Five days ago, Scotland Yard Occult Crimes Unit Detective Inspector Tessa Jane Anderson arrived in New York on an investigation of a mysterious death by zombies. She soon found herself facing the attempted return of a dark god, at the side of three second generation Ghostbusters and the daughter of a werewolf.
The five successfully saved the world. Now, Inspector Anderson returns to her London home...no longer quite as certain where she is meant to be.
This story takes place during the final chapter of The Eye of Aretpo between the climax and the epilogue
A middle-aged woman looked up from her magazine. "I believe that's the one..."
Some time later, passengers from the flight were leaving baggage claim. The middle aged woman nodded; she found her quarry.
It was a brown-haired woman in her mid twenties, wearing a green sport coat. "Welcome back to London, Inspector Anderson."
The younger woman jumped to attention. "Chief Inspector Gates!"
Gates rolled her eyes. "At ease, Anderson. Neither of us is on duty."
Anderson looked a bit embarrassed. "Well, true Ma'am, but..." She turned to the baggage carousel with a sour look. "Bugger! I missed it!"
Gates chuckled. "Sorry about that. The carousel will be back in half a moment, though."
"Of course." Anderson nodded. She took a flash drive out of her purse. "My entire report is on this drive; I can print it up by..."
"For God's sake, Anderson, it's nothing that won't wait for tomorrow! You're probably a bit worn out after that, what, seven hours in the air?"
Anderson shrugged. "I slept most of the way, so actually I'm fine."
"Jet lag isn't to be discounted, Inspector." Gates countered, as Anderson's baggage came around again, to be properly claimed this time. "Keyring from your new friends?"
Anderson blushed slightly, realizing Gates was referring to the one that was, indeed, a new addition to Anderson's purse: a cartoony ghost with a red prohibition sign through it. "Um...yes..." Anderson looked away. "A bit of a memento, I suppose..."
Anderson sighed. "Like you said, Chief Inspector, it can wait until I give you the full report tomorrow."
She was disappointed that her father wasn't home, but it was to be expected--he'd had an out-of-town conference scheduled for weeks. Means I do feel less guilty hogging up the main bath for a well-deserved soak... She flicked a bubble to emphasize the point.
Wonder what Father's going to think... Her mind drifted...About what happened in New York...especially the part when I was about to leave...
"No thanks to you." Anderson rolled her eyes.
"Well, considering how you yelled at me for driving crazy the night we met, I figured I better follow the speed limits and the traffic laws to the letter." John answered. He was a tall, red haired man with an annoyingly pleasant voice and infuriatingly deep green eyes. "Baggage checked in, your boarding pass, I think that's everything, right?"
"Not the way I suppose you wanted to spend your birthday." Anderson rolled her eyes.
John looked a bit shocked. "How...I mean, I didn't say anything this morning..."
" 'And I'll be twenty two in five days! I'm a Gemini with Aries rising and my favorite color is red!' " Anderson responded. "It's five days later. So, Happy Birthday, I suppose. You and Eden."
John gave her a gratingly wide, pleasant smile. "A trained detective, indeed."
"So...did Marie put you up to being the one to drop me off?" Anderson asked. "Or was that your own idea?"
"Some of both." John admitted. "She needled, but I wanted to do it anyway."
Anderson blushed slightly. "What ever do you mean by that?"
John chuckled. "Not what you might think I meant by that."
She looked quizzical, and glanced around. "Oh?"
John rolled his eyes. "I know, I keep half expecting to look around and see Marie or Eric right behind one of the support pillars spying on us like we're a bunch of middle school kids."
Anderson shook her head. "I don't think I have much more time."
John nodded. "Okay, TJ, here's the deal..."
'TJ'... She didn't really like that diminutive nickname. But of course from the moment he tagged her with it everybody here in New York was calling her that.
"Oh, God, please tell me that this isn't some smarmy Bridget Jones-esque plea to 'no, don't leave me, I can't live without you' or some rubbish like that?"
John laughed. "Don't flatter yourself, Inspector. This is completely professional in nature."
TJ's eyes narrowed. " 'Professional'?"
John exhaled. "Well, I don't have to tell you, we kinda got chucked into the deep end last Tuesday. You said it was your first case with the OCU...and you kept your cool when a god of chaos almost stomped the whole planet a new mudhole. Edie and Eric and I grew up around this stuff...I don't know if Marie Lupin can be fazed by anything...but holy cow, you kept your head better than any of us."
