MAIN DISCLAIMER: This is not the typical Voyager Story, so PLEASE, read the disclaimer.


Torres/Seven, and two other f/f pairings, but I'm not telling you what those are; it would spoil several surprises.
With three female/female pairings, I guess you can definitely say that the women in this story love women. And I mean LOVE women. If that is not your cup of blood wine, well, why don't you just move on to a different story then and leave these fine women in peace?

Sexual violence:

There is no sexual violence in this story what so ever.
BUT this is a master/slave story, and there is one instance where the master orders the slave to... please the master. The rating for that would be R since I think that this COULD be called reluctance.


Nope, there's no sex in this one. I figured that I could better keep my ideas about sex scenes for short stories. Because people who are looking for sex stories, don't want to read a zillion chapters to find a little love scene. And those who are looking for long stories... um... well... they... eh... ah, they can also read the sex scenes in my short stories.
The R rating is only so that I can get away with saying stuff like 'she touched her breasts', and with other insinuating stuff.


People will definitely die in this story.

Domestic violence:

Domestic violence, in particular violence to a child, is talked about at one point but not actually shown.


Yes, I had to disclaim Janeway. If you LOVE Janeway, you might want to give this story a miss.


As said above, this story deals with the master/slave concept, but only in a light manner. There is no physical or sexual violence what so ever between the main characters, not even true reluctance. But if you don't like stories like that at all then once again, you might want to give this story a miss.

Harsh language:

Sometimes saying 'what the fuck' is so much easier than trying to make a Klingon say rough stuff with nice words.


This Alternative Universe story was inspired by the Star Trek books 'Dark Passions', written by Susan Wright. (These are some very good books, and as alt as can be while still being official Star Trek books).
BUT, this story was only inspired by those books, not based upon them. This is my own AU so to speak. So please don't write me saying that this story does not follow the books' story line. I know that, I did that on purpose. I wanted to write a story in which the reader didn't know what was going to happen next, and introduce a concept that just didn't fit into the books' AU.

You will come across some new characters I've made up, and also across some characters known from the shows. I used characters from the shows because that way, I didn't have to wreck my brain coming up with even more names. :D And also so that you would immediately know what those people look like. And I must admit that I also wondered what these characters would be, and do, in an AU.

I don't claim any medical knowledge what-so-ever. The only thing I know about medicine is that if a bone beaks, it needs time to heal. So if something the Doctor, or anyone else for that matter, says makes no sense at all, just read over it and think 'sure'.

Now, on with the show.

Alternate Choices
By H.W.


A theory states that whenever an important event is decided by fate, all possible outcomes will happen, forming alternate universes; most of which are unstable and stop existing after a short time. But some continue on, moving in totally different directions.

In 2063, such an event occurred. Zefram Cochrane was the first Human to reach faster than light speeds in a self-built rocket. Because of low self-esteem and heavy drinking the night before, he almost decided not to try his faster than light flight. But in the end, he rose to the task he set himself. His endeavors were noticed by a Vulcan space ship passing by and soon first contact ensued. But in the hundred years following first contact, the Vulcans successfully deterred Human space travel, stating that Humans were not yet ready for the responsibilities that came with space travel. Finally, after one hundred years, the USS Enterprise was the first Human interstellar spaceship built. And Humans began their space exploration.

But Zefram Cochrane's doubting had created a second reality, a second and alternate universe in which he made his faster than light flight a day later, after sleeping off the long night of drinking. In this parallel universe, the Vulcans missed his flight, since they had passed the day before.

Soon after this historic flight, Humans started to populate other planets, even if other species lived there. The Humans took over a vast part of space and called it the Sol Empire. A lot, but not all, of the races that were freely part of the Federation which had formed in the first universe, were not so freely part of the Sol Empire in this alternative universe, just like many races that had never been part of the Federation in the first universe. One could have said that the Sol Empire had been another version of the Federation, just without the Federation nobility. The humans had no problem enforcing their will on others, having the vast power and recourses of the Empire to back them up.

