gone_byebye: (duuuuude)
Monday, October 30, 2006
Early Morning
NYC


The first flare went up silently in the steel-grey hours before dawn, arcing from a building on the fringes of Fort Greene park. The second rose in answer moments later, from the shores of what had once been called Wallabout Bay. There was a third, northward, lifting from Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, and a fourth from the Queens side of the Pulaski Bridge.

By the time the fifth silent pulse of psychokinetic energy flared in answer, lifting into the skies over the South Street Seaport, it was already too late.




"Guys! Guys, WAKE UP!" Janine shouted. Ray sat up, rubbing at his face, but it was Winston who spoke first.

"Janine?" Winston said. "What's going on? How come you're at work this early?"

"I woke up really early because I hadda get a glass of water and I looked out my window and I knew I hadda get here RIGHT AWAY." Janine threw the bunkroom light switch, ignoring Peter's inarticulate protests. "The river's glowing, guys. The whole thing's lit up like a Christmas tree- the water, the bridges, everything! It looks like it goes clear to Astoria- you better get up! The city's gonna be calling in-"

As if on cue, the telephone rang downstairs.

"I'll get it," Janine said. "You guys better get dressed."

The Ghostbusters looked at each other, shrugged, and reached for their clothes in silence- all except Ray, who pushed the heels of his hands against his eyes until the sparks came, and muttered, "I hate October!"




Ecto was waiting outside, engine running. The police were strung up and down North Moore Street on motorcycles and scooters, and to a man, appeared to be ignoring the fact that no one was actually behind the hearse's wheel. "Okay, Detective, what've we got?" Venkman asked of the bedraggled-looking Chen. "Glowing river, unidentified mid-air shinies-"

Chen took a long draught from his Queequeg's cup. "Goddamn lousy American coffee couldn't keep a hamster up at night," he muttered. "It's worse than that, Dr. Venkman. Way worse. There's no vehicular passage anywhere along the river. That light's all the way up on the shore on both sides of the East River. There's places we can't even get on the FDR. Brooklyn's just as screwed. It's worse in Queens- half of Ward's Island is glowing like two days after Chernobyl."

"Let me guess," said Ray as he slipped into the driver's seat. "The border's along the line of where you guys found all those offering bundles."

"Exactamundo," Chen said, knocking back what was left of his coffee. "Not to put too fine a point on it, gentlemen, but we are screwed."

"Buck up, little camper!" Peter said. "We're on the job and ready to go. Lead the way, will you?"

Chen crumpled the green paper cup up in one hand. "Near as we can tell, the center of the phenomenon's in northern Brooklyn," he said. "Only problem is, none of the bridges are accessible, and the tunnel's been closed off for repair work for the past two days. We're gonna have to get you guys in over the Triboro. YO! Montoya! I'm gonna need a couple gallons of coffee from somewhere that doesn't suck!"




"Man, they weren't kidding about how far this thing went," Winston said as he stared out Ecto's front passenger window. "It's coming up the side streets and everything."

"That's just the reflection," said Egon grimly, fiddling with his latest iteration of the PKE meter. "The actual dome's not expanding. It's just getting stronger. What you're seeing is the reflection of the increased ionization across the planar barrier."

"Great, Egon, now can you explain it in English?"

"The shell over the river is getting brighter because it's pulling in more of the city's ambient spiritual energy, Peter. Someone is forcing psychokinetic energy into a type of barricade that keeps both the living and the dead from crossing. It's also being channeled in one direction- northward, or possibly northeast. I can't tell at this distance."

"So what's that mean for us?" Winston asked.

"It means that someone is doing something very, very big, and that the energy currents over the river are only the beginning," Egon said. "Somebody- our mystery Santeria practitioner- is calling something potentially enormous into the world, using the shores of the East River as their guidelines, and focusing all their efforts on directing it to a particular place."

"Any clue as to where?" Ray asked; he was too busy following the motorcycle cops to participate in the discussion.

"Astoria, I think. Potentially somewhere in the river itself. We never did determine the northern bound of those offerings."

Ray resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose, and kept driving.




"Well, gentlemen, here we are," said Detective Chen. "Suggestions?"

Ray leaned out Ecto's driver-side window and stared. Peter whistled. "I think you're right, Detective," he said. "We're screwed."

There is something about a shimmering ectoplasmic green barricade blocking off half the Manhattan span of the Triboro Bridge, all the Queens span, everything between the two spans, and the entirety of the Hellgate railroad bridge besides that does that to a man's sense of optimism.

"Not what I wanted to hear- hey, what's he doing?"

Ray had hopped out of Ecto and pulled his ecto-goggles down. He stared up and down at the green shell, considering it thoughtfully; at one point he reached forward and poked it with a single gloved finger. He yanked it back hastily. "That's gonna be a problem," he said, turning. "I think we- oh, crap."

