Star Traks, the Secondprize, Waystation, and a set of faux pearls belong to Alan Decker. The Explorer, her fated crew and all the mistakes and uncomfortable situations that come about because of her are gladly owned by Anthony Butler, Copyright 1998. Paramount owns everything else, including my eternal soul. If you're offended by mildly disturbing language, situations, and the utter disregard of some of Star Trek's greatest premises, best to hit the "Back" button on your browser right now. If not, welcome aboard!

Author: Anthony Butler
Copyright: 1998

Once in a great while, a person comes

along and affects you in ways you never

dreamt imaginable. By totally disgusting

you with the ability to lock onto you with

a verbal “tractor beam” and jabber on

about nothing for hours, she etches

herself into your memory forever.

I believe everyone has been ensnared in an

unbreakable death hold such as this at

least once in his or her life–it is an

inescapable truth of existence.


This work is dedicated to just such a

person. I met her once, and may God help

me if I ever meet her again.


HISTORIAN’S TIMELINE


NOVEMBER 1995 Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully return to their office in Washington D.C. after having their minds wiped of any knowledge of the events below, though for reasons unknown to him, Mulder has a peculiar interest in the phenomenon known to many as “Star Trek.”


MARCH 2372 On the way back from a Starfleet conference, Captain Alexander Rydell of the Federation Starship Secondprize is transported back in time three hundred years by a twentieth century college student’s failed science experiment to occupy the body of an ancestor of the same name, who at the time, is a student at Old Dominion University on Earth. After successfuly saving said ancestor’s relationship, he is rescued and returned to his own timeline by his Chief Engineer.


JULY 2374 USS Aerostar is launched from Federation outpost Waystation, under the command of Captain Andrew Baxter. Less than an hour later, they are slingshotted half-way across the galaxy by a phenomenon known as the Bermuda Expanse. After a brief search, Starfleet gives them up for dead.


OCTOBER 2374 The former Chief Medical Officer of the Starship Secondprize steals the Starship Defiant and takes it back in time to a point shortly after the time Captain Rydell previsously visited. Her goal: to kidnap 20th century Alex and bring him back to the future. Captain Rydell and crew follow her back and manage to thwart her evil plan, forgetting to erase security footage of her that was taken at a mall and leaving the hijacked Defiant’s shuttlecraft behind in a patch of woods adjacent to the mall.


NOVEMBER 2374 The crew of the starship Aerostar is accidentally thrown backward in time and back to their side of the galaxy when they attempt to engage their warp engines inside a volatile nebula. They arrive at twentieth century Earth, just weeks after the Secondprize and Defiant departed. When they investigate the signal from the Defiant shuttlecraft, the college student’s experiment is accidentally re- started and Captain Andy Baxter, First Officer David Conway, and Chief Engineer Christopher Richards find theirselves trapped in the bodies of their twentieth century counterparts. After defending the Earth from venemous, buglike aliens known as the Flarn that followed them back through time, and an annoying trekker named Irma, they assist in the birth of one of their counterparts’ daughters, wipe the minds of everyone involved, retake their original bodies, and reenact the accident that sent them there and return to the twenty-fourth century Delta Quadrant. It was a busy year for all involved.


MAY 2375 After helping to save the Delta Quadrant from the menace of the Borg, the Directors–the aliens responsible for bringing the Aerostar to the Delta Quadrant–inform the crew that they could have returned to the Alpha Quadrant at any time. Consequently, the crew say some brief goodbyes and return to the Alpha Quadrant post haste. Just a few days later, the Aerostar is destroyed and Captain Baxter and crew are given command of a new vessel, the Galaxy- class USS Explorer.


AUGUST 2375 Captain Baxter is called before a meeting of the Office of Temporal Investigations, to answer to charges of incompentence in his handling of the situation that arose when the Aerostar went back in time.


MARCH 2401 Admiral Andy Baxter, age fifty-six, is messily killed by a rather powerful time- travelling alien from…well, never mind about that. Actually, forget about that whole time-travelling alien bit. Just keep reading as if that were never brought up at all.


PROLOGUE


Irma talked…


Incessantly, and to anyone who would listen.

She adored dialogue, trialogue, and polylogue, in each of its varied and splendid forms.

Irma knew how much she loved to talk, even then at Bargain Bill’s Fleamarket, in Laurel, Delaware, in the year 1995, when she cornered the two perfect trekkies, and pulled them both into her loving web of conversation…


“Irma,” the woman said, looking the young fellow up and down as one might eye a leg of lamb. “Irma Wilson, of Hampton Roads, Virginia.”

“Dave Conway,” Dave said weakly. “Uh, where you looking for anything in particular?”

Irma leaned forward conspiratorially. “I heard they were going to be marketing a new phaser soon.”

Dave leaned back, trying to put some distance between him and the Trekkie. “You mean the one from the movies? Yeah, that one’s due out in the Spring.”

“Really!” Irma said excitedly.

“Yeah, um…” Dave said, turning around and glancing over at his friend Andy Baxter. He was deeply absorbed in the latest Star Trek novel, some piece of rubbish written by William Shatner. “I’ll tell you what, why don’t you talk to Andy…he’s our resident weapons expert.”

Irma clapped her hands. “Oh, joy!”

Andy looked up. “Were you talking to me, Dave?”

“Yes,” Dave grunted, taking up a position behind Andy. “Help this lady while I go get something out of the car.”

Dave exchanged a few hurried words with the other boy and was off in a cloud of outdoor Flea Market dirt.

“The car’s locked, Dave!” Andy called out.

“I’ll break in!” Dave shouted back.

Andy turned his attention back to the customer, smiling weakly. “You had a question, Ma’am?”

“Please, call me Irma,” Irma said, batting her eyes. “My, you’re taller than the other guy.”

“Um, I was born that way, Irma,” Andy said. “Now what can I do for you?”

“Do you know the contractors that were rebuilding my bathroom quit on me?” Irma said, suddenly changing the subject quicker than a rat could pass a turd.

“Umm…” Andy said.

“And I paid them up front. Fifteen hundred dollars!”

“You don’t…”

Irma walked around Dave’s table, getting directly in Andy’s face. “And the worst part is, I can’t even find them. They changed the name of the company and moved out of state. I talked to a lawyer, but he didn’t seem to be much help. Do you know a good lawyer?”


The hours passed like sand through Irma’s chubby fingers…


“…so I took him to the vet, and the vet said that the only solution was to either remove Bilbo’s urinary tract, or have him put to sleep. Well, needless to say, I had a hard time deciding what to do. I had Bilbo for ten years at that point, which is a long time for a sheepdog to live, but still…” Irma said, her mouth moving a mile a minute.

Then Dave returned, and she was able to ensare them both.

“We were just having the greatest discussion! We were talking about my dog, Bilbo, and his urinary tract infection. Well, anyway, he really likes cheese, so I used to stick cheese in my pockets to get him to obey me, and well, when we decided to put him to sleep, I stuck a lot of cheese in my pockets…you know, limburger, sharp cheddar, extra sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, American, Monterey jack…”

“MAKE IT STOP!” Dave cried, raising his head up to the heavens.


But it wouldn’t stop. No, it was far from over.

Once she had given up her steady diet of Prozac and sedatives, Irma began to realize that she had an important place in the cosmic way of things. That realization was confirmed when she ran into two creatures from space that fateful day in late November…


Irma Wilson carefully steered her sky-blue Ford Festiva onto the shoulder of the road.

“Hello!” she said cheerfully.

The huge, insectoid creature bent down and glowered into Irma’s window.

“We require transsssssssportation,” it said evenly.

“I don’t know. I don’t usually take hitchhikers. Oh, well, what the heck. Come on, fellas!” she said happily.

The creature laughed heartily. “I told you thissssssss would not be hard, Hokan.”

Hokan grunted agreement and squeezed himself into the bucket seats in the rear of Irma’s tiny car.

The other one squeezed into the passenger side, his head causing a dent in the roof.

Irma adjusted the rearview mirror, straightened the “Jesus” medallion on her dashboard, and plucked the fuzzy dice that hung loosely from her rearview mirror. “Where to, guys?”

“We need accesssssss to your nuclear weaponssss,” the creature hissed.

The woman thought a moment. “Hmmmmmm. The only place I know of in this area that would have nuclear weapons is the Norfolk Naval base. We keep a lot of battleships there.”

“Very well.”

“Oooooh, sailors!” Irma said excitedly, pulling the car onto the road. “I think we’re going to have a nice little ride.”

Irma turned up her radio as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” played on.


Later that day, Irma was wrestled into a battle unlike any she had ever faced aboard the Naval battleship USS Missouri. Between the buglike creatures and an FBI agent named Mulder, along with the young man called Andy from Bargain Bill’s.

Irma saw something in Mulder that fascinated her. She saw a gateway to the unknown, a paradigm of truth that must be explored.

But before Irma could immerse herself in the innermost workings of Agent Mulder’s mind, she was ripped away from him…by some kind of robot…a woman that seemed human in all respects, but had inhuman strength.

But that was okay, because Irma did too.

Irma felt the robot’s stomach buckle inward as she jabbed her elbow into it, knocking it temporarily off-balance.

In the next minutes, Irma was assailed by blasts of pure energy coming from young Andy’s hand weapon…something that resembled the fabled Star Trek “phaser.”

As Andy increased the power of the blasts that slammed into her, Irma’s mind filled with thoughts of Star Trek: Generations…of the moment when Kirk fell down that craggy mountain slope on the distant planet Veridian Three to his ultimate demise.

As Irma flipped over the railing, plunging towards the churning water below, she imagined that Kirk would be proud.

She would meet her end bravely.

But what she didn’t know then, what she should have known, was that it wasn’t the end.

Irma still had a lot of work to do, and she wasn’t about to let a little thing like death get in her way.


ONE


“Get off him!”

Captain Andy Baxter kicked the heavey-set woman to the deck.

“Are you okay, Agent Mulder?”

“Not a minute too soon,” the man called Mulder said, straightening his tie and standing up.

Then the woman was back, arms flailing. “I want him! Let me have him! He knows the truth! HE KNOWS THE TRUTH!”

“Diagnosis: Whacko,” said Chief Engineer Richards.

“Her mind…it’s an…an emotional maelstrom,” said the Betazoid science officer, as the female android Kristen Larkin attempted to seize the woman. “It’s overwhelming. I’m being pummeled with information.”

“Die, robot!” the woman suddenly cried, crunching backwards into Larkin.

“Irma!” Mulder called out.

“I’m the only one that will ever understand you, Fox! I’m the only one that will ever know!”

“To use a colloquialism, step off,” said Captain Baxter, as he unleashed the fury of his phaser beam on the rabid psychopath.

Irma staggered back as the phaser beam hit her, shaking her head. “Wow, that was invigorating!”

“Again!” Richards cried.

Baxter upped the setting on the phaser and zapped her again, this time sending her farther back. “That…feels…wonderful!”

“Take her out, Spanky!”

Another blast, and Irma staggered back a little bit more. “We mean you no harm…” she hissed.

Baxter blasted her again, this time sending her reeling back over the railing.

“This is just like Star Trek!” Irma cried as she descended.

“I’ve never seen any human being take phaser blasts like that,” Baxter said tiredly, leaning over the railing and peering out at the water below.

“I don’t see her, sir! Guess ol’ Irma bought the farm,” one of Baxter’s officers said.

“I can’t sense her, but that isn’t conclusive. She greatly disturbed my abilities, and gave me a hell of a headache,” the Betazoid, Tilleran, said.

“She was one of a kind,” Mulder said thoughtfully.

“Thank goodness,” Richards said. “She almost killed us.”

“Do you think you’ll ever understand what that strange, hideous woman was about?” Baxter asked, looking over to Mulder.

“I doubt it. But, the unknown is what the X-files are all about.”

“In that case, our friend Irma is a walking X-file,” Baxter said.

The setting sun and the skyline beyond the railing suddenly dissolved to reveal a Federation logo.


OFFICE OF TEMPORAL INVESTIGATIONS AUGUST 19, 2375


“Viewscreen off,” said Temporal Investigations Special Agent Lucsly, rising from the conference table. “Computer, lights.”

Captain Andy Baxter shielded his eyes as the lights came up.

Lucsly walked over to the screen and stared at the image for several moments. “To reiterate, Captain Baxter–this clip was recorded by your android, Lieutenant Larkin, on Tuesday, November 21, 1995, on Earth, am I correct?”

Baxter waffled. “Well, she’s not MY android per se, but…”

“And of all the people in the twentieth century that were affected by your time-travel experience aboard the USS Aerostar, this…Irma Wilson was the only one not subjected to the mind-wipe process?”

“Well, Mister Lucsly, my crew and I were fairly certain that she was dead,” said Baxter, shifting uncomfortably in his chair.

“But your Chief Science Officer, a Betazoid, made it clear to you that, even though she could not sense Ms. Wilson, it did not necessarily mean she was dead.”

“With all due respect, Mister Lucsly, we had more important things to attend to than a twisted, psychotic, overweight loony.”

“Then would it interest you to know that the twisted, psychotic, overweight loony in question did not die when you thought she did? We took her image from Lt. Larkin’s files and searched all of Earth’s databases. Turns out she was found two days after you say you ‘killed’ her and taken to a Virginia mental institution.”

Baxter frowned. “Oh.”

Lucsly folded his arms and glowered at Baxter. “And that’s not all we found out about her. Imagine our surprise when her name turned up in the files of the twentieth century United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

“Uh-oh.”

Lucsly tossed a padd in front of Baxter and folded his arms again. “Specifically, the files of a unique branch of the FBI’s Special Investigations division.”

Baxter sighed as he picked up the padd. “The X-Files.”

Lucsly walked over and put a hand on Baxter’s chair as he read through the information contained in the X-File. “As you can see, Captain, Agent Mulder opened an X-File on Ms. Wilson one year after her so-called ‘death.’ It makes for some very interesting reading.”

Baxter’s face darkened as the text scrolled by. “Oh, boy. We have to do something about this.”

Lucsly laughed. “What would you suggest, Captain? Should we just send you and your starship back in time and attempt to undo the damage, thus further jeapardizing our fragile continuum?”

The Captain shrugged. “I–uh–I dunno.”

“You’ve screwed up, Captain Baxter, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Let’s just hope that whatever changes Irma may have made to the timeline haven’t affected our present too drastically.”

Baxter grinned. “Guess we’ll never know, huh?” That was the cool thing about time travel. If Irma had changed the timeline, no one would ever be aware of it. But for some reason, that didn’t make him feel any better about unleashing that horrible woman on an unsuspecting world.

Then again, twentieth century Earth, as Baxter remembered, wasn’t all that great to start with.


TWO


She sat there with her eyes closed, rocking back and forth quietly in her straight-jacket, whistling the original “Star Trek” theme to herself.

