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Title: The Red Shirt Job
Author: jedibuttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not
Rating: T
Prompt/Prompter: [personal profile] edenfalling, who asked for: "The Leverage crew are hired to do something about corruption in Starfleet after the events of Star Trek Into Darkness."
Spoilers: General for Leverage; Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Notes: Incidentally, where was Carol Marcus in Star Trek: Beyond, anyway?

Summary: "Seriously. How does this not bother you," Alec said, staring at the mirror as he tugged the hem of his primary-colored overtunic into place. 1100 words.

"Seriously. How does this not bother you," Alec said, staring at the mirror as he tugged the hem of his primary-colored overtunic into place.

"This what. Putting on a Starfleet uniform?" Eliot shrugged nonchalantly as he finished tying his hair back into a regulation-approved style. "It wasn't the uniform that made me leave the first time, Hardison."

"Not the uniform, exactly. The color," Alec clarified, wrinkling his nose at the image they made. Not that he didn't, you know. Make it look good. But seriously? He'd heard the rumors.

"What, red?" Eliot made a scoffing sound, shooting a side-eyed glance at him. "Hate to break it to you, but red's the color of both Engineering and Security. You might be able to argue for blue, but they're not assigning scientists to take the place apart, so I don't know where you think it would get you."

"So the fact that more people are supposed to die in this color than any other means nothing to you?" Alec tsk'ed. "You might be able to out-punch a Gorn, but some of us are a little more fragile, Eliot."

"That's an urban legend, man," the other man growled, shaking his head. "Maybe if we were only talking about starship away teams, because security's more heavily represented just by the nature of the job, but after what happened to Home Fleet a few years back, and all the staffers that didn't make it to a transporter in time when the Vengeance plowed up out of the Bay...."

"All right, all right, don't get all pedantic on me. I'm just sayin'." Hardison smoothed a hand over the front of the tunic one more time, then picked up the PADD he'd preloaded with every subroutine he thought might come in handy aboard a rogue 'Fleet station whose schematics and capabilities had either been deliberately deleted or never recorded to begin with. "I lurk on a lot of 'Fleet boards, and it ain't gold or blue or formal gray they're talking about when they joke about Murphy playing favorites."

"Yeah, well, it ain't Murphy you ought to be worrying about," Eliot replied, then finished his own primping and tapped the closed-circuit communicator in his ear. "Parker, we're ready. You get that datacard where it needed to go?"

Their third was lurking somewhere in the new Starfleet HQ; 'Fleet had the only transporters high-powered enough to both reach Starbase One, where they'd added themselves to the roster of a shuttle full of engineers, weapons techs, and security officers being sent to 'sanitize' the facility orbiting the Jovian moon Io, and run site-to-site interlocks at the same time. Which was handy, because while Alec's forged IDs might be good enough for them to pass as nobody officers temporarily, the less evidence they physically left behind in a place where there might be a chance of someone recognizing one of them, the better.

He could hack any Federation computer system in existence; hacking sentients themselves, now, that was something he left up to Sophie. And she and Nate were running a con involving several backwater planetary governors already.

Someone was going to have to agree to take responsibility for a whole lot of out-of-time supermen, after all. Dr. Marcus had come to them because the survivors of Command had decided Starfleet's battered image couldn't stand the added weight of her father's treason. Instead, they'd leaned on secrecy oaths to silence the officers who knew better-- mostly those aboard Enterprise, who reading between the lines maybe had other reasons to not want a lot of scrutiny-- and blamed the whole thing on lone terrorist, John Harrison. But that had left the dregs of Section 31 to carry on without more than a slap on the wrist's worth of oversight or accountability... and the rest of the passengers of the Botany Bay illegally imprisoned in cold storage, like a time bomb just waiting to be set off. Dr. Marcus had thought it worth losing her commission to get the truth out there, and force Starfleet to take responsibility for rebuilding and reparations. But that would leave Khan's people with nowhere to go, on an Earth hostile to them after what Khan had done. Not an optimal outcome.

"Pfff, like it was difficult," Parker replied, brightly. "Sending the message to call the technician out of the room... now."

"Great." Now when he sent the signal, the transporter would activate while no eyes were on the controls, and the evidence would erase itself by the time they rematerialized in orbit. Even the datacard would disintegrate after the transport completed, courtesy of a little nanotech enhancement. He shifted to stand right next to Eliot, about as far apart as the pads on a modern transporter, and straightened his back. "On your mark."

"He's putting the controls in sleep mode... and he's clear! It'll be at least sixty seconds before he gets back."

"Do I even want to know where you're watchin' this from? Never mind." Eliot shook his head, then did... something, and his resting murderface suddenly smoothed out into total blandness.

Which, to be honest, Alec found more disturbing than the other. It was damn effective, especially on cons like this one where they didn't have Sophie along to do the grifting, but the fact that he'd needed to learn how to iron all the personality out of himself at some point was as wrong to Alec as Parker's reflexive instinct to stab anyone flirting with her. But then again, Alec Hardison had never been the type to fall in any line; part of the reason he'd ended up a genius-level repeat offender to begin with, flailing around without purpose. Nate and his crusade against abuses of power had given all of them a much-needed balance.

Which had brought him here, about to go snoop for evidence against a Starfleet admiral on a secret space station. Real age of the geek material... even if he did have to wear a damn red shirt to do it.

"Catch you on the flip side, Parker. Good luck with the rest of your part."

"You too! And no extra-atmospheric jumps while you're out there! I'll never forgive you guys if you go space-diving without me."

That cracked Eliot's professional mask; he wrinkled his nose and responded in a very dry tone. "No chance of that, Parker, don't worry. Now hit the button, Hardison."

"Gotcha." Alec grinned, then flipped open his standard communicator, pre-set to a very particular frequency, and opened the channel.

Seconds later, the interlocks gripped down, and their world dissolved into swirls of incandescent light.


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