The Ghostbusters blinked, almost in unison.

"Guys?" Ray said weakly. "I think you'd better have a look at this." He pointed southward, towards the part of the river that lay on the other side of Ward's Island.

It was difficult to make out the details from where they stood, thanks to the wall of energy, but there was very definitely something coming up the river. A lot of somethings. "What the heck is that?" Peter wondered.

"That," Ray said, adjusting his goggles, "would appear to be about... oh, I'd say several thousand foot soldiers. I could be wrong, but they look like they're in Revolutionary War-era uniforms. And they're pretty mad, by the look of it."

Chen looked down at his coffee cup mournfully.

"Excuse me, won't you?" said Ray. "I'll be right back."

"Where's he going?" Chen wondered aloud as Ray dashed for the door to the maintenance area on the left-hand side of the bridge.
gone_byebye: (so not me)
Saturday, September 23rd, 2006
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan


There was a knock at the door, followed by WHURF WHURF WHURF. Ray and Peter froze; Ray because he was now listening intently, and Peter because Ray had been in the middle of pouring some very hot coffee.

"Uh, Ray-"

"NYPD," Ray offered by way of explanation, his expression still a little distant.

"WHURF WHURF."

"Detective Chen, in fact. We should go say hi."

"Could you put down the scalding hot liquid first? I kind of like having skin."

"What? Oh, oh, okay, yeah."

Janine had already let the detective in by the time they arrived. "Dr. Venkman, Dr. Stantz," the man said, nodding to each of them in turn. "Good to see you again."

"Same here, Detective," Peter answered. "What's got the Finest all het up this time?"

"A few discoveries we've recently made along the East River, in the vicinity of Stuyvesant Cove," Chen said. "The workers who were putting in new panels on the Solar One building noticed a couple of bundles by the Greenway. They were going to throw them away, but one of them ripped open. It looks as if all four were deliberately planted, but nobody at the precinct wants to go out on a limb and say why. I thought maybe you guys might have some answers."

"I didn't do it. You can't prove anything."

"Dr. Stantz, if you were to smack your colleague right now, I would swear to any judge in the city that I never saw a thing."

Ray just shook his head and said, "Let's see what you've got, Detective."

One baking sheet later, Detective Chen was carefully prying the black cotton bundle open. There was some dried grass ("Actual grass," Chen said. "Like from the bottom of somebody's John Deere.") tied into a bundle with what looked like hair, a bit of crumbly brown soil, a bit of cornmeal, and-

"Sunglasses?" Peter wondered, staring at the pair of mirrored Ray-Bans Chen was holding up. "The heck?"

"Gede," Ray said, reaching out for the glasses. "Yeah, see- there's only one lens."

Chen cocked his head curiously. "What's 'gede'?" he asked.

"Not so much what as who, Detective. They're sort of a family of deities in the Santeria and Vodou traditions. They're particularly connected with fertility and the ancestral dead. The sunglasses were the big tip-off- they're supposedly worn by members of the family because the world aboveground is too bright."

"Is there something significant to the missing lens?" said Chen. "I mean, is this directed at somebody?"

"I don't think- wait, what do you mean by 'directed'?"

"He means is someone trying to put a whammy on somebody with voodoo," Peter translated.

"Oh. No, not with bundles like this." Ray shook his head and set the glasses back down. "These are pretty harmless by the look of them. The missing lens is because it's said that some of the spirits involved see both the living and the dead at the same time by wearing a pair of sunglasses like that. This looks more like someone is trying to invoke his ancestors for assistance- or to be perfectly honest, her ancestors. You don't really invoke this particular set of symbols with intent to do harm. This is much more the sort of thing you see when someone is getting really desperate to have a baby, and wants all the help they can get."

"Huh," said Chen. "You're sure about that? That's not something to do with whosever hair that is?"

"Well, it could have other purposes, but if this was meant as a way of expressing anger at someone you would see a different set of invocations and colors. If your other bundles have the sunglasses in them, or black crosses, you're probably just seeing someone who got tired of waiting for modern medicine to do its stuff. That's probably the hopeful mother's or father's hair."

"Huh." Chen shook his head. "You'd think somebody at the precinct would've recognized it, considering-"

"It's not really the kind of thing people talk about, no matter what their ancestry." Ray gave the detective a meaningful look. "Considering the kind of reaction it usually gets."

"Okay, okay." Chen smiled ruefully. "Point taken. Any significance to the placement?"

"Could be they had family who died in the area. Or they might live in Stuyvesant Towers themselves. There's nothing particularly significant about that area so far as I know- I could come up there and check it out, if you like."

"We'd appreciate it," said Chen, reassembling the bundle. "Thank you, Dr. Stantz. You still have my card, right?"

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Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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