But then came the day of the uprising; the day that the line in the sand had been drawn, and crossed. The Klingons and Cardassians started fighting back. In the beginning, it had been nothing more than a little skirmish, something that the Empire could have crushed easily. And they would have, if they had not underestimated their slaves. The Sol Empire had sent some of its highly advanced warships to destroy the rebels, who had nothing more than a few warp one freighters. But just when all seemed over, the slaves that manned those warships rose up and overpowered the Humans that commanded them.

Suddenly 'the Coalition' had warships. They started fighting the Sol Empire more and more, freeing more and more planets from the Empire's oppression. The Bajorans were freed and also joined the rebellion, the same for the Romulans, and the Betazoids, and the Trill.

Then came the point where the Sol Empire had enough of it. They sent their entire space fleet to put an end to this nonsense of resisting the Sol Empire. The Empire had learned from the slave uprisings on the warships and had made it impossible for uprisings to happen again. Doors would only open for Humans; every slave that was not in their proper place was immediately killed.

Four thousand Sol warships faced a Coalition force of thirty captured warships. The fight would be over before it started. The Sol commanders gave the order to attack... but nothing happened. Once again they had underestimated their slaves. They had made sure that the slaves could not rise up and take over the ships, but that hadn't prevented the slaves from doing nothing at all.

Suddenly ships that needed one thousand people per ship to operate, had to be operated by forty humans per ship. The mighty Sol war fleet lay dead in space, far from any Empire help, and surrounded by planets that would support the Coalition. Before the day was through, the fleet was in the possession of the Coalition, and suddenly the 'mighty' Sol Empire had no fleet at all anymore.

The Sol Empire fell in the year that it took the Coalition to sweep from one end of the Empire to the other. The Coalition freed planet after planet. It moved its forces and supplies within days or weeks from one place to the other, while the Sol Empire troops were suddenly stranded on the planets they had once ruled. They received no help or reinforcements. They could only wait until it was their turn to surrender or die.

But with the obvious enemy defeated, fighting started between the different parties of the Coalition. Everyone wanted their part of the spoils of war. The Coalition fell apart and wars broke out all over the then known universe. The most infamous was the hundred day war between the Klingons and the Cardassians.

But it soon became apparent to the Cardassians that even though they were far stronger than nearly everyone, they could never hope to defeat the Klingons. Faced with a possible future of becoming a spoil of war for the Klingons themselves, the Cardassians decided that placing themselves second-in-command under a Klingon Reign would be a lot better than having nothing at all. So the Coalition was reformed.

Once and once again they started taking over other territory. Knowing that they needed allies if they wanted the Coalition to survive in the long run, they started dividing territory on the basis of loyalty given to the original Coalition. The separate parties could rule that part of the universe, as long as they were willing to be placed in a power pyramid with the Klingons and the Cardassians on top.

And so the Coalition's territory was divided into factions. The Klingon faction being the largest by far, having their own territory, and also taking all the territory of the old Sol Empire that would not fall under any of the new factions. Next came the Cardassians. Though their territory was nowhere near as substantial as that of the Klingons, it still was ten times as big as the territory they had been fighting for before they allied themselves with the Klingons once more. So the Cardassians were more than happy to give their support to the Klingons. The Bajorans, Romulans, Betazoids and Trill were not forgotten and received vast territories as well.

Those six factions formed from then on, the Coalition Council; which in reality was nothing more than five parties aligning themselves with the biggest party of all, making sure that nobody could ever take away their powers.

And this was the way Alpha and Beta Quadrant had existed for the last hundred and fifty years. In that time, a Coalition House was also formed. The three thousand members of this House had no real power, most of the members were part of one of the territories belonging to one of the six council members. They were there to advise the council, they were there to represent their planet or colony, they were there to make sure they would continue to get their share.

The real power in the Coalition lay with the Intendants. Each Coalition member had an Intendant who was the undisputed ruler over all that belonged to that Coalition member's faction. There were six Intendants in total; their importance amongst each other was determined by the race they represented.