She smiled slightly beside herself. "Well, aside from the daft driving in the zombie road rally."
"Yeah, I guess I did come across like I'd played too much Twisted Metal..." John scratched the back of his head. "But besides that..."
"Well, I would say that you managed yourself quite well, Doctor Spengler." TJ admitted. "It seemed you were the one making most of the decisions, and the fact that Earth is still intact instead of being a blighted hellscape speaks well of your abilities."
"TJ... Tessa Jane...it's like this." John said. "GBI hasn't made any announcements to the press yet, and I hope you will keep this confidential, but after that incident Dr. Jackson and his team are hanging it up as active, full-time Ghostbusters."
He continued. "The Ghostbusters New York office now has some openings for new Ghostbusters. Eric, Marie, and I've already accepted. Edie's taking a reserve position. We just need one more..."
Realizing she was starting to look like a prune, and the water was getting cold anyway, she drained the tub and dried off.
A few moments later she was back in her bedroom.
Before she'd gotten on the plane, John had given her a brochure, which she now held.
The cover featured the GBI logo, with type exclaiming "Welcome to Ghostbusters International!"
And attached to the cover was a small, handwritten sticky note:
Gates finished reading TJ's report, and set it down. "Very thorough as always, Inspector."
TJ nodded. "Thank you, Ma'am."
Gates exhaled. "It's quite a lot to take in, though, knowing that we once again came so close to the bloody end of the world."
"I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by it myself, after the fact." TJ agreed. "Did...did something like that ever happen here? I haven't been here long enough to have read all the files yet."
"We've had the 'End Of The World' level entities a few times." Gates replied. "First time was back in '91, I was barely out of my pram at the time; the original Ghostbusters dealt with some big nastiness at Stonehenge. They were also involved in stopping some nastiness at Parliament involving Prime Minister Blair in '02, a file so classified even I haven't been able to read it. Then there was the summer of '04--half the entire GBI organization as well as a mob of wizards and werewolves all converging on Tonnes Quarry to nip it in the bud. So yes, we've had our share."
"Incredible." TJ shook her head.
"I see you also have all the proper forms for having the report classified." Gates continued.
"While technically our arrangement is with Ghostbusters UK, it did involve a Ghostbusters International office." TJ nodded again. "If there's any questions about the affidavits Doctor Venkman's office contact information is in the report."
Gates chuckled. "Of course I'll follow the procedure. You dot all the i's and cross all the t's. It's what I expected."
TJ's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean, Chief Inspector?"
Gates raised an eyebrow. "You're a Durham LLB. What else could I have meant?"
TJ looked away, slightly flushed. "Nothing, Ma'am. I apologize."
Gates had a guess or two, but decided to let it drop. "I only have one question left after reading the account. Why did Yuzuru Fuyuno, a former baseball player, end up with a dangerous mystic artifact? And know enough about what it was to send it to his niece who's the daughter of a friend of a friend of a Ghostbuster?"
"I don't know, Ma'am." TJ shook her head. "I asked Marie Lupin, and she had no idea. Her uncle was very 'old school', and she remarked that it all sounded very counter to what she knew of him."
Gates shrugged. "It might be worth following up on. Then again, may not--it could just be a lucky coincidence. It made sure both Ms. Lupin and yourself were there when the world needed you, though, so I'd call that a rather fortunate coincidence."
" 'Following up'..." TJ mused, looking away. "It's funny in a way that you mention that."
"The current Ghostbusters New York team is moving on." TJ explained, after a moment. "Ghostbusters International has offered me a slot with the new team being put together. They...also seemed impressed with my performance during the crisis."
Gates smiled. "Well, they're not dumb, that's for sure. They know a solid act when they see her. What did you tell them?"
"That I would have to consider it, and I absolutely could not give them an answer until I discussed with my father, and you." TJ answered. "I half expected them to say 'Well, too bad then' but they said I had two weeks."
"Speaking professionally, it would be a shame to lose you, as you're the best OCU officer I've worked with since Chief Inspector Giles retired." Gates admitted. "But personally...Anderson, are you daft? There are people who'd give their eye teeth for that opportunity!"
TJ shrunk into her chair. "I still need to talk to my father."
"Yeah, I thought you had a rather upper middle class English accent to be a New York cop. A friend of ours is dating a guy from Chelsea."
TJ shook her head with annoyance. It bothered her that he'd figured out so much about her so quickly. And it bothered her that it bothered her.
