The Curse of Roberta's Purse

Chapter One

Claudia watched as Artie opened the box which held the warehouse's newest find. It looked pretty harmless. It was a very colorful orange purse, with fake flowers on it. It was over forty years old, but beautifully preserved. It was the purse that she had seen in her youth in the original Star Trek. Claudia, being only in her twenties, had not seen every episode, nor was she much of a fan. However, even though she had only seen it once, she had enjoyed this particular episode when her parents purchased the DVD's and encouraged her to watch them. In fact, when she joined the Warehouse 13 crew, she felt inspired because of it. Artie knew that the episode that the purse supposedly came from was based on real people. The episode had been played down because their covert organization did not want to be exposed. Gene Roddenberry was not allowed to continue with the idea of making the adventures of Gary Seven or Roberta Lincoln a series because of that possibility. Artie thought it would have been spectacular, but he could see their point. If they had continued, then people might have actually believed it. Of course, no one else knew that there was a real Gary Seven or a real Roberta Lincoln, or that this was the actual purse that belonged to a very real woman agent in the nineteen sixties. The real Roberta and Gary had been the first covert agents for the state of New York for a sister warehouse named Warehouse 7, and also for the real "Men in Black". To expose them so early would have been very dangerous for not only the organization, but for the original agents themselves.

"Oh…Artie…it's so funky! May I hold it?"

"Yes, but be careful. Don't –"

She opened it and a strange orange light emanated from it. Instantly, she vanished.

"—Open it. Damn." Artie finished, staring at the space where she had stood in dismay. Now what were they going to do, and where had she gone?

Claudia stood on a busy sidewalk in a large unknown city, wondering how she got there. She felt very different, and looked down at herself. Gasping, she saw that she was wearing a colorful pink and orange striped dress with a short skirt. A black sash adorned her waist. The dress had a matching cape, and she then realized that it was chilly outside. Wherever she was now, it was apparently in the late fall. White tights wrapped themselves snugly on her legs. On her feet were white flats. The chain attached to the purse she had seen moments before in the warehouse was in her right hand, and she saw that she was wearing white gloves. As she approached a large office building, she saw in the reflection from the window that her hair was now blonde, a little longer, and cut in a page boy style. Aghast, she realized that she had been transformed into the likeness of Roberta Lincoln. Not knowing what else to do, she entered the building, trying desperately to remember "Assignment: Earth", not recalling very much at the moment. Something told her to open the purse for directions on where to go. She fumbled with it for a moment, and then took the gloves off, wondering briefly why women from this era wore them even when their hands were not that hard to look at. She then figured it must have been a fad. Quickly, she located a slip of paper that had the address, stepped into an elevator, and pressed the button for the twelfth floor.

She also now wondered if she should pretend to be who she now resembled. She knew absolutely nothing about the nineteen sixties, nor could she remember what Roberta was doing here. Sighing, she decided it was best to play along. She opened the door to the apartment and stepped in. Seeing a closet, she removed the cape, opened the door and hung it on the rack.

"Hello? Anybody here?" She called out.

An older man who looked remarkably like the newest James Bond stepped into the room with a stern expression.

"Where have you been?" He asked gruffly.

This Roberta, not knowing what to say, just stood there in silence.

"Where have you been?" The man asked again, this time more forcefully.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. Besides, I don't even know who you are. Why should I tell you anything?"

"I'm Supervisor 194, Code named Gary Seven, as if you don't already know. Where have you been in the last three Earth days? Stop kidding around, 201. Where's agent 347?"

Claudia shrugged.

"With 348?"

"201, code responses are not necessary. Have a seat." He gestured towards a comfortable-looking office chair and a white electric typewriter. "Now I want you to type everything you have done in the last three days."

She looked at him helplessly, trying to think of what she could possibly type that would be of any interest to this man, and she did not want to reveal anything about Warehouse 13.

"Uh, everything I've done?"

The man nodded and handed her a piece of paper. She took it and put it in the typewriter, while he pushed a button on its underside. She started to press some keys and he stopped her.

"Not with your fingers!"

"Now how do you expect me to type, with my elbows?"

She was surprised when the machine started to type everything she just uttered all by itself. She did not recall this machine from the episode and was very impressed, thinking that she would like to take it apart to see how it worked.

"Wow, this is so cool! Where can I get one of these? Artie would love this!"

"Who is Artie?"

"A friend of mine." She answered quickly. Without thinking, she added, "I didn't know technology like this existed in the nineteen sixties."

The man named Gary Seven withdrew his servo, now suspicious of her. He aimed it at the door to his apartment and locked it, now considering her a possible security risk.

"Computer, scan unidentified female present."

"Roberta Lincoln. Race: human. Occupation: secretary. Employed by agents 347 and 201. Identifying characteristics: small mole on left shoulder...somewhat larger star-shaped birthmark on her upper right buttock. Although her behavior appears erratic and incongruous, she possesses a high I.Q.."

Claudia grinned at him, now thinking that after forty-two years, learning the location of Roberta's star-shaped birthmark was well worth the wait. She then frowned in the direction of a little green cube, flashing next to the typewriter, recalling that it was some type of scanning device hooked up to the very sophisticated computer, and thinking that it knew way too much about her friend Roberta, also wondering if Seven's bunch employed some voyeurs to get this kind of detailed information.