First there was the Klingon Intendant, then the Cardassian, followed by the Bajoran, the Romulan, the Betazoid and the Trill. The only person more powerful than the Intendants was the Klingon Chancellor. So normally the Intendants only had to answer to one person, a person who in true Klingon fashion preferred not to be bothered with politics. Once appointed Intendant, the position was theoretically for life. There were only four ways one stopped being an Intendant: by stepping down voluntarily, by being demoted by the Klingon Chancellor, or by death.

This system was not liked by all, mostly by those that were not the ones in power, but it did give the Coalition the stability it needed to continue to exist. It also ensured that a lot of internal battle went on secretly if a new Intendant had to be chosen.

Which was the case in the Bajoran system.


Bajor: Dahkur province.

The palace of Intendant Kira Nerys.

"What is going on here?"

The Klingon grabbed the Bajoran priest and threw him aside. He tried opening the old-fashioned swinging doors, only to find them locked. One powerful kick later he was finally inside the private chambers of Intendant Kira Nerys. Seeing nobody, he moved to the bedroom where he had stayed the night a week before. Finally he saw the Intendant lying peacefully in bed while several Bajorans surrounded her. Some priests, some not.

"What the fuck is going on here?!" He pointed to one of the priests, "You, answer me."

But the priest didn't speak.

The Klingon pulled his disrupter weapon and pointed it at the priest. "Answer me right now, or die."

"He can't answer you," one of the other Bajorans spoke up in a soft tone. "All priests serving the Intendant personally, have their tongues removed. And show some respect for the dead. I thought that even you Klingons honored the dead."

"Dead?" The Klingon asked disbelievingly. The Intendant had been fine when he left her. He moved closer to the Intendant, wanting to feel her temperature to see if she was truly dead. She looked as if she was only sleeping. When he was almost touching the Intendant, the Bajoran grabbed his arm.

"Don't you dare touch her. Only priests may touch the Intendant."

The Klingon used his second hand to give the Bajoran a backhanded slap across the face. "She had no trouble with me touching her a few nights ago. Since I'm going to be informing the Chancellor that Kira is dead, I want to be sure that she is indeed dead."

The Bajoran barely stopped herself from jumping the Klingon. He had a point, and it would be a foolish move on her part right now to put herself in a bad light with the Klingons. But that didn't mean that she would suddenly be all nice to him, just that she wouldn't kill him where he stood.

After making sure that the Intendant was truly dead, the Klingon turned back to the Bajoran who was using a cloth to stem the blood flowing from her split lip. "Who are you woman?"

"I'm Ro Laren, one of the advisers of Intendant Kira." Ro answered through clenched teeth. "Would you please follow me? Maybe I can answer some of your questions and that way we can give the Intendant the peace and quiet she deserves."

The Klingon started to follow Ro, but it was more out of the need to get answers than out of respect for Kira. "Huh, don't try to fool me, you couldn't care less that she's dead. You're actually more than likely glad that she is."

They had reached one of the offices always used by the Intendant's staff and Ro pointed to a chair while she went to sit behind the desk before she answered him. "You're wrong. Oh, I'm not going to tell you that I actually liked her. I don't think you'll find anyone who did, not even her family. But right now I'm an adviser to the Intendant. That's a very nice and comfortable job. I only had to deal with the Intendant's temper from time to time. But a new Intendant will bring in new advisers. I'll never again get a job like this."

"Hmm, unless you lobby for getting the job of Intendant for yourself," the Klingon stated thoughtfully. He was surprised when the woman started laughing.

"Me? I'm only one of twenty advisers. There are nineteen people more likely to get the position than me. And that's without other people from the staff and people from outside the staff who see their chance at getting power."

"Why would the other advisers have a better chance than you?" The Klingon was surprised that the Bajoran was not promoting herself. It was a public secret that the new Intendant was chosen by the people, but that it was the Klingons who decided the outcome of this 'honest' vote.

"The Intendant didn't like doing the work that came with the job, she only wanted the spoils," Ro explained. "The advisers did all her work, except for things that required her personal presence. But I was only there to entertain her. She liked to be surrounded by pretty things, and apparently she thought that I was pretty. When she was bored, she asked me advice on certain things because it amused her to hear what I would come up with."

