By Lorraine Anderson
God, it's hell being perfect. Gorgeous, drop-dead body, blonde hair, blue eyes, 5 foot eight, 110 pounds. And I got brains to spare. If I had any sense, I'd fall off a curb and break my nose. Or maybe gain a ton of weight. But I have too damned much coordination to trip, and my self-preservation instinct is too highly developed, so the weight thing is out. But I think my situation might work out now. I hope.
Well, I take being perfect back. My English has never been perfect.
Who'm I? I'm Mary Susan Sioux. Don't blame me for that name; my mom was a great admirer of the Indians and managed to browbeat my dad into legally changing his name. Took a slight bribe to get that last name, but got it he did. Money and power work wonders.
Anyway. How I got here. It all started at the lab in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on December 22 of 1996. Yes, December 22. Christmas and ho, ho, ho. I was depressed as all hell. I was sitting on my lab stool and staring out of the window at the driving snow. Another Sunday spent at the lab because I had nothing else to do, another relationship down the drain, another boyfriend driven away by the combination of my "overwhelmingly stunning beauty and my genius level IQ." I couldn't understand it. After all, it wasn't like I could help being like I am. Pride? I don't think so. I'm just quoting my boyfriend.
And I hadn't anyone to talk to, either. My mom didn't understand, and all my old friends who knew me when I was just a gangly teenager brushed me off. Friends... yeah, except when it came to that one subject. Not even Jeff, my lab-mate, understood me; good old Jeff, my buddy, who, fortunately, was immune to a woman's pretty face, and raved with me over the Chippendales. But Jeff was a loose cannon, anyway.
I looked over at the ugly monstrosity on top of his section of the lab and wondered why he just didn't work on that at home... and how he managed to hide it from the lab supervisor. On the other hand, everything got past the lab supervisor. The super was the president's second cousin, and I think the last time he was in a lab was Basic Chemistry... which I suspect he flunked.
Maybe I should find a sadist with a penchant for hurting pretty women. I guess it depends on whether I want to be an object of pity rather than an object of awe.
Anyway, I was sitting there, tracing circles in the water on the counter top. Something banged at the window, and I jumped up. Damn. Just another bird crashing into the window, flying away stunned. I kept telling Cal, my boss, that they should put some of those stick-on decorations on the windows, and he would agree in principle, but everything I put up he called frivolous, and it would come down the next day.
I looked at the chemical cupboard, then had a sudden idea. Would birds be driven away by an overwhelmingly human scent? Maybe. And maybe I could manage it so that it wasn't offensive to humans. Maybe... well, at least it would give me something to do.
Four hours and a few tests later, I had a potion to smear on the outside of the windows. If I was right, this should repel birds like a skunk repels humans. I held the beaker up to the light... it was clear... then sniffed it... scentless.
I turned and was carrying the beaker to where I had set my coat... and accidently brushed against Jeff's experiment.
Ok, maybe my coordination isn't so good.
It beeped. Loudly. One hundred twenty decibels, at the least. Startled, I jerked forward... and spilled the contents of the beaker all over my blouse. "Sh... God bless America!" I muttered. (I've been trying to cut down on my swearing.)
After setting the beaker down, I looked at the machine. "Where did you put the off switch, Jeff?" I muttered to myself. "Oh... there, underneath the blessed thing." I set one hand on the machine to steady myself, then started to reach under the machine. I felt a tingling...
...and found myself in a grey room standing on top of a round pad. "Who the hell are you?" came an outraged voice. As I looked up, the curly haired man behind the console punched a badge on his breast. "O'Brien to security. Send a team to transporter room number four."
I considered fainting, but it seemed the cowardly thing to do, so I put my hands on my hips. "I could ask the same thing of you. Where am I? Where's the lab?"
He came around the console to face me. He took a deep breath... then sent it out, puzzled. He took another breath. "What were we talking about?" He looked me up and down, lingering at my ample breasts. (And you just try to buy a brassiere for those ample breasts. Tain't easy.) "Did you know you're beautiful?"
I heard a swish at the door. "And you are a married man, Mr. O'Brien," said a deep voice at the door. I looked over, then decided if I hadn't fainted before, I wasn't going to now. Was this a man? Well... he was humanoid. His forehead was groovy. Really. I mean it had real grooves in it. He was followed by another man who looked human, but I wasn't taking any bets at this point. It looked like I was up on a UFO.
"I was just enjoying the view, Worf," O'Brien said, with a dreamy sound to his voice.
"What happened here, Mr. O'Brien?"
"Here..." I saw O'Brien shake himself. "I was monitoring the communications of the away team and heard an emergency signal. I beamed the person in and got... her." He smiled.
I closed my eyes. "Jeff's experiment," I said. "Jeff's experiment must have sent out a signal."
