Alternate Choices
By H.W.

Chapter 13

"But there is one problem with that," Annika said.

Janeway looked up to Annika who was leaning casually against the wall while the senior staff set around a table they always used for their daily meetings. Even though Janeway had accepted that Annika was the one calling the shots for now, she still figured herself the Captain of the Voyager crew. Things had gone a little smoother now that the Intendant had appointed B'Elanna the assistant of Annika and the Klingon was playing the role of go-between for Annika and the senior staff, "Excuse me?"

"I said there is a problem with your plan," Annika repeated.

"What plan?"

"Oh, come now, you surely don't expect me not to have picked up on the plan that you are trying to make. Every slave has some sort of plan to escape. Normally they are never used, but planning ones escape is the only hobby a slave can have. You really think I would not notice what you are planning?"

"Annika, why don't you sit down and tell us what the problem is," B'Elanna offered.

"Lieutenant..." Janeway said warningly.

"Captain, if we truly want to get away from here, we will need her help. We can't even walk up to those guards without being killed. Annika can. And Annika can request certain things we might need. We really need her input, Captain."

"And what makes you think we can trust her?" Chakotay asked. He had wanted to ask Annika to join them himself, but he still had to bring up the subject of being able to thrust her in front of the senior staff.

Annika herself answered that while she set down between B'Elanna and Tom in the chair Harry had vacated for her, "You really don't have any other choice. You will never escape without me."

"But," Janeway said softly, "Telling you our plans would only put you in a position where you could sell us out to the guards, with our actions proving you right."

Annika shook her head when hearing Janeway's reasoning, "You really still don't get it, do you?"

"Then why don't you enlighten us about what I don't get?"

"I don't need any proof. This isn't the nice orderly Federation you all love so much. This isn't a place of 'innocent until proven guilty.' I could go out to those guard right now, tell them that you are planning some kind of escape or uprising, and every single one of you that I would point my finger at would be killed.

"As a mater of fact, I could kill you myself and nothing would be done about it. They would simply think that I as master slave would have had some reason for it. Here evidence is as important as a day off used to be to you. It's nice if you have it, but if you don't have it then the universe certainly isn't going to end."

"Ok," Janeway agreed since she could see Annika's point, "So the next question is: why would we think that you would actually help us while you keep working against us from day one."

"I'm not working against you all as a group; I'm working against you, Janeway. You are the one trying to undermine my authority, you are the one giving them orders; orders I than have to counteract because you didn't talk it through with me and it basically is a stupid thing to do."

"Why would we think you want to help us?" Janeway repeated to keep the pressure on that question.

"Do you really think I enjoy being a slave? Do you think I like living a life where my most valued position is the fact that I'm allowed to use my last name? Where the fact that I have that 'right' sets me apart from about ten thousand other people? Do you really think I like that?"

"Then why didn't you ever do something about it?" Tom now asked.

"Like what? Kill a Klingon and then be tortured to death? Try to escape and be killed? Or actually succeed in trying to escape only to than have to live a life even worse than that of a slave? Until now there has been nothing I could do, save dieing."

"Which brings us back to the question, why now?" Janeway asked.

"Because now, I would have a place to live; Voyager. Now there is a chance for a better life for me."

"But you do realize that on Voyager I would be Captain?"

"And you think I would have a problem with that?" Annika countered, "You really don't understand me at all, do you? Don't you get it? All the things I'm doing here, all the decisions of you I counteract, all of that is to keep you all alive. You are not in your universe anymore. There are other rules here. Finally try to understand this. We slaves are worth noting here. We are nothing more than work animals; no we are actually less than work animals. Let me tell you something about my last position before I was appointed here.

"We were mining on some ice planet of which I don't even know its name. One day the heating broke down in the stables of the pack animals. You know what they did? They put the slaves in those stables, and the animals where we used to be. It took them forty-five days to get a team in to replace the heating units. For forty-five days more than two hundred slaves froze to death each night. I lost many a friend in those days. And you know what I heard one of the masters say when we were put back in out quarters? They were complaining that six animas had hurt themselves in the cramped slave quarters. Oh and how now they had to go to the trouble of ordering an extra load of slaves.

"This is how much we are worth here. If we get away from here I will be more than happy to listen to you. Heck, I will even call you Captain then if you prefer that. But finally try to understand that right here, right now, I'm in charge, and I'm making sure that you all don't get killed. Because unlike you, I do know what can get you killed here."

It was quiet for a few moments before Janeway, having made a decision, spoke up again, "Why do you think the plan won't work?"

Annika recognized a ceasefire when she heard one and accepted the offer, "As I'm sure you all know by now, the humans once used to rule over all of Coalition space. Their downfall was that they relied too much on their slaves. The Coalition has not made the same mistake. Oh, they still use slaves, as you have found out. But they have an abundance of safeguards in place.

"For instance, if slaves are on a coalition ship, they are only there as servants and so that the masters don't have to do the work. But the point is that the masters can do the work if needed. They know how to do everything on their ships, down to scrubbing the plasma conduits. They are all trained in certain jobs just like you all are.

