SOUL OF THE SAMURAI
Filed by Jeremy Hicks, GBWC
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2005-23/202
"Hey J, could you keep 'er steady so I can maybe hit it?"
"And here I thought you could hit anything from a moving vehicle."
"Not when you're weaving through traffic like this," Andy replied back. He wasn't used to being back in L.A. after five months, especially the traffic. In fact, he never got used to the traffic here. He was more used to Tennessee traffic than any thing else, and he was used to driving instead of being on top of a moving car.
"We're not in Tennessee any more Andy, and we're lucky I haven't hit anything yet!"
Jeremy Hicks, or J as most of the team called him for short, wasn't a stranger to driving in L.A. As one of the original West Coast GB's, he had his share of close calls in rush hour traffic and was glad that so far he hadn't had an accident in any car he'd been in.
"STOP THE CAR J!!!!!!!!"
Jeremy slammed on the brakes and got out to see Andy with the ghost in a containment stream, unable to get the trap. Fortunately J had one strapped to his belt and after trapping it and helping Andy down from the roof, they got into the car and took off back toward the building the ghost had just exited where Jeff and Kyle were cleaning up the rest of his 'friends'. After five more minutes of zapping and trapping, they collected from the owner and left. The whole ride home was Andy picking on Jeremy about his driving skills. Jeremy picked back on Andy's shooting skills. After they pulled into the garage and shut off the engine, they carted the traps down to the ECU and played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who emptied the traps. It seemed that Jeremy was the victim of a prank every time they did this because he lost more times than he won.
"I swear, you guys tell each other what you're gonna pick before you come down here."
"Ya know what J? We don't. You just don't play that well," Andy said as he, Jeff, and Kyle went up stairs.
"When are we gonna stop this?", Kyle asked as they entered the rec room.
"When it stops being funny", Andy replied.
"Or when he chooses another game", Jeff added.
"Or when I start assigning someone to do it every month."
Andy, Jeff, and Kyle all jumped about six inches as Fritz wheeled himself into the room as quietly as a breeze and stopped behind them
"Holy shit Fritz. And here I thought Jeff was quiet walking around here in those crazy boots of his," was all Andy could come up with for a response.
"And you look like Commander Riker during the second season of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation," Jeff said, referring to the scraggly excuse for a beard Andy was sporting these days.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"What is making fun of my tabi boots supposed to mean?"
Before it came to blows, Kyle stepped in between them to diffuse the situation.
"Jeff, you know Andy didn't mean anything by saying that. Andy, well, um, same thing I just said to Jeff."
"Now that that's settled, ," Fritz started, "you guys need to help clean up around here. I don't know how it was done in Tennessee, but we need to keep this place as clean as possible. Chelsea and Otter aren't housekeepers. Kyle, you need to take care of the litter box. The cats are crapping in the kitchen again."
"Jeff, go around the various storage rooms and make sure there aren't any little chemical containers leaking. There's a funky smell coming from one of the rooms and it's getting worse."
"Sure. Are there any hazardous chemicals I should worry about?"
"Not that I know of. Andy, you get to sweep and dust the vehicle bay. The ENTIRE bay this time."
"It's not my fault that we got a call when I was halfway done. And then we got another and another and ............."
"I don't care if a demigod comes knockin' on the door and asks for you personally, you need to get it done this time. Jeremy's downstairs doing what he needs to already so get busy."
"And what, pray tell, are you going to do Fritz?" Andy asked.
"I'm still working on the computers, trying to get them back up. I've got two up so far, so we at least have internet access."
"Well, that's better than nothing I guess. OK then, let's get to work," Kyle responded as he got up and left the room, followed by Jeff and then Andy. When Fritz was all alone, he reflected on what had happened the past year and a half or so that had been some of the best and worst times of his life. He smiled as he wheeled himself out of the rec room and back to the comp room.
Jeremy was still loading the traps into the ECU when Jeff came down to check the storage room.
"Hey J, have you smelled anything strange down here," he asked as he watched Jeremy load the last trap.
"Nope, nothing but smoking traps for the past half hour. You might wanna try one of the ones next to the briefing room though. There was something really foul smelling coming from one of them."
"Thanks. And sorry about getting you stuck emptying the traps again."
"Eh, it's OK. At least I get to think about stuff. Especially since the Gozer incident. It's hard to believe that you guys didn't notice that I was acting weird."
"Well, he acted just like you until he left. Then we didn't know where you were until we followed your credit card receipts. I'm just glad we got you back in one piece."
"So am I. I just wish I had gotten to know that girl a little more before I left."
"Did you give her your e-mail address?"
"Yeah but I haven't gotten anything from her since. I guess she just wasn't the one for me. And that's always my luck. I always meet a nice girl, think I have it made, and then she turns out to be a demon, a two-timer, or just plain wacky. I'm about ready to swear off women for the rest of my life."
"Don't do that man, it just means that you haven't been in the right place at the right time."
"Dude, you remember Isabel, the Succubus?"
"The girl that I saw when she turned her power to full, was the same girl as the Gatekeeper's avatar."
"Nope. Dead serious. It's either fate or a one time deal, but I thought it was just, well, perfect. May not have been the best circumstances but we seemed to click."
At that point the ECU opened and ejected the empty trap. Jeremy and Jeff both looked at it.
"Well, I guess I'd better get to cleaning these up before they start to smell. And you better get to that smell, whatever it is."
