MAIN DISCLAIMER: See Prologue
Torres had ordered Seven to show her where she regenerated and once there, the Intendant had told Seven to start her regeneration cycle while she herself went to take care of some other things.
When Seven woke up after an eight hour regeneration cycle, she was surprised to see a slightly older Klingon standing a little bit further away, looking intensely at the Borg machinery surrounding him. He turned towards her when she stepped out of her alcove and Seven could now see that he had only one good eye. For a moment Seven wondered why did not have an artificial eye but then realized that he, as a Klingon, would probably rather suffer from a reduced field of vision than having the battle scar removed.
To Klingons, scars often were a badge of honor to be worn proudly. Seven was glad that apparently both B'Elanna Torres' stayed away from wearing their scars like that. Voyager's B'Elanna had once told her that she didn't need to prove to everybody that she didn't duck fast enough. And she had seen some scars on the body of the Intendant, but nothing that would take away from the beauty that Seven had to admit the Intendant had. So either the Intendant thought the same, or she was such a good warrior that she had never gotten a bigger scar.
"Come," The Klingon said roughly while he started moving to the door.
Seven was about to follow the Klingon, but than decided against it. She was the Intendant's body slave, if she, as a slave, wanted to get into a position where she could help the Voyager crew, she had to start from the beginning to make some kind of impression that she was more than just another slave, "No."
The Klingon stopped dead in his tracks and slowly turned towards Seven. "What?" He drawled slowly, "Did you just say 'no' to me, slave?"
Seven moved a little closer to the Klingon, portraying the cool air of superiority she had mastered so well in the first year on Voyager, "Indeed I did. I am the Intendant's body slave, and I will only follow her orders. I will certainly not follow the orders of some Klingon who does not even see the need to introduce himself."
The Klingon came closer until he was almost touching Seven, "Don't make me make you come along, slave."
There had been a small growl in the Klingon's voice when he spoke, but Seven was starting to understand that with Klingons that was quite normal, "You can try. But than I will be forced to hurt you. I would like to ovoid that. I think it would upset my Mistress."
"You know something, slave? You... just... cost me a keg of blood wine," The Klingon reached into his uniform, making Seven take a defensive stand, "Easy, I just have a message for you."
Seven took the small padd the Klingon handed her and read it.
"Well done, my pet, I'm very pleased with you. Now follow Martok, he will bring you to me."
The message had been signed by a thumbprint that the padd had recognized as the Intendant's. Seven saw that Torres had called her 'my pet' again and she assumed that most would consider it demeaning to be called that. But to Seven, who was used to the fact that names were nothing more that designations, it sounded... nice. For her it meant something. It meant that the Intendant was pleased with her.
Seven handed the padd back to Martok and asked, "She bet you that I would not follow you?"
Martok started walking to the door again, and this time Seven followed, "Not quite. She asked me to come and get you because she is still busy. It was when she said that she would write you a little message that I told her that I didn't see the need for it, that's when she bet me a keg of blood wine that you wouldn't follow me without a message."
Seven moved behind the Klingon when they passed some other Klingons, but one there was room again she moved back beside him, "May I ask who you are, Martok?" By adding his name, Seven indicated that she really wanted to know WHAT he was.
"I'm General Martok; Commander of the Klingon Security Department, ever since I lost my eye in a fight against twenty five Cardassians."
Knowing the Klingon habit of exaggerating, Seven guessed it to be about five Cardassians with whom Martok had gotten into a disagreement in some kind of bar, "Why is the Security General getting me? Is this not seen as beneath you? To 'fetch' a slave and bring her to her master?"
"Security General..." Martok let the words role of his lips slowly, "Security General, I like that. It sounds a lot better than 'Commander of the Klingon Security Department.' Simple, and to the point. And after seven years of serving the Intendant, I don't question Torres. She may do things differently than the average Klingon sometimes, but she is one of the best and fairest Intendants we ever had. If she asks me to bring a slave to her, so what? It won't kill me, and I have noting else to do."
Seven had assumed they were going to the bridge, but it quickly became clear that they were going to sickbay instead.