"There are engineers, scientists, doctors, whatever. There are always enough masters on a ship to run it by themselves. It would be only a little more then a skeleton crew in numbers, but that still would be enough to run the ship."

"So you are saying that they would see that we are trying to trick them?" B'Elanna clarified.

"Exactly. They would see that the repairs are further than we would tell them they are. There is a slight advantage we would have from the fact that they don't know the technology of your ship. But we can only fool them to a certain degree.

"If you tell them something is broken and needs to be replaced, they will probably believe it. But if you were to tell them that the particle flux is still unstable, they are capable of taking the scanner out of your hands and have a look. Even though they won't know exactly what the readings must be, they can still see if the scan produced an irregular scanning line which you would get if the particle flux is unstable, or if there is a stable line and therefore you are lying to the master. Believe me, if they find you lying, you will be killed on the spot."

Janeway could see that under those circumstances their idea of fooling the Klingons would not work. In the Delta Quadrant they had come across several races that used salves, and it was always the same. In time the races that had the slaves forgot how to do the work the slaves were doing, "That is not what we are used to from our contact with slave holding races in the Delta Quadrant. What do you suggest instead?"

"Make things up. Things they can check if they want to. Like... Well, for instance, come up with the idea that all wiring from the bridge to engineering has to be replaced."

"That's a massive job, and it would mean that we first would have to pull all the wiring out, and that would truly leave Voyager in a state that we can't use her," B'Elanna objected.

Annika shook her head in disagreement, "Not if you do it right. The Klingons don't know how you normally repair things. Simply leave the old cables attached in engineering and switch the machines off. Then start with the new cables on the bridge. If the Klingons than ask you why you don't first get the old cables out all the way to engineering, you simply tell them that this is always done on your ship like that because some places are hard to get at. And this way you only have to get to those places once to get the old cables out and immediately put the new cables in, tell them it's more efficient and quicker this way. I have seen enough of such places on the ship to make that a believable reason."

"And then," B'Elanna continued, seeing what Annika meant, "It will look like there is still a lot of work to be done, after all, half of the ship lies open with cables hanging out, clear for everybody to see. But if we want to get away, we still can. Connecting the old cables to the new ones at what ever place we happen to be with replacing, and switching on the machines in Engineering, all of that can be done in our normal workday. And then just before we would normally leave Voyager again to come back here, before the Klingons would check our work, we suddenly get out of there."

Janeway nodded her head in agreement," Alright, that sounds like a plan. That then only leaves us with getting our hands on some Delitium, ideas anyone?"

As answer there was a heavy silence around the table.

"I really don't know how to answer that one," Annika said, "But I can tell you that it won't be easy. As a matter of fact it will be pretty hard: the one problem that can mess it all up."

B'Elanna grinned and nudged Annika with her elbow, "Ok, we are all in suspense now, what's the big problem?"

"I had a look at your engines and I don't think that they can handle the Delitium the Klingons use without refining the Delitium first."

"We can do that without a problem, but it will take a couple of days," B'Elanna said so that the others saw what the problem was.

Janeway certainly understood, "We don't have that time. Once we get our hands on the Delitium we have to get out right away."

B'Elanna could only agree, "Right. But it would be nice if we could get some of the Klingon Delitium. I could work on it once we are away. Given the place where we are, I think that some extra Delitium would be very nice."

"True," Chakotay agreed. "But to get away we need Voyager's Delitium. I sure hope that they didn't use it for something else."

Annika shook her head no, "I don't think they would. They will have the same problem that we have. They can't use it without refining it for their own use. But since they have more than enough Delitium themselves they won't bother with refining Voyager's. But they might simply have gotten rid of it since they can't use it."

"I have a feeling that we might have a little advantage as far as that is concerned," Janeway said thoughtfully, "Given how interested the Intendant was in Voyager I think that she would have given the order to have the Delitium kept somewhere. If the Intendant was smart enough to know that taking it away from us would leave us dead in the water, but still able to do all the test, then she is smart enough to understand that in the beginning the ship will need the Delitium we came with."

"Right, so we only need to find out where they keep it," Tom said slightly sarcastic. Indicating that he thought that alone would be a huge problem.

"Right," Janeway agreed with a grin, "Should be easy."

"We have another problem," B'Elanna said, "Seven. The Intendant has her at her side all the time. We have to get her away from the Intendant at the time we want to go, that won't be easy."

"True," Janeway agreed, "So we can't just prepare everything to leave one day and just go. We need to pick a day at least far enough in advance that we can tell Seven when she visits us. We also can't just go to her to rescue her, so she will have to find a way to join us at the ship at the moment we are ready to leave. And I think that we also have to rely on Seven for something else. We won't be anywhere near a position where we could disable the guns of this space station. Even with Delitium we would be destroyed before we can get away if we can't disable those weapons first. But if Seven, as the Intendant's slave, is seen walking around the base they will probably ignore her."