"Yeah. We'll talk later then."
"Yeah, later," Jeremy said in a sad tone, and started to clean the outside of the traps.
"Hey, you done yet?"
"Just finished. You find what was making that smell?"
"Yeah, turns out it was cat piss mixed with rotting meat. Nasty stuff too. The whole room was full of mold."
"That must've been fun to clean up. Did you do it with a broom or a hose?"
"Neither. Left it there but used some air freshener to get rid of the smell. Thought we might want to send some of it to Dr. Spengler before we got rid of it. Ready for some lunch?"
"Sure. But it's almost time for dinner."
"That one just went over your head, didn't it?"
"Must've. I still don't get it."
"Come on, I'm gonna take you to this little diner I found. May not be much to look at but the prices are reasonable. Who knows, you might even find a waitress that thinks you're cute."
"Now who's dreaming? By the way, how's Marie? I haven't seen her around lately."
"She's at another dig in Europe. Before she left, she said something about someone finding the holy grail or something."
"Now that would be a great find for her. At least we'd know somebody famous besides the people Venkman's been introducing us to."
"Yeah. And she's a bit more down to earth. So, who's driving?"
"I will, at least I can carry a couple of packs and traps in case we run into trouble."
"Why would you wanna carry that stuff during the off hours?"
"Because. You never know when a ghost could show up. Plus it would be nice to get a free meal once in awhile."
As they finished up their little chat, they started upstairs and turned the lights out. They let everyone know where they were going and that they did have their cell phones on them. They headed out to Jeremy's Bronco that, amazingly enough, already had two packs and traps in it. Jeff looked at J with a disapproving look and all J could say was, "It helps to be prepared", and grinned.
"You got stranger since you got back from Tennessee."
"It's called being a hillbilly, and being prepared. Let's just get this little excursion over with."
"And I thought you wanted to go."
"Let's go Jeff."
With that, they left. It took them about fifteen minutes with traffic and a couple of wrong turns, they came upon a little diner that looked like it had come straight from a 50's movie. Although it had about twenty motorcycles with their owners parked in the parking lot.
"Oh yeah Jeff, this is a nice little diner. It's something outta BTTF pt. II."
At that point, someone went flying out the front door, and the spectators outside started to pummel him until the police came and took him away. All Jeremy could do was stand there and gawk.
"I told you you'd like it."
"Jeff, Andy would like it here. Let's just get inside before the next guy comes out."
"How did you know there was a 7:15 kick-out?"
"You're kidding, right?"
After they got inside, Jeremy heard a lot of 'hey Jeff's' from various corners and people, surprisingly enough mostly from bikers.
"What did you do here Jeff?"
"Nothing that wasn't in the papers.".
A surprised look covered J's face as they sat down and were promptly asked what they wanted by a by a fair looking blonde in the restaurant uniform , light pink shirt and skirt with white on the hem of the dress and sleeves, although it was a little too tight in some places and wore a name tag that said 'Sue" on it.
"What can I get you and your friend tonight Jeff?"
"I want my usual, what do you want J?"
"Um, I haven't seen a menu so I don't know what y'all serve here."
"Dude, just tell her what you're in the mood for. The cook will take care of the rest."
"OK then, two turkey sandwiches on wheat bread with American cheese."
"Anything to drink?"
"Be right back then."
As she walked off, Jeff and Jeremy noticed that more than one male patron turned their heads as she walked by. She disappeared into the kitchen and reemerged a few seconds later with a pile of food that another table ordered. She had been at this for awhile because she didn't waiver or drop any of the plates as a couple of children ran in front of her. Although she had been at it for awhile, one of her coworkers hadn't and dropped everything she was holding except for a plate of mashed potatoes she had in her left hand. Jeremy could've sworn that he heard her say 'bloody hell' in a very familiar tone, but dismissed it for hearing things, although she did have a very familiar looking head of red hair. He thought his mind was playing tricks on him. He went back listening to Jeff try to tell a joke he heard from Sub-zero but the translated version didn't have the same kick to it. Then apparently someone who couldn't keep their hands to themselves grabbed Sue's behind and were arguing about who did what with what body part. At this point, several burly bikers were getting up to start pounding some sense into this asshole, they stopped and looked at Jeff, who motioned for them to sit down. Jeremy suddenly had a shocked look on his face as Sue and the unknown patron started shouting louder. Right before the patron tried to punch her, the other waitress grabbed his fist, twisted it behind his back, and threw him through the door. Everyone in the diner applauded as she went back to cleaning up the mess from earlier.
"This is why I come here. Dinner and a show."
"That was just, well, unusual. And who is that other waitress?"
"Don't know, must've started working here after the Ashram incident. We could find out from Sue when we get our food."
"Nah. Eh, maybe I'm imagining things. It's weird though, I feel like I know her."
"You little Bitch!!!!!!!!"
This genius started to raise his hand again. Jeremy got up and walked over to where this idiot was standing. He stood about 6'6" and looked like he went to the gym at least five, maybe six times a week and apparently had no manners to help a lady up to her feet. The massively muscled arm started to rocket down toward the kneeling waitress with her eyes now closed, awaiting the blow. J caught and held this arm, staring this muscle clad giant in the eyes, and could only say one thing.
"Touch her again, and this arm becomes mine."
