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Chapter Notes:

The O'Kaysions - Girl Watcher


As I look back on a love so sweet now
I cry like a baby
Every road is a lonely street
I cry like a baby


- Alex Chilton and the Box Tops (Cry Like a Baby)

=/=



“Ready?”

“Ready.”

The two Perfectionist agents swallowed twin doses of trichronium, held hands and waited for their leader to send them back in time.

The Perfectionists didn’t need time ships, or time portals, like the Temporal Integrity Commission did. Instead, that group’s temporal operatives could come and go into time via the use of a kind of temporal enzyme. In fact, the technology was called the Temporal Enzymatic Drive.

It consisted of a small device that could conveniently be held in one’s hand or worn on a wrist. It only had a few settings, but that was all that was necessary. The leader had the device, and was able to set the time, date and place where an agent would be going. The leader could also recall an agent, although recall was automatic if trichronium levels were too low.

And trichronium! It was quite an interesting chemical. It was a liquid and it smelled and tasted a bit like cantaloupe. You needed trichronium for the Temporal Enzymatic Drive to work. Otherwise, it was useless. And the same was true in reverse. The Drive without the enzyme was just a fancy bit of jewelry.

What the leader did not know was that the inventor of the drive - one of the Temporal Integrity Commission’s engineers - had kept a copy of the Drive. It was safely tucked away in a locker. As for what it would be used for, the engineer did not know. Right now it was just insurance.

=/=



Deirdre and Crystal walked together, “I understand you’re good at this,” Crystal said, referring to the decrypting of the Manifesto file.

“I do all right. I think whoever did the encryption likes crossword puzzles and word games, that sort of thing.”

“Here, let me show you what it looks like right now,” Crystal said. They went into her work space. As the Quartermaster, she was responsible for making sure that time travelers looked like they would fit in with the correct time and place, and would not have any anachronisms on their persons. She cut and grew and colored hair, made and altered clothing, added or subtracted laugh lines and crow’s feet and even, at times, helped a traveler smell a particular way, so as to best blend in.

They moved some bottles of keratin accelerator - it could grow hair quickly, if needed - out of the way and Crystal set down her PADD, “Okay, it’s like this. There are all of these symbols. It starts with what I’m calling monkey, and it ends with boat. I’m just looking at the fourth paragraph of the Manifesto.”

“I see,” Deirdre said, “Looks like boat is the most common. Is it E or S or T, do you think?”

“I tried that, and was slapped for my efforts. I mean, it starts out with monkey-donut-basket-apple-cat-tree-turtle-apple-cat-sun-boat,” she took a breath, “sun-eyeball-basket-handshake-elephant-cherry-hockey stick-boat,” Crystal thought for a second, “And there’s boat again.”

“How many boats are there?”

Crystal counted, “Fifty-one.”

“And monkeys?”

“Five.”

“Maybe it’s not an alphabet,” Deirdre said, “Maybe it’s a syllabary. There are some languages where they don’t really have letters, they’ve got sound symbols so ba, be, bi, bo and bu are all separate.”

“It’s frustrating,” Crystal said.

“I think that’s the idea.”

=/=



“Ah, the zoological park - it’s perfect. Are you set for Czech?” asked the male Perfectionist operative.

“I am,” drawled the female operative, “Let’s go find that hotel.”

“Hostel Possonium,” he said, “It looks to be that way.”

=/=



Boris and Marisol were in his office, “I have half a mind to ravish you on my desk,” he said, nipping a little at her neck.

“Not now,” she said, a little peevishly. He looked downcast so she quickly added, “Later. I don’t like Porter. I don’t trust her. She is part Betazoid. I believe she can sense when we are doing, well, our usual.”

“Then let’s make it unusual,” he said.

“You know what I mean,” she said, “Aren’t you the least bit concerned about her telling your wife something?”

He stopped what he was doing, “I had not been thinking about that. Huh. Perhaps we should confine our activities” he sneaked in one last nip, “to the love nest on Cardassia. It will be so difficult for me to keep my hands off you, my love.”