"I'll talk to her," B'Elanna said, "The Intendant seems to not mind it if Seven talks to me in private."

Janeway nodded her agreement, "Alright, it seems like we have a working plan. B'Elanna, you..." Janeway stopped giving the order she was about to give and looked at Annika, "Since you are the master slave here, I assume that you will plan the work in such a way that the Klingons will still think there is still a lot of work to be done?"

"I will," Annika agreed, "B'Elanna and I will concentrate on replacing the cables. This will make the Klingons think even more that this is a very important job; otherwise the master slave would never do it herself. While for the time being the rest of you all keep doing the repairs that you were making. And if you run out of stuff to repair, start enhancing things.

"Right now we are at a star base. That means that there is a virtual unlimited supply of parts. Once we leave we will never get such a chance again. Whatever you think that can be enhanced, do it. The Klingons will think that this was part of the order since it is only the normal thing for them to do. But there is one 'rule'; whatever you do, make sure that it doesn't influence the speed of the ship in a negative way.

"Right now Voyager is capable of outrunning everything in the Coalition I know of. We can't afford to lose that advantage. Oh, and now that we have to remove three of the four alcoves in the cargo bay, by order of the Intendant, remove the fourth as well and put that in another large set of quarters. If the Intendant asks I will tell her I had that done so that the other quarters could be used if the first were not to the Intendant's liking."

"We can use the VIP quarters for that," Chakotay suggested, "They are actually bigger than the Captain's Quarters, and they are decorated in a completely different way. That will help make your explanation easier to sell. But my question is; why should we do that?"

"That way Seven will have two functioning alcoves onboard Voyager when we leave and those things are no longer taking up room in the cargo bay. That in its turn means that we will have the perfect place to put an industrial replicator in the cargo bay. Something that will enable us to replicate all the things we might need. It is quite common for the master save to upload replicator patterns into the replicators on the projects the master slave is working on. So it won't be a problem to fill the entire memory of the replicator with patterns."

"Where we come from industrial replicators have quite a big memory, all the parts from Voyager could fit into the memory with room to spare. What the heck do you want to put in there?" B'Elanna asked.

"As much as possible. I think it is better to have so much stuff in there that you only ever use ten percent, than discovering too late that that one part you desperately need is not in the memory."

"Of course," B'Elanna said, slightly flushed that she had not thought of something so obviously.

"And once I have done that I will also fill quite some memory of the main computer core with as much as I can put my hands on; from non-industrial replicator patterns to the latest research results. Since it is clear to the guards that the Intendant wants Voyager for herself, they will find it only normal that all the information normally accessible on a Klingon ship is also in the computer core of Voyager. So, with all the extra stuff I will be putting in the main computer core, you might want to think about expending the memory capabilities of the main computer core.

"Try to double it at least, but best would be if you can triple or even quadruple it. Same line of thought as before, now that we have the chance to expend it, we should use it. Who knows how many years it will take us before we are in a place that is actually friendly to humans. From the moment we are on our way we should be totally self sustainable."

"We will have to do that as well," B'Elanna said, meaning her and Annika. I'm the only one with a clearance to work on the computer. I think that as long as I'm only adding memory and not changing data, my clearance should be enough."

Annika nodded her head in agreement.

"We were self sustainable in the Delta Quadrant, "Harry objected, but more for the sake of argument than to truly disagree, "Why all the extra stuff? It only will take up more time, make us have to work on Voyager more, make the risk of being assigned somewhere else before we can escape only bigger."

"No," Annika disagreed, "B'Elanna told me some of your adventures in the Delta Quadrant. True, on a normal daily bases you were self-sustained. But just how often did you have to go on replicator rations to preserve energy? Or how often did you have to visit some neutral star base for repairs that you could not make on the run? But here there are no neutral star bases. Could you have repaired the damage Voyager now has and had, on the run?"

"No," Harry was forced to admit.

"Well, from now on we will have to be able to do that. From now on you will truly have to be able to go years without making any contact."

"If we stay in Coalition space," Janeway added, "But even if we don't, and even if we find a way back to the Delta Quadrant, our Delta Quadrant, it would be nice to have all of that. As Annika just rightfully said, better too much than too little."

"Right," Annika agreed, "And I think that as long as the ship is not finished, or at least doesn't look finished, the Intendant won't appoint us somewhere else. She wants her toy functional. I will make a schedule for the work that needs to be done. Those not appointed any special tasks are expected to go to the place they normally work and make repairs there. If they have no work left, they can come to me and I will appoint them somewhere to make sure that they look busy. If someone is finished with the repairs and they want to make enhancements, they first have to get an OK for it from B'Elanna."

"And let's not forget," B'Elanna said, "That the Intendant also ordered us to redecorate all the living quarters and anything else that can be redecorated. Since we have to do that, we should do that right as well; use the opportunity. After having looked at my carpets for so many years, I wouldn't mind a different color. So I would suggest that if people run out of things they can do because they are not trained to do deep level engineering, they start doing de redecorating."

