Damn it Feels Good To Be a Gangsta'.

A Real Gansta Type Player Plays His Cards Right.

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Alcove Shopping (Harry, TOSKirk)
Science labs, locked.

Medical labs, locked.

Botany, unlocked, but all the good stuff was in a cabinet with three card readers.

Gorram'it, a man could only pretend to be looking for the bathroom for so long before it started to be suspicious.

Aside from the pool table in Rec 4, there wasn't a single fucking thing on this ship worth stealing. He'd have to start gutting the walls to make a profit. No, wait, he hadn't found an unsecured route to the cargo-bays yet. Maybe one of the prints he'd lifted of the equipment, or that pilot kid's pool cue would do the trick.

Had to get on that, really.

Harry sighed as the door to botany shut behind him. Nothing but space-flowers. Not something he could fence worth half a damn. Cost more to transport it then he'd make.

Where else was left?

"I wonder if this ship has a lounge," he murmured to himself. Some real liquor, now that'd be worth stealing.

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The ship had a lounge. It had several. It was a big ship, with many people on it who led somewhat stressful, isolated lives and needed to relax.

Jim's life was not currently stressful, aside from unforeseen pregnancy, his busy social calendar, and the fact he tried to suppress which was that months of enforced inactivity was driving him stir crazy. Being changed into a woman meant he could masturbate with more frequency, but it wasn't like he was starved for sex and he did have other interests. Right now, he was lounging, seeking a place to be relatively alone that was not his quarters, even if everything on the ship looked more or less the same. He'd curled up with a copy of Orlando, finding that a Starfleet-issue loveseat was perfect in his new size for leaning on one arm and throwing his legs over the other. The fact that he was currently dressed in a flowing skirt should, perhaps, have given him pause, but it could have been worse.

The distinct lack of a wet-bar dashed Harry's hopes as efficiently as a wanted poster. He just barely restrained the scowl and litany of swearing that clawed at him.

Well, so much for alcohol.

Seriously, he was going to start breaking in to personal quarters if this didn't pick up.

Harry straightened his jacket and took a deep, calming breath. The girls still had work to do, they could handle this. Just a couple of days and they'd be at theoretical black. Maybe a glass of synthehol--fuck's sake, what was he thinking.

There was never an excuse for synthehol.

He needed a pick-me up, though, somethin' fierce. No security ensigns off duty, leastwise not in here. A couple in civi's, but they looked...Yeomanish.

Ah! Bingo.

Blonde, legs for days, very command-casual. Real paper book--Oh, Lord Almighty. Woolf, and an easy one too. Knights, Romance, and a dash of trans-gender, pro-women leanings.

Harry put on his best charming smile and decided to give it a go. At the very least, he could scam some prints.

"Praise God, I'm a woman," Harry interjected as he leaned his hip, half sitting on the leg-draped side of the undersized couch. "Figuratively, mind you."

Jim's lips quirked slightly as he looked over his book and took in the stranger. He recognized two things right off: that the man was attractive, in a self-assured, rugged, cocky sort of way, and that he was flirting with an attractive woman in a way he never would have with Jim himself.

This, he thought, could be very interesting.

But there was something else, some little spark of recognition that he could not place but resided deep down in his gut where all the other things he had no right to know but did lived. Didn't matter, really; he certainly didn't know the man, and it was entirely possible Jim was reminded of someone he'd known long ago.

"I'm not sure I'm of the same opinion, but it is nice to see a man embrace his feminine side," he said with a sort of straightforward coyness that implied he saw through the line, but didn't mind.

Well, she wasn't climbing over herself to get in his pants, but it was a start. She obviously wasn't that literary.

Didn't make no mind, though. Harry always had liked the long odds better.

"I am a man of many facets, m'dear sweet lady," Harry answered. Pouring it on thick never hurt the odds, leastwise if he could joke it off when she figured it out. "Though I can't imagine you've ever had contest with being so lovely."

Jim chuckled, not least because the pitch was so familiar. "Oh, I wasn't always like this," he said lightly, smiling up at him. "I have a few facets of my own. But aren't you sweet to say so."

It wasn't exactly irony, this situation occurring as he was reading this particular novel, as the choice of novel had been deliberate. But it was funny. He slid his eyes over the man, slowly, then drew his legs down and towards him, curling into a sitting position on half the couch.

"Why don't you sit down and stay awhile?"

"Well thank you most kindly," Harry answered smoothly and slid into the seat.

