TERMINATED, Part One
October 31, 2006
The ritual was almost complete. The influx of energies created on the night of All Hallow's Eve had proven as effective as they had hoped. It was almost time and when they were done, no one would be able to stop them.
November 1, 2006
Aidan Munroe, 21, stood on the corner of Vista Del Mar Highland and Rosencranz avenues, staring up at the warehouse with the large neon orange logo on the front depicting a startled ghost inside of a no symbol. Aidan had been standing there staring at it for so long that people had begun to slow down as they passed him in the streets.
"Well," he said to himself, "it has to be better than spending the rest of my academic career flipping burgers or selling star maps to tourists. Besides I've waited for a chance to do something like this my whole life."
He stared at the building some more, mustering up the courage. The people on the street and in their cars grumbled about weird tourists.
"Ok Munroe suck it up, they won't hire you if you're all nervous and crap… and especially if they've noticed you standing out here staring at the building this whole time," he muttered as he began to notice the weird looks the pedestrians were giving him.
Aidan squared up his shoulders, sucked in a deep breath and marched towards the building. He really should've looked across the street when he walked because he then nearly got run over by half-dozen cars.
"Ugh, this is not going to be good day for me," he sighed, "C'mon Munroe, think positive."
Opening the front door, he stepped into what was presumably the lobby. There was a large desk set up on the left, behind which sat a very attractive blond woman… who was wearing a wedding band.
Why are all the gorgeous ones always taken? Aidan thought to himself.
"Can I help you?" asked the woman.
Aidan stepped up to the desk and sucked in another large breath. All or nothing, do or die time.
"I want a job here at Ghostbusters West Coast!" he said in a huge rush. Aidan could feel his face turning red form embarrassment.
Damn damn damn damn!
"I'm sorry could you say that again?"
"I would like to apply for a job here at Ghostbusters West Coast.
The woman regarded him very carefully and then began to pull up some files on her computer. Aidan noticed for the first time that she was wearing one of those little plastic nametags that identified her as Chelsea Aberdeen Baugh.
Aberdeen? Sounds Scottish or Irish. Mom would probably know.
"Well you seem to be enthusiastic enough, but I'm not sure. We already have a pretty full roster and our CEO, Dr. Baugh is out on a call right now. How about you tell me about yourself.
"Not much to tell. My name is Aidan Munroe. I'm a High School and college grad, I just moved here, I'm broke, I live in a crappy apartment, I watch too much TV. Look I could really use the job, I hate to sound like a fanboy but I've wanted to be a Ghostbuster ever since I was little. I'll do anything you want. I'll work for free. And how many people do you know who'd actually want to do something like this for free?"
Chelsea was about to reply when the familiar sound of a large garage door opening could be heard through the walls.
"Ah that would be Fritz and the gang. Would you like to meet them Mr. Munroe?"
"Sure," he said, figuring that this would be a great time to make a better impression than he thought he had been making. Chelsea led him into the garage area of the converted warehouse where a converted white and neon orange SWAT van had just parked in front of a white Cadillac that looked almost exactly like the original Ghostbusters' ECTO-1A. From out of the van tumbled a collection of the filthiest people Aidan had ever seen. There were six men and one woman. They were all dressed in identical dark blue jumpsuits with the now familiar neon orange striping, and all of them were dripping with foul smelling ectoplasm.
"Never again. I give up on this job," moaned a blond-haired man who was wearing a slime encrusted ball cap.
"Hey Jen, do you think that little spud meant to do that to your…" began the man with glasses but the brown-haired woman cut him off.
"One more word outta you Hicks and you'll be eating soft food for a month!"
A man with short black hair and another man with shoulder-length black hair and a goatee were supporting a third man with curly brown hair who seemed to not be able to put any weight on his left foot.
"Damn that little spud for messing with my prosthetic. I'll probably have to send it to the techs at the hospital if I can't fix it myself," groaned the injured Ghostbuster.
"Welcome back guys. How did it go?" said Chelsea who replaced the Ghostbuster with the goatee in carrying the injured man.
"The little ones are always the worst," replied the man whose jumpsuit nametag read STEVENS.
"We got 'em all though," replied the glasses-wearing man whose name was HICKS holding a bundle of three traps in each fist.
