Alternate Choices
By H.W.

Chapter 16

"So, how are things?" Torres asked Martok, "Do you know who killed Kira?"

"I'm pretty sure, I just don't have any hard evidence. To get that, I would have to interrogate one of the Intendant candidates. And considering why you are here, I don't think that this is such a good idea."


"I do think that it was indeed Ro."

Torres drummed her fingers on the table for a moment and then addressed Seven, "My pet, get us something to drink..." Torres interrupted herself to ask, "Some blood wine, Martok?"


"Get us some blood wine, you can get yourself something else if you want and then join Martok and me at the table."

"Yes, mistress."

"What are you doing, Torres?" Martok asked when he heard Torres tell the slave to JOIN them at the table.

"What do you mean?" Torres asked before realizing what he meant, "Oh. I asked her to join us because I appreciate her input. But you know what, Martok, I think it is time we had a little talk. Clear the air a little, so to speak."

Seven brought Torres and Martok their drinks, only to change direction to the table when Torres pointed in that direction. She put the drinks down and went back to the replicator to get her own drink, the prune juice that Torres always drank. After drinking it with Torres all the time, Seven had acquired a taste for it.

All of them moved to the table and sat down before Torres asked, "Alright, so what's your problem, Martok?"

"My problem?"

"Yes, I can see how you turn your head whenever I ask my pet something, or how you look at her when she speaks."

Martok looked back and forth between Torres and the slave for a moment and then figured that since Torres asked, she would get her answer, "I think that you are way over your head."

To his surprise, Torres laughed, "Tell me something I don't know." Then Torres got serious, "Look, I know that I'm letting her do things that I shouldn't. But my question is, do you have a problem with it?"

"Torres, my problem isn't with the fact that you have a toy... no, she isn't a toy for you, not anymore, is she?"

"No, she isn't," Torres was forced to admit to Martok as well as herself.

"Well, I don't have a problem with you spending your time with someone, even if she is a human slave. That will actually make things easier for you in the general perception, a lot easier than when you would spend your time with a free person. No, my problem is with the fact that I get the feeling that you don't have her under your control anymore."

Torres was about to deny his claim, but then she took a second to contemplate his statement before asking the blonde. "Hmm, tell me honestly, Seven, do I still have you under my control?"

"Yes, mistress. But not the control Martok means. You have me under your control because I give you that control," Seven stated honestly, knowing that it was in her best interest to clear the air with the Commander of the security department, "But what I do not understand is why this is such a problem for him."

"Why I have a problem with that?" Martok asked disbelievingly, "How about Torres' safety while she is alone with you? Or how about you being in a position to influence her? Who is to say that you won't do something to help others if they offer you enough?"

"My mistress' safety is of paramount importance to me. She is safer with me than she would be with any of your Klingon guards. Your guard would only be interested in her safety because it is their job, and because of the honor of being allowed to protect the Intendant. I also have the honor of my mistress trusting me with her safety, but beyond that, there is also the fact that she is of paramount importance to my wellbeing.

"If something were to happen to her, I would be sold to someone else. Or become part of an inheritance, to be passed on as if I was nothing more than decoration. I will never again find a mistress like her. Her wellbeing equals my wellbeing.

"As to your point that I could influence her to do something for others, as I pointed out to my mistress in the beginning, it would be stupid for me to do so. I know that the Klingons are the post powerful faction in the Coalition. I now have a mistress I like very much, who treats me very well. Nobody could ever offer me more than I already have."

"She will still end up doing things for you," Martok pointed out. He knew that the slave was right and it satisfied him to know that she understood.

Torres was the one to agree to that, "True. I do things for her that I would normally not do. But, Martok, think about it. Let's say that I had found a free person that I liked enough to do things for her. The scale would be a lot bigger. You worry about the power that I give her by letting her use my computer unit, by commands she could give in my name. But think about it, how about the power a person would get if it became known that this person is involved with me. Imagine her saying, 'You will sell the Dilithium to my friends for one tenth of the price, or else I will tell my lover that you came to me asking me to influence my lover.'

"People will see my pet here as my slave, that's it. They might see her as a powerful slave, but a slave never the less. In fact, you are the only one who even knows that I listen to her advice. All that others know is that she must be good in bed since she is still alive, and a few, like the Intendant wannabes here, know that she knows a lot and I ask her for information. It is not very likely that someone will ever find out more. And that is the way we both want it, right, my pet?" The last part was directed at Seven and Seven answered immediately.

"Yes, mistress."

"See? Martok, I don't blame you if you don't believe this so easily, it took me some time to get used to this as well. But there truly is no ulterior motive. Seven truly simply wants me happy. Now, before you begin about the ship and the crew, that is extra. I know exactly what she is planning, she told me. We talked about it and came to an agreement."

"You really want me to think that all you want to be it Torres' slave?" Martok asked Seven.

"I never said that it is all I want," Seven disagreed, "What I want is for my mistress to be happy. And if that means that she does not want anybody else to know what I am allowed to do, then I am satisfied with that. But if my mistress decided that she wanted everyone to know truly what I am allowed to do, then I will be satisfied with that as well."

"Seven," Torres interrupted, "I think it would make things a lot clearer for Martok if you tell him why you like being my slave. And I think it would also be better if you show him what your implants enable you to do. It will make him understand what you already could have done if you wanted."

"Yes, mistress."

"Um, Martok," Torres said more in an afterthought, "You do have an hour or two before we continue the conversation about Ro?"

"Yes, if you throw in something to eat. I skipped breakfast."

"You got a deal," Torres said with a grin, "Seven, start explaining."

Martok sat back in his chair, pulling his beard thoughtfully, "Damn, Torres, she could have taken over your ship while she was on it and nobody would have been able to do anything about it, except for switching everything off and leaving the ship dead in the water."

"Actually, even that would not work," Seven disagreed. "If I use my assimilation tubes to access the main computer, one of the first things I would do would be to deactivate every console on the ship. The only thing they could do would be to manually take key circuits out in certain places on the ship. That would then leave the ship dead in the water, as you call it. But most people would not do that, always assuming that they can lock me out of the computer if they have enough time."

