Chapter 1 - Ghostly Boy Meets Girl
Danny shouted in pain as he received a shock from the specter deflector worn around Sam's waist. Falling back into the fountain with a splash, Danny looked up at his seething friend.
"Uh, excuse me? I saved your butt, and you're giving me grief?" Sam questioned at the soaked boy.
"Welcome to my world, remember?" Danny explained. "'We should make the menu recyclo- vegetarian.' 'We should let the gorilla out.' 'We should sell all of your dad's stuff at a garage sale.'"
"Anything else you want to blame me for? World hunger? The ice age? Puberty?"
"Sam, both monsters knew your name. Either there's another Sam involved in ghost fighting or it's you."
"How about a thank you, huh? Do you think Paulina would have saved your butt back there?"
"She would if she wanted me to come to her party," Danny said as he rose out of the water.
"Urg, Danny, I swear," Sam shouted as she threw the deactivated belt at Danny. She hopped on her scooter and glared back at Danny. "There are days I wish I had never even met you!"
As Sam rode away, Danny sighed as he realized what had just occurred.
"Way to go, Fenton. You just ticked off one of the only two real friends you have," Danny sighed. He pulled at the crumbled invitation to Paulina's party. "Sam wait!"
A puff a blue mist escaped his mouth as he started to climb out of the fountain. Looking behind him, he saw the water began to bubble as laughter filled the air.
"Finally!" Diseree shouted as she rose out of the water. Over twice the size since their last encounter, Danny prepared for another fight.
"Diseree," Danny gasped as he changed into his ghost form. "You look different."
"More powerful," she laughed. "Why, yes. The more wishes I grant the more powerful I get. Oh and only days way from the meteor shower with everybody making wishes."
She whipped her ghost tail around Danny and threw farther into the park.
"What do you want?" Danny demanded.
"You out of the way by Friday night, but it's not about what I want. It's about what your little friend wants, and she just wished she never met you."
"Oh. Oh, no," Danny gasped.
"And so she has wished it, and so it shall be," Diseree shouted as she unleashed her magic upon Danny.
"TIME OUT!" a new voice shouted.
Time froze as two rotating clock hands appeared then dissolved into Clockwork. He assessed his surroundings. He placed one of his medallions around Diseree's neck and frowned as she was again animated.
"What?" she questioned until she observed the newcomer. "You. Why are you interfering with my plans?"
"You mettle with forces that are beyond your understanding," Clockwork frowned as he shifted from adult to child. "The one known as Danny Phantom must survive for this timeline to continue."
"You have no right..."
"I could care less about your own machinations," Clockwork sighed as he turned into his aged form. "You may fulfill the 'wish' but I shall direct its course."
"Very well," Diseree relented.
Sam Manson yawned as she awoke in the late summer morning. Her darkened room was effectively protected from the bright rays of the sun.
"Sam, are you up?" a voice called from behind her door.
"Yes, mom," Sam replied as she pulled back her sheets. Standing in her lilac nightgown, she greeted her mother as she opened the door.
"I thought today we might try a bit more color," Pam Manson said as she held up a flowery printed dress. Sam gagged as she saw the pink flowers against a baby blue background.
"Mom, I was thinking of something more like this," Sam said as she pulled out a ink black miniskirt with a dark purple top.
Pam frowned at her daughter. "It is the first day of your sophomore year. You need to make a better impression on your teachers than last year."
"I highly doubt they will have forgotten about me over the summer," Sam sighed. She pushed past her mother to begin her morning routine.
Pam resigned herself downstairs as she waited for her daughter. She prepared a breakfast for her family and sighed as she pulled out the organic oatmeal for her picky daughter.
"Morning, Mother," Pam greeted the scooter bound matriarch. "Could you please talk some sense into Sam?"
"Pamela, let the girl be," Ida replied as she came to the table. "A little rebellion is good for the soul."
Pam shook her head, but she could expect no less from the elder Manson. Her husband had warned her about his mother's more colorful past. She placed a plate in front of her mother-in-law.
Jeremy Manson entered the kitchen followed by a cross Samantha. She plopped down in the chair next to her grandmother and crossed her arms.
"I'm just saying, Samantha," Jeremy said as continued their prior conversation. "Maybe you should find some more normal friends."
"There is nothing wrong with my friends!"
Just as she made her statement, a visitor knocked on the garden door. Pam opened the door and allowed Samantha's best friend, Tucker Foley, entrance.
"Sam, I got that new Doomed game for you," Tucker said as he handed the disc to Sam. "They added twice the gore as last time."
"Thanks, Tuck," Sam said as she pushed Tucker out the door. "Thanks for the breakfast, Mom, but I'll just grab something from the Grass Shack on the way to school."
