Chapter II: Extended Service Agreement
The Sedgewick Hotel was one of the ‘Grand Old Hotels’ of New York City, the kind that had been built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As the skyscrapers started to rise around the city, these elegant edifices became icons of America’s wealth in the Industrial Revolution. But like many things in New York it had its secrets as well. What had been called a ‘cult,’ had been discovered in the building’s basement many years ago. Ever since that day, there had been some reported hauntings at the hotel, almost always on the twelfth floor. Back in 1984, the ‘disturbances’ had become so serious that the hotel’s manager, having seen a certain commercial on television, called New York’s first and only paranormal investigation and elimination company.
For that reason, the Sedgewick held special memories for the Ghostbusters as the site of their first call. And the site of their first restraining order too. Now, seven years later, they were back. Janine had called ahead to let the manager, a new one apparently, know that they were coming. He was not at all thrilled.
The doors to the Sedgewick’s lobby swung open and the Ghostbusters marched in, Venkman swaggering like he owned the place.
“We’re back!” he said loudly. The guests, bellhops, concierges and staff just stared at them. Marty felt like he was being looked at like a particularly unwanted house pet.
“Is this most people’s usual reaction when you guys arrive?” he asked.
“Meh, don’t worry about it kid,” replied Venkman nonchalantly, “the straights always get nervous when we show up.”
Out of the crowd, the manager came swooping down on them.
“That disgusting green blob is up on the 12th floor again, wreaking havoc! I demand a refund right now!”
“Sir, if you’d checked the fine print on our invoice…” began Peter, when Ray broke in, “Invoices!”
“Right, invoices, you’d see that the warranty on re-haunting expired some time ago. You should have taken the extended service agreement.”
The manager scowled sourly and gestured towards the elevators and then stalked off. Marty was so busy trying to take everything in that he almost didn’t notice the other Ghostbusters walk off towards the elevator. He hurried to catch up to them. Snatches of conversation floated past him as he rejoined the others.
“Isn’t that the Ghostbusters?”
“Get up to the room and get all our stuff before they blow up the whole building!”
“I don’t recognize that one guy, I thought the fourth one was black?”
“The hotel safe is rated against ray guns right?”
“They moved us into a corner suite on the 10th floor, I bet the twelfth is why THEY’RE here.”
Egon already had his PKE out and was scanning the lobby.
“I’m picking up some very unusual readings here and not just from Slimer. I’d like a chance to look around the whole building, if you don’t mind.”
“No problem,” replied Ray, “We’ll take Marty, head on up to the twelfth and get Slimer.”
Egon began to wander off, waving his PKE at various people and objects and generally acting like someone who wasn’t quite right. Venkman jabbed the button on one of the elevator panels. Surprisingly there was an immediate ping and the doors to one car opened, revealing a very beautiful young woman. She was dressed in a maroon turtleneck over which she wore a white blouse and navy jacket, along with a skirt of the same color, and knee high black leather boots. She had dark brown hair pulled into a bun at the back of her head. If the intended affect was supposed to be scholarly, the result was entrancing. Combine that with lovely jade eyes and she was just about the loveliest thing Marty had ever seen… next to Jennifer of course.
“Well hello. Don’t worry miss, you’re perfectly safe, the Ghostbusters are here,” said Peter, charming as all get out.
The lady seemed to not comprehend this for a moment, a dazed look on her face, which then turned into a pretty scowl. I mean, wow! How many women do you know who can make a scowl look pretty?
“Back off loser! Never gonna happen!” she said angrily and stalked off to the lobby. Venkman just chuckled.
“That approach rarely works with me, I’ll show you why later,” he called after her.
The Ghostbusters piled into the elevator car and Ray hit the button for the twelfth floor.
“Alright Ace, get ready,” said Ray to Marty, unlimbering his neutrona wand. Peter and Marty did the same.
“Dr. Stantz, would you do the honors?” asked Peter.
“Proud too Dr. Venkman,” replied Ray, throwing the activator switch on the wand, his proton pack powering up with that now familiar click-whine. Venkman and Marty did the same.
“Part of our settlement with the city,” Peter explained, “Proton Packs must remain off in heavily populated areas.”
“And it satisfies the restraining order the maid here had put on us,” added Ray as the elevator doors opened and they walked carefully out.
“World we live in today! You shoot a stream of highly-charged protons at someone and they get all sue happy!” scoffed Venkman sarcastically. There was a sudden creaking noise from around the corner of one of the branching corridors.
“It’s him!” shouted Ray. Venkman instantly spun around and opened fire. A baggage cart flew into a wall and a bellhop, screaming his head off, ran down the corridor.
“Great, another plaintiff,” grumbled Venkman.
