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The Deal

Posted on Wed Oct 4th, 2023 @ 11:54am by Lieutenant Commander Devin Hadenbeer

956 words; about a 5 minute read

ONE YEAR AGO

Admiral Katheryn Janeway was seated on the edge of her desk when Devin was marched into her office. The woman’s face was unreadable. Devin glanced about the office.

“No dog?” she noted.

Janeway was silent.

“You redecorated.”

More silence.

“Are you waiting for the guards to leave before telling me how disappointed you are in me, Katheryn?”

“It’s Admiral-“

Devin smiled, “Got you.”

Janeway’s eyes narrowed. She murmured, “Leave us,” after the guards departed she began, “Do you-“

“How is my family?”

“You-“

“What became of Elle?”

“Dev-“

“Oh, and Marta, my cat? And Jones? My piano! Where-“

“Hadenbeer, I swear if you do not shut up I will shoot you.”

Devin cocked her head, “Will the phaser be set on stun or kill?”

Janeway hesitated. Then quite against her will she laughed. Shaking her head ruefully, she picked up a padd off her desk, “Your family is fine,” another padd, “Your niece has the cat,” another padd, “Mister Jones is running a pub in Wales,” another padd, “And Elle…is living on a Ferengi cruiser that has been converted into a passenger ship. It has collected quite an interesting collection of live-in bohemians, it seems. Musicians, actors, artists. She has your piano.”

“That was my plan!” Devin exclaimed, “My plan! Get her out of Lionheart and into that ship! But would she listen? Noooooo! That…” Devin sighed and looked away, spotted the wet bar, “Is that scotch? Real scotch? May I?”

“By all means,” Janeway replied. She watched as Devin strode over to the wet bar and poured herself a liberal drink, “Where have you been, Devin? You don’t look much older than the last time I saw you?”

“I have been gone about…a year, give or take,” Devin replied. She sipped the scotch and sighed: it was lovely, “I will cover every detail in my debrief; I will leave out nothing. May I sit down?”

“Of course.”

Devin stepped over to the couch and sank onto it. She looked down at her hand, saw it trembling. She had almost spilled some of the scotch and with an effort set the glass on the table before her.

“Are you all right?” Janeway asked gently. Devin glanced up. The Admiral’s features had softened, “I can call your niece on your behalf.”

“And tell her what? Aunt Devin’s back from the dead? After they all mourned, here I am, back again? I wanted so badly to come home, but not like this.”

She rubbed her face, felt wetness. Tears. Gods, she did not think she had it in her to cry any more.

“Just telling them I am back will hurt them. There will be joy, followed by the inevitable dread of wondering when I will go away again. Perhaps it would just be better if you put me a hole and keep my return a secret.”

Janeway hesitated, then stood and strode over to the couch. She sat next to Devin.

“You going to finish that?’ she inquired. When Devin shook her head Janeway lifted the glass and took a sip, “I suppose I should thank you for not telling me about Elle. I assumed you were concerned I would not go along with your mad plan to protect her,” another sip, “Depending on the day I might have,” at Devin’s surprised expression she smiled, “I respect loyalty, Devin. I think my record shows that. I don’t approve of what you did, but I understand it.”

She finished the scotch, “But…you did violate Starfleet regulations, you stole a ship, and you all but kidnapped your crew. All of which would land you in the brig and a subsequent dishonorable discharge. You were tried in abstentia, found guilty. I plead for clemency.”

“Thank you,” Devin was surprised at how sincere she sounded.

“Well, your niece was in attendance, she kept making these sad eyes at me…”

Devin was surprised at the chuckle that escaped her throat. Shaking her head, she asked, “What was the sentence?”

Janeway shrugged, “Twenty years, dishonorable discharge, “ Devin winced, Janeway continued, “Well, that was then. This is now. I might be able to cut a deal with you.”

Devin’s eyes narrowed, “What sort of deal?”

“What sort of deal, ‘Admiral’.”

“May I have another d-“

“No.”

Devin grimaced, but kept her mouth shut.

“Sticking you in a hole for twenty years is a waste of talent. If you agreed to spend a year or so incarcerated where you could both be debriefed on your adventures, and give yourself time to acclimate yourself regarding the technological advances of the modern age, then I might be able to convince the Admiralty to allow you to serve out your career in Starfleet for the remaining nineteen years of your sentence. We would be feeding, housing and clothing you; might as well get some work out of you as well.”

“It…is a generous offer, Admiral.”

“Of that I am well aware.”

“Thank you, Admiral.”

“You are welcome…lieutenant Commander,” Janeway smiled at Devin’s grimace then the admiral stood and winced, she rubbed the small of her back, “Guards will escort you to a holding facility. You have the option of receiving visitors and communicating with your friends and family and I hope you do. Self-pity is a waste of time; I think we both know that.”

Devin stood, “I understand, sir. So…no chance whatsoever of regaining the captain’s chair?”

Janeway shook her head, “No chance in hell, Devin.”

The guards arrived and Devin gave Admiral Janeway a final, respectful nod before being escorted to her new home.

Never say never, Devin thought as the smile returned to her face…

 

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