gone_byebye: (finger slime)
Tuesday, 7 October, 2008
Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Center for Experimental Hoofstock
Foran Hall
New Brunswick, NJ


"Thank you for coming, Dr. Stantz," said Bob Castile, the Center's director. "I know how busy you and the other Ghostbusters are at this time of year."

"I can't stay long," Ray warned him. Dr. Castile nodded and gestured for Ray to follow him down the corridor. "I have to be in Elizabeth before sundown."

"That's all right. I don't think this'll take nearly that long," Castile said as they walked. "It's about the aurochs herd."

"Dr. Mezga's animals?" Ray asked. "I'm surprised. I would've thought they'd've gone to dust by now."

"Well-" Castile hesitated. "That would be why I asked you to come here, you see. We did find that their body cells disintegrated within a few minutes of being removed from the animal. I assume that that had something to do with whatever sort of energy Dr. Mezga was using to sustain their body processes. Our studies were completely inconclusive- there were no biological indictors of impending cell death whatsoever. One moment all cellular processes were functioning at normal capacity, and the next-" He jerked his hands apart in a paff! gesture.

Ray nodded, glancing out a window as they passed. Foran Hall's most recently added division consisted of a handful of agricultural zoologists and another handful of very bewildered paleontologists. From the look of things, most of both groups were outdoors in a high-fenced paddock feeding Belle, Dr. Mezga's resurrected Indricotherium. "Have the results you've been getting changed that much?"

"And how," said Castile. "I know you hypothesized that they'd be degrading over time. I can't pretend that I know much about the kind of energies you study in parapsychology- I wouldn't even acknowledge it if it weren't for, well-" He waved towards the window. "No offense."

"None taken. It's a young science."

"Right, well- I can't vouch for energetic degradation, but… here." Castile stopped and unlocked a laboratory door. "This sample was taken from the epithelium of one of the herd bulls. Have a look."

Ray leaned down to peer through the microscope. "They look like perfectly normal cells to me."

"They are, Dr. Stantz. They're about half of the original sample. Most of the rest of the cells we took went to dust an hour and a half ago." Castile fidgeted. "These survived."

"How-"

"I don't know. Our best guess is that as we've been feeding these animals, they've been replacing whatever passed for the original body cells with newly divided cells made from real, life-worthy matter rather than cells dependent on whatever called them into being in the first place."

Ray pondered the prospect, eyeing the microscope thoughtfully. "Is it happening to all the herd, or just this one bull?"

"The whole herd."
gone_byebye: (Riva)
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Ben's Kosher Deli
209 W. 38th Street
Manhattan, NY


Ray dropped into his usual seat at his usual table without taking a menu- all the waitstaff here knew his preferences by now- and waited. He'd gotten as far as thanking the waitress for his soda before a very cranky voice said in his ear, "I'm not even supposed to be here today."

"Why on Earth not?" Ray said, glancing sideways. Grandpa Maxim was as solid as Ray had ever seen him. Some days it was hard to remember the old man had been dead since Ray was thirteen.

"Shemini Atzeret started last night at sundown. Don't you pay attention to the calendar?"

"Only the really big days," Ray said. "Sorry."

Maxim Stantz snorted and moved his seat around to the other side of the table. "So," he said. "What's so important that you had to show up here early today, anyway?"

"Well," said Ray, "there was the incident last week with the scientist at the Natural History Museum raising most of their extinct mammals from the dead."

"I saw that. Giant robots, Raymond?"

"One of them was a friend and one of them was a complete surprise, believe me," Ray said dryly. "We're hoping not to have to do anything that spectacular in future."

"Probably wise. Your friend Chen's got an inquiry board appointment because of it."

"I know. He told me." Ray glanced around for the waitress, but it was starting to get busy. "I was going to mention my daughter next, but you obviously heard about that already. We're planning on going up to Ulster County somewhere sometime soon to get her used to the new form's capabilities without disturbing anybody too much."

Maxim nodded. "Wise idea. The less witnesses, the better."

"Yeah, that's what I figured," said Ray. "And then there's the part where I've stopped aging completely and became immune to poisons and stopped getting sick and lived forty-seven years in the past of another world before I finally managed to get back to here."