"Let's get you upstairs Fritz," said Chelsea as she helped Stevens support Fritz, "by the way, this is Mr. Aidan Munroe, he's here to apply for a job."
Stevens, Fritz, and the ball cap Ghostbuster, whose name apparently was HARNESS, looked at Chelsea, then at Aidan, then at each other.
"Beautiful. You're hired," said Fritz, "I'm Dr. Baugh, franchise CEO, this is Drs. Harness, Stevens, Chrismer, Ketchum, Thompson, and Mr. Jeremy Hicks."
"It'll be good to have a new rookie around," said Dr. Harness, "While the nasties are busy eating you it'll give the rest of us time to get away."
"Welcome aboard," said Jeremy as he handed Aidan the armfuls of traps and then made a beeline for the showers. In just a couple of seconds, Aidan was all alone in the garage with an armful of smoking ghost traps.
"Why do I get the feeling that I'm in for the ride of my life?" he asked himself.
November 5, 2006
A week had passed since Aidan had been "hired." Since then he'd had official interviews with Fritz, Kyle Stevens, and Andy Harness, been hired through the proper legal channels, had been given a tour of GB Central West, and been properly introduced to the various members of the GBWC team. He'd gotten on well with all of them except for one bad incident with Rachel Leavenworth, resident specter of GBCentral West. Aidan and Jeff Chrismer had been out on the shooting range practicing with the Proton Packs when Rachel glided through the door on her cleaning rounds. Aidan, who hadn't met her before, startled by her appearance, turned the particle thrower on her and zapped her good. Her shriek of indignation promptly turned Aidan and Jeff's hair white, and her anger left a puddle of slime on the floor, a strong smell of smoke and ashes throughout HQ and a slimy handprint on Aidan's left cheek.
Later Rachel had stumbled upon him in the rec room watching movies and they had managed to reconcile the incident when they found out they both shared a passion for the Back to the Future trilogy. For the first week on the job, it had been one interesting week.
The man strode down the street, utterly and completely naked, and didn't care a damn about it. He walked with a confident, almost arrogant stride and kept his eyes firmly fixed ahead, not caring a whit for the people who passed him with open mouths or appreciative glances. He caused almost a dozen accidents as people in their cars did double takes at the sight of a naked man walking down the street. The man only stopped when a LAPD police cruiser pulled to a stop beside and an officer leaned out the window.
"Hey buddy you all right? Do you need help?"
The man paused and faced the officer. The cop felt a strange sensation looking into the man's eyes, as if he was a piece of meat that was being assessed.
"No, I'm fine," responded the man in an even, friendly voice. He smiled down at the officer, a smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"Say, that's a nice car."
Today was the final rally before the election and Governor Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was ready for anything. Standing before the sea of news media Schwarzenegger waved briefly and then began his speech. Behind him, seated in neat rows on the raised dais that had been erected in front of the capitol building in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger's aides and advisors, particularly his speech writer, sat and waited for the crowds reaction. All the months of campaigning had been leading up to this and one screw up, even after a great record in office, might spoil the whole thing.
In the crowd below a uniformed police officer moved through the onlookers and reporters with silent grace. Of average height, the officer had the look of one who might have been in the armed force at one time. He had short brown hair and a calm, dispassionate face. Once he was about twenty feet away from the podium, he calmly unholstered his sidearm, pointed it unerringly at the Governor and pulled the trigger.
"And so, people of California, I promise you that we will be able to look forward," the governor was saying as he prepared to wrap up his speech when a voice to his right shouted, "Gun!" and he was tackled by one of his bodyguards, who promptly caught a faceful of bullets. Pandemonium broke out. People ran in every direction while police and dark suited security guards rushed towards the fake cop assassin with guns drawn.
"Freeze! Drop the weapon and put you hands in the air!" shouted one of the cops. The assassin looked to his left and right, assessing the threat, then calmly loaded his weapon.