Martok gave them both a grin, "You know something, Torres?"


"You are a true example of the essence of a Klingon."

"What do you mean?" Torres asked, being affected by Martok's grin and grinning as well.

"You don't just flirt with danger, you take danger to bed and fuck her."

That even got him a smile from Seven.

"Now I ask you again," Torres asked when they were done laughing, "You got a problem with the way I treat her?"

"Noo," Martok said after thinking about it for a moment, "But, Torres, make things easy for yourself and me, don't show people more than you are doing now."

"Not planning to, for now." Torres said before asking, "Now, I need your help. Tell me honestly what you think of the deal my pet and I made?"

"About letting the others escape?"


"Under normal circumstances, I would say that you are nuts. But having seen what I have, and knowing what I know now, I think that it's not a bad deal."

"Good, I want to ask you to convince the Chancellor of this."

"Why not do it yourself, he is your friend just as much as he is mine."

"True," Torres agreed, "But if I bring this to him, Worf will think that I'm only doing this because Seven succeeded in influencing me," Torres was quiet for a moment before saying, "And I would not be fully able to deny that. I need you to give him an objective view on this. Tell him what my pet can do, and tell him what you think of the deal."

"Alright, but to do so, I need to ask you some questions."

"Sounds fair."

"First of, how far does this deal go? You will let them escape, but then what? Does the deal continue after that? Will you continue to protect them?"

"No, once they are gone, they are out on their own. But, I will also not actively hunt them down. I will not look for them, and I will also not put out a message on the headhunters network. People will never know they escaped, and therefore bounty hunters will not go after them. It is up to them to deal with situations that arise, if they stay away from everyone, of if they try to contact people and risk those people selling them out."

"Alright, next question, that is a lot for one person. To oversee the building of an entire ship, to safeguard the information. What if something were to happen to her?"

"We are not planning on something happening to her," Torres said before Seven spoke up.

"But you are right. There is that risk, and it is indeed too much information for even me to only have it in my memory. To compensate for this, I will built a data storage device with Federation technology, and download all relative information, including the information needed to make the tools to actually build the ship to specs. The information stored will be encrypted to the best of my abilities, also adding the safeguard used here; time triggered deletion. It will not be possible for anyone but me to access that information.

"However, I will make it possible for my mistress to access that information as well, even if something were to happen to me. And furthermore, I will oversee the building in so far that I will give the engineers in charge the information they need to continue the next stage of building the ship, and check what ever they have built. But I will not continuously be at the building site. Building a ship still takes months even if done on the most accelerated speed possible. I will not be separated from my mistress for that long. I will not."

"Calm down, Seven," Torres said calmly, "I would not ask that of you. I would not do that to either of us."

Martok saw how the two women were looking at each other during this last exchange, and he wondered if Torres knew that she was not just in over her head, but that she was actually in love with the slave. Martok decided that this was something he would have to tell Worf as well. It would make him agree more easily. Despite the fact that the Chancellor was firmly in favor of slavery, he, just as Martok himself, had a weak spot for Torres. And he was sure that Worf also would not want to deny Torres the right to finally have someone in her life, even if it was a slave, "Now, in light of this, do you still want to continue with what you proposed to him? You know he will never agree with your proposal, he can't."

"Yes, I want to go on, this has nothing to do with that," Torres said before answering the question she could see in the blonde's eyes, "I'm not ready yet to tell you about this proposal, Seven. As much as I appreciate your input, this is something that I can't use your input on, it would weaken the proposal in the long run. Once I have tweaked it to my liking, you will see it."

"Yes, mistress," Seven said. To her own surprise, she was not really curious as to what proposal they were talking about, probably because Torres had told her that she would find out eventually.

"She doesn't know this?" Martok asked surprised.


"Good, the Chancellor will be glad to hear that."

"Right, and as far as Worf is concerned, I know that he will not, and can not, agree to that. That is the point. It is a first proposal. And just like all deals, we will now go back and forth, giving and taking, until we will hopefully reach some middle ground that we can both live with."

"Damn it, Torres. You might have mentioned that before. Worf would have agreed to talk to you about it a long time ago."

"Ah, but I needed that time," Torres said with a grin, "Martok, even I know that this is a huge thing. I needed the time to think about this, think if this was just a passing interest of mine, or if it truly was something that I wanted to pursue. I know what kind of heat I will get for that, if this plan, as it is now, would become known."

"Alright, I will let him know that as well."

"So, are we done with that for now?" Torres asked.

"For now," Martok agreed.

"Alright then, back to Ro. You think she killed Kira, why?"

"That I can't answer. But she left behind too much evidence."

"That surprises me, given her training."

"Torres, no matter how well planned a crime is, how much time you take to conceal it, how much time you take to clean the crime scene. You always will leave some evidence behind. Ro was good. All evidence I found could be explained.

"Her DNA on Kira's body; Kira took her to bed on a regular basis. If that happened in the last two weeks, and Ro said it did, then DNA will be found on Kira's body even if Kira took a bath every day after that. Ro finding the body. Ro's fingerprints on the Kira's throat; Ro checked to see if Kira was dead, it is nothing more then expected. I can go on, all can be explained, but it is simply too much."

"Okay, but I still can not believe it. If you know this, then she would know this as well. She could have come up with a better alibi."

"Eh, you got to remember that having a weak alibi can actually be one of the best alibis to have. I personally am always very distrustful of people who can tell me days after the fact how they spent every second of the day that something happened. And also, I think that she expected us to do all the normal tests and then some. It is really not a known thing that I have team of Vulcan slaves to investigate a crime scene. Cases like this are why I keep that quiet. Most people forget just how much eye for detail Vulcans can have, if you allow them to develop it."

"Ah, yes, even I forgot you have those," Torres said thoughtfully, "So let me see. Ro killed Kira. Bajoran law forbids Ro to become Intendant because she can't function in that position without Jetur. We don't know what her reign will bring, while we know exactly know what Delik will bring."