As they walked down the street, Sam glared at her clueless friend. He knew her parents hated those types of games. After the circus last year, she was walking a thin line when it came to Tucker.
"How many time do I have to apologize?" Tucker asked.
"Don't worry too much about it," Sam sighed. "It was just a bad morning."
"And it's bound to get worse," Tucker replied. "I'm sure I'll be dodging Dash again this year."
"He'll probably find some new freshman to harass," Sam reassured her friend.
Looking up, she again saw a giant blimp circling the sky. Painted on the sides, a large graying man smiled down on the city. The blimp had appeared over the summer and would often circle the city every few days.
"That thing sure creeps me out," Sam commented to Tucker.
"You and just about everybody else in the city," Tucker added. "I heard it belongs to some eccentric university professor from Amity Park U."
"I hope they land it soon," Sam sighed. "I don't think I could stand looking at face every day of my life."
"Now have fun at school, kids," Jack Fenton called to his children as they left the Fenton Family Ghost Assault Vehicle.
Mortified to have arrived their first day at Casper High in their monstrous vehicle, Jazz and Danny felt further embarrassed by their father's typical boisterous personality.
"Look, Danny," Jazz said as they walked inside, "please try to keep the weirdness to a minimal. I don't want you to ruin my senor year."
"I'll do my best, Jazz," Danny sighed. "Maybe my friends stayed back in Wisconsin."
Jazz rubbed the bridge of her nose as they entered the double doors. Ever since that little incident last year, her family was constantly finding new and inventive ways to embarrass her.
After a visit to the school office, the two walked to their respective homeroom classes. Danny looked about the class and sighed. He really did not have many friends back in Milwaukee, but he could at least talk to Aunt Harrie. She was really good at giving advice.
He took a seat in the back corner next to some goth girl drawing in her notebook. As he sat down, she gave a slight glance before doodling again.
"Uh, hi, I'm Danny Fenton," Danny greeted.
"Sam Manson," Sam replied. "Wait, did you say Fenton? As in large, annoying blimp Fenton?"
"We call it the Ops Center," Danny hesitantly replied. "Dad thought it was easier than hiring movers."
"Have you been living in it all summer?"
"Just the first of July," Danny answered. "Dad found a place, but he hasn't finished the landing platform yet. It should be done by the end of the week."
Sam just stared at the boy. Dress in a black shirt with a neon green emblem containing a large darker green "F," he looked like any other normal teen.
"Hey, Sam," Tucker called as he joined them. "Who's the new guy?"
"Blimp boy" Sam replied much to Danny's annoyance.
"Hi, I'm Tucker Foley," Tucker greeted. "Techno geek. I'm guessing you can tell Sam's the class goth."
"I'm Danny Fenton," Danny smiled. "I guess I'm blimp boy."
Sam smirked at Danny admission. At least the new guy had a sense of humor.
The bell rang, announcing the start of class. Tucker took the seat in front of Sam.
"And make sure you avoid Dash and Kwan," Tucker advised Danny as they walked down the hallway. "Dash is the star quarterback, so it'll take a miracle for him to get in trouble."
"And the popular girls are just a bunch of harpies," Sam continued. "Valerie and Star are the harshest, but they are usually pretty honest. The one to really watch out for is Paulina."
"Hey, Manson," a voice called out. Danny noticed Sam's eye began to twitch as a trio of girls approached them.
"Hello, Paulina," Sam hissed without turning around. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I heard you got yourself another loser," Paulina sneered as Star and Valerie stood behind her. "He does seem to be step up from the other one."
"Hey," Tucker protested.
"Nice to meet you too," Danny sneered. "Now if you don't mind."
He turned his back on Paulina which earn a glower from the teen. The boy had challenged her authority, and he would soon learn his place. With a flip of her hair, she and her entourage pushed past the annoyed boy.
"Wow," Tucker exclaimed. "You really got under her skin."
"Please, someone must have brushed her off before?" Danny asked.
"Not really," Sam replied. "Paulina has kind of been the queen bee since middle school. I think some of the teacher even fall into line behind her."
"Seriously?" Danny questioned. "Wish I had known."
Sam frowned until Danny started to laugh. Thinking their new friend had lost his mind, Sam and Tucker just watched as Danny collected his senses.
"If a little brush off caused that," Danny said as he caught his breath, "image how she would react if I actually insulted her."
Sam giggled as Danny quickly began to list off possible insults for Paulina. Tucker looked at his best friend knowingly.
"This might sound a bit odd," Danny said as he joined them at Nasty Burger, "but does Amity Park have any good ghost stories?"
Sam's smile broaden as she pulled out a book from her backpack. She handed the book over to Danny.