"I see," the Klingon said, leaning back in his chair, "Now, what happened to Kira, and why is her death not public knowledge yet?"

"The Intendant has been assassinated. She was killed by means of cellular destabilization. And that's also why this is not yet public knowledge. The Intendant had to be killed by someone who was able to get close to her with a cellular disruptor.

"As you know, this assassin's weapon is small and easy to hide. But the Intendant was paranoid as far as her security was concerned. It's more difficult to get into this palace without a weapon than it is to get into the Klingon high council packing a neutrino bomb... so to speak. To get a weapon in here, and to actually get into the Intendant's private chambers, it had to be someone close to her, someone from the staff."

"That still doesn't explain why it's been kept a secret," the Klingon persisted.

Ro sighed before explaining what she thought would be obvious. "Once it's known that the Intendant is dead, this palace is going to get swamped with people who want to get noticed by you Klingons as a possible replacement for Kira. With so many people around, it would be easy for the killer to get rid of the weapon they used."

"Hmm, I see," the Klingon once again said, "But the Chancellor has to know about this. I will contact him from my ship on a secure transmission. I'm sure that he'll send an official representative to take care of this, and to see who could be a likely replacement for Kira. In the meantime, I will order the personnel from my ships to secure the premises. Nobody is to come or go without permission from us. Once the representative arrives, I'm sure a full investigation will be started into the death of Intendant Kira. She may have been the least liked Bajoran around, but she was still an Intendant. Intendants are not killed unpunished. Pray to your Prophets that we will find the killer. You'll not like the alternative."

"And the alternative is?" Ro asked, already knowing the answer, but also knowing that the Klingon wanted to say it.

"If the killer is not found then the entire staff of the Intendant will be killed, thus still killing the killer."

Now it was Ro who leaned back in her chair, "I must say that you're taking the news of Kira's death rather lightly, considering that you used to share a bed."

The Klingon waved his hand dismissively, "Huh, she thought that she could secure some extra power by having my fleet in this system. If I have to be in this boring part of space, and she offers, who am I to turn down a good time."

Ro was about to react but was interrupted by the door opening. A handsome young Bajoran male, not much older than thirty, came into the room.

"Ro, they told me that you're keeping this secret? I," the man stopped talking when he had walked far enough into the room to see a Klingon sitting in the chair.

"Ah, that explains it," the at first so handsome face was quickly becoming an unhandsomely red, "That's why I had to find this out by coming here when I didn't hear from the Intendant. You're keeping this quiet because you want to be the first to win favor with the Klingons. Did you promise him a good time, hmm? I mean, since you're used to working like that. I'm sure,"

"Delik, before you say something you will truly regret," Ro interrupted him calmly from behind her desk, "You might want to think about how it looks that you're already throwing accusations around. After all, you are the first adviser, I'm only the twentieth adviser. You have a lot more to gain from Kira's assassination than I do."

"Assassination?" Delik Jetir asked in a suddenly quiet voice suddenly quite quietly, looking over to the Klingon who was following the exchange between the two Bajorans with full interest. "You've been able to establish that already?"

When he saw the Klingon raise his eyebrow slightly at his words, he quickly tried to find better words to say what he meant, "I mean, they told me that Kira was found dead only five hours ago."

"You seem to forget that I was Captain of the Special Forces before Kira appointed me her adviser. When you know how to kill people, it is easy to recognize if someone is killed in a way that you yourself have mastered."

Now the eyes of the Klingon went to Ro, and Delik looked pleased, as if he thought that she had said something wrong. Knowing what Delik and the Klingon must have been thinking, she calmly addressed the Klingon to defuse a situation that could turn out to be very deadly for her. "I was recruited into the Special Forces at age twelve after showing promising potential."

"Promising potential?" the Klingon asked.

"Being able to kill without remorse. My brother and father were killed in a street robbery, and after finding out who did it, I took my revenge by killing all members of the gang who killed my family," Ro explained calmly.

