gone_byebye: (civvies)
Monday, October 6, 2008
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan
Morning


While Admiral Calavicci was technically in charge of the Paranormal Threat Reduction Agency, in everyday practice, virtually all information relevant to the United States' paranormal defense and response passed through the Firehouse eventually. This being October, 'eventually' meant 'somewhat before the Fulton Fish Market opened in the morning':

- The Harlem Hellfighters unit stationed in northern Manhattan was experiencing poltergeist struggles between two apparent factions of restless spirits in the vicinity of Fort Washington Park, massive levels of PKE activity from the vicinity of the Doomsday Door under Second Avenue, and the birth of a fire-breathing sea lion at the Bronx Zoo.

- The Intangibles unit, in Chicago, was swamped with 'demon baby' calls and haunted municipal offices, and a building on Wacker Drive that only existed if approached from a very particular direction.

- The New Orleans Swamp Rats, under the command of a former state trooper named John Raymond Legrasse III, had been visited by a little old lady who thanked them for being 'such nice young folks comin' to make sure them young rowdies learned some manners' before disappearing. Upon consultation of local records, the little old lady matched the description and existing portraits of the late Marie LaVeau.

- The Galveston Stormwatch, very much on edge given what almost got called out of Galveston Bay in 2006, was faced with rains of distinctly non-standard rain items four days running. Fish, perhaps, they could understand- waterspouts, after all, did that. Red stuff from the sky, too, as there had been red tides in the region before without blood being involved. Even the rain of what appeared to be sea sponges could be understood. The clear, gelatinous substance that splattered into the Galveston area and dissolved into a fine grey dust upon being picked up in sample tubes was something else again.

- The lights in the sky over Alcatraz had nothing whatsoever to do with on-site electric equipment, the San Francisco Miners unit reported. The prison walls were starting to bleed at random intervals, though; that was probably related. At least the ghosts of baseball players the 16th Street Safeway supermarket security cameras caught wandering the aisles were largely behaving themselves.

- Dr. Tsybenko, the ex-cosmonaut who'd signed up for the Paranormal Responder Corps as soon as the announcement was made on the condition that he get an assignment somewhere warm, reported that every single one of the Caribbean hotels he'd been assigned to investigate was plagued with guests reporting nightmares and visions, regardless of prior psychic senstivity and experience or the lack thereof.

- And the satellites aimed at Point Nemo as part of the implementation of the Waller Protocols were reading a peculiar slow, steady rise in local sea temperature, coupled with significantly less oceanic wildlife than usual.

It was enough to make a man wish he'd never gotten out of bed in the morning. Honestly, some days Ray almost wished it was still 1905.
gone_byebye: (made me their chief)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Times Square, Manhattan
Morning


You know, thought Ray as he leaned back against a garishly grinning fiberglass mascot, if anyone had told me back when I was in college that one day I would be getting paid by the State Department to show a fish-man in a trenchcoat and Patriots hat around a six-story M&Ms store because the line for the Ferris wheel in Toys-R-Us was too long, I really do think I would've had just a little bit of difficulty suspending my sense of disbelief.

Aloud he said, "Z'so-ben'so, you doing okay over there?"

"Oh, yeah." The Deep One ambassador's nicitating membranes slid briefly over his eyes. "Sheez. You weren't kidding about this place. Can we do the Hershey's store next?"

"Are you guys even affected by theobromine?"

"Little bit." Z'so-ben'so wiggled one hand in midair. "I tried it a couple of times when I was getting to know Frances. It's not that much of a stimulant."

"I'm kind of impressed," Ray said. "Most non-human species I know of don't digest chocolate very well at all. Between the theobromine and the caffeine it's no good whatsoever for their digestive system."

"Yeah, well, most non-human species don't have the kind of gut residents we do," said Z'so-ben'so. "I have enough symbiotes down there to break down anything short of a synthetic hormone dump."

"Really?" Ray stood away from the statue. "That's kind of impressive. Are they any species I'd recognize?"

"Nah, probably not. We grew 'em ourselves."

"Seriously? I knew you guys were heavy on the organic technology, but I have to admit I never really thought along those lines."

Z'so-ben'so bobbed his head back and forth, a gesture Ray had learned by now was the Deep One equivalent of a badly suppressed laugh. "You kidding? We've been doing that longer than you landers've been hairless. Custom symbiotes're just about the easiest bio-modification there is, down below."

"Huh," said Ray thoughtfully. "Can you make anything like that to work in a human system?"

"I dunno if I'm allowed to answer that," said Z'so-ben'so. "Lemme get back to you on that one?"

"Sure, not a problem."

