This is purely out of scientific interest, Egon reassured himself as he set the positron-charged laser beam splitter above the door.
Venkman was the one who saw the potato-shaped ghost as a nemesis. It had delivered the first sliming he’d ever received; he occasionally accused it of priming him to be the one gooped at every subsequent bust. And they’d never managed to recapture it, after its escape when Peck detonated the first containment unit.
Simply the most efficient way to test new equipment, Egon thought, carefully positioning the micro-beams precisely three and three-quarters meters down the hallway and giving their optics one last swipe with the lint-free chamois.
Tully was the one who had chosen the odiferous green blob as his personal challenge, the one that would get him adopted fully into the team. He’d baited crude traps with every food he could think of, from chocolate cake to pizza, and failed every time. Usually, he didn’t do too much damage in the attempt. Janine appeared to think his fruitless pursuit was cute.
Nothing to do with professional or personal pride, Egon asserted silently as he soldered one last resistor into the accelerator array.
Ray thought of the “ugly little spud” with something close to affection. It was their first bust, after all, and only their second real ghost sighting. That was probably why he tolerated its habit of hanging around the firehouse, and Tully’s fumbling attempts to catch it, with such good humor. Once in a while, when Venkman groused about trying to trap it, Ray would point out that no one was paying them for it - so unless Venkman wanted to write off the containment fees, what was the point?
Purely for science. Egon set a plate of Polish sausages and sauerkraut down in front of the door and flipped the switch on the housing for the circuit board. A piercing hum sang through the hallway; a grid of tiny, barely visible beams criss-crossed the doorway. He stepped into the broom closet and waited.
He was beginning to wonder whether he’d miscalculated what the Class Five’s olfactory range was when something tickled his shoulder. He half-turned as a mass of ectoplasm flung itself through the back wall of the closet and knocked him over; his glasses went flying.
“You okay, Spengler?” Venkman wasn’t in any particular hurry coming up the stairs; random thumps and sizzles weren’t unusual when dealing with Egon.
He came around the corner. Egon was sprawled on his back, covered with faintly green slime that smelled like old onions and mustard. An empty plate, similarly slime-covered, rested against the baseboards behind him. Egon’s glasses - intact, thank goodness; there wasn’t that much more coverage left in their medical plan for this year - were another two yards down the hallway.
“I neglected,” Egon explained, “to account for the possibility that the Class Five full-roaming vapor was already in the lab.”
Peter reached down to give him a hand up. “You didn’t whip out the PKE meter to check? No, don’t lean on the wall; you won’t get any traction that way.”
“It simply didn’t occur to me.” Spengler straightened up, leaned over to retrieve his glasses, and nearly slipped again. “I will add a stage for taking readings to the experiment before setting the bait on the next trial.”
Venkman grinned wryly. “Well, good luck. I’ll certainly sleep better knowing he’s put away for good.”
“Actually,” Egon admitted, “since he’s semi-domesticated at this point, I was thinking of something closer to a catch-tag-and-release program.”
Peter rubbed his forehead. “Hey, if it gives me fair warning before he slimes me again, I’ll take it.”
Egon stared down at his slime-spattered lab coat. “For once, I find myself distinctly sympathetic to you on the topic.”