She sunk into her favorite comfy chair, slipped out of her shoes, and exhaled
She looked up to see her father. "Oh! You're home!"
Martin Anderson was a man of average build, with a horseshoe mustache. His thick brown hair was the same color as his daughter's, and had a similar part in the middle.
He laughed. "I could say the same thing to you, my Dear. Care for a spot of food? I'm famished."
She hugged him. "Quite. Let me get changed first."
Granted, she'd been told on the few occasions she'd worn it that she looked smashing in it. But it inevitably brought a phrase into her head that she hated: "Born To The Purple".
In older times, purple was a rare color because of the expense of purple dyes; that gave it an association with royalty. In more modern times, the phrase came to those born to prominent parents.
She'd heard it a lot in the elite, and expensive, senior school she'd attended. Which used purple in the uniform she'd had to wear there.
"You're better than everyone else, because your father's family has a lot of money and your mother's has even more plus one of her ancestors was better at killing people than everyone around him so they have a title too!"
She heard her father already in the foyer, on the phone with someone from the Ministry. She rolled her eyes. I fancy he'd have had an easier time of it in the days before we had to have a phone on us 24-7.
TJ found herself looking at one of the pictures in a prominent place. It was a photograph, with a time stamp reading "14/02/2005"
In the center was a birthday cake with seven candles, the birthday girl standing behind it--one Tessa Jane Anderson.
Right beside TJ, with a mischievous look on his face, was a little boy who looked a lot like her father. Behind to one side stood her father; his sixteen-year-younger face somewhat less lined. And behind TJ to the other side, a beautiful woman with long, black hair collected into a braided tail slung over her left shoulder. TJ well remembered the day when she was thirteen when she looked in the mirror and realized that her mother's face was looking back at her.
The last birthday I had with her... TJ mused. Mum, what would you think about what I'm about to do? I... She shook it off.
"Sorry 'bout that, Janey." Martin apologized as she entered the foyer. "I spent two days arguing with some of Johnson's bloody idiots in York and it apparently wasn't enough." He smiled. "You look smashing, Dear. Probably a bit overdressed for fish and chips, though."
She raised an eyebrow. "All you said was 'food', Father. I had to play the possibilities."
He chuckled. "Quite right. Ah well, maybe you'll turn the head of some handsome young lord and make all our lives more interesting!"
She blushed slightly, and rolled her eyes. "In a fish and chip shop? Seriously? Can we just go?"
"I was born in Manchester!" the olive skinned server replied.
"Yeah, right, like sure. This is the whole fucking reason I voted for Brexit, so I wouldn't have to look at people like you no more! I can't believe..."
"Is there some problem here?" a clipped voice with an upper middle class accent broke in.
The server and the disgruntled patron turned to see a woman in a purple dress glaring back. The patron snarled "Piss off, Cupcake, this ain't none of your business, it's between me and the stupid Pa..."
"This says it's my business." There was now a badge in her left hand. "Inspector Anderson, Metropolitan Police Department."
"Good!" the angry man said. "Run this dumbarse in! She's got to be violating one immigration reg or another! Can't believe decent people have to..."
"No, decent people shouldn't have to deal with situations like this." TJ shook her head. "She said she was born in Manchester, and I have no reason to doubt her. And she's not the one hurling vulgar insults and behaving like an arse, disrupting the evenings of dozens of other people, myself included."
The man looked confused. "Half a moment! I'm a taxpayer, I'm..."
"...In considerable danger of seeing the inside of one of the gaol cells your tax pounds pay for." TJ retorted. "I'm going to give you a choice I shouldn't, because my dinner's getting cold and I don't want to have to spend the next hour filling out the paperwork it'd involve to run you in. So instead, you will apologize to the young lady and leave the facility. About four streets east and three northward is a pub that is frequented by football hooligans and other assorted chavs, so I would expect you will fit in quite a bit better there! Choose wisely."
The man looked at TJ, looked at the Scotland Yard badge, looked at the server, and gulped. "S...sorry..." he stammered to the server, then scampered to the door.
The restaurant broke out in loud applause.
He looked back just a second, and as though to try to reclaim a bit of his now shattered ego, he shouted "Bitch!!!" as he scampered out of sight.
Now the restaurant was laughing.
"Thank you, Inspector." the server sighed.
"Just doing my job, Miss." TJ shrugged, a little embarrassed by a second round of applause.
"I guess I'm not the only one who has trouble leaving work behind." Martin chuckled as she sat back down.
TJ sighed. "It does seem to follow like a ghost sometimes."
