UNION OF THE SNAKE

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2005-23/207

June 2005
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty Three
The scent of incense drifted through the room. Candles flickered in the darkness.

"Accept our offer, Darkvayne." A soft feminine voice purred in the darkness.

"I told you..." a male voice replied woozily. "I don't call myself that anymore. I outgrew that crap years ago..."

The female voice laughed. "And how nicely you've grown, Darkvayne...yes, indeed..."

The man...perhaps young enough to still be a boy in some eyes...was tied to a chair. If he'd been wearing a shirt before, it was gone now.

A woman circled him like a lion circling a wounded gazelle. About the same age as him, she reached back behind her long red hair and undid the zipper to the long black dress she was wearing. It fell to the floor with a sigh, and she looked at him again. "But as you can see, I've grown quite a bit too..."

He shut his eyes and turned away, not wanting to look at her naked form. "I already have a..."

"I doubt any woman could offer you what I am, Darkvayne..." she purred, sitting on his lap, caressing his chest...her hands slowly moving lower..."Could she offer you great power? Could she offer you an eternity to sample her delights--and mean it?" She straddled him and kissed him. "I want this, Darkvayne...you don't know how badly I want this...want you..." She reached for the zipper of his pants...

Then there was a loud crash. A strange noise. A scream.

"Intruders!!!" one of the others watching in the shadows cried. The man in the chair hadn't even realized they were there, watching...

"Protect the sacrifice!!!" another one shouted.

"I will..." a particularly large one said, half his face covered by a mask. But that was all he said--a shimmering energy beam hit him, creating a large, smoking hole. "Aaaah!!!" he screamed. "It burns like the hated Sun!!!"

A man jumped out of the darkness--in his mid twenties, wearing eyeglasses, his brown hair forming a widow's peak. He fired another blast from the gun he carried, a gun connected to a bulky electronic pack. A neon orange Ghostbuster logo adorned the right shoulder of the dark blue and orange flight suit he was wearing, and the left chestpatch bore the name "HICKS".

"Yep...I'd say we got vampires..." he said in a voice slightly modified with a mock Tennessee drawl. As he did, he blasted the one he shot before, and this time it didn't get up.

"You will die in pain, mortal!!!" another one howled, and lunged...only to be shot in the head by another beam, this time coming from a different direction.

"I hate vampires..." a brown-haired woman with a cigarette growled. Wearing the same equipment and uniform as the first man, the patch on her outfit read "THOMPSON"

"Take it from me..." a third voice called. "STEVENS" was the name he was wearing. "They're not all bad. Though this bunch definitely is..."

"I prefer to think of them..." the fourth member of the group, "LAVOY", said dryly. "As ex-vampires."

The naked, red-haired woman looked around, panic starting to show in her eyes. She spared one last look at the semiconscious man in the chair...then vanished.

"Be on your guard!!!" Kyle Stevens called. "Some vampires can turn invisible...'Obfuscation' they call it..."

Jeremy Hicks jumped as a snake slithered right by his ankle.

Zach LaVoy looked at his PKE meter. "The PKE level is declining...I think the one we didn't get is gone..."

"Either that or they're clouding our perceptions to make us think they left..." Kyle stated.

"Thanks. You just couldn't let us get too comfortable." Jeremy rolled his eyes.

"I'm the field leader." Kyle smirked. "It's my job..."

For a whole long minute the Ghostbusters stood in a circle around the victim. Finally Kyle nodded and reattached his neutrona wand to the side of his proton pack. "But keep your eyes on the meter, Dr. LaVoy..."

Jennifer Thompson was already untying the teenager from the chair. Jeremy leaned in to help her, then gasped. "Shit!!!"

"Jeremy? What is it?" Kyle looked around. When he got a good look at the would-be victim, his eyes went wide too.

Jennifer looked at Kyle. "You guys know this kid?" She turned and looked back at the young man, with long dark hair.

Kyle nodded. "We work for his stepdad. His name is Oscar Wallance, and Doctor Venkman is married to his mother."

The ECTO-WC rolled down the streets of LA, sirens silent.

"I'm not showing any unusual readings." LaVoy said. "I think we got him before they could do anything to him." Zach LaVoy, previously an agent of GBI's Chicago franchise, had moved to LA over the previous fall, and when the GBWC had reformed just after New Years', the team's new CEO had hired him as a Reserve Agent.

"Oscar was at the Anaheim Theatre back in '03." Jeremy explained to Jennifer and Zach. "He was there with his Mom and Doctor Venkman...it was when this dog dude called the Ravisher killed one of Dr. V's friends that it sort of set the wheels in motion to forming the GBWC. I was there when it happened, along with Fritz, Chelsea, our original CEO Joey Williams, and Peter Kong." Jeremy explained. "Though for some reason Oscar's hair was blue at that time."

"The victim was brought to the hospital I was working at." Kyle added. "I was the chief surgeon...but the monster came back and killed him. I was fired, and Joey and Doctor Venkman recruited me for the team, along with Jeff Nash."

Zach shook his head. "All these names..."

"Well, for a while we were the biggest franchise in GBI." Jeremy chuckled. "Now I guess it's the British blokes, with their Nightsquad..."

"Graveyard Shift." Kyle corrected. "You know Jeff hates it when you call them 'Nightsquad'..."

Jeremy chuckled. "Why do you think I do it?"

Jennifer had listened quietly, but finally asked. "So why did the vampires come after him, then?"

"Hell if I know." Jeremy shook his head. "But thank goodness that anonymous tip let us know something was up..."

"I guess we'll have to ask him as soon as we get back to HQ." Zach stated simply.

Elsewhere...
He would've preferred not being even under the light of the Moon. He felt...exposed.

He knew his minion was even more nervous. He shifted and fidgetted as they waited.

