When Assistant Professor of Biology, Trent Schmitt is discovered having an affair with Jennie Schein, the wife of a donor who has pledged five hundred million dollars to Haney University, Schmitt is presented with an ultimatum: find a research program that will have scientific value and bring academic distinction, or be dismissed by the university.

Schmitt embarks on an high profile program to find a cure for a cat-borne disease that affects two billion people worldwide and animals on all continents except Antarctica. His enemies, however, claim that Schmitt is an emotionally unstable womanizer who is using an odd quirk of the disease organism to create the ideal woman that he has long sought.

The organism, Toxoplasma gondii, moves from cat to cat by infecting rats and
modifying their brains such that the rats no longer fear cats, but instead, are attracted to them. Cats get an easy meal and the organism gets a new cat home.

People contract the organism from cat feces or undercooked meat, and normally experience no disease symptoms. Infected women, however, do display subtle changes in social behavior—they become more outgoing, more friendly, more attractive to men and perhaps slightly more promiscuous.

Schmitt’s academic rival, Professor Gerhard Moncovich, claims that Schmitt had found his ideal woman in Mrs. Schein, but became distraught to the point of contemplating suicide, when she ended their affair. Out of desperation Schmitt concocted a nefarious scheme, Moncovich claims, to create millions of desirable women as potential replacements for his lost love. In a public hearing, Moncovich accuses Schmitt of deliberately dispersing infected cats across three continents.


The Story

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