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Dr. Raymond Stantz, Ph. D.

I can do it!

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February 8th, 2012

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hesitant
Ray has been a very, very busy man for the past few days. Finally understanding the equations he scribbled all over the walls a lifetime ago and how to apply them will do that to a guy. Terrorsaur told him the equations might form the core of a kernel of basic hyperspatial tech- not transwarp, not by a long shot, and definitely not space bridging... but everything has to start somewhere, doesn't it? And it's not as if Ray hasn't built a machine that applied intense pressure to the space-time continuum before, back in his and Egon's and Peter's and Mike's doctoral experiment. This isn't an attempt to open a hole between the world of the living and the realm of the spirits using a purely scientific machine, though. This is just an attempt to warp localized space intensely enough to make the laws of physics say 'oh screw this' and scarper off to Tahiti while the object at the center of the field happily scurries along faster than the speed of light.

Ideally, he'd test the initial field generator prototype in vacuum and microgravity. Unfortunately, he hasn't got access to microgravity. What he does have is access to vacuum- the Bar provided the components for creating a perfect airless void in a space about the size of a two hundred gallon fish tank, which is really all he needs to test the field generator. He's already compensated for the gravitic pull of the asteroid Milliways is built on.

(No, he hasn't.)

He's up in his room with the device; it's easier to control experimental conditions there than in the bar proper or out by the lake.

(Not really, it isn't.)

He's got it hooked up to a massive power array of cells like the ones that power his lightsaber, because it's not nice to cause blackouts in the Bar- it happened at Columbia, he remembers that. And he's got plenty of power in that cell array, anyway.

(Yes, yes he does. Plenty.)

So once he's got all the initial variables accounted for, he's just going to go right ahead and flip that switch.

Phlooomph, says the experimental apparatus, and everything- everything- briefly wrinkles up tighter than a raisin. Only briefly. It's all back to normal an instant later, and the power array is completely dead.

"You know, I'm almost positive it wasn't supposed to do that."

It'd be nice if the air in his room didn't taste of ozone so darn much.

December 11th, 2010

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thumbs up
There's music pouring from well-concealed speakers in the Firehouse as Tyler arrives, and we do mean well-concealed. When a building's decorator corps includes a twenty-three-foot-tall transforming robot and a five-armed, five-eyed, five-brained alien from an arboreal species, the decorations get everywhere. The outside of the Firehouse is practically wrapped in strings of lights, and the inside- well. Someone introduced Jhalak to the concept of pine garland this year and she kind of went berserk with it. The tree in one corner is as sparkly as a north Jersey homeowner's attempt to get on the local news. Even the dinosaur skull hanging from the ceiling of the ground floor is decorated. Ecto's probably to blame for the dinosaur-sized Santa hat, though.

Which isn't to say that's the only holiday being marked here. Miss Eartha the golem has very firmly staked out part of the Firehouse's ground floor for Hanukkah, on the grounds that it was a Jewish ritual that got her into the golem body she now occupies and she feels a certain measure of gratitude for that. Janine's been helping her with that, and somewhat reluctantly Egon's been doing so as well. No sign of Kwanzaa on the premises, probably because Winston is as big of a Christmas man as you'll ever find, but someone tacked up several solar symbols and "Joyous Solstice!" messages. As a matter of fact, about the only sign that anyone here isn't celebrating something is the periodic snark of "Bah humbug!" from the fish tank on Janine's desk.

"Here we are, Tyler. How's that look to you?"

May 20th, 2010

Chinatown

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I can do it!
The Firehouse isn't particularly far from Chinatown, at least not if you're in the mood for it. It's warm and sunny this time of day and year, so there's quite a few people on the streets of New York as Ray opens the door into the alley. "Come on, Tyler," he says. "Let's move before the spud decides to tag along."

September 24th, 2009

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aiiiiiigh
The door opens on a firehouse in New York City in mid-September.

"There are tentacles in my kitchen and I did not put them there," announces Ray to no one in particular, "and frankly right now I think someone else needs to deal with them. Bar, what have you got that'll distract me from the fact that I desperately need coffee right now?"

The napkin covered in small-text snickering does not help much, but there'll at least be something to eat afterwards.

September 22nd, 2009

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le sigh
"I don't get it," Janine was saying as Ray came down the stairs. "This is like the fourth or fifth month in a row I've been getting all of these data charges on my bill. Am I hitting the internet button by mistake when I put it down on the desk or something?"

"It wasn't me," said Ecto. "I use the Firehouse's internet connection. Hi, Dad."

