Chapter Ten

STARDATE 225312.10

San Francisco, California

Port of San Francisco Bar

The place is packed, wall to wall, corner to corner. The flashing lights flicker and beam in pulsing variations hitting the black walls, the glass tables, the bottle of liquors behind the bar, and the cups in the hands of the patrons.

Amongst the sea of faces (both alien and human), a tall and pale man outfitted in the standard black Starfleet uniform with the insignia rank of commander, strides towards the back of the bar with a purpose.

There are cages hanging from the ceiling with masked and costumed figures on the inside, grinding against the bars and showing off their flexibility. The Commander avoids the mindless people sporting glow-in-the-dark jewelry and waving around their glow sticks as they stumble about pathetically, lost in the haze of their ignorance.

The Commander surpasses the DJ booth in the far corner, beside the curtained VIP tables and stares at the largely bald and muscled man guarding the table shrouded behind purple drapes. Curtly, he says, "I'm expected."

"Sure you are, sweetheart," the guard sneers.

"Andrew, play nice," a soft and sultry voice from behind the curtain, says. "He is my guest, let him through."

The guard grits his teeth before he steps out of the way and makes a sharp gesture with his bulbous chin.

The Commander steps through as a shorthaired, attractive brunette in a leather skirt and a leopard pink shirt stands and clacks over to him in her high heels. "Mr. Herring, I presume?"

The Commander quirks an eyebrow and stares down blankly at the manicured hand she extends to him. "John Harrison," he corrects curtly before he surpersedes her and seats himself on one side of the booth table. "You are Mawly Mawne."

"I prefer Maw-Maw," she corrects before striding over and seating herself opposite from him. She pulls out a cigarette and lights it with the use of a silver lighter. She takes a greedy inhale, snapping her lighter shut as her red lipstick smudges against the filter. "Well, Mr. Harrison—I must say that I am always interested in learning why someone of your caliber would pull upon my services. What would your bosses at Starfleet say I wonder?"

"The man I work for is a single-minded ape. I know exactly what he thinks, and as long as I continue to provide him with my particular expertise, he could care less what I do in my spare time," Harrison coldly explains. "But as it were, the information I need cannot be traced back to me. My thumb mark is uniquely noticeable—more so in my line of profession. I don't need anyone asking questions about certain aspects of my research."

Maw-Maw smirks around a cloud of smoke. "Which is why you hired me."

"Which is why I hired you," Harrison confirms with an echo. He places a pale hand on the table and taps the surface.

"Slow down, sugar," Maw-Maw chuckles as she crosses her legs and unbuttons her leopard pink blouse until her cleavage can be seen. She holds his gaze as she uses her free hand to dip her fingers between her tan breasts, extracting the chip attached to the end of the thin chain around her neck. "I need to make sure that you compensate me first before I hand over the file." She yanks the necklaces off before dropping it to the table.

Harrison's face remains blank as he reaches forward and drags the chip to him. From the inner pockets of his leather trench, he extracts a slim PADD and presses the chip to it. A green beam of light scans back and forth across the screen of the PADD before it draws in around the chip, illuminating it with an ethereal blue for several minutes before it dies altogether. Harrison tosses the chip back and says, "I believe you'll find it all there."

Maw-Maw grinds the tip of her cigarette on the surface of the table before she reaches under her and extracts a manila file from a pink handbag. She slaps it down and slides it over to him.

Harrison places a palm over it. "And this is it?"

"Everything you wanted to know in a nutshell. Not an easy find either," Maw-Maw reports as she clicks her manicured fingernails against the surface of the table. "Someone deferred her information and it took me awhile to realize that all the shit information I was digging up was tabloid fodder—meaning that little miss peach is deliberately filed under a different name. Part of the Federation's shitty witness protection program. Apparently she testified against someone big when she was fourteen and so from then on all of her real legal documentation such as birth records, health records, academic records, so on and so forth, is archived under the penname Erin Marilyn. Everything else that can be considered public knowledge or someone who's stalking her and means to do her harm will be mislead by what they find archived under James Tiberius Kirk."

Harrison stares blankly at her. "I thank you for your efforts," he says before he rises to his feet and tucks the file under his arm.

Maw-Maw stands as well with a smirk. "I thank you for your services. Let's do it again sometime."

Harrison says nothing. He turns and strides out.

Maw-Maw's smirks drop as she glares at his back. She steps up to Andrew. "I don't trust people like him."

Andrew steps inside with a snort. "Pale assholes?" he asks as he kisses his way down her neck.

Maw-Maw shoves him away and turns back to the table. "People I can't get a read on." She grabs the chip off the table and her PADD. "If he didn't pay me my dues, I give you permission to hunt him down and cut open his throat."

Andrew falls back into the booth with a smirk as he slides a hand into the front of his pants and wiggles his hips with a content sigh.

Maw-Maw presses the chip to the screen of her PADD and it sizzles with a blaring red before she's lost in a vacuum of flames.

The building shudders with the minor explosion and the windows bursts open with a shower of glass and fire, causing the people on the streets to duck and scream in fright.

Harrison, who is standing across the street, smirks before he spins on his heel and heads back to Starfleet headquarters. Along the way he opens the file and looks at the picture paper-clipped to the very top corner of the paperwork. He tugs it free and holds it up, studying it with calculating eyes. The plans that come to mind swirl in a symphony equations and timing.

(picture of scene above can be found in my livejournal in the same chapter at the end)