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Once a Captain...

Posted on Wed Nov 1st, 2017 @ 6:09pm by David Hawkins & Lieutenant Commander Halan Zeti

Mission: Operation Red Garden
Location: Canteen - U.S.S. Gladiator-A
Timeline: Before Arrival

/// ON ///

It was late and David had found himself wandering the corridors trying to get himself to be tired in some way, but lately it was starting to become harder and harder to find himself willing to sleep, at least his mind. He had been struggling with things as he hadn't been able to deal with the loss of a couple of his crew members on the last mission. Quite honestly, there was no reason for it at all.

The door of the Canteen opened and he found himself in a place he felt more relaxed at than before. There was only a hand full of people and they were ignoring them as he had made it a rule that rank was left outside the doors. But the continued respect was there as people nodded at him as he walked by them, but kept to their own business with either themselves or with others. He was glad that this had been the combined agreed upon set up for the canteen as he wanted to feel as though he was a no body from time to time so he could just feel the weight of things being lefted off him for a bit. It was a never ending feeling though, even this area. But it was close enough.

A small table off to the side was his choosing as he sat and leaned back in the chair against a side wall bulk head. He ordered his usual as the waitress came around to him and smiled at him. The Orion female was a sweet young girl and was a good addition to the area, but he knew all to well the bartender and manager was responsible with setting all this up.

Aden arrived in the lounge, he wasn't sure if it was nostalgia or a desire to get a drink, but it had been a long time since he'd set foot on a Starfleet ship, and it was nice to see that as much as things had changed, they really had stayed the same. He was dressed in a white dress shirt with thing blue pin stripes, a blue and light orange lines tie, a grey vest with matching slacks and black dress shoes. After a quick survey of the lounge, he walked over to the table David was sitting at and nodded to the man.

"Good evening Captain," Aden smiled. "Mind if I join you?"

Without even thinking twice, David stood up and straightened his leather uniform top and stood respectfully as he nodded as he offered a free chair at the table. "It would be an honour, Captain."

"An honour? Boy you really didn't read up on me did you?" Aden laughed before motioning for David to sit. "Sit down, we're peers David. At best you out rank me because you're military and I'm civilian. You like whiskey? I don't mean expensive stuff either."

David smirked as he nodded to the waitress. "I wouldn't turn it down right away. And I was messing with you. Besides, ranks are stripped at the door unless the ship is on Alert."

"Can we get a bottle of Old Rip Can Winkle? It's a good bourbon and I know Sidwell keeps a few bottles of it," Aden smiled at the waitress. "And a couple of glasses."

As the waitress nodded and walked away, David started to tap his index finger on the table as he relaxed in the chair while they waited. "So, have ya gotten a chance to get Zeti's tour of the ship?"

"Of course, she practically dragged me out of the briefing so she could show me every facet of the ship," Aden chuckled softly.

"And what do you think, of her?" David asked, wandering of the man's thought of it. Not that it mattered. Gladiator-A was a modern marvel of advanced technologies of the whole United Federation and the full on might as well. It was, now, the new look for Starfleet and her new outlook. It wasn't all peace and exploration, but the will power to not back down from a threat to her very existence.

"She's big, but impressive. I think I'd keep to a smaller ship myself, I liked the Sovereign but it was nothing like being in command of a defiant class," Aden's lips curved into a grin. "Small, tough and fast. When I ran convoy protection I'd hide in the wake of the cargo ships warp signatures when running through the more dangerous areas. Nothing more satisfying then sending those bastards scattering when they realized what was waiting for them."

A chuckle escaped his lips as David nodded in agreement. "I didn't get a chance to do much with my first command of a defiant. But I do sure envy you on that. The Soveriegn was a great ship, but I felt as though it was a little to much at times. You can guess how I feel about this behemoth."

"Sometimes showing up with the biggest ship of the bunch is nice. It's intimidating to take on a ship like this and most pirate and raider crews don't understand tactics," Aden chuckled. "A few do, but that's when you use a little more unconventional tactics. I've found that outdated ones often work the best."