Wasn't she just a coy little ball of legs and smooth skin, curled up and just lookin'?

"Now, I hope you can forgive me, I'm new," he disclaimed and propped his elbows up on the sides of the couch. "But just what do you do around here, aside from reading classical literature and generally looking stunning, Miss...?"

Oh, here it was. Was he going to lie? Jim thought the game was funnier if he didn't, but he figured revealing himself as a Kirk would take a lot more explanation than the situation could bear. Who on earth was this man? Not Starfleet. There was that blend of the cockily secretive about him, a quality Jim had noted in various "personalities" across the galaxy. Sometimes they were amusing.

"Oh, nothing really," he said, eyes lowering for an instant in acknowledgment of the compliment. "Nothing nearly so exciting as you must."

Oh, so that was the way this game was going to be? Harry could do nameless--hell, he'd been planning on it, anyway. And goddam if he wanted to be Leo.

He'd let it slide.

"Well, it's true," he answered. "I git in more than my fair share of precarious situations, but this is the flagship of the Starfleet."

Harry rolled his shoulders, a casual shrug he'd perfected over years of negotiation.

"Surely a lovely lady like yourself, at the forefront of adventure and exploration, has a slew of stories far more entertaining then my lowly tales about trade tariffs and busted compressors."

Jim somewhat doubted it, at least when it came to believing that this was all the man had to contribute. Though "lowly" might be just about right. What was he even doing here? Aside from selling snake oil?

"Oh, well," Jim demurred. "There was the time I was captured and made to fight in gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of hyper-intelligent beings," he said, as if wondering if that might capture his interest. "You should have seen what they made us wear."

Harry stared.

She was having him on. Had to be.

Gladiatorial combat kidnappings? That was the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard of, and they juggled goslings on Vega.

He stared her down for a minute, maybe two. Ree-god-damned-diculous.

"Go on," Harry said, as she stared back with that sweet expression on her cute little face. As though she'd been yammering about her grandmother.

Jim, of course, looked entirely guileless and innocent. Firstly, because he was good at that. Second, because it was actually true.

"These... hmmm... well, I suppose harnesses comes closest to describing them," he continued. "You see, they derived entertainment from pitting various scantily-clad species against one another, and betting on the results." He sighed.

Harry just barely restrained his reply of: Who doesn't?

"Well, t'ain't that a mighty curious thing," he said, instead.

If she was bullshitting him, she was a master at it. ...Not that he much objected to the image of her in a tiny harness, fighting another lovely creature in exactly as little cloth.

"An just how did you make it out of such a dangerous and eccentric sitiation?"

It was mighty curious, at that. Jim opened his eyes wide, as if, yes, it was terribly dangerous and yet, here little old her was.

"I tricked them into letting all of us go," he said as if it was the most natural thing in the world. "Which is to say, I made my own wager, and won. Of course they set three other gladiators on me at once, which isn't simple at the best of times, as I'm sure you know. Especially the last--that sweet green-haired thing who took care of me when I first got there. I had some affection for her, you know," he finished wistfully.

Oh and that right there just completed the picture, dinnit?

"Of course, of course," he agreed sagely. "Must have been very tough on you, the whole ordeal."

She was so full of it, he looked downright honest by comparison. A woman after his own heart.

"Quite a scrape, glad to see you made it out unscathed."

He didn't believe Jim, which was somewhat delicious, really. He laid a hand on the man's arm, staring up into his eyes.

"That's sweet of you. And I can't tell you how many times I've been abducted because some all-powerful alien believes me to be their perfect mate."

Gorram it, why were all the prettiest ones always crazier than a Cardassian on shore leave?

Harry set his hand on hers and squeezed genially. Briefly, he weighed the crazy against the curve of her face, the legs he could make out in his periphery.

"I can imagine that'd be just rough on a person," he replied.

Jim shrugged, casually, eyes downcast in fleeting modesty.

"Oh, I can hold my own," he said. "Besides," he continued, eyes flickering back up under fanned lashes, "maybe I like it. Still, it'd be nice just to be liked for being me, you know?"

Harry nearly hissed. Damn, she knew how to work those lashes.

Either she was setting him up, or this was way too good to be true. A leggy blonde woman, who wistfully reminisces about fictious kidnappings? No dice, it was too ridiculous.

"Wouldn't it just," he agreed lightly. Maybe the next abduction will be the one that sticks.