"And she knows what she's doing," The Klingon continued while he carefully stepped passed some wires hanging from the sealing, "I mean, look at this ship. It is damaged so badly it almost falls apart, it's of a technology that we don't know. And even if we are able to repair it, we won't know how to maintain it.
"Most commanders would just destroy it and have it over with. But not Torres. No, she wants to study it;, she remembers that this ship withstood the combined attack of two enhanced Birds of Prey. When repaired this ship can be very much of use to the Intendant. Most people will be fooled into thinking that this is merely a civilian ship by its lines and looks. Never suspecting that it packs the wallop it does. And the technology that is built into this ship might be of some use too."
They entered sickbay and Seven saw Torres sitting in the Doctor's office, while the Doctor was standing in front of what used to be his desk. Seven quickly looked to the beds, finding them all empty, except for one. She wanted to go over to B'Elanna but saw that Torres was motioning them into the office.
"And?" Torres asked amused when Seven and Martok entered the office.
Martok grunted good-naturedly before admitting defeat, "Huh, I will have the keg delivered by tonight."
Torres let out a loud laugh and looked at Seven with approval, "I'm glad I didn't have to break you, this is much more entertaining."
"Than I am glad I was able to entertain," Seven said neutrally, knowing that in fact the Intendant had been testing her, seeing how she would react, seeing if she would follow Martok's orders as well. Guessing from the Intendant's behavior, Seven suspected that she had acted to the Intendant's liking.
Torres saw how her slave and the hologram kept looking at each other. For a moment she wondered what would be better, having them talk to each other, or keeping them apart. Finally she decided that if she wanted the slave to keep being so compliant, she had to give the blonde information on her friends from a source she fully trusted. She picked op the only padd that was lying on the desk and handed it to the Doctor, "Here, go show my slave her new clothes, I have some things to discuss with Martok."
The Doctor took the padd and was about to leave the office when Torres spoke to him again.
"That corner back there is far enough."
The Doctor looked back to the Intendant and saw that she was pointing to the back of his former office, as far away from the two Klingons as could while still being in the office. He nodded his head and moved to the corner where Seven already was by then, "Seven, are you okay?" He asked in a soft whisper, wanting to make sure that they were not overheard.
"I am functioning," Seven took a look at the information on the padd and saw the clothing she had seen before that day, only that twenty-three of the sixty-eight garments had been marked with 'doable.' She assumed that those were the ones in which the bio-suit technology could be incorporated, "How is the crew?"
"We are doing relatively ok. We were all put in some big... cellblock, I guess you can call it. There are a lot of rooms in there so when we all double up with two people for each room, as the rooms are designed, we all have a decent amount of space. There is even a small sickbay. Nothing big, but enough for me to be able to treat the ones that still need treatment. Surprisingly enough, we are left pretty much alone, there are no guards or anything, in the cellblock. But the passageway to the rest of the ship is guarded by two force-fields and also some Klingons. I must say that I'm surprised with the amount of room we got, especially since to them we are noting more than slaves."
"You seem to forget that the Negh'Var in our universe is also capable of transporting ten thousand ground troops. It stands to reason that in this ship of similar size, a lot of that room is used to make this into a home away from home for the Klingon Intendant, I am sure that the 'cellblock' as you call it, is also designed to function as housing for the staff of dignities when the Intendant holds a gathering onboard of this ship," Seven had used the time she needed to make the explanation to gather the courage to ask she question of which she dreaded the answer, "How is B'Elanna?" Seven tried to look out of the window, but from where she was standing she couldn't see B'Elanna's bed, "I am in the process of ensuring the Intendant's help in healing her."
Surprisingly the Doctor looked very relieved, and his answer made clear as to why, "B'Elanna is going to be fine. Almost eight hours ago, shortly after I was brought here myself, the Intendant came in here with a Klingon physician and we talked about B'Elanna's situation. The Doctor agreed with my account of B'Elanna's situation, and how we could save her. After that we were all beamed to the Klingon sickbay and the relatively easy procedures were preformed superbly by the Klingon doctor.
