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[personal profile] gone_byebye
"So, uh," began Peter as Stanley and Gladys took their positions on the roof of the Mustique Island hotel, "question for you, Ray."

Ray fiddled with the strap of his proton pack. It was more than a little disturbing how familiar the Sumerian temple architecture looked, even here in the land of hurricanes. "What, Peter?"

The chanting started. There hadn't been chanting last time. Then again, there hadn't been Gozer cultists last time.

"If you're right, and this guy can beat Cthulhu..."

Overhead the clouds began to gather, swirling and circling into one with an unwholesome purplish light.

"What do we do with him afterwards? If he can punch out a Great Old One-"

The chanting got louder. Ray was trying very hard not to listen to it, but it wasn't easy.

"-then what makes you think we've got any kind of chance against him?"

"Mostly I'm hoping that Cthulhu puts up enough of a fight that even this form's resources will be severely depleted by the time it's all over," Ray said. "It's not exactly the most honorable way in the world to win a fight, admittedly-"

Lightning seared across the Caribbean skies, illuminating the 'are you on crack or something, Ray?' look on Winston's face, and the nearly identical one on Egon's.

"-but given the alternatives I don't really think fairness ought to enter into it. And we may just have an opportunity to try to get to Milliways for help at the last moment. Hang on tight, Jhalak, my readings are spiking."

A weird, unearthly wail joined the cultists' chanting, the wind howling up out of nowhere, spinning in mad circles around the rooftop. It was all Ray could do to hold his footing. Lightning followed moments after, striking in so many places around the rooftop that it was all but impossible to see. Thunder rolled-

"What the hell is going on?" Winston yelled. "I don't remember this happening before!"

"Gozer didn't have active worshippers to bring him through last time," Egon shouted back. "Just the building. The amount of effort being actively put forth right now is phenomenal!"

KRRRRAKOOOM.

Oh, great, Ray thought as he reflexively pawed at his eyes in the wake of the roof-wide thunderbolt. I can't see a thing.

Then again, he didn't have to. In the moment of whirling winds that followed, a booming, gravel-growling voice he and the other Ghostbusters knew only too well rang out:

"SUBCREATURES! GOZER THE GOZERIAN, GOZER THE DESTRUCTOR, LORD OF THE SEBOUILLIA, VOLGUUS ZILDROHAR, THE TRAVELLER HAS COME."

There was a moment of silence.

"ARE THESE FOUR MEANT AS A SACRIFICE?"

"N- no, dread Lord." Ray's vision had cleared fractionally, enough to see the palely terrified face of Gladys and Stanley's grandson. "I- I realize they're your enemies, but-"

Ray flinched away from Gozer's wrath just in time to preserve his vision. When he looked back, the young cultists lay sprawled in an ungainly heap against the base of one of the temple spires. "EXPLAIN YOURSELVES," thundered the god.

He swallowed, and forced himself to take a step forward. "Gozer the Gozerian?"

If it had the same form as last time, Ray didn't see it. The light from all around was too eye-watering to make out more than a pair of blazing red rageful eyes. He almost thought he could hear a hissed 'You again' on the wind.

"As a duly-constituted representative of the United States Paranormal Responder Corps, and on behalf of Mustique Island, the Caribbean region, the southern Pacific region, the United States of America, the Planet Earth and all its inhabitants... you have competition."

The red eyes narrowed. A sense of bared teeth and a barely suppressed growl filled the air.

Fighting the urge to pull his shoulders up around his ears, Ray continued. "And in light of that fact I have been authorized by your present surviving followers to make the choice of your incarnate form." He paused. "Again."

There were no words, only a sense of baleful promise; if there were any repeats of last time...

Ray closed his eyes and concentrated.

"THE CHOICE IS AN ACCEPTABLE ONE," thundered Gozer at last. "YOU WILL EXIST A WHILE LONGER."

"Why doesn't that make me feel better?" Peter muttered as the god's already vaguely-defined form suddenly wreathed itself in green fire. Ray backed up hurriedly; the sparks and flames streaking in from every direction to join the swirling energy mass weren't exactly reassuring, either.

"You sure you got it right, Ray?" asked Winston. "Looks like he's gonna explode, to me."

"Positive, Winston," says Ray. "Trust me, I can't not remember every single detail of this form. I'm not going to blow our only chance."

"He's spiking," Egon reported tersely. "Everyone cover your eyes!"

The final blaze of light seared through closed eyelids and hands alike. Ray would've fallen over backwards, if Peter hadn't been there to block his fall. "Sorry, Pete-"

"Just get off me!"

"Okay, okay, I-"

Three words seared through the world around them, silencing all other thought: "I LIVE AGAIN."

And Ray looked up- and up, and up, and up- and saw that he had, indeed, chosen the form of the Destructor.
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Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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