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Secret Assignment

Posted on Mon Jan 10th, 2022 @ 11:32pm by Captain Devin Hadenbeer & Commander Junix Qetzal

Mission: Into The Void
Location: Starfleet Headquarters
Timeline: Prior to Junix meeting Hadenbeer

Admiral Kathryn Janeway stood staring out the window of her office, a steaming cup of coffee in hand. Above, cottony clouds floated across an almost impossibly blue sky, the sun shimmering on the waters of San Francisco Bay. It looked almost too perfect and there were days, even after all these years, she could not believe she was on Earth - and not stuck seventy thousand light years away.

The office door chirped and Marcie's head perked up. The Irish Setter's tail began to wag and Janeway turned to the dog and gently said, "You stay and behave, you," before saying more loudly, "Come!"

Junix Qetzal entered. She brushed her hair out of her eyes as she crossed the room and tucked the stray locks behind her ears. "Admiral," the commander addressed, "You wanted to see me?"

"I d-you stay right there, young lady!" Janeway had snapped the latter at the Irish Setter loitering on the couch. The dog hesitated, then settled back down although its tail wagged even more.

"I am still training her," Janeway explained, "She is actually the grand-daughter of my old dog Mollie," she strode over to a small table and as she sat said, "Please join me. And please feel free to replicate whatever you'd like," she sipped her coffee, closed her eyes, and sighed blissfully...

Junix eyed the replicator. Normally, she didn't take drinks at meetings, but this one felt different and she decided to take the Admiral up on her offer. She joined Janeway, a clear mug filled with a very bright blue liquid cupped in her hands. She had requested the butterfly pea tea to be cool and she sipped at it after sitting. "The dog is pretty. Does it sleep in your bed at night?"

Janeway eyed the mug curiously but did not inquire. Glancing at the Irish Setter she replied, "Yes. I had considered not allowing her to do so, but I spoil her terribly. Don't I, Marcie?"

The dog's tail rapidly pounded the cushions in response. Smiling, Janeway turned back to the Commander and said, "The reason I called you here is your new assignment. You volunteered for Lionheart. You are the only officer to do so. Your obvious clinical insanity may make you suitable for a special job I have for you; find out what the hell is going on with her and her ship."

"'With her?' You mean the ship's captain?" Junix asked.

"Well I did not mean the dog," Janeway replied with a wry grin. She set down her cup and picked up a padd, and after a couple taps the large wall screen displayed the faces of various Starfleet officers of varying ranks and departments.

"All of these officers have served on Lionheart," Janeway explained, "None lasted longer than a year. Hadenbeer found excuses to get them off her ship, either finding more suitable posts, encouraging career advancement or making their lives miserable in some way. Statistically this should not have happened, which means it is very probable this is deliberate. I want to know why."

Janeway took a sip, "It could be psychological, which is why I am assigning a counselor to her ship and ordering Hadenbeer to submit to one hour of evaluation per week. But if it is something else, well, your job will be to find it."

"Did any of the previous officers offer an explanation for their departures?" Junix asked. She had noticed the crew turnover rate prior to requesting the position and now her curiosity was doubly peaked. This "assignment" didn't sound too complicated.

"Oh, Hadenbeer is effusive in her praise of her staff," Janeway replied with a roll of her eyes, "Her evaluation reports are full of flowery phrases regarding their brilliance, their dedication. And to be fair so far none of them have shown signs of being incapable of living up to high expectations. She seems to...find out what a person wants, and then engineers ways to make sure they get it. It is remarkable, really. I mean really, it would take considerable research into a person's background to determine these things. I cannot see how she can be running a ship, composing music and dissecting her staff's histories, unless she simply does not sleep any more. In the end everyone who leaves is almost ecstatic at their sudden fortunes regarding their career paths."

"I'm not sure I fully understand the problem." Junix gave the Admiral a perplexed look before drinking from her tea again. "Encouraging officers to be the best they can and grow is ideal, isn't it?"

"Absolutely!" Janeway said with a nod, "A superior officer who is not doing their best to elevate their subordinates is not doing their job. At the same time a good commanding officer works to form a team that works well together. And that only comes with time."

"It seems by the time Hadenbeer has such a team in place it...disintegrates. Metaphorically, that is. So while the counselor seeks an answer to the problem from one direction, I will need you to see if there is another reason why Hadenbeer does what she does. It could simply be that she does not anyone close, not after the Lionheart A. Losing literally half your crew, all your senior staff but one...It could all be as simple as she does not want to risk getting hurt again. But I can't make that assumption, Commander. I need to know."

"I'm going out on a limb right now to say that it will take some time before I can return some results, especially once she finds out what you're doing and has me tossed out an airlock." Junix set her cup down on the table. Shifting back in her chair, she asked, "Anything else you need me to investigate?"

"I am not expecting quick results, Commander. Or any results at all, for that matter. It is possible the counselor will have uncovered the mystery before you. There are no other mysteries that I am aware of...well, nothing I think you can solve. The bartender, Jones. He is a cypher. A majority of his file is redacted and in what I can only call the oddest of coincidences he winds up on every ship Hadenbeer is serving on going back to when she was a cadet. I doubt if you are going to get anything out of him, though."

Janeway stood, implying the meeting was over, "Commander I am aware of the difficult position I am placing you in. But I am confident that you will be able to exercise your judgement effectively. Good luck!"

"Thank you, sir," Junix replied and took her cup back to the replicator on her way out of the office.

Janeway returned to her view and smiled when she felt Marcie sidle up beside her. Absently she reached down and petted the dog's head and for a few moments as the Admiral wrestled with the moral implications of her decision the only sound that could be heard was a contented dog's tail slapping the carpeted floor...


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