"For B'Elanna's sake we can be glad that we came across the Intendant. We had no trouble cloning what we needed, and since she is the Klingon Intendant, the main sickbay on her ship is even above the standards required for a Klingon hospital. They even had the organs that B'Elanna needed in storage."
"B'Elanna is out of surgery already?" Seven asked surprised, "I would assume that it would take hours to repair the damage you mentioned, that she actually still had to undergo surgery."
"No, I already did most of the work when B'Elanna was brought in after her accident. I mean, it still was major surgery, but I could not help B'Elanna any further before because I didn't have the organs to help her.
"If I had, it would have been a relatively easy procedure of attaching the organs to the blood vessels and nerve endings, as it was now. It took more time to clone the stem cell organ, than it took to do all the operations. All B'Elanna needs now is rest, a lot of rest. The Intendant said that B'Elanna would be placed with us, I don't know why she ordered us beamed here first."
"I know why," Seven said softly before continuing and changing the subject before the Doctor could ask what she meant, "The Intendant is thinking about having Voyager repaired, I will see if I can convince her that it would be wise to have the repairs done by the Voyager crew. I think she might see the logic of this.
"The crew will need Voyager repaired if they are ever to escape. Plus, having them all work on Voyager will prevent them being split into several groups. Yesterday the Intendant said that some other slaves should be put with the crew, how are they?"
"They are pretty ok. There are ten of them and they are what are called engineering slaves. Apparently they are considered some kind of elite amongst the slaves because they know a lot and are actually encouraged to think and solve difficult problems. But they are slaves never the less. I think they would escape with us as soon as they get the chance. The only thing they worry about is the 'Master Slave' that they are expecting."
Suddenly the voice of the Intendant interrupted them, "Find anything you like?" The tone had been amused, making it clear that the Intendant knew that they were certainly not looking at the clothes, "We will leave in a few minutes."
"Yes, Mistress," Seven was glad that the Intendant was giving them a few minutes more.
Torres looked over at her slave, still amused that the blonde had acted as she had hoped she would.
"What are you doing?" Martok asked.
"What do you mean?" Torres only averted her eyes reluctantly form her prized possession. What she had not told Seven was that fully blonde slaves like her were the most sought after slaves in the Coalition. Their light hair was so different from most known species that they quickly fetched twenty times the average price of a slave. And then such a body, the blonde was easily worth a hundred thousand credits.
"The slave, what are you doing; letting her so lose?"
"Martok, I have no idea what you are talking about. I captured a pretty slave and I decided to have some fun before I sell her."
Martok looked over to Seven and pulled his beard thoughtfully, "Alright, if you are going to sell her, I will give you two hundred thousand credits for her right now. You know you will never get a better price."
"I don't want your fucking credits. I make a million a day, just for being Intendant," Torres said annoyed, knowing that with what Martok had offered, she could not possibly say that she wanted more. Two hundred thousand was way too much for any slave, even such a fine one as the blonde.
"Precisely my point. And then you also make her a body slave? You could have said that before making me that bet, by the way."
Torres flashed a toothy grin at that, "What's the fun in that? I wanted some of that excellent blood wine that you somehow manage to get your hands on all the time."
"Torres," Martok growled softly, keeping in mind the two slaves standing in the back of the office.
"What?" Now it was Torres that was growling, "I don't like to be questioned, not even by you. I'm not one of your suspects that you are interrogating, Martok. Remember that, or else I will take your second eye too."
Not many people knew that it had been Torres that had taken Martok's eye in battle. Martok had challenged Torres, disagreeing with her decisions. A battle that lasted one and a half hours later, Torres had stood with a bat'leth over him, deciding whether or not is she would spare his life. She had, as a favor to the Chancellor, since he and Martok were close friends. But his eye had been beyond saving, having suffered the point of the bat'leth during the battle.
As it often was with Klingons, that fight had been a base for mutual respect, and soon a friendship had started to form. Making the three most powerful Klingons alive into friends that trusted each other WITH their lives. The Chancellor, the Intendant, and the Commander of the Klingon Security Department.
"I'm not challenging your decisions, you do with her what you want. But I am the Commander of the Klingon Security Department, and I need to know what is going on. I can't investigate you, my friend, and I don't want to. So I have to rely on what you tell me. All I'm asking is that you tell me what's going on. A body slave?"
