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Mister Jones, Mister Hadenbeer II

Posted on Sun Oct 8th, 2023 @ 12:17am by Lieutenant Commander Devin Hadenbeer

2,065 words; about a 10 minute read

Montgomery. The name conjured up images of the famed field marshal, of the equally famous engineer. It implied adventure and danger and romantic thoughts of action in the depths of space flitted through the mind of the newly minted ensign. True, she was an older ship, but as the Excelsior class swung into view Devin thought she had character. Excelsiors were the backbone of the Federation, after all, doing all the heavy lifting while Ambassadors hogged all the glory.

“That’s love at first sight if ever I saw it.”

“Hmmm?” Devin turned and regarding lieutenant Guzman, whose lopsided grin had probably charmed more than its fair share of women. To be fair, though, the roguish officer had been nothing but polite to her. So far.

“Not every new ensign takes advantage of see their first ship from the outside,” Guzman replied, “The Monty might be a bit long in the tooth but she’s a fine ship.”

Devin nodded absently, “Thank you for allowing me to come up with you, sir. It was worth it to see…” she smiled at the classic lines of the ‘Monty’s’ veteran hull, “…this.”

“Right well, once you get on board and pay your respects to the captain, they’ll probably stick you with someone to shadow for a bit until you get your legs under you. Expect long shifts and lots of homework, and boring routine.”

Devin turned back to the lieutenant and smiled, “I’m in space, sir. There’s nothing boring in that.”
Guzman shook his head and concentrated on the controls, “If you say so, ensign…”

* * *

Lieutenant junior grade T’rar was as Vulcan as a Vulcan could be. Grim face, taciturn, his ‘bowl’ cut pure perfection around his skull, he led Devin down the corridor to transporter room one.

“You will be shadowing the transporter chief,” he explained to Devin, “You will learn all his duties, among them the maintenance of the transporter room equipment. You out rank him but it is highly encouraged you take full advantage of his years of experience and do what he…’suggests’."

Devin nodded. Technically she would be in charge. She smiled to herself: her first 'command', as it were.

T’rar paused and regarded Devin. With a slight nod the Vulcan said, “I may call upon you for a game of chess at a later time.”

Devin hated chess. But she smiled and replied, “I’ll look forward to it!”

T’rar appeared skeptical but they resumed. Devin asked, “So, what is the chief like?”

“I do not know,” T’rar confessed, “He has only been on board ten days longer than you. As senior non-commissioned officer he is also chief of the boat.”

“So, another newbie like myself.”

“Hardly. He seems to have acclimated quite well. Oddly…it is like he has always been here. His ability to socialize is…impressive.”

The transporter doors swooshed open upon their approach. The chamber looked fairly standard, perhaps a touch outdated, like it was overdue for a refit. The chief stood at the control panel, padd in hand.

Devin froze. She stared. He looked both older and healthier than the last time she had seen him, his hair was shorter, shorn close to his scalp, and he wore a goatee. And the uniform while it fit looked so…wrong on him.

“Have you brought me fresh meet, lieutenant?” the transporter chief inquired mildly without looking up.

“This is ensign Hadenbeer, Chief Jones,” T’rar stated, “She will be shadowing you while you conduct your duties.”

“’Hadenbeer’?” ‘Chief Jones’ echoed as he looked up from the padd. He regarded Devin and smiled, “You made that name up!”

Devin took a deep breath in an effort to calm herself; this man was the last person she ever expected to ever see again! What was he doing here?! She forced a smile and replied, “It is an old Welsh name, not unlike Jones, Chief.”

T’rar spared a glance between the two. After a moment he said, “I shall leave you to your duties. Ensign,” a nod to Jones, “Chief.”

Devin waited five full seconds after the doors had swooshed shut. What did she say? Wait, what if she was wrong and this was not the same man? It had been eight years, after all. Eight years and sometimes she still thought it had been a dream.

“You cut your hair,” Jones noted, “Did you lose a bet? Because I can’t imagine any human being willingly choosing to sport a bob.”

Devin felt a smile tug at her lips, “You have more color in your cheeks. It suits you.”

Jones outright grinned, “Hah! Yes, well, an extra liter of blood will do that,” he looked her up and down, “So, ensign Hadenbe-ooof!”

Devin could not help but hug Jones hard and fast about the waist. Jones responded with a breathless chuckle and said, “Here now! If someone comes through that door they’ll liable to think something untoward is afoot!”

Devin reluctantly let the man go. As she unconsciously adjusted a non-existent wrinkle in her uniform she gave a reluctant nod and strove to maintain the air of professional calm befitting a Starfleet officer, “It is good to see you again, Mister Jones.”

“And you,” Jones replied as he stepped back to the transporter control.

“So,” Devin looked about the room once more, “Are you on a job?”

“This is my job.”

“No, I mean, are you here to ferret out some deep cover agent?”

“No, I mean this,” Jones waved at the console, “is my job. Transporter chief.”

Devin stared, “…You are kidding. You went from…from secret agent-“

“I prefer the term ‘operative’; it sounds so much more romantic in its ambiguity.”

“-to,” she nodded at the console, an incredulous expression on her face, “this?”