"I don't think he's going to show..." the servitor said, adjusting his eyeglasses.

"He'll show." the master hissed. "He wouldn't dare anger me, especially not after this..."

"Problems, I take it?" a smooth, oily voice came from the darkness. The minion was startled--a fact the master filed away. They lived in darkness--to have anyone, ally or not, gain an advantage in their own element...

"Problems?" the master hissed. "You might say that. The boy, Darkvayne...he was saved from the Embrace. By the Ghostbusters."

The man shrouded in darkness said nothing.

"Dammit, Necromancer, it was your vision that led us to him." the master snarled, angrier by the second. "If the Ghostbusters become aware of our presence...or worse, the damned Primogen or even the Prince..."

"Come now, Teth-Apophis...the laws of your own kind dictate the 'Masquerade, do they not?" the Necromancer retorted. "I think you have little to fear..."

"We are powerful, and growing moreso." the minion said. "But if Julian Luna and his lapdogs became aware of us, and united the Clans against us..."

Teth-Apophis slapped his minion. "Silence, Scarab...you reveal too much."

The Necromancer laughed. "You forget who I am. The Prince of Los Angeles is a known quantity to me--and building the power for you to stand against him is part of the whole point of our alliance, isn't it?"

"I demand to know more, Necromancer---why is the boy so imporant?"

"You know my price, Teth-Apophis."

Teth-Apophis growled, then nodded. "I can offer you information: the pyramid that appeared over one year ago..."

The Necromancer hummed approvingly.

"I have told noone this...not even my cult--but I forsaw it in a dream the night before. A vision of Mighty Anubis, the Lord of the Dead, told me that all of Set's children should be ready for the coming of the sign. When the pyramid appeared, I felt the truth of that--but just as quickly, it was gone." Teth-Apophis shook his head. "That is when I knew these mortals, these Ghostbusters...were our enemy, and a threat to us."

"Yes...I suspected as such, but to have it confirmed." the Necromancer nodded. "The Ghostbusters are unpredictable foes--they draw from the mad genius of the Etherites, after all...but you want to know about the boy? Very well..."

The Necromancer paused dramatically. "The boy was birthed by the avatar of Zuul, Gatekeeper of Vulguus Zildrohar. He was covetted as an infant by a mystick who had fallen to the corruption of the Wyrm."

"Vulguus..." Teth-Apophis hissed. "Worshipped by the Hittites...foes of our progenitor...yes..." Teth-Apophis licked his lips. "His blood would add much power to our Clan...and provide insult to those who opposed Lord Set..." He nodded at the Necromancer. "You have proven a worthy ally once more, Necromancer."

"I live to make my customers happy, Teth-Apophis..." Though hidden in darkness, the leering Cheshire grin on the Necromancer's face was somehow obvious...

Ghostbusters Central West
"He's waking up!!!" Rose Prevost, the Ghostbusters West Coast's Client Administrator, shouted.

Kyle leaned in. "Oscar?"

Oscar Wallance, age seventeen, shook the fuzz out of his head...taking a few seconds to absorb the reality of his situation, which was radically different from the last status quo he remembered. "Wh..I know you...you're one of the LA guys who work for my Dad..."

"Dr. Kyle Stevens." Kyle nodded. "Glad to see you're conscious."

"Yeah...Kyle..." Oscar nodded. "It's just been a while, and I haven't had the best night."

"No kidding." Jeremy cracked.

Kyle quickly introduced Oscar to the rest of the assembled team--Jennifer, Zach, Rose, and hovering nearby, the GBWC's wacky engineer, Nathaniel "Otter" Masterson. "Jennifer and Zach are on active duty because Jeff Nash is in New York working on a case with Nightsquad, and Andy Harness is spending some time with Ghostbusters Tennessee. So it's just Jeremy and I of the old team."

Jennifer leaned in. "Pleased to meet you, Oscar. I admit I'm a big fan of your stepfather."

"Let me guess--you had a crush on him when you were a teenager?" Oscar smirked.

Jennifer's face turned red.

"Well, half the women in GBI had a crush on either him or Uncle Egon--so no need to be embarrassed." Oscar smiled.

"Oscar, Dude, I think we need to get down to business." Jeremy leaned in. "So what are you doing back in the City of Angels? And why are the children of the night after you this time?"

Oscar exhaled, and settled back down into the couch. He realized he was wearing a t-shirt with the neon orange version of the Ghostbuster logo on it. "A few weeks ago, I found this tape in Dad's garbage...it was from a Banshee he and the others busted back in the 1980's, before I was even born--anyway, this thing had hypnotic powers, and it came out on the tape. That was her big plan to Take Over The World--hypnotize everyone."

Kyle's eyes narrowed. "Shannon O'Callahan?"

Oscar nodded. "Yeah...anyway, I kinda got...whammied, and did and said some things that I didn't really mean. After that...I had to get away. Clear my head. I came to LA because I pretty much spent my whole childhood out here--my Mom moved out here when I was about a year old, and we stayed until after September 11, when Dad decided he really really needed to move back to New York and come back to LA for business trips instead of vice versa."

"So about the vampire part..." Jennifer asked.

Oscar sighed. "There was a girl I knew when I was a kid...Rachel Klien...'Rayven' she preferred to be called when she got older and went through her Goth phase...I looked her up after I got here, just because I was looking up some of the others I hung out with, and while she was real happy to see me--kept commenting on how I'd 'Grown up nicely'...she was also wierder than ever. Wouldn't talk to me in the day. And then she showed up at the door to my hotel room--came on to me big time. I tried to tell her I already had a girlfriend...so she got mad. And the next thing I knew I was in a dark room, with incense burning."

"She wanted you to join them?" Zach asked.