Anthony Wong's School of the Fighting Arts
145 Mott Street
Chinatown, Manhattan
Noon


"You're here early," said Mr. Wong, looking up from the rack of practice swords. "Didn't you have an appointment this morning?"

"The ambient humidity outside's too low for Ambassador Z'so-ben'so's tastes, so he went back to Brooklyn early," Ray said. "We're going back to midtown the next time it rains. I hope that's not a problem."

"No, it's fine." Mr. Wong brushed his hands fastidiously on the front of his shirt. "Give me a bit to get changed and I'll be right with you."

Ray nodded. "Take your time."

Fifteen minutes later the broadsword lesson was well under way when Mr. Wong said, in a carelessly cheerful tone, "So. About the current state of your soul."

Ray fought back a groan. "Tony, I told you-"

"Yes, you walked through a door in the course of your job and wound up in a dimension where some obscene number of years passed in the course of a single night, and you spent hours every day practicing with the local masters," said Wong, who was not above pressing his charges for conversation even in the middle of forms practice. "You've been saying that for some time."

Ray almost stumbled, but swiftly recovered. "That's because it's true!"

"Uh huh. Nobody develops muscle memory from a mind voyage, Ray. This isn't The Matrix."

"And if it wasn't a mind voyage?" Ray stopped, thought for a minute, and started the attack pattern again. "What if I was actually there physically and time just didn't affect me the same way it would here?"

"I call bullshit on that, Ray. This isn't a fairy tale."

"But you can believe that I sold my soul to the God of War."

"You're a Ghostbuster. You fight gods all the time," said Mr. Wong. "Maybe this time one of them bought you off."

Ray shook his head. "You are the weirdest civilian I've ever met," he said.

"Bah, I'm perfectly normal. You bring the weird with you and we all have to live with it. Now, let's see what you're doing there with your wrist..."

United States Coast Guard Regional Examination Center
212 Coast Guard Drive
Staten Island, NY
Afternoon


"Okay, Captain, fill me in here," said Venkman as Ray started setting up the instrumentation tripods. "You guys've been getting blitzed by-"

"Massive flocks of invisible seagulls, yes," said Captain Jervis. "Roughly every thirty to forty-five minutes or so. The cadets say they hear them coming about thirty seconds before the aerial assault starts."

"Huh. And this goes on for how long?"

"Five to seven minutes, depending on the number of cadets in the area," Captain Jervis said. "Generally it starts with the beak and wing attacks, and then the aerial bombardment begins."

"Bombardment with..."

"Exactly what you're thinking, Dr. Venkman," said Captain Jervis. "We are talking seagulls, after all."

"Interesting. Do the droppings remain invisible after leaving the birds' vicinity, or do you have any kind of visible residue remaining afterwards?" said Ray.

Captain Jervis turned his way. "The droppings themselves don't ever show up as such," she said, "but a few seconds after impact, small spreading pools of clear greenish slime appear on the target. Our laundries've been overwhelmed trying to clean up the residue."

"Venkman, stop cackling," said Ray. "It's one thing for-"

"That... wasn't me," said Venkman. "I think we have seagull sign."

Captain Jervis winced and swiftly pulled on a plastic rain poncho.

Ben's Kosher Deli
209 W. 38th St
Manhattan, NY
Evening


"You're late," said the ghost of Grandpa Maxim. "And why do you stink of peppermint?"

"Dr. Bronner's is the only soap on the market that stands even the slightest chance of getting ectoplasm out of my hair and clothes," Ray answered. "Things got messy at work today."

Maxim slanted an eyebrow at his grandson. "Should I ask?"

"Not unless you want to hear about invisible seagulls with a serious lack of intestinal fortitude."

"... you could just say no, Raymond," said Maxim. "Did the birds get your face, too?"

"No, that was the cinnamon bun earlier in the week," Ray said. "It had knives."

Maxim pinched the bridge of his nose. "Gevalt," he muttered. "You're going to be a wreck come October, aren't you."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Ray said, brightening at the prospect of some good news at last. "Not if the Secretary of Defense has anything to say about it."

"Really."

"Really," Ray confirmed. "Here, have a look..." He passed his grandfather a folder stamped with the Defense Department logo.

Maxim thumbed through the papers inside with a thoughtful expression. As he started to speak, another page caught his eye; he paled. "Raymond, am I seeing this properly?"

"The part where our first secondary unit's going to be re-using the name of the 369th Infantry Regiment from the First World War? Yes," Ray said. "They got permission from the widows-"

"Not that." Maxim waved a hand. "I meant-"

"Oh, the recruiting section? Yeah, it was pretty much decided across the board that Venkman was going to be in charge of that."

"No, not that either," said Maxim. "Raymond, a game show?"

