Ray sat quietly as Egon studied his brain scan. It's been a quiet week at the Firehouse and they were finally getting some long-awaited work done.
"Nothing. Completely empty." Egon smiled. He was in an especially good mood after catching up on so much work.
"Ha ha. No effect?" Ray peered over the scientist's shoulder to get a look at the frozen image.
Egon shook his head.
"You'd think after all these years we'd of figured out what this stuff does." Ray was disappointed, but this was hardly a surprise.
The two scientists stared futilely at the tiny sample ectoplasm, culled from the supply they'd collected over the years. The ghostly residue never changed, whether left in the oven, the fridge, the open air--even when ingested, Ray thought, remembering an unfortunate incident with the slime and some salad dressing. Here they'd tried to see what effect emotionally uncharged ectoplasm had on a human brain: apparently none.
It was the most infuriating mystery they'd ever encountered. Peter had given up on the stuff a long time ago. To him, it was merely an inconvenience. Ray supposed the nickname 'Slime Magnet' hadn't inspired much curiosity in the other Doctor.
"Well, another day." Egon began shelving the various equipment. He had other things he wanted to get done today.
Ray began to towel off the substance coating his clothing. "I'm gonna be in the shower for the next hour or so."
Ray was sprawled on the couch after his shower when voices reached him from the stairwell.
"Janine we've been over this a thousand times-"
"I don't want to hear it Egon." Janine Melnitz stalked up the steps. "It's already been established your precious experiments come before me."
"That's not fair Janine." Egon hurried after her. "I'm very close to finding out how prolonged exposure to ectoplasm effects common household fungi."
"Yes, I can see how that's more important than our anniversary!" Janine snapped. "When you're done playing with your mushrooms, look me up. I'll be the one in the dress."
"Fungi." Egon stated.
Janine glared at him, turned on her heels and stamped down the stairs. The door slamming could be heard throughout the firehouse.
"Smooth." Ray observed.
"She's emotional." Egon muttered. "Possibly PMS."
"The excuse of clueless men everywhere." Peter Venkman walked into the room from the kitchen, sandwich in hand.
Egon stiffened. "How much did you hear?"
"Well, I started listening at ectoplasm, and managed to catch 'insensitive Bastard' on the way out."
Egon sighed. "She just doesn't understand the importance of my work."
"Egon, maybe the fungi could wait a few days. You probably should apologize." Ray said. "It is your anniversary."
Be that as it may--"
"What's up with Janine? She nearly bit my head off when I asked her how she was." Winston entered from the stairs, toweling oil off his hands.
"Spengs is ditching her for 'shrooms." Peter nodded at Egon.
Egon turned slightly red. "Fungi."
Winston shook his head. "Sometimes I'm amazed you have a girlfriend at all Egon. Janine's over the moon about you, but she won't stay that way forever."
"I don't see how it any of your business." Egon snapped and left the room.
"Yeah, the emotional well being of my team is none of my business." Winston grunted and dropped onto the couch besides ray.
"She's gonna dump him if he doesn't pay more attention to her." Ray
"For the brains of the operation he's pretty clueless sometimes." Peter agreed. "Then again, maybe those are some special fungi."
Ray smiled briefly and Winston rolled his eyes. If that was Egon stoned, he'd hate to see the Doctor sober.
Egon sat quietly, various vials bubbling away all around him.
'She just doesn't understand. With the results of this research, I may be able to cure some serious diseases, even prolong lifespan!'
He checked the readings on several tubes and ignored the guilty feeling in his stomach. He'd forgotten the anniversary. Not that that mattered. Not at all. He'd still have been to busy to go out. It wasn't like he could have rescheduled...
"This oriental mushroom mix seems a bit temperamental. The stability reading has spiked by twenty percent." He spoke aloud to the recorder and moved to remove the mix from the burner.
A glob of greenish liquid bubbled over the side. He pulled his hand back, trying to avoid a burn.
The vial exploded in a cloud of green. The ooze showered down on the scientist, hot and thick.
"OW!" He felt the heat seeping into his skin. It cooled quickly, but there was still the possibility of third-degree burns. Egon removed his glasses and washed them, trying to get a look at the damage..
The goop had covered all his visible skin, and his clothes. It was cool now, and he didn't feel any pain. Lucky him.
"Back to the drawing board." He prepared for the long task of removing the goo from his person. After that....bed. So much bed.
Peter slowly opened his eyes in the dim morning light. He slid out of bed, noting that Egon was still in his. Usually Spengs was the first one up.
'Well, after last night its hardly a wonder he's sleeping in.' He smiled to himself. Egon and Janine would work it out. They always did.
Peter quietly moved past the lump of covers, on to his morning ablutions, and down the fire-pole to greet the day.
"What's on the schedule today?" He asked as Janine handed him the worksheet.
"Two class 3 non repeaters, a class 2 repeater, and a class 5 poltergeist." Janine said mechanically. Her eyes, somewhat puffier than usual, never left the stack of papers.
"You alright Melnitz?"
"Never better." Janine kept her eyes low and swept from the room without saying another word.