"Anyway, I stayed in the Special Forces for fifteen years. By that time, I had been promoted to Captain and I was becoming too dangerous for the Intendant, I held too much influence in the Special Forces. So, Kira had to either kill me or find another place to put me. She decided to make me an adviser instead. This way, I had no more influence in the Special Forces, and Kira had a highly trained person close around her, heightening her internal security. I've been an adviser for the last five years. I'm sure the first Bajoran you had asked about me would have told you this since it's common knowledge, inside the palace."

Delik Jetir saw that the Klingon was impressed by the state of service Ro had just laid out so calmly. And the Klingon was right to be impressed. The Bajoran Special Forces were amongst the most highly trained units in the Coalition, outshining even the Klingon Commandos. The only reason the Klingons allowed the Special Forces to exist, was because they had limited the numbers. Bajor was never allowed to have more than five thousand Special Forces at any time or else Bajor would have to suffer a Klingon embargo. Not worth it by any means. Having the Klingons as friends was much better than having more Special Forces.

Delik knew that he could forget about impressing this particular Klingon, he also knew that he had to get out of there quick before the Klingon asked about his career. Telling a Klingon that you've been a politician all your life without any military service what so ever would only bring you disdain from that Klingon.

"I'm going to inform the other advisers and ready an official statement," Delik said, turning around and starting to walk to the door.

"You do whatever you have to," Ro simply answered.

"But," the Klingon spoke up, "you wait with announcing that statement until my soldiers have secured the Palace and the compound."

"You're going to occupy the palace?" Delik asked disbelievingly.

"Only until Kira's killer is found. We don't want the assassin of an Intendant to escape, now do we? What kind of signal would that send? Either the killer will be found, or you all die. Now go."

Delik was smart enough to leave without another word.

Once Delik was gone, the Klingon stood up and tugged his uniform straight, "Well, as interesting as this was, it's time for me to inform the Chancellor. You do realize that with your background you'll become a prime suspect?"

"Of course. But I also know that investigation will reveal that I had nothing to gain from the Intendant's death, only to lose. And, if I had really killed her, do you think that I would have used a manner that would point to me? I would have broken her neck; anyone inside the palace could have done that."

"True," the Klingon agreed. "Are there any other former Special Forces working inside the palace?"

"No. But there are always some Special Forces amongst the guards guarding the palace from the outside."

"So either someone killed Kira and wants to use you as a convenient suspect. Or you killed her in a way that points to you so that you could say that it's way too obvious to have been you."

"Could be," Ro acknowledged, knowing that it would be of no use to dispute that this was a possibility.

"You know, you could use someone putting in a good word for you right about now."

"I could," Ro acknowledged once again.

The Klingon came closer and leaned a little over the desk towards Ro, "I could tell the Chancellor how helpful you were."

"At what price?" Ro asked, knowing where this was going.

"The nights can be so lonely sometimes, don't you agree?" The Klingon leaned a little closer until he was almost nose to nose with Ro.

"I'm sorry, Gowron. That price is a little too high for me. You might be commander over a fleet of battle ships. But I know that you've been ordered on patrol to the Bajoran sector so that you were out of the Chancellor's hair."

"True, the Chancellor and I get along better if we don't see each other too often," the Klingon agreed, "but I'm still one of his most valued commanders. Not everyone gets a command over thirty Birds of Prey."

"Nope, no can do," Ro said softly with a slightly amused voice. "You're just not my type, Gowron."

"Oh, and what is your type?" The Klingon asked, enjoying the little game.

"My type is female."

"What?" The Klingon asked, slowly standing up again.

"I told you that the Intendant apparently thought that I was pretty. You really don't think that all she did was watch? I'm the reason why Kira was sometimes too busy to see you."

The Klingon looked at Ro for some time, several emotions dancing over his face, amongst which mainly anger and disbelief. Finally the Klingon started to laugh softly, more of a chuckle. But quickly the laugh became louder and louder until it was a full-blown Klingon laugh.

