gone_byebye: (Ministry of Extraordinary Threats)
Mid-January, 2008
RCMP/Ministry of Extraordinary Threats Emergency Hangar
Alert, Nunavut, CA

Even in times of the highest tension and most danger, people find ways to keep themselves busy, and neither the Ghostbusters nor the men and women of the world's northern watch bureaus were any great exception. "Ray? Ray! Ray, check it out." Venkman shook his friend's shoulder. "Egon's in a fight with one of the Inquanok guys."

Ray opened an eye and glanced sideways. Several of the Danish contingent and a couple of the Pohjola Project's Sami members were gathered in a semicircle centered on Egon and a broad-faced, dark-eyed man in Danish uniform. "Wow. Spengs is looking kinda..."

"Green," Winston finished for both of them. "That's freaky. What are they fighting about?"

"The worst thing they've ever eaten," said Venkman. "Eske's winning."

Ray and Winston exchanged glances. They both knew Egon's eating habits. "How?" Ray finally asked.

"That's not food," Egon suddenly said, loud enough to be heard over the snickering Greenlanders. "That's biological waste. You can't consider anything with that level of ammonia in it to qualify as edible."

"This from the man who admits to eating casu marzu," said his opponent with the serene smile of a man who knows he's won. "Hákarl is nothing-"

Winston shook his head. Ray gave up on the possibility of a nap and stood up. "Has anyone seen where Captain Korpan went?" he asked, and one of the Finns pointed. "Thank you."

He found the Canadian in the tiny office attached to the hangar, one hand pressing his headset against his ear and the other taking frantic notes. As Ray walked in Korpan lifted his eyes, winced, and held up a piece of paper that read:

Magnetic fields flaring
Deep ones report Russian helicopter near 82.7° N 114.4° W
Radio comms dorppinng like brick

A moment later Korpan scribbled one last line:

Dammit, I can spell. Marines on the way. Tell the others. We're going in.

Ray shuddered, nodded, and went in search of a better door.

[OOC: Assume everyone will be arriving from Milliways within five minutes of each other. Also, don't click on the food links above if you have a weak stomach.]
gone_byebye: (Zap!)
Coney Island, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Aquarium
Osborn Center For Inter-Species Communication
Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Well," said Dr. Stantz, for the fourth or fifth time that day, "here we are."

"That's right," said his publicist, a dark-haired, businesslike woman named Margo McGee. "All of us." She glanced over her shoulder; the Spook Squad had been tasked to handle most of the historic meeting's security, and as for the rest... well. Dr. Stantz had refused to even consider leaving his daughter behind. She had to admit that it would take somebody very, very stupid to try anything when a twenty-three foot tall robot kitted out with every kind of sensor and scanner technology available to the public was on the premises. And the part where the robot was shaking hands with the assembled crowd and talking to as many people as possible- yes, that was a distraction from the historic meeting about to take place, but honestly? In a world full of weirdos, wackos, and sniper rifles, anything that drew attention away from the waterfront at a time when a single misstep could cause inter-species warfare on a potentially global scale was a good thing. Let them pay attention to the robot. Better that than the alternative.

"What time is it again, exactly?"

"One fifty-eight, Dr. Stantz. And yes, I am sure. You've asked this already."

"Sorry, Margo. I just-" He waved his hands vaguely. "You have no idea of the magnitude of the stage fright I'm experiencing right now."

"You'd be surprised how well I understand. Do yourself a favor and close your eyes, take a deep breath, and do whatever it is that Jedi do to calm themselves down. Being this keyed up isn't going to help anybody at all."

"Right. Right. Yes. Sorry." He closed his eyes and started murmuring to himself.

Margo sighed a little, but only that. She'd seen worse reactions to being at the center of attention before. You didn't last long around the UN if you couldn't walk the new delegates through their paces without causing major incidents. And, speaking of which-

"Open your eyes now, Dr. Stantz. I don't think that's a natural wave."

'Wave' was the wrong word for it, anyway. More like a great glassy swelling in the water, rising up out of one of the waves, suddenly breaking to either side and falling away to reveal a pearlescent grey, intricately detailed pod of some kind. Colors fountained off it in all directions as the assembled reporters and other spectators started excitedly snapping flash photographs. It rolled up onto the sand with the last of the waves' strength, continued to glide along over the sand for several meters, and came gently to a halt.

Dr. Stantz swallowed, suddenly a ghastly pale. "This is it, huh?"

"That's right, Dr. Stantz. This is it." Margo patted him on the back. "This is what they're paying you for. Go on and say hello."

Dr. Stantz looked up at Ecto, who was watching the scene with rapt, literally shining eyes. He squared his shoulders, turned back towards the water, and stepped away from Margo's side to approach the pearlcraft. When he was about two strides away, a hatch coalesced in its side, sliding open even as he stopped in his tracks.

The first beings to exit the pearlcraft were about Dr. Stantz's height, though grey-green in skin tone and somewhat more roundly built. Margo found herself comparing them to the descriptions she'd read in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and had to admit that they came out ahead. True, they carried spears and moved oddly, but there was none of the capering or demented half-leaps that 'blasphemous fishfrogs' had implied. And for man-shaped creatures with webbed hands and fins in places where anything on land would've had hair, they looked... Well, they looked more natural than she'd expected. More like something you'd find in very deep waters of its own accord than something you'd find in Creature From The Black Lagoon. They wore- Good Lord. Margo had seen quite a lot of clothing in her time and prided herself on being able to recognize nearly any clothing line straightaway. Unless she missed her guess completely, the spear-bearing Deep Ones were wearing Utilikilts. Well, she could think of worse choices...