"Hi, kiddo. Morning, Janine," Ray said.

"Morning, Dr. Stantz. You're up early," Janine answered. "Hey, Ecto, you think you could maybe figure out what my phone's doing?"

"I can monitor it from now on, but I can't really go back through the records," the car said apologetically. "I don't have access to that kind of data."

"That's okay, just keep an eye on it for me." Janine set the iPhone down on her desk and pushed it towards the car. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. What's up, Dad? You're usually kind of a zombie first thing in the morning."

Ray shook his head. "I'm trying something to get ready for October this year," he said. "What with paranormal activity ramp-up starting earlier every year and all I thought I'd better get ready ahead of time."

"Ha," came a squeaky-voiced, sour laugh from the direction of Janine's desk.

"Quiet, you," Janine ordered Peck. The fish flickered one pectoral fin through its castle window in the closest approximation of a rude gesture a Siamese fighting fish can make, then ducked out of sight. "What kind of getting ready?"

"Caffeine detox," Ray said. "I haven't had coffee, cola, chocolate or Third Rail in a little over a week."

Janine stared, wide-eyed. Ecto let out a startled honk. Even the fish poked his head out of the castle for a moment. "Jeez, Dr. Stantz," Janine finally said, "you're committing suicide?"

"No! No, no," Ray hastily assured her. "I'm just going off the stuff for a while-"

"You did talk to a doctor about this, right?" Ecto said. "I know how much you drink, Dad."

"It's going to take a lot more than caffeine deprivation to kill me, Ecto," Ray said. "Trust me, I-"

"Believe me when I say I mean no worry or concern by this," said Peck, "but given your workload and your less-than-healthy means of coping with it, you must be out of your mind."

"Look, every October since Gozer first showed up's been a nonstop knockabout round of pure insanity from start to finish," Ray said. "Last year's incident went completely over the top, what with the arrival of both Great Cthulhu and Gozer's second Destructor incarnation. We haven't had any reported activity beyond the usual from either R'lyeh or the North Magnetic Pole this year, but that doesn't mean there isn't something waiting in the works, and I for one would like to be in a mental state where any decisions I may have to make regarding whatever's coming will be the product of a reasonably well-ordered mind not completely overclocked on caffeine and adrenaline beyond the chemical tolerances of the normal human brain."

"Nice lung capacity, Ray," came Peter's voice from the direction of the stairs. "That was what, seventy-five words before you remembered to stop and take a breath?"

"Some of us are better at conveying our thoughts all at once than others, Peter."

"Yeah, whatever. I'll go put on some decaf for you."

"Good luck," Janine said, "but I kinda have to agree with Peck on this one."

September 3rd, 2009

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I can do it!
14 North Moore St
Manhattan
Mid-Afternoon


The door opens on a cloudy day in New York City; the air is cool, the winds are stirring, and the alley, as usual, has more than a few discarded papers and plastic bags blowing around. "Looks about right," Ray comments, stepping through. "Welcome to New York City, folks."

September 2nd, 2009

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civvies
Ray doesn't always look at the calendar when he should. Mostly this is because he doesn't need to. Janine tends to yell at anyone who's got an appointment if they show any signs of forgetting it, and if she doesn't, Ms. McGee the publicity agent does. Ecto tends to remind her father of dates that slip the minds of the two humans, too. Egon's taken to silently reminding everyone when the weekends are by wiping the appropriate letter off Miss Eartha's forehead to prevent a golem rampage, too, so overall there just isn't usually a need for it.

Once in a while, though, Ray does glance up at the calendar in the Firehouse kitchen, and that's when he gets twitchy.

Why he looked he didn't know and couldn't say, but it was September the second, this time. Given the PKE trends of the past few years he was pretty sure that meant they could start seeing the October rise in two to three weeks' time. Ever since the report from the Ministry of Extraordinary Threats that the magnetic poles were shifting abnormally quickly, possibly in response to Mythos attempts to locate the Hidden City, October seemed to start earlier and earlier. Busy season was coming, inevitable as the tide and snide jokes from Venkman.

He shuddered, turned deliberately away from the calendar, and ducked into the pantry to grab the one box of Chocodiles that hadn't been raided by Slimer. No, they weren't good for him, but there wasn't any other junk food around and he needed some fortification if he was going to handle this. Janine had asked him to speak to the snickering fish on her desk, and he had a sinking feeling that Peck's evilly good humor probably had to do with the time of year.

Three snack cakes later he headed down the stairs. "Hey, Janine," he called out.