"And who is this... Jeff?" Actually, the way Mr. Worf talked, it wasn't a question than a command to talk. And I don't do well with commands, but given the person giving it and the current circumstances, I modified my views. To steady myself, I tried to look at his partner. He was looking somewhat puzzled, then he smiled at me.
"He's my lab partner," I squeaked, then got my voice down to a regular range. "I was trying to mix up something to scare away the birds from our window when I brushed against my lab partner's experiment and it started making funny noises... and I ended up here." And I pointed to my blouse. "I got my own experiment all over me."
"Wonderful," Mr. O'Brien practically drooled. "You look good in your experiment."
"I agree," said the other man.
"Mr. Santana. Steady yourself."
"In front of a luscious woman like this?" He smiled lasciviously at me.
I looked at him sideways. "Are they usually this way?"
"No," Mr. Worf growled. "They are not." He punched the badge on his chest and spoke. "Worf to Captain Picard."
"Yes, Mr. Worf," the badge said.
"We have an unauthorized visitor from the surface. A woman."
I heard a pause. "How did that happen?"
"Apparently, Mr. O'Brien beamed her up accidentally." He paused dramatically. "Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Santana are acting very strangely. I request Dr. Crusher report to the transporter room."
"I'll be right down with the Doctor."
And what was going to come down? Some three legged alien and the mad doctor from Planet X? I was nervous. Very nervous. And then was rather disappointed to see the door open to disgorge a bald male and a red-haired female. The female... I presume this was Doctor Crusher... immediately flipped some sort of box open and pointed it at Mr. O'Brien, who was staring at me with a stupid expression on his face.
Just then, my brain decided to kick into gear. "Stay back," I warned Captain Picard, who was moving towards me.
"I don't take warnings..." He got within range and took a deep breath, then sent it out, looking puzzled. "What was I saying, beautiful?"
"Too late," I sighed.
Doctor Crusher looked over at Picard from where she was scanning Mr. Santana, startled. "Captain...?" She pointed the thing at him. "Damn. Him, too."
"Doctor?" Worf said.
"All three have extremely high levels of testosterone."
I sighed. "Possibly because I'm covered with human pheromones." I looked down. "To be specific, my shirt."
Startled, Dr. Crusher turned her box towards me. "You are! How did you manage that?"
"I was trying to create a bird repellent and accidentally splashed it all over myself." I sighed again, noticed how intently the three humans were ogling my breasts, and desisted.
"I thought I smelled a stink when I came in," Worf said. Crusher turned her box towards him. "Your levels are up slightly, but your Klingon metabolism isn't nearly as affected." She turned it towards herself. "My levels are rising slightly." She looked at me thoughtfully. "If we take you out of this room, we'll have a ship full of love-sick men. If we send you back without wiping your memory, you'll have too much of a knowledge..." She stopped herself.
"Of the future?"
She smiled ruefully. "Yeah. The future. How did you guess?"
"It wasn't hard." I pointed to the men. "A Picard, a O'Brien, a Santana... and a Worf. We have no Worfs in the twentieth century."
Crusher sighed. "Of course."
I had a thought. "Um... if these guys are acting like this... uh... can I take a shower or something before I go back, Doctor?"
The Doctor screwed up her mouth. "It's not quite that simple. And call me Beverly." She pointed the box towards me. "The formula has actually bonded to your skin."
I didn't like where this was going. "Meaning..."
"Even if you take a shower, it's not going to get it all off."
"You mean, every man I meet for a while is going to fall instantly in lust... in love with me?"
"Not... instantly. But eventually. And your first word was more accurate."
Picard smiled. "I love how you swear."
I raised my eyebrows. "French?"
"Oui," Picard leered. "Trés français, maintenant."
I stared helplessly at Beverly. "Yes, you may take a shower before you leave. Let me get you some female guards, or you're going to have half the ship following you." The door opened, and Beverly turned. "Wil! What are you doing here?"
"I'm not entirely sure," said the handsome, dark haired man. He turned and saw me. "Now I know."
Beverly said a few choice words of her own. "It's in the ventilation system." She rushed me out of the room, down a hall, and into an elevator. I could see a bunch of men descending on the transporter room, like... um, lemmings, I guess, although that's not quite the term I wanted. I mean, I'd jump over a cliff, first, if I saw that group following me. Although I suppose they'd follow.
"Sickbay," Beverly said, and the elevator started moving. As soon as it stopped, she rushed me down a hall and into something that looked like a doctor's office. I had barely looked at it when she rushed me into a smaller room. "Shower," she said, and a stream of water came out of the wall, soaking me through. "We don't often use a water shower," she said apologetically, backing up, "but occasionally it comes in handy to wash things off. Soap." Soap started coming out with the water.
