Chapter Four: Galaxy Defenders
Closing time – KaeLeigh’s favorite time of the day.
Greasy’s normally closed up shop before nine o’clock in the evening, which left more time for KaeLeigh and Lazy Susan to go home and sleep off all the waiting they’ve done. Of course, on the weekends, they partied (in the best sense of the term for a town like Gravity Falls).
“Have a good night, sweetheart,” Susan bode KaeLeigh.
“You, too,” KaeLeigh happily returned.
Just as she locked up the entrance, both women were illuminated by the approaching headlights of a 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria.
KaeLeigh knew the vehicle, as well as the pair of black-suited men (an old Caucasian and a young African American) stepping out of it. “Not now,” she groaned underneath her breath.
“Sorry, boys, we’re closed,” Susan told the men. “And what’s up with the sunglasses at night? That song’s not to be taken literal, ya know.”
“My apologies, ma’am,” the old Caucasian man said, reaching into his right pants pocket to retrieve a unique tool that he fiddled with before holding it up between himself and Susan. “If you don’t mind, would you look into this little red dot for me here?” He indicated said dot at the topmost end of the device that faced her.
Knowing what came next, KaeLeigh reached in her purse and put on her own pair of sunglasses she kept, seemingly for this occasion.
Susan tittered. “Is this some kind of eye exam? Because you’re a little too—”
She was silenced at the instant the device emitted a bright flash right into her one good eye. She was stupefied, standing as stiff as a board in front of the two suited men and an unhappy KaeLeigh.
“Alright, Miss Wentworth,” the old gentleman began while removing his shades with KaeLeigh and his young African American companion. “You’re gonna stay home tonight and the next few days and not worry about coming to work. The good people of this town will do just fine with TV dinners ’til then. Now you have yourself a good evening.”
“Thanks, whoever you are,” said an overjoyed Susan.
KaeLeigh watched her coworker leave, having no idea her memory was just wiped by M.I.B. Agent Kay.
“You didn’t have to do that,” she told him. “She had no idea who you guys were already.”
“These people have no clue what’s coming their way,” Kay remarked. “Their best chance is to remain safe in their homes, not knowing.”
“Believe it or not, that bull actually makes sense,” Agent Jay (Kay’s usual partner) vouched.
KaeLeigh could only shake her head. “Have you guys uncovered any leads yet?”
“Nothing but some redheaded lumberjack dude who looks like his Mama had sex with Gossamer,” Jay answered.
“Cipher will make his move any second,” Kay stated. “He may target the Ghostbusters to use as an example. When that happens, we move in and wipe out the lil’ demon with everything we got.”
Jay quickly noticed KaeLeigh’s apprehensiveness. “Hey, you cool?”
“Yeah, it’s just…” she huffed, “I’m just thinking about the other Ghostbusters – the ones who were here long before the ones who came to the town. Wouldn’t it be smart to warn them of what’s coming? They could help us.”
“Young lady, let me tell you something about these so-called ‘heroes’ you insist on asking for help,” Kay sternly said. “As a senior agent, I damn-well refuse to allow any affiliation between our agency and them. They are menaces to society and what happened four years ago in New York is proof of that. If they’re the first ones to suffer Cipher’s wrath, so be it.”
KaeLeigh was shocked by his cold-hearted words.
And so was Jay.
The two Ghostbusters teams and the Pines family successfully reached the lakeshore. In the dark forest, only the moonlight guided their way. The lake water was close to freezing temperatures (unusual for the summer season), but if cold, drenched clothing meant surviving the wrath of Bill Cipher, they would gladly accept it.
“We need to go into town and warn everyone about Bill,” Dipper suggested.
“Excellent idea, kiddo,” Abby concurred.
They hardened at the sound of movement nearby, which began with the snapping of twigs. Holtzmann primed her proton wand and took aim at the foliage. “Step out with your hands up,” she demanded, sounding close to a cop from a 1940s crime movie.
“Don’t shoot!” The voice of a teenaged boy pleaded beyond the foliage.
He did as Holtzmann ordered and stepped out with his friend – a blond, blue-eyed girl wearing a brightly colored dress and brandishing a wand of her own (one in the magical variety).
Mabel peered suspiciously at the pair of teens. “Never seen you guys around Gravity Falls before.”
The brown-haired teen boy in the reddish-orange hoodie chuckled. “Uh, yeah, that’s because we’re from out of town. My name’s Marco Diaz and this is my friend, Star Butterfly.”
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Star delightfully said.
“You kids should know that there’s a really bad demon monster lurking in these woods,” Natalie warned. “And that’s not some spook story some town hillbillies made up to share the ‘city folk.’ It’s real.”
“Oh, one little demon won’t be a problem,” Star bragged. “I’ve fought plenty from one dimension to the next. Just the other day, I…”
“S-She means a video game,” Marco hurriedly interjected.
“Well, this is no game,” Ford boldly noted. “You kids would be best coming to town with us.”
“You don’t have to tell us twice, sir,” Marco obliged.
Gathering together, the three groups made their way for the town.
All except for Jacqueline, who remained with her lower half still submerged in the lake. Lisa was the only one to notice her that way.
“What’s wrong with you?” She asked her.
There was much strain on Jacqueline’s face. “A mackerel just swam down my pants and right into my butt.” She let out an intense, strained groan. “Think…I’ve…almost…got it…”
Her face scrunched a bit more.
A few bubbles surfaced behind her, followed by a tiny mackerel.
“Awe,” Jacqueline gushed. “He’s just a cute lil’ thing.”
“Well, mazal tov,” Lisa mockingly congratulated. “Now let’s go.”
They returned to a dark and stagnant town, an hour later.
