gone_byebye: (bigtime geeks)
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan
January 1st, 2009
3:30 AM


"You know," said Winston as Ecto turned the corner and wheeled herself into the Firehouse garage, "that might've just been the single quietest New Year's Eve I've ever had in Times Square."

"You've done New Year's in Times Square before? You never struck me as the big crowd, big party type," Ray answered.

"Long time ago. Back before I'd even joined the Army." Winston shook his head, a moment's rueful smile of reminiscence on his face. "I'll tell you about it in the morning. I gotta get some sleep."

"That makes two of us," Ray said. "Thanks for driving, Ecto."

"No problem, Dad. Thanks for bringing me along on this one."

"We would've been crazy not to," Ray said. "Can you imagine the two of us trying to get anywhere by ourselves if anything actually had attacked the celebration?"

"Speaking of by ourselves," said Winston, "I thought I saw a light on upstairs. We'd better go check on Egon. Think you'll be okay, Ecto?"

"Yeah, I’m gonna watch the New Year celebrations in Fairbanks." Ecto settled back on her wheels and dropped into that faintly meditative silence that accompanied her devoting more than half of her attention to network input. Ray patted the car's front fender gently with one hand and headed for the stairs, falling in behind Winston.

Upstairs was just as quiet, and most of the lights were out. Ray's usual nightlight glowed faintly from the direction of the bunk room. There were no other lights on save for the gleam from under one of the lab doors; Winston stepped forward and rapped on the door sharply with his knuckles. "Egon, man, you awake in there?"

"To some degree, yes," answered the physicist's voice after a few moments' silence. "Whether I'm fully awake or not is debatable. Would you mind coming in and verifying something for me?"

Winston and Ray exchanged glances. "All right," Ray responded. "Do you need us to bring anything?"

"Not immediately. Although the PKE meter may turn out to be advisable in the event that I genuinely am awake."

"I'm getting my proton pack," Winston said.

"I wasn't going to be the one to suggest it, but thank you," came Egon's voice.

Ray frowned; that wasn't his usual tone at all, and it certainly didn't sound like mere sleep deprivation at work. He knew that tone from personal experience. "Are you sure you're all right in there, Spengs?"

"No, Ray, as a matter of fact I'm not. Hence the need for external verification. Is Winston back yet?"

"Almost."

"Good."

Ray glanced over his shoulder at the sound of footsteps, then turned back to the door. "Okay, he's here," he reported. He pulled his PKE meter from his belt and extracted the sensor arms. "We're coming in on the count of three. One, two-"

On three he opened the door to the sight of the normally-meticulous lab. . . looking pretty much like it always did. No spirits, no slime, no shimmering weak places in the fabric of local spatiotemporal planar reality. Just a lot of equipment, and a lot of books, and a stack of notebooks, and a number of complicated diagrams pinned to one of the walls- okay, that was new- and Egon, and a more or less humanoid figure of ruddy clay, about a foot taller than anyone else in the room, with the word אמת written on its forehead and a knowing little smile on its face.

"I need that reality check now, Ray," said Egon.
gone_byebye: (isn't it great?)
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan
December 31st, 2008
Afternoon


"Good luck, you three," said Venkman, his hand on the Firehouse door. "Times Square on New Year's Eve? I don't envy you."

"And here I thought you were the party animal," Winston answered. "You're getting old, Pete."

"Hey! I am still the party monster you've always known," Peter returned. "There's just not enough money in the city budget to get me to work in Times Square on New Year's Eve, that's all."

Ray smiled. "I don't mind," he said. "This is going to be the first New Year's I've ever spent at a party that big. Even if we are on duty."

"Have fun, Uncle Peter," Ecto chimed in. "And say hi to Dana for me."

"Sure thing, kiddo." Peter flashed Ecto a grin, waved to the others, and ducked out.

Winston shook his head. "Lucky skunk," he muttered. "You're seriously looking forward to this, Ray?"

"Sure! It'll be interesting to be part of something this big. It's not every day you're in the single most densely populated location on the entire planet, unless you live in Hong Kong."

"You're out of your mind." Winston shook his head. "Anything shows up that we have to respond to, we're gonna have to get through a million and a half screaming tourists too drunk off their butts to see us coming."

"We'll manage. One way or another." Ray smiled. "Right, Ecto?"

"I promise not to step on anybody," the hearse said.

"There you go."

"Whatever." Winston rolled his eyes and slid into the driver's seat. "Meanwhile I just wanna know what Egon's doing. Janine's with her family out in Canarsie, right?"

"I don't know, honestly," Ray said. "If he's not in his lab he's probably either up at the Met or over at the Soho synagogue."

"The thought of that man walking into a house of worship and nobody ending up in a fistfight-" Winston shook his head again. "Is it just me, or does that just seem wrong somehow?"

"He's probably just going through their libraries. I checked out their website after I saw him going in. They offer courses in aspects of kabbalah considered safe for the general public, so I'm betting they've got onsite reference materials that caught his attention. Ever since all the stuff that happened back in 1905 he's been stocking up on books on that particular approach to the paranormal."

"... yeah, okay. I can see that."
gone_byebye: (bust this)
When Christmas Eve 2008 dawned at the Firehouse, Ecto was already awake. Not that she had ever gone to sleep in the first place. She never slept. There was always something to draw her attention somewhere, whether it was a financial market result on the other side of the world or a message from one of the other four intelligent machines she'd discovered, or even an interesting scientific result coming back from one of the hundreds of processor timeslices she'd bought on other computers scattered across dozens of countries. Regardless, when Christmas Eve dawned in 2008, she was already awake, a fact which put her well ahead of the humans with whom she lived.

"Morning, Mr. Peck," she called softly to the fish on Janine's desk. "Merry almost Christmas."

"Is that meant as some kind of a joke?" the fish snapped back in its squeaky, helium-balloon voice. "I fail to see what's so merry about it."

"Where there's life there's hope, Mr. Peck. I know you don't like being a fish, but it could be a whole lot worse."

"Yes, I can read the news, thank you," the fish snarled. (If anything in that vocal register could truly be considered snarling, anyway.) "When Miss Melnitz leaves the newspaper where I can see it, at any rate. I'm well aware that you people claim to have saved the world yet again."

"Just doing our jobs," Ecto said. "Somebody's got to protect the people."

"Oh, please. Your so-called father didn't even fire a proton pack-"

"Mr. Peck, what did I tell you about saying nasty things about Dad last time?" Ecto's tone was suddenly stern. "Do you want to go back to the Hartz Mountain fish food?"

"... no." The fish folded its fins sulkily.

"Okay then." Ecto settled back on her suspension. "You just remember that when Lieutenant Chen comes in today."

"What does he want with you people?"

"He's got a New Year's Eve request from the city," says Ecto. "Daddy and Uncle Winston and I're gonna be on duty in Times Square this year, just in case."

"Just in case of what?" the fish asked, almost unwillingly.

"Just... you know. In case."

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Raymond Stantz

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