by Satin Ragdoll
James Kirk had been in a lot of dangerous situations in his carreer. His intuition was highly attuned when it came to the signs of hostile behavior, especially when directed towards him. So when he got that familiar, scalp-tingling sense of unease when in Spaceport, he immediately started looking around.
Spock had noticed something as well, "Captain, someone nearby is projecting a substantial amount of hostility, and it appears to be directed at us."
Kirk nodded abstractedly, eyes scanning the crowd. That's when he saw her. A smaller, older, red-haired woman with her hair in a severe bun and wearing a crisp little skirt-suit was bearing down on them with an expression that looked like it could cut them to bits.
Kirk stared at her. She looked so familiar. Where had he seen that face? It was a little different last time...what was it? His eyes went wide as he recognized her. Oh, no! Stella Mudd. The real one!
She got right up in his face, "I know you, Captain James Tiberius Kirk. After countless, countless hours and days and weeks and months of searching I find mention of Harry's name and it's attatched to you! Where is he, Kirk? Where is Harry?"
Kirk held his hands up, palms out, trying to placate her. "Ma'am, I'm not authorized to tell you the location of your husband. I can tell you he's in good...hands. If you fill out the proper paperwork, I'm sure there would be no problem in your finding out."
She roared, "I tried that! Apparently, because there was an 'issue' with a starship, meaning your starship, his location has been classified! I have been around and around and have gotten nowhere!"
She pinned Spock with her eyes, "You! You're a Vulcan. You can't lie?" When he nodded, she gave him her full attention, "I know who you are, too. You are Mr. Spock, one of the most honorable people in the whole galaxy."
She took a deep breath, her determination evident, "In the name of Surak, Mr. Spock, where is my husband?"
Spock spoke calmly, "I am afraid I am under the same constraints as the Captain, Mrs. Mudd."
Stella's eyes got wide and desperate. She took another deep breath and roared at the top of her lungs, this time at the crowd, "THESE MEN ARE KEEPING ME FROM MY HUSBAND! THEY-" Spock removed his hand from her shoulder as she slumped in his arms.
Kirk mouthed, "Thank you," as they both debated to themselves what to do with her.
Stella Mudd slumped in the corner chair of one of Spaceport's offices, looking defeated. Spock was watching her, making sure she didn't do anything stupid, while Kirk commed several Admirals on her behalf.
She spoke softly in Spock's direction, "I know I haven't been the best wife, Mr. Spock. There are some who would call me a harridan, or worse. But years of being married to a drunken, philandering sot who sometimes left me worrying about his safety for weeks takes it's toll on a woman!"
She eyed him, "You don't drink, do you, Mr. Spock?"
He responded softly, "It is very rare, but I imbibe on occasion, Mrs. Mudd."
She nodded, "And I know that Vulcans are unfailingly faithful." Stella sighed, "God bless the girl that has you, Mr. Spock. She is one lucky woman."
Spock cleared his throat a little, uncomfortable, "At the current time, I am unattatched."
Stella roared with laughter, "In the name of all irony! Ha ha! Gracious, Mr. Spock, you must have to beat them all off with a logic-stick! Ha ha! Oh my!"
She quieted down, but her eyes still shone with good humor, "Run 'em all off till you find the one you know is right, Mr. Spock! Run 'em all off! Don't settle, and don't let your family boss you around. Okay?"
He regarded her, "I will remember your words."
She sighed again as Kirk came back, grinning. "I have obtained permission to tell you his location, Stella. In fact, the Enterprise is passing that way in a few days. If you wish, we can drop you by there, and you two can decide what to do from there. As long as you are with him, and able to keep him out of trouble, he can go."
Stella's eyes brightened, "I have a shuttle, but I would not mind some company. If I went with you, do you have room so I could park my shuttle in your bay?"
Kirk nodded, "I believe so, Mrs. Mudd. That should be no problem."