"I feel like I'm in a car wash. When does the dry cycle come?"
"Rub the soap in, first. Sorry about the clothes."
I looked down at my T-shirt and blue jeans. "S'all right. Better than having a bunch of men following me around."
"Don't you anyway?"
"They're too... intimidated."
"Can I dry now?"
"Dry," she told the wall, and warm air started rushing out.
"Actually, I was thinking more of a towel." The air started faster. If it weren't for the warm air behind me holding me forward, the forward air would've pushed me to the wall.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and a klaxon started. "Red alert. Dr. Crusher to the bridge. Medical Emergency."
She let out a few more choice words. "What is it, Mr. Data?"
"A Romulan warbird has decloaked off our starboard bow. Captain Picard and Commander Riker refuse to come to the bridge, and are behaving very oddly... as are all of the human male crewmembers. I have called Mr. Worf to the bridge and all senior female officers, but I believe our crewmembers need assistance."
"There's not much I can do right now, short of chemical castration... or flushing the ship's ventilation system. But we'll be right up." She motioned to me. "Come on."
"Are you sure that's wise?"
"No, but I need to go to the bridge. Will you stay here?"
"Then come." I followed her into the elevator. "Bridge."
The elevator started moving. I would dearly love to figure out how they made an elevator go sideways, but that was neither here nor there. "Who are Romulans?"
"They're... an alien race who should be nowhere near this area at this time." Her fist clenched.
"And why are you so tense?"
"Romulans are not friendly."
We emerged in a big round room. "Ah. Doctor," said a golden skinned man. "Who is this?"
"This is... the source of our male crewmember's troubles. Mary, this is Commander Data."
He sniffed, and I had a sinking feeling. "Doctor, I detect human pheromones. This is the source?"
A man beside this Data was staring at me... I think. It looked like he had some sort of odd sunglasses on.
Data turned away. "The Romulan ship, oddly enough, has not detected us. I have scanned them, and I detect damage to their warp core. I have been waiting for their first move."
"Have they even moved?"
The elevator door opened again, and a dark-haired woman and a blonde woman stepped onto the bridge. The dark-haired one gave me a funny look, then looked at the screen. "Romulans," she said in a low voice.
"Commander," said the light haired one, stepping onto the platform behind the Lieutenant. "Recommend that I scan the Romulan ship."
He considered for a moment. "I believe that this would be the recommended course of action. I believe the Captain would say 'make it so, Lieutenant Yar.'"
I leaned towards Beverly. "Does he always talk like that?"
She smiled slightly. "We've been working on him."
Yar relaxed slightly. "No life signs. No, wait a minute. One faint life sign. Instability of the warp core."
She closed her eyes. "I believe there is only one person left on board. He is very frightened."
Telepath? I thought.
"We have to get that Romulan out of there," Beverly said, alarmed.
"I thought these were your enemies." Beverly looked at me like I was a sea slug. "Ok, I'd try to rescue it... him, too."
The elevator door opened again. "And we shall rescue him for you," said a familiar voice. Captain Picard strode onto the bridge, and he was followed by an entourage, all staring at me.
Worf was part of that group, and he looked at Beverly apologetically. "I am sorry, Doctor. I tried to keep them from coming to the bridge, but he is still the Captain."
Beverly tried to block his way. "Captain, you are not well. I insist you all go back to your quarters."
"Nonsense. We have never been better." With a quick movement, he blocked her and moved to a side console.
"Data! Tasha! Deanna!" Beverly pleaded, and the two other women moved to her side.
"Are you declaring them mentally incompetent?" Data said.
I saw a movement in the corner of my eye. "Beverly," I said, pointed at the other man at the console. I heard a whine.
"Oh, Geordi," Beverly sighed. "I forgot about him."
Something sparkled beside me. I turned and watched it, fascinated, but noticed that the blond... Yar?... had pulled out some sort of gun. The form solidified... and a big green man with pointed ears was standing before me. And he had a gun.
His eyes widened, and I saw him point the gun at the Captain. Right then, I was glad I had taken Karate. With an easy move, I had him on the floor. Yar was all over him before he hit, and Worf was not far behind. Well, not all over him, I mean they had him covered.
"You saved me," the Captain said with a silly grin. "I think I love you." He looked at Worf and Yar. "Take him to the brig."
I have a feeling they already had that idea, because they were hustling him out of the bridge, and gave him a funny look.
I looked over at Beverly. "Oh, God. Get me out of here. Can't you neutralize this stuff?"
She shook her head. "We got most of it off. But the ship is a closed environment, and I haven't had a chance to flush the ventilators."
"Then get me off the ship. I've had enough of the future."
Beverly smiled. "Gladly."