Torres sighed, knowing that Martok was right. "It is a common practice," She said a lot more deflated.
"Yes!" Martok said in a hissing tone, not wanting the slave to hear his next words, "For everybody else. Every household has at least one. But not an Intendant, never an Intendant. Damn it B'Elanna, you have given that slave more power than almost anybody else in the entire Coalition. She can give an order and say that it's from you and everybody will believe her. Only the other Intendants, the Chancellor and me would dare to question an order coming from you!"
"Martok, I would know, or find out, really quick if she gave an order in my name. There is nothing that I can't counteract."
"But by the time you find out, things might have happened. Some things only need hours, minutes to have the desired affect."
"Look, Martok, I..." Torres sighed, not really knowing how to explain what she herself didn't know. Martok was right, making the blonde into her body slave had been a foolish thing. Intendants usually never had body slaves, they could simply take what they wanted. It was one of the advantages of being an Intendant.
"B'Elanna, as I said, I'm not questioning you or your actions. If you want a body slave, fine have fun. But level with me, my friend. Let me know what I can expect," Martok reached over and took one of the chairs standing in front of the desk.
He sat down as close as possible to Torres, while doing so he thought about how he could get the information he needed, "Tell me this, what made you make her into your body slave? The last time an Intendant had one of those is decades ago, the reason being that normally Intendants just take what they want, or don't want to give a slave that much power, or both. Did you tell her that as a body slave, she also has certain rights over you? How do you feel about not being allowed to touch any other slave in a sexual manner?"
"This is the first time I used a slave for that, and you know it. I don't need slaves for sex, people always stand in line to win favors in any way possible from the Klingon Intendant, including by sleeping with her. I can still have sex with everyone that isn't a slave."
"B'Elanna, those are excuses, and you know it. True as they may be, they are still excuses."
"Look, I don't know, okay?" Torres finally admitted while banging her fist on the desk, "There is something about her that made me want to make her mine, all mine. Something inside me told me that I should make her into my body slave. Call it a gut feeling, a hunch. Something tells me that she will be part of my life for a long time. And I didn't want anybody leering at her. She is mine, and Kahless help the person who would try to take her away from me."
"You are damn possessive over a mere slave."
"Have you ever known me to be anything but possessive of the things that belong to me?"
"Alright, I have to give you that. But she isn't broken, you just said so yourself. That means that you must have something that you are holding over her, what? Or do I have to investigate that?"
"I do have something," Torres admitted, "The crew of this ship. I made up a reward and punishment system for her. To put it simply, as long as she does what I want her to do, the crew live. Not to forget my counterpart out there. The slave wants to do everything in her power to make sure my counterpart is going to be alright, and all she has to do right now to make this happen is please me."
Martok sighed, he saw the signs that Torres herself didn't want to see, Torres was developing feelings for the slave. Damn risky, and possibly damn painful for his friend, "You won't be able to hold that above her head for ever."
"I know, and I will cross that ravine when I get there."
Finally Martok grinned a little, he was not happy with the situation, but he also saw no immediate threat, "You have truly lousy timing, my friend. Some will say that you are doing this..." He reached into his uniform, took out a different padd than he had shown Seven, and handed it to Torres, "...Because of her."
Torres took the padd and saw that it was her proposal to the Chancellor, "What did he say?"
"He told me... to ask you to go to Bajor..." Seeing the frown of displeasure that Torres was pulling, he continued with mild amusement, "...And I have to accompany you. I will research the death of Kira, while you are to see who is going to replace her."
"He is milking this for everything it is damn worth," Torres said with a growl.
"Can you blame him? That is some plan you are suggesting there. But the good news for you is that he also said that once the new Intendant of Bajor is known, he, me, and you will meet and talk about your plan."
"He did?" Torres asked, suddenly a lot happier, "That means that the meeting in two days is proponed 'til then and we are to go to Bajor at once?"
"It does," Martok agreed. "B'Elanna, I have to ask this since everybody else will, have you done this for her?"