"Amity Park has a few good haunting locations," Sam explained as Danny flipped through the book.
"Her people are usually found in their vicinity," Tucker added as he took a large bit out of his burger.
Danny carefully read through introduction of the book. Both Sam and Tucker watched as he became engrossed with the book.
"Earth to Danny," Sam said as she leaned over the table. Danny looked up at Sam. "I didn't think you would be so into this stuff."
"I just love ghost stories," Danny replied. "It's sort of a hobby of mine."
"Well, if you like ghost so much, I'm going to a poetry at the Skulk and Lurk tonight," Sam suggested. "Tucker doesn't do to well with the other goths, but you are welcome to come along."
"Really wish I could," Danny sighed, "but I promised my parents I would help unpack at home. Can I get a rain check?"
"Sure," Sam replied with a smile. Tucker rolled his eyes as he watched Sam explain some of the more interesting ghost stories from around Amity Park. Their conversation was finally interrupted by Danny's cell phone.
"Hello, Jazz," Danny sighed as he answered the phone. "I was just hanging out at the Nasty Burger with some new friends. Yes, I can make friends. Okay, I'm on my way."
He ended the call and looked sheepishly at Sam. "Sorry, but I need to head home. I'll see you two in class tomorrow."
"Wouldn't miss it," Sam replied as Danny left the booth and walked outside.
Tucker looked at the dreamy look in Sam's eyes and let out a small cough.
"What?" Sam asked.
"You like him," Tucker smirked.
"I don't know what you are talking about," Sam blushed. "He just seems like a really nice guy."
"Yeah, right," Tucker rolled his eyes. "I just had to listen to the two of you flirt about ghost and ghouls for the past hour. It was really creepy in more ways than one."
"I'll admit I find Danny interesting," Sam reluctantly admitted, "but it's not like I like him like him."
"Are we still in fifth grade?" Tucker sighed. "I'm not saying you should marry the guy, but maybe asking him out sometime?"
"I offered to take him to a poetry reading," Sam replied.
"Yeah, a goth poetry reading," Tucker scolded. "Aside from ghosts, you really need to find out what he likes."
"Okay, I get the point," Sam said as she stirred the straw of her drink. "Would you mind if I invited him to lunch with us tomorrow?"
"You'll hear no complaints from me," Tucker said as he took a rather large bite out of his burger. "I just expect the same courtesy when I invite the future Mrs. Foley to eat with us."
Sam just rolled her eyes.
Danny looked up at his new home and saw the Emergency Ops Center landing on the roof. For once his father had finished a project ahead of schedule.
"I'm home," Danny called as he walked inside.
"Just finishing installing the Ops Center," his mother answered. "Why don't you help Jazz in the basement?"
He took his pack upstairs and changed into his white jumpsuit. Danny headed down to the basement and found his sister Jazz wearing a pink jumpsuit. She busy typing away in a computer hooked up to a large metal ring in the far way from the stairs.
"Still no luck?"
Jazz looked up at her brother and smiled. "Dad should have known that rebuilding the portal was not an overnight job. How did it go today?"
"Made some friends," Danny answered. "I think I got the A-list mad at me."
"Wasted no time there, little brother," Jazz laughed. "Is this frienemy or arch-nemesis level?"
"Somewhere in the middle, I guess," Danny replied as he checked all the power connections to the Fenton Portal. "I did meet a girl."
"Now, we are getting to the juicy parts," Jazz cooed. "What's her name? Give me all the details."
"Sam Mason, she's in my homeroom class," Danny answered. "She's really into all this goth stuff. She even lent me a book about all the local ghost stories."
"I trust you didn't try to show off for her?"
"After how Mom and Dad took it, you think I want to show that to anybody else?"
"Just be careful," Jazz warned. "I don't want to see you getting hurt."
"What about you? Meet any interesting boys?"
"Don't try and turn this on me," Jazz replied. "Besides, a girl doesn't kiss and tell."
"Which would be a big NO," Danny chuckled as he assembled the Ecto-Filtrator. "I think that's the last of the hardware. How's the software coming?"
"Almost done," Jazz said as she typed in the last few keystrokes. "And starting up now."
Jazz and Danny watched as the green ectoplasmic energies swirled to create a stable portal. Their parents ran downstairs to investigate the celebrate cheers the two teens cried.
"Now that we have restored access to the Ghost Zone," Jack said as he closed the portal's door, "you can resume your patrols."
"About that," Danny said as he rubbed the back of his neck. "I was thinking maybe I wouldn't need to patrol again."
"Sweetie, you know it's only a matter of time before Skulker or Technus find you here," Maddie informed her son.
