"Three Years To The Day"

Inside the von Meer estate, the family of four gathers for a hearty breakfast. Erika and KJ fight over the eggs and sausage as Karl Senior stirs at his bowl of oatmeal and his wife, Pauline, stabs at a red grapefruit with her over-sized spoon.

Erika: (Mouth full of eggs) Are we on for polo tomorrow, Kage?

KJ: (Grabbing a slice of toast and slathering it with butter and jam) Sure are - but I still don't understand why we can't play today?

Erika: I have some tests to do at the lab

KJ: I know you just started your job at SCU but please don't make it a habit of spending all of your time there - I just got my sister home, I'm not losing her to a bunch of eels or frat boys!

Erika: (Downing her orange juice) What's the difference between the two?

KJ: No fair - you were in a sorority

Erika: For one year... and it was 12 months too long - don't worry, little brother, you still outrank the eels... for now

KJ: Ha

Karl Sr.: (Grumbling) It would be nice if both of you started showing some interest in the family business - Douglas is grooming Griffin to take over - don't get me wrong, I like the boy, but I would prefer to have one of my own children, if not both, represent our half of Meeramar

Erika turns to KJ and they play "Rock, Paper, Scissors." KJ wins with paper over a rock.

Erika: Damn

KJ: Sorry, sis, the company belongs to you

Pauline: It would be nice if Erika finally married poor Grif and this issue would become moot

Erika: (Looking up) Oh, I'm sorry mother, are you here?

Pauline: (Scowling at her daughter) I swear, if they had a degree beyond a doctorate, you would've hid yourself away for another two years - when in the hell are you finally going to grow up and become a woman?

Erika: As soon as you stop wearing a pink mini tennis skirt

KJ: HA

Karl Sr.: Hey, now

KJ: (Stuffing his mouth with a doughnut) Sorry

Erika: Seriously, mother, how do you define the term "woman" - meaning I marry a man and reproduce, is that it?

Pauline: That's a step in the right direction!

Erika: OH, FOR GOD'S SAKE - for someone who rallied with Billie Jean King to get a professional women's tour started, you sound like you're still living in the 1890's!

Pauline: At least I'm living, I'm not traipsing around the globe to study seashells

Erika: NO, YOU TRAIPSED AROUND THE WORLD TO HIT A FUZZY BALL

Karl Sr.: Does anyone know what the weather is going to be today?

KJ: Like it is 99% of the time here in California - mostly sunny, marine layer at night

Karl Sr.: I read that KCON is looking for a new weatherman - you should audition

KJ: Dad, I just passed the bar - now is so not the time to tell me that you always wanted me to be a meteorologist!

Erika: Maybe you could've passed THAT test on the first try?

KJ: (Throwing his napkin down) SHUDDUP, RIKKA

Pauline: DO NOT TELL YOUR BROTHER TO SHUT UP AT THE TABLE

Erika: Should I tell him on the patio instead?

Karl Sr.: The old KCON weathergirl got promoted to a station in LA - I feel sorry for her - LA's not that great

Erika: Oh, by the way KJ - Dr. Sanchez's wife is a tax attorney and she heads up some pro bono legal group for the poor - I told him that you would be more than happy to help her out on occasion

KJ: WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

Erika: Because... it's good for you, it's good for me, and it's good for society - hey, I made a rhyme!

KJ: (Sighing) What's her name?

Erika: Onorita or Anna Rosa or something like that - just call the number and ask for "Mrs. Sanchez"

Pauline: Are there any white people left in this town?

Erika: No, mother, you scared them all away when you bent over in your pink mini

Karl Sr.: HA

KJ: DAD

Karl Sr.: Sorry

Pauline: (Jumping up) I think I need some antacid and it has NOTHING to do with what I just ate

Erika: (Also jumping up) I have to get to the lab

Father and son watch the two women exit the room and quietly return to their breakfast.

Karl Sr.: The Cactus finally won a game

KJ: Awesome!

Now at the SCU laboratory, Erika spends several hours doing her ordinary work while carefully conducting some covert tests. The last of her co-workers, Shelby Willis, finishes her studies and prepares to leave.

Erika: (Looking up and smiling) All set, Shel?

Shelby: Just about - I need to drop this in Sandy's box and off I go!

Erika: How's Baby Cal doing?

Shelby: No longer a baby, I finally have him potty trained

Erika: (Measuring a beaker) Excellent

Shelby: You are telling me - however, now I have to train him to put the seat down

The two chuckle.