Oscar nodded. "Kept saying about how she'd missed me since I left...how she never got to tell me how bad she wanted me...kept calling me by that stupid Goth name I used when I was about twelve 'Darkvayne'. How if I just gave in to her, accepted the 'Embrace'...we could be together forever."

"Heady stuff." Jeremy shook his head.

"She was taking her clothes off like she was ready to hump me right then and there...then I passed out, and woke up here."

"Hm..." Kyle mused. "Anything else you can tell us?"

"Not a lot I remember...something about 'the chosen children of ancient Egypt' and 'The Union of the Snake'."

Kyle and Jeremy looked at each other. They didn't say anything but this was definitely of concern to them.

Kyle got up. "There didn't seem to be any injury or--since you might be wondering--puncture marks on your neck." He looked at Rose. "You think you can keep an eye on him?"

"Sure..." Rose answered. "But where will you be?"

Kyle looked at his watch. "There's still a couple hours till dawn, and I want to drop in on an...expert on vampires I know. Before dawn."

Jeremy nodded, and patted him on the back. "If I didn't already know where you were going, I'd ask if you wanted backup."

Kyle smirked. "I don't think that will be necessary..."

Bathory Roseport
A Half Hour Later
"Sir, we'll be closing for the night in half an..." one of the bouncers started to say, then his voice trailed off. "Ooops. it's you, Dr. Stevens. You don't usually show up this time of night."

Kyle smiled. "I know, Vito. But its not a social call..."

Kyle remembered the first time he'd set foot in this place, over a year before.

" Okay, guys, where are we going ?" Andy Harness asked them.

" We're going to the " Bathory Roseport"." Jeff Nash said, " It's a small time modern day vampire covern. I know the owner of the place."

"Vampire coven?!" Micheal Chad repeated, spraying the winshield with Bud. "Tell me you're kidding."

"It's not real vampires." Jeff clarified, rolling his eyes. "Role players who like to pretend they've vampires. 'Masquerade' and all that. I hang out with them from time to time..."

Of course, what Jeff didn't know at the time was that he was wrong, at least partially, about the "pretend" part.

A woman with long dark hair and trendy clothes was standing with a man in dark sunglasses (despite the time of night) and a Count Chocula t-shirt. They both turned to see Kyle as he entered.

"Kyle!" the woman said. "This is a most unexpected visit!"

He put his hands around her waist. "Not an unpleasant surprise, I hope?"

"Never..." she said, and kissed him.

"I just hope you don't plan to greet me like that. I don't swing that way." the man in the sunglasses cracked.

Kyle chuckled and shook his hand. "And how are you tonight, Davis?"

"Coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, but that's about the same as usual." Davis replied. "Awesome Davis" Spurlock was the club's assistant manager and occassional stage magician. "I guess I'll be getting my coffin ready for sleepytime if you need me, Gen. Don't stay up too late, you two--it'd be bad for her complexion!!! Excelsior!!!" he shouted, and skipped off.

"He doesn't really sleep in a coffin, does he?" Kyle asked.

"Well, he is this week..." Gen answered, rolling her eyes. "He doesn't really have to--that old folktale is only true for one Clan, but that's a Malkavian for you..."

They laughed and kissed again. Gen Brown was the owner of this club, and not long after their meeting she and Kyle had falled quite deeply in love.

"I really don't have a lot of time, Kyle..." she finally said, breaking off the embrace. "I have a feeling that this is business, isn't it?"

"Yes." Kyle nodded, his expression losing some of the sparkle of a moment before. "I know we try to keep our worlds as seperate as possible, but tonight something happened: we had to rescue the son of one of the original Ghostbusters from a vampire pack."

Gen's brow furrowed, and she sat down at an empty table. Kyle sat next to her. "This is troubling..." she said. "The Prince has tried to enforce the Masquerade, and limit attacks on mortals, but there will be the inevitable rebels who defy that edict."

Kyle told her more of the details. "And then there was only one left, a redheaded girl named 'Rayven"...who vanished."

"Vanished?" Gen looked thoughtful. "Not impossible...through the Discipline of Obfuscation...but to outright disappear, in plain sight, while being watched, requires deep mastery of the Discipline."

"I was half expecting her to turn into a bat myself, but..." Kyle stopped. "Jeremy did see a snake after she vanished. Is it possible that..."

Gen's eyes widened. "I would hope not...but it is possible. There is a dark art called Serpentis...known only to one Clan of the Kindred. They become snakes the way most of the rest of my kind can become bats--and they even consider red hair a mark of 'favor' of their Clan founder." She shook her head. "I'm not sure I should be telling you any of this, but..."

"My friend's life may be at stake here." Kyle replied firmly.

"They are a Clan hated and despised by all the other Kindred--ranked only above the Baali bloodline for their vileness. Your mention of 'Chosen of Egypt' and 'Union of the Snake' only seem to further implicate them. They are called the Followers of Set, and claim that their Progenitor was the Egyptian god of darkness himself."

Kyle absorbed this revelation. "And we've had dealings with Anubis, another Egyptian god..."

Gen nodded. "The Sun is almost up, Kyle, and I will have to sleep...but this is grave news. At nightfall I will contact the Toreador Primogen, and insure that this news reaches the Prince." she kissed him once more. "Guard your friend closely, and invite noone you do not know into your castle."

The next day passed peacefully. Exhausted by his ordeal against the vampires and his former friend, Oscar slept most of the day. The Ghostbusters were almost as lucky--there was just one call, and thankfully it was an easy one: a Class 2 that didn't even succeed in sliming Jeremy.

"So when are Fritz and Chelsea supposed to be back, anyway?" Oscar found himself asking. He'd tied his long hair back into a ponytail.

"Whenever they're ready, I guess." Jeremy answered.

"I hope that wasn't a complaint, Jeremy." Kyle said. "After all they went through last year at Toad Island, they've more than earned a nice long vacation."