Jones shrugged, he smiled wryly, “Well, I looked in to the position of captain but unfortunately it was taken,” the smile faded, “I was offered other duties after that mess on Luna but nothing really appealed to me. Sitting behind the desk as an analyst, or an instructor, or a recruiter,” he shuddered theatrically, ”So it was either face early retirement or a change in careers. In this universe the one true commodity of value are favors; I called in a few owed me and, well, here I am, new identity and all. S. V. Jones, former merchant marine, later joined Starfleet. Assigned to various remote outposts and the like, all close friends and shipmates having happened to have died in various conflicts and ship disasters.”

“S V?” Devin echoed.

He winked, “No one knows what they stand for; it adds an air of mystique to my character.”

“Yes, you are certainly a character, Mister Jones. And…we just happen to be on the same ship, you and I?”

Jones had the good grace to look abashed, “Ah…well…at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I felt I owed you a great deal for saving my life. And for doing the right thing and keeping quiet all these years, regardless of how difficult it must have been. You had a grand adventure that should have ended in accolades, and keeping mum about it, not telling your parents or friends, it must have been…difficult.”

Devin rolled her eyes, “You have no idea! There were nights I would lie in bed and wonder if it really happened. And then I would look for my favorite shirt, then remembered it had been recycled in a replicator on the moon,” she smiled slightly, “And I would wonder how you were.”

“Yes, well, I did not have to wonder how you were, ensign Hadenbeer. I have followed your progress at the Academy and you have done pretty well for yourself. But now here you are and your career will be fraught with pitfalls. Speaking as one with considerable experience in and out of Starfleet, I can aid you in avoiding some of them, as well as give you sage advice, if you are willing to heed it. And eliminate rivals, if necessary.”

Devin frowned slightly, it was not easy to tell when this man was joking, “I…do not think that last part will be necessary, Mister Jones.”

He grinned and winked, “Don’t be too sure. Trust me; we play our cards right-“

“’We’?”

“-and you will have your own ship by the time you are thirty! And the first thing we are going to do…”
He reached under the console and withdrew a small case. Opening it, he revealed hair trimmers and tubes containing what she could only assume might be various mousses and gels.

“…is destroy that bob!”

"You are a barber as well."

"I prefer 'hair stylist'," Jones tapped his comm badge as he nodded at the door, “Bridge, this is transporter room one. We will need to shut down for half an hour for a maintenance check. Ensign Hadenbeer wants to get her hands dirty,” to Devin he mouthed the words ‘Lock it!’.

Right, Devin thought, shaking her head and she turned and made for the door to make sure they weren’t disturbed. Her own ship by thirty. That would be the day…

TWELVE YEARS LATER…

“When I said you would have your own ship by thirty, I confess I was being a tad hyperbolic.”

Commander Devin Hadenbeer stood at the window with Jones alongside her, watching the repair crews swarm all across Lionheart’s savaged hull. The Saber class had seen terrible action, and had lost two thirds of her crew, including her senior staff. She would have a bunch of odds and ends assigned to her, people heading home for reassignment, Lionheart herself destined for decommissioning once they reached Earth. Not exactly an auspicious first command…

But for the next two weeks Lionheart was her ship. Hers.

“I hadn’t thought you had engineered a war for my benefit,” she noted dryly as she glanced at his reflection.

Jones smiled slightly, “Not this war, no,” the smile faded, “This terrible, horrible war. It makes the Cardassian conflict look like a mere skirmish. But you know, we would have been far worse off had the Borg not attacked us earlier.”

Devin nodded. Starfleet had already been gearing up ship production before the war began, and had been stepping up research and development in new weapon systems. Sadly they weren’t going to have a fleet of Sovereigns handy to take down the Dominion any time soon; they would have to make due with what they had.

“Have you seen the manifest?” he inquired as he handed her a padd.

“Not yet,” she replied as she accessed the files, “I trust your name is on it?”

“Of course.”

“Of course. One of these days you are going to run out of favors, Jones.”

“When that happens I will retire and open a pub.”

“I would like you to do so while you are ‘young’ enough to enjoy it.”

“Why retire when I am still in my prime?” the octogenarian replied with a smile in his voice, “There is some actual talent in there. This trip might be nothing in the grand scheme of things, but you might find some people worth knowing. The counselor especially sounds interesting,” he held up a hand to forestall her objection as she glanced up from the padd, “I am not asking you to talk to her, Sir. Not about your, well…” he grew silent a moment and Devin was well aware of what was unspoken between them, about the loss of her child. He took a breath and pressed on, “But a former criminal investigator turned counselor? Perhaps she has a few ghosts of her own that need exorcising.”

“Perhaps,” Devin replied after a moment. She started down the corridor and motioned for Jones to follow.

“You could always use another friend,” Jones noted, “Goodness knows you don’t have many.”

“Now why would I need another friend, Mister Jones,” Devin inquired as they reached the airlock that would lead them to her first command. She turned and regarded him with ill-disguised affection, “I have you.”

Still, she thought as the airlock cycled open and Jones did his best to hide his discomfiture, the counselor did sound like an interesting person. Perhaps it would be nice to have a quiet drink with this Marta Wallan…

 

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