"Prats like that were why I had to spend two days listening to utter bunk about trade policies. Double worse for being a completely self-inflicted wound to our country. Even the bloody States have stopped digging their hole deeper..." He shook his head and ate another chip.
"Speaking of ghosts..." Martin said a few moments later. "You can imagine my surprise at turning on BBC One and seeing, among the Ghostbusters that had just saved New York City from some extradimensional chav, my daughter standing there with them, with a look like a deer about to be run over by a lorry."
She smirked slightly. "Well, I never went into politics or tennis for a reason."
"The tall ginger one seemed to do most of the talking." Martin continued. "He seemed to have a bit of a knack for it."
TJ stopped herself from agreeing.
Martin's eyebrow went up slightly.
About the time they were finishing, she finally said it. "Ghostbusters has offered me a position."
Martin did a double-take.
"I guess..." TJ admitted. "Dr. Spengler, the, er, 'tall ginger fellow' said I handled the crisis quite well."
Martin chuckled. "That's outstanding, Janey! You've been doing quite well at Scotland Yard, but this is quite another story. I've heard good things about Dr. King and the rest; can't blame them for offering you..."
TJ shook her head. "It's not Ghostbusters UK offering the position, Father. It's the main office. In New York City."
Now Martin was the one looking a bit like a deer about to be run over by a lorry. "New York?"
"The current team started a year before I was even born; they're ready to move on." TJ continued. "The new team becomes official next month, after some time becoming familiar with everything. I need to be back there within the next two weeks."
Martin wiped his eyes; there was a little bit of a dampness coming into them. "This is awfully sudden."
"I know. I do apologize for that."
Martin laughed. "You have nothing to apologize for! It's a long way, though."
She nodded. "I know. But that's what this bloody thing is for!" She shook her phone; he laughed again.
"True." Martin nodded. "And the Zoomer, or whatever they call it?"
"Right" TJ said. "I just know...that I need to do this. I knew it from the moment the offer was made, and this morning, with Chief Inspector Gates, I realized I knew exactly why."
"She complimented me on my report, and I thought she was about to say something about 'Well, that's what I suspect of a solicitor's daughter' or something like that." TJ shook her head. "She didn't, but just thinking that...suddenly everything fell into place in my head."
"Father, I love you, and am infinitely grateful that you, and Uncle Sylvester and the rest of Mum's family, were able to make sure I had every opportunity. But because of that...every time I've tried to do something, I keep hearing about why. And it always has to do with you, or her family. 'Oh, Anderson's in that expensive school and on the tennis team--her Grandfather's the Earl of Lungbarrow, so what do you expect?' 'Oh, she's going to law school, no doubt because her father's a Labour Party solicitor!' 'She's joining Scotland Yard--something about the way her Mum died maybe?' " She shook her head. "Every bloody time."
Martin looked a bit uncomfortable. "I..."
"But for the first time in my life, Father...I've done something that got me noticed not for who my family is or their money or their tragedies. What got noticed were my own abilities. The way I handled something that I could have barely ever imagined having to deal with. And I nailed it!!!" She took his hand. "I couldn't have gotten there without all that you and the rest have given me, no. But Ghostbusters International didn't know or care a rotten soddy bit who my family is--and that's why I have to do this!!!"
Martin Anderson hugged his daughter. "I've been proud of you from the moment you first entered the world, twenty-three short years ago on a cold February night. But never as proud as I am right now. Never." He wiped his eyes again. "And wherever she is, you Mum is too. I know it."
Now TJ's eyes started to mist. "I hope so too."
TJ did chuckle slightly at that. "I suppose I'll have to get used to such joking. Thank you for getting to me so promptly."
"No problem, Inspector. Mrs. Spengler called me herself and demanded I get it set up--and that's not a woman you say 'no' to."
"So I've heard." TJ rolled her eyes. She'd interacted with Janine Spengler--Johnathan's mother--briefly after the unpleasantness on the eighth, but the elder Spenglers had still been somewhat disoriented from their ordeal.
"You know, Inspector, I actually lived in America for most of the first eighteen years of my life. My Mum and Dad split up when I was a baby, and she brought me to the States with her. When I was seventeen, he and his mates--the guys that started GBUK with him--made the news."
"Saving Prime Minister Blair, as I recall." TJ said. "That would be your father Ben King Senior, Captain Bennett, and Doctor Simpson, as I recall?"