“Hello,” the white-coated man said warmly. “My name is Dr. Albert Sinclair. I hear you’re a Star Trek fan.”

The woman’s eyes snapped open. “Did you say Star Trek?”

Sinclair instinctively moved back a little at the woman’s sudden movement. “Uh, that’s right. You know I’m a fan myself.”

The woman’s eyes lit up. “You are? That’s wonderful. I think you and I will have lots and lots to talk about!”


VIRGINIA STATE MENTAL INSTITUTE SEVERELY MENTAL REALLY REALLY REALLY WHACKO WING NORFOLK, VA AUGUST 6, 1996


Irma Wilson looked back on her first days at the Virginia State Mental Institute fondly as she rocked back and forth in her straightjacket, plotting her eventual escape.

For ten months she hadn’t told anyone her name. She was simply known as Jane Doe Number Four. A rather conceited title as far as she was concerned, but it was important that she keep her identity concealed. Earth would be consumed by a swarm of aliens soon, and she had to be prepared to receive them. That was how she had spent the measure of her sentence, readying herself for the time when she’d be needed.

So far, that preparation consisted of molding special sculptures out of her steady diet of mashed potatoes and taking a stimulating fingerpainting class that provided her a way to create sheets upon sheets filled with images of armageddon. <Spread the word,> that little voice inside her said. And if it was one thing Irma Wilson was sure about, it was that the little voice would have to be followed at all costs.

As a college student, Irma had been diagnosed as mildly schizophrenic with delusional tendencies, which she took as fancy mumbo-jumbo for meaning that she was, well, special. The drugs that she was prescribed–massive amounts of sedatives–only weakened the connection to her inner voice. She found that much out a year ago, when she lost her medication bottles at the bottom of her cavernous purse and was forced to abstain. In the difficult, sweaty nights that followed her withdraw from the inordinate amounts of medication, Irma’s purpose became much clearer: she would be the vanguard of the Earth Invasion, set for release sometime around the Summer of 1997. She’d be a liason for millions of conquering aliens, helping to direct Earth’s assimilation into a vast network of enslaved beings.

<That’s the way things have to be,> the voice had told her. <All must fall before us eventually.>

“Okay,” she had told the voice. Who was she to argue with Earth’s future rulers?

When Irma woke up on the particularly warm, balmy morning of August 6, she had the distinct feeling that the time for action would soon be at hand. Release was imminent. All she had to do was wait for the word from Dr. Sinclair, and she’d be off…ready to start preparing the planet for its ultimate doom.

“Two more years minimum,” Sinclair said, looking up from his clipboard wearily later that day. “Preliminary studies show that you’re still living in this meticulously crafted imaginary world of yours. Until you accept reality, we can’t let you back out into the real world. For Pete’s sake, you haven’t even come up with your real name yet.”

“No, no, that won’t do,” Irma replied. “In two years, Earth will be taken over already. I’ll be useless to the cause. Nope, nope. I have to be released now.”

“I don’t think so, ma’am,” Sinclair said. He knelt down beside Irma and put a hand on her shoulder. “Listen, I have nothing personal against you. We’ve had many…er…long, long talks about Star Trek, and I’ve found them very enlightening. But you have to separate that world with this one…the world that you and I live in. No aliens, no ray guns, no starships.”

“The starships will come.”

Sinclair stood up. “Okay, I can see I’m not getting anywhere. I’ll see you at our normal afternoon session. Maybe then we can break through this blah blah blah…” Sinclair’s voice was suddenly drowned out.

<Hello, Irma?> a voice asked. <Are we getting through? Is this a good connection?>

“Loud and clear,” Irma replied silently in her mind. “What can I do for you?”

<This is it, my dear! Time to break out of there and start doing your thing!>

“What thing?”

<You’ll find that out soon enough. Right now you need to get out of this dinghy rathole and start getting back on your feet.>

“How do I do that? I’m trapped in here.”

<No, you’re not. Stop thinking so…normally. See that guy standing in front of you?>

“Dr. Sinclair?”

<Yes, that’s the one. Strangle him.>

“Strangle?”

<Yes, just wrap your hands around his neck and start squeezing.>

“I can’t. I’m in a straightjacket.”

The voice clucked its tongue. <Tsk tsk, use your MIND, silly!>

“Oh…um…okay.” Irma concentrated really hard on Sinclair’s neck as he talked about her therapy session, trying to imagine her hands wrapping around it. She kind of liked Sinclair, but an order was an order.

”–infarct dementia, which is indicative of…Jane, are you listening? What are you–” Sinclair suddenly grabbed at his throat. “Urk… um, I seem to be having a bit of a problem here. Um…I can’t…I can’t… breathe.”

Irma squeezed harder with her mind. It was surprisingly easy.

Sinclair flailed about like a fish out of water, slamming against the door to Irma’s cell, slamming it shut. He stuck his face up against the tiny peephole, screaming, “NURSE DOTTIE, I NEE–Urk…uggggg….”

And with a final gasp, the good doctor fell to the ground like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

<Good. Now get rid of that straightjacket.>

Irma wiggled around a bit, and suddenly her arms sprung free from their cloth bonds. “How did I do that?”

<We’ll explain later. Just get out of here.>

“How?”

<Just walk through the freaking wall!>

“Okay, if you say so.” Irma stood up and turned towards her tiny cell’s back wall and the tiny window that looked out over the facility’s picnic area, which was surrounded by an electically charged fence. Beyond that, freedom.

As soon as Irma stepped up to the wall, she felt herself slip right through it. From there, she scurried excitedly towards the electric fence.

<That’s it, Irm–you’re doing it!> the voice said excitedly. <It won’t be long now! We have a car waiting for you.>

“What about my Festiva?”

<Sorry. That was confiscated when you broke into the Norfolk Naval Base.>

“Aw, darn.”

<You’ll get over it. You’ll love what we got you as a replacement, I promise.>

With a Peter Pan-like leap, Irma gracefully floated over the four-meter fence.

“Jeeze, I didn’t know I could do that,” she said, scratching her head once she had landed on the other side.

<There is much that you can do that you have not yet realized.>

“Ooooh, I can’t wait to find out all about it,” Irma said excitedly. “I’ll bet I’m the next evolutionary step in humanity, aren’t I? It’s just like that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation…‘Transfigurations,’ I think.”

<Well, something like that,> the voice admitted. <For now, just get in the car.>

“Yes, sir!” Irma said, looking around. “Wait a minute. What car?”

Directly in front of Irma, a set of headlights flipped up with a metallic whir. A sleek, red Italian sportscar screeched towards her, stopping just inches from grazing her with its bumper. The driver’s side door flipped open and the horn honked invitingly.

<Well, Irma? Do we have to be any LESS subtle?>

Irma examined the car carefully. “Well, it’s no Ford Festiva, but I suppose it’ll do.” Upon hearing the bark of dogs and the shouts of the security personnel scouring the grounds of the mental facility, Irma quickly ducked into the car, flipped the door down, and sped away.


THREE


WASHINGTON DC AUGUST 6, 1996 11:04 PM


After enjoying another satisfying Star Trek rerun, Special Agent Fox Mulder flipped over to another channel to catch the eleven o’clock news. Over the past year, he had been overcome by a strange compulsion to watch Star Trek; he had watched it sporadically before then, but never with such vigor. Even more disturbingly, he was overcome with an increasing sense that what he was watching was real.

If he had shared that insight with Scully, she probably would have told him that he spent way too much time chasing aliens, and that the line between his perception of reality and imagination was becoming all too blurred. That was always the problem with Scully–her line was never blurred enough.

Mulder was about to reach over and grab another Dorito from the wrinkled bag on his endtable when a face flashed on the television screen that caused him to sit up on the couch, knocking the bag of Doritos to the floor in the process.

”–escaped earlier today from the Virginia State Mental Institute in Norfolk, Virginia, killing a man and leaving no sign of her escape from the locked cell. She is still at large, and authorities caution that she is highly delusional and very dangerous. If you should see her, you are advised to call the Sherrif’s office immediately. Please, do not attempt to apprehend her. Up ahead, we’ll have Tipper Gore with us to discuss diplomatic relations with China and plug her new book ‘Al Gore Isn’t Really A Robot, People Just Say That.’ Stay tuned.”

Mulder flipped the television off and closed his eyes, trying his hardest to concentrate on the face that had briefly flashed up on the screen. He was positive he had seen it before somewhere…


“I’m the only one that will ever understand you, Fox! I’m the only one that will ever know!”


Mulder’s eyes snapped open. Where had that voice come from? It was so familiar. The woman’s face invaded Mulder’s mind–but it wasn’t the image from the news report…it was an image of her staring at him…coming for him…


“I want him! Let me have him! He knows the truth! HE KNOWS THE TRUTH!”


Mulder tried to shake the image from his head, running a hand through his hair. He reached over to the endtable and grabbed his phone.


Agent Dana Scully reached blindly for the reciever…anything to stop the phone’s damned, incessant ringing.

“Scully,” she muttered, then sighed and rolled over, phone still in hand. “Mulder…you have to stop doing this.” Scully rubbed her eyes, leaning over and glancing at the clock on her nightstand. “No, I’m not going to change my bedtime. Just tell me what…who? No, I don’t remember us dealing with anyone who was put into a Virginia mental institution. Maybe it was before I was assigned to work with you.” Mulder mentioned the facts surrounding the woman’s escape, which did little to help Scully understand why he had to call at a quarter after eleven and wake her up. “I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for it, Mulder. The authorities will–we’re WHAT?”

Scully sighed and hung the phone up, turning over and making her best attempt to return to sleep. Mulder insisted on investigating the incident at the mental institution, due to its bizarre nature, and she decided that she’d need every bit of sleep she could get. He had only a vague recollection of this woman, some type of bizarre instinct that commanded him to investigate her escape, and little else.

It was a shaky circumstance to base an investigation on, but then again, most other X-Files weren’t much different.


HAMPTON ROADS, VA 11:33 PM


Irma eagerly guided her new car down the road toward her house. She would have arrived there much earlier, but she decided to stop off at Wal-Mart on the way to pick up some clothes, supplies, and most important–tabloids. She had a whole year of celebrities and supernatural occurences to catch up on. Then again, her life now was something of a supernatural occurrence. But how could that compare with the three-headed chiuahuah in the Enquirer?

She whistled a happy tune as she hefted her bags out of the trunk and slammed it shut, proceeded up the walkway toward her house. She was so elated at finally escaping that crummy mental institution, she didn’t even notice that the door to her house wasn’t where it had been before. As a matter of fact, her house now seemed to be brick. She remembered it being made of pea-green aluminum siding.

Irma swung the door open and waddled inside. She knew she was at the right house; she simply must have forgotten what it looked like.

Once inside, Irma still found herself oddly unfamiliar with her surroundings. She let her bags drop on the kitchen table…which wasn’t at all where it was supposed to be. The carpet was different…off-white instead of shaggy rust. The false-wood wallpaper was replaced with…no…red and blue flowers? Something wasn’t right.

“What the hell is going on?” Irma asked, searching the unfamiliar fridge for her heavy-duty supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and cheese-and-cracker casserole.

“Hello?” a voice called from the other room. “Mom, is that you?”

Irma turned toward the source of the voice. “Who the hell are you?”

“Oh my gosh!” the young boy said, staring at Irma. He turned to run, but the portly woman quickly clamped a hand down on his shoulder.

“Hold on a second, bub. What are you doing in my house?”

“This is my house,” the boy said, gulping.

“What’s your name?”

“Brian.”

“And how old are you, Brian?” Irma rasped, pushing the boy up on the kitchen counter.

“Um…fourteen, ma’am.”

“Old enough not to lie to your elders. Now tell me…what did you do with my house?”

“Nuh–nothing,” the boy stammered. “This is our house. We moved in three months ago. It’s brand new.”

“What do you mean…new?”

“It was built a few months ago. After the one that used to be here burned down.”

Irma’s eyes went wide. “Burned…down?”

<Yes, Irma. Burned down. By your enemies,> the voice suddenly said.

“Was that your house, lady?”

“Shut up, Jimmy.”

“Brian.”

“Whatever,” Irma said, snapping her fingers. The boy was suddenly encased in a two-dimensional mirror that slowly spun inches above the kitchen floor. “What enemies? Who burned down my house?”

<I’ll show you…>

With one blink of her eyes, Irma suddenly found herself transported back to her old house, watching herself scurry through the kitchen door…


“Tribble! I’m home!” Irma called out, plopping the bags down and pulling a Pabst Blue Ribbon out of the fridge.

Suddenly, a little Browning poodle scurried into the kitchen, yipping and yapping. “Come here, Tribble, come to momma!”

Tribble obediently jumped into Irma’s lap and began licking the beer from her chin.

Irma poured some of the beer into Tribble’s bowl and yanked the National Enquirer out of one of the grocery bags.

“Oh, my!” Irma said, looking at the cover. “OJ and Elvis finally got married. It’s about time. That was a fairy tale waiting to come true,” Irma flipped through the magazine some more, her eyes widening at the huge headline: “Aliens are here!”

“Well,” Irma said, setting the magazine down. “It’s about time.”


<Wait a minute,> the voice said. <That’s not right. Damn it, I went back too far. Hold on a sec.>

The image suddenly changed. Irma watched herself disappear, to be replaced with two figures wearing what looked like Star Trek costumes–one was that lovely David, and the other one…a Vulcan!


“It is quite illogical to live in such a slovenly state,” the Vulcan said, wading through the clothes-strewn bedroom toward the closet, as the young man Irma recognized as Dave Conway rifled through hundreds of TV Guides, Enquirers, and Entertainment Weekleys.

“Yeah, tell me about–” Dave said, interrupted by the Vulcan’s gasp of alarm. Irma followed him through the house as if she were a transparent wraith, hovering over Dave’s shoulder.

“My…God,” Dave said, staring at the shrine that Irma had constructed inside her wardrobe with awe and disgust. “She worshipped Andy and Dave as if they were gods.” Why was he referring to himself in the third person?

“The question seems to be why, Commander,” the Vulcan said. “Why these two in particular?”

Dave picked up what he surmised was Irma’s journal and read a few lines aloud. “‘…Andy and David reek of Star Trek, nay, they ARE Star Trek. They constitute the very genetic structure I have been seeking. And not only that, but they seem to take interest in my plans. I think I will let them into the Babylon Five Anti-Shadow War Council, but only if Ambassador Delenn thinks it appropriate. They seem trustworthy enough, but I can’t believe that our combined forces would be enough to beat the Kazon. In short, it seems I am forced to trust the rebels, without which, the Empire would surely succeed in taking over the Mutara Nebula, with Captain Spock’s help. I will add them to the Nova squadron quite soon then, in hopes that we will be able to find the Maquis traitor.’”

“How strange,” the Vulcan said. “What could that possibly mean? There seem to be references to our timeline, but, surely that could not be.”