"Alright," Janeway agreed, "You all know what to do; dismissed."

Janeway had assumed that Annika would stay seated, and she was right. Annika waited until the others were gone before asking Janeway a straight forward question, "So, we finally have an agreement, or are you still going to be a nuance?"

Janeway grinned when she heard the question, "B'Elanna was right, we do need you if we ever want to get out of here. And from what I just heard we will leave this place with way more than we would have if we didn't have your help. In the situation we are in now, we can't be prepared enough. So for now I'm willing to do things your way. But, once we are out of here..."

"Once we are out of here I will be more than happy to be nothing more than a member of your crew," Annika added.

Janeway dipped hear head slightly, "I think you would be a great asset to my crew."

"As long as we understand each other."

"We do," Janeway assured, "Well, if you excuse me, I have to make the rounds and tell people what's expected of them."

Once Janeway was gone, B'Elanna once again set down beside Annika, "Well, can I say 'I told you so' now?"

Annika turned towards B'Elanna, "What are you talking about?"

"About me telling you that she really isn't that bad once you get to know her a little."

"It has nothing to do with getting to know her; it has all to do with her not trying to undermine me. I never had any problem with working with her; I also don't have a problem with you all seeing her as Captain. All I wanted was that she and you all understood that I'm not you enemy, that I'm doing things since I know how to stay alive."

"Alright. Well boss, shall we get to work then?" B'Elanna grinned.


"Good morning, Intendant."

"Delik, there is absolutely nothing good about getting up at five thirty. So, to what do I owe the displeasure of finding you at my door?"

Delik checked his timepiece, "Intendant, it's eleven o'clock."

"So? I still had to get up at five thirty because I had to check things for this whole Intendant crap. And I'm still pissed. So if you want to talk to me without being killed, you might want to come back later."

"I can see that I caught you at a bad moment, maybe you could lend me some of your time this afternoon?"

"Maybe, if you're lucky. Now scram."

Torres waited a moment until Delik was gone, closed the door, and turned around with a grin on her face.

"You did not get up at five thirty," The blonde who came nearer said.

"No, but I didn't want to deal with him and it felt good to get rid of him," Torres stepped away from the door until she was standing in front of the blonde, "Now, how would you feel about you, and me, getting naked again, and checking out that sonic bathtub."

"Sonic bathtub?" Seven asked, never heard of anything like it.

Torres put her hands around the blonde's middle and pulled her against her, "You don't know what that is? Then we definitely have to check it out. The sonic waves feel reeeeally gooood."

Seven repeated the move on Torres and put her own arms around the middle of the Klingon, "But what use does a bathtub have if there is no water that is contained in the bathtub?"

Torres brought her lips to those of the blonde for a slow and long kiss, "The use, my dear, is that you don't have to stand upright like in a shower. You can sit and lie... and enjoy. And there is one VERY big advantage."

"Which is?"

"No water. Which means that you can't drown. However, you CAN do what ever you want to do."

"In that case, mistress, allow me to treat you to a very enjoyable bath."

"So, it's back to mistress?" Torres asked.

"Yes, mistress. It is time to get back to normal. You do agree that our master/slave existence is the normal state of affairs? If not we have to talk about it and come to an agreement."

"No," Torres sighed, "As good as the last twelve hours were, it's not something for every day. But, thank you for the time. It was something we definitely have to do again once in a while."

"Definitely," Seven agreed.

"Alright then, let's go have some fun, my pet. And later today, when I'm good and ready, I will torment the Bajorans."

But Torres' plans were temporarily interrupted by the chime of her communicator, {Martok to Torres.}

Torres indicated that Seven should go on into the bathroom while she slowly followed and answered the hail, "Martok, I'm just about to go have a very enjoyable bath with my pet, this better be important, and short."

{Really now? I would have thought that you would have had enough of that in the last week. I'm surprised that you can still walk straight,} Martok drawled, clearly getting his joy out of keeping Torres on the communicator, {I would also have thought that you would be more interested in the matter of finding a new Bajoran Intendant, than playing with your new toy.}

Torres could clearly hear Martok's grin in his voice, "And I would have thought that you as nobody else would know the pleasure a good slave can give you. How many pleasure slaves do you have again?"

{I'm afraid I can't tell you that, I lost count. Well, how about getting down to business so that you can go and play.}

Torres walked to the bathing room where she found a very naked blonde slave waiting for her, "Right, let's have it."

{I have found quite a few things that could be used to influence Jetur Adami. Torres, that woman is a walking invitation to be pressured. She has good and close ties with her family, she doesn't like pain, actually has a very low pain barrier. I think that you could break her in about one minute if she was sitting in your interrogation chair.}

Torres looked at how her slave came closer and kneeled in front of her. A moment later the blonde started moving her hands slowly up the Intendant's legs, "So I will have to test her, see if she gives in," Torres felt her trousers being opened and slowly lowered down her legs, together with her underpants.

