Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by rocketrobie2
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Ghostbusting was setup to be the next wave of public service, with the world's history of spectres and spirits one would think a way of dealing with the nastier ones would be wholeheartedly embraced. To some extent it was but only when something really bad was on the horizon. After their boom in popularity following the defeat of Vigo the Carpathian, the Ghostbusters got calls from all across the country at a volume they couldn't keep up with. The ever business savvy group decided to licence their brand and tech to expand their service all across America. The 90s turned out to be the golden age for the Ghostbusters.

Today the Ghostbusters brand is more or less forgotten, a fad of the last century. Turns out the business flew too close to the sun and the volume and severity of jobs began to decline, leading to many franchises closing their doors. The business is in a state of limbo right now; not growing at all but also not losing enough money to shut down. Every once in a while there'll be a spike in 'paranormal' activity in an area, leading to a group buying into the franchise, setting up and almost immediately going out of business due to a lack of consistent work.

This is a story of one such group of would-be Ghostbuster franchisees, unknowingly stumbling into something bigger than a get rich-quick scheme.




It had been about 45 minutes since the real estate agent said he would show up so now Go-za and Dave had to mull around the first property, a three story building that was once used as a pub/residency. With the free time they now found themselves with, the duo could get to know one another a bit better or maybe surf the web (assuming they had a phone capable of doing so) for a ride for their budding business venture. There was also the small formality of actually signing the franchise agreement that they had brought along.

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Dave began reading the Ghostbusters agreement, not actually looking for loopholes in his favor while doing so. His reasoning was simple since he was going to work for GBI, even if he was mostly in for the money offered by anyone desperate enough to call them, he needed to have good relations with them and unnecessarily taking whatever advantage he could would no doubt sour that relationship and potentially bite him in the ass later. Still that didn't mean he would pull any punches if things went bad for him. "There are some weirdly worded phrases here but this is an unusual job and all in all it looks good to me." Dave said mostly for the benefit of his new coworker, before taking out a pen and signing it.

Speaking of his new coworker Dave felt like he might as well introduce himself and discuss this possible new HQ for their franchise, though he made sure to only approach him when he wasn't busy with something else. "I'm Dave Grayson BTW and you?" He offered his hand and waited patiently for a response. "Not gonna lie the place looks pretty good for our needs if you ask me, but we can't seem too eager if we want to get it for a good price. That said though how do you feel about it?"

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"Hey there, the name's Marco Cabrero. " The man's voice was calm as he sipped his coffee. Under his arm was a fairly high-end laptop, a bundle of wires, camera, and mic. With extremely practiced motions he plugged in everything and reviewed the paperwork before signing it. He would then speak again, "Alright let me look over this, yeah looks fine." He'd sign the agreement.

"Anyway, let just turn this on and hold on a sec... Hey everyone, it's Go-za here and I'm here with the beginning of my new adventure! Take a look at this paper! Starting from today, I'll be a co-franchisee of what will be the local Ghostbusters. I look forward to streaming our outings which will sure to be loads of spooky fun." His voice had a more energetic candor as he took on the persona of a talking pizza slice to his audience floating.

Side-eyeing Dave, he'd whisper, "So do you want to introduce yourself or not? "
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As expected Dave's new coworker also signed the agreement but only after he had plugged in his laptop. Dave was about to say something but Marco turned the laptop on and introduced himself as Go-za, clearly streaming, and making Dave wonder if his handle was related to Gozer the Gozerian or if it was a coincidence. Honestly he found it a bit weird that Marco was just letting others watch them, but he tried not to judge. Ghostbusting was bound to attract a few eccentrics, the contract didn't seem to disallow it and it was a good way to make some extra money.

When he was asked to introduce he tried to think of a nickname for himself but in the end decided to stick with his real name. "Uh, yeah... I'm Dave, and we're about to check out our potential HQ, as soon as the real estate agent arrives. Either way nice to meet you Marco." The fact that who knew how many people were watching did make him feel a bit awkward but he felt he didn't do too bad.

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Marco shot Dave a glance of disapproval. Amongst the crowd watching some were amused at the usage of Go-Za's real name, while some of the uninitiated were a little confused. Regardless, there was a torrent of messages all containing some form of emoji, particularly involving pizza. The pizza avatar on stream would jankily wiggle around as the camera no longer detected the face but registered some movement. "Alright, so the thing is while I'm on air, the name is Go-Za. It's the name of my character." Marco would say to Dave as he fiddled around with a go-pro.

He would then sit down and face the camera. "Hey there folks, sorry for the wait. I was just messing with another camera. the reason being as Dave said, we're going to have a tour of the place once the real estate agent arrives and then you too will get to see our base. However, we're still waiting on them. So, you guys have any questions about my new adventure?" Marco's voice would almost lilt towards the end as he shook his face around to get the pizza to wiggle. Marco was hoping the realtor would arrive, as they were approaching an hour's wait. Also, he figured showing off the building would result in a boost in viewership and interest. In the meanwhile, he'd stall.