"I doubt they would follow us all the way from Wisconsin," Danny shrugged, "and if they do show up, I'll deal with it then."
The three older Fentons looked at each and grimaced. While all three were capable ghost hunters, Danny had long ago shown to be a prodigy. Then came the accident almost a year ago. After months of designing and testing, the whole family gathered to witness the portal's activation, but nothing happened. While Maddie and Jack reviewed the schematics again, Danny ventured inside the inoperative portal. Tripping over a wire, he placed his hand on the inside wall to steady himself, but his hand landed on one of the many internal safety switches inside the portal. When activated, the portal release residual energy stored inside straight into the fourteen-year-old boy. Passing out from the pain, Danny awoke to his family standing over top of him. His parents looked extremely worried while Jazz was crying uncontrollably.
"I'm beat," Danny said after a few more hours of unpacking the lab. "I should probably be heading to bed."
"Good night, Sweetheart," Maddie called after her son. "Jazz, you should be going to bed too."
"Mom, I'm not a child anymore," Jazz complained.
"Says the adult with a closet full of stuffed animals," Danny laughed.
Jazz chased her brother up to their rooms and barely missed him as he shut his bedroom door.
Deep in the Ghost Zone, a small green ghost floated around a shiny, silvery body. Skulker always enjoyed upgrading his armor but always lacked a prey worthy of such constant improvements. The ghost boy had proven to such a quarry.
"Oy, would it kill you to hire a better decorator?" a ghost vulture exclaimed.
"Plasmius has another job for me?" Skulker replied as he entered his suit.
"What, no hello?" the vulture protested. "What about a little bite to eat?"
"I could serve up some roast bird," Skulker snarled as a flamethrower popped out of his extended forearm.
"No need to get in such a tizzy," the vulture sighed. "We found out where the ghost kid moved."
"Finally," Skulker shouted. "You can tell Plasmius this one is on the house."
"He thought you might say that," the vulture said as it pulled out a new gun from under its wing and tosses it to Skulker. "Just consider it a gift."
Skulker smiled at the gun.
Sam waited at the doors to Casper High for Tucker as she had been doing since elementary. She waved at Danny when he entered with his sister, but they were engrossed in their own conversation to really notice her.
"Hey, Sam," Tucker called as he came running down the sidewalk. "You're never going to believe what I found out last night."
"It must not have been a little invention called the alarm clock," Sam replied as they walked inside. "Another few minutes, and I would have just gone to class."
"Since when have you let a few tardies get in your way?" Tucker smirked. "Anyway this is about your new boy toy."
Sam rolled her eyes at Tucker's comment. He held up his PDA for her to read some news website.
"Ghost hunting family unplugs power-happy specter," Sam read. "Tucker, what is this?"
"I was looking up the Fentons last night," Tucker explained," and I found this local news blog."
"Come on, Tuck," Sam sighed. "This can't be real."
"I thought so too, but I found more," Tucker said as he pulled up other sites. "This one even shows Danny."
Sam again looked at the PDA and saw Danny wearing a white and black jumpsuit while carrying a metal cylinder. Tucker continued to explain about all the ghost sightings around Milwaukee. While every town has their ghost stories, the ones in Milwaukee had increased exponentially a year ago.
"He said ghost stories was a hobby," Sam said. "Maybe he was spotted at those sights believing they might be real."
"Sam, who believes in ghost?"
Sam gave no response. While many of her goth friends said they believed in the supernatural, few would honestly admit to seeing a ghost. When they entered the classroom, she saw Danny reading the book that she had lent. He was also taking notes in a notepad.
"Hi, Danny," Tucker greeted. "How's it hanging?"
"Oh, hello," Danny said as he looked up. "Thanks for the book, Sam. I would have never guessed Amity Park had such an interesting history."
"No problem," Sam replied. She sat down in the desk next him. She did not want to bring up the ghost hunting.
The next few hours marched tediously. When the lunch period finally arrived, Sam had several questions for Danny.
"So, what's the deal with the ghost hunting?" Tucker bluntly asked.
"Tucker!" Sam bashfully reprimanded her friend.
"That's okay," Danny sighed. "I knew it would come up eventually."
Danny began to explain how his father was obsessed with ghosts. It had even reached the point where he had been laughed out of the graduate program. Apparently, the review board had not been as opened minded about the subject as Jack Fenton hoped.
"What about your mom?" Sam asked. "She's a college professor."
"She's just as bad at times," Danny laughed. "One time, she dragged Jazz and me though a haunted house and pointed how they had everything wrong."
Sam smiled while Tucker became apprehensive. He believed in technology, not some pseudoscience.
"So, have you ever seen one?" Sam asked.
