The Ghostbusters franchise in Gotham is less than a year old. It has had its turbulence and troubles, but they do good work and are known for it. Their past customers agree that when they bust ghosts, the ghosts stay busted, and the team are professional about it. Also, the Gotham Ghostbusters have four stars on Yipe! (in part because a steady stream of interns upvotes them, before disappearing.)
They have burned through 8 interns before their current intern, so they don’t even learn their names until they’ve lasted six weeks. Also, there was an unfortunate incident with the mayor’s mistress; she insisted she wanted to be a Ghostbuster, so they took her on as an intern to avoid political trouble. She sort of got a positronic stream through the head that kind of flash-fried her synapses during a ghost hunt that got rough. The mayor? He’s not happy about it. The founding members were sacked to keep the peace, and the current veterans are assigned by Ghosbusters Inc. to the struggling franchise.
Dr. Jay Hunt, (Stephanie) a tough middle-aged lady who has no interest in romance with people. All her attention and affection is reserved for the gear that keeps her alive in the field and helps her solve the mysteries. A brilliant scientist, she manages the technology and theories of the Ghostbusters. Baseline humans find her unnerving.
Claire Morris, (Kristy) a savvy thrill seeker who ends up talking to clients and collecting invoices because she’s the most personable of the Ghostbusters.
Max “Number Nine” Dominguez. (Miller) This curious young man signed up for the Americorps volunteer program to do office work and was assigned to the Gotham Ghostbusters. Expecting to find an office cubical to work on scheduling and maintenance or whatever, he was slapped into a jumpsuit with a fission reactor strapped his his back and thrust right into the seedy world of Ghostbusting. He survived five weeks so far, and has gotten the hang of this, and hopes someday soon his teammates will care to learn his name. He’s not sure why they call him “Number Nine.”
The Gotham Ghostbusters are based in a building that used to be Nummymuffins Bakery. Doc converted the oven area to the interdimensional holding grid. One reason Nummymuffins went under was they experimented with expanding into bagels as well as their other baked goods, but massively overstocked due to a clerical error. The Ghostbusters used the mountain of bagels as part of their experimentation; Doc made an interdimensional holding space, and they filled it with the bagels. When they insert a peel into the space and withdraw it, they still get reasonably fresh and mysteriously steaming bagels. To make sure this isn’t toxic, Doc reguarly takes surprise blood samples from staff and visitors to analyze, writing the results in her lab’s log books.
They also got the delivery truck with the building. It has a bench seat, so three of them can ride up front to get to a job. There’s racks for gear in the back, and also a bench seat with a pole and a squeegee in case someone has to sit in the back and try to de-slime as much as possible on the way home. The truck has the Ghostbuster logo painted on it, but they haven’t removed the horn-like croissant (the bakery sold croissants before it ventured into dangerous bagel territory) and instead of a siren it players songs like “Hot Cross Buns” and “Muffin Man.”
“Fragile Strength: A History of Elegance”
With “Muffin Man” blaring, they pulled up to the Bertinelli Gallery of Fine Art. Bela Chanson met them, desperate for their help; she was the curator. She was eager to get them in there, but they took their time suiting up, and noticed (not subtly) that she smelled of pee. Yes, she said grimly, she peed herself; now go get the ghost!
They took in all the incredibly beautiful works of glass art, and heard the bonging resonance of a big wind chime with glass chimes. A ghost of a homeless man was rubbing around the wind chime, enjoying the feel and sound of it. They got up to the third story of the open gallery, and got a trap in position on the catwalk by the chimes. Then the ghost noticed them.
Claire tried to converse with the ghost, and it vomited ectoplasm all over her; she opened up with the positronic stream, wrangling the ghost, and the others helped.They maneuvered the ghost into the trap with no fuss, no muss. Very professional work. Minimal damage to the exhibits (though the ghost trap did add some iridescence to nearby displays.)