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As if on que (if that que was 50 minutes late) the real estate agent had arrived. Before being seen, the loud roar of an unmuffled engine broke the quite mid-day serenity. What eventually came into view (lightly obstructed by large plumes of blue tinged smoke) was a car old enough to rent a car and looking even older. Mismatched panels, very few working amenities and a hand-full of half-baked fixes to essential components made the the sickly yellow sedan look like a junkyard reject and it's driver wasn't much better.

After the car came to a stop with one last POP from the exhaust, a larger man in his mid forties popped out from the driver's seat, quickly popping the hood of his car to let it cool down faster. The man sported thin, greasy black hair though after a long shower most would call it brown. What hair he had (on his head) was pushed over with expert precision into a comb-over. The man sauntered over, wearing a suit and blazer matching the palette of his car with a wide grin on his face that to anyone not familiar with the man would say looked predatory, like a shark going after it's prey. The smile quickly left once he saw the camera.

"Hey! No flash photography! You want picture's I'll get my guy to do it but I don't want my face plastered on the web!" The man called, holding his hand out in the hopes of obstructing his face from the possible view of the camera.
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"Sorry, Ma.. Go-Za." Dave managed to keep him from making the same mistake twice in a row while his new coworker fiddled around with a different camera before turning the main one back on. He was about to ask just how much the guy made per stream when an old car drove up and stopped. Dave's hopes that that wasn't the realtor's were quickly dashed when he saw the owner's predatory smile, and reaction to being filmed.

Without saying a word so as not too tip the sleazeball off he decided to be extra thorough before signing any contracts with this guy. "If possible keep filming without tipping him off." he whispered to Marco before walking over to the realtor with a fake smile on his face.

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"It's fine, just remember." Marco would reply.

Marco would continue tinkering, but it wouldn't last that long. Finally, the real estate agent came here. He was a creature whose inner beauty matched with his external, the platonic ideal of your scuzzy real estate guy. It seemed he saw the camera and was more than a little spooked by its presence. While Marco, had the intention of doing a very bog-standard grand tour of the facilities his aim quickly changed.

The sort of bad attitude that came from the realtor, and his partner's suggestion put more than a little mischief into his spirit. Screwing with the guy who was going to try screw them was going to be fun, if they could pull it off. "Ahh, don't worry about this little thing. I know the rules about people's consent about having their faces broadcasted. Thing's not even on, and besides I don't really have an interest in you. This is for making the social media posts afterwards which'll help drum up some publicity, as I'm aware our business is in the fringe spooky-land, magic crystal territory, and posting about it online is going to help us reach those people more than putting out some print ads you know?"
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The sleaze-ball, had been very admit about keeping his face off of film but with the smooth words of the ghostbuster to be; well who could put up a fuss? The man's eyes darted towards the camera and Go-Za a number of times before finally lower his hand that he had ineffectually used to cover his face.

"Alright, alright. If it's just for advertising purposes I suppose there's no harm." the agent said, his face turning back to fa├žade of friendliness "don't mean to start off on tha' wrong foot here, just got some old flings from my uni days I'm tryin' to avoid."

His composure renewed, it was show time for the real estate agent. The man hurried over to the front door of the building and began fiddling with a ring of keys before finding the match for the building. With the door unlocked, the hefty man put a great deal of his weight into reefing on the ancient door until it popped open with a sickening scraping noise.

From the doorway the main bar area could be seen though to call it decrepit would be too kind of a term. The walls had holes where paraphernalia once hung and larger ones where fists and possibly pool cues had once called home. M0ost of the furniture was missing as well save for some (not all) of the bolted down barstools, the booths lining the wall to the right and a single chair-table combo left seemingly undisturbed since the closing of the establishment. At the back of the establishment sat a pool table and set of three doors; women's and men's bathrooms and another the likely lead to the kitchen and employees only areas.

"Viola! I know she's a bit of a fixer upper but these building were built to last. Good bones to 'em!" the agent said, walking into the room and giving the wall a light knock to prove his point, though the light tap had been enough to leave a small indent in the wall.
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Dave was more than a little impressed with how easily Marco convinced the real estate agent and wondered if he should let his partner do more talking in the future. As the sleazeball opened the door he made a note of the amount of force it took to open, determined to find as many bargaining chips to drive the cost down as he could.

For the most part the inside was a real letdown but Dave was pleasantly surprised to see some furniture still present, the pooltable being an especially nice bonus. He honestly wasn't sure if they needed two sets of bathrooms with just the two of them but it would at least mean there was always one toilet available and they could always repurpose one.