Then a figure about a head taller stepped out onto the sand, straightening up and raising a hand in greeting. This one was draped in green and purple robes, open to the waist and embroidered in glittering, interlocking patterns like nothing Margo could quite identify. Margo remembered his face, alien as it was; he'd been the one on the cover of all the papers months ago, shaking hands with the President. Looked like they really were taking all of this seriously.

Dr. Stantz moved forward, and Margo kept her fingers crossed. They'd rehearsed this moment. They'd rehearsed it so many times. She'd thrown things at Peter Venkman for wandering in wearing rubber monster masks while they were rehearsing. This was the critical moment of greeting, and they only got one chance. If Dr. Stantz lost it now, they were screwed. But he could do this, she was sure. He had to-

It took her a moment to realize he was speaking at all, given how little the gurgly noises from down the beach sounded like human words. Margo stared; so did the guards, and the ambassador himself. And then she stared more, because the Deep One ambassador cleared his throat and said in perfect, if somewhat Mainer-sounding English, "Okay. No way you talked to my boy long enough to learn that kind of fluency. Not that I don't appreciate it, but how are you-"

"Amulet, sir," said Dr. Stantz, fishing something silver out from under his shirt and showing it a moment. "It comes in handy."

"Yeah, I imagine. There goes my tactical advantage."

"Sorry. I could pretend I don't understand a word you're saying, if you'd rather?"

"Nah, we're cool. Let's get this party started, all right?"

"All right," said Dr. Stantz. "The facility's right this way."

"Sweet. Come on, boys."

Not what Margo had expected... but she'd take it.
gone_byebye: (President Winston)
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Ben's Kosher Deli
209 W. 38th Street
Manhattan, NY

Ben's wasn't usually Ray's choice of dinner location, but after the day Ray had, it was just about the only place he knew well that he felt reasonably certain wasn't going to play Christmas music at him. He could ignore the usual inane stuff, but looking up and realizing WLTW was cheerfully playing "A Cyclopean Tomb (Down In Deep R'lyeh)" and not "Home For The Holidays" was more than a little twitch-inducing. "Look! Professor Angell Brings" coming from WPLJ hadn't been much better. "It's Mi-Go!", on the oldies station, had been the last straw. He begged off going home from work with the rest of the guys and ran for the kosher deli as fast as his legs would allow. He didn't bother to ask for a menu or place an order; they already knew what he'd be wanting.

"Hello, Raymond," said his dead grandfather from across his table of choice. "Bad day?"

"You have no idea, Grandpa," said Ray. "Between work, the flack we're getting from the DMV about Ecto, and all this crap on the radio- ugh."

Maxim shook his head. "Running yourself a little thin, are you?"

"Hey, you try spending twenty-five years on Mythos Earth and see how many of your nerves are still firing on all cylinders," Ray answered. "... wow. Talk about your mixed metaphors."

"I get the picture. I'm surprised you've held up this long. How come you haven't gone off for about six months of vacation somewhere sunny yet?"

"Haven't been able to get hold of Romana," Ray says. "It's okay. I left her some notes. We'll manage- she's really good about making up for lost time."

Maxim smirked. "I'll bet she- uh oh."

"Uh oh what?" said Ray, twisting in his seat to see what his grandfather was looking at. "What are you- uh oh."

It was Suits- lots of them, men and women both in dark suits suddenly flooding into the deli. One of them was talking to the person up at the cash register, several had pulled aside members of the waitstaff, and one was talking rapidly to the other patrons and gesturing towards the door. Hastily, Ray tried to pull up his collar and pull in his head, but that hadn't worked for him since the Bar turned him into Megatron for Halloween.

"What did you do, Ray?" Maxim hissed.

"Nothing! Nothing, I swear!"

"Then why is one of them headed here right now?"

"Meep!" said Ray, or something like that. "Ahgahd."

"Sir?" came the Suit's voice; it was a woman. Ray looked up from his uncomfortably hunched position. "Are you Dr. Raymond Stantz?"

Maxim had been the one to teach Ray finger-spelling in ASL when Ray was just a boy; Ray caught the flickering of his fingers across the table, spelling out t-e-l-l-h-e-r-n-o. He swallowed. "Um," he said. "Yes?"

There was a sense under the table of someone not as substantial as he might have liked kicking him in the shins.

"Good. We were hoping you would be here. I'm Agent Branney, of the Secret Service. Who's this?"

"Um. That's my- that's my grandfather, Maxim. He's-"

"Shut up, Raymond!"


Agent Branney raised one blonde eyebrow, then nodded. "He can stay," she said. "For now, anyway."

"What? What do you mean, he can stay?" Ray asked. "Where's everybody going?"

"Upstairs, sir. It's a security measure, at least for the moment. The President's coming."


Agent Branney started to speak into her radio headpiece, then stopped. "What's that waitress there bringing you, Dr. Stantz?"

"It's... a pastrami sandwich... look, why does it matter what she's bringing me?"

"I've been on duty for eight hours straight and I'm starved. I want one too."

"Go back to the part about the President," said Maxim, but Agent Branney was already talking into her headpiece. A moment later, the front door opened again and a voice Ray knew far better than he had ever intended rang out. "Dr. Stantz?"

Ray swallowed and somehow managed a smile as Agent Branney stepped away from his table. "Hello, Mr. President," he said.