{I'm afraid so,} Martok agreed. {Pity, from what I can see she is a good person. Would be a nice change after Kira.}

Torres saw the blonde coming a little closer and soon Torres felt soft kisses on her inner legs, moving further and further up, "Ok, find the thing what might influence her the most and tell me when I will see you later today."

{Alright, I can do that. When can I expect you?}

Torres felt soft and tender kisses being placed on her most private parts, "Um, don't expect me any time soon. Torres out," Torres put her hands on the blonde's head and let them rest while she closed her eyes and enjoyed what her slave's tong was doing to her, "You are truly evil, my little vixen. Did you want Martok to hear me moan?"

Seven pulled her head back for a moment to answer the question, "No, mistress. I merely want you."

Torres softly moved the blonde's head back to where she wanted it, "You have me, my dear. Do you ever have me. Now, take me."

And Seven did.

"So, what's in that thing?" Torres asked while she set down beside Seven.

"Individuals and finance," Seven turned the computer unit a little to the side so the Intendant could also have a clear view of the screen.

"Two files? All that security for only two files?"

"Two main files," Seven corrected, "But in the file 'finance' there are thousands of files keeping track of all the credits that got into her position. From the first day that she was Intendant until the day she was killed. It is all in there, to the last credit, all explaining where it went or where it can be found. And in the folder 'individuals' there are also thousands of files. I assume everyone who she came in contact with in mentioned in here," Seven opened the file that was called 'Intendant-Torres' before continuing, "As you can see, there is first the official file from the Bajoran Intelligence Academy, and then Kira's own comments."

Torres read what Kira had written about her and quickly started to chuckle, "My, she really loved me. Look at all the beautiful things she wrote about me."

"Forgive me, Mistress. But somehow I do not think that that terms as 'cock-sucking Klingon bitch whore' are meant as an endearment."

Torres laughed at that, "And it's the wrong gender too. I'd rather be caught dead than suck on that."

"Really?" Seven asked with a smile, "Then why did you..."

"Hush, that's different. That was you, a toy, and me cleaning off a taste that I like."

"Ah, I see." Seven closed the file and went back to the financial part of the information, "If Ro is appointed Intendant, this information will help her a great deal in restructuring the Bajoran financial system. Apparently Kira was very focused on gaining as much credits as possible."

"Hmm, talking about Ro, let's see what Kira has in here on Ro, Jetur and Delik."

It was an hour later before Seven closed the computer unit down, "Was that information helpful, mistress?"

"Yes and no, my pet. It was interesting, but it really didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. If Delik is appointed Intendant then he will only care about himself, but we will have no problem keeping him in line; though it was very interesting to read more about his way of working."

"No wonder that he thought that he could get you to sleep with him, there has not been a woman yet that turned him down."

"True," Torres agreed, "But where it speaks in his advantage that he was smart enough to never try something with Kira, it speaks in his disadvantage that he never figured out that the reason no woman ever said no to him is because they were also using him as much as he was using them."

"However, the information on Ro and Jetur reaffirms what you already knew about them," Seven said to indicate that she understood why the Intendant had said that the information was not really helpful, "They only have a chance if they act like one person."

"Right. Jetur is way too weak to do the hard stuff. My goodness, caring for the poor little innocent animals at her family's farm?" Torres said with a shake of her head.

"Mistress, in my universe, such behavior would have gotten her respect; not disdain. Protecting the weak is considered an honorable thing to do. And considering the fact that she succeeded in preventing the slaughter of the young animals for the summer festival, even the Klingons would admire her courage to stand up to her entire family."

"Interesting as that may be," Torres said with a grin. "Here it's considered weak. Here we would say that she simply didn't have the stomach to watch the slaughter."

"And under those circumstances Ro is to be considered extremely strong," Seven stated knowing that Torres would not agree with that oversimplified statement.

"If things were only so easy, my pet." Torres stood up and walked to the balcony, "Come, join me."

Seven did as she was told and joined the Intendant.

"You see, my pet, the problem with Ro is that she thinks too militaristically. Take a look this palace. What do you think Ro would do if someone were to take the palace and take everyone hostage, try a coup?"

Seven let her eyes drift over the palace park and the buildings surrounding it, "Knowing her background I would assume that she would send in the Special Forces to take care of the problem."

"Sounds about right," Torres agreed. "But can you imagine the political fallout of that?"

"Mistress?" Seven asked, wondering what Torres meant.

"It would not be a problem if she sent in any other troops; the army, police, or security groups. But if she were to use the Special Forces, she could ruin Bajor. That or she would have to get rid of the Special Forces. You see, the Bajoran Special Forces have done a lot of things, cleaned up a lot of messes. But they have never been used against any high level political target. If Ro were to use them against the most known political image of Bajor; the Intendant's palace, it would make all the other factions nervous.

"If Ro dares to use the Special Forces to get rid or her political adversaries in her own sector in such a public way, what is there to stop her from sending some of those forces to... say, Kronos? If she were to use the Special Forces to take the palace, the Bajoran sector would certainly have to suffer under an embargo from all the other sectors, demanding the Special Forces be dissolved. Or maybe we Klingons or the Cardassians would even open a preemptive strike against Bajor.