"I told you he'd be coming," Janine snapped to the occupant of the ten-gallon tank at her elbow. "He's not that tied up yet."

"Give it time, my dear, give it time." The sometime-EPA-agent-turned-Siamese-fighting-fish flared his fins. "I've seen how you people work."

"You gotta do something, Dr. Stantz," said Janine as Ray approached her desk. "He's being a bigger pain in the ass than usual and I can't get a damn thing done."

Ray nodded and tapped on the tank with one finger; Peck had darted into the little fluorescent green castle Peter had bought for him some time ago. "Mr. Peck?" Ray called. "I believe we need to talk."

"I can't possibly imagine what you and I would have to talk about," called the fish from inside the castle. His voice was high and squeaky as always, a subject of suppressed mirth for Miss Eartha whenever she heard it, but Ray tended to mentally substitute Peck's original voice regardless. "I'm just a harmless fish, after all."

Ray sighed. "Mr. Peck, you've been antagonizing the one person in this Firehouse who's willing to feed you on a regular basis-"

"Assuming you can call that vile Hartz Mountain stuff food." Peck poked his head out the castle window a bit. "I'd like to formally lodge a complaint about that, by the way."

"The guy at the store said it was just as good," said Janine.

"'The guy at the store' doesn't have to eat that bilge." Peck's gill covers flared outward a moment.

"Yeah, well-"

Ray coughed; Janine threw a glare at the tank and subsided. "All right," Ray said to the fish. "We'll see about upgrading your diet if it's really that much of a problem."

"Do whatever you want. Personally, I don't care," Peck answered. "It's not as if it's going to be a problem for very much longer anyway."

"How do you mean?"

"Look at me, Dr. Stantz." The fish eased his way out through the castle window. "I'm an adult Siamese fighting fish, thanks to that gangling blond friend of yours. The average lifespan of my adopted species is two to three years."

Ray blinked; given that Peck's punitive metamorphosis had been imposed upon him in late 2007, and Ray had run afoul of the Stone Angels at Milliways in 2008, he'd completely lost track of time.

"Oh my God," said Janine, color draining from her face.

"Huh?" Ray glanced over at her. "I would think you would be-"

"Happy, Dr. Stantz?" inquired Peck. "Apparently you don't think things through as much as your secretary does. Perhaps you should refresh your memory of a certain visitor?"

"I don't-"

"He means that demon lawyer guy a couple of years back," said Janine. "Ray, you guys own Peck's soul, remember?"

Ray stared from Janine to the fish and back again.

"That means when this guy dies, unless Upstairs wants him, we're stuck with him."

May 5th, 2009

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augh
Sleep at the Firehouse was a rare and wondrous thing sometimes, what with general business in the city, the time zone difference between the Lemurian embassy and New York, and the usual general chaos. Ray had taken to napping in random chairs when he couldn't sneak away to Milliways or Romana's TARDIS for his sleep.

Unfortunately, this didn't always work as well as he might hope. He jerked awake from his nap to a truly overwhelming smell of pistachio nuts and ectoplasm. "Slimer," he said without opening his eyes, "that had better not be you."

"Mnrgl."

"Am I going to have to start buying diet snack food for everyone in the firehouse? Because I'll do it if you wake me up after an unscheduled snack one more time."

"Gfranghn nnbbhl whf bnagn."

Ray cracked open one eye. "Seriously?"

The blob- which did indeed have pistachio nuts between its teeth- nodded vigorously.

"And Egon hasn't intervened?"

"Nazzl shibbn franga fnnn."

Ray ran a hand over his face. "You'd think Peter would just buy his own. Or that Janine would use that taser I know she keeps in her desk..."

From downstairs there came a sound of tremendous clattering, as one might expect from a high speed collision of human and furniture.

"Screw this. Iim going to Milliways," Ray decided.

January 2nd, 2009

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bigtime geeks
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan
January 1st, 2009
3:30 AM


"You know," said Winston as Ecto turned the corner and wheeled herself into the Firehouse garage, "that might've just been the single quietest New Year's Eve I've ever had in Times Square."

"You've done New Year's in Times Square before? You never struck me as the big crowd, big party type," Ray answered.

"Long time ago. Back before I'd even joined the Army." Winston shook his head, a moment's rueful smile of reminiscence on his face. "I'll tell you about it in the morning. I gotta get some sleep."

"That makes two of us," Ray said. "Thanks for driving, Ecto."

"No problem, Dad. Thanks for bringing me along on this one."