He couldn't have relayed the next few minutes to an interviewer if he tried; mostly what he remembered, afterwards, was wishing he'd just settled for the possibility of being smacked in the ear with a Cthulhu carol instead. There was something about the President being in town for a UN meeting, and an outbreak of dysentery or food poisoning or something at the UN kitchens getting several of the President's other meetings canceled, and a couple of other things, but he wasn't really listening. It wasn't until the words 'and they mentioned your name' that Ray really looked up. "Excuse me," he said. "Could you repeat that?"

"Of course," said the President. "The representatives from Y'ha-nthlei sent us a very nice letter the other day saying they were tired of subpar ambassadors- very politely worded, of course- and offering a list of people they thought would make acceptable alternatives."

"Me?" Ray squeaked. "Why me?"

"Well, Dr. Stantz, they said something about an encounter in the frozen foods section of a Seven Eleven in Ipswitch." The President smiled, interlacing his fingers in front of him. "Seems you impressed the Y'ha-nthlei governor's son. Admittedly, they did name a couple of other people, but Eugenie Clark and Peter Raimondi are a distant second and third..."

Maxim looked from the President to Ray, then back again. "Mr. President?" he said. "Question. How come the State Department didn't just send somebody? Why'd you show up for something like this?"

"Excellent question, Maxim," said the President. "I can see you're pretty perceptive, for a dead man. I'm here because this isn't just about the Deep Ones, you see."

"Uh huh," said Maxim, leaning back in his seat. "Ray, you're looking deader than me. Drink something."

As Ray reached for his glass of soda, the President said, "Let's be honest, gentlemen. This country's about to embark on a wider scope of changes than at just about any other point in its history. The Deep Ones are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. I don't know about you, but I still remember events on board the Space Station last year, and the fact that those Mi-Go are still out there somewhere gives me the creeps."

"Wise of you," Ray murmured over his soda.

"Why, thank you. I'm glad you approve. The fact is that between the Mi-Go incident, and the rising of the Deep Ones, and the incident with Dr. Mezga, it's become increasingly clear that we're sharing our world with all kinds of things none of us are really prepared for, and I for one intend to be proactive about it. We don't just need an ambassador to the Deep Ones, gentlemen. Are either of you familiar with the diplomatic title of 'Ambassador-at-large'?"

Ray shook his head mutely; Maxim looked blank.

"Didn't think so. Most people don't. An ambassador-at-large isn't posted to any one particular embassy. He or she's given a competence ratione materiae- they're tasked to handle matters pertaining to one thematic problem. We've got a couple at the moment- Ambassador-at-large Borgman's got War Crimes Issues, Ambassador-at-large Losurdo's got Counterterrorism, things like that." He lifted his thumbs a moment, then pressed them back together. "For the creation of an Ambassador-at-large post where the ratione materiae is 'Non-Human Sentients', you can't really send a State Department flunky."

Ray made a small choking noise. The President leaned over to smack him on the back a few times. "I'm all right," Ray managed. "I'm all right- Mr. President, you can't be serious!"

"On the contrary, Dr. Stantz, I'm absolutely serious. There is no one else in the United States of America who's made as much of a practice and habit of interacting with nonhuman beings of every size, stripe, and level of capability as yourself."

"Ghosts don't count!"

"Nope. But Deep Ones do, and so do extradimensional beings, Hortas, little blue things with too many teeth, big growly things with plasma cannons, and giant robots."

"I thought Hortas only existed on Star Trek," began Maxim.

"The NYPD begs to differ," said the President. "That's been checked out very thoroughly. To cut it all short- we know what you've been doing, Dr. Stantz. We'd like to ask you to do it for your country now. Officially."

Ray stared mutely at the President, the soda in his hand forgotten.

"And," said the President, gesturing to Agent Branney, "I believe we can make it genuinely worth your while."

There isn't enough money in the world, Ray thought, but the words weren't coming. The President seemed to understand anyway; he said, "I'm led to understand that you're making a pretty fair income off your patents and licensing fees, so money isn't an issue. The rest of the Ghostbusting operation's doing well enough as it stands- we'll have to work something out with that, of course. You won't be called on for anything official until Congressional confirmation, don't worry about that. With the recent changes at Columbia, I feel it's pretty safe to say that you've got a much wider level of professional recognition than at any point in the past. So we can't offer you that in compensation. What I can offer you-"

Agent Branney held out a briefcase; the President unlocked it, popped it open, and took out a slim maroon folder with several government logos stamped on it in gold. "-is this."

Ray took the folder in one shaking hand and started to examine the contents. A moment later, there was soda sprayed all over the table.
gone_byebye: (President Winston)
"Mr. President," said Fortescue, "I gotta say- in the interests of national security- I don't think any private individual or corporate concern ought to have that kind of combat vehicle at their fingertips. With that kind of combat robot at their beck and call these guys can do things that Blackwater can't pull off."


"Mr. President, you gotta confiscate that car."

President Winston steepled his fingers and leaned back in his chair. "Jay?" he said.

"Yes, Mr. President?"

"Exactly how stupid do you think I am? ... don't answer that."


"Jay, I understand where you're coming from. I really do. I'm aware of the fact that it wouldn't take much more than three days of boredom and a whole lot of Pixy Stix to render the Ghostbusters a nuclear power."

"You've been talking to the Secretary of Defense, haven't you."