The giant started to smile as he tried to move his captured arm. The people around this little exchange could swear they heard bones breaking as the short man brought the giant to his knees with a look of pain and amazement on his face.
"Like I said, touch her again and this arm becomes mine. Now, I would suggest you leave before you get me really upset."
As Jeremy let go, people could see where his hand was and could see that the blood was returning to the hand he had just let go of. The giant left and J turned to help the waitress up, he had to ask her one thing.
"Are you OK miss............"
He trailed off when he saw who it was. She was just as surprised when she saw his face.
"I thought you weren't coming until next month."
"I thought you were still in Tennessee."
"I thought your dojo was doing better."
"I thought you had transferred to Tennessee permanently."
"Now where did you hear something like that?"
She looked sheepishly at the floor before she answered, "I kept bugging the UK branch on what was happening over here." Jeremy was shocked. Never in his life, except when he went to the UK and the West Coast boys came looking for him, had anybody tried to keep tabs on him from the time they met.
"Why didn't you just email me? I thought I gave you my address."
"I lost my internet connection."
At this point, the owner had been called and arrived and pulled her to one side to ask her what happened. Jeremy felt inclined to go sit down to his food that arrived a few moments ago. As he got comfortable, Jeff stared at him.
"I've never seen anyone move that fast before, not even Sub-Zero."
"Huh? Dude, I walked over there."
"Dude, you moved like the Flash and held that guy's arm like it was a feather. I could hear bones cracking from here."
Jeremy couldn't believe what he was hearing. He had to prove to Jeff that there was nothing like that going on with him.
"Dude, if I had super strength, I could hit this table and it would break," and smashed his hand on the smooth, three inch thick redwood table that broke just to the left of the support. Jeremy and Jeff just looked, along with the people sitting around them. Jeff was the first to say something.
"Don't you hate it when you're wrong J?"
"What the .......................?"
With the gathering crowd starting to mumble, Jeff had one of the best ideas.
"It's time we left here J."
All Jeremy could do was get up and walk out, looking at his hands and mumbling. Jeff settled the tab and left, apologizing for the table as he went. When he got outside, Jeremy was at the Bronco and was getting in. Jeff got there and got in a few seconds after.
"Dude, start the car and get us back to HQ. Kyle needs to check you out."
The Bronco started and was on it's way. A shadowy figure watched from next to stone gargoyle on a nearby roof top, motionless, afraid that he would be seen before his time. After the bronco turned a corner, he turned from his view of the street to the gargoyle.
"The master will have to be informed of this development, eh Bruce?"
Since the stone statue was carved with a mouth that looked like it was smiling, the man smiled back. He turned to the rooftop exit and started to disappear into a black portal that opened in front of him. He spared one last look at the gargoyle.
"I'll see you later Bruce. It's been nice talking to you."
"Well Wizard, how was your day?" The cat replied with 'mrowr' and started to purr. She sat down and started to stroke the cat. The cat laid down and stayed there while she petted him. The cat was named 'Wizard' because of his ability to get out of a locked apartment with all the windows shut. She got up and changed into some jeans and a loose fitting t-shirt. Wizard watched from her bed, half interested in what she was doing. When she put her shoes back on, Wizard suddenly got very attentive. He tried to hide her purse, but couldn't pull it fast enough. She found him just outside the bedroom door panting. She picked up her purse, patted him on the head, and went out the front door. Just before she closed it, she looked back at him.
"Don't worry, I'll be back in an hour or so."
She closed the door and the cat disappeared into a portal.
"Then how do you explain what I did? I mean, how many people do you know that can break a red wood table with their bare hands? And move faster than the fastest Olympic runner?"
"That's what we need to find out, because if it's temporary, we need to plan on that."
"But why is it happening now? I mean, if it's connected to the Gozer incident, why didn't it happen then?"
"I don't know J. I'll send a blood sample to a friend of mine in the hospital blood lab that's at least still talking to me."
"How long will it take to get some results?"
"A couple of days or so. You can possibly still go out on busts, but I wouldn't drive if I were you. That strength of yours could possibly get the rest of us killed."
"I kinda figured that out on my own Kyle", Jeremy answered as he sat up and got off of the table, "I'm gonna be in the Danger Room for awhile."
"Because, I wanna see how much I can lift without trying it on a car. Be back in a bit", he said as he walked out of the exam room.
As he walked the corridors of the HQ, he remembered the first time he walked them almost two years ago. The memory seemed dimmed some but still very vivid in his mind. But for some reason he couldn't remember his parents, which was very odd. He dismissed the thought and continued to the danger room.
Once he arrived, he went straight to the weights, grabbed the heaviest ones there and started to lift them. They were as light as feathers, so he just dropped them and went to the weight bench, put all of the weights on, laid down and started lifting. The weight bar was still light with all of the weight on it, so he decided to start lifting it with one hand. After about five minutes of that, he sat up, and dropped the bar on the floor with a loud 'crunch' and lifted one of the various other weight machines that were around and, seeing that it provided him wit ha better challenge, started to pump his arms at an amazing pace, and after ten minutes, ended up shaking the machine apart, leaving him holding the two main supports. He looked at them for a minute and then dropped them. He looked back at the danger room and it looked like a tornado came through. He looked down at his hands and ran back to the med lab to talk to Kyle, and to show him the mess in the Danger Room.
"You did all of this?"