Dave just rubbed a hand over his face as he stared at the newspaper clippings, photos, drawings, amateur clay sculptures, internet printouts, and various other oddities that concerned Andy and David. “Evidently, there was an entertainment phenomenon in the twentieth century known as Star Trek that takes place in a world very similar to ours. Obviously this woman was waaaaaaay too obsessed with it.”

“Apparently,” the Vulcan said. “So what should we do?”

“Well,” Dave said, putting his hands on his hips and looking around. “The lady’s dead. This place is a mess, and the police will most likely have a field day with all this stuff on our present day counterparts.”

“What would you suggest?” Saral asked.

“Start getting these damn cats out of here,” Dave said, tossing the cats off Irma’s moth-eaten couch.


The vision suddenly fast-forwarded. Irma looked on with growing fury.


“GO!” Dave shouted, pointing at the yard outside, holding the rickety screen door open.

Tribble just looked up at Dave and yelped.

Dave bent down, staring the poodle right in the eyes. “Listen to me…” he examined the poodle’s nametag, squinting at the tiny printing. “‘Tribble.’ This is a scary place for a little doggie to grow up. Get out while you can. There’s still time for you to live a normal poodle life, but you have to leave now. Go! Be free! Run like the wind!”

Tribble obediently turned around and scampered off in the direction of a nearby garbage can.

Dave walked inside, wiping his hands together and looking around with a satisfied smile. “Listen, Ensign…what I’m about to do will save us a lot of trouble, but it will also be a slight, um, stretching of the Prime Directive, if you get my drift.”

The Vulcan nodded as Dave made his way into Irma’s disgusting kitchen. Irma followed him.

“I will look the other way, Commander,” the Vulcan said stoically.

Dave smiled. “Glad you see things my way, Saral.” Giving one last, disgusted look at the place, Dave nonchalantly bumped his hand up against the dial on Irma’s gas oven.

Irma watched him grab her pack of “I Grok Spock” matches and set fire to her entire pile of vintage sci-fi magazines that dated back to the early seventies.

“I think you and I are finished here, Ensign,” Dave said, putting his hand on the ensign’s shoulder, leading her out of the house.

“I understand that human cooking customs of this era were fraught with danger,” Saral noted as they made their way down the walkway and out onto the sidewalk. Irma floated out after them angrily, still in shock over what they had done.

“Yeah,” Dave said. “Especially with gas cooking.”

Saral and Dave continued to converse, seeming almost oblivious to the giant explosion behind them.

Dave turned briefly to regard the burning, smoking wreckage of Irma’s house. “Whelp, guess we should head back.”

“Indeed,” Saral said, raising an eyebrow.

Irma returned into the burning wreckage, oblivious to the flames that licked around her. She reached out and tried to wrap her arms around the life-sized cardboard cutout of William Shatner as it twisted and burned, but her arms passed right through it.

<Those were your enemies, Irma!> the voice suddenly shouted. <Seek them out and destroy them. Boldy go, Irma, boldy go!>


Irma snapped back into the present at the sound of a door being slammed.

“Brian, we’re home. We brought you a souvenir from the art show, darling!” a woman called out, waving a package as she entered the kitchen. “Brian! What in God’s name happened to you?”

Since he was trapped in a parallel two-dimensional universe, Brian couldn’t respond. He merely stared lifelessly out at his mother as the mirror rotated.

“Dear, what happ–” a man asked. It was then that he saw Irma, who at this point was seething with fury over her burned- down house and all the collectibles that went along with it. “Hey, who the hell are you?”

“Bon Voyage,” Irma said, waving her hand dismissively. Brian’s mother and father instantly became trapped in similar two-dimensional mirrors. With a nod of her head, all three spinning mirrors disappeared, to where Irma wasn’t quite sure, but she didn’t really care.

Irma stomped purposefully out of the house and down the walkway toward her car. Behind her, the carefully landscaped lawn began to tremble.

“A house for a house,” Irma said, not looking back. Behind her, the new home was swallowed into the ground with a hideous rumble.

Irma sighed as she lifted up the door to her Lamborghini. Her house was gone, her poodle was gone, and there was seemingly nothing she could do about it. Her mind shifted quickly to thoughts of revenge.

Before she could slide into the driver’s seat, Irma heard a distinct and familiar yapping.

“Tribble?” she asked, ducking out of the sleek vehicle’s cockpit.

The nappy brown poodle scurried up, jumping into Irma’s lap and licking her face.

“I love you too,” Irma said, nuzzling her poodle close to her. She held the dog away from her, examining the dog’s new collar. “And what happened to you, little fella? Did you get new owners?”

Suddenly an old woman hobbled at her from the other side of the street, waving her cane angrily. “Pumpkin! Pumpkin! What are you doing with that weird woman. Who the…Irma?”

“Hello, Mrs. Ridgefield,” Irma said, narrowing her eyes at the elderly woman as she approached.

“Irma…Irma Wilson! Why, I thought you were dead!”

“No…just on vacation,” Irma said. “I’d take the time to tell you ALL about it, too, but I have other things to attend to.”

“I…I was just taking care of your dog for you, Irma. I figured…”

“You figured I was dead so you stole my Tribble!”

“I didn’t want the Humane Society to get him!”

“But you didn’t have to rename him,” Irma said, tossing Tribble into the passenger seat. “That was naughty, Mrs. Ridgefield.”

“Where did you get this car?” Ridgefield said, looking the car over with skepticism. “Did you steal this?”

Irma pulled shut the door to the Lamborghini, peering out the window at the old woman and grimacing. “To hell with you, Ridgefield!” With that, she started up the car and slammed her foot down on the gas pedal.

“Well,” Ridgefield said as the sleek Italian automobile squealed away. “That’s no way to talk to ones’s eld–.”

And with that, the street below her feet opened up like a hungry predator and swallowed her whole, cane and all.


FOUR


VIRGINIA STATE MENTAL INSTITUTE AUGUST 7, 1996 8:26 AM


Agent Dana Scully folded her arms as Agent Mulder perused the abandoned cell. “We’ve been here for over an hour, Mulder. Have you even considered that this may have just been a routine breakout?”

Mulder wiped his hands on his pants and stood up. “A woman strangles her psychiatrist without leaving any apparent marks and then proceeds to escape from a locked cell without leaving a trace of how she escaped, then manages to find a way over the electrified fence that surrounds the facility, again, without leaving a trace of how she did it. Do you call that routine?”

“First of all, there’s now proof of how Dr. Sinclair died. Until I do a thorough medical examination, I’m not going to rule out incidental death. Secondly,” Scully lowered her voice, “the evidence at hand would suggest to me that someone helped Ms. Doe escape and covered up her tracks.”

Mulder examined the tiny, barred window at the rear of the cell then turned toward back toward Scully. “That’s one theory. How about this: Ms. Doe walked through that wall.”

Scully shook her head. “Mulder, that’s about the most illogical thing I think you’ve ever come up with, and that’s saying a lot.”

“Bear with me here a moment, Scully,” Mulder said, pressing his hands up against the wall. “Suppose this woman possessed a high-range kinetic ability that allowed her to remotely manipulate matter. That would explain Sinclair’s strangulation and Ms. Doe’s ability to temporarily make the cement in this wall malleable.”

“You’re really reaching, Mulder.”

Mulder peered through the bars in the tiny window. “Then I suppose she’d also have to pass through that electric fence…”

Nurse Dottie cleared her throat. “Ahem. I hate to interrupt your theorizing, but we have to prepare this room for a new patient.”

Scully turned to face the gruff nurse. “Then you’ve given up on finding Ms. Doe?”

“On the contrary,” Dottie said, sneering at Scully as if sizing her up. “We have plenty of Ms. Doe’s coming in every week to replace the one that escaped. They’re all twisted in their own little way.”

“Excuse me,” Mulder said, stepping up behind Scully. “Didn’t I see you in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’?”

“Please close the door when you leave,” the nurse muttered, turning on a heel and leaving the room.

“Charming woman,” Mulder said, as he and Scully left the cell.


SALISBURY, MD 9:03 AM


Irma stretched and yawned, looking at her watch. “Tribble, dummy, you were supposed to wake me at 8:00 AM.”

Tribble looked at Irma and yipped.

“Yes, I know your sorry. But I could have missed David leaving for work. Did you see anything?”

The poodle shook her head vigorously.

“That doesn’t make sense. He should have left for Wal-Mart by now, but his car’s still parked out front.”

Tribble yipped again.

“Yes, well, I suppose you’re right. If the mountain does not come to Irma, why not bring Irma to the mountain. Come on, baby, let’s go. We have murdering to do.” Irma cackled as she ushered Tribble out of the Lamborghini and jumped out after her.


Agent Scully bent over the corpse of Dr. Albert Sinclair and sighed. “Something is just not right here.”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you, Scully,” Mulder said, leaning casually against the freezer compartment that Sinclair had been taken from.

“But it doesn’t make sense…there are no indicators whatsoever of phsyical contact. No contusions on the skin…nothing.”

“And you’ll recall that our friend Ms. Doe was straitjacketed at the time as well,” Mulder said.

“There just has to be another answer,” Scully said. “I refuse to believe that this man was strangled without being touched.”

“The physical evidence is here, Scully.”

“There are plenty of plausible explanations for this. Maybe he suffered an involuntary constriction of his throat muscles, which cut off the air flow to his lungs. I’m not sure, but I think there’s some precedent for that.”

“Now you’re the one that’s reaching, Scully.”

“Just give me a second…I’m sure…”

Suddenly Mulder’s cell phone bleeped. Mulder looked at Scully askance as she studied Sinclair’s body and withdrew his phone.

“Mulder. Uh-huh. Really? We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

Scully looked up as Mulder pocketed the cellular phone. “What is it?”

“That was a friend of mine from the Virginia State Police. I told him to keep an eye out for anything interesting that might relate to Ms. Doe’s escape, and he definitley found something.”


Irma slammed her fist into David Conway’s bookcase, which was filled with rows upon rows of Starting Lineup baseball figures. “Arrrrrghhhh! Where is he, damn it!”

Tribble obviously didn’t care that David wasn’t anywhere to be seen. She seemed more concerned about battling Goldie, David’s over-coddled cockapoo.

As the two tiny dogs did battle, Irma smashed her fist into David’s prized Star Trek engineering set and tore down his model of Deep Space Nine and the two Kingon Birds-of-Prey flanking it. “Help me find David!”

Irma was suddenly seized by a fit of convulsions as a bright, passion-red light shone down on her.

<David is not here, Irma.>

“I know he isn’t. Where is he? Tell me!”

<You must look elsewhere for him. Go where your heart takes you.>

“Where is that?”

<Must we spell it out for you?>

“Please.”

<No dice. We’re not doing all the work. But we’ll give you a hint. The clues to David’s wherabouts are in the kitchen.>

Irma rubbed her hands together. “Now we’re getting somewhere.”


HAMPTON ROADS, VA 9:55 AM


Scully stared at the blank space where, according to eyewitness accounts, a house had been the previous night. In its place, the ground was uneven and broken. A lone chimney poked out of the dirt at the center of the empty area.

“They must be doing some remodeling,” Mulder commented, turning to Scully. “You have to admit, it doesn’t look like an everyday occurrence. I mean, I’m no tectonic specialist, but it seems unlikely that the ground would open up and swallow a house so far from Southern California.”

“It’s all very interesting, Mulder, but I don’t see a connection between this and Ms. Doe’s escape.”

Mulder didn’t reply, he simply ushered Scully over to the side of the road where three State Police cruisers and several officers were gathered. “Scully, this is Lieutenant Dobbs of the Virginia State Police.”

“Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” Dobbs said, tipping his hat.

“Do you have the pictures I asked for, Dobbs?” Mulder asked.

“I sure do, Agent Mulder,” Dobbs said, reaching inside his cruiser and pulling out a file folder. He turned to Scully. “Someone in the neighborhood reported this house crashing in on itself early this morning and someone from the local board of safety came in to check it out. We were called in when the investigator found an elderly woman in a severely agitated state trapped inside the sewer below the street. She claimed a woman who used to live in this neighborhood destroyed that house and made the street swallow her up,” Dobbs explained.

“I trust she’s scheduled for a psychiactric workup?” Scully asked.

“Yes, ma’am. Anyway, one of the neighbors submitted a picture of the woman that had been named as the assailant, one Ms. Irma Wilson.”

Scully examined the picture. “That’s our Jane Doe.”

“And it appears she’s wearing Vulcan ears,” Mulder commented.

“The picture was apparently taken at a neighborhood yard sale two years ago. The neighbors we interviewed seemed to believe that Ms. Wilson was an extremely disturbed individual. She usually kept to herself, though she would make a point to go to all the neighborhood yard sales in search of collectibles. She is described as a dangerous and deranged form of Trekkie.”

“Trekker,” Mulder corrected.

“Pardon, Agent Mulder?”

“The term,” Mulder said with growing agitation, “is Trekker. Trekkie is outdated.”

Dobbs looked at Mulder strangely and handed him the picture. “Anyway, I recognized the picture from Ms. Doe’s APB and called you immediately. Tell me, do you think this woman really could have done all of this?”

“Yes,” Mulder said.

“No,” Scully said at the same time.


After eating her fourth frozen pizza, Irma belched with satisfaction. “You were right, voice-in-my-head. That was good pizza.”

<We didn’t send you into the kitchen for pizza, you imbecile. We sent you to the kitchen so you could find the key to Mr. Conway’s wherabouts.>

“Oh, of course,” Irma said. “So where is it?”

The voice gritted its teeth. <You are an extremely difficult woman sometimes.>

“Listen, I’m no genius. I just want to find this young man and kill him. Is that so much to ask?”

<Well, no, I suppose not. Check the refrigerator.>

“I already did. There’s nothing else good in there. Just a bunch of fish sticks.”

<Look ON the refrigerator, damn it!>

“Oh, right,” Irma said, pushing out of the chair at the small kitchen table and running over to the fridge. She looked at the several decorative magnets. “How pretty.”

<UNDER one of the magnets!>

Irma looked at the small slips of paper held at by by the magnets. “Dentist appointment?”

< NO!>

“Grocery list?”

<NO!>

“Emergency phone numbers?”

<NO!>

Irma plucked another piece of paper from the refrigerator door. “Travel itenerary!”

<Yes, yes, yes! You’ve got it!>

“Hmm,” Irma said, studying the slip of paper. David’s childlike scrawl was unmistakable. “Arrive at Ramada Hotel, New York City, Twelve PM, August seventh.”

<There you are. Now, go get him you bloated bitch!>

Irma wiped her mouth with a napkin and bulled her way out of David’s house. “On my way. Come on, Tribble!”


Mulder sat down beside the old woman’s bed and put a hand on top of hers. “Mrs. Ridgefield? I’m Agent Mulder. I’m with the FBI. Mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“Sonny?” Ridgefield asked.