"A-yup. A whole lot, in fact." Winston smiled. "Between you and me, I think he might be exaggerating just a little, but that's not important. What's important is that we've got bigger fish to fry." He glanced down at the missive from Y'ha-nthlei and amended himself. "Okay, maybe not the best phrase in the world right now. But the basic idea still stands. This country's got more threats, and bigger ones, than three geeks, an ex-soldier, and a giant robot."

"Sir-" Frustrated, Fortescue reached up to run his hands through his air. "I don't-"

"I know you don't like it, Jay, and neither do I, but let's be honest. New York City gets itself into more and more trouble every single year come October. Chicago's started doing the same thing. New Orleans's been bubbling over with weird happenings every three weeks- do you know how many long-term FEMA workers have to take psychiatric leave to deal with the disturbances that city's been having since Katrina? The city's just this side of dropping out of the American economy entirely. The NPAS boys tell me they're seeing the same kinds of patterns across most of this country. And then there's the Deep Ones-" He picked up the folder. "Unknown beings, unknown power, unknown geographical distribution. The Navy brass is going into collective hysterics."

"Isn't that all the more reason to remove a possible threat, Mr. President?" said Fortescue. "Especially if we can re-purpose it for our own use, or, or reverse engineer new transforming cars into national service-"

"No, Jay, that's not a good reason at all," said Winston. "I admit, I kinda thought that way myself at first. Then I said to myself, 'Randall, think for a minute. Isn't there a better way to get that car permanently on our side than by honking off a man who's probably capable of building twenty more just like it before our scientists have the time to figure out how to make even one?'"

Fortescue blinked. "I, uh..."

"Didn't think I was capable of thinking that far ahead?" Winston suggested. "It's okay, you're allowed to answer that one."

"Yessir. Sorry, sir."

"It's all right." Winston waved one hand. "I understand, Jay. I'm not the smartest President this country's ever had, I'm aware of that. I'm not a stupid man either, though. Even with my people in New York I couldn't have gotten this far if I were all that bad. I'm just a pretty average politician with a pretty good record. I'll be happy if history remembers me in the same breath as Gerald Ford, honestly."

"With all due respect, Mr. President, Ford wasn't that bad of a President."

"My point exactly. I've got ghosts on land, alien beings on the Space Station, and fish-people in the oceans on top of an economy that's flailing around like a Red Devil paint mixer. If I can keep this country together through the end of my time in office and come out smelling no worse than Gerald Ford did I'll retire a happy man. But I can't do it if the single best defense this country has against two out of three of those items of record goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs because I declared them a menace to public safety."

Fortescue sighed, seeming almost to deflate. "Okay, Mr. President, I get the point. So what are you gonna do?"

Winston smiled, and set the folder back down on the desk. "You'll see. I promise you'll hear about it before it hits the newspapers. Okay?"

"Okay, I guess."

"Great. Come back soon, Jay, I always enjoy our little chats." He leaned over and touched the intercom on his desk. "Margo?"

"Yes, Mr. President?"

"Are the Canadians still here?"

"Yes, Mr. President. All of them."

"Fantastic. Send 'em in."
gone_byebye: (President Winston)
Another ambassador down. President Randall M. Winston, Jr., slid his hand under his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh. The Deep Ones were behaving pretty congenially for an unknown foreign power, considering that there had yet to be an American ambassador who lasted more than about a week and a half, but the President was pretty sure that the situation couldn't last. At least they'd nominated a couple of acceptable candidates themselves, this time. Scientists, not diplomats. Maybe someone who spent her or his life staring into the faces of bug-eyed things with too many teeth and the wrong color skin would be a better idea. You could probably train them up to act like diplomats better than you could train a diplomat to sit across the table from a fish-person and behave as if everything were perfectly normal.

His musings on the subject were interrupted by a rap at the door. "Come in," said the President.

The man who slipped into the Oval Office was about halfway between Mike Flaherty and Winston himself in height, his dark hair going widely grey at the temples and lines around his eyes starting to etch their way into his skin in earnest. "Mr. President," he said with a nod.

"Morning, Jay," Winston answered. Jay Fortescue was the closest thing the administration had to a technological advisor right now. "What've you got for me?"

"Well, Mr. President, I've gone over everything that the Foliage Census gang had on the subject, and I have to say- if the Ghostbusters weren't working in conjunction with the boys and girls at FLAG, they sure as hell thought along the same lines. That car of theirs was boosted in every possible way, at least as much as the two Pontiacs that we know of, and that was before FC went dark."

Winston nodded. "So it was dangerous even then?"

"Sir- Mr. President- that car was one step shy of being the Defense Department's dream tank of tomorrow. The only thing that kept it from reaching that status was the fact that they never installed any of their weapons in it. If they had, I really don't think the FC boys were too far off when they said the Ghostbusters could probably have conquered a few West African countries with it."

"Gotcha. Big scary car, big scary capabilities. What about now?"

"Now-" Fortescue riffled his papers. "Well, sir, we haven't seen it demonstrate any built-in weaponry yet, either on satellite or on the Internet. We did catch a few shots of it handling one of their proton packs, though. Looks like the fingers might just be up to working the controls. Not to mention that it's got that walker drone, and that thing's everything the Advanced Defense Initiative's been dreaming about in terms of both a cargo walker and a hunter-seeker. Stantz knows about domestic satellite surveillance, and he's been going out of his way to keep the car's transformation sequence away from the public eye whenever possible. I'm gonna have to assume that there is built-in weaponry and they just haven't been using it yet because they don't wanna get spotted."