"Seen a ghost?" Danny asked for clarification. "Well, I..."
A blue mist left his mouth, and he looked almost relieved.
"Sorry, but I just remembered I needed to hand in some paperwork to the school office," Danny said as rose from the table. "I'll see you in class later."
Both Sam and Tucker watched blankly as Danny rushed out of the cafeteria. They turned to face each other.
"That was odd," Tucker commented. "He seems a bit flakey."
Sam nodded in agreement, but Danny was still very interesting. Whether or not he really believed, he seemed to be really enthralled with ghosts.
Her train of thought was abruptly interrupted by a large explosion outside. Several of the students rushed to the windows and gasped. In the school parking lot, a metallic figure was destroying the parked cars with a energy beam.
"What is that?" one student asked.
"Some kind of robot," Tucker commented as he held up his cell phone to take a picture, "and it's going haywire!"
"No, it trying to hit something," Dash said as he pointed to a black and white blur that danced around the metal man.
"War of the Worlds!" Mr. Lancer cried. "Move away from the windows, children."
"Look!" Kwan shouted as he pointed outside. "Somebody is running to them!"
Dashing toward the two combatants, Jazz was grumbling under her breath. While Danny and her parents may love ghost hunting, she would rather be study for her college courses next year. Sighing, she stopped when she saw Skulker blasting the principal's car.
"Jeeze Skulker, you really need to work on your aim," Danny taunted.
"Lousy gun pulls a bit," Skulker noted. "I should have calibrated before I left."
Jazz tapped a small button on her bracelet, releasing a small ecto blaster. One of her father's more reliable inventions, the Fenton Wrist Ray had become a standard accessory of Jazz's wardrobe. She only wished she had a Fenton Thermos. While Skulker was trying to target, Jazz shot the weapon out of his hands.
"The other brat," Skulker growled as a new weapon rose from his right arm. "This does not concern you, girl."
"You're hunting my little brother," Jazz replied. "Of course it concerns me."
"Very well then," Skulker smirked as he shot a green net at the girl, pinning her to the ground. "I will deal with you later."
Meanwhile, Danny had used the distraction Jazz had provided to position himself to capture Skulker.
"Hey, Ghost Zone Greatest Blunder," he taunted. "Welcome to Amity Park."
Danny activated the thermos, and blue light surrounded Skulker. Skulker attempted to resist the pull into the ghost trap but was unsuccessful. With the threat eliminated, Danny turned his attention to his sister who was using her wrist blaster to burn away the net. She had a crossed look on her face as Danny flew behind a charred car and resumed his human form.
"Thanks, Jazz," Danny said as he helped lift the net off of his sister. "He really had me pinned down."
"Just work on your strategy," Jazz sighed. "You can't just charge in, guns blazing."
"But didn't you..."
"War and Peace, people!" Mr. Lancer interrupt. Leading the bulk of the student body, the vice principal stared in amazement at the siblings. "Care to explain what is going on here?"
Danny and Jazz looked at each other then back to Mr. Lancer. "Just another day at the office," Danny replied.
"Another day at the office?" Principal Ishiyama questioned the four Fentons. "You practically destroyed every faculty vehicle."
"Actually, the ghost did that," Jazz corrected. "Danny was just hiding behind them."
The principal glared at the girl. Her car was among the casualties, and she doubted her insurance covered ghost attacks.
"And bringing weapons on campus?" Ishiyama said as she pointed at the assortment of Fenton branded items on the table.
"That is standard ghost hunting equipment," Maddie Fenton defended.
"Do you really expect me to believe that ghosts are real?" Ishiyama sighed.
"We could just him out so you could ask him," Jack offered.
"NO!" Danny and Jazz both shouted.
The adults looked quizzically at siblings. Sighing, Danny revealed the identity of the trapped ghost.
"It's Skulker," Danny said. "We caught him off guard, and I doubt he's too happy about it."
"Yes, I doubt anyone would be happy about being stuffed in a thermos," Ishiyama sighed as she rubbed the temples to alleviate the oncoming headache. "Very well, I afraid I must give each of you a week's detention."
"What?" both Danny and Jazz exclaimed.
"And please refrain from bringing any, uh, ghost hunting equipment to school," Principal Ishiyama added.
Maddie and Jack nodded in agreement. They may not like the verdict but were left with little choice. They has experienced such prejudices against ghost hunting before.
Leaving the principal's office, Danny noticed the eyes of the other students watching them. A few called them freaks, but most watched in silent amazement. Danny separated from the others to rejoin his class. He was again greeted by silence. He quietly took his seat and waited for the day to end.
When his final class ended, Danny made his way to the school library. He found Jazz gloomily reading her history textbook. Sitting in the librarian's desk, Mr. Lancer was flipping through a magazine.