Mulder shook his head. “No, ma’am, I’m not your son.”

“I’m not talking about my son. I want Sonny! Sonny Bono!’

Mulder looked back at Scully, who just made a twirling “she’s insane” motion with her finger.

Looking back at Ridgefield, Mulder managed a broad smile. “Ma’am, we’ve got a missing family and a destroyed house, not to mention the horrible trauma that’s been done to you, and its imperative that we find the woman responsible for it.”

“I’ve got…” Ridgefield said slowly.

“Yes, go on,” Mulder encouraged.

“YOU BABE! I’VE GOT YOU BABE!”

Mulder grabbed the woman by the shoulders and shook her. “Mrs. Ridgefield, please, for the sake of that family, will you please snap out of it!”

“Who are you young man?”

“Bendii syndrome,” Mulder muttered, letting the woman fall back to her bed.

“Bendii syndrome?” Scully asked, joining Mulder beside the muttering woman’s bed. “I haven’t heard of that one.”

“It usually afflicts Vulcans over two-hundred years of age.”

“Vulcans? Mulder, this is no time for–”

Mulder shook his head, scrubbing a hand over his face. “That was strange.”

“Mulder, are you okay?” Scully asked, concern plain on her face.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” Mulder said. “Well, this is a wash. We might as well…”

Suddenly Lieutenant Dobbs poked his head into the room. “Agent Mulder? I just spoke to another eyewitness. We’ve got a license plate number for the suspect’s car.”

Mulder hurried out of the room, Scully behind him. “Run it, Dobbs. We won’t be getting any leads here.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You babe, I’ve got you babe. I’ve got you babe!” Ridgefield muttered incessantly as the two agents left the room.


Irma’s red Lamborghini sped North on Route Thirteen toward the New Jersey turnpike, deadset on reaching New York City.

“Don’t…stop…thinking about tomorrow! Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here!” Irma sang along with the radio, gripping her steering wheel and stomping heavily on the accelorator. “Don’t you just love traveling, Tribble?”

Irma’s poodle wasn’t listening, she was curled up in the back seat, evidently a little queasy from the Sizzlean Irma fed her at David’s house.

“Buck up, Tribble. We’re almost to New York, city of bagels!”

Irma continued to bob her head and tap her steering wheel along with the music until the flashing lights appeared in her rearview mirror.

“What is this?” Irma said to herself, looking in the rearview mirror as the lights grew closer.

<It’s the local constabulary, you dolt. You’re traveling at ninety-seven miles an hour. Did you not think that would draw some attention?>

“I suppose,” Irma said. “What should I do?”

< We suggest you evade them. If you are imprisoned again, you will be delayed, and contrary to what you may believe, your time is not infinite.>

“Of course, of course,” Irma said, stomping harder on the accelerator and sending the sports car surging ahead.

The police car lagged behind, no match for the Lamborghini’s powerful Italian engine.

“We’re losing them!” Irma cried happily.


Mulder looked over Dobbs’ shoulder eagerly as he searched the State Police database for anything matching the wily Irma’s plates.

“Come on, come on,” Mulder said, taping the back of Dobbs’ seat.

“Mulder, you really don’t expect to find something this quick, do you?” Scully asked from behind Mulder.

“Something tells me that laying low isn’t one of this woman’s strong points,” Mulder said. “I expect–”

“Wait a second,” Dobbs called out, raising his hand has he stared at the computer screen. “Tango, Riley, Echo, Karma, Karma, Echo, Riley!”

“That’s it!” Mulder exclaimed.

“‘Trekker?’” Scully said quietly to herself.

“It was reported in by a Delaware State Trooper. He describes the car as a red Lamborghini heading North and traveling extremely fast.”

“Thanks, Dobbs. Put out an APB on that woman and that car throughout New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Instruct the State Police not to come too close but to try to contain her until we can get to her,” Mulder said, gesturing toward the door. “Come on, Scully. We’re losing time.”

Scully followed reluctantly. “Are you sure this isn’t just a wild goose chase, Mulder?”

“I can’t explain it, Scully, but I have a feeling about this case.”

“What kind of feeling?”

“I haven’t figured that out yet,” Mulder said, hopping into the driver’s seat of their rented Ford Taurus and starting it up.

“Why do I feel like we’ve been through something like this before?” Scully replied, as Mulder peeled away from the State Police Barracks.

“I haven’t the faintest idea.”


NEW YORK, NY 4:20 PM


Irma looked up with awe at the towering buildings as she steered her Lamborghini through one of New York City’s many crowded streets. “Would you look at this place, Tribble? This is truly my kind of town.”

“Yarp!” Tribble said excitedly. Ever since barfing on the aged leather in the back seat, the poodle had regained her cheerful dispositon.

Irma fumbled with a map she’d procured during her last gas stop. “It won’t be long now until we find that son of a gun David. I mean, this city can’t be that big, right?”

<Ramada, Ramada, Ramada!> the voice reminded her.

“Of course!” Irma said. “The itenerary said David would be at the Ramada. Wonder how many of those are around here?”

<All you have to do is find one, Irma. They can search through their guest database and locate your quarry among all of their New York City branches.>

“You’re so smart!” Irma said. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

<Because you are stupid, Irma. But we love you anyway.>

“Aw, you can be such a sweetie sometimes.”

<Yes, well….uh, just find a damn Ramada!>

“I’m on it!” Irma said, steering her Lamborghini down one of the side streets, heading for a grouping of huge hotel buildings that loomed on the horizon.


Nearby, Andy Baxter was imploring David Conway for understanding as he followed him out of one of the many local cineplexes. “I still say Independence Day is a good movie. Not much on realism, but still a good flick.”

David shook his head. “It’s a theatre movie. Trust me, when it goes to video, no one will buy it, and that’s what concerns me and the people in the Video Department.”

“Maybe so, but we must like it on some level–that’s the fifth time we’ve seen it.”

David nodded. “And on a trip to New York City no less. You’d think there’s be something better to do in the city of lights.”

“That’s Paris, Dave. New York is the city that never sleeps.”

“Whatever.”

“Hey, at least we got to see the ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ preview. It looks awesome.”

“They were using stock footage from past episodes. How could you tell anything from it?”

Andy shrugged. “I just have a feeling about it.”

Suddenly a flame red Lamborghini streaked by the pair as they walked down the street, causing both men to turn their heads.

“Wow. People in New York have awesome cars,” Andy said.

“Shut up. You sound like a tourist,” barked David.

“I am a tourist. And so are you.”

“Well, you don’t have to be so obvious about it.”

“I wonder what kind of person owns a car like that,” Andy said thoughtfully.

“Someone that wouldn’t waste their time on nothings like you and me. Now come on, I’m hungry. Let’s get a pizza.”


FIVE


NEW YORK, NY AUGUST 7, 1997 5:00 PM


“She made eye-contact with me, Jerry, I know it!” George Costanza said, scrunching up his face and looking down as if he was trying to pin the attendant at the movie theatre with a murder rap. “I just have to prove it.”

“You’re crazy, George,” Jerry Seinfeld replied, following George out of the movie theater. “She was just checking your ticket.”

“Why do they even bother to check tickets when you go in there anyway? I could bring in a stub from two months ago and they would have no way of knowing,” George said, gesturing madly at his ticket.

“Oh, they would,” Jerry said.

“You think so?” George asked, looking back.

“They read the movie title on every ticket when you walk in. They’re very precise.”

“I don’t buy it,” George said, “the writing is so small.”

“They manage,” Jerry replied. “You don’t think you’re dealing with incompetents in there, do you? They’re trained to do their job, and they don’t put up with people who are too cheap to buy a seven dollar movie ticket.”

“Well, I don’t think ‘Power Play’ was worth the ticket,” George fumed. “It was all action and no script.”

“Oh, and since when do you watch a movie for its script?”

“I watch for the script!” George said indignantly. “I LIVE for the script.”

“I don’t think so,” Jerry said. “You’re in it for the action. Admit it.”

“I ADMIT NOTHING!” George fumed.

Jerry shrugged. “Fine, be that way. So, do you want to split a pizza?”

“Sure,” George replied.

As George and Jerry approached the pizza place, they found their friend Cosmo Kramer standing next to his car, kicking it vigorously as smoke emerged from the hood.

“Problems?” Jerry asked, looking over at the set of stubby legs that protruded from beneath the hood.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve got problems!” Kramer said, shoving his hand in Jerry’s face. “I bet Newman that it would be impossible to fry an egg on top of my radiator.”

“Who won?” George asked.

“I don’t know,” Kramer said, obviously rattled. “When Newman tried to crack the second egg, it fell down into the engine, and now he can’t get it out. He’s been pulling and yanking at the insides of my engine for twenty minutes now!” Kramer was close to tears. “He’s tearing it apart, Jerry!”

Jerry turned to the hood of the car where Newman was working furiously. After a moment of silence, the portly man emerged from the smoke with two handfuls of half-cooked egg, complete with shell. “See, they’re cooked!”

“They are not,” Kramer returned. “Look, you’ve still got all sorts of white goop in there, and all that shell!”

“It’s edible,” Newman muttered.

“Then eat it!”

“Gladly.” To Jerry and George’s disgust, Newman thrust both eggs into his mouth, crunching on the shells with vigor. Coughing up pieces of shell, Newman wiped his mouth and smiled weakly. “Mmm…uh, delicious.”

“Hello, Newman,” Seinfeld said with disgust.

“Jerry,” Newman said snidely, turning to Kramer. “Okay, fifty bucks. Cough it up!”

“But you ruined my engine!” Kramer cried.

“I won the bet. You never bet me that your engine would survive the cooking process.”

Kramer clenched his fist. “Newman!”

“Gotta go,” Newman said, taking off down the sidewalk, his stubby legs churning. “I’ll be expecting your payment!”

Kramer followed, taking long, awkward strides, knocking over a small child, an old woman, and a hot dog cart as he set after his quarry.

Jerry and George turned toward the smoking, rattling engine of Kramer’s car.

“That’s a shame,” Jerry finally said.


Andy stared at David in disgust as he inhaled his pizza. “Slow down, Dave. You’re going to choke.”

“Like you’re taking your time.”

“At least I bother to wipe my mouth from time to time.”

“Shut up.”

Deciding to let the matter rest, Andy began looking around the restaurant, trying to get a feel for the many different flavors of New Yorker present. “Man, Dave, I’ll tell you one thing, New York is full of freaks.”

“Like Salisbury isn’t,” Dave said in between chomps.

“Maybe it is, but at least there are less of them,” Andy replied, looking over David’s shoulder as a pair of men entered the pizzaria. One of them was thin and horse-faced, the other short, stocky, and bald. They took a seat in the booth directly behind David.

“I can’t believe you like the stamps you lick better,” the thin man said, browsing at a menu.

“I like the taste of the glue, is that so wrong?”

“Considering your history with the glue industry I think it’s very wrong,” the thin man replied.

“That was a low blow, Jerry, even for you.”

Andy was captivated by the mundaneness of the conversation. So captiavated, he couldn’t help but listen in. “Do you hear what those two guys behind you are talking about?” he whispered to David, leaning forward.

David looked up from his pizza. “Stamps. So what?”

“I don’t know. It’s just an odd thing to talk about.”

“It’s an odd kind of town,” David replied, and continued eating.

“But most people we’ve seen here have been inordinately weird…anything but boring. And yet now we find ourselves sitting next to a couple of guys who can’t think of anything better to talk about than licking stamps.”

Suddenly Andy became aware of the balding man again as he raised his voice. “This is ridiculous!”

A waitress was standing beside the pair’s table looking extremely flustered. “Sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t see what the problem is.”

“This is SUPPOSED to be a pizza place, yet you don’t have garlic out on the table!”

“We can get some for you sir…”

“That’s not the point! It should be out on the table!”

The waitress frowned. “Frankly, sir, we find that patrons shy away from using garlic nowadays. It may have something to do with the way it makes your breath smell.”

“Listen, ma’am, if I want my breath to smell bad I have every right!” the bald man complained.

“I won’t argue with that,” the waitress said, taking the two men’s menus and turning. “But I’ll be honest, sir, you have enough strikes against you without adding bad breath to the list. The dating scene out there is murder.”

“What’s that supposed to mean!” the bald man asked angrily as the waitress walked away.

“She does have a point, George,” Jerry said.

“Oh, that’s just great. Even people in the service industry have stopped respecting me.”

Andy had watched the scene transpire with piqued interest. “Excuse me, sir, but I agree with you,” he said, not wanting to stay quiet a moment longer.

George turned around. “Pardon?”

“I said I agree with you. My mom’s Italian and she puts garlic on almost everything.”

“Is that so? Well, what’s your dating life like?”

“Well…” Andy said, floudering, “it hasn’t been stellar,” he admitted.

“Neither has his,” Jerry said, nodding in George’s direction.

“Shut up!” George barked, turning back to Andy. “You think it’s the garlic?”

“Nope, I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons,” David said, not bothering to look back at George as he ate.

“Shut up,” Andy muttered. “It may be because I live at home. It’s hard to bring girls back to your house and sneak them past your parents. Especially the nosey, prying kind.”

“What other kind is there?” George mumbled. “Believe me, I can sympathize.”

David reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet as the waitress dropped the check on his and Andy’s table. “Well, I can’t say this has been overly interesting. C’mon, Andy. Put in your share of the tab and let’s get out of here.”

Andy threw some cash on the table and stood up. “It was nice talking to you, sir.”

George glared at David and then looked back at Andy. “Yeah, good luck finding a woman in this city. Believe me, there isn’t much out there.”

“Same to you,” Andy said, and followed David out of the restaurant.


“Well, he seemed like a nice kid,” George said, as the waitress placed a pizza down on the table.

Jerry nodded, taking a slice. “I suppose. His friend seemed to have an attitude problem, though.”

“At least they’re not drug dealers or pimps!” George said. “Kids today are usually punks. They have no respect for their elders!”

“Do you hear yourself, George? You sound like your father.”

“Oh, no…don’t start that with me!”

“I’m just speaking the truth.”

George shook his head, as he bit down on a slice of pizza. “There’s no way I’d ever…OUCH! For God’s sake, this pizza is too hot! What are you guys trying to do, kill me?” George shouted at no one in particular.

“The pizza is not that hot,” Jerry said. “Now stop complaining and eat.”

“You always get like this with me when we go out in public!” George shot back.

“Because you’re always so picky!”

“Maybe if you’d take me someplace nice I wouldn’t have to be so picky!” George returned.

Jerry held up a hand. “That’s it! I’m stopping this conversation here and now.”

George muttered something under his breath and continued to eat his pizza in silence. He saw a little bit of him and Jerry in those two kids that were in the booth next to theirs, except those boys showed each other a little respect. That’s what he was lacking in his friendship with Jerry.