“It’s quiet…too quiet,” Mabel indicated, giggling afterward. “I always wanted to say that.”
Dipper squinted through the darkness, barely able to see his own hand.
“Why’re all the streetlights out? Curfew’s not ’til nine o’clock and it’s now just twelve past eight!”
“Anybody got a flashlight?” Stan asked.
“I’ve got one better, old fez guy,” Star gleefully cheered, waving her wand around while spouting some type of incantation.
Next thing they knew, all the lights in town sparked back on.
In the midst of all the illumination were hundreds of townsfolk, gathered among the street corner and swarmed by Ghostbusters décor. A banner hung above that read, “HAPPY FOUR-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, GRAVITY FALLS GHOSTBUSTERS!”
“Surprise,” hailed the people of Gravity Falls.
Erin, Abby, Holtzmann, and Patty were overwhelmed.
Natalie, J.G., Sean, and Jacqueline were underwhelmed.
Star, Marco, and the Pines family were simply confused.
“When the heck did they have time to plan all this?” Stan wondered.
The party went in full swing shortly after with karaoke music (“Manly” Dan Corduroy roared the lyrics of Powerman 5000’s “Bombshell” with Mayor Cutebiker backup-singing the “Get Up” parts of the chorus) and a giant cake fashioned after the Ghostbusters logo.
Erin and her team were touched by the sentiment. “This is all too much.”
“You can say that again,” an annoyed Natalie huffed. “You wanna remind these people of what we came all this way to warn them? What nearly killed us back in the woods?”
“Oh, right,” Erin snapped out of it, climbing up on the karaoke stage just as Robbie Valentino was about to serenade with Aerosmith’s “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” She took the microphone from the teen and said, “Everyone! Please, I must have your attention! No less than an hour ago, my team and I encountered a nightmare demon by the name of Bill Cipher from our cabin in the woods. It is imperative that we take immediate caution and evacuate Gravity Falls as soon as possible.”
For a brief moment, the townspeople considered her warning.
And then, Wendy said, “Ah, I’m sure it’s nothing you girls can’t handle. Now let’s keep this party goin’!”
The other townsfolk concurred with her outlook, resuming the festivities.
“No, you have to listen!” Erin pleaded, only to have the microphone snatched away by Robbie. “Abby! Holtzmann! Try to get through to them!”
Unfortunately, her teammates were stuffing their faces in the jubilant crowd.
“Can’t,” Holtzmann muffled through a mouthful of cake. “We’re eating.”
“Mmm!” Abby moaned with satisfaction over her share. “Erin, you gotta get down here and try some of this! Somebody’s seriously outdone themselves!”
“That’s gotta be strawberry and mint frosting I’m tastin’,” Patty deduced.
J.G. was shaking his head with disapproval over the indulged women and so-called “heroes of the town” when he suddenly heard his name urgently beckoned by a female voice he only just recently familiarize himself with.
Zeroing on the caller within the raucous crowd, he was delighted to see it was KaeLeigh, the waitress from the town diner. “Hey,” he said. “Glad there’s one thing worth finding in all this—”
“Is it true? Did you all really encounter Bill Cipher in those woods?”
There was abject terror in her dazzling blue eyes that concerned J.G.
“Y-Yeah,” he confirmed. “Do you know something about…?”
“You all need to leave town immediately,” KaeLeigh strictly advised.
As cautious as she should have been about Cipher, there was something about her behavior that seemed off to J.G.
He spotted a pair of black-suited men past her, standing out from the crowd.
“KaeLeigh, what’s going…?”
The horrified shriek of a partygoer drew all attention to the banquet table where the Ghostbusters cake nestled. Everyone backed away from it as a single glowing eye manifested in a triangular-shaped slice and floated in midair.
“Hey, if I’d known you guys had cake, I would’ve invited myself!”
The cake slice his form inhabited dissolved to his real self, increasing in size while hovering over the townspeople.
“Leave this town now, Cipher!” Ford commanded.
“Maybe I’ll consider it, as soon as you cough up the rift,” Cipher said, “or else I’m gonna get real angry.”
“Ain’t happenin’ tonight or any other night, you lil’ creep!”
Bill knew that voice, which sounded twice as threatening (and old) as Ford.
His large eye centering across the crowd, it flared once he sighted the two black-suited men J.G. had a while ago, both armed with extraterrestrial-looking handguns that were aimed right at Cipher.
“You gotta be kidding me!” He bellowed. “The Men in Black?! You got these guys involved?! Ghostbusters were bad enough, now you call these guys?!”
In his fury, his usual yellow hue morphed to a burning reddish-orange.
His glowing eye became reptilian in nature, prompting Meagan to think of it like the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.
With the snap of his fingers, Cipher turned the M.I.B. agents’ guns to ash.
“You should’ve stayed in retirement, Kay,” he specifically taunted the older Caucasian agent.
“And you should’ve stayed in the hellhole you crawled out of,” Kay retorted.
Even more infuriated, the glow of Cipher’s eye intensified.
To the immediate distress of KaeLeigh and Agent Jay, Agent Kay’s entire body was petrified into gold by Cipher.
“NO!” KaeLeigh tearfully screamed.
From out of her purse, she retrieved an alien handgun of her own, firing powerful blasts of energy at the nightmare demon.
They were effective enough to badly wound him.
Wavering in midair, Cipher swore to the crowd, “I will turn your world into the stuff nightmares are made of, once I get my hands on that rift!”
With that strong declaration, he vanished.
The people of Gravity Falls were left shaken from the chilling experience; however, nothing was more daunting than what one of their own residents – the innocent, young Greasy’s Diner waitress – revealed herself to be.
“KaeLeigh?” A flabbergasted J.G. uttered. “Are you some sort of galaxy defender?”