"Very well, Ro Laren, adviser number twenty," the Klingon said between his laughter. "Have it your way. But if you were that close to Kira, then you could indeed have killed her much easier. I'll be in touch to tell you when to expect the Chancellor's representative."

With that, Gowron turned and left the office, still laughing.

Once the Klingon was gone, Ro let out a shaky breath to calm her nerves. It had been close, too damn close. The pride of a Klingon was a strange thing, especially the pride of a male Klingon. Turning Gowron down and then also telling him that she had been sleeping with the same woman he had been sleeping with had been a huge gamble.

She rubbed her hands over her face and let out another deep breath of air. If he had attacked her, it would have been all over. There was no way that she would have been able to get away with killing him. Gowron had told the truth, even though he was far away from the Klingon Chancellor, he still had the Chancellor's ear.

But no, Gowron had told her that he would be in touch with her. With her. Not with any of the other advisers, not with the prime minister, not with the Kai, no. Her, puny adviser number twenty.

She had managed to make herself the Bajoran the Klingons would deal with. Maybe she could really pull this off. If she just didn't blow it.

They had taught her a lot in the Special Forces, but politics were new to her. She was used to seeing a problem and removing it. But she couldn't do that anymore. She had to learn how to deal with people, how to give and take. Even after five years as adviser she had never closed a deal.

It really had been a simple thing. Kira had wanted her but even the Intendant could not make a Bajoran Captain of the Special Forces into her plaything without some effort; it would have turned all the Special Forces against her. So she had taunted Ro that she was going the kill her, which hadn't impressed Ro at all. Surprised, and strangely amused by this reaction, Kira had promoted Ro to adviser. Only to have her around so that she could try to seduce Ro.

But Ro had known that her survival depended on her continuing to be of interest to Kira. Ro had played the game well, giving in to Kira at just the right time, making sure to make it seem that she had done so reluctantly and that she had not been able to resist the Intendant's charms. Also making sure to look very ashamed and remorseful the next day.

Kira had never suspected that Ro was playing her, and always assumed that Ro was normally only interested in men. But that she, Intendant Kira Nerys, had managed to seduce Ro. And she continued to 'overwhelm' Ro once every several months. Every time Ro slept with her it seemed like a victory to Kira.

The nights with the Intendant weren't unpleasant, but they also didn't fill Ro with pleasure. Ro really couldn't care less. In the Special Forces she had learned that her body was a weapon, to be used in whichever way necessary to survive. And survive she had, for five years, waiting for her chance. And now her chance might just have arrived.

Deciding that she had given Delik enough of a head start, Ro got up and left the office. She knew that by now Delik would have gathered the other advisers together in one of the two conference rooms. She moved through the corridors until she arrived at the conference room the advisers normally used for their weekly meeting. But to her surprise it was empty. That meant that Delik had gathered everyone he could get his hands on and that they were in the big conference room instead.

She took a deep breath and walked further down the corridor. She wasn't afraid that they would hurt her, physically. None of the other advisers was anywhere near brave enough to try to attack a former Special Forces member. She was afraid, however, of them talking her under the table. They were all seasoned politicians, making deals in the name of the Intendant for years. The only thing she truly knew was giving and receiving orders. Taking another deep breath, she decided that she just had to learn and walked into the conference room.

The first words she heard when the door opened were Delik saying that Ro killed the Intendant.

"Throwing accusations around again, Delik?" Ro asked while she walked further into the room. Delik moved away from her a little bit, Ro liked that and it made her feel a little more secure.

"I'm only telling them the truth," Delik defended, feeling a lot more in control with a room full of people.

Beside the advisers, there were also the adviser's assistants. Ro had never seen the use in having an assistant. The only thing they could have helped her with was by coming up with new ways of playing the Intendant, and that she could do on her own.

"And I ask you again, how do you know for sure that it was me? To me it sounds as if you're shifting suspicion away from yourself. Tell me, Delik, why are you so desperate to point the finger at someone?"

Ro slowly walked to one of the seats at the mainly empty table and sat down. For some reason most preferred to be standing.