"Yeah..." David smirked at this as the waitress returned and sat the bottle and two glasses down between them. He did the respectful thing and started to pour the liquid into each glass. As he slid a glass over to the man, he continued on. "... I can see where you are coming from, to say the least. I got to ask, it's obvious that you love the position and calling... why did you step down from commanding in Star Fleet?"

"Honestly, they started grooming me to move up to Commodore and give me a space station," Aden made a face at that, it was clearly not what he wanted. "I'd been an XO on a Stardock class for several years, they knew I could handle it. My wife's diplomatic carrier was flourishing and she would have easily been an Ambassador in the next four or so years and it felt like a noose around my neck. It wasn't the life I wanted. I figured I'd earned my retirement, I fought the Cardassians, the Dominion, the Borg, the Breen, hell I even spent a year on a Klingon ship in the officer exchange. Klingon women are worth the bruises, if you ever have opportunity. Long story short I wanted freedom."

"Yeah. I was a commodore for a short bit, commanding my own base, and task force. But it almost to much as it took away my capability that had kept me in for so long," David admitted before taking a sip of the drink. It hit his tongue strong, almost to much from the un-initiated. It soon burned every bit down his throat and caused him to clear his throat. "Smooth..."

"It's not rot gut, but it's not the overprices expensive stuff," Aden took a drink form his glass and let out a happy sigh. "There's nothing quite like being on the bridge of a ship, even in Starfleet. I don't always get to go where I want even now, the client is king, but the work is good. I have more choices in who I help and when."

"Must be nice," David nodded wandering how it would be like to be in business for himself. But all he thought was maybe private security for himself. What else could be able to do than that? What kind of future was ahead for David except Starfleet. "You want another?"

"A lot of hard work, so I don't know that nice is the right word," Aden slide his glass forward with a silent nod. "But so is Starfleet."

"To many rules now a days along with the backstabbing in the higher ups and across the board for my taste.," Hawkins remarked as he topped off both glasses and sat the bottle down, only to replace it with the glass in his hand. "The loss of my people has taken it's toll and it's hard to blame ch'Koro for wanting to have revenge." He paused to sip and finished off. "Sorry, ch'Koro is our old engineer. He is still around on the ship, but in a civilian capacity. He is under probation under our supervision until his final hearing. Both Marcie and I were more than willing to take the discipline for protecting him and taking demotions"

"I know who he is, I'm part of the reason why he was so successful," Aden smirked at David, before taking another drink. "I'd make sure an intel cache fell in his lap when things started to go dry, left some supplied for him a time or too. Even hit a couple of COIL's strongholds. Starfleet paints such a pretty picture, but there are dark parts of the galaxy where only men like me dare to tread."

"Yeah, I was wandering who else was leaving stuff for him. There were a couple times I couldn't pull strings in time. I guess I should think you. I figured he would need some help from the star fleet side. Some how, my task force seemed to over use some supplies," the Captain smirked himself. "Still, if it wasn't for my position and override with Intel and supplies, I would have done the same damn thing."

"He was full of rage, a rage I understand. Had they done to my family what they'd done to his, I would have killed them and their families," Aden looked across the table, after taking another drink from his glass. "You did what you could for him, that's admirable. Not a good career move though. So what's next for Captain Hawkins?"

David raised an eye brow before topping both glasses again. "Don't know. I'm basically on cruise control. Maybe even try to get back up to overseeing a task force again... but it takes a lot out of ya."

"It's a lot of work and a big headache," Aden chuckled. "I might have three companies, but I put good people in place to manage them and spend most of my time just running my ship and getting myself involved in planetary politics."

"Politics," David shook his head as he slightly smirked. "I don't know if I could do such a thing. It's to much of a headache, if you ask me. Hell, I don't know what I'd be good for if I were to retire."