"That pretty much sums it up," Martok agreed, "But I have to tell you, Torres, from all the... people around here, and I'm using the word 'people' nicely, I would like to see Ro in the position of Intendant. She is the only one who actually deserves that position."

Torres nodded her head, "I couldn't agree more. She and Jetur are the only ones who have demonstrated that they have some real honor. Alright, I think I will take this one step at a time. Maybe the other problems will resolve themselves if I take care of one problem at a time. So first thing we need to do is test Jetur. Just how committed is she to help Ro do the job."

"How do you plan on testing her?" Martok asked.

"By giving her the choice," Torres answered, "Either save a thing that is very important to her, or stay loyal to Ro. What do you think we could use the best as pressure point?"

"Well, as I said before, there are a lot. But if you ask me for one specific point... I would say, her little brother. She loves to spend time with him, often making time just so that they can go and do something. He is the youngest of the family and while she cares deeply about the others as well, they are older than her."

"Hmm, which would influence the test," Torres surmised, "Threatening to kill a grownup is one thing, but threaten her kid brother is something else entirely."

"Mistress," Seven interrupted, "Forgive me, but are you planning to kill her brother?"

"Not necessarily," Torres said thoughtfully, "We are going over options. But right now it sounds like the best option. I'm sorry, my pet, but we just have to see how easily Jetur can be influenced."

"I see, thank you for explaining mistress."

"But?" Torres asked, "Seven, you are sitting here because I want you input, so let's have it."

"Yes mistress. I think it would not be a wise decision to kill her family member."

"But we have to test her," Martok disagreed.

"True. But the point is that it would not be wise to do a test like this. It would mean that Ro could only become Intendant if you kill a family member of Jetur. That would mean by definition that you would appoint someone Intendant whose close advisor, basically the person who shares the position with Ro, had a great dislike for you.

"You would always have to deal with a person who hates you for what you did. She will resist you in deals where you need her help, and she will do this for only one reason; revenge for what you did. It would be a lot more efficient to appoint someone who is very thankful to you for being appointed, than it is to appoint someone who hates you for being appointed."

"She has a point," Martok said thoughtfully.

"That she has," Torres agreed, "You got an idea to solve this, my pet?"

"I believe I do," Seven said.

Annika laughed at Chakotay's joke. She liked the man. In fact, she had found that she liked most of the Voyager crew. And the few she didn't like, she also didn't dislike. With them, she could at least appreciate their dedication to the ship and the crew. The only person she still had a certain dislike for was Janeway. The woman had the ability to get on Annika's nerves. She could just see how the woman was constantly itching to take command of situations, "Alright, I'll take you up on that. But don't blame me if you end scrubbing the conduits as well."

"Well, that is a risk I'm taking," Chakotay said with a smile, "But those lines could use replacement. And since I'm done with my stuff, I might as well do that."

"That's slowly becoming a problem," B'Elanna, the third and last person at the table said, "We are slowly running out of things for people to do. All the big things have been take care of, except for the cloak system, but even that is coming along nicely. No matter how much work we think up, or what we decide to make now that we have the time for it, Voyager is starting to look too good. Most of the crew that don't have engineering experience, like anthropology, are already busy with redecorating the interior of Voyager."

"True," Chakotay agreed.

"Hmm," Annika said thoughtfully, "Alright. For the moment we can get away with the work that goes into the cloak system. Can you think of any place that could do with a good upgrade? It seems that the Intendant gave us quite a free range, we should use that. Heck, they didn't even question me when I ordered that industrial replicator, nor did they stop me from uploading all that information and those replicator patterns."

"Well, we could replace pieces of the outer hull and the underlying structure," Chakotay offered, "Over the years we've had hull breaches, weapon damage; you name it, we've had it. Normally we patch those places up by putting new hull plates on them. But the underlying structure is normally left alone, unless the damage to them is too great. We don't really have much choice, we can't just go and take the hull structure out while we might be attacked, or have to get out of some place in a hurry. That isn't something you can do if you have just made a human size hole in the hull."

B'Elanna nodded her head in agreement, "That would work, but it would also mean that we truly would be stuck for those days. If we start doing this, we can't get out of here for three days, at least."

"Not that we are going to do that anyway," Annika pointed out, "The Doctor said that while he spoke with Seven two days ago, Seven told him that she suspected that they would be on Bajor for another week at least. Seeing that you are not going to leave her behind that means that we have that week, and the three days that it would take for them to make the trip back. That's ten days. Would that be enough?"

"Yeah, I think it could be done in one week," B'Elanna said thoughtfully, "I think we should concentrate on that then. And leave the unimportant things we still have for later, if we once again have to make it seem as if we are still working."

"Alright," Chakotay said before starting to sum things up, "So you two continue with the data lines you are replacing, and what ever has to do with the computer and uploading stuff in the replicator."

"Right," The two women agreed at the same time.

"And Harry and Carey will continue to install the cloak generators and oversee the replacement of the shield generators," B'Elanna added.

"In the meantime, I will try to keep Kathryn out of your hair," Chakotay said with a smile, "And I will oversee the small stuff. Day to day things. It's the first officer's job anyway."

"Sounds like a plan," Annika agreed.

"Alright," Chakotay said while standing up, "Let me go and tell the Captain about our plans for the hull."

"He is a good man," Annika said when Chakotay had left Voyager's conference room.

"Yeah, he is," B'Elanna agreed. "Well, let's get going, shall we?"

"In a moment. First I want to ask you something."

"Ask," B'Elanna simply said.

"Were you ever in a serious relationship?"

"Wh... What?" B'Elanna asked, certainly not expecting that question while sitting at the Voyager conference table.

"I was wondering if you ever were in a serious relationship."

"Yeah," B'Elanna said slowly before mentally shrugging her shoulders and continuing, "The last relationship was with Tom. We were engaged to be married. I also had a close relationship with a woman called Joan while I was at the academy. But that ended when I left. Other than that, I only had some one night stands while I was with the Maquis. Why do you ask?"