Jeremy shook his head. "Nah...just makes me wistful, I guess. Though I'm still not sure they had it worse than Sarah and I..."

"Good point." Kyle agreed.

"Yeah, well, I think my parents and Uncle Egon still have all of you beat in the romantic torture department." Oscar chuckled. "But hey, they also prove that in the end true love will win out. Even if it takes ten or fifteen years."

They were interrupted by the sound of Rose's voice over the PA system. "Break time's over boys--we got a call. And get this--they say they're being attacked by vampires"

Kyle, Jeremy, and Oscar looked at each other. "Uh-oh..." they said all at once.

"If they're out looking for Oscar, you have to be careful." Kyle told Rose as he zipped up his flight suit. "Don't let anyone you don't know in until we get back--and keep the proton pistol handy. It's been calibrated to Setting Four, the one that mimics solar energy."

"Got it." Rose nodded, patting the pistol system lying on her desk.

"And I brought out all the garlic I could find!!!" Otter said excitedly. He was brandishing one clove attached to a stick. "And I'll draw a barrier with this vampire chalk if I need to!!!"

"Vampires being repelled by garlic is just a myth." Zach said to Jeremy. "And what in the world is 'vampire chalk'?"

"Humor him." Jeremy whispered, rolling his eyes. "It's something his phony-baloney anti-vampire club sold him..."

Shortly, the ECTO-WC (a converted SWAT van that was the GBWC's primary vehicle) thundered into the night. Rose, Otter, and Oscar watched it go.

"Looks like I get a bit of overtime tonight." Rose said.

"How late you staying?" Oscar asked.

"As late as I need to." Rose replied. "This is a big place--there are lots of spare rooms, including one that they designated just for me."

Oscar chuckled. "I shoulda guessed...the guest room they put me up in is bigger than some of the apartments back East."

Otter was looking around, garlic-on-a-stick held close. "Just let one of those bloodsucking undead try to come in here..."

"Any readings?" Kyle asked as the ECTO-WC neared its destination.

Jeremy looked at his meter and his brow furrowed. "Yeah...but they're weird..."

Zach looked at the readings too. "He's right...this doesn't match what happened last night..."

"There's still something out there, though." Jennifer shook her head as the vehicle stopped. "Like Kyle said, some vampires can obfuscate themselves...maybe they can mess up the PKE readings too..."

"Scary thought." Kyle admitted as he went to the back of the van and grabbed his proton pack.

"Bleah!!! Bleah!!!" one of the vampires shouted as he ran after a screaming woman. He had a flattop and was wearing hip hop clothes that were now covered with blood

"I bet I can kill more than you can, Butchie!!!" another vampire taunted. It was girl, wearing a leather mini skirt, bitch boots, and a skimpy halter top.

"Screw both of you! Hehehehehehehehe!!!" the third one said. He was also dressed in hip hop clothes, but had greasy, stringy hair hanging over his face to the point it was a wonder he could see. All three of them were smeared with blood, and a couple of wounded, bleeding victims were on the ground nearby.

"Yeah, you can tell this is Los Angeles." a new voice broke into their mayhem. "Even the vampires have tans..."

The screaming woman ran behind Jeremy Hicks and his comrades.

"Ghostbusters!!!" the girl vampire shouted.

"Lord Teth said they might try to interfere!!!!" Butchie howled. "Well, we're gonna show them that they're no match for us!!!"

"I think we've heard that taunt before..." Jennifer rolled her eyes.

"So often it gets dull." Zach added.

The three vampires snarled and bared their fangs...

"Setting four--full solar beam!!!" Kyle shouted. "On three!!!"

"THREE!!!"

The four particle beams screamed into the three vampires...

"What the f***?!" Jeremy said, disbelieving what his eyes were telling him.

The vampires looked at the beams splashing against them.

"Hey, Butchie...this tickles!!!" the long haired one said.

"Why isn't it working?!" Jennifer asked. "It's like it's not even affecting them!!!"

"I...I...I don't know!!!" Kyle replied.

"Bernie! Lita!!! Kill!!!" Butchie howled.

"Hehehehehehehehehe!!!!" Bernie laughed maniacally as the three vampires threw themselves at the four Ghostbusters.

"Roland Jackson's little sister?" Rose was asking incredulously. "The one that was on Allmusic TV a few years ago?"

Oscar shook his head. "Nah, that was Tara, the second oldest one after Roland. A.J.'s the second youngest. She's, er, fifteen..."

"Isn't that a little young for dating?" Rose asked.

"Sounds okay to me..." Otter said brightly.

"I'd think you'd want someone closer to your own age..." Rose continued, ignoring Otter.

"It's only two years." Oscar replied. "We're taking it slow--no unsupervised dates or anything like that..."

"I see nothing wrong with younger women..." Otter added.

"Because most of the women your age are mummified." Rose retorted. Oscar chuckled.

There was a knock at the door.

Rose looked down at her nametag--there was a little strip on it that turned blue in the presence of strong PKE, one of Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler's more interesting inventions. The strip was turning blue as she watched it.

Otter grabbed his clove of garlic. "This will keep us safe if it's the vampire!!! Should I draw a line of vampire chalk by the door?"

"Darkvayne!!!" a voice wailed. "Oscar!!! You have to help me, please!!!"

Oscar's teeth gritted. "That's Rayven..."

Rose grabbed the proton pistol. "She's your friend...or used to be, Oscar. Your call."

"Oscar...they're going to kill me for my failure! You have to help me!!!"

"Couldn't a vampire just knock the door down?" Rose asked, eyes narrowing.

"I know some legends say they can't go into a place unless they're invited in." Otter replied. "It's in the Count D Vampire Hunter Club handbook..."

Oscar looked conflicted for a moment. "Open the door..." he finally said. "But we won't invite her in. Yet."