"Ro would never think about those results. She would only care about getting rid of the problem. And that is what prevents her from being considered extremely strong. Someone who makes stupid mistakes is not considered strong."

"In that case it seems that you have two things you have to test before you could possibly appoint Ro, mistress."

"Really?" Torres asked, wondering what she might have missed.

"Yes, mistress. You not only have to see if they are loyal to each other, but also if Jetur can influence Ro. If Jetur can object to a decision Ro makes and that Ro actually listens to Jetur's explanation."

"If Jetur can stand up to Ro," Torres clarified, "Hmm, true. I hadn't thought of that," Torres turned around and leaned against the railing, "I don't know, my pet. Ro has so much against her, why do I actually still consider her for the job? Is it that I'm staring myself blind on the fact that I want a woman to be Intendant?"

"Why is it that you want a woman to be Intendant, mistress? I know that you do not prefer men in a sexual manner, but I also know that you do not hate them or think any less of them than you do of women."

"True," Torres had to agree, "Normally what's important to me is the person, not the gender. I think that the main reason is that I want to make it easy on myself. Normally it is easier to make deals with female Intendants than with a male Intendant.

"Normally if I want to get something done for which I need the help or approval of the other Intendants, the women think about how they can use that, what kind of deal they can make with me. The men first always have to see if their ego allows them to make the deal. Even with Kira I could make deals. While I did like and enjoy to get in her face and show her that she was no where in my league regarding power and honor, in the end we resolved our... issues normally by making deals and reaching agreements."

"Thank you for explaining that, mistress. And to answer your question, I think that you are still considering Ro for Intendant because Bajor and the Bajoran sector will be better off with her as Intendant. I think she truly does care about the people, and that she will not only think of herself. And despite the fact that you will disagree with me, you are a person who cares about the welfare of others."

Torres pushed off the railing annoyed and started to walk back into the room, "Don't be ridiculous. I couldn't care less about these Bajoran fools."

Seven places a hand on Torres' arm, stopping the Intendant in a way that allowed her to walk on if she truly wanted to. Torres turned to the blonde, but didn't move pass her.

"Mistress, I know what you are capable of if needed. I read the security files about you, I read what Kira wrote about you, and I know that there have to be some things that have never reached any archived form because those things are too classified to be mentioned anywhere. But I also know that unless it interferes with other priorities, you make the decisions that go to the welfare of the people. It is one of the things I admire about you."

"Yeah? If I care so much about others, than tell me how I got all of those billions of credits on my name. I only care about myself, my pet."

"Mistress, I thought we were past the point where you have to pretend in front of just me. There are two reasons why you are so rich. The first is that you have very good financial experts managing your finances, and that you trust them enough to let them do their job. And the second reason is that when the advisors come to you with a decision they do not dare take, you often make the more risky choice because you are not afraid that things could go wrong and you would lose money. And normally those gambles paid off very well for you."

Torres sighed before starting to grin, "You know that you are the first to ever figure that out. I always figured that I really can't spend all the credits I have anyway. So what if I lose some? I could lose half of it and still have more than most people ever will."

"Maybe it is because I am not from here, mistress. The people here would think that you think like them, or that you could never care because a caring person could never become Intendant. I see you as a person who will do what ever it takes and does think of her own wellbeing first, but if it does not matter one way or the other, you make the decisions that better the life of other people."

"And you like that, huh?"

"Very much so, mistress."

"Even if this means that I take care of myself first and sometimes have to do certain things you do not approve of?"

"Mistress, to be in a position to be able to take care of others, you DO first have to take care of yourself. You can not help others if you lose the power you have. And furthermore, eighty-four percent of all the races I know of believe that having power prevents you from having to use that power. Everyone in Coalition space knows that you will not hesitate to kill them or even every one on their planet..."

"Hmm, the Vachzer massacre," Torres said, knowing that the blonde was referring to the time she had ordered everyone killed on a planet that was found to be harboring escaped slaves for over five decades, welcoming slaves for all those years until there were almost four hundred thousand escaped slaves on the planet.

It had been only a small planet with a population of 'merely' sixteen million. Over time a whole system had evolved around the escaped slaves, where the slaves would help the people on the farms in exchange for food, shelter, and clothing. Torres had not seen any real difference between their system and the normal slave system except that the escaped slaves could go and work on another farm if they wanted to, or go live somewhere in the woods by themselves if they preferred that.

But never the less, everyone on the planet had known that escaped slaves were on the planet and everyone had some dealings with them every now and then. So to send a message throughout the Coalition, she had them all killed, and the slaves sold back into slavery.

Nobody had ever known that this last was Torres' form of benevolence. The Vachzerans had been killed for breaking the law on such a big scale. But Torres had known that the slaves had merely fled from cruel masters. Torres herself had sold the slaves to masters of her choosing, knowing that the slaves would have a relatively good life with those new masters. A relatively good life for slaves that is.