Riker pouted. "Oh, don't go."
"Take a cold shower, Riker," I said, frustrated.
"Just what I was going to say," said Deanna. She stared possessively over at Riker.
"It's been fun, but I really have to go." I practically ran towards the elevator.
Beverly trotted after me. "Data, flush the ventilators after Mary transports off... oh, and add some sort of scent... pine, I think. Take control of the bridge until Deanna tells you that they're all right." The door closed behind her. "Transporter."
"Will they be all right?"
She screwed up her nose and nodded. "They will, after you leave. At least as well as men ever get." She grinned.
"I hear you!"
We stepped out into the corridor, and I stopped every male in his tracks. I looked at them and thought for a moment. "Beverly, do you have to put me back where I started?"
"It would be best." I looked at her and smiled. "But I think maybe we can do what you want. You did save the Captain."
It finally occurred to me that perhaps Beverly's judgement was affected, too, because I wouldn't have had the chance to save the Captain if the formula hadn't affected him in the first place. I wasn't affecting Beverly romantically, obviously, but this formula that slopped all over me was making her a Really Good Friend. She would have probably realized that if I pointed it out to her... so I didn't.
"I want to visit an old friend. A penpal I always wanted to know better... but he was too afraid of me, after I told him what I look like." She looked at me. "He lives on a boat." I thought a second. "But I don't think he's home this weekend. Can you tap into the cellular phone system?"
"I... think so. If I can't, I'll grab an engineer."
She didn't, thank heavens, and I would dearly love to have that computer system. In a second, I was connected with my friend, and Beverly had gotten his coordinates. As I stood on the pad, she looked kind of weepy. "I'll miss you," she said.
I smiled and waved. I doubted that, but I wasn't going to point it out. I heard that humming again...
...and found myself in the back of a crowded hall. Damn. I wish I had thought to ask him where he was. I saw him on the podium, I'll catch him later. Good as time as any to go to the ladies room. As I was moving out the door, I knocked into a guy. He dropped something, and I reached down to pick it up...
... it was a gun.
Startled, I looked up into his face. He snarled at me, pushed me aside, and grabbed up the gun. He aimed towards the podium, but that was all the further he got. Adrenaline works wonders, and besides, I was ticked. This was two homicidal maniacs in one day, after all. The aim went wild, and as one, the auditorium turned towards him. Under scrutiny, he panicked, but I was blocking the door and I dropped into my karate stance. So he took the only option available... forwards through the crowd.
Did I mention that this was a detective's convention? Well, you can imagine how far he got. As he started down the aisle, he knocked Starsky into Hutch, swung at Simon and Simon, and got tripped by Detective Columbo. Immediately, Remington Steele and Laura Holt were on top of him. I felt like running up and kicking him in the gut for shooting at my friend, but decided with this crowd, restraint was the best policy.
"Are you hurt, beautiful?" said a voice beside me. I turned to see Starsky ogling me. Well, that answered one question... I had heard that those two were a little closer than partners, if you know what I mean.
"No..." I looked around at the stir I was causing. Beverly's judgement definitely was flawed. Unless... I looked down. No, nothing out of place. The formula must still be as strong as ever. Damn. When I mix up a recipe, I mix it up good!
"Excuse me..." I struggled my way out of the crowd and up to my friend, good old nerdy Murray Bozinksky.
"Mary!" he exclaimed, then sneezed. "That was you?"
"Yeah... that was me." I looked at him closely. "You have a cold?"
"Yeah," he sneezed.
I smiled. "Great!"
"You gotta get me out of here, or else your audience is going to..." Well, what I was thinking, nice girls didn't say, and besides, Murray is awfully shockable. Cute, though. "... turn on me," I finished, "in a matter of speaking."
"Trust me on this, honey." I looked around. "Where are your oversexed partners?" I looked to the front of the auditorium. "Oh. Yeah." I crooked my finger, and Cody and Nick hopped on stage. "Create a flying wedge, you three, and get me out of here!"
Well, to make a long story short, I ended in on the Riptide in Los Angeles, living with Murray and Cody and Nick. It was pretty unbearable the first couple of weeks, but if I sat on deck most of the time and made sure I was downwind, I actually got some relatively intelligent conversation out of Cody and Nick. Besides, after I burned that first day and eventually got rid of that first layer of skin, life wasn't bad at all.
Problem is... and this really isn't a problem, I guess, as much as an inconvenience to my career and my home life in Michigan... is that I've fallen in love. Not only that, but I'm certain he reciprocates honestly and not chemically. Was I blind before? I had spent lots of time with him cybernetically and knew we were compatible spirits, but I had never expected to find a love affair. And damn, he's a great kisser.
Who? Well, who do you think? Why, Murray, of course. Who else?