"I never had a true relationship. If you are a slave that is passed to different projects every few months or a year at most, you don't start relationships. I tried but found that it was just not worth it. Eventually all I ended up having were some one night stands, as you call them."

"So?" B'Elanna prompted.

"Things are different now. The Intendant has told me that this will be my last position. So even if we would not escape, I would continue to stay with you all. And if we do escape, well, I would become one of the crew. Either way, I will be with you all for a long time. And now I find myself contemplating starting a relationship with someone."

"You found someone you're interested in?" B'Elanna asked wondering who it could be. She swore herself that if Tom had approached the blonde, B'Elanna would kill him, "So, who is the lucky guy?"

"What makes you think it's a guy?" Annika asked, "Anyway, I think I could use some advice. I'm not really sure on how I approach her. I don't think that you people normally say 'Hey, you are cute, want to share a bed?'

B'Elanna would normally have found Annika's remark funny. But not now. She felt a flare of jealousy flaming up inside her but she knew that she really had no reason to. With some effort, she brought herself to ask almost neutrally, "Does she know that you are interested in her?"

"I'm not certain," Annika said thoughtfully, "I think it is more that she hopes I'm interested in her, but doesn't really believe I would be interested in her."

"I see. So you now want some advice on how to approach her?"

"Yeah, I think that's what I want."

"Well, all I can really tell you is how I would do it."

"Which is?" Annika asked eager.

"Well, I normally build things slowly. Stand close to them in the beginning, and if they don't seem to mind that, I normally touch them, but only in a way that can be called innocent. Only touch her hand or forearm, and only if there is an opportunity to."

"I see." Annika said with a smile, "I think I will try that. Thank you. Though if it works, there is a chance I will ask you for more help."

"I'll help in what ever way I can."

Annika stood up and started to walk around the table. When she passed behind B'Elanna, she suddenly smacked the Klingon on the back of her head.

"HEY, what you do that for?" B'Elanna asked in outrage while turning around to face Annika.

"Because you are so dense sometimes. I hope you don't mind me skipping a few steps," Annika moved B'Elanna's hair to the side and moved in to place a soft and short kiss on the Klingon's neck, "Thanks for the advice B'Elanna, I have a feeling that she will soon figure out that I'm interested in her," Annika placed another quick kiss and then moved out the door without saying another word.

B'Elanna kept sitting without moving for more than five minutes, trying to get her racing hearts back under control. Finally she spread her hands out on the table, looked at them for a moment before balling them into fists and drumming them on the table, "Yes, yes, yes!"

She took a deep breath and let it out very slowly, "Oeeeh wow. Okay. Calm down, Lanna. You take this slow, leave everything to her. Maybe she is just trying stuff out, seeing how she likes being involved."

That realization brought B'Elanna down to reality a little. She let the idea run through her mind for a moment. Shouldn't she stop this before it even began if this could possible be just a test? "No way."

No, the best thing was to let Annika decide. What ever Annika did, B'Elanna would react. Being a test case could be fun too... if you knew upfront that things might never be more.

With a big smile on her face, B'Elanna stood up and left the conference room. There still where a lot of jobs to do.

"Damn it, you've got to help me!" Delik shouted.

"I can't. Don't you understand that?" The Ferengi shouted just as loud, "That Klingon screwed everything up. I can be happy that I had already made sure that there was proof that I didn't know anything. I had one of Martok's henchmen coming to see me. Do you really think they wouldn't investigate an assassination attempt on the Klingon Intendant?"

"No, why would they? It was a straight forward thing of his wanting what Torres had..."

"And took twenty men to try and take it," The Ferengi interrupted, "They know that K'Trelan could never bring them to do that unless someone footed the bill for him."

"Come on, Quark, surely there must be someone you can pay off. So what if there is some henchman snooping around? They need real proof before they can do something. And they don't have that. So..."

"They don't need proof!" Quark shouted, "They broke all my fingers, and then both my arms, and when that wasn't enough, they broke ten ribs. You hear me? TEN. And that was simply because my credits were used. He told me that it was punishment for not securing my funds enough. Oh, and he told me that next time, if he ever had to come and see me again, he would break my neck. Forget it Delik, I'm out of this deal."

"Quark, if you don't help me I'll..."

"You what?" Quark interrupted, "You'll break my arm? Old news, Delik. I'd rather have you pissed at me than having the Klingons even suspect me. Forget it. Man, I don't even know why I'm talking to you, Quark out."

Delik looked at the blank screen for a moment before picking the computer unit up and throwing it against the wall; which didn't do much for his frustration because computer units had long since been built to withstand such abuse. It simply fell to the floor and continued to show him the mocking empty screen.


"You wanted to see us, Intendant?" Ro asked while she and Jetur walked into the quarters that were Torres' for her stay on Bajor.

"Yes," Torres pointed to the two chairs while she herself sat down on the couch, "Sit. Want something to drink?"

"Yes please," Ro responded.

"What would you like?"

"Some purple spring wine."

"For me the same," Jetur added.

"Alright, my pet, take care of this and then sit down."

"Yes mistress," Seven said while walking to the replicator.

Torres waited until Seven was back and stopped her from kneeling, "No, you sit on the couch, my pet."

Seven did as she was told, "Yes mistress."

"Alright you two. I'm getting very close to making my decision on which candidate we Klingons will officially support in their bid for becoming the new Intendant," Torres gave them a smirk, "Of course that will have absolutely no influence on the honest and fair election that will be held here on Bajor."

"Of course," Jetur said, "We all know that all you Klingons do is appoint the person who will oversee the elections."

"Right," Torres agreed, "Well, I thought that it was really about time to talk about the chances of you both... Sorry, I mean the chances of Ro. Let me tell you..."

But before Torres could go on, she was interrupted by the communicator, {Martok to Torres.}

"Martok, you sure know how to pick you time. I'm just talking to Ro and Jetur about their chances."

{Good, then I reached you right in time. We have a problem.}

"What is it now, Martok? Another uprising?"