"Yeah, in the space of about twenty minutes. It was weird though, on my way here, I couldn't remember my parents. But now I can remember all the way back to my childhood."
He bent over and picked up one of the weights like it was a feather and put it back on the rack, and did the same with the other one and the weight bar. As he finished that, he had a strange look on his face.
"I'm just wondering, if this continues, what other powers will I get?"
Kyle was about to reply when Chelsea's voice came on over the intercom.
"Jeremy Hicks, please come to the front desk. You have a visitor."
"You expecting somebody J?"
"No." All of a sudden his eyes got wide at a thought. "You don't think it's her?"
"I guess we'd better go find out then, hadn't we?"
"Yeah, I guess we'd better."
They got to the front desk and wern't surprised that much when they found Sarah standing at the desk. As she turned around, she smiled fondly at him. He hadn't noticed that her hair was longer than the last time they had seen each other, but it still looked good on her. All he could muster to say was a weak little 'hi'. She chuckled at the effort and walked up to him.
"This is how we say hello to our significant other in my country," she replied as she leaned in for a very passionate kiss, the kind of kiss that makes your toes curl. When she was done, she stood back to watch J just stand there with an open mouth.
"Wow, I've never been kissed like that before," was all he could respond with.
"Would you like me to do it again?"
He started to blush as the other team members got to the front desk.
"Not right now. Maybe later."
As the introductions were put out of the way, Fritz pulled J into the rec room to talk with him.
"J, you do realize that you got your 'powers' the last time you interacted with her. What do you hope to gain by having her here?"
"What? You think I invited her here? Fritz, we've known each other for almost two years now, do you think that I would've invited her herewith what's happened in the past couple of hours? Remember Fritz, our address is in the phone book, and she could've just looked it up." At that point, Jeremy could feel his hand ball up into a fist and the urge to punch Fritz in the face well up inside him. Fritz could sense it too as he started to wheel himself out of the rec room. Suddenly, J punched the wall, sending a good sized chunk of it into the room behind the rec room. Jeremy stood there with his arm through the wall with a blank expression on his face. He looked at his arm, and then said one of the scary-est things Fritz ever heard from him.
"Remember Fritz, I could kill you in your sleep or when you're awake, that's up to me. What's up to you is if you want me to kill you or not."
There was no emotion in his voice whatsoever. J turned his head to face Fritz, and all Fritz could see in Jeremy's eyes was hate. Such a deep hatred that Fritz had to look away or be consumed by it.
"Now Fritz, I suggest that we forget this ever happened and go back to the others. It'll help us both to just relax."
As J said this, he pulled his arm out of the wall, wiped the splinters from it, and walked out. Fritz could only wonder how Jeremy could've changed like that right in front of him. He needed to talk to Jeff, Andy and Kyle. The others didn't need to know about this. Yet.
All Andy could come up with at the time was, "JEFF!!!!!"
"Alright you two, knock it off. This is serious. If J could do that to Fritz, then what else could he be capable of? I mean, if any of us talks about Sarah that way, it could be us."
Fritz interrupted them, "So, we're in agreement? We need to find out what's causing Jeremy to go through these mood swings and hopefully stop them."
"I don't know if this will help, but like last month he bought a set of swords from the flea market. The stand that came with it had a strange mark on it. It wasn't one I was familiar with in my studies. But that doesn't mean I haven't seen it before. I just need to take another look at it," was all Jeff said about it.
"And if you can't find anything on it, send it to ol' Subbie in China. Maybe he knows it," Andy helpfully suggested.
"Good idea. Jeff, as soon as you get a good picture, send it to Sub-Zero and see what he can make of it. The next few hours we'll try to keep J occupied so you can get one," Fritz said.
"But he's out with Sarah right now. He said he wouldn't be back for like forty-five minutes," Kyle replied.
"Then go do it Jeff."
"On it Fritz," he replied on his way out the door.
"Let's hope it's nothing to serious guys," Kyle said.
A few minutes later Jeff came back in, digital camera in hand. In his left hand he had a printout of the pic. It was a picture of a red dragon, eating it's tail with blood dripping from it.
"You don't see something like that every day," Andy stated, handing the picture to Fritz
"Indeed. How big is this symbol on the sword stand?"
"It's about four inches in diameter. If you look at the picture closely, you can see that the dragon is very detailed for something that small. I'll send it to Sub-Zero as soon as you're done with me."
"Go Jeff. Send it off before J gets back. Hopefully Mr. Zero will have some information about this."
With that, Jeff left the room to send the pic off to China. The others tried to come up with a plan in case J was possessed by another evil spirit. They were finishing up when Jeremy and Sarah came back. They said their goodbyes and she left. With a far off look in his eyes he walked into the rec room where he bumped into Kyle and Fritz on their way out. Andy was on the couch watching Teen Titans on Cartoon Network.
"I thought you gave up watching this back in Tennessee. Something about how they butchered the characters."
"Eh, it wasn't that bad then. They actually got the characters closer to the comic this season."
"Like you ever cared about the characterization. You just like the way they draw Starfire and Raven."
Andy, after hearing this, got a shocked expression on his face, and he put his hand up to his chest with fake indignation.
"You insult me sir. I have never heard such lies before. And besides, it's only Raven," he said with a smile. He looked over at J. His smile turned into a look of horror as Jeremy turned on a neutrona saber and took a swipe at him. Since Andy saw it coming, he dodged the blow by throwing himself to the floor. Then he heard one of the oddest things to come out of Jeremy's mouth since they've known each other.