"I said drop it!" bellowed the same cop. It was the last thing he said. With a speed that almost couldn't be seen by the human eye, the assassin shot each of the cops, his arm seeming to bend at impossible angle as he shot around and behind him. Each cop drooped to the pavement, dead before they hit. With no emotion on his face whatsoever, the assassin reloaded his weapon and looked around for the governor. Schwarzenegger was being led to a waiting escape vehicle. The assassin started forward, firing as he went. More police followed him, empting their guns at the assassin. But even thought the bullets clearly hit him, the fake cop continued moving calmly forward, utterly ignoring the hail of lead that was being fired at him. The governor's car's tires screeched and the vehicle began to pull away. The assassin, out of bullets dropped his gun. Then, to the astonishment of all who saw it, the man's arms flashed with a quicksilver gleam and elongated into a pair of swords. He began to run after the fleeing car, easily matching its speed. The assassin leapt onto the trunk of the car and smashed in the rear window with his sword arms. Then one of the bodyguards in the vehicle did something both very heroic and very foolish. He leapt out of the broken rear window, tackling the assassin. As the governor's car sped away, the two men rolled to a stop. The assassin, not a single out of place item on his LAPD uniform and no injuries, promptly rose to his feet with liquid grace and relieved the hapless bodyguard of his head with a wet snicker-snack. The assassin gazed down the street the governor's car had vanished, and then walked into a side alley. When police arrived the scene, they found no trace of the assassin except for a little bit of strange, sliver goop.
The Ghostbusters received the call in the early evening.
"Saddle up guys and gal, the Governor of California calls for your aid," said Rose Prevost as she handed Fritz the note she had written.
"Governor? Governor Arnold I'm going to pahmp you ahp Schwarzenegger?" asked Jeremy Hicks.
"Trying using that corny accent to his face Jeremy, and see what happens," smirked Jeff.
The Ecto-1N, the converted 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor that the New York Ghostbusters had made famous, arrived at the governor's mansion with lights blazing and siren wailing and fit right in with the three dozen or so police vehicles outside.
"Boy is it cramped in there," groaned Jeremy as he levered himself out of the car.
"Yeah, after the Ecto-WC, the 1N is kinda small," commented Kyle Stevens. Aidan, brimming over with excitement for being on his first case, walked to the back of the Ecto to grab a proton pack. To his dismay, all the packs were gone. Instead a grinning Andy Harness handed him a pistol-shaped thrower attached to a small pack with a cylinder atop it that was worn on a belt.
"What's this?" asked Aidan, eyeing the pistol with slight contempt.
"Proton Pistol system. You're the rookie so you get the small gun since there's only enough packs for us grown ups," said Andy with a smirk.
The Mk. 3 Proton gun had been developed by Egon Spengler and Roland Jackson back in 1997 but had only seen very limited use by GBI franchises, even less so when the Mk. 4 Proton Pack had come out. The Mk. Three was worn on the belt, the power pack and core worn fanny pack style, with the pistol holstered on either side of the hips.
"Oh man," Aidan grumbled as he buckled it on," you saddled me with the girl gun." Passing by the two men, Jennifer Thompson took the opportunity to smack Aidan in the head.
"What was that for?"
"For being a man," she replied.
"Deal with it newbie," said Andy.
The Ghostbusters met with Governor Schwarzenegger in his office on the ground floor of his palatial mansion. The governor greeted them and then flipped on the big flatscreen. All the news channels were playing nothing but the story of the attempted assassination. Fritz looked up in confusion.
"Sir, we're the Ghostbusters, this looks more like a job for the FBI or even the CIA. What did you call us for?" Schwarzenegger gestured and one of his aides, a pretty brunette handed a file to Fritz. He noticed, with a start, that the ID tag she was wearing had PENELOPE PECK.
Glancing through the file's contents, Fritz and the Ghostbusters saw several photos of the assassin taken at the rally where he had tried to kill the governor.
"Hey!" shouted Jeremy, "I know that guy!"
"Everybody does," added Aidan, "That's Robert Patrick, the guy who played the T-1000 in Terminator 2. Heh, he's even wearing the cop uniform too."
Wordlessly Penelope handed them another photo of the same actor dressed in military fatigues. The difference here was that the man in the photo was at least twenty years older.
"Robbie was on the set of The Unit all day. The man who shot at me is not the same man," said Schwarzenegger, "The police on scene fired more than a hundred rounds into him but he didn't even twitch. Do you have any idea what that could be?"
In response, Fritz flipped on his PKE meter and began running over and around Schwarzenegger.
