Happy Holidays all! For a special treat, here’s part one of the Ghostbusters: Des Moines Season 1 Finale!
Episode 8 “Dropping Off or Picking Up?”
The van pulled into the parking lot after a short trip across town. Each of the Ghostbusters was tired and, even with their successful trap of one of the Seven, feeling defeated.
The recent discovery that their enemy could mask themselves by dispersing their P.K.E. energy brought the Ghostbusters back to square one. They were no closer to stopping Erra’s rise to power and therefore just as far from finding Regina’s brother, Blake.
Jordan drove the van back with the entirety of the team inside except Cynthia who followed them in her pickup truck.
Simon didn’t bother parking the van in a spot, letting Cynthia park her truck in a space before parking the Ecto-Van directly in front of the door. In the last two weeks, their last neighbors in the adjoining offices packed up. The rumor was that they hadn’t weren’t fond of the supernatural elements of their newest neighbor.
Simon used a gadget in the back to siphon the big purple cat into a trap. The Ghostbusters still had their packs with them, as they had nowhere to store their packs with a large cat in the back of the vehicle. Grabbing his from Regina, Simon slung the straps over his shoulders but didn’t snap the buckle at his waist.
As a very tired team, they climbed from their vehicles and somberly sauntered into their office.
Stopping once they were inside, Cynthia turned to the rest of them.
“I don’t suppose that any of you have any new ideas about where we go from here?”
The door opened again, and a voice from behind them answered.
“Perhaps I might be able to help you with that?”
Walking in only steps behind them, was the Chairman.
Proton wands were drawn with practiced ease. Each of them aimed directly at the Chairman.
“Say another word, and you’ll know what it feels like to become one of the dearly departed.”
“The Chairman, we know,” Regina said. Her grip on the proton wand was tight. If anyone was likely to learn the destructive capabilities of a proton stream when it touches flesh, it was going to be her.
“Um,” The Chairman replied hesitantly, “no. That would be my title.” He smiled at them in an almost jolly expression. “I was under the impression that the Ghostbusters were intelligent scientists.”
Cynthia hooked her thumb at Simon. “He is. What’s your name?”
“Martin Murray,” his smile didn’t waver. “I’m the Chairman of a group that would like to see an ancient force rise to power.”
“Erra,” Jordan supplied. His brow was furrowed and his eyes were distant.
“Correct. Jordan, correct?” Nobody answered Martin, so he continued. “Anyway, I’m here to-“
“Grab the zip-ties,” Cynthia barked, interrupting Martin Murray. “Top drawer of my desk.”
Jordan snapped from his daze long enough to ask, “Zip-ties?”
Jordan holstered his wand and moved to Cynthia’s desk. He came straight back with the zip-ties.
“Put them on him,” Cynthia ordered, “tight.”
Jordan stepped forward and took the Chairman’s wrists as he offered them up. When they were in the zip-ties, Cynthia kicked over a desk chair on wheels.
The Chairman stepped toward it and sat down.
“I’m all snug and you are all armed,” he said. “May I continue?”
When no one said anything, he continued exactly where he had left off. “The people that I represent have tired of conventional wealth.” He crossed his legs, getting comfortable despite his shackled wrists. “In their search for something new, they discovered the stories of your adversary, Erra.”
Jordan was staring at the Chairman intently. “The rise of the Seven. Chaos on Earth. Marduk surrendered his throne in order to avoid the havoc that Erra brought.”
Martin frowned but nodded. “Things were kind of a mess, to be sure, but there were people who aided in Erra’s rise and they were rewarded with powers beyond mortal comprehension.” He shrugged. “So, that’s what we’re doing.” Martin waggled his bound hands toward Regina. “We want power. The power to remold the world into something better.” He held up his palms, urging them not to interrupt him. “The usual villain line, always neatly packaged in that arrogant sentence. ‘I only want to change the world to make it a better place.’ I know what you’re thinking and it sounds evil, but what have we done that’s been evil? Possessions? None of them were taken unwillingly. Every possession is less a possession and mutual symbiosis. And the people involved? All leaders of political and economic arenas. We have a mutually beneficial allegiance with these beings and we’re striving for a better society.”
Simon shook his head, “Except that you’re dealing with Erra, a god of chaos.