Otter opened the door as Rose brandished the proton pistol. Rayven was indeed standing there, her hair a mess and clothing torn. Her pale skin was now adorned with several ugly welts. "Oscar! Thank the gods!!!"

"You have two minutes to convince us that it'd be a good idea to let you in." Oscar replied coldly.

Rayven sobbed. "Procuring you for the Clan was my initiation...since I failed, the Elder has said I have to be destroyed...I barely escaped with my life...if that's what you want to call it now..." she paused to sob some more. "I thought being a vampire would be cool and romantic like in all the Ann Rice novels...it sucks...I hate this...I'm so so sorry..."

"THERE YOU ARE!!!" a female voice shrieked.

Rayven looked up. "Myrtle!!!"

A teenage girl jumped Rayven. Dressed in a dingy jacket and jeans, her eyes were covered by sunglasses. She grabbed Rayven and threw her into the wall of the warehouse. "I found you first!!! Just wait until I rub Butchie and Lita's nose in this!!! Especially Butchie, 'cause he ain't nothin'!!!"

"Oscar?" Rose looked at him, looking for a clue. "Blast one, the other, both?"

"I bring your head back to Master Teth and I get to be a full member of the pack! Where you failed!!!"

Rayven dodged Myrtle's first lunge, but then got smacked across the mouth. "I always hated the girls with Barbie bodies like you and Lita." Myrtle snarled, and kicked Rayven hard in the gut, sending her flying across the street and into a lamp post.

"Prepare to die all over again, Bitch!!!" Myrtle howled, running to the dazed Rayven, ready to finish her off. She punched Rayven straight through the chest.

Rayven slumped to the ground with a whimper.

"RAYVEN!!!" Oscar screamed. The events of the last day hadn't completely erased all the memories of their childhood together.

Oscar grabbed the gun from Rose, aimed it at Myrtle, and fired.

The solar beam slammed into Myrtle. She turned to look at the GBWC warehouse, not seeming all that hurt by the shot. "And you're Rayven's little plaything, her 'Darkvayne', I presume..."

"WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?!" Rose shouted.

Otter quickly bent over and furiously scrawled a line in front of the door in "vampire chalk".

"You'll never be a full part of the Clan." Rayven's voice taunted. Myrtle looked back, shocked, but didn't even have time to scream as the front of her chest exploded, and out of it came Rayven's hand, holding the other vampire's still beating heart.

As the now redead Myrtle slumped to the ground, Rayven dropped the bloody heart with distinct sadness.

"Rayven?" Oscar asked, incredulous.

Rayven nodded weakly. "The heart is one of the few parts of the vampire that is still vulnerable...you know the old legends about stakes. I was fortunate: she was sloppy and missed. She wasn't so fortunate: I didn't." She staggered and fell

"She needs help..." Oscar said, stepping hesitantly outside the doorway.

"She's a vampire--is there any help we can give her that doesn't involve a plasma withdrawal!?" Rose asked rhetorically.

"Miss Prevost..."

Rose sighed. "Maybe Kyle will have some idea--he seems to be the expert on vampires."

Otter giggled. "You don't know the half of it...but how are we gonna get her inside with the vampire chalk blocking the door?"

Oscar and Rose carried Rayven over the threshold, and into the building.

Otter gasped. "Wow! She must really be powerful if the vampire chalk didn't stop her!!!"

Rose rolled her eyes and muttered something unprintable.

"Well now..." a voice said as someone stepped out of the shadows, regarding the now quite dead Myrtle. "It would be a shame if all this still-fresh vitae went to waste, wouldn't it?" An arm wrenched the body off the ground, held it over the speaker's head, and allowed the dead woman's blood to pour into his throat.
Jennifer shrieked as Zach LaVoy was hurled just past her head. The male Ghostbuster hit a lamppost with a loud crack, and the pole bent with the impact.

"Heh hehe heheh heheheheheeh..." the one called Bernie laughed. "This is fun...kinda like Grand Theft Auto..."

Jennifer fired the thrower again. Bernie only laughed again.

Kyle was nearby, trading punches with Butchie. "Right about now I wish Jeff was here." he muttered. While violence was someone disagreeable to Kyle nature, he'd picked up a few bits of combat from the GBI training courses and pointers from Jeff Nash, a bona-fide ninja (who'd probably wipe the floor with these goons). But even though Kyle was taller, and more muscularly built than Butchie, he didn't have vampiric blood running through his veins. It's only a matter of time unless we think of something fast...

"Mebbe I aughta make you one of us too..." Lita was taunting Jeremy, throwing a trash can at him, which he barely avoided. "You're kinda cute...you'd make a great plaything..."

"What is it with me and women with one supernatural problem or another?" Jeremy retorted.

Jennifer ducked into a back alley. She grabbed her cel phone, to try and call GBCentral West. We need help...one of the other Reservists...hell, Rose or Otter...somebody...

"Ghoooooostbuster..." Bernie chanted, in a sing-song voice, bashing a garbage can lid as he stalked his prey. "Come out and plaaaayaaayay..."

Jennifer muttered an unladylike obscenity. She took a deep breath. Solar beam isn't working...Attack, Confinement, and Repulsion are all but useless against material beings. She clicked the fifth setting on the thrower, Organic Confinement. If it will just slow him down for a minute or two...

Bernie jumped from behind a corner. Jennifer was ready--she blasted him.

The beam held him fast.

"WHAT THE F***?!" Bernie howled.

"It's...working? He's fighting it...but..." Jennifer gasped to herself.

"You bitch!!!!" Bernie screamed. "I'll f***ing kill you for this!!! I'll tear off your head and shove it up your c...."

He didn't get to finish. She swung the beam hard, the beam moving and throwing him against the alley wall, head first. He slumped to the ground, and didn't move.