"That was just a warning. The next time you call me a liar, I won't miss."
With a slight tremor in his voice, Andy replied, "J, I was just kidding. You need to calm down man."
Jeremy turned off the saber and looked at Andy with the straightest face, and a tone in his voice that made Andy shiver.
"Like I said, next time I won't miss," and walked out of the room. Andy needed to tell the others what had just happened. Fortunately he found them in the computer room, staring at one of the two monitors in the room. The one they were looking at was open to Jeff's e-mail with a long hello from Zero, and then the picture of the symbol and an explanation of it. Andy spoke up before they got engrossed in every thing.
"J just attacked me with a neutrona saber guys."
"What did you do to him Andy?" Jeff thought he was kidding, but when he turned around to face Andy, the expression on his face told Jeff that this was no joke. "Andy, what happened?"
"Well, it was right after Kyle and Fritz left the rec room. He was teasing me about why I was watching Teen Titans and I was teasing him back, calling him a liar, and then he had a neutrona saber in his hand and almost took my head off if I hadn't gotten out of the way. Then he told me that if I ever called him a liar again, he wouldn't miss."
"That sounds a lot like the guy that we were just reading about. Here, take a look."
This is what was on the screen below the bloody dragon:
"That's what we've been trying to figure out Andy. And so far we've come up blank." As soon as Jeff said that, they turned around to the door of the computer room to see Jeremy with the swords in his hands drawn, the sheaths tucked in his belt like a samurai.
"No one will take this body away from me. No one ever will again!" And with that, he took off. Jeff, Andy, Kyle, and Fritz stared where Jeremy was. Andy was the first to speak up.
"Are we going to go to Japan now or do we try to keep him here in the states?"
"I don't think he's going to Japan. He might try to be an enforcer for the local mob or something. But no matter what, he's still dangerous as long as Jing-Li Hirotoshi is in him."
As Kyle finished saying this, a little light went on in his head.
"I wonder if she's home yet."
"If who's home yet," Fritz asked.
"This is the man I could spend the rest of my life with Wizard," she wishfully said to the cat. The cat paid close attention to that statement, noticing that the subliminal messages that he was planting weren't working. He would have to try harder to keep them apart. The future that he and his partner wanted would depend on it. And their master didn't handle failure very well. Especially since the last time one of his servants failed. He shuddered at the thought. He was suddenly aware that she was petting him, helping to melt away any thoughts of his master and his partner. She stopped petting him when he pushed himself off the edge of the bed. She chuckled and got herself off of the bed and decided to do some katas, not because she needed to, but because she wanted to. She changed into her work out clothes, a pair of biking shorts and sports bra, and a loose fitting t-shirt that had her old dojo name on it. She was starting on her third kata when there was a knock at the door. Swearing under her breath, she went to the door.
"Who is it," she said as sweetly as possible for her, all the while thinking about how many ways she could make this person's nose bleed with her index finger.
"It's Kyle. I work with Jeremy. I need to talk to you," came the muffled reply through the door, his breath uneven and heavy.
She opened the door to see Kyle Stevens leaning over trying to catch his breath. He looked up at her face and asked one question.
"Is Jeremy here?"
"Why do you ask?"
The next fifteen minutes were spent with Kyle trying to catch his breath and explaining to Sarah what had happened with J at the HQ. As he continued, her face got continuously horrified. Kyle finally got to the end.
"That's why I asked. He ran off and we don't know where he is. Everyone's out looking for him right now but we're not turning up anything," he finished. then added, "if he contacts you or comes by, let us know. He may look like J, but he's not in control."
She prayed silently to herself for the safety of Jeremy, and right before Kyle left, got on a pair of pants and went with him. She was gonna be damned if she didn't look for the man she loved.
"My name is Jing-Li Hirotoshi. This is my domain, and you are an intruder here. Leave at once if you value your life."
"You've got it all wrong mister. My name is Jeremy Lee Hicks and this is MY domain. You had better leave if you wanna keep living as you were. I don't wanna hafta fight you."
A smile appeared on Jing-Li's face. Jeremy didn't notice that his stance had changed ever so slightly to give him a better strike. J noticed this a split second before Jing struck, just barely avoiding the sword.
"You are a fast little rabbit my friend, but like the snake, my strike will get you."
"Only if the rabbit doesn't have fangs of it's own."
With a puzzled look on his face, Jing was going to ask what that meant when J did a flying kick to his jaw. Jing stumbled back and dropped his katanna. Jeremy picked it up and threw it as hard as he could. It landed with the blade stuck in a wooden support beam, cutting edge pointing up.
"One down, two to go."
Jing smiled again, and held his hand up. Jeremy ducked as the katanna came back to it's master. Jeremy raised his head to look at his opponent, and couldn't figure out how this guy did that. Then he remembered how. They were in his mind, and in the mind, you could do anything. Jeremy stood up and held his right hand out. A sword appeared in mid air next to his hand, and he grabbed it and smiled. The sword he had was one that he'd wanted since he first saw it in 'Highlander' and its sequels. Except the handle was bronze instead of ivory. He brought the sword up to his face, blade turned toward his enemy and only said one thing.
"One of us isn't walking out of here. May the best man win."