"You won't be able to accuse me of killing Kira, I'm so sure it's you, because all the evidence points to you," Delik said with a smooth voice. It was clear to Ro that he was really talking to the others rather than to her.

"What evidence?" Ro asked calmly.

"What evidence, you ask? What about the fact that the Intendant was killed in a manner favored by the Special Forces?"

"First of all, cellular destabilization is not a way preferred by the Special Forces, the Special Forces just know how to do it. Cellular destabilization is easy to determine, the Special Forces prefer ways that are untraceable. Second, while I'm trained to kill effectively using the method, it's something you all could have done. It doesn't take that much knowledge, you just need to know how to fire the weapon."

Knowing that he could not contradict the claim, and not wanting to lose his audience, Delik moved on to his next piece of evidence. "And you just happened to be the first adviser to arrive today."

"Delik, I've been the adviser to arrive first every day for the last five years. And the last to leave."

"And not leave at all some nights," one of the other advisers spoke up.

"Not my choice," Ro simply said, knowing that it would strengthen her statement of always being the first to arrive.

"And what about you fast-talking that Klingon?"

"Delik, you would be wise to research before making claims. If you had, then you would have found out that the Klingon had disturbed Kira's death vigil. I didn't search him out, he came in. I merely took him away so that the vigil could continue undisturbed. I can't help it that he started asking questions. What should I have done? Tell him not to ask? That the official statement would come later in the day and that he would find out then?"

"And what about you focusing the attention on us?" Delik came closer until he was almost touching Ro.

Ro stood up, pushing her chair back, and daring him with her eyes to actually touch her. "Sometimes I'm amazed at how you could become adviser, Delik. It's a fact that someone in this room has killed Kira. How long do you think it would be until the Klingons realized that? Then their attention would still focus on us. But by then hundreds of potential candidates for Intendant would have swarmed the palace, or they would have gone straight to the Klingons. Now the Klingons will focus on us. I thought that you would be pleased with a one in twenty chance of becoming the new Intendant, instead of one in several hundred."

Seeing that Delik had run out of accusations, Ro pressed on. "But here's what I find interesting. The Intendant is killed; you point the finger at me. Let's say you can make people actually believe your nonsense. It's very clean and convenient, don't you think? The Intendant is killed, you lead the 'search' for the killer, you find the killer and you trial her for the death of the Intendant. A sentence of death is immediate, and gone is your problem. Suddenly you're the hero, you're the one who found the killer of the Intendant, and you're the one who made sure that this killer got her just punishment. Hey, the Klingons might even endorse your bid for becoming the new Intendant for all this help you've given them."

"Nonsense," Delik said dismissively.

"Oh, and what you say about me isn't? You accuse me only because I've done something else in my life besides just sit around and tell people how right they are. You seem to forget, once again, that I had no ambition to become an adviser. I was more than happy to be Captain of the Special Forces. But now that I'm here I'm not about to roll over and play dead, certainly not for you. Now, I've been very patient with you, but from now on be very careful with pointing that finger at me, I might just rip it off your hand and shove it where the sun don't shine."

Delik was speechless. He had never heard Ro talk like that. She always was the quiet one, sometimes not speaking all day. Finally, not knowing what to say, he threw out a, 'this isn't over', and walked out of the room.

"Um, I have some PADDs to sign," the adviser who had spoken up before said and also left the room.

One by one people left the room until only two were left. Ro and Jetur Adami. Jetur was an assistant to one of the other advisers. She was a woman with blazing red hair, six years younger than Ro, who knew how to choose her clothing in a way that would show off her body in a very sexual, teasing way.

The flaps of her light blue shirt were held closed by a knot that showed off Jetur's stomach and navel, while pulling the rest of the fabric snug over the woman's very ample chest. And of course Jetur had made sure that the fabric of her shirt was thin enough that the silhouettes of her nipples could just be seen if one took more than just a moment to look at the woman. Ro had always assumed that the other adviser had hired Jetur solely for her looks. She was one of the finest looking woman that Ro had ever seen.

"Can I help you?" Ro finally asked when it became clear that Jetur had no intention of leaving like the rest.

