|Bairn's new haircut.|
It didn't help that the first thing Bairn did was to have her hair cut short. She thought it would make her less attractive to males, but its the cutest little pixie cut you've ever seen and looks soooo good! It did nothing other than attract even more attention to her. Within seconds of her walking out, sporting her new cut, lads were buzzing around her and fussing all over her. Bairn immediately sank into her usual flirtatious way without even realising it; until she saw me shaking my head. She then dismissed her admirers rather brusquely, which caused even more of a stir, and then it got worse.
The haircut not only foiled our first experiment but also attracted the attention of Dr Morris. She's a psychology professor who has known Bairn for all four of her years at the Academy. She knew straight away that something was going on. Up until that point, we had said nothing to anyone to ensure that Bairn's results were genuine. Secrecy is essential for the study to be a success. Dr Morris's intervention meant we had to spill the beans, and it was just as well. As she pointed out, using your own colleagues as guinea pigs was a little questionable. However, it would do no harm and the study would be an interesting one, highly beneficial to Starfleet. As long as we were aware that there might be consequences on a personal level, we could continue. However, she did insist on being kept abreast of things at every stage, just to ensure it remains harmless.
We then retreated for a couple of days to regroup and allow people time to adjust to Bairn's new look before beginning afresh. In the meantime, I began the process of trying to re-educate Bairn mannerism wise; why her actions only enhanced her attraction. It seems that she is quite oblivious to what she does.
She suggested changing the colour of her hair or wearing different clothing, so I had to explain that altering her physical appearance will only attract more attention, like the haircut. Finally, she got it and we could begin to examine her comportment in more detail. From that analysis, Bairn has been relearning the most basic of things, like walking.
Yes, it sounds simple, but Bairn moves down a corridor like a Tilerian glamour model on a catwalk! She sails through the air with the grace of a swift, her hips shimmying and her eyes gazing at those around her. This, of course, attracts immense attention.
To counteract this, we have spent hours walking through the Academy and its gardens trying not to attract attention. I can't begin to tell you how long it has taken Bairn to master it. She'd manage it for ten minutes or so and then her shields would drop. She'd beam a great big smile at someone, giggle and we'd be back to square one.
Remember too, that the object of the exercise is not to be nasty to people in order to distance them from her, but to stop attracting them as a matter of course.
Finally though, we've got it. Bairn has found that by walking at a measured pace, with her eyes focused ahead of her rather than making eye contact, and her hands clasped, chatting in quiet tones, she could pass by, not unnoticed but raising much less interest.
The question arose then, was the combination of pheromone suppressants and her new manner sufficient for a male to be able to function normally around her? Were men still looking at her simply because she was visibly an Orion and thus they knew (consciously or subconsciously) that they should be attracted to her? This called for a further experiment.
Again with Dr Morris's blessing, we painted Bairn's skin in flesh coloured tones similar to my own, and then headed into town where her face is less familiar and she is less likely to be recognised.
With her new comportment and human skin tones, she was virtually ignored. Yes, men still looked at her, but only as fleetingly as they did at any pretty girl.
With that knowledge secured, we then had a new query. If Bairn reverted to her former Orion mannerisms, but kept her pink skin, how would men react?
A Human female behaving in this manner would be considered overly extrovert. So, would they look upon her that way or would they be attracted to her as though she was an Orion? The results would be interesting either way. It would determine if men were at least partially attracted to Orions simply because they thought they should be.
The surprise was that when Bairn turned her charms back on, the colour of her skin made no difference at all. She regained her usual attraction. It was incredibly interesting, and excited all three of us. Now all we had to do was work out why.
The funniest thing of all though, was when we got back to the Academy. Dr Morris and I were lagging behind, and Bairn was about fifty meters in front of us. She was hurriedly heading for our quarters, eager to have a shower and return to her normal skin colouring, when she bumped into Rutter.
He was walking towards her and as they drew level on the path, they made to pass each other, but they both moved to the same side. First to the left, then to the right and then back to the left again.
"Sorry," apologised Rutter, smiling, and he stepped off the pavement and swept his arm through the air, waving her to pass by.
She smiled briefly at him, remaining in character, thanked him and walked by. Rutter though, didn't move. He stood on the grass, watching her and smiling. It was obvious that he was quite taken with her.
"Now that is interesting," I said.
"Why's that?" asked Dr Morris, puzzlement sweeping over her face. "He's a very good looking young man and she's a pretty girl, even as a Human."
"That's Ensign Rutter."
"Oh! Yes then. That is interesting. I wonder if he will find her equally as attractive with green skin."
We looked at each other and grinned.