Jing, with a shocked expression on his face, took the other two swords from his belt and put them on the floor. He stood back up in the same stance as J.
"If that is the way you wish to go, then let us proceed. I would rather die like a samurai than a coward."
They ran screaming at each other, their swords ready........
"Hello there. My name is Oroku Saki. Jing-LI is my master. And as he commands, I shall do." Jeff's head cleared. He figured out what happened and why he felt disconnected, and smiled. Being the man of few words he was, he asked Oroku one question.
"Have you seen any big, green ninja turtles?"
Oroku looked puzzled at the question, when suddenly he was attacked by four large, green masked turtles with weapons. A large rat came up behind Jeff and released him. After a few minutes of bludgeoning Oroku into submission, the turtles and the rat bowed to Jeff and disappeared. Jeff always new that watching that cartoon would pay off some day. He smiled at himself and took off, trying to find J and a way out. As he went out, he conjured a copy of the Master Sword. He had a feeling that he'd be needing it.........
"Guys, there's a PK barrier surrounding that room, and it extends to what ever organic objects that touches it ." He said this as he was looking at Jeff, because the aura surrounding him didn't extend to the steel grating he was sitting on. He then put the goggles on top of his head.
"If we even accidentally touch it, we'll be sucked into what ever kind of world that's being projected on the other side. And for all we know, there could be a trap waiting for us if we do go in." Fritz looked worried at this statement. Everyone could see the wheels turning in his head as he started to formulate a plan. Sarah may have been new to all of this, but the man she was sure she was going to spend the rest of her life with was in danger and she wasn't going to stand around doing nothing.
"I'm going in," she stated as she strode toward the office. Kyle stepped in front of her and put his hand on her shoulder. But before he could talk her out of it, she grabbed his hand, twisted it behind his back, and shoved him into a wall in one motion. She then pulled him away from the wall and threw him down on the grating. She then continued to the office and touched the wall, where she proceeded to slide down it. Andy looked at her stupefied.
"If you don't have a plan yet Fritters, I'm gonna do what she did. The longer we wait, the harder it's gonna be to help."
"I'm with him Fritz. We gotta do it soon."
Fritz looked at them both, seeing the concern in their faces, and just acted on instinct. He started rolling toward the office. He stopped and looked over his shoulder with a look that asked 'are you coming' and continued on his way. He felt his wheelchair stop and then keep going.
"We need to position you next to the wall so you don't lose contact," Andy said.
"Just get me over there. I'll sit on the floor if I have to."
They got over there and Fritz got out of his chair. Andy and Kyle were waiting for him to give the signal. He just leaned back against the wall.
"I guess that's the signal," Andy said as he put his hand on the wall. Kyle followed a second later.
"Fascinating," he muttered as he got up.
"Ok there Fritz, where are we now," And had to ask. He sure liked the idea that people could re-grow lost limbs here, but he kinda wanted to know how long it would last.
"We're in a mindscape Andy. Anything you can think of can happen here. If you want a gun, just think it."
Andy thought of a .22 cal. bolt action rifle with a scope on it appearing in his right hand. It appeared just as soon as he thought it. He got a smile on his face when that happened.
Kyle on the other hand started to get a little worried. With new people entering, there should have been a welcoming committee.
"About damn time Jeff," he shouted, "could you go find the others? They're here somewhere."
Jeff got up and started toward the door leading into this room burst open with hundreds of other samurai. Jeff used his ninja training to try to contact the others mentally. He wasn't sure if he got a message through before a samurai took a swing at him. Suddenly there were a hundred Jeff's. They were all fighting the samurai
"I hope they got my message."
"As soon as we're done here, we need to get going," Fritz said. He was picking up Sarah as he said this. She was holding her head and moaning. He propped her up against a wall while he went to help the other two. Less than two minutes later they were done and on their way to the main hall.
"So, is this where you take all of your second dates?"
"Nope, third date", he responded weakly. "If you think this is impressive, you should see where the fourth date takes place at." He tried to sit up at this point, but couldn't quite make it. She helped him up into a sitting position, and then gave him a good long kiss that he could've lost himself in forever. They ended the kiss and he got to his feet, feeling rested and relaxed. He held his hand out and his sword came to him. He looked around and saw that every one was in trouble, because there were more and more samurai coming through the door. He looked at Sarah with nothing but love in his eyes.
"Go help the others. I have to finish this with him."
"And just what am I supposed to do?"
"Think of your favorite female superhero, and become that person."
They kissed one more time before they went to their respective fights. J ran to where Kyle and Jing were. There was such fire in J's eyes now that it was like the fires of Hell itself.
"JING-LI HIROTOSHI!!!!!! I AM YOUR OPPONENT, NOT HIM. COME FIGHT ME!!!!!"
Jing stopped punching Kyle. Kyle just turned away and rejoined the others.
"You wanna know somethin' about me Jing?" J asked, "The one thing that you'll find out about me is that when you mess with my friends or my family, you're gonna go down. Hard."
He readied his sword, which now had a red tint to the blade. Jing didn't waste any words, he just lunged at J. Jing used his super speed and super strength as he attacked, but J dodged and blocked everything Jing threw at him, but he couldn't go on the offensive. He had to think of something fast, because he couldn't keep this up forever.