“Oh, come on,” The Chairman scrunched up his face. “Grow up. Erra has. Those stories are how old? Almost 3000 years. If people can mature, why can’t gods?”
“What does Erra want in exchange for this power?” Cynthia asked.
Martin frowned and became much less animated. “Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to say. As part of our deal with him.”
“Of course,” Cynthia rolled her eyes at their captive. “We get it. You’re not a bad person, you want fairy dust to sprinkle down on the world, but you can’t convince us of your benevolence while working with a lord of chaos who’s kidnapped her brother and who’s already caused hell all over this city.”
Martin nodded, seeming to accept Cynthia’s words as fact. “Let me get my offer out, then you can do what you like.” He sighed. “Erra is going to win. That song has already been sung, but we still have a note to play. This evening we’ll be using a religious center to gather as much spiritual energy as we can out of Des Moines and it would move smoother without your involvement. So, in exchange for you ignoring us for the evening, we would be willing to offer you anything you requested.”
“Anything?” Simon asked. “Like, if we wanted you to leave Des Moines and never return, you’d pack up right now?”
“My bags are in the car.”
“What about my brother?” Regina asked.
The Chairman hesitated before answering. “I believe that would be outside of my control. Erra is –“
Regina shot him with a proton stream.
“Holy shit!” Simon shouted.
Cynthia holstered her wand and spun on Regina, yanking the younger woman’s wand out of her hand.
“What the hell was that?” She turned to Simon. “Get her out of this pack.”
Simon hesitated only a bit before running forward and unlatching the buckle of Regina’s pack.
He looked to where Jordan still stood, staring at the corpse of the Chairman, Martin Murray.
“A little help, Ross.”
“He’s not dead.”
“What,” Simon spun and looked directly at the Chairman with a gaping whole in his chest that was large enough to slide a person through. His eyes were dead and it was obvious that the body had no animating spirit left in it.
“They don’t get any deader,” Simon said dryly.
Jordan walked over to the body and grabbed the edges of the wound, pulling them out and stretching them. They formed a thick goop into his hands and dripped away like silly putty.
“He’s not dead,” Jordan repeated, “because he wasn’t real.”
Everyone stopped what they were doing as the body melted to an odd pile of flesh-colored goop.
“His parlay was bogus,” Regina was filled with rage. “The whole thing stunk from the moment that he came in here.”
Cynthia jabbed her finger into Regina’s face. Regina didn’t flinch. “You didn’t know that he was…” she gestured wildly at the puddle. “You shot him with a nuclear weapon.”
“And he betrayed my brother and killed your friend,” Regina’s eyes were filled with tears, but anger was all that came through. “I will not regret shooting him.”
Simon slid the pack off of her back and set it on the nearby desk.
“You’re benched,” was all Cynthia had to say to Regina before turning to Jordan. “What is that?”
“Magic,” he wavered as he crouched over the stuff. “Can’t you feel it? It’s radiating as if it’s nuclear.”
“No, we can’t feel anything,” Simon turned and ran back to his workshop.
Ignoring him, Cynthia urged Jordan to continue.
“It’s a homunculus, a magical clone. People with enough magical energy can create duplicates of themselves that they can control remotely.”
Simon came back in a rush carrying a device that looked like the P.K.E. meter but was much larger. He waved it over Jordan before nodding.
“This measures, well, a lot of different energy signatures. It’s getting a blip from Jordan.” He smiled, excited by the prospect. “I think he has latent magical talent.”
“Great,” Regina said. “Get him a broom and let’s go after the assholes that have my brother.”
Cynthia shot her a glare before turning back to Simon. “What does that mean?”
“Probably nothing unless he can develop it further.”
“I knew that the Chairman wasn’t real,” Jordan said. “I didn’t know what it was, but he felt like he was giving off waves of energy.”
“Like a living P.K.E. meter,” Simon smiled. “That’s cool.”
“How is this possible?” Cynthia asked.
Simon shrugged. “The current theory is that people with dormant magical ability in their bloodline can have it activated by spiritual trauma.”
“Like our jobs,” Cynthia agreed.
“I think I have relatives that were burned in Salem,” Jordan added.