Winston compared this to the mental image he would always have of the Ghostbuster- a man doing his best to listen attentively and answer questions coherently despite being made to meet with the President in his sweatpants and Mr. Stay-Puft slippers- and nodded anyway. "All right," he said, since Fortescue seemed to expect agreement with his assumption. "And your suggestion?"

"Mr. President," said Fortescue, "I gotta say- in the interests of national security- I don't think any private individual or corporate concern ought to have that kind of combat vehicle at their fingertips. With that kind of combat robot at their beck and call these guys can do things that Blackwater can't pull off."


"Mr. President, you gotta confiscate that car."
gone_byebye: (head tilt)
You're searching: United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library

UN Document Symbol: A/RES/ES-6/2
Link To: العربية 中文 English Français Русский Español

Issuing Body / Session: A/ 6emsp
Title: The question of the Deep Ones and its implications for international peace and security : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly.
Imprint: New York : UN, 9 October 2007
Description: 2 p.
Author / Contributors: UN General Assembly (11th emergency special sess. : 2007)
Notes: Adopted at the 42nd plenary meeting, 8 October 2007
Vote / Action Date: 20071008
Subjects: DEEP ONES

Agenda Information: A/ES-6/4 9 – Question considered by the Security Council at its 3281st to 3283th meetings, from 7 to 8 October 2007.
Type of Material: Resolutions and decisions (UN) B01
Distribution: GEN
Job Number: NR031054 F
gone_byebye: (President Winston)
Friday, October 5, 2007
Presidential Oceanside Retreat
Ogunquit, Maine

". . . so that's the deal, Mr. President. The NPAS field staff's been filing so many reports that the director's gonna file his official preliminary report next week."

President Randall M. Winston, Jr., sighed; his attention was partly on the Secretary of State's words and partly on what he was trying to do with a fish hook and a lead sinker, and both activities were suffering for it. "Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike," he said, "but aren't they jumping the gun a little on this? I seem to remember the plan was for a two year survey."

"It was, sir." Mike Flaherty was, if anything, significantly worse than the President at anything to do with fishing. He privately suspected that he got invited to Ogunquit more often than not precisely because of this fact. Still, one had to keep up appearances, and so he was half-heartedly fiddling with his own reel as he waited for some sign that the President was paying attention. "But I gotta say, Mr. President, I've seen a bunch of their reports myself. I don't know that we even really need to finish the national survey for anything except a baseline. . ."

"Ow! Stupid hook. . . I'm sorry, Mike." The President stuck his thumb in his mouth a moment. "It's really that bad out there, huh?"

"Sir, according to the field reports, at least fifteen states are showing the exact same signs of all hell breaking loose as New York City did back in early 2003. Some places more than others."

Winston leaned against one of the pier's pilings, tightening the knot on his hook one last time. "Gimme a for instance."

"Skokie, Illinois," Flaherty said immediately. "The Illinois Nazi Party was assembling for a court-protected march down the main street of town on September the first-"

"Ooh. Talk about timing."

"Yes, Mr. President. Anyway, the Party members had assembled for their march when fourteen hundred witnesses, including an NPAS field researcher who was on her way to an assignment in Crystal Lake, all saw a 1980 black-and-white Dodge sedan materialize in the middle of the street and drive straight into the middle of the Nazis."

"Mike," said the President patiently, "that's a scene from The Blues Brothers."

"I'm aware of that, Mr. President. Agent Goldberger said the sedan vanished a moment later, only to re-materialize once the Nazis had reassembled. They didn't bother getting out of the way this time." Flaherty paused. "Old Orchard Hospital's psychiatric admissions room had to use a fire hose to get rid of all the ectoplasm."

"Huh," said the President, his fishing rod all but forgotten. "Okay, anything else? Maybe something a little less movie-inspired this time?"

"Ghosts do have a tendency to be associated with stories told the same way over and over again, Mr. President," Flaherty pointed out. "But sure. St. Augustine, Florida, is experiencing a major surge in their tourism-based economy ever since an NPAS field research team verified that the Old Drug Store- that's it's actual name, before you ask-"

"I wasn't going to ask."

"Yes you were, sir, I could see it. The Old Drug Store was built on a Native American burial site, and as of this past April, four of the Seminoles buried there have been sighted and photographed harassing the tourists. The NPAS team was there for a week. They've got video footage, film footage, sworn testimony, and a torn shirt from two frat guys from Cleveland who irritated the Seminoles."

"Huh," said the President again.

"And then there's pretty much the entire state of Massachusetts," said Flaherty. "It's incredible, sir. Starting with what they found when the NPAS guys got to go out on a Woods Hole expedition-"

"Yeah," said a slick, faintly gurgly voice from the water at their feet. "About that."

Flaherty scrambled backwards several steps as a pair of big, blue-grey, webbed-fingered hands clapped themselves onto the pier. The being that pulled itself up a moment later was shaped not unlike a man, if one looked past the blue-grey skin, the fins where hair probably ought to have been, the other fins running along its spine and the backs of its limbs, the almost total lack of nose, the widely-spaced unblinking eyes, and the very very visible gills. Flaherty had just enough time to think We don't pay those Secret Service frogmen enough to deal with this before it shook itself off and said, "Mr. President. . . we gotta talk."