At that moment, George decided that he needed to get out more.


“Well, f*** you!” David said, folding his arms and griping to himself as he and Andy walked down the street.

“I’m just saying, you seem way too attatched to my female friends.”

“That’s because you have too many of them. I’m just trying to take a few off your hands. It’s hard to meet girls nowadays. If you’re not going to date them, I might as well.”

“Just because I’m friends with them and I don’t plan on dating them doesn’t mean I want you dating them!”

“You have no say in it. If I want to date your female friends I can.”

“You may want to ask them about it first.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Andy shrugged. “They don’t exactly like you, Dave.”

“Of course they like me.”

“They think you’re spooky.”

David stopped a moment. “Spooky? That’s ridiculous.”

“They can tell when you’re sizing them up, for Pete’s sake. It’s extremely obvious.”

“It is?”

“I give up,” Andy said with exasperation. He tried to think of a way to make David understand that he’d have to look elsewhere for dates while they continued to walk back to the hotel. In the midst of his thoughts, he noticed a red blur moving toward them from the end of the street. It pulled up right in front of the Ramada–right where he and Dave were staying. What a coincidence. Andy eagerly waited for the door to the sports car to open so he could see just what kind of person sported around in a car like that. Someone pretty cool, no doubt.

“Come on, Andy,” David said, grabbing Andy’s sleeve and pulling him into a nearby door. “I need to get a few things from the drug store.”

Andy grudgingly followed after David, deciding he’d have to investigate the Lamborghini’s mysterious occupant later, that is, if he ever got a chance to see the car or its driver again.

And for some reason, he had a strange feeling he’d get that chance soon enough.


30,000 MILES ABOVE NORTHERN MARYLAND


Mulder snapped the airphone back into its holster and leaned back in his seat. “That was Dobbs. He just heard from four different highway patrolmen. Irma was definitely headed for New York city.”

“So I suppose we’re not going to land in Wilmington after all?” Scully asid.

“Nope, we’re not,” Mulder said, unattaching his seatbelt and moving toward the cockpit of the small charter plane. He stuck his head through the curtains and looked at the pilot. “Captain, we have to make a course change.”

“It’s the government’s money,” the pilot replied. “Go ahead.”

“Lay in a new course for New York City, maximum war– speed.”

“War speed?” the pilot asked. “I haven’t heard of that one.”

“Never mind, just get us there as quickly as you can.”

“We’ll have to go off the main air traffic routes and dump some auxilliary power in the engines if you want us to go any faster than we’re going now,” the pilot said.

“Make it so, Captain…” Mulder replied, looking down at the pilot’s name tag. “Kirk?”

“I don’t want to hear it,” Kirk said, turning back to his controls. “Just get back to your seat and fasten your seatbelt. I’ve heard more Kirk jokes than you can imagine.”

“I’m sure you have,” Mulder said, disappearing back through the curtains.

“You’ve got to admit,” the co-pilot said with a smile, “it’s kind of funny.”

“Oh, be quiet.”


Cosmo Kramer watched the woman waddle out of the Lamborghini with interest. “Afternoon, ma’am.”

The woman continued past Kramer, not making eye contact.

“How rude,” Kramer said, turning his attention back to her car. It certainly was nice. The dog that was presently yipping inside didn’t look so great, however.

“You have my money yet?” Newman asked, stepping out of the drugstore and joining Kramer in front of the hotel.

“I’ll get it to you, don’t worry about that,” Kramer said. “Would you look at this car?”

“It’s okay, I guess. If you like that sort of thing.”

“Oh, I like. I like,” Kramer said, smiling and looking the car over with pride.

“It’s out of your price range, Kramer. You can’t even afford to pay me off on our bet.”

“Some bet!” Kramer said, making a hissing noise.

Newman watched two colleged-aged men walk by, glaring at them, holding the bag he’d brought out of the drug store close.

“You bastard!” the shorter of the two young men said. “That was my shampoo fair and square!”

“I can’t help if I got the last bottle!” Newman giggled. “I’m sure you’ll find something else to wash your hair with.”

“I don’t want something else. I want Prell!”

“Well, you can’t have mine!” Newman cackled. “I’m sorry you weren’t fast enough!”

The taller of the two young men had to hold the shorter one back. “Let me at that fat bastard, Andy! I’ll kill him!”

“Awful sorry about him, sir,” Andy said. “He doesn’t get out much.”

“Obviously,” Newman scoffed. “Now be gone!”

“Sure thing,” Andy said, ushering the shorter fellow away toward the hotel. “Come on, Dave. Back to the hotel.”

David continued to mumble obscenities as he entered the hotel. Little did he know that he was soon to utter many, many, more.


Andy swiped his keycard through the sensor and turned the doorknob to his and David’s hotel room. “Stop complaining, Dave. At least we have a decent hotel room in this scummy city. I always thought that those department store trip sweepstakes were rip-offs, but this one really seems to be first-rate.”

“Remember to thank me for using my connections at Wal-Mart to get us in on the drawing.”

“What connections? We just filled out fifty slips each!”

“Yes, but I got paid to sit there and fill out my share of the slips.”

“And how does that help me?”

Dave shrugged as the two entered the room. “Guess it doesn’t. Oh well.”

Andy would have replied, but he was too busy looking around the wrecked hotel room in shock. “Dave! What the hell happened in here?”

“I don’t know,” David said, looking around. “It sure as hell wasn’t like this when we left this morning.”

“I’m calling housekeeping,” Andy said, turning and picking up the phone.

Dave turned around and headed into the bathroom. “You do that. I’m going to take a wizz.”

“Front desk?” Andy asked. Perplexed, he hit the hang-up button several times. “Hello? Hello?” As he attempted to get an answer, Andy slowly tugged on the cord that supposedly led into the wall jack. It didn’t.

Just as Andy stared at the frayed wire that used to connect the phone to the wall, he heard Dave belt out a shrill, almost effeminate squeal.

“Dave!” Andy cried, turning on a heel. He watched as Dave emerged from the bathroom, obviously being pushed. A meaty hand gripped his shoulder firmly.

“Hello, Andy, how nice to see you again,” Irma Wilson said pleasantly. “Would you like to watch while I disembowel your pal here or should I tell you when it would be best to cover your eyes?”

Andy gulped, his heart racing. Where had this awful woman from his and Dave’s past come from?

Irma was all the way across the room. There was no way to get to Dave before she did something horrible to him. On the upside, it appeared she didn’t have a weapon.

“Housekeepink,” a gruff voice said, as the door to Andy and Dave’s room flung open, admitting a large, burly Russian woman. “Ze name is Pamela Chekov. I am heer to clean ze room. I must varn you. I don’t do vindows.”

“Not now, Chekov!” Irma said, nodding her head in the cleaning woman’s direction.

The woman flew, cart and all, right out of the room– smacking loudly into the wall outside.

Screams could be heard in the hallway, including a faint shout of “Security! What’s going on up here?”

“Damn,” Irma said, looking from Dave to Andy. “Now what am I going to do?”

Andy’s fear suddenly shot up several notches on the fear scale as thoughts of exactly what he’d just seen blazed through his mind. Irma had changed a bit since he’d last seen her. She wasn’t just an annoying middle-aged chubby woman who talked your ear off whenever she had the chance. She had superpowers now, too.

As if listening to some voice in her head, Irma’s eyes suddenly perked up. “Yes, of course, that’s it!”

Effortlessly the woman reached out and grabbed Andy’s hand. “Come on, Andy. We’re taking a trip. See you next fall!”

“Fall?” Andy asked, as the windows at the opposite side of the room magically flew open.

Andy gulped as he, Irma, and Dave flew toward the window, their feet lifting right up off the floor.

As he flew through the window, Andy began to realize that this trip wasn’t all it was cracked up to be after all.


“Yes, she is definitely a beaut!” Kramer exclaimed again, running his hands along the Lamborghini’s smooth finish.

“Get away from my car!” a voice boomed from behind Kramer.

Newman looked up from the hot dog he’d just purchased and gulped. “Better step away from the car, Cosmo. It looks like she means business.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Kramer said, as the woman walked by. He couldn’t understand how he hadn’t seen her coming. Usually his senses were finely honed. In this case, the intimidating woman seemed to appear from out of nowhere.

Kramer also thought it odd that the woman now had in tow the two young men that had previously been arguing with Newman.

“Help us!” one of them squealed.

“Yeah, help–urg!” The woman clenched her fist tighter around both men’s necks.

“You’ll both shut up if you know what’s good for you.” Suddenly the woman cocked her head, as if listening to some voice that no one else could hear. “Of course. They’ll be looking for it. It’s best to find another car. This one wasn’t my style anyway.”

The woman turned on a heel and headed down the sidewalk, the two young men still struggling in her grasp.

“You’re not going to leave this fine automobile just sitting here, are you ma’am?” Kramer asked.

The woman glanced over her shoulder. “Yes. Why?”

“Well, that’s a shame. I just happen to be in the market for a new car. I may be able to take it off your hands for, say–”

“It’s yours,” the woman muttered, tossing a set of keys into Kramer’s eagerly waiting hands. She then turned her attention to one of the other cars parked along the street, a forest green Ford Explorer.

“Well, I usually like to haggle first,” Kramer said thoughtfully, staring at the keys.

“Take it!” the woman shouted. “I have bigger fish to fry!” She stared at the driver’s side door of the Explorer and it almost magically seemed to fly open.

“Mmm…fish fry,” Newman said, licking his lips.

Kramer considered the odd woman as she effortlessly tucked the two young men into the Explorer and sped away.

“Wow!” Newman finally said, running his hands along the hood of the impressive sports car. “It’s not often someone gives you a whole car! Especially a stranger!”

“Something seems a little odd about all this,” Kramer said thoughtfully.

“Don’t look a gift car in the mouth!” Newman said, eagerly swinging the passenger-side door to the car up. “Let’s take her for a spin!”

Kramer made his way around to the driver’s side and swung the door open, giggling childishly. “Giddyup!”


A government car was waiting for Mulder and Scully on the tarmac as they stepped off the plane.

Mulder hurried out of the plane before the stairs had even completely unfolded.

“Slow down, Mulder!” Scully called, trying to keep up with her partner.

“Time is a luxury we do not have, Scully,” Mulder said, reaching inside the sleek, black, Lincoln Crown Victoria and popping the trunk open.

“What are you doing?” Scully asked, following Mulder back to the trunk.

“Getting some extra firepower,” Mulder replied, pulling two 12-guage pump shotguns out of the trunk and handing one to Scully.

“Is this really necessary?” Scully asked, staring at the shotgun with skepticism.

“Absolutely,” Mulder said, grabbing a box of ammo and slamming the trunk closed. “This woman killed a man without touching him. I don’t think we could possibly be too well armed.”

Scully followed Mulder back to the front of the car and slid into the passenger seat, cradling the large gun in her hands. “Let’s just say for arguement’s sake that you’re right. That this woman does have high-range psychokinetic powers. Is any firepower going to be enough to stop her?”

Mulder started the car and peeled off the tarmac, heading for the gate that would take them out to the main airport road. “She isn’t invincible. Her powers obviously have some kind of range. Our goal will be to keep outside that range and incapacitate her.”

“I hope you’re right about all this,” Scully said, watching the scenery fly by. “It all seems like a lot of strung together coincidences to me.”

“You should be used to that by now,” Mulder said, turning out onto the offramp that led into the heart of New York City. “Besides, we know one thing for sure. Our quarry will be driving a new-model red Lamborghini with a license plate that reads ‘Trekker.’ We’ve given that discription to almost every police agency in the Mid-Atlantic region. There won’t be any chance for her to escape.”

“What if she dumped the car off to someone else?”

“Unlikely for a criminal of this type,” Mulder explained. “But, if that were the case, I’d feel really sorry for the poor bastard driving that car.”


SIX


NEW YORK CITY AUGUST 7, 1996 7:47 PM


The stolen Explorer carreened through the crowded New York city street, as Irma muttered senselessly to herself and rounded corners seemingly without discretion.

In the back seat, Dave and Andy found themselves firmly ensconced in seatbelts, guarded by a snarling poodle they’d recently come to know as Tribble.

“So, how long have ya been in New York?” Irma asked pleasantly as she swung the Explorer up on a sidewalk in order to avoid an elderly man who was crossing the street. Instead, the sport utility vehicle merely smashed into a cart filled with colorful fruits and vegatables.

“J-just a few days,” Andy stammered.

“Could you please tell us why you’re kidnapping us?” Dave said meekly, gripping the seat tightly as the Explorer bounded down the road.

“Well,” Irma said, ticking off the reasons on her chubby digits, “I’m a lonely gal–I need the company. And I like Andy, he’s a good guy, I think.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“And there’s also the fact that I have to kill you, Dave.”

“Oh.”

Andy looked over at Dave apologetically. “Sorry, buddy.”

“And why exactly do you want to kill ME?” Dave asked, glaring at Andy.

“Well, the Good Lord says thou shalt take an eye for an eye, or in my case, an evil little boy for a house.”

“What the hell do you mean?” Dave asked angrily.

Andy cringed. “Dave! Don’t yell at the insane woman!” he said with clenched teeth.

“I mean,” Irma said, taking an exasperated breath, “that you burned down my house. That means I’m going to have to burn you down.” Before Dave could say anything else, Irma continued, “I actually considered burning down your house, but then I realized that would probably hurt your dear mother and that darling little cockapoo of yours. We wouldn’t want any harm to come to that dog, would we?”

“You went to my house!” Dave cried. “Tell me you didn’t hurt Goldie! If you hurt one hair on her fluffy head, I’ll kill you!”

“Calm down!” Irma said soothingly. “The dog wasn’t hurt. Of course, I did have a bit of a temper tantrum in your room…but I’m afraid that was just unavoidable.”

“Tantrum…?” Dave seemed to deflate.

“No telling what damage I did to all those figures and models. You have–sorry, had–quite a collection.”

“You bitch!” Dave screamed, straining forward against his seatbelt, finally working the clasp free and leaping into the front seat, grabbing Irma’s meaty throat with both hands. “I’ll kill you!”

The Explorer bucked, crashing through a flimsy aluminum fence and surging through a crowded park.

“Hey, I didn’t plan on killing you yet!” Irma said. “You poo poo! You’re screwing my schedule all up!”

“A little help!” Dave grunted, as he wrenched his hands around Irma’s neck.

“Nothing can help you now, I’m afraid!” Irma cackled, suddenly blowing Dave all the way back into the way-back with a single thought.

Andy peeked into the back seat, frowning. “Are you okay, Dave?”

Dave pulled a crowbar out from under his backside. “Do I look okay?”

“Sorry I asked.” Andy looked out the passenger window as Irma brought the Explorer back out onto the road. “You know, that was a pretty stupid thing to do, Dave.”