She fought two or three at a time but couldn't think of any superhero that she liked. Then she came up with one that she kinda liked. Seven foot tall redhead with superstrength, although she didn't like the colors of the green and purple uniform, but at least it wasn't constricting. And soon she was throwing samurai around like ragdolls, hoping that she could go back and help J. Fritz, Andy, and Kyle were doing about the same as she was. Jeff a little moreso. Andy had found a high spot to shoot from. He was now holding an auto loading .22 long rifle with a scope and a barrel clip, picking off samurai like a sniper with twenty years of experience. Kyle was just mindlessly (or so one would think by looking at him) crushing samurai under his feet. Fritz did the best he could with what he had, and considering that he had all the weapons and training of a Jedi Knight, he was doing better than the others. He threw his light saber like a boomerang, slicing samurai in half until it came back. Jeff and his clone army were spreading out into the outer corridors, trying to keep the onslaught of samurai out of the main hall, using ninja training to stem the flow. Their minds drifted back to J, taking on someone with superspeed and strength.
J was doing a little better now. He was able to swing once or twice every twenty or so blows. He was trying to get the timing of the swings from Jing, but it was kind of hard since he was swinging so fast the blade of his sword was almost invisible. Then Jeremy had an idea. (ok, so he was kinda slow) He became intangible and stopped defending himself. Jing was surprised when his blade went completely through J but didn't leave a mark. J became tangible again and gave Jing an uppercut that sent him sailing through a wall. But before he could move to see if it was over, several large chunks of wood exploded and Jing came charging at J at full speed, his sword raised over his head, cutting side up. J did the same thing, as he had adopted the exact same powers as Jing. (which he should've done in the first place) As the two came to the same place, their swords met and sent a shockwave through the entire room, knocking almost everyone down. Fritz had put a Force shield around himself, Sarah, Jeff, and Kyle. Andy had held on for dear life to his little perch. Everyone looked in the direction that it had come from. Jeremy and Jing were just standing there, their swords crossed, neither were moving. Their muscles were tensed, trying to gain the advantage over the other, but not succeeding. And no one saw that one samurai had gotten up and was readying his sword to strike the female in the back. As she was watching the man she loved fight for his life, she felt intense pain go up at an angle across her back, and she collapsed. The samurai, with a smug look on his face, was decapitated a second after by a glowing green blade. Fritz kneeled next to her, rolling her over so he could see her back. The wound looked deep, but he couldn't be sure if it was fatal, even in this place.
"KYLE, GET OVER HERE!"
As soon as he was done smashing some samurai into goo, he turned back into the regular Kyle, with a field medkit, and came running, Jeff heard Fritz scream too, and thought Andy was down. He suddenly turned all his clones into clones of Sub-Zero. They all froze however many samurai they were near and started hacking away at them. Jeff then ran to see who got hurt. Sarah had a fearful look in her eyes as Kyle did his best to try to examine and treat the wound. Fritz was standing guard with a Force shield up and samurai attacking. Andy was still on his perch, picking off the samurai while they were attacking the others. Fritz, on the other hand, was wondering if J knew what had just happened. And if so, what would he do?
J had felt the whole thing. Sarah getting sliced in the back. Kyle trying to see what he could do. Jeff fearing for one of his team mates. Andy, feeling anger that someone would do that. And Fritz, hoping that something like that never happened to Chelsea. J was still standing where he was, face to face with the man who wanted to take over his body so he could live again. Then something happened that he didn't expect. His sword started to glow red, and started to become translucent. And the most amazing thing was that it started to cut into Jing's sword. And J saw a bead of sweat roll down Jing's brow, and Jing's feet started to slip, and J knew he had him. He pressed even harder against Jing's sword and cut it in half. Jing's eyes went wide, and J just smiled.
"I told you that you would go down Jing. Now just give it up and die."
Jing ran for his short sword and got it, unsheathed it, and ran back at Jeremy, swinging it wildly through the air. As he got to J, he swung his short sword down. J swung from the side, connecting with Jing's sword, and cutting through it. Jing stopped running and dropped to his knees.
"You were right Jeremy san. It was time that I rested forever."
The one thing that J didn't know was that he had cut through Jing's neck. Blood started to flow from his neck as he fell over onto his side, where his head rolled away. Jeremy ran to where the others were at, but when he got there he woke up in the office of the abandoned warehouse and looked around. He saw the swords of Jing-Li sitting in front of him. He jumped up and ran outside where he found his friends just waking up. He helped Fritz into his chair, and then heard something from inside the office. He grabbed a trap and went inside. The ghost of Jing-Li Hirotoshi was floating around inside, and upon seeing Jeremy, Jing charged at him. With the trap in hand, he pushed the side button and sucked the ghost in. With the ghost taken care of, he went back out to see if Sarah was all right. From the way he heard her get up, she was all right, but she had what looked like a small scratch on her back. But they were happy just to be with each other again, and then gave each other another long passionate kiss. They stopped when Fritz, Andy, Kyle, and Jeff started clapping and cat calling at them. J looked at them, red faced, and gave them the bird. Then they all went back to HQ to get looked over by Kyle, because they didn't need something like this getting out into the papers.
"Don't you just love Pepto in the morning," Andy asked J.
"Not really. It doesn't match my outfit at all. And the smell. Ugh!" J had returned to himself, mostly. He had stopped being such a recluse and associated more with his friends. He finally snagged the little bastard when Jeff and Kyle found their way to the room they were in, carrying about five traps each and putting them down next to the four traps that were lying next to the door.