The only thing that kept Winston from leaping off the other side of the pier in terror was the fact that Mike Flaherty was in the way.
gone_byebye: (actual physical contact)
Ray could no more not have turned around than the sun could have risen out of New York Harbor without serious help from the Gruccis. Behind him stood the two customers in blue hoodies- the blue, as it happened, of North Shore Community College's swim team. His eyes jerked upward from the school logo to their faces and he swallowed reflexively; outside of certain very disturbing texts in medical school libraries, you didn't generally encounter people capable of looking at their own ears. And even if you did they usually had more nose than that, and fewer weirdly neat arcing wrinkles in the sides of their necks.

And they could, you know, blink.

"Uh," said Ray, possessed briefly of the urge to back through the nearest door. Alas, it was the door to the freezer case, so that wasn't going to help him much. He swallowed and said instead, "I'm sorry, I didn't- um- wow, are those gills?"

"Yeah," said the taller of the two, who had a distinctly cyanotic cast to his skin but didn't seem to be the least bit bothered by it. "I take it you're a fan of a certain gentleman from Providence?"

Not even the wily jungle eggplant could've gotten out of this situation unscathed; Ray just nodded. The shorter of the two rolled his eyes, a distressingly impressive display. "Dude was such a racist," he muttered, or rather croaked. His voice wasn't properly human at all.

"Ex... cuse me?"

The shorter one facepalmed (his fingers, Ray noticed, were slightly webbed- about halfway to the first joint) and shook his head. "Lovecraft," he said. "Racist. Big-time."

"Yeah, I got that part, but-"

"Look," said the taller one, "the guy couldn't write a complimentary line about Eskimos, Africans, or Italians to save his life. You think he's gonna go easy on non-humans?"

"I'm trying to get my brain around the fact that you guys even exist, actually," Ray said. "Defense mechanism. I'm really sorry."

"Salright." The taller one shrugged. "My name's Ost-h'ryth, call me Oscar and I punch you in the face-"

"One trip to Petland Discounts' tropical fish section and he flips out-"

"-and this is my buddy Laken-Makai."

"Yo," said Laken-Makai. "You gonna freak out on us now?"

"I think I can hold it together for a little while longer," said Ray. "I'm sorry, I was expecting someone a lot more antisocial by human standards."

"Yeah, well." Ost-h'ryth shrugged again. "That's what you get with an unreliable source. Lovecraft was a first-class jerk."

"Exactly how unreliable are we talking here?" said Ray. "And are you guys- well, I'm assuming you're at least partly human, considering-"

"What, that we're not a couple of gray-skinned blasphemous fishfrogs?"

"I was gonna say that you were going to college on land, but that too."

Laken-Makai laughed, a wet, squishy sort of sound. "Okay, you got us there," he said. "Yeah, we are. All the Gilmans are."

"... that would explain the size of that part of the phone book," Ray said.

"You looked us up?"

"Just out of curiosity, after I ran across the ice cream place. Was there ever really an Innsmouth?"

"Well, not the way he wrote it," said Laken-Makai. "It was there, all right. But that plague? The one he said was really us, killing half the town? That was for real. Cholera. Half the town died. Most of the rest gave up and left."

"And you moved in," Ray said. "Or was that a lie, too?"

"Pssh, no," said Ost-h'ryth."Total coincidence. Coupla sea captains outta Newburyport had really buoyant daughters-"

"Nothing catches a guy's eye like serious streamlining and a good clean backstroke," Laken-Makai chimed in.

"-and, you know, great-grandpa George figured he and his buddies'd try and get friendly, right?"

Ray held up a hand. "George?" he said.

"Changed his name so he wouldn't sound like a landsman sneezing every time he introduced himself," said Ost-h'ryth. "It used to be V'sha-rashe'a. Anyway, he and a couple of his buddies wanted to get in good with the girls, and that meant getting in good with their dads. It was working out pretty well up until friggin' Human Poikilotherm Lovecraft heard about it."

"Friggin' Dagon," said Laken-Makai, rolling his eyes again. "That was a big heaping pile of slanderguts. Human sacrifice this, blasphemous that, we're in your harbortowns, screwing your daughters... Grandma P. won't friggin' shut up about it and the guy's been dead for years."

"Don't get me wrong. We're not happy happy sweetness and light or anything," said Ost-h'ryth. "But neither are you guys, you know? And we'd be a lot less pissy if you gys didn't, you know, dump all your crud in the oceans."

"You do not want to see what bio-magnification of you guys' pharmaceutical wastes does to somebody who's been inhaling the same water supply and eating the same fish since the dawn of modern medicine," Laken-Makai added. "Two words. Synthetic. Hormones."

"Um," said Ray. "Does it help at all if I mention I'm actually a member of the Cousteau Society and Greenpeace?"

"Some, yeah," Laken-Makai admitted. "And the part where you're not freaking out trying to draw Elder Signs."

"Considering that a couple of months ago I had to give directions to a Hound of Tindalos who'd gone off course, I don't think I really have the same freak-out thresholds as the rest of Homo sapiens sapiens any more," Ray said. "Uh, look. I'm really sorry about the bad rap you guys got, but I'd kind of like to get a little bit in the way of confirmation beyond just talking to the two of you."

Laken-Makai and Ost-h'ryth exchanged glances, a feat made considerably easier by the fact that neither of them had to turn sideways to look the other in the eye. "I think we can arrange something," said Ost-h'ryth. "Might take us a while, though."

"We've got exams coming up. Do not get me started on that little cueball bastard Ocasio."

"Cueball?' said Ray.

