
Veedramon: He might
Veedramon: ?

On the screen marked "Local PKE Levels", there was a sudden spike of activity. Fritz quickly sent an alert to the rest of the team.


Veedramon: Standby. I have a reading.
Zagnut had just launched into his ode to the time he allegedly scored with the entire LA Lakers cheerleader squad in the same night when a sword flew out of nowhere to impale MC Pharoah right in the chest. Pharoah shouted something as he fell, but it was blotted out by the sounds of the Master Bass 3000 assaulting the air with Zagnut's bass track.

In a blue flash of light, Jeff was there, yanking the sword out of Tohnloq. The mummy staggered, but didn't fall down.

Jeff shouted an obscenity (again, blotted out by the concert) as the sword suddenly sparked with angry red light. Jeff dropped it, but it never hit the ground--it flew to the grip of its owner.

Jeff would later describe their opponent as some kind of sick cross between a mummy and Darth Maul. He was dressed in black, save for some red highlights on his mask, and mummylike wrapping showing on his neck and hands. It charged Jeff, sword swinging.

Jeff clasped his hands. A beam of blue energy shot to the ground, creating an icy slide. The attacker lost his footing, and skidded right into Zagnut, knocking him off the stage.

The crowd looked around uneasily, murmuring.

Pharoah grabbed the microphone. "PART OF SHOW!!!!!"

The audience, accepting this, began the cheer and clap.

"oops..." Will said facetiously as he pulled out one of the electrical chords to the audio equipment, causing the earthquake-level noise to cease.

"At least I can hear myself f***ing think now..." Jeff muttered, nodding.

Will, Kyle, Jeremy, and Andy rushed the stage, proton blasters at the ready.

"Fools!" the attacker shouted as he pulled himself up. "I am the Soul Tracker--I won't be stopped by mere mortals!!!"

"That's what they all say..." Andy sneered, opening fire.

The Soul Tracker swung his sword. The beams splashed against it...it almost seemed to be drawing them into it.

Ye Gods...he really is doing the whole Darth Maul thing...except for only having a single-bladed sword. And it not glowing

"I admit...I didn't expect Tohnloq to have any capable defenders at all..." the Soul Tracker remarked. "But how well could you defend him with such a large, vulnerable crowd?"

The Soul Tracker swung again, sending the beams flying back toward the Ghostbusters. The four of them had to duck.

"EVERYBODY GET BACK!!!" Kyle shouted, hoping nobody had gotten hit by the flying beams.

Jeff smirked. "It appears this contest will not be determined by our knowledge of the Force..."

The Soul Tracker looked at him.

With a sizzle and hum, Jeff's neutrona saber sprung to life. "...But by our skill with a lightsaber." Unable to help himself, he followed up with a flourish of motion in tribute to the scene he was quoting.

"I'm afraid I don't get the reference..." The Soul Tracker replied, making his own flourish of motion. "But if you want to play Luke Skywalker, so be it..."

The Soul Tracker swung his sword, and Jeff's neutrona saber blocked it. They began to duel.

"Just what is it you have against Tohnloq, anyway?" Jeff asked the Soul Tracker. "You come out of nowhere and try to smoke him twice in one day?"

"He is like me...a creature that no longer belongs in this world..." the Soul Tracker replied. "I cannot return to my peace until all creatures like him are returned to theirs!!!"

Jeremy, Will, and Andy watched the ferocious exchange of mystic and neutron blades.

"The people aren't panicking, which is good..." Jeremy pointed out. "But they're not getting away from the fight either, which is bad."

"And here I forgot my n-saber today." Andy groused. "Figures Creepy Freeze is havin' all the fun..."

Kyle was over checking on Zagnut. He wasn't as obvious in his disdain for Zagnut as Fritz was, but also considered their client a loathesome human being. That didn't stop him from doing his duty as a doctor, and looking out for Zagnut's well being, however. "I think he'll be okay..."

"Get ready!" Jeff shouted. "On three..."

Jeff hooked the Soul Tracker's sword, and with a deft motion sent it flying out of the being's grip.

"THREE!!!" Andy shouted, as he, Will, and Jeremy opened fire. Without a sword to deflect the proton fire, it slammed into the Soul Tracker full force.