“Well if Slimer didn’t already know we’re here, he does now,” said Ray pulling on his Para-goggles and unholstering his PKE Meter. “Marty, start scanning.”
Marty pulled out the PKE he’d grabbed out of the Ecto-1B and switched it on.
“We can explain the finer points of the PKE later, but for now, the louder it buzzes, the closer to a source of PK energy you are. The readouts on the screen will help you identify what is you’re homing in on,” Ray explained as the three of them moved slowly down a hallway. “Your para-goggles are now linked to your PKE, new feature that Egon and I added. Makes it almost impossible for ghosts to hide from us.” At that, Ray’s and Marty’s PKEs began to hum loudly, the little sensor arms rising and blinking furiously.
“This way!” cried Ray as he took off down one of the halls, “Venkman, Marty, hurry up!”
“Aw c’mon Ray, I’m always the one that gets a face full of slime every time the little green buddy escapes! He doesn’t even know me well enough to hate me!”
As they passed by the stairwell, Marty saw a green light flare from the hallway in front of him.
“Contact!” shouted Ray as he ducked under a flying suitcase. Several more pieces of baggage came flying towards them, causing the three Ghostbusters to duck.
“Just another screwed up day at the office,” muttered Peter.
As they walked slowly down the next hallway, wary of more assaults from flying luggage, a sound like slurping and chomping could also be heard.
“I think we just found the little scud ball,” said Venkman, a dangerous glint in his eyes.
“And there he is!” said Ray as he peered around a corner. Slimer was a couple of yards down the hall, floating next to a room service trolley and tray, devouring every last scrap of food on it, even though it simply passed right through his ectoplasmic body, like the wine he was drinking was currently doing.
“ Remember, zap ‘em, cap ‘em and trap ‘em,” said Ray to Marty. Marty nodded, a scowl on his face.
“Time for round three,” he said.
He and Ray swung around the corner almost at once and opened fire on Slimer. The little blob howled and took off down the corridor, the force of his flight, carrying the trolley down the hall as well. Slimer zoomed down the hall, screaming with the impact of the proton beams until he hit the wall and passed through it. The same could not be said of the trolley, which smashed into the wall, spilling the remainder of its contents across the floor.
“Oh, we had him!” moaned Ray, “Quick! I’ll go with the Marty down that way, Pete, head the other way and we’ll catch him in a pincer!”
“Naw, I’ve seen how this one ends. I’ll let you two handle it. If you need me, I’ll be by the elevators, where I can escort any ladies safely to their rooms.”
“Right,” said Ray dubiously, “c’mon Marty, we’re burning daylight.” PKEs held out in front, para-goggles down, the two tracked Slimer through the halls.
“Uh, this thing just lit up like a Christmas tree here Doc Stantz,” said Marty.
“Great! From where?”
“Well it’s kinda weird. It’s coming from this plant pot.”
Ray smiled and drew his neutrona wand.
“Things aren’t always what they appear to be.” He blasted the pot, which burst apart revealing Slimer, who took off again. A blast from Marty only grazed him.
“This is way heavy,” Marty exclaimed.
“Yeah, it’s a wonder we caught him with so little damage done to the place last time,” said Ray as they raced after the spud. Suddenly the radios crackled and they heard Peter moan, “Ray! I don’t feel so good!”
“Uh oh we got a man down! Move!”
They took off down the hall leading back to the elevators. Marty found himself huffing and puffing like he’d run a one-minute mile. Sixty pounds of proton pack can really take it out of you!
They rounded a bend and came back to the elevator alcove where Venkman was sprawled on the floor in a puddle of green goo.
“There he is! He’s been slimed! Again! Help him up will you Marty?”
Marty promptly helped Peter to his feet.
“How did this even happen?! I was covering the elevators!”
Venkman was pretty disgusting, now that Marty got a good look at him. The slime was swathed all around his shoulders chest and neck. Peter was making a futile attempt to brush it off.
“The mutant Stromboli snuck up on me! Gah! Funktified again!”
“Maybe I could get a towel from the rooms?” suggested Marty tentatively. Whatever reply Peter had was cut off when the Radio crackled again and Egon’s voice said, “You guys need to get down here right away. Our live-in science experiment is tearing up the lobby and he’s not alone.”
“More Ghosts?” said Ray skeptically, “But we gave this place a clean bill of health seven years ago.”
“New people die every day,” Egon deadpanned.
“All right then, call the elevator, cadet.”
The car arrived after only a few moments and the Ghostbusters stepped inside, Venkman still wiping slime off and cursing fiercely under his breath.
“You think he’d be used to it by now,” Ray stage-whispered to Marty.
“I can hear you Ray,” said Venkman grumpily.