"Bald as a friggin' beluga," said Laken-Makai, running one hand backwards over his head. "I mean, we don't have a lot of hair ourselves, but his head friggin' shines. Chemistry professor. Doesn't reschedule his exams for anything short of Hurricane Glenda."

"ANYway," said Ost-h'ryth, "I think we might be able to manage something after Doc Oc's done with us. You got a card or anything?"

Ray nodded and dug into his wallet. As he handed over the Ghostbusters business card, he caught sight of a motion outside- Winston, waving both arms over his head frantically. The other Ghostbuster had a cell phone in one hand. "Uh, guys?" said Ray. "I gotta run-"

"Yeah, no problem," said Ost-h'ryth. "We'll call you. See you around, Dr. Stantz."
gone_byebye: (civvies)
Friday, March 23nd, 2007
Route 1-A
Ipswich, MA

Well, his time with Romana had been a nicely reassuring experience, and the Bar had (as usual) provided decent coffee, but the fact was that Ray and Winston had to wrap up their business in Massachusetts. Gilman Brands was wildly useless as any sort of corroboration for the jewelry. It wasn't as if Gilman was a particularly uncommon name, after all. There were whole pages of it in the local phone book. Lovecraft lifted names from real life left and right for his fiction. It could've just been a coincidence.

The instant Ray saw that word cross his mental movie screen, though, he stopped in his tracks. Coincidence? Ha. No such thing. He'd demonstrated THAT time and again. Something had to be up.

With that thought firmly in mind, he took a deep breath and strode deliberately into the Seven-Eleven.

It was a store like all of its kind: packed with overflowing aisle displays, staffed by a bored-looking young woman, and overall just a little too brightly lit to be healthy. Ray found a security camera over the snack food section and stood directly underneath it, the better to avoid it noticing him switching the PKE meter on. Alas, there was nothing eldritch about the Pringles, but the meter's arms did twitch as he approached the frozen-food cases. He was grinning and on the verge of shouting "a-HA!" as he threw open the doors to the ice cream-

-but there was nothing. Not even a wiggle. Not even when he thrust the meter into the very heart of the frozen Gilman novelties on display. Ray frowned, glancing over his shoulder; the clerk was busy with two customers in blue hoodies. Okay, he could keep looking a little- A twitch, a very palpable twitch! Granted, he had the meter pointed at the microwavable lunch foods instead, but the arms were very definitely rising! He hastily shut the meter down before it could start beeping and hung it back on his belt.

All right, what did they have for sale that might conceivably be tainted with the influence of the thousand-dimensional? Probably not the Hot Pockets, although he had his suspicions about 'lean' Philly steak-and-cheese anything. Most likely not the black-bean-and-cheese things from Amy's Organic, either. The red wrappers cheerfully branded as BIG DAMN BURRITOS, in three levels of spiciness for seventy-five cents each, were a little suspicious; his hand hovered over the chicken ones for a moment. He started to look up again and on the next shelf up he saw-

"Fish burritos?" Ray said aloud. "Who the heck would want a burrito stuffed with fish?"

"That," said a slick, faintly gurgly voice form just behind him, "would be us."
gone_byebye: (cracker in a dress)
Friday, March 23nd, 2007
Route 1-A
Ipswich, MA

"Scratch another one off the list," said Winston, leaning over to look out the window at the last few buildings fading away on either side. "Man, if Innsmouth ever existed, they sure did a good job taking it down."

"No kidding." Ray rubbed at his face with both hands, a feat not suggested for the driver of any vehicle other than Ecto. "It's one thing to de-incorporate a town and redraw the borders, but we haven't found any sign of any of the Innsmouth businesses other than that one Gilman Brands building."

"And they make ice cream," Winston said. "I don't think fish-men're gonna be into that."

"Yeah, they'd probably be lactose intolerant, considering." Ray shook his head. "Man. This whole thing's been a total bust."

"I dunno, Ray. Miss Tilton's grandma had some pretty creepy looking relatives in that photo album of hers."

"Pity we can't track any of them down. You sort of have to have a name or a city or something to work from for that."

Winston nodded. "Sorry, bro."

"What for? I'm the one who dragged you up here."

"Yeah, but you really seemed to have your heart set on finding some of these Deep Ones."

Ray smiled wryly. "I'm not that bad, am I?"

"Gimme a break, Ray. You look like somebody canceled the magician at your birthday party."

"I never got that kind of birthday party, actually."

"Why not?"

"Didn't have enough friends to make it worthwhile."

"That sucks," Winston said, shaking his head. "Hey, pull over at the Seven-Eleven up there, okay? I gotta use the restroom."
gone_byebye: (daddy's little girl)
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
148 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley, Massachusetts

For all that people at Milliways liked him, Ray seldom had the sort of people skills that could really be applied outside the Five Boroughs. In New York, people expected a certain measure of eccentricity. Northeastern Massachusetts was another story. It wasn't the sort of town that gave rise to the stereotype of the taciturn, unhelpful Yankee local, but it was a town of less than six thousand people who really wanted very little to do with the slightly spastic man driving the amazingly unsubtle white-and-red car with out-of-state plates. Especially not when he was trying to find somebody with an unlisted telephone number and address.

It was sort of surprising to Ray just how well Winston did instead. Maybe it was that he had more experience dealing with people outside of the academic and supernatural settings to which Ray was accustomed. Maybe it was just that he knew the right questions to ask, or the right people- Ray didn't know. All Ray knew for sure was that Winston told him, "Look. There's a Dunkin' Donuts on the map, on Newburyport Turnpike. Go park Ecto there and wait for me. I'll be back in an hour and a half, okay?"