Jeremy crumpled. Lita kicked him hard in a tender spot, and he doubled over with pain.

"Setting five!!!" Jennifer shouted, shooting Lita.

Zach realized what she said, and flicked the switch on his thrower. His beam joined Jennifer's, holding the snarling vampire woman fast.

Butchie was distracted by her distress, and Kyle managed to get a grip on him, keeping him from leaving to help. Kyle watched the situation...and it all fit into place to him. Of course...that's why the solar beam was useless, but they're weak enough to be caught by setting five... "Zach!!! They've got her confined!!! Use the solar beam on her--don't let off!!!"

Zach complied. The solar-simulating beam (a setting based on the modifications Ray Stantz had first made to the proton beams while fighting the vampire in Lupusville over twenty years before) splashed against her, a brighter, more golden glow than the normal beam.

Jeremy got up, murder in his eyes. "Help Kyle, Zach--this bitch is mine!!!" Jeremy's solar beam took the place of LaVoy's.

Lita howled obscenities for a good thirty seconds...then suddenly she doubled over. "What the f***? I feel weak all of a sudden...I..." she said, before puking up a bucket of blood.

Kyle released Butchie when Zach was in position. The organic confinement beam (another legacy of a twentysomething year old case of the New York Ghostbusters) held him fast. Kyle whipped out his thrower and joined in. "Jeremy!!! Do the same to this one!!!" Jeremy turned and fired at Butchie as Jennifer turned her beam off, letting Lita drop to the ground.

Another long application of the solar beam, and Butchie also went limp and puked his guts out.

Kyle pulled out his PKE meter. "They're PKE traces are completely normal now..."

Bernie jumped back out of the alley. "Hey!!! We have unfinished business!!! Hehehheheheheheheeheheheh..."

Thirty seconds later Bernie, like his companions, was defeated and drenched in his own bloody puke.

"That was the second most irritating laugh I've ever heard..." Kyle remarked.

"Second?" Jennifer asked.

"Hobgoblin back in '03..." Kyle replied.

"I'm showing the same result Kyle did..." Zach's brow furrowed, studying his PKE meter. "Totally normal PKE readings..."

"So what the hell just happened? Did we just stumble across some wierd cure for vampirism?" Jeremy asked.

Kyle shook his head. "They weren't vampires. They were Thralls, also known as 'Ghouls' or 'Renfields'. They were fed vampire blood while they were still alive, and thus gained some vampiric powers temporarily."

"What...what did you do to us?" Lita muttered. "All my vampire power is gone..."

"You weren't really a vampire." Kyle informed her. "You may have been given vampire blood, which gave you some vampire powers, but when our solar-charged beams hit you, it caused your system to burn up the blood's power and then expel it. You are now completely normal once more."

"Though a little more tanned." Jennifer noted.

"But...Master Teth told us we were vampires now..." Lita replied. "He said when we drank the blood he gave us, we got the power..."

"This 'Master Teth' lied..." Zach shook his head.

"What else did he tell you?" Jeremy asked them.

"We don't have to tell you nothin'..." Butchie moaned.

"Then we'll just leave you here for the police." Kyle stated. "With your vampire powers gone, you'll be no trouble." Kyle motioned for the others to start walking away.

"Waitasec..." Bernie broke in. "Teth sent us to kill that Rayven chick for failing him...he'll kill us too!!!"

The ECTO-WC slowly made it's way back to headquarters. Butchie, Lita, and Bernie had told them everything they knew: That Master Teth had created them and a fourth "vampire", Myrtle, to find and kill a vampire named Rayven, because she'd failed. And Master Teth couldn't abide failure: they turned themselves into the police to be protected from his wrath.

"But why use thralls instead of real vampires?" Kyle wondered to himself.

"Well, isn't one reason obvious?" Zach replied. "They were immune to the normal anti-vampire tactics, but powerful enough to give us a real fight."

"Maybe..." Kyle mused, still thinking that something was...wrong with this whole scenario.

Jennifer put down her cel phone. "I'm not getting any answer from headquarters..."

"It's almost midnight." Jeremy commented. "They're probably all asleep, unless..."

The idea hit all four of them at once.

"A call with fake vampires..." Jeremy started.

"Just strong enough to give us a fight..." Zach continued.

"But not anything he'd miss if they were defeated..." Jennifer finished.

"A distraction." Kyle growled, stomping the gas pedal and turning on the lights and sirens. "The oldest trick in the book and we fell for it!"

"You have done well, my Childe..." Teth-Apophis purred.

Otter looked around...Rose had been attacked from behind, and thrown across the reception area. Otter felt pain with every breath, which made him wonder if some ribs were broken. Worse, the vampire chalk hadn't kept the vampires out and the clove of garlic had proven useless---the black-caped man with the long hair had physically eaten it.

"I live, as always, to serve you, Lord Teth..." Rayven smiled, eyes shining with delight.

"Rayven...how could you..." Oscar moaned, literally lying under Teth-Apophis's boot.

"Silence, Lickstick..." Scarab, Teth-Apophis's henchman, snarled. He stood beside Teth-Apophis like an expectant dog.

The attack had been sudden. Just as Rose had reached for the phone to call the GBWC agents on the field...Rayven had shrieked, as though in pain. They went to help her...and then Rayven had grabbed the phone and thrown it against the wall.

Before they could get their wits enough to stop her...she went to the front door. "Lord Teth-Apophis...please enter..."

They barely knew what hit them. They were scattered across the room, Otter's garlic clove was eaten, and now Oscar seemed to be pretty much where he'd been the night before...

"In the name of Set, Lord of the Night, Sire of the Most Favored Kindred, I bid you greetings, Darkvayne...I am Teth-Apophis, Leader of the Followers of Set in this domain. I look forward to working with you for the rest of Eternity...as you join the Union of the Snake..."