As Claire arranged for Chanson to pay their fee of $5k, Nine helped by waving the steamy ghost trap around. Doc wandered off on her own, checking to see a flickering faint reading on the PKE meter. She discovered the source of the problem might be from one of the displays, an orrerry made of glass. She took a picture with her phone.
They left, and she showed the picture to Nine, who had some background in the occult. He recognized it as being a three dimensional construction from a text written in the 1100s in Alexandria, “Syvok Celestial Tunings.” Must have been just accurate enough to make a pinhole for dimensional seepage that could activate a ghost.
The next morning, the Ghostbusters headed to City Hall where LexCorp was sued by the government for experimentation on humans using ectoplasmic technology. The DA, Ann Wellson, appreciated Doc’s testimony that the Captors were in fact dead. LexCorp transformed volunteer soldiers into hybrid interdimensional beings who capture people and store them in an interdimensional “gut” to be absorbed for energy or regurgitated as a captive. Doc testified that the kills the host, rather than creating a hybrid life form. The result is an echo, shaped energy, interdimensional but no longer technically alive.
After finding a way to deliver that expert opinion in a way that made the jury tear up and want to call their loved ones (something about the fragility of life and the corporate greed that transforms it into a walking death for violence and profit) the defense got to try and discredit Doc. They threw shade on the Ghostbusters as a model, and Doc buried them in facts, figures, spreadsheets, and anecdotes until the lawyer slunk away with no further questions. Dr. Elizondo, the one who made the captors, seethed at Doc. But there was little he could do, and it looked like the jury was swayed.
In the hall, DA Wellson thanked Doc and the Ghostbusters, and suggested they might get a fruit basket from the mayor’s office this Christmas. Victory!
Lining Up a Job
They deserved Panera for lunch after that ordeal in court, so of course they sent Nine to pick it up. After lunch they interviewed some prospective clients.
Ms. Markilini was dreaming of her German shepherd, then waking up to hearing cats fighting outside. Was her dog finally free of the apartment and harassing the cats he always barked at? Claire referred her to a pet psychic, and she left happy.
Mr. Connor Danfeld came in, a nattily dressed man. He was butler for Mr. Simeon DeLant, who had a huge hedge maze four generations old by the manor house. A number of deaths occurred in the hedge maze over the years, often sensationalized into supernatural events. Danfeld was worried now, however, because his nephew was visiting and disappeared into the hedge maze two days ago. The police searched it, but found nothing. He feels strongly that Leopold is still in there, and wants him rescued if the Ghostbusters can manage it.
The Ghostbusters liked the heft of his pocketbook, regardless of the strength of his story, so they dismissed the rest of the interviews (who were chronic hopeful customers with problems that would likely keep.)
They took the truck over to the DeLant estate. As they got out their basic investigative kits and hung them on Nine, he took a big pack of equipment including a positronic pack and thrower, because he was young and strong and liked to carry stuff.
Mr. Danfeld greeted them and set them to work, disappearing into the manor house. While they were suiting up, a FedEx delivery truck came with a live delivery for the caretaker, who insisted it was a mistake and sent them away, looking furtively at the Ghostbusters and retreating. Huh.
A Maze Ing
Nine looked the maze over, and noticed a strong raven motif. His occult background swarmed with raven lore; they carried the souls of the dead, for one, and kept secrets. In fact, the maze could represent the lock between life and death that they solved to carry souls from one world to the other. Pretty deep stuff.
The maze had stairs down and bridges up, elaborate enough it was not easily solved. It also had many expensive and esoteric flourishes, and in some places fences built into the hedges, and topiary animals; crazy stuff. The maze “center” was off center, a plinth with four stone ravens pointing in the cardinal directions. As they progressed in, they found the PKE readings were higher inside, and there was a concentration somewhere (that wasn’t the center of the maze, or the “center” of the maze.)