{No, this is more delicate. A thirteen year old boy was arrested for taking a weapon into the palace.}

"I don't see the problem. He brought a weapon in, he will be publicly executed."

{The delicate part is that his name is Jetur Olan.}

"Olan?" Jetur asked in a voice that was higher than it normally was.

"You know him?" Torres asked.

"My brother."

"What?!" Torres shouted, "Your brother is bringing weapons into the palace?"

"No! No, there must be some mistake. He would never do that, he never even touched a weapon."

"Martok, what kind of weapon are we talking about? Could this be some kind some mistake?"

{Only if he had been hiding that disrupter purely by accident.}

"Damn," Torres said and looked at Ro, "You sure know how to pick your allies. Well, I'm sorry Jetur, but there really is only one reaction to this. Martok, kill him..."

"NO!" Jetur shouted, "You can't do that."

"I can't?" Torres asked, her voice getting the same deadly amused tone that Jetur had heard Torres speak in while overseeing the massacre in the mine.

"Please," Jetur begged, "He is my little baby brother. There must be some mistake."

"Martok, is there a chance of 'forgetting' this?" Torres asked.

{We might, but I don't think that the group of former advisors and advisor assistants that were just on their way out when we arrested him will forget this anytime soon.}

"Well, in that case we will have to turn this around. Execute him in public and later we will send out a message that the new Intendant and her first advisor will not play favors, not even for their own family."

"NO!" Jetur said again. She got out of her chair and knelt in front of Torres. The tears were now rolling freely off her face, "Please. You can save him, you just have to not give the order."

"I can't," Torres said softly in an understanding tone, "Don't you understand, if I let him live it will send a clear message that all someone has to do is kidnap one of your family members and you will do what ever you tell them? That is something I can't allow in a first advisor of an Intendant."

"I will step back from that position," Jetur pleaded.

"Not good enough," Torres said, "It will leave Ro without the advice she needs to be Intendant."

"Then I will pull back my bid," Ro said softly.

"What?" Torres asked, not having expected that turn of events, "Are you nuts? You are only a step away from becoming the new Intendant and now you want to throw it all away?"

"You are using the boy as a pawn to see if I should become Intendant. He doesn't deserve that," Ro knew that she was indeed throwing everything away. But when she saw Adami looking up at her with eyes full of gratitude, she knew that she had made the right choice.

"Alright, Martok, bring him in."

The door to one of the other rooms opened and Martok came in, his hand resting on the shoulder of a very healthy Jetur Olan. Jetur got up from her knees and threw herself at the boy, taking him in a tight hug.

"Can't... breath," Olan managed to say after a moment.

Jetur loosened her hug, but didn't let him go. Her tears still flowing freely, this time because she knew he was alright.

"I'm sorry, Sis," Olan finally said, "I so badly wanted to speak up, to tell you that I was alright."

"You were in there all the time?" Jetur asked, trying to dry her tears, only to have them replaced with new ones.

"Yeah. They told me that they needed to see what your reaction was if they threatened me. Told me that you could become one of the most powerful people on Bajor if you passed. You finally going to change the things we talked about?" Olan asked with an eager smile.

"I'm trying," Jetur said, taking him in an embrace again.

"Martok, why don't you take Olan out? I need to talk to Ro and Jetur for a moment more."

"Sure," Martok said, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder and taking him outside, once Jetur finally let go.

"Please sit down," Torres said calmly.

"A test?" Ro only asked.

"Yes. I had to see what her reaction would be."

"So I assume I didn't pass?" Jetur asked while drying her tears for a final time.

"To the contrary. You did pass," Torres disagreed, "The point wasn't for me to see if you could stand having your family killed only to get the job. I read Kira's files, I knew that you would choose your family."

"Then why?"

"I needed to see what you would offer me. As I said, I can not appoint Ro if I know that you, her advisor, can be influenced simply by threatening your family. But, you offered to step back. You didn't offer me what ever I wanted. Even my fateful pet here told me in the beginning that she would do what ever I told her if I would save her friends. You only offered to step down. That is good enough for me," Torres looked at Ro before continuing, "But I must say that I was surprised by your offer. That is not what I expected from you, nor is it what Kira expected from you."

Ro decided that it was time for some honest bluntness, "He is a good kid. You might not believe it, but I truly am not only interested in me. I'm not going to lie, I will live very well from the half million credits I would get paid every day for being Intendant. But I have learned that for me true luxury is simply having a good bed to sleep in. I don't want credits that I can never use anyway. I truly want to change Bajor, and I won't change Bajor by walking over the dead body of an innocent thirteen year old boy. If that is what I have to do to get the job, then I don't want it."

"Good," Torres said with a grin, "Alright, you passed my test, the both of you. And I must say that I would like to appoint you Intendant, Ro. But there are some more problems. But we will talk about those in two hours time. Jetur, go spend some time with your brother."

"More tests?" Ro asked, hinting of the problems Torres had mentioned.

"No, I'm done testing, these are real problems. But you will hear more about them later when I will meet again with you two and Delik. Now, scram."

Both of them stood up and walked to the door, but then they had reached it, Jetur turned around once more, "Thank you for not hurting him."

"Don't thank me," Torres countered, "We needed to test you, and the original plan was to truly put his life on the line. It was my pet here who suggested this way."

Jetur came closer again and kneeled in front of Seven. She took the blonde's hands in her own and placed a kiss on both of them, "Thank you."

Had the woman not been a Bajoran, Torres would have killed her on the spot. But Torres knew about this particular practice, it was the highest possible way of showing gratitude on Bajor.

"I am glad I could be of assistance. No gratitude is necessarily, Jetur."

"Please, call me Adami."

"Thank you for the honor, Adami. Please, call me Seven..."

"But only when it is appropriate," Torres interrupted, "I don't want people to think that I'm showing a body slave leniency. Her full name is Seven of Nine, by the way."

Jetur stood up and let go of Seven's hands, "Of course, Intendant. Thank you, Seven." With a final nod she turned around and walked out of the room, closely followed by Ro who had been waiting at the door.