"Would you care for a drink?" Harry motioned toward the replicator.

"I'd love one," Jim said. "You must get that all the time, though. I mean, you've got that ruggedly-masculine-yet-pretty space rogue thing working for you--how many people stop to know the real you? It must be terribly lonely."


"You do me too great a kindness." Harry shook his head, though it was working for him.

"As to the quietude out here, well sometimes it bothers me a bit," he lied.

The replicator was close, unfortunately. He rose and pulled two drinks out of it. Something innoccuous and girly for her, three fingers for him, and both just chock full of synthehol. How he smiled through it, he wasn't even mostly sure.

"But when I feel that lonesome call, m'dear sweet lady, I remember that I'm a merrily married man." He passed her the drink. "To m'job and m'beateous ship."

And his wife. But she didn't count.

Jim accepted the drink, though he wished for the other one. Actually, there was probably little difference, replicated alcohol being what it was. He raised his glass in acknowledgment.

"Oh, I am sorry to hear that," Jim cooed with faint disappointment. "You must miss her awfully. Unless," he gazed up innocently, "she's traveling with you?"

He drained his glass.

Girl might be crazy, but damned if she couldn't throw it back. Harry stared.

"Well a'course," he answered and caught himself. "I mean, yes, m'dear ship is how I conduct business. She's in a bad way, but the Captain of this fine," tin plated boiler, "ship has agreed to tow her as far as...New Vulcan? Vulcan Beta?"

Harry's mild frown was only half faked.

"I forget what we're supposed to call it now'a'days," Harry admitted. "Touchy subject, try to be as polite as I can."

"Oh!" Jim allowed the sound to have a relieved edge to it. "Oh, your ship. Yes, I know what that's like." Without any sort of artifice on his part, his tone was wistful. "You poor thing. You mean to say we just picked you up? I'm so glad we came along. I hope she isn't too damaged."

He gazed at the man, as if impressed by his sensitivity. "Of course. It's a terrible tragedy. I don't know if it's entirely settled, but I mostly hear New Vulcan."

"Oh she'll be fine," Harry assured her. "A few days in dock and a couple of parts and she'll run just as right as rain."

He paused. Shit, had he just given out truthful information? To a strange woman he didn't have on payroll? He knocked back his drink before he could say some other nitwit thing.

"Terrible tragedies are rarely ever truly settled, m'dear," he changed the subject quickly. "Particularly when they're family fueds of this sort."

This was getting very close to not-flirting, which was not as much fun. Jim did not particularly want to talk about the destruction of Vulcan with strangers; it was too close, in this context, to making it into a joke or scam of sorts.

"I am glad she's going to be better soon," he said. "But whatever will you do in the meantime?"

Was she prodding him for information?

Harry rolled his glass back and forth between his fingers. He'd have to keep an eye on this one. Damned, but he couldn't tell if she were brilliant or a complete bimbo. The universal toss-up, really.

"Well, you know, m'dear," he deflected with a good-natured smile, "I haven't a clue! Wouldn't want to git in the way of the fine internal workings of this vessel, but I can't hardly work on any personal matters while off ship."

There was a good old fashioned pair of lies. Harry was feeling better already.

"Nearest I can manage is taking care of my passengers so as not to tax the resources of you, our wonderful hosts."

Ah, he even managed a note of genial appreciation in there. Much better.

"You wouldn't happen to need a hand or two, would ya'll?"

He threw in a wink, just for good measure.

Jim had no doubt, whatsoever, that whoever this man was getting in their way was not the height of his concerns. Now, getting caught--at whatever it was his senses were telling him the man was up to--might be another matter.

"Mmm, seems I'm always in need of something," he purred. "And such nice, strong hands they are. But I didn't realize you have passengers, too. I hope they're not too terribly put out by the delay."

"Oh they're not on tight schedules. And they know that safety is paramount, after all."

Harry set his glass aside on the table next to the couch. She was flirting shamelessly, or she was an idiot. Either way, he probably wouldn't have security sic'd on him if he set his hand on hers.

"If you need any little old thing, why you just whistle." He smiled. "I'd be more than happy to oblige in any way I can."

Jim was not an idiot. He put his other hand over the larger one covering his.

"I'll keep that in mind. And really, if I can extend any sort of hospitality to you and yours, let me know. I'd hate to think you weren't taken care of while you were with us."

"So kind of you m'dear, offering to take care of little old me," Harry answered with his most charming smile.