Nine cheerfully doled out extension cords and other cabling to keep track of the way back, and they eventually found the high point of the reading; Doc was sweet-talking her gear, coaxing its best performance out of it, telling it what she liked, and that was making the other Ghostbusters somewhat uncomfortable. Then Doc fell down in a concealed hole.
The illusion of turf flowed away, and there was a conical pit of nodules of solid ectoplasm like golf balls. She was slipping to fall into it, but she grabbed Nine by the ear, and he was tipping over, but Claire managed to pull them both back by kicking the back of Nine’s knee so he keeled over backwards with the pack, dragging Doc to safety. Something like antlers was at the bottom, and it spit stones to stun them and knock them back into the pit, but they resisted. The illusion re-cloaked the pit.
They had one positronic thrower, and something like a plan. Claire warily approached the edge, avoiding hurled ecto-gravel, and insulted the thing’s mother, successfully offering bait and frustration enough that it launched up out of its pit to come after her. Nine blasted at it with the thrower, but the shot went wide, pulled off course by the dimensional pinhole, and it swept around in the pit igniting the ectoplasmic gravel! The burned ghost monster skittered off through the hedge (being intangible) as a dimension-threatening column of flame burned and twisted over the former pit.
Thinking fast, Doc recalibrated and repurposed a trap and the positronic pack, then gave it to Nine to throw in. When the pack hit the flame, its harmonic shielding held for the seconds it needed to, until the pack was through the dimensional pinhole, and Doc used the trap like a trigger to detonate the pack. The breach sealed (instead of triggering a nuke on this side) so that was nervous work done quickly and well. They caught their breath and headed back to the truck, following their cables.
Nine thought through his occult lore, but remembered a nature film on the ant lion larvae and how it looked and acted just like the thing they just encountered. Not a ghost, maybe not even an interdimensional alien or summoned entity. Someone might be messing around with bugs and ectoplasm. Time to talk to the caretaker!
Now equipped with proton packs, they approached the stable where he lived. They noted the auxiliary reinforced power generator attached to the building. Bigtime science could be happening in there. Using their goggles, they saw the ectoplasm stains where the ghost fled the hedge maze and ran into this building.
Claire knocked on the door, and the suspicious caretaker answered; Nine kicked the door open so they could rush in, but it was braced, so he went flying back. The caretaker sprayed them with some sweet and sticky spray (obviously a scent lure or something like that, marking them as prey.) Claire struggled with the caretaker, then kneed him in the groin. He doubled over, and the ghostly ant lion barreled towards the sticky lure all over the Ghostbusters.
Nine and Claire opened up on the spectral ant lion, and as the throwers squirmed and lashed, they busted electronics and tossed sparks at chemicals. Doc managed to drag the caretaker away by the hair as the others sucked the ghost into the trap and reeled it in fast, then they all sprinted away right as the building exploded. The stone walls contained much of the blast, but they were still knocked flying.
The police were very pleased that the spectral ant lion was captured and could be used as evidence. Turns out the caretaker was none other than Dr. Graham Lydecker, a once prestigious but disgraced scientist working on a breakthrough that would put him back on top in the scientific world. Even with the fires and explosions, the Ghostbusters got the job done (even if they couldn’t find or rescue the boy.) Victory enough for today!
[We got a lot done in about two and a half hours!]
ADDENDUM: FATE OF THE INTERNS
As we were playing, we riffed off the previous 8 interns and what happened to them. By the end of the session we had a complete list.
- Power surge, barbecued like Frankenstein’s monster.
- Fell into an interdimensional portal.
- Wandered off. Didn’t return.
- Opened a full ghost trap once. Later, trapped a ghost and then was attacked by a second ghost.
- That’s why we don’t eat glazed donuts.
- Licked something that should not have been licked.
- A trap opened, he yelled “grenade!” and jumped on it.
- The mayor’s mistress got her head caught in a positronic curl and got flash-fry lobotomized.
- IN PROGRESS