Danny sat down next to Jazz and pulled out the book Sam lent him. He turned to the chapter about Casper High. He had already read about the vengeful Lunch Lady. He had not seen any evidence of her in the school, but it had only been a day. It was possible the lunch staff was merely blaming bad luck and coincidence on a ghost.
Next was the case of Sydney Poindexter. He was linked to a haunted locker. Having dealt with cursed objects, this one would definitely need to be investigated.
As time dragged on, Jazz looked up from her textbook to look at Danny. Ever since he was little, he had been nearly as obsessed with ghost hunting as his parents. The accident had only made things worse. He was alienated from the few friends he did have, and he was almost content with it.
Placing her textbook aside, she pulled out a book on childhood psychology. She was going to give Danny the help he needed, whether he wanted it or not.
At long last, detention ended, and the Fentons were released. When they exited the school, Danny was surprised to see Sam lounging by the front doors.
"Danny, I was wondering if you wanted to get a double veggie from Nasty Burger?" Sam asked.
Jazz gave Danny a smirk and said she would inform their parents. She offered to drive them, but they declined. As they walked down the street, Sam would point out the different sights Amity Park had to offer.
"So, where's Tucker?" Danny asked.
"He went home," Sam replied. "The incident at lunch kind of spooked him."
"Sorry, about that," Danny sighed. "Skulker probably followed us here."
"So, you really are a ghost hunter?"
"It's the family business," Danny shrugged. "My family has always had an unhealthy obsession with the supernatural."
"That's cool," Sam replied. "My family only mettles with kids having fun."
At the Nasty Burger, Danny noticed most of the other teens were staring at them. He frowned back the curious onlookers which cowed most to turn away. Sitting in the back corner both across from Sam, Danny continued his conversation about ghost hunting. He explained that he had previously met Skulker in Milwaukee. Skulker was a big game hunter from the Ghost Zone and targeted the family of ghost hunters. After losing specifically to Danny, he would appear every now and then to continue his hunt.
"You must be really popular," Sam laughed.
"I can live without that much attention," Danny sighed. "I thought moving here would help."
Sam was a lost. She did not know how to comfort her new friend. Acting on instinct, she held Danny's hand and looked into his deep blue eyes. A slight smile crossed his face which she returned.
"Ah, geek love," Paulina sneered. "Always knew you find some loser just for you, Sammy."
Sam glowered at the cheerleader but felt Danny twist his hands to hold hers. She quickly looked back at Danny's smirking face. At a lost for what the boy was about to do, Sam decided to see where this led.
"It's nothing like that," Danny replied. "My nerves were just a bit frazzled from that ghost attack."
"Ghost?" Paulina laughed. "That was just some stage act you and your sister put on. Everyone knows there's no such thing as ghosts."
"Then what's that," Danny said as he pointed behind her. Paulina heard the gasps from behind and slowly turned. Several trays of food were floating in midair.
"Ghosts!" Paulina screamed as she and several of the other patrons ran out of the Nasty Burger.
Once the restaurant had cleared out, the food dropped to ground. Frozen in place, Sam's mouth dropped as she heard Danny's laughter.
"Relax," Danny said as he tried to stop laughing. "It's just a little trick my dad cooked up."
Letting go of Sam's hand, he showed her a ring on his right hand. Sam had originally believed it was simply a class ring from his last school.
"It was supposed to be an Ecto-Magnetifier," Danny explained, "but it only works on plastics."
"Nice," Sam genuinely complimented. "Does all his inventions work this well?"
"Most are hit or miss," Danny replied. "The lucky ones just don't blow up."
"I think I would really like to meet your folks some time," Sam said. "Having ghost hunter parents must be really fun."
"I bet you won't feel that way after being covered in ectoplasm the first time," Danny said as he looked down at his food. "The food here really is nasty."
"That's Amity Park for you," Sam laughed. "Truth in advertising."
"I'll be right back," Danny said as he left for the restroom. Once he was sure he was alone, he started laughing again.
"Thanks for the save Johnny," Danny said as the biker ghost appeared.
"You owe me one, dude," Johnny said as he leaned against the wall. "Skulker made it to you first, I see."
"Probably through the same portal you did," Danny replied. "Do you know any of the other made it through?"
"I'm not your personal stoolie," Johnny said as he poked Danny's chest. "I'm just returning a favor. Good luck with spooky chick."
"Thanks. Give Kitty my best," Danny said as Johnny phased through the wall. He exited the restroom to rejoin Sam. She was picking at her fries and smiled when Danny sat back down.
"Better enjoy the meal," Sam commented. "I think you're about to receive a lifetime ban."