"Yes, mistress, the Vachzer massacre. And because people know you have that power, and will not hesitate to use it, they do not dare to do something that would make you use that power. Therefore you never again had to use that power to such an extent, or give any order that came anywhere near that. I may not approve of certain things you do, or have to do, mistress, but I understand that you have to do them to remain in power. I try to not let it interfere with how I like to see you."

"And how is it that you like to see me, my pet?"

"You, mistress, I see as a person I am proud to call my master."

Torres stepped closer and shared a long, sensual kiss with the blonde, "Kahless, Seven, I do not know what I did to have you in my life. But I'm glad I did what ever it was."

Seven shared another kiss with the Klingon before answering, "What you did, B'Elanna, is capture a ship and walk into my life. That was all that was needed."

"I still don't know how you could accept me so easy as your mistress. You are not a born slave; you are not a broken spirit. Normally it takes longer to break a slave child of twelve years than it took you to become mine. And then to think that you aren't broken, you do this willingly."

"Mistress, I already told you the reasons why I enjoy being yours."

"I know, but what I mean is that you already gave yourself to me before you truly knew what I would give you. All you truly had from me was my word that I would not hurt you as long as you did what ever I told you."

"Ah, you wonder how I could accept you as my mistress so soon. You have Voyager's B'Elanna to thank for that."

"Ah, yes. You gave yourself to me to save her." Though she didn't show it, Torres was disappointed that it had been her own cruelty that had made the blonde hers.

"Not at all, mistress. You once again do not see the difference between something I do willingly and something I do out of my own free will. Out of my free will I made the choice that I would do what ever was needed so save B'Elanna. But the moment I had sexual contact with you for the first time, I gave myself to you willingly. In this situation I had the luck that what I did willingly and what I did out of my free will was one and the same thing.

"What I meant was that you had to thank B'Elanna because I used my knowledge of her to make decisions about you. I told you that I did not want her to be my lover because I knew that she could never give me what I wanted. But that does not mean that I have never thought about how... right, she would be for me, 'if only.' And then suddenly I came across you, mistress. And suddenly it was no longer, 'if only.'

"Suddenly there was a B'Elanna who was just the way I wanted her. It was easy to give myself to you, since you are what I wanted for more than a year now."

"Ah, I see." Torres said relieved, once again not showing it, "I really have to find a way to thank her for inspiring you."

"You can thank her by promising me something."


"When I ask you to, at a certain point, you give me thirty minutes."

"Thirty minutes for what?" Torres asked doubtful, "I don't think I'm following."

"Thirty minutes in which you will not interfere in what ever I will do then."

"Ah, now I get it, thirty minutes in which you will play Intendant to help your friends escape."

"Yes, mistress."

"You have no idea what you are asking of me, do you?"

"I do, mistress. I am asking the impossible," Seven replied with a smile. She knew that the Intendant would never agree to her suggestion, which is why she made it; knowing that the Intendant would only laugh about it.

Torres laughed at the remark, "I'm glad to see that you DO know what you are asking. I knew that there had to be a flaw in your plan of getting 140 slaves out at one time. Let's get inside," Torres moved back into the room and sat down on the couch with Seven by her side. It was quiet for several minutes while Torres thought about what she was going to do, "I will give you fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes where I will be present to see what you are doing. And after those fifteen minutes I will immediately start undoing what ever you did. But there's a price. Me being thankful to my counterpart for raising an interest in you about what you want, is no where enough to cover this."

"What price?" Seven asked. She could not believe the Intendant was actually contemplating her suggestion. She had suggested it only as amusement for the Intendant. Seven liked hearing the Intendant's laugh. But she was not about to tell Torres that she had only been making a joke now that the Intendant was inclined to agree.

"The price I'm asking is another Voyager."

"Mistress?" Seven had no idea what the Intendant could mean.

"I'm not stupid, my pet. I know they will need the ship to escape, if nothing else they need it to be able to outrun slave hunters. I really want that ship as mine, but I do understand that if I let them escape to get rid of them, they will take the ship too. So what I am asking of you is that you get the complete specs of Voyager out of that computer, including all the blueprints down to the last bolt.

"Download it all, and also the entire database of the ship. All information in it from replicator patterns down to... well, all information that has ever been put in the computer. And once your friends are gone you will oversee the building of a new ship. And the new ship will be just as good as the one that the others used to escape; including, the speed; especially the speed."

"To accomplish that, I would have to rebuild the ship with Federation technology, which I first would have to build as well. That would go against the Prime Directive since you would then have Federation technology at your disposal. What is there to stop the technology from being used in other ships?"

"Nothing, my pet. And that is why I am asking this as price. I have that now, I have a Federation ship with all it's technology, and I'm not about to give that up."

"But, that could change the powerbase in this universe. If Federation technology was combined with Klingon ships, it would greatly enhance you ships."

"And that would change the powerbase... how? We Klingons are already the most powerful race."

"You could use the technology to attack the other factions and take over their territories."