"Let it never be said that Starfleet doesn't know how to treat the common man."

Damn, this was a bright little pick-me up. He might even get a piece...she was crazy, but she was also crazy hot. If he timed it right, he might be able to tap her right before they finished up the half-and-half.

He fished into his breast pocket with his free hand, and pulled out a generally unmarked card. It had his private, unregistered com number on it. He slid it beneath the cover of her book.

Jim couldn't see what was on the card, but he could guess, and he smiled dazzlingly with full cognizance of what it meant. He'd just been in for a little flirting, and he wasn't much given to completely nameless encounters, but the man was attractive in a certain, sort of underhand and sleezy way.

"Oh, not too common, I'll bet," he said. "But if I need to find you, what should I call you?"

Well, if there was ever a time to lay it on thick, it was now. Harry lifted her hand and kissed the back of it.

"Why, m'dear, I'd nearly forgotten," he lied. "Captain Leo Francis Walsh, at your service."

He was stuck being Leo for a while. Inevitable, but also a shame. He'd have to get a better operating name set up. This one was getting old, fast.

"And what might I call you?"

Jim froze. All except for his stomach, which suddenly wanted to heave, all the tingling warmth from the drink and the harmless flirtation exhausted in that one exhalation.

Captain Leo Francis Walsh. Alias of none other than Harcourt Fenton Mudd.

There was no way in hell that was a coincidence. It all clicked suddenly. This one was cuter--okay, that wasn't much of an accomplishment--and it had muddied the other signals Jim had been getting. Oh god. Passengers. Was it time for that already? Was the universe--all of them--so cosmically full of itself that it needed to throw Mudd at him in another dimension?

"Leo"'s opinion of Jim's sanity or truthfulness aside, he wasn't all that great a liar. He could bluff, but it required bluster. Something he'd lost already in that split-second pause. So it would be obvious that something had changed. Even if Jim fixed a smile back on his face.

"Now why does that name seem familiar?" he mused. "My friends call me Jim. Short for Jamie."

If there was one thing Harry knew on sight, it was the moment a deal went south. That flash of recognition?--Damn, he didn't think he'd tapped this one. Was she a natural brunette? Shit.--that was the end of this little encounter.

He kept a kind smile on his face, even though he didn't exactly release her hand.

"I have that kind of face, m'afraid," he answered. Jim? Jamie? No last name. Had he fleeced a relative? No, Leo Francis Walsh was a fairly new alias, even the feds didn't have it. Had that old fucker of a Captain fleeced her? He'd seemed legitimate enough when Harry had stolen his name and ident. Shit.

Last thing he needed was some other asshole's police records.

"Well, Jim, if I may call you Jim," Harry continued. Calling a leggy blonde Jim was sort of fucked up, wasn't it? If she had a penis, it would be the least she could do to warn a feller. Didn't look like she was packing, though. "It was a pleasure."

Harry Mudd was a scoundrel, a cheat, and Jim knew for a fact he was married. To someone other than a ship. If he was here, it was to no good purpose. Both on the ship and hell, even in this room.

Jim had just avoided thinking his no good purpose hadn't stopped with his legs.

But wait. There was no reason this couldn't still be fun, even if he'd blown the game himself with that moment of recognition. Jamie?

"Only if I can call you Leo," he cooed, but this time there was a knowing tone to the sweetness. "And the pleasure was all mine. I'm sure I'll be seeing you around."

Because Jim would be watching him like a hawk. He'd see if there were any outstanding warrants, but other than that, he wasn't sure he could, ethically, raise a fuss until and unless Mudd did something. Weren't there bound to be hundreds of people and situations Jim knew too much about, here? Could he interfere in all of them?

Something was up with this one. Her pulse had jumped and her hand was cooling. Hm. What did she know? Or think she knew, at any rate?

Harry cordially released her hand and rose from his seat.

"You may call me absolutely anything you like, m'dear, and I do hope I'll be seeing you." He gave her a gentlemanly sort of bow and lifted both the empty glasses. He'd lift her prints and wipe his before he recycled them.

"Do enjoy the rest of this illustrious day and the remainder of your fine novel."

And closing smile. Out.

Generously? He'd give it 1:5. If she called, he'd have to block his prints with a quick silicon dip. Didn't want her accidentally figuring him out if she was looking for that fucker Walsh.

He needed to find a botanist. Those cabinets weren't going to unlock themselves.

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