"Right." Ben nodded. "I got in with a rowdy bunch of Ghostbusters in Brooklyn to try and figure out what Dad was about. Not as a Ghostbuster--just answering the phone and making coffee. When I turned eighteen, I moved back here, starting pretty much the same--phones and coffee--until eventually they all moved on and put me in charge."
"Is it difficult...living so far away from your mother?" TJ asked.
"Sometimes." Ben admitted. "But we talk on the phone all the time, and I go to visit her ever year or so...get to charge it to GBI as a training expense; even get my husband's expenses comped. I'll have to show you that trick."
TJ chuckled and smiled a bit. "You had better."
Ben jiggled the mouse on the computer terminal; once the screen was active he logged into the GBI web site, and opened the Employee Portal.
"Let's have a look here..."
"Ah, she's online!" Ben remarked. He sent a PM, and a few second later a Zoom invite arrived.
A gray-haired woman's face appeared on the screen; Janine Melnitz Spengler, GBI's Chief of Client Administration, and the first person ever hired by the Ghostbusters, before even Winston Zeddemore, back in 1983. "Okay, Junior...you reading me over there?"
"Affirmative, Mrs. Spengler. Inspector Anderson's here with me."
TJ self-consciously waved. "Hello, Mrs. Spengler."
"I know we met last week, but I barely remember much about it." Janine shrugged. "So you're the girl my son's been trying way too hard to not talk about" she added with a mischievous smirk.
"Yeah, yeah, none of my business, I know." Janine chuckled. "Put her on the terminal, Benny, so I can get her set up"
Ben nodded and stood up. "Yes, Ma'am." He turned to TJ "Just let me know when you're done."
TJ nodded, and Ben left the room.
Janine asked a few questions, entered some data, mumbled curses at the computer a few times, and finally a new prompt came up on TJ's end:
"I am a native of the British Isles..." TJ explained even before Janine asked. "And '3316' is my Scotland Yard badge number."
Janine smiled. "Makes sense to me, Dear."
The next step required TJ to select a security password. Once that was done, Janine had her go over the biographical details as transmitted on TJ's application, to verify that they were correct. After a few more minutes..
TJ raised an eyebrow. " 'IAD'?"
"With your law enforcement history, Ramey wanted you to have preliminary Internal Affairs Division access. He'll get in touch with you when you get to the States with more about that, but it's nothing really major either."
"Ah. I suppose that makes a level of sense."
"Now for the fun stuff--click on 'Uniform Fabrication'!"
A new screen popped up. "You got to wear one of the standard Rookie/Intern uniforms during the Amot-Naphemus crisis, but a lot of the franchises have their own standardized flight suits. But GBNY set their own standard early on--you get to select your own colors, the primary one for the suit, and an accent color for the collar and cuffs. Play around with the selectors, and once you've got what you want finalize it. And don't forget to input your measurements so the size will be right."
"I should hope so. That stock one was a bit tight around the chest for me."
"You too, huh?" Janine laughed.
"You saw his sister and his Mom--she was a Hardy Barbie herself back in the day" Oh shut up, Lupin shut up shut up.
She got the measurements down, then started looking at colors. I wear a lot of green, I know...but I would just about bet money that Lupin will have that, because of that bandanna she wears. Hmmm...
She tried red and orange. No...red really isn't my colour...
"There's no hurry, Inspector.
Maybe since I'm running away from it in a literal sense of the word, it's time for me to stop running away metaphorically.
TJ adjusted the color settings. The result was a purple flight suit with orange on the collar and cuffs.
Not green on the accents, because I don't want to look like bloody Lex Luthor. The orange on the other hand stands out nicely.
She submitted the design.
Janine gave an enigmatic smile. "Great choice. There will be three of those waiting for you by the time we announce the new team."
You were Born To The Purple, Tessa Jane Anderson. I've hated that phrase for so long, but now it's time I embraced it.
But not in the sense that it makes me better than everyone else. I never believed that. No. Because it means I have a higher standard of service than everyone else.
I will show the world what 'Born to the Purple' really means.
Ghostbusters 202X Created by Fritz Baugh and OgreBBQ
Ghostbuster UK created by Ben King, Iain Bennett, and Tommy Simpson.
Characters not taken from official material were created by Fritz Baugh unless otherwise specified.
Chief Inspector Rebbecca Gates and the Occult Crimes Unit created by Kingpin.
Marie Lupin and Eric Stantz created by OgreBBQ.
Lungbarrow isn't a real place. The name comes from a Doctor Who novel in the 1990's.