"Viola! I know she's a bit of a fixer upper but these building were built to last. Good bones to 'em!" He saw this a good chance to speak up. "I don't know if that is a loadbearing wall or not but we can't risk the place coming down, the containment unit is dangerous enough when empty. Remember how just turning it off wrong caused a blackout in New York? And then there is the front door, so far I think we're better off looking at something else. That said if the rest of the place is good who knows." Not sure if he should address Marco as Go-za or not but also unwilling to ignore his opinion he just faced his coworker. "What do you think?"


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"Yeah, I get what you." Marco would say as he followed the man.

He would show no response to the scraping of the door as the realtor struggled to pull it open. Although his soul, it was cringing with pain at the sight and sound. That was definitely one, of the undoubtedly many things, to note for fixing. The inside of this thing was pretty damn shabby. Although the poor state it was in wasn't terribly surprising given how long in vacancy it had been under. There was however something charming or at least the idea of it being charming to having their HQ having, the kitchen and bar component. The idea of being to screw around with the deep fryer and maybe even getting the taps working again was pretty damn cool.

Marco would return to reality promptly once Dave spoke up. Right, they were playing with a bunch of very fancy and potentially catastrophic equipment. Making sure they could have their stuff safely stored was necessary, although given the original Ghostbusters building was in some old firehouse, he wondered what was the threshold for it being "good enough".

"Hmm, you make a good point. We're playing with a bunch of a gizmos that could backfire spectacularly and the last thing we want is drawing the city or state's ire. Speaking about the containment unit, do you remember the recommendations for where to install that thing? Anyway, I'm thinking we should see the other two floors and maybe the kitchen before giving a judgement. " Marco would say.

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"Like I said, fixer upper. She just needs a little bit of TLC and she should be up to snuff for whatever goat-hunting equipment ya need to set up." the realtor assured, beginning to move towards the back of the building and headed for the backrooms.

"Let's keep this tour goin' fellas, I'm dyin' to show off the rest of this place. Lotta opportunities!" The rotund salesman said, turning to face the others but continuing his trajectory to the back. Through the door was a small hallway that split off into an office on the left, the kitchen on the right and a set of stairs at the end of the hallway. Both rooms would be in similar states of disrepair; anything of value missing, clutter all over the ground with the only exception being an ancient computer that looked to be in half decent condition in the office.

"Look at this space!" the realtor commented with a smile, waving his arm to show off the kitchen first "this place used to house some heavy-duty cookin' tools, probably good enough for your goat containment or what have ya."

Moving a little further down the hall, the realtor gave a small nod of his head into the office. "I know this one's not as much to look at but ya knock down a wall or two and you could probably get another few feet outta the place." he commented, not quite as enthused about the room but keeping his fake smile all the same.
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As expected Marco worded things well and Dave was pretty sure that if they did end up buying the place it wouldn't be too hard to bring the price down, though he also had little doubt the sales man would try to charge them more than the pub or any property he might be able to sell them was worth.

While the kitchen was emptied out and the mention of "goat containment" meant the real estate agent had no clue what their job was he did have a good point, it was easily accessible and there was enough room. Rather than reveal that though Dave simply nodded at the salesman's comment hoping Marco would catch his drift. The small office was a bit of a letdown even when compared to the rest of the building but once again the agent revealed he knew what he was talking about with his suggestion of knocking out a few walls. "All in all not great but I see no reason to outright reject the place."


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Marco felt himself a little concerned at the prospect of destroying some walls. While the building didn't seem like it was actively falling apart on itself, its bones did seem weaker than would be wanted for any sort of modification. Secondly, while he wasn't opposed to having to fix the place up, he was concerned about it needing so many repairs and whatnot that they spiral into doing the necessary repairs to be able to do anything else. Marco had enough cash to fund an attempt in a such weird business but given the need for a partner he lacked enough of to be able to foot the bill for doing an overhaul of the building.

"I agree. So do we want to get straight to negotiations or do we some time to think?" Marco would reply.

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Hearing the word negotiations brought a genuine smile to the sleazeball's face.

"I'm more than happy to begin negotiations." he said, putting on a bit of a posh twinge to his speech, like the words he spoke were holy. "However" he began, raising one finger to accentuate his incoming point "we still have two floors to go here. I'd be more than happy to provide some better photos if the twos of you have more pressin' matters to attend to. Same goes for the other properties we were gonna see today."
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Honestly this was a big decision and in Dave's mind not one to be taken lightly, the pub had some promise in his eyes but would still no doubt require a lot of work to meet all their requirements. "I don't know about seeing the other properties but I think we should at least see the other two floors." He mainly just hoped they didn't come across as too enthusiastic about buying as he didn't doubt the agent would try to drive the price up in that case, it was what he would do after all.


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