Eh, there were worse places to sit and wait. Maybe he could get a nap in. Lord knew he could use one. He was just starting to drift off when a series of suppressed plinka noises started emanating from the direction of the glove compartment. "Ecto?" he said, unwilling to open his eyes. "Something wrong?"

"No, Daddy. I'm just playing Tetris."

It took a minute for that to register. "Uh, Ecto, I told you about Bob, right?"

"Yes, Daddy. I know about the sprites."

"So why are you playing video games? That's sort of mean at the very least."

"I don't have sprites, Daddy. Nobody does."

That got an eye open. Ray glanced at Ecto's instrument panel, but none of the gauges or readouts indicated any kind of stress.

"I know what intelligence looks like online, Daddy. I'm really good at pattern sorting. I've been looking for other AIs on the Net since you got me cable and wi-fi, but I've never found anybody except Karr. When you told me about the sprites I started looking at my own programming. And at my Nintendo, and at the games on the computers at the Firehouse. If there was anything in there that wasn't preprogrammed I'd've recognized it. All the stuff that other computers do is automatic. I can't find anybody at all in any system I look at."

Ray frowned a little, not in disapproval but in concern. "Are you sure, kiddo? Even in the games?"

"Uh huh. I don't play games like you and Alex and Joey and Uncle Winston. I'm interfacing with the generated data directly and interacting in kind. I'd know if the bits I was getting were anything but a pre-generated pattern or random reaction bits. It's all one or the other. There's nobody."

"Oh." He wasn't really sure what else to say. "Oh, Ecto, I'm sorry. That must be really lonely. I didn't even think-"

"It's okay, Daddy," said Ecto with a smile in her voice. "That's what squishies are for."
gone_byebye: (daddy's little girl)
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007
Interstate 90

"Okay, that came out of nowhere," said Winston, closing the volume of Lovecraft. "I thought this guy was supposed to be a great writer, the way you talk about him."

"I'm inclined to think he is." Ray was too busy with a deep-set fear of Massachusetts drivers in general to take his eyes off the road. "What was your problem with him?"

"The whole story was about the Deep Ones oozing into Innsmouth, right? How they'd been taking over the town from the bottom up?"


"And then, all of a sudden, BAM! Out of left field comes the stuff about the narrator's family. I had to go back through the story and make sure he wasn't just sticking in the comment about having the Marsh eyes after the fact. There was nothing in that story that even hinted at that. It's like he tacked on the ending because he didn't think he was gonna freak out the audience enough."

Ray considered that, then sighed. "You might be right. I know he had to do that with several of his stories to make Farnsworth Wright happy. Not that it's important right now- I wanted you to see the stuff in the middle. You got a good idea of what we might be dealing with, right?"

"Yeah." Winston shook his head. "I dunno, Ray. Maybe you could hide a city that big under water back in the twenties, but all this time? I think someone would've noticed."

"Yeah. Still- no harm done coming up here, right? Miss Tilton lives in Rowley somewhere. If we can talk to her and confirm her story about where the tiara came from it could save us a lot of trouble."

Winston suddenly chuckled.

"What's so funny?"

"If it does turn out that thing's from the South Seas somewhere, you wanna bet Peter's gonna volunteer to lead the investigation personally?"

Ray snorted. "He'd call it a public service. Hey, there's a rest stop up ahead. You hungry?"

"I could eat, sure."
gone_byebye: (tired bunny)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
14 North Moore Street

"Ugh, what a day," said Ray, dragging himself away from the lockers and heading for the stairs. "Please don't tell me it's my turn to cook tonight."

"Frankly, Ray, after the sheer number of Class Sixes that tried to take your head off today, I wouldn't trust you anywhere near open flame," said Egon. "Slimer, leave him alone."

The blobby little ghost squeebled and shoved both hands behind his back in a protestation of innocence.

"Yeah, yeah, not buying it," said Venkman. "You heard the man. Vamoose. Winston, you okay there?"

Winston had been hit even harder than Ray; he was still pawing the slime out of his face. "Do I look like I'm okay?" he demanded.

"Didn't think so. Okay, I say we order pizza. Show of hands?"

Three hands went up; Ray just shook his head. "Sorry, Peter," he said. "I'm not feeling very hungry right now. I'm just going to go watch cable for a while."

The discussion of what toppings to order faded behind him as Ray made his way up to the rec room. He plopped ungracefully on the couch and reached for the remote; after a few channel flips (Rome was being postponed until next week), he hit the familiar soporific strains of the assessor on Antiques Roadshow. He smiled wearily and closed his eyes.

"And what do we have here, Miss Tilton?"

"Well, sir, my grandmother received this set of jewelry back when she was just a girl growing up in Massachusetts."

"It's lovely stuff. Is there a story attached to it?"

"Oh, yes. She always said a sailor man visiting her grandfather's tavern liked her service so much he offered to marry her, and when she turned him down he came back not six weeks later and gave her this whole set as a gift."

"That's one insistent sailor! A tiara this size, and of this workmanship- did he say where he got it?"

"Somewhere in the South Pacific, I think."

One of Ray's eyes cracked open at that.

"Well, the designs surely do look Asiatic, but I can't tell whether they're Indian or Chinese. I don't think I've ever seent his kind of proportion on something meant to be worn on a human head, though. I assume it came off a temple sculpture?"

That got both eyes open in a hurry.


gone_byebye: (Default)
Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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