"You know something, my pet."

"I know a lot, mistress," Seven said with a smile.

"Ooh, you are so funny sometimes," Torres said before repeating, "You know something?"


"We just created one Gre'thor of a thankful Intendant advisor."

"Indeed. But only if the other problems can be taken care of."

True," Torres agreed, "How in Kahless' name can we take care of the fact that Ro can't become Intendant because she must be able to function on her own?"

"That is incorrect," Seven said, "The law says that she must be able to work without advisors, it does not say that she must be able to work alone."

"So Jetur could simply work on the background without being official advisor?"

"No, mistress. If she is not an official advisor, she is not allowed to negotiate in the name of the Intendant, only advisors are allowed to do that, with the permission of the Intendant of course."

"Damn. Alright, let's wait for later, maybe they can come up with a solution."

Two hours later, Ro and Jetur walked into the Intendant's audience room after being contacted and told to go there. Normally it was Kira that sat in the same chair that Torres was sitting in. Ro could see that Torres hadn't lied, this was it. Besides Torres and the slave... Seven, as Jetur now insisted on calling her, there were also Martok, several guards, the prime minister of Bajor, and the Kai. Oh, and Delik.

Torres was the only one seated, because there only was one chair in the entire room. It had always thrilled Kira to have lengthy meetings in the room and have everyone but her stand all the time. A practice she was smart enough to never use on the other Intendants if they came to visit for what ever reason. Martok was standing to Torres' left side, while the sl... Seven was standing on the right side. Everyone else was standing about three meters (ten feet) away from the Intendant.

"Alright, now that we are all here, Martok, please give me your official report of the investigation into Kira's death."

Torres took the padd that Martok handed her and took a few minutes to read over it, "Hmm, alright. As I told someone a few days ago, while it is important to know who killed Kira, I might still give that person my support if I think that person is the right one for the job. But before I say if I'm willing to overlook the killing of Kira, I first want to know why she was killed. So, Ro, why did you do it?"

All eyes went to Ro, and even Delik had a certain amount of surprise clearly on his face.

"I didn't..."

"Think very hard on just how you finish that answer," Torres interrupted in a deadly and warning tone, "Very hard."

"Intendant," Ro said after a moment of hesitation, "Kira was robbing Bajor into bankruptcy, it had to stop."

Torres was glad that Ro had decided not to lie, "Not good enough. Kira had been robbing Bajor from the first day she was Intendant. So why now?"

"As I told Martok, Kira took me to bed two weeks before she was killed... before I killed her. That night, after she was done, she told me that she was thinking of changing things. She felt that it was possible for Bajor to give her more credits. Everyone here knows that ten percent of Bajor's gross revenue each year went to Kira's personal accounts. She told me that with the coming of the next Bajoran New Year she would change that to twenty percent. Bajor would never have survived that. So I decided that it was time to take care of the problem, before she could put that plan into motion."

"I see," Torres said thoughtfully. She pondered that for a moment. She didn't put it past Kira, and if she had been in Ro's position, she would have killed Kira herself, "Alright, as you and Delik probably already figured out, I consider him the safe choice. But the thing is that we Klingons don't necessarily always do the safe thing. So I really want to give you, Ro, my support in your bid."

"What?" Delik interrupted.

"Delik, if you are only half as smart as you want me to believe you are, don't... interrupt... me... again. Ever."

"I apologize, I was just surprised about the fact that you would want to support a clear killer for the job."

Torres laughed at that, "Delik, you'd be smart to remember who you are talking to. Do you really think that after all I did as Intendant, I would have a problem with supporting someone who killed ONE person?"

"She killed more, she was Captain of the Special Forces," Delik disagreed.

"No, then she was following orders from her superiors, and once she was Captain, orders from the Intendant. That, I consider following orders, no matter how many people died. But with killing Kira, she made the choice herself, nobody told her that she had to do it, and Kira wasn't someone who had to be killed so that Ro could fulfill the true parameters of her job. That, I call killing. So she killed one person. Now, if you are done interrupting me..."

"Of course," Delik said with a forced smile.

"Well as I was saying, I really wanted to support you, Ro. But, according to Bajoran law, you can't become Intendant. The law says that an Intendant must be able to work without the help of advisors. And if Jetur is not your official advisor, she can't do the deals she had to do to make you function in the job. So, I really don't see a way of you becoming Intendant," Torres decided to ignore Delik's mumbled 'yes.'

The revelation of Bajoran law had sent the mind of both Ro and Jetur racing, trying to come up with a solution. Ro, thinking along the lines of having Jetur be able to conduct negotiations without being an advisor only came up with a big blank. Jetur needed a minute as well, but then an idea came to her, an idea she was about to dismiss, but then she wondered if she really wanted to dismiss the idea, or if she didn't actually kinda like it. Hearing the Intendant speak up again, made her make her decision.

"So that means..."

"Wait. OH, sorry for interrupting, but I don't really see the problem."

"You don't?" Torres said amused, "They why did you need so long to think, and had such a panic stricken expression on your face?"

"I um, well, I... I... Um, well, I was wondering if I should break the big news before Ro had a chance to do it officially."

"What big news?" Torres and Ro asked.

Jetur decided to ignore Ro for the moment and focus on the Intendant, "Well, you see, ever since Kira was found dead, Ro and I have been working together, and, um, we fell madly in love..."

"We did?" Ro asked surprised, only to be silenced by a rather forcefully kick to her shin.

"Really now?" Torres asked even more amused.

"Yes, we actually love each other so much that we decided that the normal Bajoran wedding contract was not good enough. After all, that can be broken by simply signing some padds. You don't even need official ratification for that, just mutual agreement. No, we decided that this would never be enough to express just how much we love each other. So we decided to enter into a life bond."

"What?" Ro asked only to be treated to an ever harder kick to her shin.

"Shut... up," Jetur said softly from the corner of her mouth.

"How lovely," Torres said sarcastically, but with a pleasant grin. She could see that her worries about Jetur being able to handle Ro certainly had been unfounded. Now she was starting to wonder if Ro could actually handle Jetur, "But I don't see what that has to do with this situation."