"I would like to apply for the job of being your assistant," Jetur said in a pleasing and warm voice that sounded just as stunning as the woman looked.

"Come again?" Ro asked, thinking that she must have misheard.

"I want to be your assistant," Jetur repeated.

"I've never needed an assistant, why would I want one now?"

"Because of politics. Frankly, you suck at it," Jetur stated confidently. "Your mentality will get you a long way with Klingons and soldiers, but if you want to be Intendant you also need to be able to sit in a meeting for hours on end with a Denobulan and still seem interested in what they have to say. Or you have to be able to out-bargain a Ferengi. You aren't able to do so now. Eventually you'll learn on your own, I'm sure. But by then, a new Intendant will already have been appointed."

"And you know how to do this, and want to teach me how to do it?" Ro asked, not dismissing the woman because she knew that politics was her one weak point.

"I'm willing to do it for you, for now. That way you can concentrate on impressing the Klingons while I take care of the rest. Once you're Intendant there will be time enough for you to learn yourself. You know how the Intendant had almost all her work done by the advisers? Well some of those advisers also applied that trick. I've been negotiating all the deals with the more boring political races for my boss, for the last three years now. I have connections that my boss doesn't even know of. And you need connections."

"And why do you want to help me? Being loyal to your boss might be the smart move right now."

Jetur stood up, came closer, and sat down again in the chair next to Ro, "I want to help you because they don't think ahead. Before you came in, they were talking about how they had to work together against you. But they seem to forget that if they truly could discredit you, there are still nineteen advisers left. Who's going to be next? Who are they going to conspire against then? At least when I'm working for you, I'll know up front that everybody else wants to put a knife in my back."

Ro could see the logic of that. It was a long shot betting on the one who seemed to have everyone against her, but long shots sometimes paid off. And when they did, you could often retire on the winnings. "What's in it for you?"

"Well," Jetur said sweetly, "If you make it to Intendant, then I'm sure that you would be very grateful to me, maybe even grateful enough to make me your First Adviser?"

"I might," Ro said, finding it a fair price for help. Besides, if Jetur turned out to be a lousy adviser she didn't have to listen to the woman. Ro felt Jetur's leg against her own, and the way the woman was leaning forward a little gave Ro a nice view of her cleavage.

"Are you trying to offer me some extra benefits to persuade me to give you the job?" Ro asked amused.

"I might," Jetur answered, mimicking Ro's words. "If getting the job requires it."

"No thanks, I don't want to get caught between fun and work on this." Ro looked the woman over once more and decided that it might be smart to think ahead once again. "But I might come back to you on that somewhere down the line. You got the job, but I expect you to make me look like the best politician that ever lived, for those whom it concerns."

Ro stood up and started walking to the door, but before reaching it she turned around to the redhead. "I expect you in my office in two hours. There's a lot of work to be done. Oh, and Jetur?"


"You're not an adviser yet, only an assistant. I can get away with killing you. Don't double cross me."

"Don't worry," Jetur said with a smile, "For siding with you I can only lose my job right now, which was a big possibility already anyway. I know that on first impression you're the least likely to become Intendant, but I like taking a gamble sometimes. And I'm gambling on you. The others are used to using charm and deception; they don't seem to understand that this won't help them with winning the Klingons' favor. But half an hour ago, it was from your office that I saw an influential Klingon leave, laughing. Believe me, Ro, I'm just choosing sides now in a situation where everybody has to eventually."

Ro slightly dipped her head to indicate that she accepted Jetur's explanation. "Alright then. And if I'm going to have an assistant who used to work for another adviser, then I can just as well piss them off some more. You can call me Laren from now on."

"Thank you," Jetur said in a slightly respectful tone. "In that case, please call me Adami."

"Thank you, I will." Ro's tone was soft, giving the invitation the respect it deserved. "Two hours, don't be late." She said in a stronger voice before turning around and walking out of the room.

Now that Ro was gone, Jetur allowed herself to let out a soft laugh while she rubbed her hands in delight. Things were about to get very interesting.

Chapter 1

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