"We would've been crazy not to," Ray said. "Can you imagine the two of us trying to get anywhere by ourselves if anything actually had attacked the celebration?"

"Speaking of by ourselves," said Winston, "I thought I saw a light on upstairs. We'd better go check on Egon. Think you'll be okay, Ecto?"

"Yeah, I’m gonna watch the New Year celebrations in Fairbanks." Ecto settled back on her wheels and dropped into that faintly meditative silence that accompanied her devoting more than half of her attention to network input. Ray patted the car's front fender gently with one hand and headed for the stairs, falling in behind Winston.

Upstairs was just as quiet, and most of the lights were out. Ray's usual nightlight glowed faintly from the direction of the bunk room. There were no other lights on save for the gleam from under one of the lab doors; Winston stepped forward and rapped on the door sharply with his knuckles. "Egon, man, you awake in there?"

"To some degree, yes," answered the physicist's voice after a few moments' silence. "Whether I'm fully awake or not is debatable. Would you mind coming in and verifying something for me?"

Winston and Ray exchanged glances. "All right," Ray responded. "Do you need us to bring anything?"

"Not immediately. Although the PKE meter may turn out to be advisable in the event that I genuinely am awake."

"I'm getting my proton pack," Winston said.

"I wasn't going to be the one to suggest it, but thank you," came Egon's voice.

Ray frowned; that wasn't his usual tone at all, and it certainly didn't sound like mere sleep deprivation at work. He knew that tone from personal experience. "Are you sure you're all right in there, Spengs?"

"No, Ray, as a matter of fact I'm not. Hence the need for external verification. Is Winston back yet?"

"Almost."

"Good."

Ray glanced over his shoulder at the sound of footsteps, then turned back to the door. "Okay, he's here," he reported. He pulled his PKE meter from his belt and extracted the sensor arms. "We're coming in on the count of three. One, two-"

On three he opened the door to the sight of the normally-meticulous lab. . . looking pretty much like it always did. No spirits, no slime, no shimmering weak places in the fabric of local spatiotemporal planar reality. Just a lot of equipment, and a lot of books, and a stack of notebooks, and a number of complicated diagrams pinned to one of the walls- okay, that was new- and Egon, and a more or less humanoid figure of ruddy clay, about a foot taller than anyone else in the room, with the word אמת written on its forehead and a knowing little smile on its face.

"I need that reality check now, Ray," said Egon.

December 31st, 2008

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isn't it great?
14 North Moore Street
Manhattan
December 31st, 2008
Afternoon


"Good luck, you three," said Venkman, his hand on the Firehouse door. "Times Square on New Year's Eve? I don't envy you."

"And here I thought you were the party animal," Winston answered. "You're getting old, Pete."

"Hey! I am still the party monster you've always known," Peter returned. "There's just not enough money in the city budget to get me to work in Times Square on New Year's Eve, that's all."

Ray smiled. "I don't mind," he said. "This is going to be the first New Year's I've ever spent at a party that big. Even if we are on duty."

"Have fun, Uncle Peter," Ecto chimed in. "And say hi to Dana for me."

"Sure thing, kiddo." Peter flashed Ecto a grin, waved to the others, and ducked out.

Winston shook his head. "Lucky skunk," he muttered. "You're seriously looking forward to this, Ray?"

"Sure! It'll be interesting to be part of something this big. It's not every day you're in the single most densely populated location on the entire planet, unless you live in Hong Kong."

"You're out of your mind." Winston shook his head. "Anything shows up that we have to respond to, we're gonna have to get through a million and a half screaming tourists too drunk off their butts to see us coming."

"We'll manage. One way or another." Ray smiled. "Right, Ecto?"

"I promise not to step on anybody," the hearse said.

"There you go."

"Whatever." Winston rolled his eyes and slid into the driver's seat. "Meanwhile I just wanna know what Egon's doing. Janine's with her family out in Canarsie, right?"

"I don't know, honestly," Ray said. "If he's not in his lab he's probably either up at the Met or over at the Soho synagogue."

"The thought of that man walking into a house of worship and nobody ending up in a fistfight-" Winston shook his head again. "Is it just me, or does that just seem wrong somehow?"

"He's probably just going through their libraries. I checked out their website after I saw him going in. They offer courses in aspects of kabbalah considered safe for the general public, so I'm betting they've got onsite reference materials that caught his attention. Ever since all the stuff that happened back in 1905 he's been stocking up on books on that particular approach to the paranormal."

"... yeah, okay. I can see that."
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