The bridge crew were dumbfounded. They all found themselves liking her. Stella was intelligent, had a sharp wit, and was actually very friendly.
She got Kirk in a corner, once, "These people act like I was going to bite them when they first met me. You mind telling me what exactly is going on? What did Harry do to turn them off to me like that?"
Kirk blushed a little, "That one is something you will have to take up with your husband, Mrs. Mudd."
She arched a brow at him in a gesture that looked so much like Spock that he cracked up, laughing hard.
She folded her arms, "Captain. Really."
Jim was almost on the floor. She sounded just like him! It was uncanny. The woman had talent!
Once they got to Mudd's Planet, the first thing Stella Mudd saw was...Stella Mudd. A version of herself with the fancy dress and hair bow that she used to wear when she was trying to feel "pretty".
That...chariacture...of her wrinkled up her nose, "Who are you?"
Stella drew herself up, "I am the one and only real Stella Harriett Mudd!"
The android stood stock still, her number tag (110) blinking and beeping.
Another Stella android, and yet another joined them. Soon there were dozens.
Stella faced the first one who had spoken to her, "Where... is... Harry?"
It's tag blinked some more, and then the androids parted, making a corridor.
Soon they could hear a familiar voice, "What is going on, here?" A confused Harry Mudd came into view, and Stella turned to face him.
He froze stock still, eyes wide, a deer in the headlights. One tentative, shaken word escaped his lips, "Stella?"
She smiled gently at him, "Harry. You big lug!"
A slow smile spread over his face, "Stella!" and to Kirk's surprise he rushed into her arms and buried his face in her neck, sobbing.
Stella soothed him, patting his back. "There, there, baby. There, there."
She looked around at all the androids, and took Harry's face so that he was looking at her, "Well, Harry. This is quite a nightmare you've gotten yourself into, isn't it?"
He blubbered, "You have no idea!"
She shook her head and glared at him a little, "You think I don't know what kind of shrew I can be at times? You got the worst of me in spades, here. Good grief, Harry! Wasn't I good to you at all?"
He moaned, "You were always and forever nagging, Stella! A man can take only so much!"
Stella's voice hardened a little, "Neither can a woman, Harry! You were always after something younger and cuter. How'd you think that made me feel, huh? I hated it! Plus, the doctor said you were one dead duckling if you didn't stop drinking! What was I supposed to do? You wouldn't listen."
Her voice softened again, "And I'm sorry about the frying pan incident."
Harry looked at her earnestly, "I'll try, Stella. I promise I'll really try, this time. I'll do what ever you want. Just get me out of this hell!"
Her eyes narrowed a little, "This hell is my bad side, Harry. You know you'll get a little of it, especially if you mess up. But at least it won't be in such a massive dose! I do love you, Harry. God help me, but I do. Showing it's been a little hard, that's all. Now let's get out of here!"
Harcourt bent and scooped the woman up into his arms. She turned to look at Kirk, "I'll take it from here. Don't worry, Kirk. I won't let him get into mischief...much." Jim grinned at her, and she turned her attention to Spock, "Live long and prosper, and don't let them give you any grief!"
He offered her the Vulcan salute, "Peace and long life, Stella Mudd. I have found our conversations...most interesting."
Stella smiled wryly as Harcourt carried her away.
Back in his chair, Kirk turned to Spock, "Well, Spock, you seemed to get along well with Mrs. Mudd."
Spock tilted his head, "She is a remarkable woman, and much more pleasant than her android counterparts would indicate."
Scotty cut in, "Speaking of androids, do either of ye' have inna idea what to do with all those Stella replicas?"
Kirk rubbed his chin, "I know a few penal colonies that have been having a little trouble lately, Scotty. Maybe they wouldn't mind a few more guards."
Scott grinned, "Aye! That would certainly make them behave themselves, if they didn't give the wardens a heart attack, first!"
Kirk laughed and everybody slowly went back to their posts. Stella Mudd might have been gone, but she was not soon forgotten.