"So nice that you guys could join us. What kept cha'," J asked.
"Traffic. Some ghosts just don't know how to give up peacefully," Jeff replied, arming his proton gun. Just as he did this, Andy rolled the trap out. J gave him the signal and he stomped on the pedal. He then counted backwards from 3, at 0 turning off his stream. At the same time, Andy stomped on the pedal again, trapping the ghost. J and Andy both hung their proton guns up and moved toward the trap. They then played 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' to see who would take credit for this one.
"Five for five. Eat that Andy!"
"Naw, too fattening. Let's get paid and get these back to HQ. I'm starvin'."
"Yeah, you're always hungry after a bust."
"And so are most 'Busters J."
The bantering stopped when another ghost came through a wall. It filled most of the room, and since it was a ballroom, it was hard to believe that this ghost was still half-way through the wall.
"Any one still have an empty trap," was the only thing that J asked as he started to pull his neutrona wand. Jeff had already removed his pack and was getting the trap/shield that he had grabbed from the van strapped to his arm and got ready to run.
"Guys, on three," was all Andy said as the three packs started to hum in unison. Jeff ran towards the beast. The three remaining busters armed their throwers, aimed and all said in unison,
Three streams struck the monster and started to wrap themselves around it, pulling it the rest of the way through the wall. They spread out to pull a little better. Jeff had finally run out of room to run and slid under the beast, trying to pick the best place to trap this ghost from. He stopped when he found it. He pushed the open button that he had built into the handle of it, and stayed put until it was completely contained. As soon as there was only the head (or was it a foot? They weren't really sure) was sticking out, they turned off their throwers and put 'em up. Then they helped Jeff up, and then picked up all of the traps and went out to the van, collected from the owner of the building, and took off. On their way back, the played for who would empty the traps. J got stuck with it again, but didn't complain. He still thought that they told each other what to pick. When they got back to HQ, Fritz was there waiting to hand out cleaning assignments again. Chelsea would swear that there was a collective groan from the four of them that sent a blast of air through the entire warehouse. J was sent to empty and clean traps again, then sent to get groceries. After he got back, the others were standing around in the garage. There was a hanger with a nice black suit on it that Jeff was holding on to.
"Hurry up J, you're gonna be late for your date."
"What? Sarah and I don't have a date planned for tonight. In fact, we don't have a date planned for awhile."
"Jeremy, over the past week, you found the woman you apparently love more than life itself, you were possessed by a seventeenth century Japanese samurai and haven't taken a break. This is almost like last year after you were possessed by Vinz Clortho. I'm ready to send an amendment for the vacation reasons to GBI HQ for possession to be added to the list", Fritz added, "and besides, wouldn't it be nice to sit down to a dinner with her?" Fritz pointed toward the rec room door and J looked.
Sarah walked out in to view, dressed in a skin tight sleeve less red dress that stopped about three inches from her knees. She wore some flat heeled shoes that matched the color of the dress. J just had an expression of pure shock on his face. As soon as he recovered from that, he grabbed the suit from Jeff and ran up the stairs and disappeared into his room.
Five minutes later he was coming down the stairs, looking like he hadn't just gotten back from getting groceries and catching only god knows how many ghosts (he knew that there were only about forty or so). Right now, he didn't even look like a Ghostbuster. He looked like a man that was going a date with his girlfriend. He walked over to Sarah, grabbed her hand, and headed for the outside door. When he opened it, there was a stretch limo waiting. He looked back at four of the best friends he'd had over the past ten years (it may have only known them for two, but hey, who's keeping count) and smiled. The door closed and they got in the car, and it drove off. Back inside the warehouse though, Fritz, Kyle, Andy, and Jeff were discussing something. Jeff said something.
"If those two ever have kids, we're in trouble."
"If any of us have kids, we're in trouble", Fritz said.
They all had a good laugh at that and went back to what they were assigned to do. They had enough to do to keep them busy for a few hours. Then when J got back, they were gonna bug him until he told them what happened. But that would wait until he got back.
The man spoke first. "They are on a date this night sir. As soon as they are done there will be a further report, sir."
The cat started to talk. "You were correct sir, she is the one. She is .................."
Their master put his hand up to his mouth before the cat said anything else. He already knew who the woman was and didn't need it repeated for him. He had a thought now.
"From now on, I want you two to make reports at the end of every month from now on. It's not that I don't enjoy your company, I just don't like it when you guys have to give me reports every few hours. It really takes away time from my family."
In unison, they said, "Yes master." and took their leave. The man got out of his chair and walked out the door that seemed to be hidden except for a small sliver of light at the bottom. His wife and children were watching a movie. It must've been one of the new ones because he didn't recognize any of the scenes he watched. His wife snuggled up to him.
"What was wrong at the office hon?"
"Oh somebody filed some paperwork incorrectly on a bust. I'm sorry I was gone so long."
He turned to kiss her. She reminded him of his mother in just about every way. He watched his kids. His son reminded him of his father, his daughter reminded him of his aunt. He may have only met her when he was sent to live with her when he was fifteen, but it was the best thing that had happened to him. He got to meet his grandparents once before they died. At least they would be proud of him. His wife punching him in the stomach brought him back to the present, where he could be with his family.
Ghostbusters West Coast Division Created by Andy Harness and Vincent Belmont