"Hmm. The PKE traces are faint but I can still get a reading. Guys I believe we are dealing with a Class V free roaming ectomorph."
"What?" said Schwarzenegger.
"Shape shifter," supplied Jeff.
"But why is it trying to kill me? I don't remember pissing off any ghosts lately! This is… insane! And it's only one day until the election! The press is already calling this a publicity stunt. Look, I don't care what it takes but I want you to figure out what this thing is and…" the Governor was cut off as the light abruptly shut off, plunging the office into darkness. Heavy automatic gunfire immediately broke out in the direction of the front hall. Two plainclothes police officer rushed forward and slammed the door shut and braced with a chair. At that same moment the emergency lights came on. A section of the wall slid up to reveal a bank of CCTV monitors. The governor, his aides, the police, and the Ghostbusters looked the monitor in shock as they showed blue-gray images of the same man who resembled Robert Patrick, still dressed as an LAPD officer, march through the mansion, holding an M-16 in each hand, wielding them like pistols. Any person unlucky enough to get in the assassin's way was coldly cut down. He kept walking, never slowing his pace, straight towards the office.
"Uh guys? Power on I think," said Andy pulling out his proton thrower and thumbing the activation switch. With a familiar subsonic click and whine the Proton Pack revved up to power as the others armed theirs as well. Aidan felt very stupid standing next to them with only his Proton Pistol, like Will Smith in Men in Black.
The door flew open, rebounding off the wall and snapping off its hinges. The assassin stood in the doorway and leveled his weapons directly at Schwarzenegger.
"Fire!" shouted Fritz. Seven proton beams lanced out and knocked the assassin to the floor. The Ghostbusters gasped in horror as the assassin promptly got back to his feet. His chest was mess of crater wounds but instead of bloody flesh, silver metal glinted in the emergency lighting.
"Holy freakin' crap," breathed Aidan, "It really is the T-1000!"
The wounds on the T-1000 oozed closed. The liquid metal killer looked up at the Ghostbusters and silently wagged a finger at them as if they were disobedient children. Then it reached inside itself, it's hands dipping into its chest like you would dip a finger into some cake batter. It pulled out a pair of Uzis and once again took aim at the governor. Only problem was that the Ghostbusters were in the way.
"No you don't!" snarled Jeff, thrusting his hands out. The air between him and the T-1000 instantly dropped to sub-zero temperatures as ice crystals and frost billowed around the office. The T-1000 looked down at its arms in something akin to annoyance. Its arms had been frozen from the elbows down, the Uzis just useless lumps of metal and plastic. It began to stalk towards the Ghostbusters, obviously not caring that its guns were useless.
"Nuke it!" shouted Jennifer. The 'Busters poured proton fire into the T-1000 driving clear back through the hallway. The T-1000, perhaps realizing it was at a tactical disadvantage, turned and fled.
"Governor until we can figure out a way to contain this entity as safely as possible, I suggest that you, and any members of you're immediate family stay at our headquarters in LA," said Fritz. They were now standing in the ruined entrance hall of the governor's mansion. Police and EMTs swarmed around taking statements and removing bodies. Schwarzenegger, still dazed by the impact of the attempted assassination by a fictional movie character, nodded mutely.
"Are sure we're dealing with a spook and not. you know, the real thing?" asked Kyle, watching an EMT console the aide whose name was Penelope.
"The PKE meter doesn't lie. Whatever that thing looks like, it's still a shape shifter. A particularly malevolent one at that," said Fritz, "We'll have to be ready for anything."
"I just got off the phone with Chelsea and Rose," said Andy, snapping his cell phone shut, "They've called GBI to let them know what's going on.
"Good. Kyle, Andy, drive the Ecto-1N around back," said Fritz, "We shouldn't let the media see that we're leaving with Governor Schwarzenegger."
"Sure thing Fritzy," said Andy, flashing him a thumbs up, "C'mon rookie, let's go."
"Right behind you," said Aidan, stepping out of the way of a pair of coroners wheeling a gurney with a body bag on it. Aidan paused for a moment, watching the scene of controlled chaos around him, the police lights outside reflecting off of the pools of blood on the floor.
"Man, Winston Zeddemore was right. This job definitely aint worth eleven-five a year.
END OF PART I