“Unless you need to sit this out, we need to get back to the issue at hand.” Jordan nodded to Cynthia that he was fine and she continued. “We just had the leader of Team Chaos in here, and thanks to our hot headed rookie, we still know nothing more than we did an hour ago.”
Regina didn’t flinch at the accusation.
“That’s not necessarily true,” Jordan said.
“What isn’t?” Simon asked.
“I think I know where they are,” Jordan was suddenly animated. “Martin said that they needed to channel spiritual energy. The largest center for spiritual energy tonight is going to be the evening mass at Hope Lutheran Church.”
“It has the largest membership in the state,” Simon agreed.
“Evening mass will give them enough power to do whatever the hell it is they need to do?” Regina asked.
Simon shrugged. “I guess so. Although, if Erra is already riding shotgun in your brother, than what else is there to do?”
“He’s stuck in your brother,” Jordan answered. “Erra is here, but his power isn’t. That’s why he’s been staying hidden, and that’s why he needs spiritual energy. He’s going to use it to give himself back his power.”
“Simon,” Cynthia turned to the scientist, “would the slime free Regina’s brother?”
“Before he gets his power, yes, it should. If we wait until after he has enough energy to be at full strength, than we won’t be able to contain him.”
Jordan frowned. “With that much power, he won’t just release Blake either. He’ll burn through him to make his way fully into our world.”
Cynthia spun and jabbed her finger at Regina for a second time. “You’re on the slime thrower. No destructive weapons, you’re on probation. Everyone else, get into the van.”
The large church that was Hope Lutheran was in West Des Moines, and it took the Ghostbusters twenty minutes to get across town, even with the sirens blaring. The parking lot was packed, but that didn’t slow the Ghostbusters. Instead, they parked directly in front of the door, unloaded and ran in.
Walking the halls, they strode directly toward the mass. The huge double doors were shut, but they could hear the sermon from the lobby.
They opened the doors quietly, but every head still turned toward them as they circled the auditorium in search of the Chairman.
They were so intent on their search that they each let out a little yelp when the minister spoke.
“Is there something that we can do to help you, Ghostbusters?”
When their eyes fell on the minister, they each brought up their weapons, even though Jordan and Regina’s slime throwers didn’t have the range to hit him from where they stood.
The crowd was obviously confused, but stay quiet.
“Where’s Erra?” Cynthia demanded.
“Excuse me?” Martin Murray smiled as he pretended not to understand the question.
Cynthia stared at the Chairman without repeating her question.
“Oh,” he said as imaginary insight suddenly came to him. “You’re referencing the diety that asked me to keep you busy while he remade reality.”
In that instance, everyone in the the ceremony vanished. They had never been there. The Chairman’s arms stretched out and he levitated up, stopping about ten feet from the floor.
“He will be most pleased with me when you are dead and he can add your souls to his power.”
“Can we hit him now?” Regina asked.
Cynthia answered by shooting her own proton stream at the floating disciple of Erra.
A shield of energy enveloped the Chairman and absorbed the impact of the proton stream. Jordan and Regina joined in with their slime throwers. Pews tore from the flooring and sailed across to take them out, but not before slime passed through the shield and hit the Chairman. He fell to the ground as the positively charged mood slime absorbed his powers.
As he fell to the ground, Cynthia shouted again. “Where’s Erra?”
The Chairman started laughing as his body continued to absorb her proton stream.
“Simon,” she shouted next, “hit him!”
Simon nodded and threw his own stream into the mix.
Simon’s stream hit the Chairman’s arm. It sliced off, as if cut by a large sword. The limb fell toward the floor, but before it touched down, it disintegrated in a burst of dust.
“It’s another clone,” Jordan shouted.
Cynthia’s eyes went wide. “A clone? Why a clone?”
Jordan lowered his slime thrower and looked at Cynthia. Over the sound of the Chairman’s laughter, he said, “This is a distraction.”
Understanding reached Jordan’s eyes as they filled with horror.
Simon turned off his stream as the rest of the cloned Chairman suddenly disintegrated.
“I was wrong,” Jordan shouted and then began running out of the church.
When they all caught up with him at the van he was already in the driver’s seat and waving them in.
“Hurry up!” he shouted. “I was wrong,” Jordan repeated. “The church was a distraction. It’s not the largest source of spiritual power in the city.”
Cynthia suddenly understood. “The containment unit.”