“I didn’t see you coming up with any bright ideas,” Dave muttered, hopping back into the back seat.

“I’m working on a plan as we speak,” Andy whispered with a confidant smile.

“Oh jeeze, why don’t you just let her kill me now and have it overwith!” Dave cried helplessly.


“So, what should we do tonight?” Elaine Bennes asked, as she flipped through a magazine. She was stretched out on Jerry’s couch, while George and Jerry griped over the last Snapple in Jerry’s kitchenette.

“What is there to do?” Gorge asked, finally ceding the Snapple to Jerry. “All day I sit at work waiting to get off so I can go out and do something, then I sit around here all night trying to think of something to do.”

“It wasn’t always like this,” Elaine said, sitting up as George and Jerry moved over to the couch. “Didn’t there used to be stuff to do?”

Jerry shrugged. “Maybe we did it all.”

“Is that possible?” George asked. “Could we have reached our quota already? It’s not like our lives are action-packed. Why is it other people aren’t as bored as we are?”

“They have bigger quotas,” Elaine said reasonably.

“No, they just have more interesting lives,” Jerry muttered.

“We have interesting lives!” George said.

“Yeah?” Elaine asked. “Then why don’t we have anything to do?”

George’s brow creased with frustration as he tried to figure that out. “Why must we always be doing something? That’s so much pressure! I can’t sit around like this, can I? Should I be out? And where is ‘out’ anyway? I sure haven’t been there!”

After George’s outburst, the apartment sunk into a thoughtful, albeit brief, silence. The silence was broken when Kramer burst into the room, sliding across the floor and spinning around before coming to a stop beside Jerry’s couch. “Hey, everybody!”

Newman scrambled in after him eagerly. “George.” He frowned. “Jerry.”

“Hello, Newman,” Jerry mumbled.

“Elaine!” Newman said excitedly, scuttling over to Elaine’s side of the couch. “How great to see you! What have you been up to?”

“Uh…well…”

“What are you so excited about, Kramer?” Jerry asked, leaving Elaine in Newman’s grasp.

Kramer dug into his pants and produced a black key. It shined menacingly. “I got a new car.”

“Who would sell you a car?” George asked, pushing off the couch and walking over to grab the keys from Kramer. “You must have the worst credit rating of any man alive.”

“I don’t need a credit rating,” Kramer said proudly. “Not when I have…” he pointed at his face, “a face like this!”

“Oh, give me a break,” Jerry muttered.

“Wow,” George said, examining the key. “This key goes to a Lamborghini.”

“You know Elaine,” Newman said snidely, “Kramer let me drive the Lamborghini. Ever had that much power pumping beneath you?”

Elaine ignored Newman and ran over to grab the keys from George. “Can I get a ride?”

“Maybe tomorrow,” Kramer said, taking the keys out of Elaine’s hands and shoving them back in his pocket. “I think I’d better let that baby cool down for a while. Newman and I tooled all over downtown today. Inner city driving is very hard on an automobile.”

“Since when are you a mechanic?” George asked, irritated.

“Since I got a Lamborghini,” Kramer asserted, looking to Newman. “Come on, Newman. Let’s go try to unload all the groceries out of that baby so we can take it on your mail route tomorrow.”

Newman made a giddy squeak. “Oh, boy. I’ll be the envy of my route!”


AUGUST 8, 1996 1:11 PM


“Why are we here?” Dave whined, looking around the empty stadium fearfully.

“Shut up and eat your hot dog,” Irma barked from beside him, turning eagerly to regard the action down on the field.

Andy leaned around Irma’s generous bulk, in order to better see his friend, who was on the other side of the gargantuan woman. “Dave, just sit back and relax. The least we can do is enjoy being here. How often do you get the chance to see the New York Yankees practice?”

“Hey, you’re not the one who’s going to be killed!” Dave said. “How can I sit back and relax when I know this nut is going to try to kill me!” Dave chucked a thumb in Irma’s direction.

“Excuse me,” a gritty voice said from behind Irma.

At the distinct sensation of a billy club being thumped against her shoulder, Irma twisted around in her seat. “What?”

“Are you authorized to be here?” a large, imposing, bearded man in a security guard’s uniform said.

“I certainly am,” Irma said defensively, returning to the nonexistent game.

“Then I’ll have to see some ID.” The guard stepped down to Irma’s row. He looked from Dave to Andy quizzically. “Why do you two look so worried?”

“She’s going to kill me!” Dave rasped quietly, pointing at Irma.

“That so?” the security guard asked, turning to Irma.

“These are my two nephews,” Irma explained. “They have such active imaginations. To think, accusing me of trying to kill them when I went through all this trouble to take them to see the Yankees practice.”

“You’re not related to any of the staff or players, are you ma’am,” the security guard said.

“Nope.”

“Then you ain’t authorized to be here.” The guard prodded Irma with his billy club. “Come on now, move along. We don’t want a scene here in front of your kids.”

“She has powers, sir!” Andy called out. “She can kill you with a thought!”

“Sure, sure, and I’m Keith Hernandez.”

“Okay, officer, we’ll go,” Irma said sweetly, gathering her two “boys,” one under each arm. “Come on, boys!”

“She’s not of this Earth,” Dave whispered, as the guard followed Irma and her two charges up the steps to the stadium exit.

“Now that I’ll buy,” the guard muttered.


“And don’t come back!”

Irma glared back at the guard as she shuffled out into the Yankee stadium parking lot, with Dave and Andy in tow. “He was a rude man.”

“Could you let up on the squeezing a little?” Andy pleaded as Irma dragged both of them toward her pilfered Explorer.

“For you, hon, certainly,” Irma said.

“What about me?” Dave groused, pulling at Irma’s flabby arm.

“NO!” Irma said, squeezing harder on Dave’s throat. “You can suffer, you little jerk.”

“I hate you Andy!” Dave muttered.

“What did I do?”

“You managed to not be the person who this psycho bitch wants to kill!”

Irma slammed both Dave and Andy’s heads together. “That’s enough! Both of you. Now, I try to take you guys out to do something besides cower in the back of this truck, and how do you repay me? You bicker like a married couple!”

“We do not!” Dave complained.

“Stop whining and be a man!” Andy barked.

“Like you’re Mr. Brave!” Conway shot back.

“Like YOU are!”

“I SAID SHUT UP!” Irma shouted, slamming the two together again. This was becoming more work than she had been prepared for. The sooner the voices in her head told her to to kill Dave and Andy the better.

Andy and Dave looked up at Irma, both dazed from the repeat blows to their heads.

“This sucks,” Dave muttered.

Just then, a car pulled up at the front of the Yankee Stadium parking lot. A familiar-looking bald man stepped out of it and made his way toward the stadium entrance.

“Hey, that’s the guy that we met in the pizza parlor,” Andy said. “Hey, over here! Help! Help us! We’re being kidnapped!”

The bald man walked over and regarded Irma and her prisoners with interest. “Hey, I remember you guys. How’s it going? You enjoying New York City?”

Irma placed a meaty hand over Andy and Dave’s mouths. “They love it.”

“Who are you?”

“Their Aunt Irma. Isn’t it sweet of them to visit me?”

“Sure, I guess. I didn’t know you guys were brothers. You don’t look anything alike. And neither of you look like her.”

“THEY’RE ADOPTED!” Irma seethed.

“I see,” George said. Suddenly his expression changed as he studied Irma. “Say…what are you doing for dinner tonight?”

Irma was shocked. Sober men never responded favorably to her. “Um…well, I did have some plans.” She looked to Dave. “But they can be postponed.”

“Great,” George said with a smile. “Why don’t I pick you up at 6 and we’ll go have dinner and maybe see a movie.”

“Oh, that sounds lovely,” Irma cooed. “But I’d better meet you at your place. My house is…undergoing renovations.”

“Fine,” George said, pulling out his wallet and producing a card. “Here’s my card. Give me a call tonight and I’ll give you directions.”

“Fabulous!” Irma said, waving at George lovingly as he strode off. “Oh, what a fantastic man.”

“Does this mean you’re not going to kill me?” Dave asked hopefully, once Irma removed her hand from his mouth.

“No. I’m still going to kill you. It’ll just have to be later rather than sooner.”

“Gee, I feel blessed.”


“Can you believe it, Jerry? I have a date!” George said excitedly over the phone as Jerry numbly flipped through the channels on his TV.

“I’m amazed. What’s her name?”

“Irma.”

“Irma, huh? Strange name.”

“Listen, Jerry, I think I’ve finally found the secret.”

“To what?”

“Dating!”

Jerry sighed. “Right. You found the secret. After all the men in all the world in all of time haven’t found a clue how to attract the opposite sex, you think you’ve found the secret.”

“Well, it could happen!”

“Okay, okay, let’s hear it.”

“Ugliness, Jerry.”

“Come again?”

“This woman is drop dead ugly, Jerry! She’s grotesquely overweight, dresses in loud polyester, and has an annoying yapping voice that makes you want to retch! She’s perfect!”

“I’m still not following. You’re not trying to do everything opposite again, are you?”

“No, no, this is totally different. Think about it this way: I always have terrible luck with girls because, hey, let’s face it, I’m not God’s gift to women.”

“You’re not?”

“No, I’m not, but I always date these beautiful women with huge egos! I always feel like I have to try too hard! These women know they can do better so they never waste more than one or two dates with me!”

“So the secret, then, is to find a woman uglier than you.”

“Right. And believe me, this woman qualifies! Anyway, I asked her out for dinner and a movie tonight. And you know what? I wasn’t even nervous.”

“And why should you be? The woman is, after all, uglier than you.”

“EXACTLY, Jerry! So, what do you think?”

“I think you’ve outdone yourself once again, Costanza. I’ll be interested in hearing how this turns out. I do have one question, though.”

“Go ahead.”

“How are you going to get past the fact that you’re one of the shallowest, appearance-obsessed people on the planet?”

“I’m…uh…I’m not sure.”

Just then, Kramer exploded into the room. “Come on, Jerry! Newman’s going to be late delivering his mail!”

Jerry put a hand over the reciever and looked over. “Since when does he care about delivering the mail on time?”

“Since he started riding in style!” Kramer winked and gave Jerry a winning smile.

“Right,” Jerry said, returning to the phone. “Listen, George, I have to go. Good luck with your date.”

“Hey, Jerry, you have to help me with this shallowness thing! I can’t be seen with someone uglier than me!! Jerry, help!”

“Bye, George.”

“JERRY!”


2:45 PM


The red Lamborghini streaked down the side street, as mail was thrown haphazardly out the passenger-side window.

“This is great!” Newman said, flinging pieces of mail out the window without discretion. “I’ll be done with my route in no time!”

“Kramer,” Jerry said nervously from the back seat. “Slow down!”

“Hey, this baby was built for speed,” Kramer said, glancing back at Jerry. “It isn’t a station wagon, you know.”

“Keep your eyes on the road!” Jerry cautioned, turning Kramer’s head back toward the front of the car.

Kramer banked the car to the left, taking it down yet another street. “How much more mail do we have, buddy?”

Newman looked in his mailbag. “We’re almost done, why?”

“Because I’m getting hungry.”

“Me too. Maybe we can stop at a hotdog stand on the way back to my apartment.”

“Giddyup!”

Jerry just turned around, trying to avoid looking at the cityscape that was rushing by the front windshield.

That’s when he heard the warning whoop of a police siren. Jerry looked out the back window, and sure enough, a police car was in hot pursuit. Upon closer inspection, Jerry realized there were actually three police cars chasing them.

“Kramer!” Jerry said, spinning around in his seat. “Pull over! We’re being chased by three police cars!”

“What did I do?” Kramer asked, glancing in the rearview mirror in annoyance.

“Maybe it’s the fact that you’re going ninety-five in a thirty-five zone!” Jerry grumbled. “Now pull over!”

Kramer mumbled angrily to himself as he began slowing down.

Newman looked fearfully at his bag of mail. “Oh, no. They can’t find this on me! If they see that I’m using an unauthorized vehicle to deliver the mail, and that I have unauthorized people with me, I could lose my job!”

With a grunt, the mailman launched his entire mail bag out the window.

“To the vehicle directly in front of us!” a booming voice suddenly said over a loudspeaker. “Pull over and come to a complete stop. And stop throwing things at us! You aren’t making this any easier!”

“Look what you got us into,” Jerry said. “Don’t even think I’m helping you pay the ticket, either.”

“I wonder why they need three police cars to pull us over?” Newman said quietly.

Kramer shrugged as he banked the Lamborghini onto a curb and brought it to a stop. “Darn right you’re going to help me pay for it. You’re in the car, so you’re partly responsible!”

“Kramer!”

Before Kramer could protest, the window next to him was smashed open, and the butt of a nine-millimeter Berretta was shoved against his temple.

“Nobody move! You’re all under arrest! If one of you twitches we’ll blow your head off!” the owner of the Berretta shouted.

Jerry raised his hands and looked around slowly. The car was surrounded by police. It looked like an entire swat team.

“They certainly are cracking down on speeders,” Newman muttered fearfully.


SEVEN


DOWNTOWN AUGUST 8, 1996 5:30 PM


“Let me out, let me out!” Newman cried, banging on the door to the interview room with all his might. “I’m innocent, I swear!”

“Will you sit down!” Jerry said, from his position at the plain wood table–the only furniture in the spare room apart from a few chairs.

“I’ll never get to take Elaine for a joyride in my new car now,” sighed Newman.

“You mean Kramer’s car,” snapped Jerry.

Kramer was seated comfortably across the table from Jerry. “Both of you relax. I’ve gone through this before. All we have to do is tell them we had nothing to do with it.”

Jerry just shook his head. “You idiot. We did have something to do with it! We ARE it. You were speeding!”

“No, no, no,” Kramer said, placing a hand directly in front of Jerry’s face. “That’s not it. There’s something else going here. Something just isn’t kosher, and I’m going to sniff it out if it’s the last thing I do.”

“That makes me feel much better,” Jerry muttered.

Kramer flashed that winning smile again, just as the door to the room flung open, sending Newman shuffling back into the table.

A man and woman, each all-business and dressed in trenchcoats walked quickly into the room. The woman fell in behind the man, swinging the door shut. The pair had just the right chiseled, all-american, goody-two-shoes look. No doubt about it. These people were FBI.

The man pulled out the seat between Kramer and Jerry and turned it around, falling into it slowly and looking at the two of them with a measured stare. “Gentlemen. I’m Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI. This is my partner, Agent Dana Scully.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Newman said, propping himself up against the wall leisurely. “Can I get a cigarrette?”

“No,” Scully said plainly.

“Okay, I’m going to make this very simple,” Mulder said, yanking a piece of curled up paper out of his trenchcoat. “Where is this woman? Where is Irma Wilson?”

Jerry looked down at the picture. It appeared to be a shot of some obese woman wearing pointed Vulcan ears, at a corny neighborhood yard sale. “I’ve never seen her.”

