The Damocles Solution
My first fanfic resulting from a 20 year fandom! Real Ghostbusters all the way!
Note: what do I take as canon? GB1 and anything J. Michael Straczynski overlooked, edited, wrote, or sneezed upon. Anything else, I sorta go "meh" and hit the "back" button on.
(This chapter was revised on Oct. 10, 2010 to get rid of a lot of dumb-looking typos and errors.)
The Damocles Solution 1
"That. Was. Disgusting," a chalky-white Peter Venkman moaned as he held his head in his hands in the front seat of the Ecto-1. "I am never going in there again. I was almost blown to smithereens because of a crazy weirdo with a flute, I was almost toasted to bits because of a stupid door in a subway tunnel, and I almost got levelled by a demonic bulldozer. But guys…I am not gonna eat for a week after seeing that. "
"Well, those things were more, yanno…dangerous", Winston piped in, leaning back in an effort to disappear into his car seat. Holding his head, he propped his elbow on the small ledge of the rear door. "But I agree. This was just gross." He rolled his eyes and sighed deeply, preferring to just get back to headquarters and hopefully, never having to deal with ProbeCorp Labs ever again. "However, those people donated their bodies to science. If I can just get over what I saw, I'd say that we're kinda doin' those people a great service. I try to keep them in mind while I'm there."
Peter was uncomforted by the suggestion to keep a more humanitarian mindset. "The only service I want is for someone to donate a stomach pump to the firehouse so I can use it before I have to show up there again. Which, by the way, I'm not gonna do. Ever."
"If we don't clear out that class II, the results of tests will continue to be skewed and the research will be rendered futile," added Egon nonchalantly as he rounded another corner. "The entity has a knack of concealing itself whenever it wants."
"Yeah," added Winston. "We camped out for that thing for four hours. It knew we were there."
Egon continued. "It's only a class II so far, and yes, it seems that it knows how to avoid attention until someone finds a bizarre result and has the whole lab in chaos over it."
"Can't it avoid attention in a chocolate shop?" Peter argued. "Or a state liquor store? Or…or even a ladies' clothing store, preferably a fitting room? Does it really have to be in a bioresearch lab with donated parts and bodies?"
"It's locked into the immediate vicinity of the lab for now, Peter. I don't think it's very interested in chocolate shops or lingerie as of anytime in the near future."
An exasperated sound, somewhere between a grunt and a moan, filled the vehicle.
After wiping his face from chin to hairline a few times, Peter sat back in the seat and turned his head, one eye cocked at the passenger behind him. "Hey. Ray. You're too quiet. It scares me when either you or Egon are too quiet because that always means you want to tell us of some imminent disaster. Am I in the ballpark here?"
Ray's concentration temporarily broken, he uncrossed his arms, though his mouth still turned to the side and his brow deeply furrowed. "I dunno. Not imminent disaster, just-"
"OK Ray," Peter interrupted. "That's all I care about, so now you can go back to being quiet."
Ray rolled his eyes. "I was gonna say that something about there just…reminds me of something. I'd have to think about it more, and maybe look around more closely when we get the call to go back."
"I think you huffed way too much formaldehyde while you were there, Tex."
Winston threw Peter a rather perturbed look. "You can't get wacky from formaldehyde just sittin' in a lab, ya know."
"That reminds me," added Egon smoothly. "I was going to order a few liters of formaldehyde. I want to begin my planned research on the implementation of corporeal preservation methods on the effects in the non-physical worlds."
"A couple liters!" Peter exclaimed, stunned. "You want a couple liters of that stuff right under our noses? You want some kind of medal that you're one of two able to even drive home after being in there or somethin'!"
Egon didn't answer, but adjusted the rear view mirror-while making absolutely sure he made eye contact with Winston behind him long enough for the dark man to see his twinkling eys and a wickedly evil, almost-not-there grin across his lips. Winston smiled broadly, and elbowed Ray next to him so the readhead could share the joke.
Peter continued ranting as the last turn was made into the firehouse. "Can you imagine what the whole place would smell like of Slimer found that stuff and couldn't handle keeping it down! Or maybe you're gonna wanna make that stuff into Chanel number 10 for yourself next!"
The car puttered and ground to a halt, and the four veterans of all things paranormal were more than happy to step out of uniform.
Winston was the first to finish changing, hurriedly hanging his own jumpsuit in the closet. He practically jumped over to their secretary's desk, and excitedy threw his hands on her desk.
"So, Janine…didja get a call from 'er yet?"
"Naaaah," said the redhead with the thicker-than-a-deluxe-bagel-annoying Brooklyn accent, a pile of books of eclectic origin piled in front of her on her desk. She flipped through another page of the rather technical book she was reading at the moment, Signs of Cosines—A Geometry Primer.
Winston hung his head like a puppy denied a treat. "Dang. My girlfriend's been on this trip to France for two weeks. She said she'd call here first when she got back, but doesn't look like it's happened yet." He headed back to the couch to clear his mind of preserved body parts, and relax watching TV.
Janine raised her eyes from the book for a moment, giving Winston an understanding look. "Saaaaarry. The only things we got in calls or mail were a coupla bills, a lawsuit settlement notice from that thing on Fifth Avenue, and this letter from that girl Cindy you guys visited a while ago."
"Ooh! Lemme see that!" Peter cooed as he made quick pace over to Janine's desk. He grabbed the letter out of her hands. "It IS from her! That cute girl that used to date the crazy weirdo with the flute!" He brushed his hair back before slowly and painstakingly digging under the glued envelope. "She's seen the light. She's had a change of heart. She wants me now, doesn't she? This is the big news right here!"
Janine flipped through another page of her book.
Winston turned on the TV.
Ray opened the door and began to inspect the contents of the fridge.
Egon cooly headed to the lab—there were liters of formaldehyde to not order.
Peter watched them, one by one, growing more thoroughly annoyed. "You guys are REALLY gonna be sorry you haven't heard this, yanno."
He turned his head and raised his hand with the letter to eye level. "Ahem. Now I shall read the searingly romantic missive in my hot hands. Dear Drs. Venkman- See! She put me first!-Stantz, Spengler, and Mr. Zeddemore:" He paused, reading ahead a bit, and his face grew increasingly darker, his brow lowering. "I have to inform you…of the passing of my former boyfriend…Jeremy Whittington."