"Oh! Who Wants To Be A Ghostbuster. Yes."

Maxim stared mutely at his grandson. Ray stared right back. It is very hard to out-stare a ghost, especially when a waitress arrives at your table to take your order, but Ray came close. As he finally looked away, Maxim said, “Exactly where is this travesty of the recruitment process going to be taking place?”

“Oh- Floyd Bennett Field,” said Ray. “Or, rather, at the Maxim Stantz Memorial Paranormal Responder Training Facility. The Defense Department bought it from the Parks- Grandpa Maxim, are you all right?”

“Huh? Oh, yes, yes, I’m fine,” said Maxim. “Just- something in my eye, I think…”

“Of course,” said Ray.
gone_byebye: (Secretary Keller)
Department of Defense
DIRECTIVE

NUMBER 6216.73
February 12, 2008
-----------
DA&M

SUBJECT: Paranormal Threat Reduction Agency (PTRA)

References:
(a) Sections 113, 191, and 193 of title 10, United States Code
(b) DoD Directive 6245.9, "Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Paranormal and Extradimensional and Supernatural Defense Programs (ATSD(PES))," July 27, 2006
(c) National Security Presidential Directive 28, "National Strategy to Combat Paranormal Threats", January 4, 2007
(d) Secretary of Defense Memorandum, "Designation of Responsibilities for Combating Paranormal Threats (PT) to Commander, US Strategic Command (CDRUSSTRATCOM)," April 5, 2007
(e) through (r), see enclosure 1

  1. ISSUANCE AND PURPOSE
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Secretary of Defense by reference (a), this Directive issues this directive to create the mission, responsibilities, functions, relationships, and authorities of the Paranormal Threat Reduction Agency (PTRA), under the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)).

       2. APPLICABILITY

This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Military Departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities in the Department of Defense (hereafter referred to collectively as the "DoD Components").

       3. MISSION

The mission of the PTRA is to safeguard the United States and its allies from paranormal threats (PT) (ghosts, spirits, demons, extradimensional entities, monsters, dimensional disturbances, and all other items listed in enclosure 2) by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat and mitigate its effects...
gone_byebye: (President Winston)
Monday, January 28, 2008
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Afternoon


When a joint military or scientific operation of any kind concludes, there are always reports to be written and read. The number and magnitude of said reports doubles with every agency or department added to the mix, and then multiplies exponentially for every country beyond the first to get in on the deal. The incident near the Magnetic Pole had involved the United States Marine Corps, the National Paranormal Activity Survey, the State Department, the Defense Department, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Canadians (both the Ministry of Extraordinary Threats and the RCMP, for some reason), the Finns, the Danes, the Russians, and a private non-governmental agency. President Winston found himself considering, as the last report was brought in, whether he might be able to get away with building a fort out of all the paperwork involved and hiding in it until his chief of staff went somewhere else. He dropped the idea, of course, but it was still an appealing one; he'd have to remember it for later.

As it stood, he already knew what was in most of the reports. There was an intern in the State Department who'd been plenty happy to read the President the executive summaries, although her tone made it abundantly clear she didn't believe a word of what she was reading. That was just fine with Winston. He didn't really want to believe most of it, if it came right down to it. Maybe once next January rolled around he'd even have that luxury. Right now? Not so much. Right now he had to slog his way through at least two of the reports, starting with the one from the Marine unit's commander.

It went about as he'd expected. The Marine Corps was undoubtedly the finest and most versatile fighting force the United States had ever assembled, but the fifteen men they'd been training since the Foliage Census incident hadn't been up to the job. Shooting alien horrors? Sure, fine, they did that. They were fantastic at that. Too bad the shooting didn't actually do much to the things that really needed it. Of the fifteen specialists they'd sent up to the icecap, eight of them were laid up in Bethesda with injuries that made the doctors cough in disbelief. The remaining seven were making Defense Department psychologists very, very busy. What made it worse was that it was the considered opinion of every single person involved that no other Marines could have done better. In fact, most of the info the President had pretty much pointed at any other Marines winding up either dead or beyond the help of the psychologists. Really not a reassuring statement, that.

The other report, more detailed and fleshed out with references and recommendations, was from Captain Korpan, the Canadian operations leader. Korpan's people'd been preparing for just such an emergency for more than a hundred years, and he had more than a few recommendations for the Americans- recommendations President Winston found all too familiar. He sighed and put the papers down, sliding one hand under his glasses to rub at the corners of his eyes.

There was no way around it, and definitely no way to just pass the job on to his successor instead. This was too big for private contractors and too important for the inexperienced to handle.

They were going to have to take Dr. Venkman's suggestions after all.

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Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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