"Well, a life bond is seen differently than a marriage. A life bond is truly for life, and the two people always have to live in the same house. They may own more than one house, but they have to live in the same one. They may stay in hotels on trips and what not, but if they are together, they have to stay in one set of quarters. And, if they don't do this, they can be put in jail... together... for a certain amount of time. Oh, and if one of the partners ever has sex with anyone but the partner, both of them go to jail. Only after it is truly proven of course, otherwise it would be easy to simply have someone pay someone else to say they slept with one of the partners, and then once the person is in jail, the person who paid the person who is lying, could take over a business of one of the two partners, or something like that. You can see why this practice is hardly used anymore in these days."

"Indeed," Torres agreed, "But I still don't see how this is of importance here."

"Well," Jetur said with a triumphant smile, "Because the partners have sworn to be together for the rest of their life, they are seen by Bajoran law as one person, even going so far that in official records the couple is only mentioned with their combined surnames. So no matter if I, or Laren, do something, it would be mentioned in the official records as one person, as Ro Jetur or Jetur Ro. My love and I don't yet know which name will come first, we are still talking about that."

"Shut up, Delik," Torres said when she saw that he was about to say something, then she addressed Jetur again, "After all that time, and being sooo madly in love, you haven't even decided on which name comes first? Doesn't say much about your decision making abilities."

"Well," Ro spoke up, finally seeing what Jetur was doing, "We figure that this is something we should only talk about in our own time, not while doing work for Bajor, but every time we are alone, I just can't keep my hands off of her, or we talk about how much we love each other. I love her soo much, we just didn't think of things like which name comes first. When she looks at me, I just get lost in her eyes and we just sit looking at each other for hours, not saying a word."

"Okay, that's enough," Torres said, "I suggest that you work a little more on your lines, but for now I will pretend to be impressed with so much love," Torres looked up to the standing Seven, "My pet, will that work?"

"I do not know, mistress. I would have to research this. I must admit that I did not go into the limitations of marriage contracts of what ever kind. They seemed irrelevant."

"Understandingly so," Torres agreed, "Take a look, use the computer unit over there."

"Yes mistress."

When Seven reached the computer unit, Torres started counting silently. A few moments later, Seven was once again standing beside the Intendant.

"Forty-eight," Torres said, and Seven knew what she meant. It had taken that many seconds to get the information she needed, and that without using her assimilation tubes.

"It is my pleasure to please you, mistress."

"So, what you find out?"

"I think you will be pleased with the result, mistress. There is only one case in Bajoran law that compares. Eighty-three years ago, a prime minister died in an accident. He had a life bond, and his wife wanted to continue in his job, to continue the work that her life bond had started, or so she said. She was allowed to continue the job in the beginning, but she made enemies and lost her support base. With her support base gone, someone challenged her. Saying that she had no right to the job, she was fulfilling. And the same courts that first gave the wife the job, now sided with the challenger. The wife was forced to step down."

Torres nodded her head, "So, in other words, as long as they have support, say from the Klingons, they will be able to fulfill the job as one. But if we Klingons were to distance ourselves from them, they would lose their support, and someone could challenge their appointment. And without our support, they would be forced to step down."

"Indeed," Seven agreed.

"So even if they are appointed, they can't afford to piss me off. Nice, very nice," Torres looked back at Ro and Jetur, "Of course, it would be very tempting for either of you to kill the other and be rid of her if you happen to start hating each other. It would mean after all that that person would then be Intendant alone. What assures me that this won't happen?"

Ro, getting into the spirit of the idea, answered that, "I could never kill her. We are so madly in love. To the point that if I ever was to lose her, I would not be able to go on without her at my side. I would step down as Intendant. I'm sure that my love feels the same way."

"Of course I do, honey."

"Oh, please, stop the sweet stuff," Torres said before simply asking, "Martok?"

"I think it could work. I especially like the fact that they will need us, need us for a long time."

"You can't do this!" Delik said in a raised voice.

"I can't?" Torres asked, and everyone could hear the warning in the tone. Everyone except the enraged Delik.

"This is a scam! I should become the new Intendant. I'm sure that the only reason why you are doing this is because they let you fuck them. They are nothing more than whores, just as y...," Delik's tirade was stopped when Seven gripped his throat and lifted him off the floor, only to slam his back onto the floor.

"If you finish that sentence, I will break every bone in your body."

"Guards," Torres said lightly, "Please help Mister Delik up, and hold him. We don't want him to fall down again. And you, my pet, get back here."

Seven let go of Delik, but only when the guards had taken hold of him, and moved back to Torres' side.

"Well done, my pet. You even put an attack Targ to shame," Torres looked back to Martok, "Give me that report again, will you?"

Torres looked at the padd again, and after a moment she said, "Oh, I seemed to have misread that part. You could have pointed out my mistake, Martok."

Having a feeling that he knew only too well what Torres was going to do, Martok merely say, "Don't you know? You never speak back to an Intendant. And pointing out mistakes? You should never do that."

"Ah, right. Smart move. Anyway, I owe you an apology Ro."

"You do?" Ro asked.

"Yes, the report doesn't say that Ro Laren killed Kira, but Delik Jetir."

"What?!" Delik shouted, "You can't do that..."

"She is the Intendant, she can do anything," Martok interrupted, "Guard, make sure that he doesn't interrupt again."

"Well now that we know who killed Kira, that person should publicly be executed for his crime, don't you think Martok?"

"Definitely," Martok agreed.

"Anything you want to say, Delik?" Torres asked while nodding to the guard, indicating that he should let Delik talk.

"You won't get away with this. I will talk at the trial. Everyone will get to know what you are doing."

Torres laughed at that, "Delik, don't you know, for killing Kira, you will be charged with high treason. There will be no trial for that, just an execution. Be glad, at least it will be fast. Otherwise I would have cut you in fucking pieces for the way you just spoke to me. Guards, get that moron out of here."