"The real punishment would be to actually eat this stuff," Danny replied as he poked at the burger.
They spent the next hour talking about each of their interests. While Danny tried to hold back on the ghost hunting, he told some of his early expeditions. In turn, Sam showed Danny some of her sketches from notebook. Most were the typical gothic images of skulls, demons, and gargoyles.
"I've seen this guy," Danny said as he pointed to one of her drawings. "His name is Charlie, and he loves it when the pigeons nest in his mouth. Saves time trying to hunt them down."
"I can't tell if you're joking or not."
"I really wish I was," Danny sighed.
"Will you keep ghost hunter here?" Sam asked.
"Dad already has the patrol mapped out," Danny answered. "I think he's trying to drag Jazz out tonight."
"Well, I wouldn't mind coming along," Sam said as her checks turned a slight shade of pink. "I mean, what goth wouldn't love a chance to see a real ghost?"
"Sure," Danny replied, "but I have to warn you, it's not for the faint of heart."
"You think I'm not up for it?" Sam asked defensively.
"No, I'm sure the ghost will be more terrified of you," Danny replied. "If you have time, I doubt they've left for tonight's patrol."
"This is a horrible idea," Jazz snapped at Danny. "What were you thinking?"
"I think it's sweet," Maddie said as he packed snacks. "Danny never had friends who understood our lifestyle."
"I don't understand it," Jazz replied. "Why can't we be a normal family for once?"
"Normal families don't run half-cocked into ghost fights," Danny added. "What were you thinking earlier?"
"I was thinking Skulker had you pinned down," Jazz defensively responded.
"Calm down both of you," Maddie told her children. "We haven't seen much ecto-activity on the radar. It'll probably just be a few circuits then off to bed."
"I doubt it," Danny sighed. "I ran into Johnny. He wouldn't say if any others were around, but two ghosts from Wisconsin don't just show up in Amity Park."
Jazz and Maddie grimaced at this new information. Maddie had hypothesized that the Fenton Portal increased the number of natural portals in its proximity. She thought of several possible papers that she could write on the subject.
"And that just leaves the lab," Jack said as he and Sam came down the stairs. "I would love to show you the Fenton Portal, but if we are going to make a full sweep of the city, we should be going."
"Great," Sam happily grinned. After years of the normalcy that was Amity Park, the Fentons brought a new level of excitement. "Danny, thanks for inviting me."
"Look at this way, Jazz," Danny whispered to his grimacing sister, "you get out of tonight's patrol."
"Small miracles," Jazz sighed. "If you need me, I'll be upstairs studying."
"Danny, why aren't you dressed?" Jack wondered.
"I thought I leave the jumpsuit here this time."
"But they are so sliming," Jack said as he ran his hands down his sides.
Sam giggled while Danny planted his palm on his face. Not noticing his son's embarrassment, Jack handed Sam a Fenton Pistol and escorted them to the RV. Giving Maddie a kiss goodbye, Jack climbed up into the driver's seat.
As they drove through the streets, Sam looked out the window. She claimed to be a creature of the night, but she rarely explored the city at night. She mainly frequented the Skulk and Lurk and the other various goth hang-outs. Now she was roaming the streets with a boy she barely knew while armed with a strange looking gun. Her parents would completely freak.
"Got something," Jack said as a bleep appeared on the radar. He stopped the RV in front of an old warehouse that had not been used in years. "Danny, why don't you and Sam check it out?"
"Sure," Danny nodded as he grabbed a Fenton Thermos and a blaster. "Sam, you coming?"
Sam nodded and followed after Danny. He slowly approached a window and looked inside. Not seeing anything, he followed along the wall with Sam in tow. They found a side door that had been opened. Danny frowned at the entrance. A ghost would only open entrances if they were setting a trap, but it was possible vagrants used the warehouse for shelter.
"Keep your eyes open," Danny instructed Sam. "We could be dealing with anything from ghost rats to something like that thing at school."
Sam nodded. Quietly, the two entered the building. Inside, thousands of old boxes littered the ground in haphazard stacks. The stacks formed mazelike corridors throughout the warehouse.
"Do you run into hoarding ghosts?"
"The most common kind," Danny replied as they weaved through the stacks. "I wouldn't disturb the boxes. Might alert the ghost."
"Still think its ghost rats?"
"Still have a sense of humor?"
Danny looked back at her and smiled. "How many first dates include ghost hunting?"
"Including this one," Sam pondered with a finger on her chin. "None."
"Ouch," Danny replied. "And here I thought I was showing you a good time."
Before Sam could responded, a loud voice shouted "Beware!"
Finding a clearer space within the mounds of boxes, a blue ghost wearing overalls was waving his arms at them.