"Okay, I- wait. What?"

"You heard me, Grandpa." Ray leaned forward across the table. "It took me a while to notice, but I noticed, all right. Talk about having to get ready for serious long-term planning."

"Uh-"

"Grandpa Maxim, I swear on the grave of Charles Proteus Steinmetz, if you had any idea this was going to happen to me and you didn't tell me about it, I'm gonna spit in the pastrami sandwich when you're not looking."
gone_byebye: (Riva)
Monday, October 1, 2007
Burger Lord Restaurant #4389



"Welcome to Burger Lord, home of the all-new twelve-piece teriyaki chicken nuggets Daimyo Meal," said Bill O'Connell, man at the drive-thru window, for the fifteenth time that day. "May I take your order, please?"

He'd gotten to the point where he didn't even have to hear the customers' full words to know what they were going to ask for, even the hesitant ones who wobbled back and forth on what they wanted and the really annoying ones who thought it was funny to ask for seventy-five dollars' worth of food at a single pass. He'd reached that point on day three. The crushing depression that set in when he realized that he'd come found his calling and it was in fast food had led him to pull a number of fairly stupid stunts in the hopes of getting fired. So far they hadn't, not even hacking his terminal so that he had Internet access beyond the Burger Lord corporate network. Just now he was seeing how many Youtube videos he could watch before getting a reprimand.

He clicked on one marked Chelsea Piers Kaiju Battle and started tapping in the customer's order. Then he actually looked at the screen.

The next customer had to lean on her horn to get his attention.




"Sir," said O'Connell to Alphonse Jannot, manager of Burger Lord Restaurant #4389, "there's something I really think you should see."

"If you're trying to get fired again, O'Connell, it's not going to happen," said Jannot. "Both of us are stuck in this hellhole until sweet, sweet death comes for us. Believe me-"

"Sir," said O'Connell urgently, "it's about the Ghostbusters."

Jannot froze.

"Dr. Stantz in particular."

"Shit," said Jannot under his breath. "What've they dug up now?"

"I, uh... it's not about us, sir. I don't think they even know we're still alive."

"Then why are you bothering me about it?" snapped Jannot. "Aren't things bad enough?"

"I kind of thought you should see it before you accidentally turned on a news program and burst a blood vessel or something, sir," said O'Connell. "I know you don't watch TV any more, but just in case."

Jannot paused. "How bad is it?" he asked warily.

"Well, ah..." O'Connell rubbed at the back of his neck. "Remember how the final tech assessment we had on them said that they had roughly enough firepower to take over the West African nation of their choice?"

"Yeeeees...."

"I feel safe in saying that that can be expanded to include the rest of the continent and pretty much any of the non-nuclear powers east of the Caucasus Mountains, sir."

Alphonse Jannot, manager of Burger Lord Restaurant #4389- and nothing but manager of Burger Lord Restaurant #4389- watched the video, and put his head in his hands, and wept.
gone_byebye: (Default)
Ray and the troupe on the West Side Highway managed to force the monsters' mastermind to show herself. Dr. Mary Mezga of the Museum of Natural History has been a very, very naughty scientist, it seems. Conjuring the dead into life is NOT GOOD SCIENCE AT ALL. Especially not when it involves modern-day humans getting hunted down like rodentia.

It's a bit worse when you know the motive...

At any rate, Ray caught her announcing her final target and broadcast it to the NYPD. Anyone with a portable radio on them knows, now, exactly where the crazy lady and her animals are headed: to the entertainment complex at 24th Street and the river, Chelsea Piers.
gone_byebye: (Default)
The problem with whole herds of prehistoric monsters is that sooner or later you're gonna lose track of a few, and they aren't always really good at keeping up with the rest of the herd. Not when there's tasty tasty prey about and a nice convenient off-ramp from the elevated highway down to the land of tastiness.

New York is currently in the middle of a blackout. New York Waterway is currently operating ferry service off the island of Manhattan.

Or they were, before all the screaming started.
gone_byebye: (Default)
Ray took some time while Alex West was getting his weapons to step out of the Bar and run like hell. He managed to reach his destination largely through waving his Ghostbusters identification card around, but there were a few judicious applications of elbow as well- mostly because the simplest way to get there had involved going east a ways and running up Seventh, then turning again and worming his way through the crowds on Sixth. For all that he covered two and a half miles in about the time you'd expect of a normal human, he still returned to the Bar only a moment or two after he left.