"My pet, we pretty much rule them now as well. Right now we have a territory that we can control and all the other factions have to pay a tribute to us. This has been so from the first day of the Coalition and it has served us well. But even if we were to start a war and take over all of Coalition space... nothing would change.

"We would have to appoint people to rule over planets, we would have to appoint people to rule over territories. You would still have Prime ministers, Presidents and Intendants. We are actually better off now. At least now we only have to administer the Klingon territory. You know how we Klingons dislike bureaucracy. Do you really think we Klingons would want the bureaucracy of ruling the rest of the Coalition?"

"But you are still asking a lot, mistress."

"Of course I am. I'm the one who will have to take responsibility afterwards for what you did in those fifteen minutes. I need something to cover my ass. If it is ever found out that I basically let 140 slaves go... even I as Klingon Intendant will need something to point to and say, 'this is why I did that, I think it is a fair trade.' I may be Intendant, but the Chancellor can still have me removed, if not killed. I can't afford to look weak. It must seem as if I made the better deal. Can't you understand that, my pet?"

Seven sighed and made her decision, "I can, mistress. And I see your point. Your price is acceptable."

"Good. But there are two things I would like to point out to you. First, my counterpart knows that I know that you are trying to help them escape. You will never tell her more than that, not even hint. Under no circumstances are you to tell her, or anybody else for that matter, how easy I am truly making it for you."

"Yes, mistress."

"And the second thing is that I want you to point something out to them. Make it seem as if you thought of this, or heard me talk to Martok about it, whatever. Make this clear to them. I can 'forget' that they destroyed two Klingons ships and their crew, because it was in a fight and your friends fought that fight with honor. But I swear, if they kill anyone while trying to escape, I will find them and destroy them; even if I have to use the entire Klingon fleet to do it."

"Yes, mistress, I will let them know."

"Alright then. Now, it is getting late so let's get out of here and see how often those Bajorans can put their feet in their mouths while trying to say what they think I want to hear."

"Yes, mistress." Seven hesitated before finally asking, "Mistress, if I may ask, why ARE you making it this easy for me?"

"You mean with regards to your friends?"

"Yes, mistress."

"Well, quite simply because I have a small problem. I promised you that I would find a good place to put your friends. But the only place I can think of that fits what I promised you, is by giving them jobs as groundskeepers at my home.

"But I'm not about to condemn 140 of my servants to having to work in the mines because I need their places for someone else. That's not fair to the people who served me well 'til now, and I also don't think that you would appreciate me sending other people to the mines because you made me NOT sent your friends to the mines. I also can't simply put your friends with my other slaves because I don't want my slaves exposed to the views and ideas of your friends. But, when your friends escape, I don't have to keep thinking of what I am going to do with them."

"I understand. Thank you for explaining, mistress."

"Alright, tell me." Torres asked, changing the subject, "Do you like plays?"

"Plays?" Seven repeated, not sure what the Intendant meant.

"Yes, you know, when some actors stomp around on a stage and act out some story," Torres grinned, showing that she was teasing the blonde.

"I do not know, mistress. While on Voyager I was ordered to attend some recitals of some of the Voyager crew, but this was normally only one person showing their talent... or lack there of. I have never been to a play of the kind you mean. I always thought that they were an inefficient waste of time."

"Let me guess, you preferred to work."

"That is correct."

"Well, my pet, your all work and no play approach is about to change. I like taking some leisure time every once in a while, and from now on you will take that leisure time with me."

"Yes, mistress."

Torres laughed at the tone in the blonde's voice, "You make it sound as if I punishing you. Come on, my pet. You can't read all the day and you are not on that spaceship where you had some kind of work all the time. There will always be times like now, where there is nothing more to do than wait for others to make their moves."

"And while others worry about how they can appease you, you go and amuse yourself with going to plays and other things."

"That's pretty much it," Torres agreed while walking to the door, "And while I find that the Bajorans can be quite annoying at times, I must admit that they make some of the best plays I have ever seen. And I happen to know that the Bajoran state theater if performing one of my favorite plays today. So let's go work on my image of being a person who doesn't care about someone else's problems."

"Yes, mistress. Thank you for explaining the true reason for going to the play."

Torres stopped walking and turned to the blonde, "No, my pet. That is not the true reason. That is nothing more than an extra bonus, and something that is pretty much expected from me. I am kinda expected to enjoy the culture from the different races; it would not do for the Intendant to show favoritism to a certain race by only enjoying that race's culture. But that really isn't the reason why I want you to come with me. I want you to come with me because I want to treat you to a play. Nothing more, nothing less. And if you truly hate going then tell me and we won't go."

"Thank you, mistress," Seven said softly, feeling a certain warm feeling spread through her at the thought that the Intendant was taking some time off to spent that time with her, taking her to a very public place. Torres was not going to hide her or ignore her, like it was normally done with slaves. No Torres was taking her to a play. A place where slaves normally were not allowed to come, "I think I would enjoy visiting a play with you."

"Al right than. Let's go."

Part 14

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