"Like hell..." Oscar groaned.

"Please, Darkvayne, after all the trouble I went to locate you?" Teth-Apophis chuckled. It sounded like a hiss. "I had to waste precious vitae to create three patsies to draw the attention of your protectors, and a fourth to put on a show to convince you of dear Rayven's change of heart. After the minions those fools destroyed last night, my resources are tragically depleted..."

He pulled Oscar up to a sitting position, and sat him into a chair almost gently. Oscar wanted to run, to scream, to do something...but it was like he was rooted in place. Like somehow, despite the things he'd seen over his lifetime--September 11, the murderous rampage of the Ravisher, a cracked parallel world ruled by a Carpathian despot wearing his own face--this man was scarier than all of them put together.

"Ah...but you change the whole equation..." Teth-Apophis said, a forked tongue coming out of his mouth to lick Oscar's cheek. Oscar found himself wanting to vomit at the touch. "I've heard correctly....your blood is powerful. It has me practically salivating."

"Milord..." Rayven said. "You are not going to allow me to Embrace him?"

Teth-Apophis looked at her for only a second. "No. Rayven...this one shows much potential. Better he be born of the Twelfth Generation instead of the Thirteenth...as he would be if you were to Sire him..." He made an evil, laughing hiss, and reared back, gleaming fangs appearing in his mouth...

Otter spotted a piece of his vampire chalk lying nearby. He could barely move...but maybe it would be enough...he flicked the piece of chalk with all of the might he could put into it through the pain and paralysis.

It pinged off a nearby lamp, ricocheted, and flew right into Teth-Apophis's mouth.

So shocked was the master vampire he dropped Oscar, and started choking, eyes wide with shock and insult.

"Holy shit!!!" Otter said to himself, knowing that if he'd tried to make that shot intentionally it never would've worked in a million years

Scarab looked worried. "Lord Apophis?"

"Kill them all." Teth-Apophis snarled. "Start with the dwarf--and make his death as painful as you can..."

"Hands off the Engineer, Batboy..." the voice of Jeremy Hicks called out, and a blast of proton fire rang out, hitting the bespectacled vampire. He shrieked with anger and pain, dropping Otter as the spot where he was hit smouldered.

"Ghostbusters!!!" Teth-Apophis shrieked. "This is impossible!!!"

"Impossible this." Zach added, firing his own proton beam.

Kyle and Jennifer appeared. "You're surrounded, Master Teth. Give up."

Scarab grabbed Rayven. "Do not move! Or I will kill Darkvayne's friend!!!"

Oscar caughed. "Do you think it really matters to me? She already betrayed me twice..."

"Yes, well, it looks like our little Rayven has botched my plans for the last time..." Teth-Apophis hissed, and threw something at her. It flashed when it hit her, and she started to burn. Scarab dropped her, looking a little unnerved himself.

"A phosphor flare!" Kyle realized with horror.

Rayven screamed once, and then collapsed, still smoking.

Kyle and Jennifer fired at Teth-Apophis. He dodged the attack, and the proton beams slammed into the door of the CEO office.

"Oh, crap, and Fritz just had that painted..." Jeremy quipped.

"You dare to challenge Teth-Apophis, Lord of the Night, Follower of the God of Darkness?" the master vampire snarled. As he spoke, his voice became deeper, more resonant. "Do you fools really want to die that badly? It is not a Thrall or a low-grade failure like Rayven--you face a Chosen of Set!!!" He smiled. "I will give you one chance--turn Darkvayne over to me, and perhaps I will let most of you live."

Kyle felt a bead of sweat on his brow. Terror was gripping him. Why am I so afraid? And then he remembered something Gen told him...

"In addition to their dark art of Serpentis, the Followers of Set share with other clan bloodlines the powers of Obfuscation--invisibility; and Presence, the ability to generate a powerful charismatic aura. It is how they seduce followers--a Serpent's Tongue in a metaphorical sense..."

Kyle shook his head. Of course... "We've stood face to face with Anubis himself. One of Set's progeny doesn't scare us!!!"

Whether it was the words or just the fact that Kyle was shaking off his power, Teth-Apophis looked startled for a second.

The problem with such a power Kyle said to himself. Is that if you know someone is using it, it loses a lot of its effect

Teth-Apophis roared something in Egyptian, and reared back. His body distorted and changed.......his arms vanished, his legs combined and enlongated. His skin scaled over, his hair disappearing underneath a giant hood. His clothing fell off his body.

Teth-Apophis had morphed into a giant cobra. With an angry hiss, it spat venom at Kyle, which the Ghostbusting physician barely dodged.

Teth-Apophis's Presence broken, the others shook out of the spell. "We gotta get this motherf***ing snake out of our motherf***ing building!!!" Jeremy shouted.

"On it!!!" Oscar shouted, and ran for the front door.

"You will not essssssscape me!!!" Teth-Apophis hissed, and lunged for him.

His servant, Scarab, tackled Zach from behind. Rose grabbed a flowerpot from beside the reception desk and smashed it over the vampire's head.

Scarab hissed and moved to attack her--earning him a blast from Jennifer's proton beam. It hit directly on Scarab's left arm, searing it off just below the elbow. Scarab roared in pain and recoiled.

"I thought you were supposed to use a neutrona saber to do it Jedi style..." Zach quipped.

Kyle and Jeremy tried to blast Teth-Apophis; he flexed his giant body, and smacked them into the far wall. He then turned his attention back to Oscar, who was now outside the building, and slithered off.

Scarab looked around, panic and pain in his eyes, then he vanished. Expecting it this time, they saw the small garter snake he turned into, but couldn't catch it before it slithered off in pursuit of its master.

"Forget him!" Kyle shouted. "We have to catch up with Oscar and Teth!!!"