“I’m sure you’ll manage,” she said, “Now, we are supposed to be working on her surgeries. Maybe we can disable her partial telepathy.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Of course I am joking,” She said, “I wouldn’t want to disable her.”

=/=



The female agent waited in the bar of the Hostel Possonium, “You look very nice,” The male agent said.

“Why, thank ya’ll. Now, stay away, I gotta lay out the bait,” she adjusted her miniskirt, hitching it a bit higher when she saw a pug-nosed man losing his hair.

The man approached her, “You are very … interesting,” he said.

“I am available for a date,” she said.

“I see. And this date, could it be something I could, well, perhaps I could buy you something?”

“Perhaps,” she said, “We can agree on terms later.”

He looked around, furtively. When he was satisfied that no one was looking, he said, “I have a room upstairs. And a nice bottle of whiskey.”

“Then let’s go.”

=/=


“There are four turtle-eyeball-cherry-boat combos,” Crystal murmured to herself. She was alone in her work space, but there was nothing to do beyond decrypting. “And there are four basket-handshake-crescent moon-boat combos, too. Why are there all of these goddamned boats?”

=/=



The hotel room was dingy, “So, your terms?” asked the man, grabbing roughly at the female agent.

“A moment,” she said, “Two thousand korunas.”

“That’s rather rich for my blood.”

“You don’t know what I can do.”

“I can guess,” he said, fingering her brown hair and pulling it slightly, “One thousand.”

“Fifteen hundred,” she said, “That’s my final offer.”

“Still too rich. Eleven hundred,” he said.

“I don’t think so,” she got out of his grasp and opened the door to the room. He intercepted her and shut it again quickly. But it was too late, for that was the signal.

The male agent came over, waiting just outside the door.

“Perhaps twelve hundred,” she said.

The man thought it over, “All right.”

“Have a drink with me,” she said, “You said you had a bottle.”

“Yes, I said that,” he produced it. There were no glasses, “Ladies first.”

She took a pull from it and tried not to gag, and turned away from him slightly. The male agent made a bit of a noise outside, and the john went to investigate. She seized the opportunity, and emptied a tiny vial into the bottle’s opening.

The john looked back at her. She offered him the bottle, “To our business partnership.”

“Yes,” he said. About to take a swig, she pushed him over to the bed, “Ah, and aggressive, too. My wife does not do such things.”

“First the drink,” she said. She stood next to the bed and removed her top, “You’ll see more once you’ve … swallowed.”

“Ah, I am intrigued,” he drank, and the sedative she had put in took effect almost immediately.

She put her top back on and opened the door, “Quickly!”

The male agent came in. It was a Polaroid camera, very easy to use, and the pictures came out almost immediately, “Okay, now, lie over there, uh, that way,” he snapped, “Now without the top. Yeah, that’s good.”

“Don’t be taking these pictures for your own amusement.”

“Oh, sorry, of course. Must’ve lost my head there,” he took some more snapshots, “Let’s get a few with his pants off.”

“Ugh,” she complained, but they worked together and it was fast, “Got enough?”

“I do believe so,” he dropped a bunch of the photographs onto the bed around the half-naked man, along with a letter, typed in Czech, on real paper. Translated, it said: Your wife won’t like these. There will be more of these, and they will be in the press if you vote with the Soviet hardliners like Bi─żak, Švestka, Indra, and Kapek. Vote with the reformers and you’ve got nothing to worry about.

She got dressed again and they left the man, and the hotel, and ran to a back alley. They held hands - not for affection’s sake, but to make it easier and faster for the Perfectionists’ leader to recall them once their bodies’ trichronium levels hit a certain point.

They were already gone by the time the man - a Communist Party of Czechoslovakia leadership member named Drahomír Kolder - woke up. He took one look at the pictures and his own disheveled state, and cursed the day he was born.

=/=



I know now that you're not a plaything
Not a toy or a puppet on a string
Today we passed on the street
And you just walked on by
My heart just fell to my feet
And once again I began to cry
I know now that you're not a plaything


- Alex Chilton and the Box Tops (Cry Like a Baby)



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