The guards pulled the screaming Delik out of the room and as soon as the door closed, Torres looked at the Bajoran prime minister and the Kai, "I'm sure that you will work fully with the new Bajoran Intendant?"

"It will be my pleasure," The prime minister said wisely.

"I'm sure that the prophets will bless the happy couple. I look forward to working with them," The Kai said just as wisely.

"Nice to hear that, now get out. I will see you both again at the inauguration of the new Intendant."

The two Bajorans moved out of the room, happy that things had gone so easy for them. They would work with who ever would have become Intendant, but both of them were glad to see that it was someone who would probably actually let them do their job.

"Alright, now that we got that settled," Torres said to Ro and Jetur, "Martok will appoint someone to oversee the voting, and after that, you will de sworn in. I will stay until that time, to send the message that we are fully supporting you. But I want to be off of this planet in one week at the most, So," She looked back to Martok, "Martok, make quick work out of the election."

"No problem, the elections have already been prepared, we can hold those in two days. That would leave time tomorrow for the life bond ceremony of Ro and Jetur. Then two days to 'count' the votes, and the day after that the inauguration of Ro and Jetur. And finally a day to celebrate after that. That would then leave us free to go on the seventh day."

"Alright," Torres agreed. "Can't really do it any faster than that," She looked back to Ro and Jetur, "Well, with that taken care of, I think I take my pet to see some more of your planet. I'm sure that your friend in the Special Forces will follow us again, Ro. Tell them to stay back far enough."

"I will, Intendant," Ro said, "Thank you for giving us a chance."

"Don't make me regret it," Torres said.

Ro shook her head no, "Don't worry, we won't."

Torres nodded her head and moved to the door, followed by the rest of the group.

"I put an attack Targ to shame?" They heard the blonde ask while the door opened.

"Oh, way better," They heard Torres agree, "You my dear, are simply the best."

The door closed leaving Ro and Jetur alone.

They looked at each other for a moment before both of them started to smile.

"We did it," Jetur said after a moment, "You are going to be Intendant."

"No, we are," Ro disagreed, "Didn't you hear Martok, the inauguration of Ro AND Jetur. We both will be at that podium taking the oath."

Jetur's eyes got wide when that realization sank in.

"Yes, Adami, you will be as much Intendant as I will. You will have as much power as me."

"Wow," Was all Jetur could say.

"Of course, that is how it should be for my life bond."

"Um, right, about that," Jetur said hesitantly. When she first thought of the solution, it seemed like something she didn't mind doing too much. But she had to admit that she didn't think about how Ro would take it.

"Right, about that," Ro said, "You do realize that truly means that we are for ever stuck with each other. We can't even simply stay in one house but live our own life. We can never have anyone in our life, a partner."

"I know," Jetur agreed, "But it was the only way. I had a feeling that you would rather be Intendant, than give up on being Intendant in case you MIGHT find someone you like along the line."

"Hmm," Was Ro's only answer.

"Well, I'm giving things up as well, you know?" Jetur said, she had a feeling that she had messed up, "You might have been trained to suppress certain urges, but I personally like to roll around in a bed every so often."

"And who says that you will not have that?" Ro asked reasonably.

"Wha, what are you saying? Please don't play with me on this, Laren."

"You know, there is a lot that you say that I should not play with. That could become very boring. I do like playing with things."


"Adami, once we are life bonds, I won't live a lie. If you will let me, I will make it real in every way, everything."

"You will?" Jetur asked with a big smile.

"If you let me."

"I will," Jetur said with an even broader smile, "If you want to make this for real, than by The Prophets, so will I. I would actually really, really like that."

"Good," Ro said, smiling as well, "But I'm going to do this right. Adami, will you join me for dinner tonight?"

"We already do that... OH! Are you asking me out?"

"Yes, I am."

"Out as in on a date?"

"Yes I am," Ro said again.

"YES! I mean, I would love that."

"YES! is good," Ro said with a smile, "Why don't you go to your quarters and choose something nice to wear? I will pick you up at six. Does Meru's sound good to you?"

"That's the fanciest restaurant on Bajor," Jetur stated disbelievingly.

"I know," Ro agreed in a soft voice, turning on her charms, "Adami, you deserve only the best."

"Laren, I...," Jetur stopped talking when Ro moved closer.

Ro came closer until she was only a little more than half a meter (2 feet) away from Jetur, "Adami," Ro said in a soft, smoky voice, nothing more than a whisper, "Just because the decision has been made for me, doesn't mean that I didn't want to do this anyhow. I like you very much, more than I ever liked anyone before. I really would like to make this work."

"You have no idea how I love hearing you say that, I'll see you at six, don't be late."

"I won't."

Jetur moved to the door, but after about three steps, she turned around and walked back to Ro. She placed a soft kiss on Ro's cheek and whispered in her ear, "I want to make this work as well. You know, in the conference room, when I asked to be your assistant? You know what stayed with me the most?"

"What?" Ro asked, she kept her voice calm, but with every words Jetur' spoke, her warm breath caressed Ro's ear.

"Ever since I grew from a child to a woman, you were the first person who first looked me in the eyes, before looking at my body. You never took me for an easy lay, not even when I offered just that. You have no idea how flattering it was for me that you appreciated my mind over my body," Jetur placed another sweet kiss on the surprisingly soft cheek, "I swear, Laren, as long as you treat me right, I'll do anything in my power to make you the happiest woman that ever lived on Bajor. That, is my private life bond vow to you."

Before Ro could react, Jetur turned around and left the room.

Ro brought her fingers to her cheek and looked at the closed door. Ro closed her eyes for a moment and thought about what Jetur had just said. Then she decided that now that she was going to be Intendant, it was time to do some things differently. Jetur would be at her side for the rest of her life, there was no other way. Maybe it was about time that Ro finally opened her heart to someone, "I really like that personal vow, Adami," Ro said to the empty room, "Later, before I take you out to dinner, I will give you the same vow. You deserve it."

Ro felt better than she ever could remember when she left the room to go place her reservation at Meru's.

Part 17

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