“She’s the one who gave me the car!” Kramer said suddenly, snapping his fingers.

Mulder’s expression brightened. “Where is she now, Mr. Kramer?”

“I don’t know,” Kramer said, running a hand through his hair. “She seemed to be in quite a hurry. Her and a couple younger guys broke into a truck and drove off.”

“Can you describe that truck for me?” Mulder asked, pulling out a notepad and pen.

As Kramer and Mulder talked, Jerry continued to stare at the picture. Pieces began to fall in place in his head. Polyester- wearing, overweight, ugly…Irma! “Excuse me, Mr. Mulder…”

“Not exactly a hunter green,” Kramer said, leaning back and rubbing his chin. “And definitely not moss.”

“Mr. Mulder…I know who this is…” Jerry said, his voice beginning to fill with concern. “I know WHERE she is!”

“More of a forest green, actually.”

Mulder raised a hand, trying to stop Kramer from talking. “What is that, Mr. Seinfeld? Where is she?”

“She’s going on a date with my best friend!”

Mulder looked up at Scully. “We’re in luck. Tell the SWAT team to mobilize.” He looked to Kramer and Jerry. “Let’s go, you two.”

“What about me?” Newman asked fearfully as the group filed out of the room. “You’re not going to just leave me here, are you?”

The FBI agent shook his head. “As I understand it, some people from the local postal supervisory board want to speak to you, Mr. Newman. You’d better hope they aren’t armed.”

Newman gulped. “No…don’t leave me. Jerry…Kramer…don’t leave me here!”

Jerry just shrugged. “Sorry.”


“Come on, George, answer!” Jerry said, gripping Agent Mulder’s cell phone tightly as the black goverment car raced down the crowded New York street, bobbing in and out of traffic, with about ten assorted police vehicles trailing behind them.

“Tell me about this friend of yours,” Mulder said, as he guided the Lincoln Crown Victoria around a garbage truck. “Is he reliable? Stable? Can he handle himself in a bad situation?”

“No. No. And no,” Jerry said, as he waited impatiently for George to pick up. Suddenly the familiar music from “Great American Hero” echoed out of the cell phone.

“Believe it or not, George isn’t at home…” sang the recording.

“All the more important we find your friend before something terrible happens to him,” Scully said, staring out the passenger-side window as the scenery flashed by.

“George, George,” Jerry called out after the tone. “If you’re screening calls, pick up!”

Kramer leaned forward eagerly from the back seat. “Just out of curiosity, what might happen to him? Is this woman a psychopath or something?”

“Something like that,” Mulder said, as the Crown Victoria surged underneath a red light, barely missing a passing bus.

“It was only a matter of time until he met someone more sick than him,” Jerry muttered. He was about to switch off the cell phone when George suddenly picked up with a klick.

“Hello? Jerry?”

“George! George!” Jerry cried. “Listen, the woman you’re dating is a psychopath…and a murderer! Stay put! Me and half the cops in New York City are on our way to help!”

“Ha ha. That’s very funny, Jerry. Irma’s standing right here. Hey, Irma, you’re not a psychopath, are you?”

In the background, Jerry could hear a hideous cackle. “Me? Why, that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!”

“George! Get away from her! She’s dangerous!”

Scully’s eyes grew wide. “She’s there with him, Mulder!”

Mulder reached into the back seat and grabbed the phone. “Mr. Costanza! This is Agent Fox Mulder with the F.B.–”

“That’s all well and good, but right now I’m going on a date with this sweet little flower and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

“Mr. Costanza!” Mulder said, grimacing at the sound of slurping and kissing. “Mr. Costanza! This is not a joke! Listen very carefully! Mr. Costanza?” Mulder tossed the cell phone aside. “He hung up.”

“That idiot!” Jerry said, falling back against his seat. “He’s finally met his match.”

Scully nodded in Mulder’s direction. “I think he has too.”

“We’ll see,” Mulder said cooly, stomping harder on the gas pedal.


With a splintering crack, the door to George’s apartment exploded open as Mulder, Scully, and a dozen heavily armed SWAT officers scrambled into the apartment, guns drawn. Jerry and Kramer crept in behind him cautiously.

“George?” Jerry called out, looking around the empty apartment.

“All clear!” one of the police officers called out.

Scully holstered her weapon and turned to Mulder. “We’re too late.”

Mulder nodded, looking to Jerry. “Well, Mr. Seinfeld? Do you have any reccomendations on where we can find Mr. Costanza?”

“We’ll have to hit every cheap restaurant in New York City,” Jerry said, clenching his fist.

“You heard him,” Mulder said, waving the group out of the apartment. “Let’s go!”


“This place is wonderful, Georgie,” Irma exclaimed, looking around Monk’s Cafe with a gleam of wonder in her eye.

George leaned back against the booth and smiled. “It’s a unique kind of place. I only come here on very special occasions.”

“I’m flattered that I’m one of those occasions,” Irma said, batting her eyes and looking down at the menu.

“I reccomend the meatloaf special,” George said, making a kissing motion with his fingers. “It’s…magnificent.”

“So, Georgie, tell me about yourself. What is it you do with the Yankees?”

“Assistant to the traveling secretary,” George said proudly. “I take care of all the important travel plans for the Yankees. It’s a good group this year. I think they may win the pennant.”

“Mmm hmm,” Irma said idly. “I don’t know much about baseball.”

“Well, what do you know about?” George said with a sly grin.

“Oh, many things,” Irma said. “I especially like Star Trek. Have you ever seen it?”

“I’m familiar with it.”

“The characters in that show are so…honorable. So powerful. I wish I could be like them.”

George leaned forward. “I’d like you to show me some of your power later tonight, if you get my drift.”

“I don’t know if you can handle it, Georgie.”

“Trust me, I can handle it.”

Just then, the waitress approached the table. “What’ll ya have?”

Irma puckered her lips in George’s direction. “Meatloaf.”

“And for you?”

“A nice big slab of Irma,” George whispered.

“Pardon?”

“Uh…” George waffled, “cheeseburger and fries.”


ELSEWHERE IN THE TIME-SPACE CONTINUUM 6:25 PM


<Look at that. Her training is coming along perfectly. Right now she’s controlling the mind of that pathetic male, yet she’s barely aware she’s doing it. Soon she’ll be using those powers to wreak havoc for our purposes,> said one entity.

<Hmm. Are you sure about this?> said the other.

<Quite sure. Why, do you have doubts?>

<Not exactly,> the other entity replied. <I’m just not sure that I understand how she fits into all this.>

<We need her. Now be quiet. You’re interfering with the viewing. Just shut up and let me watch this. I think she may be experiencing sex soon!>

<Whatever.>


“I take your name, then you sit down and wait until name called!” the chinese man said sternly, as a SWAT officer held an M-16 leveled at his chest.

“Trust me, he’ll never call your name,” Jerry said, surveying the chinese restaurant with disdain. “If George were here, he’d still be waiting to be seated.”

Mulder motioned for the officer to lower his weapon. “Okay, then, Mr. Seinfeld, we’ve tried about a dozen places and found no leads. Is there any place you haven’t thought of?”

Jerry looked at Kramer and shrugged. “I don’t know. We’ve hit all the cheap places George would normally take a woman. We even hit some of the expensive ones.”

“I don’t know,” Kramer said, pacing about nervously. “I can’t think straight in this place. All this…red…it’s driving me nuts!”

“Do you want to go somewhere else?” Jerry asked.

“Yeah, yeah…”

Scully pulled Mulder aside as Kramer and Jerry bantered. “Mulder, what do you think about these two?”

“A little neurotic, but…”

Scully shook her head. “Mr. Seinfeld is a little neurotic. That other one…I could write a paper on him.”

“What are you thinking? Sociopathic tendencies?”

“No, no. Nothing that could be so easily labeled. I’ve only been around this man for a couple hours and already I’ve counted at least nineteen neuroses!”

“Being neurotic is not illegal in this country, Scully. And it’s nearly required if you want to live in New York.”

Suddenly Kramer let out a whoop. “The coffee shop!”

“Why didn’t we think of that before?” Jerry asked. “That’s the most deplorable place anyone could think of to take a woman for a romantic dinner date!”

“You heard the man,” Mulder said, smiling at Scully. “Let’s go.”

Scully rolled her eyes. “If I have to be around those two much longer, I may develop some neuroses of my own.”

As the group left, the chinese man looked up from his podium. “Seinfeld! Four! Seinfeld! Four!”

He scratched his head. “I guess they’ll never get here.”


“There’s the truck she stole!” Kramer called out, pointing out the front window of the Crown Victoria, shoving an elbow into Scully’s face.

“Sir, get back in the back seat,” Scully said with more than mild irritation.

“This is it, everyone,” Mulder said into a walkie-talkie. “Surround that truck and move in on my command.”

The Crown Victoria skidded to a stop in front of the green Ford Explorer. It was badly parallel-parked on the street right outside Monk’s.

“GO!”


Dave had been staring at Andy with disgust the entire time they had been bound and gagged in the back of Irma’s stolen Explorer. Then again, since they were gagged, Andy supposed that was all either of them could do at the time.

They were tied down to the floorboard so tightly they had no way to get George’s attention as Irma sported them around town. Andy guessed that Irma must have been with the Girl Scouts or something. The woman tied an incredible square knot.

Andy’s thoughts were interrupted as a blinding light flashed into their eyes and the business end of an M-16 smashed through the back window into the cramped way-back of the Explorer.

“Put that weapon down!” a voice called out. “They’re just kids. Those must be the two she kidnapped.”

“Your kidding,” another, more sarcastic voice said.

Two men stuck their heads into the shattered back window of the Explorer. Andy immediately recognized one of them as the horse-faced guy from the pizza place.

The other one flashed his ID. “Agent Fox Mulder, FBI. No reason to worry, guys. We’re getting you out of here.”

“Mmmf mmf mmf,” Dave said angrily. Andy could tell from his inflections that he was saying “it’s about time.”


Irma Wilson stopped chewing.

“Something wrong?” George asked, looking up from his meal.

“A piece of gristle,” Irma muttered, narrowing her eyes and concentrating.

“Gristle in meatloaf? Strange,” George said, returning to his cheeseburger.

Irma ignored George and continued to concentrate. She visualized what was going on outside and quickly began to do something about it. “Let’s leave now, George.”

“Without even paying?”

“Yes,” Irma said, grabbing George by the wrist. “Do you have a problem with that?”

“No, no, I love it!” George said excitedly, following Irma out of the restaurant with zeal, thumbing his nose at the lady at the checkout. “I love YOU!”

“Hey, you can’t just–” a waitress called out, chasing after them.

Irma turned her powers on the waitress. “The bill’s all taken care of. Have a nice day.”

The waitress smiled. “The bill’s all taken care of. Have a nice day,” she echoed.


Mulder was just about to reach in and undo the mess of knots in one of the two hostage’s ropes, when the truck began to shake menacingly.

An invisible force threw Mulder backward as the truck’s engine roared to life with an animal-like growl. Next, it spun around, its headlights flashing on and bathing the SWAT team in light.

“You don’t see that every day,” Jerry mumbled in awe.

With a squeal of rubber tires, the truck sped past Mulder, Scully, and the rest of the group and weaved around the traffic, pulling to a stop on the curb in front of Monk’s Cafe.

“Stop that truck!” Mulder commanded.


“Get in,” Irma barked, sliding over the hood of the Explorer and hopping in the driver side door.

“I didn’t realize they had valet parking here,” George said to himself as he hooked up his seatbelt.

“Hold on!”

Before George could finish buckling his seatbelt, the Explorer surged forward into traffic.


Mulder ran back to the Crown Victoria and jumped in, followed by Scully, Jerry, and Kramer.

“Did you see that?” Mulder said, as he started up the vehicle and stomped on the gas. “She started that truck up with her mind and pulled it right up to the restaurant!”

“That could have easily been an electronic device,” Scully said.

“Or the most advanced form of telekinesis I’ve ever seen.”

“What the heck has George got himself mixed up in?” Kramer asked. “Telekinesis? Kidnappers?”

“It’s actually a step up for George,” Jerry replied.


George gripped onto the dashboard as the Explorer sailed down the street, weaving in and out of traffic.

“So, are you excited about seeing the movie?” George asked in an effort to fill the void of silence that had settled in the truck.

“We’re not seeing the movie!” Irma barked.

“But I’ve heard great reviews for ‘Hurricane.’ It’s supposed to be the best disaster movie yet.”

“I’ve never even heard of it,” Irma replied.

“Well, you obviously don’t get out much.”

Irma snapped her head around, flaming red eyes boring right into George’s mind. “BE QUIET!”

George scooted as far away from Irma as he could, huddling against the passenger-side door. He was feeling fear of and revulsion for this woman, yet somehow he was still attracted to her–as if his will was not his own.


“Keep on them!” Kramer shouted, pushing himself awkwardly between the two front seats, gangly limbs flailing in Mulder and Scully’s face. “You’re losing them!”

“Mr. Kramer, please, get back in your seat,” Mulder said, swatting at Kramer with his hand.

“Mr. Seinfeld,” asked Scully, “do you have any idea where George and Irma might be going next?”

“Normally George would take his date to the Paragon, but we just passed that.”

“Where could they be going, then?” Mulder asked himself, forcing the Crown Victoria in between two cars and illiciting several angry horn honks.


“Yankee Stadium? At this hour?” George asked, as the Explorer bucked up onto the sidewalk and mowed down a newsstand.

“Yes. I want to play a different kind of game there,” Irma said, wonder sparkling in her eyes.

“I…I see,” George said.

<Your time is getting short, Irma,> the voice suddenly piped up. <You’re going to have to hurry if you want to tie off those loose ends.>

“I understand.”

“Understand what?”

“I’m leaving soon and I have some business to attend to first.” Suddenly Irma’s expression softened. “And maybe some pleasure too.”

“Now you’re talking!”


ELSEWHERE IN THE TIME-SPACE CONTINUUM 6:55 PM


<She’s taking too long,> one entity said. <They’ll be here soon. We have to beat them.>

<Are you saying you’re afraid?> asked the other.

<Not afraid. I just don’t want our ringer beaten before she’s even gotten in the ring!>

<There’s nothing to fear. She’ll do her little thing here and then we’ll be on our way. Then, before you know it, we’ll be the one’s doing business in this universe.>

<If you say so.>

<Oh, I say so!>


“Do you hear that?” George asked, turning nervously in his chair.

“Hear what? Voices in my head telling me to murder and pillage?”

“No,” George stammered, “I was, uh, talking about the sirens! The police are after us!”

“No kidding,” Irma said sarcastically. “You’re not scared are you?”

“Well, kind of…”

Irma once again fixed that glare on George. “You’re not scared.”

George’s eyes unfocused. He cocked his head. “I’m not scared.”