Millitime is a wonderful thing, and he will thank the Bar for it later.

For now he's holding the door open in Grand Army Plaza. "We're at the southeast corner of Central Park," he says. "Fifty-ninth Street and Fifth Avenue. There's still a ways to go, but I radioed a buddy in the NYPD. He'll be sending an escort to help you get through- oh, here they come now-"

Bet you didn't know the NYPD used Vespa scooters, did you? At least, these two do.
gone_byebye: (identification)
Normally the West Side Highway in Ray's Manhattan is an elevated roadway that runs the length of what used to be 12th Avenue, from the George Washington Bridge down as far as Water Street. Normally. Right now it's a parking lot, thanks to the people trying to get the heck out of the city because of the blackout.

It's a parking lot full of screaming people, too. That may have something to do with the shapes one can see from street level, leaping and creeping and moseying and stomping their way inexorably southward, with odd trumpets and roars. There's an awful crunch and a bellow as something huge puts its foot through glass; Ray winces. "We'd better get up there in a hurry," he says, and starts running for the nearest entrance ramp, waving his ID card at the startled police. "They're with me, guys!"
gone_byebye: (distress)
The door opens onto the corner of Thirty-ninth and Eighth streets on a bright and sunny afternoon. It's a cluster of what most Americans would consider alarmingly large buildings- strictly average for New York, you understand. Forty and fifty floors, tops. You get much taller ones further south, in the Financial District. You get more people here, though- lots of them, in and out of the buildings- and a lot more cars, most of which are being driven by desperate people all striving like hell to beat each other to the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

None of the electric signs are working. None of the street lights are functioning. The buildings' shadows are only penetrated by headlights, taillights, and reflections of sun- which is probably exactly as the creatures roaring to each other somewhere nearby like it. It's hard to tell where they are, what with the throngs of people and cars-

Well. No.

The ones who're screaming and running like hell are probably a really good directional clue.

"I got a radio for you from the Bar," says Ray. "Call me or the other Ghostbusters on it if you need anything, okay? I'm going back to the Bar to see who else can lend a hand."
gone_byebye: (what the heck is that)
It’s not quite seven miles from the Museum to the Firehouse. Ray doesn’t actually mind having to walk that far. There was a time when he would’ve given up early on and flagged down a taxi, but when you’ve managed to keep in reasonably decent shape for forty-seven years and spent a few weeks walking across an entire country, six-and-change miles of relative flatness isn’t a problem. Oh, sure, he could call for Ecto, or he could get a taxi, but from the look of things none of the lights are coming back on. This isn’t a brown-out, this is a blackout. There’s no sense in adding to the swiftly growing chaos on the streets. It’s not even all that hot, by his standards- if six and a half years in Nyissa don’t readjust your standards for what constitutes inconveniently warm, then nothing will.

It’s not until he’s covered two and a half miles that he realizes there’s more to what’s going on in the streets than mere ordinary chaos. Something is going on that’s got cars trying and failing to veer away from the western side of the island, even though he’s walking down Eighth Avenue. Maybe a truckload of something toxic overturned on one of the other avenues? Without the traffic lights that’s a disturbingly real possibility. He stops, and reaches for his cell phone.

”Ghostbusters,” says Janine. ”Rest assured we have enough generator power to keep the ghosts confined for three days. Whaddya want?”

“Janine?” says Ray. “What’s going on?”

”Whaddya mean, what’s going on? Where are you, Dr. Stantz?”

“I’m at Eighth and Thirty-ninth and the traffic is acting really weird. Are you guys getting any-“

A piercing electronic shriek nearly splits the phone loudspeaker; Ray jerks his head away. ”Just a second, Dr. Stantz. That’s the police scanner.”

He can’t make out the words, but whoever’s reading off the information over the police scanner sounds simultaneously incredulous and horrified. Ray remembers that tone from this city all too well; his stomach doesn’t so much sink as put on a weighted belt, check its swim fins, and drop over the side of the boat with intent to reach the bottom as swiftly as it can equalize the pressure in its head cavities.