"KICK AAAAAAAASSS!!!" MC Pharoah shouted.

"The beam...it isn't working!!!" Will shouted. "It's corporeal!!!"

This really IS beginning to remind me of Scorpion... Jeff thought to himself in a flash.

"What the f*** is it with all these guys with bodies lately?!" Andy shouted. "Don't the ghosts love us anymore?"

Jeff saw the Soul Tracker's sword twitch, and knew he had to move quick. He lunged, and impaled the Soul Tracker with his neutrona saber.

The Soul Tracker howled. It was a scream filled with pain, and anger, and just the faintest hint of something else: regret.

The Soul Tracker's sword flew toward Jeff, the blade aiming for his chest. He couldn't keep his saber in position without getting impaled himself...so he dodged, releasing the wounded Soul Tracker.

The sword flew into the Soul Tracker's hand. Something yellowish was spraying from the hole in his chest. "I...I will not be..."

He hurled the sword one more time, cutting one of the supports to the stage lights. One of the sets of lights fell, causing the Ghostbusters to scatter.

When they recovered their senses, the Soul Tracker was gone.

Fritz had started running to the stage as soon as he'd seen the signal, but he wasn't as fast as he used to be.

He stopped cold. A man (?) in a black outfit, carrying a sword, was standing there. Yellowish goo was leaking out of a hole in his chest.

Fritz trained him in the sights of his proton pistol. "Hold it right there..."

The Soul Tracker swung his sword in a blinding fast motion, sending the pistol flying. His sword was at Fritz's throat before the physicist even realized what was happening.

There was a long, uncomfortable pause.

"You..." the Soul Tracker said, caughing. "Something about you...I feel...an echo...something...I must..." He physically slugged Fritz with his left hand, and when Fritz pulled himself up, the Soul Tracker had completely disappeared.

Ghostbusters Central West
Two Hours Later
"...Really does remind me of the Scorpion." Jeff told the assembled Ghostbusters, which included Chelsea, Rose, and Egon. "Using a physical body, hell of a fighter..."

"From what it said it was basically attacking Tohnloq just because he was a restless spirit." Kyle observed. "That he can't have his rest until the Pharaoh is back in his."

"Thing is, he also said 'all creatures like him' " Will pointed out. "Could we be all wrong about this guy? He may not be all that different than us..."

"Maybe. But maybe not." Jeremy replied. "Pharoah isn't threatening anyone. Heck, the people he's around like him. That's not the kind of entity we go around blasting."

"There have been rumors about Soul Trackers over the years..." Rachel mused. "But nothing real concrete...like J said, they're worse than you guys because they don't care if you're doing harm or not. But because nobody knew for sure they were real until now..."

"You think any of your ghost friends may know more?" Rose asked.

"I doubt it...but I can try." Rachel answered.

"We finished analyzing the ectoplasm we found at the scene." Egon announced. "It's saturated with PKE, but it isn't ectoplasm--it's a propylene glycol solution."

"Prop...er, what?" Jeremy asked.

"It's a chemical with two most notable purposes: automotive coolant, and embalming fluid." Fritz explained.

"So that's why it smelled familiar." Kyle nodded.

"You do mortician stuff too?" Jeff asked.

"Of course not." Kyle answered. "But we did have to take some courses in Med school that involved embalmed cadavers..."

"I am so sorry I asked."

"This just gets worse..." Chelsea shook her head. "So on top of everything else, this sicko is posessing somebody's dead body?"

"That's what it looks like." Fritz replied gravely.

"I...failed..." the Soul Tracker moaned. "End this torment now..."

"Nonsense." the Necromancer replied. "You have accomplished what I intended quite beautifully. I didn't expect you to win against the Ghostbusters--far more powerful beings than you have fallen to their skill and technology--but through you I have learned more about them. When the time comes, this information will become useful."

"What are you planning?" the Soul Tracker asked.

"Patience, my friend..." the Necromancer reassured him. "All is going as I have forseen. One more trap has been laid for my enemies. One more unavoidable trauma is in place for the day when they oppose me. And you, Soul Tracker, will be one of those traps..."

The Soul Tracker felt his skin crawl as the Necromancer began to laugh.

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