Oscar ran as fast as he could.

And then came to a dead stop. Teth-Apophis blocked his way.

"You cannot escape from me..." Teth-Apophis hissed, starting to return to his human form.

"You must really want me bad..." Oscar snarled.

"More than ever..." Teth-Apophis chuckled. "Turning against Rayven...that was a cold-hearted act worthy of a Settite..."

"It was a bluff, you Son of a Bitch..." Oscar shouted in reply. "She followed you like a dog and you killed her!!!"

"She was inferior." Teth-Apophis gestured dismissedly. "You...your blood is of great power...."

Oscar couldn't help but wonder what that meant. Because twenty two years ago his mother had been posessed by Zuul? There were hints that Louis Tully and Jeremy Hicks were chosen to be Vinz Clortho's hosts for being descended from a particular bloodline...was that what Teth-Apophis meant? And why him...when the monster had encountered Jeremy, not the son of a former host, but an actual former host? Or did it have something to do with Vigo the Carpathian?

That flashed in his mind for only a split second. He was fighting for his life, here. "Even if you do turn me into one of yours...do you really think I'd serve you?! You really think my father wouldn't hunt you down the far corner of the Earth for this?!"

"I care little for what your mortal sire thinks...or the Ghostbusters, for that matter. Once you are mine, they will be your enemy as well."

"My father runs Ghostbusters, you ass!!!"

Oscar saw it. A look in Teth-Apophis's eyes that wasn't there before. The vampire lord was stunned.

"You lie..." the vampire hissed.

"Look it up." Oscar retorted, pressing his percieved advantage. "My real name's Oscar Wallance--my Mom is married to Peter Venkman, the guy that Bill Murray played in the movies. Rayven didn't tell you any of this, did she? Maybe she wasn't as far up your ass as we all thought?"

"Why do you think I went to them?" Oscar continued. Teth-Apophis was shrinking back. "My Dad will have the might of the biggest professional paranormal investigation and elimination company in the world all gunning for you!!!"

Teth-Apophis recoiled. The light of realization was shining in his dark mind. The Necromancer said nothing of this! Did he know, or....no. He must have known. He had to know. The Necromancer tricked me!!! He knew this would happen--he tricked me, and played me for a fool!!!

Teth-Apophis roared, the anger consuming him. He lunged at Oscar, ready to rip him to shreds--before four golden beams tore into him.

"Pour it on!!!" Kyle shouted.

"Damn you all!!! Damn you all to Set's darkness!!!" Teth-Apophis howled as his body burned to cinders. With one last gargling scream, he was no more.

The four Ghostbusters ran up to Oscar. "You all right?" Zach asked.

Oscar nodded. "Rayven?"

The four Ghostbusters looked at each other. Kyle shook his head.

She was still alive...barely.

Oscar went over to her. "Rayven..."

"...I'm sorry, Dar...Oscar. I never meant it to be like this, but..."

Oscar shook his head. "Forget it. That sick bastard is gone, Rayven."

"...Good...you don't want to know what he did to me....how he..."

"Rayven...if my blood can save you, take it." Oscar leaned in, and held out his arm.

She shook her head weakly. "...I hope that girl in the Apple knows what a good thing she has..."

"I didn't lie about hating what's happened to me, Oscar...this is what I want. Thank you...for still wanting to save me..."

Rayven slumped down, and moved no more.

Scarab ran, his ears perked for the sound of a siren. The electronic clunk of a proton pack being armed. Booted footsteps.

He scrambled into an alleyway....if he still breathed, he'd be panting like a bloodhound.

He jumped three feet as a throat was cleared behind him.

He turned to see a dark-garbed mortal he recognized. "Necromancer!!!"

"I take it it has not gone well?' the man asked in his oily voice.

"The Ghostbusters guarded Darkvayne too well..." Scarab told him, his voice breaking with panic and fear. "They destroyed Teth-Apophis!!! They destroyed him, and I'm next if they catch me!!! You have to help me!!! If the Clans learn of this, I'm done for!!!"

"These Ghostbusters are just as worthy as I expected." The Necromancer replied. "That's why I placed that anonymous call to let them know about Darkvayne's capture--I had to see how worthy."

Scarab was shocked completely speechless for ten seconds. "Y...you sold us out?!" he finally stuttered.

The Necromancer nodded. "You are correct about one thing--you are done for."

With that, the Necromancer snapped his fingers. A globe of light appeared above his hand, shining as golden as the noonday sun.

Scarab barely had time to cry out before he was disintigrated by the light.

The Necromancer brushed some of the aftereffects of the vampire's demise off of his black trenchcoat. A dusty remnant of Scarab fluttered to his feet.

The gaunt, leathery-skinned man's face contorted into a wide, toothy, sinister grin.

"Alas poor Scarab, I knew him well..." the Necromancer mocked, picking up the withered skull.

The Ghostbusters are indeed well trained... the Necromancer mused to himself. Teth-Apophis was a useful ally...but it was, after all, time to use him. He was too unpredictable an element for my liking. And with his death, the other vampire factions will become more powerful, and thus more brazen, more willing the challenge the Prince.

And the Ghostbusters...well...this solidifies their importance as an obstacle. I'm not going to allow years of planning to go down the toilet to a bunch of idiots dressed like janitors again.

More must be done--I've driven a stake (pardon the phrase) into the heart of one close to my old enemies, but of my new enemies I must still learn more. Their strengths, their weaknesses. What to play to to make them overconfident and sloppy. What to play to to make them spend their nights staring at the ceiling in fear.

He tossed the skull over his shoulder as he walked into the darkness. But one useful fact I know already...and when the time is right, Master Orus will find out how poor Gen Brown has been spending her....leisure time...

And an evil laugh echoed through the alleyway...

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