Erika: Kage and I will be playing some polo tomorrow, you should come along

Shelby: (Considering the offer) I haven't played since my days on the island

Erika: Well then, you need to dust off your mallet and saddle up

Shelby: (Smiling) I just might take you up on that - thank you

Oblivious to it all day, Erika now notices the date stamp on her computer. Shelby observes the sudden change of expression on her face.

Shelby: What happened, did the computer crash?

Erika: (Softly) This is the 23rd?

Shelby: Yes, why?

Erika: Um... nothing

Shelby: It has to be something because you look like you were just visited by the spirit world

Erika: In a way, I was

Shelby: I beg your pardon?

Erika: (Near tears) It's the anniversary of my friend's death... three years to the day

Shelby: I am very sorry, Babygirl - you should not be here - you should be at the beach making an offering... or at least at home with your family

Erika: Thanks, Shelby, but I feel at peace here - I really do

Shelby: Alright, if you say so

Erika: (Forcing a smile) I'll see you tomorrow

Watching the woman leave, Erika goes over to a locked refrigerator under her possession and removes a test tube containing a greenish liquid. She pours part of the contents into a beaker filled with a colorless mixture and begins to write in her lab book using the ancient Pali language.

Erika's Journal:

It is only appropriate that I conduct my first serious transmogrification on this date. I administered the injection with the re-sequencing serum to myself exactly 32 days ago, allowing more than enough time for my DNA to adapt. I shall now administer a small dose of what I can only call the "fish cocktail" to my hand as the initial testing area. Submersion in a tank of saltwater will provide the necessary catalyst. I expect the change to fall into a 5-10 minute parameter.

Now finished with her writing, Erika makes sure that all windows and doors are covered and locked. She takes one final breath and plunges her left hand into a tank of sea urchins. Nothing happens.

Erika: (Swirling her hand around in the tank) DAMMIT, COME ON

Just about to give up, she starts to raise her hand out of the tank. Suddenly, a searing pain shoots through her entire body and her arm feels like it has caught on fire. Unable to deal with the anguish, she screams and flails wildly around the room, knocking over a chair. After a few moments, she is finally able to regain her composure. She looks down to see her newly changed arm.

Erika: (Gasping) OH, DEAR GOD - I NEVER EXPECTED THIS

Frightened yet fascinated with what she sees before her, the pain dies down enough and she begins to wiggle her fingers. She touches the scales with her other hand in amazement and suddenly notices the fins protruding out of her forearm.

Erika: I... I don't believe it - I did it, I actually did it!

She scurries over to her lab book and continues to write notes when a forceful knock is heard at the door.

Erika: (Hiding her hand behind her back) Yes?

Voice: Campus security, Dr. von Meer, is everything alright in there?

Erika: Just fine, thanks - there was a small accident but it's all cleaned up, nothing to worry about

Voice: Are you sure, ma'am?

Erika: Yes... thank you!

Erika waits several minutes but her hand has yet to return to its normal state.

Erika: I can't risk staying here - note to self - time to find a private lab somewhere

Folding her jacket over her arm, she carefully checks the halls and runs out of the SCU science complex. Now aboard her yacht, "The White Tara," Erika sails out to a remote part of Duquesa Bay and drops anchor. Inside the cabin is a small gold statue given to her by her deceased friend.

Erika: (Lighting several candles around it) Well, Sammy, not quite what I was expecting... heh, it's even better

Flushed and feverish, she gulps down a glass of ice water and pours the rest over her head.

Erika: (Staring at her now normal hand) This will have far-reaching effects for the medical world... for the world in general - but, right now, I need it for the Nereidium - we can play morality and ethics later

Still unable to cool down, Erika strips off the remainder of her clothes and goes above deck. Beads of sweat drip from her forehead as she quickly dives into the cold, ocean water. The sudden rush of earlier takes place once again, this time, all over her body.

Erika: (Unable to move) NO... THERE WASN'T... ENOUGH... TO DO... THIS

Erika begins to choke on the water around her as she rapidly sinks below the surface. Waves of inner turmoil rock against the outer ones crashing against her trembling form.

Erika: (Feeling her life fade) I... no... can't... Sammy... help

On the verge of blacking out, Erika notices a green sheen to her body. Suddenly, a jolt of power propels her forward. She now breaks the surface of the water with amazing speed. The dazed von Meer daughter climbs back aboard her ship, trying to comprehend the physical change that has transformed her in large patches.

Erika: (Staring at her reflection) What... what am I?

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