Peter clucked his tongue. "Oh what a tangled web we weave."
Ray and Winston sat quietly at the breakfast table, studying various papers.
"Look at this Zedd. 'GB's review 'BeetelJuice'. Too True?'." Ray said through a mouthful of egg.
"Mm." Winston nodded. "Very funny."
Peter sat down and snagged some toast.
"Spengs still not up yet?" Winston.
"Nope, and I'm not getting him. After his little 'accident' last night, he crashed." Peter said around a mouthful of jam. "Did you see him?"
"He was COVERED in ectoplasm." Winston chuckled at the memory. "Ray, you giving him those particular mushrooms isn't gonna make him too happy with you."
" 'Shrooms, Ray?" Peter cocked an eyebrow. "Is there something you'd like to share with the group?"
"I use them in omelets, okay? They stimulate freshness." Ray said uncomfortably. He wasn't into that scene, even in his college days, which Peter full-well knew.
"So young. So tragic." Peter wiped a mock tear from his eye. "Fine, I'll get Egon."
He climbed back up the stairs to the bedroom, ready to tease his friend about his love-life, his experiments, and anything else he could think of.
"Good morning star shine." Peter shook the lump under the covers. "Time to bust some ghosts."
"M'up." A voice rasped€.
"Good, because we've got a class five on the menu, not to mention Janine is still pissed." Peter walked to the fire pole.
The lump groaned. It pushed the covers aside.
"Peter, I really don't want to hear about it."
Peter turned to fire a retort and gaped at the speaker.
A small boy was sitting in Egon's bed. Light blond curls spilled into his eyes. He wiped them aside, yawned sleepily, and put on Egon's glasses.
The boy swung his legs over the side of the bed. His eyes slowly traveled downwards, resting on his feet which didn't touch the floor. He shifted his gaze to his sleeves, which protruded far past his hands.
"Peter." The boy said, obviously struggling not to panic. "Have I become smaller?"
Peter's mouth dried. "Who are you?"
The boy's eyes jumped to the scientist. "Peter, its me!"
"Who's me?" Peter asked, dreading the answer.
"You can't be Egon. Egon is old enough to be your father!" Peter's voice rose. This was beyond his admittedly loose standards of reason. "Who are you? What are you?"
"I am Egon Spengler!" The boy argued. "I'll prove it. Ask me anything."
"Mother's maiden name?"
"August 22nd, 1929!"
Peter thought for a moment. A clever impostor could find out those things easily. There was one thing that could prove it...
The boy stopped cold. "What?"
"What is Egon Spengler's childhood fear?"
"Peter, please." The boy paled.
"What is it? If you're really Egon, you'll know."
The blue eyes slowly slid toward the closet.
"Don't make me say it." He fidgeted uncomfortably.
Peter felt the blood drain from his face. "Oh God. Egon."
Egon got out of the bed, an awkward at his size. "What happened to me?"
"You look like you're six years old." Peter said slowly, not wanting to panic him further.
"What?" The large blue eyes grew bigger at this.
"You're a little kid." Peter blurted. How could you put that gently?
Egon tried to run to the hall mirror, but didn't account for his now oversized pajamas. He slipped and fell hard onto the wood floor. "Owww!"
"Jeeze Spengs, are you alright?" Peter hurried to his side, trying to ignore the weirdness.
"Perhaps a minor abrasion..." He rolled the pant leg above his knee. Blood oozed from a large scrape. His eyes watered slightly at the sight.
"C'mon Egon, lets get you some band aids." Peter scooped the small scientist into his arms and carried him into the bathroom.
"Peter, no, I'm okay, really..." Egon shook his head futilely as Peter set him down.
"You're in tears!"
"Well, it hurts!"
Peter grabbed the first-aid kit. "It's cool Egon, I'll have you fixed up in a second."
"I can do it myself." Egon grimaced as Peter poured peroxide on the cut.
"I know you can, this is just quicker."
Egon sat scrubbing the tears from his eyes as Peter finished doctoring the wound.
"Yes, thank you." Egon kept his eyes down.
Peter glanced out the door. "Ray and Winston be up soon to see what's happened...What do we tell them?"
"Tell them I'm me."
"No, I meant how did this happen?"
Egon thought for a moment. "It must have been the mushroom explosion. The mushroom's Ray gave me are supposed to help increase life expectancy if eaten on a regular basis, according to legend."
"That doesn't explain why you've been mini-sized." Peter replied.
"Maybe the ectoplasm mutated the effect, resulting in..." Egon stared at himself in the mirror above the sink. "This."
Peter nodded. "It's a possibility."
Egon's eyes leaped to Peter's. "You can't tell Janine."
"What? Egon, when she sees you she's going to figure it out!"
"She's not going to see me."
"Damnit, I'm not going to have Janine see me in this state!"
"Alright Egon, take it easy."
Egon took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, but I can't see her like this. I...I just can't."
Peter nodded. "Okay Spengs. We'll figure this out."
He wished he felt half as sure as he sounded.
To be continued...