"Don't be ridiculous," She said, knowing that he was talking about her proposal, "I gave you this padd two weeks ago; I have been making small suggestions for over a year now. And I've only known the slave since yesterday."
"Yesterday?!" Martok said so loud that the two slaves must have heard him.
"I know, I know," Torres said quietly, "Please don't ask me again if I know what I'm doing. You might actually force me to think about it, and I don't want that."
"Alright, for now. But I want you to promise me something."
"Promise me that when the rest of her crew is no longer a piece of leverage you can use against her, you will tell me so that I can keep a closer eye on her."
"Come on, B'Elanna, you know it is a reasonable request."
"Alright already, I promise."
Having the promise he needed, Martok looked over to the blonde slave once more, "Is she really worth it, B'Elanna?"
Torres knew that the answer to that question should have been 'no, she isn't', or to ask him what he meant. But despite that she heard herself say, "Yeah, she is."
Torres looked to the face of her friend and gave him a smile; not many people rated a smile from the Intendant, "Thanks for being concerned, my friend. Well, I have things to do, including having my slave walk me through this ship. Go tell the captain of the change in plans. Tell him to tow this ship behind mine and make a little detour to my home planet. The extra day of waiting probably won't kill anyone on Bajor... and if it does, less people to chose from. It should make my task easier."
They both stood up and Torres addressed the slaves once again.
Lowering her voice once again, Seven asked, "What is a master slave, and why are the other slaves worried about this?"
"Apparently a master slave is the highest thing a slave can be; they are slaves that has shown its reliability and who is normally put in charge of overseeing the other slaves. And they worry about it because it is known to happen that these master slaves occasionally turn very loyal to their masters and on occasion very cruel to the other slaves, knowing that they can get away with it. The slaves told us that if we are put to work on some project, then we can be sure to expect a master slave being appointed to us."
"I will try to find out more about this," Seven said. But before she could say anything else Torres spoke up once again.
"Time to go. Doctor, since you chose to stay with the humans for now, you will be escorted back to them. My slave has told me that she needs to regenerate every seventy-two hours, and that her implants need periodic maintenance from you. For the time being, until I decide what to do with you all, the procedure will be that my slave will regenerate when needed, and after that she will come and see you for maintenance."
"Mistress?" Seven asked when she was sure that her question would not interrupt the Intendant.
"Often regenerating is also a cure against small defects, but to do so the cycle has to be slightly changed. It would be more affective to first do the maintenance and than the regenerating."
"Fine, same difference to me. Now come."
Seven followed Torres out of the office and looked over to the bed that held Voyager's B'Elanna Torres.
Seven looked back to Torres to see if the Intendant meant that she had to leave sickbay, but the Intendant was making an almost dismissive hand wave to the bed.
Seven moved to beside the bed and only now did it register that the machines that were there the day before, were now gone. It gave clear visual to the words that the Doctor had spoken. B'Elanna was doing better, and needed only rest.
Seven closed her eyes and savored the moment. B'Elanna was going to live. She opened her eyes again and took B'Elanna's hand, speaking softly to the Klingon, "Be well, I look forward to the day that you will actually call me your friend, for now I can. Now I know that day will come. I only whish that we both had not been so stubborn, we would have had time to enjoy our friendship."
Seven was delighted to see B'Elanna move, it was only a twitch of the lips and a faint squishing of the hand she was holding, but Seven had felt and seen it.
"Time to go, my pet," Torres said softly from behind her, "You will get another chance to see her when she is doing better."
Seven stepped back from the bed, only letting go of the hand with great difficulty, and followed the Intendant out of the door. They were already in the turbolift when Seven softly whispered, "Thank you."
"What?" Torres asked, turning to the blonde, "What did you say?"
"I said, thank you, Mistress."
"What in all levels of condemnation are you thanking me for?"
"For bringing B'Ela..."
"I have no idea what you are talking about, slave. So just drop it."
"Now, I'm going to take another look at this ship, and you are going to be my guide. You will tell me what the rooms are, what's important in them, and what else you might thing I should know."
"Yes, Mistress," Seven agreed, knowing that this would be the perfect chance to point out that the Voyager crew would be best suited for the job of repairing the ship.
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