Aden pulled out a small isoliner chip from his vest pocket and set it on the table, before he took another drink. "If I gave the impression that I'm a simple cargo ship captain I apologize. You want to know what you'd be good for? Take a look at what's on there, don't do it on a Starfleet computer and don't do it until you're ready to retire. I can show you the righteous side of hell."

This made David ponder what exactly he meant but then again, he had to tread lightly. Even though he had his chief engineer install a dampener for the cantina, he still was concerned for who would be listening in. But still, at this point, he didn't care. "So you want an application."

Aden chuckled softly and shook his head, "No, not an application. This isn't a nine to five. There's no strings, it's simply an offer. I like former Starfleet and I've read your file, even spoke to some of your former COs. I can't buy your loyalty Captain and I have no interest in it, but if I can prove to you that I'm worth your loyalty, no one else can buy it either."

"I have a guy you may want to recruit as well. But for me, I'm still unsure wait you would use me for. What train your private security? Reconstruct a world after massive distruction?" David paused as he took a sip of his whiskey. The cheap taste was starting to grow on him. He looked at Aden and continued. "I do agree that loyalty is something you can't buy. So far, I'm still learning about you. But from what I have seen... coodoos."

"Neither of those would be a good use of your skills," Aden answered him, before he tilted his head slightly and smiled, before taking another drink. "Besides, a big part of leadership is always making yourself better and training those under you."

"The guy is Hayter. John Hayter. He is dragging to stay afloat and the only reason is I had him assigned directly under me once again. The boy is well trained, and like me in many ways" the captain explained slightly bypassing Adens comment.

"I'm not here to rescue any lost sheep," Aden said softly. "I don't know the man, have nothing against him but I have plenty of people in my employ that can take care of themselves. Just consider it when the time comes."

"He and others would go with me if that were to happen. You do understand that, right a package deal, basically. This core of people are a family, my family," David admitted as he topped off the glasses once more before sipping on his glass. "Who, knows... it maybe sooner than expected."

"That right there is why we're having this conversation Captain," Aden replied soberly. "Two things that make a captain a good captain, his crew is his family and he loves his ship like she's his girl."

"Ain't that the truth," Hawkins smirked as he sipped his liquor. "But what about you? You've got multiple ships and a company at your disposal."

"I have three companies, the first is my project management firm. It's not the biggest project management firm, but I own fifty one percent of the stock. I'm really not involved in the day to day and the CEO is a man I've known for a long time and I trust with my life. The second is a private military company that does a lot of convoy protection and picks up some work from the Federation and is run by an old Starfleet officer I served with. My last company, and the one I'm most involved with and run, is my shipping corporation and it's assets include Templar Station. Honestly I could retire tomorrow, but that would mean giving up my life of travel."

"Sounds boring," the captain smirked slightly as he thought deeply into it all before he finished off his drink. "So who would take over your company after you retire?"

"I'm about to help you bring a new planet into the Federation, and I have a wife and four children. My life is anything but boring David," Aden laughed softly.

"I stand corrected," Hawkins corrected as he surrendered with a slight hand raise with a slight smirk. "You have done well for yourself, Captain."

"I have two generations of family that have built the foundation on which I stand," Aden finished off another glass, the bottle was almost gone and he was pretty well buzzed at this point. "I have a good father and uncle."

"So you chose to go into the family business after Starfleet?"

"No place I'd rather be," Aden replied with a grin.

"Hence why I've stayed on this boat with these people. Closest thing to family I've got," David admitted as he felt his own buzz start to kick in. His head started to feel heavy and all he could do to focus was to close his eyes and take deep breaths to gather his thoughts. "I don't know about you, but I think I'll call it an evening before I need to be carried to my quarters."

"Agreed," Aden nodded to David, as he slid back and stood up from the table. "We'll talk again before I go, but it's been good getting to know you Captain."

/// OFF ///

Captain David Hawkins
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A


Aden Phyr (Played by Zeti)


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