”Dr. Stantz?” says Janine very slowly when she comes back on. ”You’re not gonna believe what’s coming down the West Side Highway. . .”
gone_byebye: (Default)
The law in New York City is that you can’t use a cellular phone inside a museum, but the law doesn’t say anything about wireless data connections made by robot dogs. The closest it gets is a ban on animals other than service animals, and Francis isn’t an animal under any real definition of the term. After some discussion the Museum security guards come back to Ray with their boss’s decision: he can bring Francis into most of the exhibit halls, but not any of the IMAX films or the Planetarium shows, and if anybody freaks out about him or otherwise causes a scene Ray’s going to have to leave.

This, thankfully, doesn’t appear to be a problem. Francis gets a few weird looks and a lot of pointing, but for the most part the Museum-going public is pretty polite today. It helps that there’s not a lot of them. There’s too much going on elsewhere in the city for people who’ve got free time during the work day to necessarily spend it in the Museum. Frankly, Ray’s pretty sure most of these people are here to get away from the oppressive heat for a few hours.

Not that it matters. He’s too busy making sure Ecto gets to see all the things she wants to see. The stibnite crystal she mentioned is huge to the point of looking like a movie prop, a thing that fascinates her intensely. The exhibit on exo-planets is a little too mass-market information for her tastes after all, as she’s been reading up on the subject on any database she can legally access (a prospect that makes Ray oddly proud- his daughter’s a space geek!). The special exhibit on predatory mammals, though, is incredible. There’s skulls and teeth and bones here from virtually every point in the history of Mammalia, including some truly spectacular creodont skeletal reconstructions topped off by actual fossil skulls. Andrewsarchus in particular is gorgeous, with the kind of jaws that would make anything in the Dinosaur Halls jealous, and some of the others-

Overhead the lights flicker. Several people flinch; Ray looks up warily. They come back on, nice and stable, but there was something in the sound of the ventilation that he didn’t like. “Ecto?” he says to the dog. “Have you gotten all this? I’ve got a bad feeling all of a sudden.” He’s not going to say the word aloud, but the city did issue a brownout warning this morning.

Francis tilts his ‘head’, apparently listening to Ecto’s remote signal. Then that head bobs up and down. “Okay,” says Ray. “I hate to cut a visit like this short, but we can come back later in the week.”

The dog obediently falls into line as Ray heads for the main entrance. They’re three quarters of the way down the Museum steps when the traffic light at the corner of Central Park West and 81st winks out. The one at CPW and 77th is the next to go, and then 76th, 75th, 74th. . .

“Looks like a good day for a walk,” Ray says to Francis. He’s not about to make a try for the subway if power’s cutting out.

“WHURF,” Francis agrees.
gone_byebye: (Detective Chen)
There have been days when it has been good to be NYPD Detective John Chen- very, very good. This is not one of them.

He lives in Brooklyn, so we should begin there. The entrances to the DeKalb Avenue subway station is being upgraded for greater ADA compliance, which translates into ‘half the stairs have been closed off and the street level elevator’s tied up with people who don’t’ particularly need it’. He’d drive into Manhattan, but the lower level of the Manhattan Bridge is still having repair work done. Besides, he’s had a look at the traffic advisories for the day. He’ll take his chances with the train.

You see, New York is a city of something like nine million people. Thirty-six per cent of those people were born in other countries, and most of the rest are intensely proud of their heritage in one way or another. They like to have festivals. They like to have parades. They quite often have parades at the same time as each other. This is not the problem, since in John Chen’s experience most of these parades’ spectators are pretty civilized towards one another. The problem is that they like to have parades down the long avenues that run north-south (or the closest approximation thereof, given that Manhattan Island is slanted in a north-northeast direction). And that means that streets are blocked off en masse for safety’s sake. Lots of streets.

Today the streets in question are Sixth Avenue, from 58th south to 39th, and 40th and 41st between Fifth and Park Avenue, then Madison Avenue south to 27th. Armenians down the first, Malinese (and a lot of other West Africans) down the second- Independence Day celebrations. They couldn’t get enough cops over the Yom Kippur weekend to ensure the parades went down smoothly, so they’re doing it today instead.