"I am the Box Ghost," he shouted at them. "Beware my four-sided corrugated containers of doom."
Danny started laughing loudly as he lowered his pistol. "I thought you were just a joke."
"Hey, don't laugh at me," the Box Ghost whined. "That's not very nice."
"Danny, you've meet this guy before?"
"No, but I read about him your book," Danny chuckled. "Some dock workers complained about how the shipping containers looked like they been rifled through."
Danny pulled out his thermos when something caught his eye. A glowing blue thread had been tied to the ghost's right leg.
"It's a trap!" Danny shouted as he raised his pistol and quickly looked around the room.
"You're getting better, ghost child," Skulker commented as he blasted through a mound of boxes. "I was hoping you would take the bait."
"Hey!" the Box Ghost shouted indignantly.
"I never knew you were such a masochist," Danny quipped. "You must really like it in the thermos."
"At least I don't have to hide behind a female," Skulker replied as he began firing at Danny. "First your sister, and now your girlfriend."
"It's the twenty-first century," Sam shouted as she fired a shoot at the ghost but aimed wide. The kickback from the pistol was more than she had expected. Having never used anything more powerful than a water gun, she was really out of her element.
"You should really train the little woman," Skulker laughed. "At least your sister is a decent shot."
Sam growled and blindly fired multiple shot across the room, nearly hitting Danny, Skulker, and tethered Box Ghost.
"Sorry," she winced.
"She really is new at this," Skulker commented. "First date?"
Both Sam and Danny blushed a bit at the comment, earning another laugh from the ghostly hunter.
"Well, better enjoy it. It will also be your last."
He fired a net towards Danny, pinning him against the wall. Sam watched in horror moved Skulker moved closer to his trapped prey. She carefully aimed at Skulker at pulled the trigger of her blaster. The blast hit her intended target on Skulker's back but did not appear to do much damage other than pushing him forward a bit.
"Whelp," he shouted back at her. "You had better run off. I have no interest in you this night but don't tempt me."
He fired a shot at the blaster in her hand, instantly melting it. He turned back to the trapped boy and raised an eyebrow.
"Still human?" he asked. "Why have you not 'gone ghost' as you call it?"
Danny gritted his teeth at the ghost. He had been trying to avoid complicating his relationship with the goth girl with his ghost half until much later, if ever.
"Now this is disappointing," Skulker sighed, "but at least it did provide a moment's entertainment."
A large ecto-blade extended from Skulker's left arm as he brought it to Danny's throat.
"Danny!" Sam shouted as she rushed to tackle Skulker.
Sam tripped as a flash of light blinded her eyes. When her vision recovered, she saw a new ghost was attacking Skulker,
"Much better," Skulker commented as the new ghost circled from above while firing beam of green energy. "Now this is sport."
With the ghosts fighting each other, Sam looked at the now empty net. Where was Danny? She ran out the warehouse to find Mr. Fenton. In a panic, she began beating on the RV door.
"Sam, what's wrong?"
"It's Danny," she huffed between breaths. "Big, metal ghost."
"Skulker," Jack hissed as he grabbed the Fenton Bazooka. He fired a shot at the side of the warehouse to make a closer entrance. He rushed inside the new opening with Sam following.
The two ghosts were still fighting when Jack finally blasted his way through boxes.
"Real subtle, Dad," Danny sighed under his breath.
"More intrusions," Skulker commented as he continued to fire at Danny.
"Stay away from my boy," Jack shouted as he fired a fully charge blast Skulker's chest. A small ghost portal opened at the blast site and began pulling Skulker into the Ghost Zone.
"This is not over, ghost child," Skulker shouted as he fought being pulled in. "The hunt will continue."
After Skulker vanished, Danny floated to the ground, his wispy ghost tail turning into two solids legs.
"What about this ghost?" Sam asked. "Why are you not blast him too?"
Jack looked puzzled at Sam's question. Noticing his amazement, she looked back at the ghost boy.
"I guess things didn't go according to plan," Danny sighed.
Skulker grumbled as he flew back to his island in the Ghost Zone. Twice thwarted in the same day, but at least he achieved his objective. When he touched down at his home, he quickly turned and fired a blast from his arm cannon.
"With tactics like that," a voice commented, "no wonder you lost to the boy."
"He's always with a pack," Skulker growled at the newcomer.
"I thought the most dangerous animals usually were," the voice laughed, "but I didn't pay you to kill the boy, now did I?"
Skulker held up two small vials, one a dark red and the other a glowing green. "He did not notice the punctures during the fights. Blood samples from both the human and ghost halves."
"Excellent," Plasmius said as he solidified in front of the hunter. "All is going according to plan."