“That’s a boy.”

The Explorer surged ahead toward Yankee stadium, crashing through the gate and heading right toward the nearest access tunnel.


“Units five, six, and seven, surround the stadium!” Scully called out over her walkie-talkie. “All SWAT units: deploy and take the following positions…”

“And tell them to keep their distance,” Mulder added as Scully instructed the SWAT team.

“They’re crashing right through that access tunnel!” Jerry said, pointing toward the shower of sparks where the Explorer squeezed in between cement walls.

“And we’re following them in!” Mulder said.

“You know, I’ll just get off at the next stop if that’s okay,” Jerry said uncomfortably.

“Sorry,” Mulder said, guiding the Crown Victoria toward the access tunnel. “No time.”

“Come on, Jerry, this’ll be fun!” Kramer said enthusiastically.

“This is not my idea of fun!” Jerry cried as the Crown Victoria roared down the access tunnel and tore out onto the field.


“One way or another, I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha!” Irma sang as the Explorer sped across the outfield, kicking up astroturf in its tracks.

“I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid,” George said calmly to himself as the Yankee dugout loomed closer.

“Weeeeee hoooooooo!” Irma cried, smashing the Explorer right into the dugout.

The Explorer rolled sideways against the dugout, then promptly burst into bright and colorful flames.


EIGHT


YANKEE STADIUM 7:15 PM


On the bright side, the flames that licked around Andy and Dave’s faces had done much to burn away the ropes that had held them at bay, allowing them to painfully rip the duct tape off their mouths and crawl out the Explorer’s busted rear window.

Andy and Dave tumbled to the ground, both attempting to shake off the effects of the collision.

“Remind me never to go on vacation with you again,” Dave muttered.

“New York, New York,” Andy sang deliriously.

Both friends crawled slowly away from the Explorer in a weak attempt to escape.

Before they got far, two familiar chubby hands clamped down on their shoulders.

“Not so fast, boys!” Irma cackled. Her glasses were broken, her polyester outfit had burst into flames in several places, and her hair was a wild matted mess of curls. “We’re getting ready to play ball.”

“Hi, guys,” George said weakly. He was laying on the ground, not in much better shape than Andy, Dave, or Irma.

“It’s been a fun ride, David,” Irma said sternly, “but it’s about time I knocked your testicles out of the park so I can get on with my life.”

The gargantuan woman tossed Andy aside as if he weighed nothing, then toosed Dave up in the air.

Dave waved his arms and legs madly as he hovered there in midair, screaming epithets at Irma.

“Now, now,” Irma admonished. “Don’t make me fine you for unsportsmanlike conduct.”

A baseball bat appeared in her hand. “Let’s play ball!”

Suddenly a black car sped onto the field, and four people emptied out of it.

“Stop right there!” Agent Mulder cried, cocking his pump shotgun with one hand and leveling it on Irma. “You’re surrounded by snipers! There’s nowhere for you to go!”

“Mulder, would you look at that!” Scully said, motioning for Jerry and Kramer to keep back as Mulder moved slowly toward Irma. “That young man is just hanging there in midair!”

“I see it, Scully.”

As if she’d completely forgotten about Dave, Irma let her bat fall to the ground and moved toward Mulder. “Fox. How nice to see you again. Remember me?”

“Not…not exactly…” Mulder said, his shotgun shaking as he held it on Irma.

“Come on. We had a great time…about a year ago…aboard a naval vessel. Does any of that ring a bell?”

Mulder shook his head, as if trying to clear his thoughts. “No…no…”

The voice bellowed insistantly inside Irma’s head. <Irma! We don’t have time for this! They’re coming!>

“Who’s coming?”

<That’s not important. Kill Dave and be done with it!>


Mulder tried to conentrate on Irma. His mind was flooded with images… hideous, buglike creatures that were bent on controlling the Earth. A spaceship more advanced than anything he could have imagined. A battle for the safety of his planet aboard a naval vessel. Grappling with Irma. Making sure everyone’s mind was erased so that the space-time continuum wasn’t harmed.

There was a reason he only vaguely remembered these events. He wasn’t supposed to.

There was a reason he had an inexplicable fascination with Star Trek for a year.

Star Trek was real.


“Yes, Mulder!” Irma cried out victoriously, dancing a jig around the FBI Agent, her arms waving madly in the air. “Star Trek is real! It’s real! Sing it with me now!”

“Star…Star Trek is real…” Mulder mumbled.

“Say the word, Mulder,” Scully shouted, pumping her shotgun. “I can take her out from here!”

“Get me down!” Dave cried, as he twisted spasmodically in the air.


Andy stared back worriedly at Dave as he inched his way over to George. “Sir…are you all right?”

“No,” George replied, trying to push himself off the turf.

“Do you think you broke something?”

George watched Irma longingly as she danced around Mulder. “Only my heart.”

“Give me a break,” Andy muttered, collapsing to the turf beside George and losing conciousness.


<That’s IT!> one entity said angrily. <We’re out of time! The others are already on their way here! She’ll have to leave without killing those annoying brats.>

<But if she doesn’t kill them…we’ll have to…>

<We’ll have to deal with the others at another time…I’m aware of that. There’s just no other choice. Pull her out of there! And make it look good.>

The other entity made an annoyed sound. <Fft. Fine, Mr. Bossy, have it your way.>


“Come on, Mr. Mulder, come with me…” Irma said, running her hand through Mulder’s hair. “Explore the vast reaches of the unknown with me. You can learn the truth…”

“The truth…”

“About everything.” Suddenly Irma’s expression changed. “What? No, no, give me another minute! I’m not done here. What do you mean we don’t have another minute? Why? What’s going on?”

“Tell me what you know, Irma!” Mulder said, grabbing Irma by the shoulders and shaking her. “What is the truth? What are you? What the hell is going on here?”

Before Irma could reply, a blinding light bathed Yankee Stadium.


“All units, get ready to open fire on the target,” Scully barked into her walkie talkie, when suddenly she was showered with bright light.

Everyone on the field shielded their eyes as the stadium was filled with a high-pitched whine.

“What is that!” Kramer asked, ducking behind the Crown Victoria. In the midst of the bright light, a silvery, oval flying saucer drifted down toward the field.

From beside Kramer, Jerry shrugged. “It sure as heck isn’t the Goodyear blimp.”


<We’ve come for you, Irma. Come with us!>

“But what about Andy and Dave!” Irma cried out.

<Forget about them!>

“Fine.” Irma nodded in Dave’s direction and he plunged into the astroturf with a thud. “But Mulder is coming with me.”

<Not possible. Leave him. They’re almost here.>

“WHO?????” Irma said with growing frustration.

<Your enemies! The ones you’ll have to destroy sooner or later. But it’s not time yet. There are rules to be followed…customs that must be adhered to. We’ll explain it to you on the way back home, but you have to come with us now!>

The door to the craft slid open. Beyond, a bright red light pulsed magically.

<Come now, Irma, don’t fight us!>

“Mulder!” Irma cried, embracing the FBI agent.

“Now that’s something you don’t see everyday,” Mulder muttered, as if in a trance. It was just a flying saucer. Aliens. Real. So what? He wanted more. He wanted it all. He wanted IRMA.

Suddenly an invisible force seemed to grip Mulder and toss him to the ground, while Irma was jerked by a similar unseen force toward the ship, arms and legs flailing.

“Let go of me! I’m not finished yet!” Irma cried, struggling against the unseen force.

<That much is true, my dear Irma!> one of the voices said, as Irma disappeared inside the craft.

<Let’s go,> the other voice said. <The meter’s running.>

The hatch closed as the silvery craft lifted off the ground, swinging around and stretching toward the starry night sky, disappearing in a flash as the bright light that had bathed Yankee stadium dissipated.


Scully rubbed her eyes, lowering her shotgun. “What on Earth was that?”

“George!” Jerry called out, as he ran to his friends aid, followed closely by Kramer.

Jerry knealt down beside George and helped him up. “What were you thinking, George? That woman was insane!”

“I’ll never meet the likes of her again,” George muttered, wiping the dirt off his pants and adjusting his glasses.

“You’re probably better off,” Kramer said easily.


Mulder was lying on the ground, eyes open, fixed on the stars above.

Scully bent over the fallen Agent, her brow creased with worry. “What happened, Mulder?”

“Irma…” Mulder muttered. “Irma happened.”

The Agent scrambled to his feet, eyes still fixed on the sky. “She’s out there somewhere, Scully.”

“Somehow I’m not so sure.”

“Then where is she?”

“I don’t know,” Scully said, shaking her head. “But I get the feeling we’ll never see her again.”

“Do you think we’re better off that way?”

“Definitely.”


Andy’s eyes fluttered open. The scenery gradually began to come back into focus. He saw Dave lying a few feet away and immediately crawled toward him.

“Dave!” Andy cried, shaking his friend vigorously. “Are you okay? Don’t die on me, Dave! Not like this! We have so much more to accomplish!”

“Andy,” Dave mumbled, opening his eyes slowly. “I want to go back to Salisbury.”

Andy collasped to the turf. “You and me both.”

“Where did you two come from?” George asked, leaning over Andy and Dave, with Kramer and Jerry behind him.

“We were tied up in back of that truck the whole time,” Dave muttered.

“Why would your Aunt have done such a thing?” George asked, rubbing his chin.

“You still don’t get it, do you?” Andy asked with irritation.

“Get what?”

Jerry shrugged. “Who knows.”

“Excuse me, gentlemen, could I have a word with you?” a voice asked, prompting Andy and Dave to turn around.

Two very familiar looking men in black suits, with black ties and dark sunglasses stared back at them.

The taller one stepped toward Andy. “Greetings, Mr. Baxter. I’m Agent…um…Badger. From a…um…secret government agency.” He gestured toward the other man. “This is my associate, Agent Conway…son.”

“Which secret government agency?” Dave asked.

Conwayson grunted. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Anyway,” Badger said, “we just wanted to talk to you for a moment about the events you just experienced.”

“Which ones?” Kramer asked, joining George and Jerry behind Andy and Dave.

“All of them,” Badger said simply. “Specifically, we’re here to tell you that they never happened.”

Conwayson moved off and inspected the crashed Explorer. “Hey, this is a pretty nice truck. Too bad it got banged up.”

“Stay away from it, Conwayson. We have work to do.”

“Whatever, Agent Buttwipe.”

Badger snapped his head around angrily. “Stow it, Conwayson!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Who did you guys say you were?” Mulder asked, joining the rest of the group, with Scully close behind him.

“Agents.”

“With what agency?”

“I said it doesn’t matter!” Badger barked angrily. “Now pay attention.” He pulled a long, gleaming metal device out of his jacket pocket. “I want you all to stare at this light here.”

“Why?” Andy asked.

“That’s not important! Just look at it!”

“You’re going to wipe our minds, aren’t you?” Mulder asked.

“Just shut up and look at the God damned light!” Badger said, switching the device on and waving it in front of the group’s faces.

Instantly, everyone’s expression became blank.

“Did it work?” Conwayson asked, waving a hand in front of Dave’s face.

“I don’t know. This prototype handheld brain-wiping device is still being tested. We either blanked their memories or turned them all into braindead vegetables.”

Consleyson stared at Kramer. “It wouldn’t be much of a change for some of these guys, by the looks of it.”

“Enough jokes. We’ve got to start undoing some of the damage that Irma did before the Temporal Authorities catch on to us.”

“You know they’ll find out eventually. It’s only a matter of…heh heh …time.”

“Shut up, Conway, and go blank the minds of the rest of the police officers while I make up some new memories for these jokers.”

“You’re just scared I may usurp your title as the corny joke king.”

“Not bloodly likely,” Captain Andy Baxter said, turning to face the catatonic stare of Andy Baxter. “Hmm. Handsome fella, aren’t you?”


EPILOGUE


Captain’s Log,

Stardate 52073.4. We have returned to the present, having satisfactorily rid the past of this woman called Irma’s influence. And after all we went through, would you believe that the Temporal Commission STILL suspended our Time Travel License for six months and placed a hideous scolding in my permanent record? You’d think they’d have a sense of humor about people messing with the timeline after all these years. What disturbs me the most, though, is that somehow this Irma woman was able to escape to God only knows where before we could get to her. Our sensors haven’t picked up any indications that she’s anywhere in the past or the present, but even so, I have an eerie feeling that we’ll run into her again.


Mr. Mirk looked across the grassy expanse of one of the many wonderful islands on Malox, sighing happily as the gorgeous Maloxian women rubbed his feet and massaged his temples. Soft acoustic music played in the background and there was a hint of umgee root in the breeze.

It was one of his favorite dreams.

And it was proceeding along as planned until bloodred lightening seared the sky.

Mirk snapped up in his hammock, as the women that were surrounding him scurried for shelter.

The sky grew dark as the lightening became more intense. Waves beat against the shore of the island, as the vast Maloxian ocean began to churn.

The ground rumbled underneath Mirk’s feet, and the red lighting beat against the planet, ripping chunks of it away, burning away the atmosphere, reducing the Maloxian homeworld into a charred, wounded, wasteland.

“What’s happening?” Mirk called out over the din of destruction.

Suddenly the ground in front of the Maloxian bartender exploded open, and a meaty hand reached out, grabbing hold of Mirk’s foot and pulling him to the ground.

Then a ghastly huge shadow loomed over Mirk.

The woman wore a glowing red polyester pantsuit, and her hair was blown back, streaked with shocks of white. Demonically pointed black glasses with immensely thick lenses rested against her nose, as she pulled her lips back into a sneer.

“Hello, Mirk,” the gargantuan woman hissed.

“By the Directors, who are you?” asked Mirk fearfully

“Your worst nightmare!” the woman cackled hideously. “But you may call me Irma!”

With a flash of red lightening she prouduced a gleaming white card in her fleshy hand and handed it to the bewildered bartender:


IRMA WILSON

MIRK’S WORST ENEMY

SINCE 1996


“Um, I don’t get it…” Mirk said, scratching his head and peering at the card.

“You will!” Irma said, bellowing loudly into the dark, red- filled sky, as she closed in on Mirk’s throat.


Mirk snapped up in bed, shouting into the darkness. “IRMA!”

The Maloxian blinked and looked around, slowly remembering that he had only been dreaming.

“Lights,” Mirk said, shuffling over to the replicator and ordering a glass of lukewarm seaweed juice to calm his nerves.

Taking a slow sip from his glass, Mirk stared out the viewport at the stars that streaked by the Starship Explorer.

He shivered as he thought about that horrible dream, and the image of that woman…the woman Captain Baxter had taken the ship back in time to stop, only to find out that she was already gone.

A horrible notion struck the Maloxian like a ton of Melkotian poundcake.

Irma was out there. He may have to cross space and time to find her, but she was out there.

And one way or another, he’d have to be ready for her.


Tags: vexed