Which, you know, would be fine with Chen, except that it’s never only one thing. He and the rest of the Spook Squad have a special assignment. The Dalai Lama’s visiting the United States, and he’s speaking in Central Park today. They’re expecting fifty thousand people to turn up at the Great Lawn, maybe more. Given the ever-looming shadow of 55 Central Park West and the incident under Cleopatra’s Needle the year after that, it was pretty much a given from the start that the security would involve paranormal measures. His Holiness’s monks’ve given the area a good solid going-over, plenty of blessings and purifications and all, but the Spook Squad’s still been assigned to security duty just in case.

Could be worse, though. They could be down at the UN. There’s a conference on the restriction of illegal trade in small arms and oh, God, the protesters. Anti-gun groups, pro-gun groups that want to make sure their good names aren’t besmirched by people who can’t be bothered to pay attention to their national laws, Amnesty International, parents of gun violence victims, it just goes on and on and on. It wouldn’t be so bad if half the Burmese population of the city wasn’t also protesting at the UN, mostly as a show of solidarity with the monks and Aung San Suu Kyi back in Myanmar.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the temperature weren’t rising towards the nineties for the third day in a row.

It wouldn’t be so bad if- oh, hell, who are we kidding. Today is a really bad day to be NYPD Detective John Chen, and it’s only going to get worse.
gone_byebye: (Default)
There are things that Ray is very, very, very good at, to a degree that would astound people if they only knew. Thinking is one of them. Not thinking is another. Not in the sense that Buddhist monks pursue, or in the sense of being an emotionally careless person; the first would make his Jedi credentials a lot stronger and the second just isn't a part of his fundamental makeup. No, Ray's gift for not thinking is of a different sort. It's the ability to stand less than a hundred yards from the rising-site of Great Cthulhu himself and be as normal as he ever was a few hours later. It's the ability to sleep soundly and without nightmares despite being made briefly aware of the unbelievably vast and sweeping vistas of reality and his own frightful position therein. Compared to that, a little thing like adapting to being OH MY GOD HOME HOME HOME IT'S THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AGAIN HOORAY hardly even requires conscious choice. He'll think about it later and deal with it then.

And he'll start by talking it over with Winston, because he trusts the man to a degree that even Egon can't reach, and by talking it over with Ecto, because she's his daughter and she of all people needs to know. That's where it'll start, when it's time to start.

For now, however, he's Not Thinking About That. He's back in the city and all is well. There aren't any active calls today- there's a creeping discoloration in Jackson Heights and a couple of Class Twos in Staten Island, but those're scheduled for later in the week. Today they've all got a little time free. Peter's spending it with the accountant, going over the end-of-quarter financials. Egon and Janine are off at a lecture at NJIT- more power to her, considering that it's part of the Conference on Applied and Computational Mathematics. Winston's got family business to deal with, so that leaves-

"Ecto?" says Ray with a smile as he makes his way down the stairs. "HOw's it going, kiddo?"

"Fine, Daddy," says the hearse. "I'm kinda bored, though. Can you do me a favor?"

"Sure. You name it."

"Can you take Francis and go to the Museum of Natural History for me?"

Ray blinks. "I don't see why not," he says. "Why Francis, though?"

"Francis has wireless communication capability and I can set up a streaming audio and video feed from his sensors," says Ecto. "'n there's a couple of exhibits I really wanna see, but I kinda can't get in the door."

"Oh. Right," says Ray. "Sure, I can do that. Do you need to be parked anywhere nearby?"

"Nah. Francis gets really good signal." There's a faint smugness to Ecto's tone that has Ray wondering if he should ask questions. "Just bring him along with you, okay?"

"Sure," Ray says. "Which exhibits were you interested in?"

"The giant stibnite crystal from Wuning, the special exhibition on exoplanets, and Red in Tooth and Claw: A History of Predatory Mammals."

"Not enough data available online, huh?"

"Not without a doctorate and an email address ending in .edu," says Ecto, sounding particularly sulky.

Ray doesn't do very well at suppressing his laugh. "Sorry, kiddo," he says. "All right. I'll go."

"Thank you, Daddy."

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gone_byebye: (Default)
Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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