DISCLAIMER: Don't own them, wish I did.
SERIES: This story is a continuation of the story Alternate Choices. This story will make absolutely no sense unless you have read Alternate Choices first.
SLAVERY: This story deals with slavery. If you don't like that, don't read the story. If you have read 'Alternate Choices' and could live with the slavery in that story, you can surely live with the slavery in this one.
MASTER/SLAVE: This story deals, just like 'Alternate Choices,' with the master/slave concept. And I'm not just talking about a little kinky role playing. No, I'm talking about the real thing. Torres is an Intendant (the boss of the bosses) and Seven is her body slave.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"So much for that." Jadzia said while she threw the padd loosely onto the low table in front of her.
The padd was picked up again by a soft and delicate hand that had clearly never seen a hard day's work in its existence. But then, that was how it was supposed to be. Deanna Troi had been influential long before she was appointed Betazoid Intendant. She had been 'bred' for only one purpose; to be the head of the Troi family.
While the Troi's were far from even having to think about financial problems, they weren't the richest family on Betazed. But the Troi's had been the most influential family ever since the Coalition was created. Deanna's mother had made the calculated gamble to have herself impregnated by a very carefully selected human slave.
True, Deanna hadn't gotten all the telepathic powers full Betazoids had; she had gotten mostly only the empathic powers, and very limited telepathic abilities. However, in return she had gotten two things that the full Betazoids didn't have; a mind that with training could be blocked against mental probing, and Deanna had her mind trained to perfection, and by not having all the normal telepathic powers she never fully learned to rely on them.
It had set her apart from the other Betazoids. Where normal Betazoids relied fully on their telepathic powers while making deals, Deanna didn't. In negotiations others normally always sat trying to figure Deanna out, trying to figure out just how much she would give, how far she would go, but all they got was a total blank, and this while Deanna made full use of her cunning and sharp negotiation techniques. It normally resulted in Deanna coming out on top and the others never really knowing just what Deanna would have added to the deal to close it.
Deanna read the information of the padd for a moment. "I don't know. True, by them entering into a life bond they cut off the easiest way of us gaining favors from them. But they aren't Kira. You have to remember that Torres appointed them. She wouldn't have done that if these Ro and Jetur women weren't people one could make deals with. I have a feeling that it won't be too hard to enter into the normal give and take negotiations with them."
"But that means that we also will have to give," Jadzia pointed out.
"And there are things we can give," Deanna countered. "At least we will be in a position again where we can once more deal with the Bajorans. Just think, Jadzia. Wouldn't it be worth something to you to get back that contract for casinos on Bajoran star bases? That contract you already had before Kira cut it off and sold it to the Ferengi because they were willing to give her a bigger percentage of the earnings. Surly it wouldn't be a hardship to in return open Trill territory once more to imports of Bajoran wine."
"Ah, give and take," Jadzia repeated, this time in a more understanding tone. "You may have a point. And as the Trill Intendant I would certainly once again get offered some of the best bottles as a small gift from the merchants. It truly was a sad day the day that I, as Trill Intendant, had to start buying my most favorite drink from the black market."
"I'm sure that these women will have ears to the idea of normalizing the relationships between the Bajor and the Trill."
"And the relationships between the Bajor and the Betazoid," Jadzia added before asking, "So, what do you want from them?"
"Not that much actually," Deanna said thoughtfully. "The Betazoid territory is suffering as much as the Trill territory from the trading embargoes Kira started. It won't really harm us in the long run, but it does put the markets under pressure. If I were to be able to get the Bajorans to lift the embargo it wouldn't make much of a difference for me personally, but it would make a lot of important people happy. It would cut down considerately on those audiences I have to hold in which I have to tell them all the same over and over again; 'I can't help you.'"
"So, you think we should go there together as normally, or do it separately?" Jadzia had long since realized that Deanna had a much better head for business then she did. Normally she and Deanna talked about subjects and if what Deanna said made sense, Jadzia simply went along with it. The symbiont in her, Dax, had several lifetimes of experience, some of them as different Intendants, but as Jadzia Dax she really didn't mind asking someone for advice, and taking the advice if it made sense.
Jadzia knew that she really trusted Deanna too much. She knew that if Deanna wanted, she could play Jadzia like an instrument. But she also knew that Deanna knew that she needed Jadzia. And the best way for the Betazoid to get her help was to have the Trill's full trust. Therefore Deanna refrained from using Jadzia, instead she leveled with her and accepted the relatively few times that the Trill disagreed with her.
Deanna knew only too well that that she and Jadzia had to form a team. They were the two least influential of the Intendants. Individually they could do not more than agree with others. But together, together they could put their foot down if needed. Together they could even question a decree coming from the Klingons.
"I think it would actually be a perfect time to go see them together," Deanna said after thinking about the question for a moment. "You saw the report, they didn't get to power under the most stable of situations. They could be challenged, just that nobody would dare doing this while they still have that clear Klingon support. If we, together, go see them now, we will be seen as officially supporting them. They will be thankful for that support. It will start us off with them on a good note, it would be a shame to waste that by waiting or going separately."
"You are right," Jadzia agreed. "But I think that it would be even wiser if we went by Torres first, tell her that we are planning on bettering our relations with the Bajorans. It would also add to the importance of our trip to Bajor. If it just happened to 'accidentally' leak out that we first went to see the Klingon Intendant before going to Bajor, people will think that we have full support of the Klingons in our clearing of the air with the Bajorans."
"True," Deanna said with a small smile. She really liked the way Jadzia could think. "Besides, it would be good to see Torres again. We have to make sure that our affiliation with her stays as good as it is now."
"Oh, yeah," Jadzia agreed. She lifted her glass of black market Bajoran wine to her lips and took a sip. "We better be nice to her. I like dealing with her now, I sure wouldn't want her to negotiate with us as she does with others."
"Truer words were never spoken," Deanna said with a smile.
They sat quietly for a moment, both enjoying their drinks.
"Anyway," Jadzia finally said after a few minutes, "Time for something else. I need to go to Risa soon, buy some pleasure slaves to give as presents to the five most successful business people on the annual Trill business people of the year celebration. You want to join me on the trip? We could combine it all. First go to see Torres, then on to Bajor and finally on to Risa."
Deanna thought about if for a moment before nodding her head slightly. "Sounds good to me."
Chakotay looked around the table. He could see in their eyes that most of them had noticed that he hadn't taken the Captain's chair. "Alright, as you know, with Kathryn... gone... I'm the new Captain, according to Federation law. But I have taken a few hours last night to look the laws over, and there is something I want to suggest. Now that we have decided to stay here for the next two years, we need someone who knows this space, this Coalition. I was thinking of having the situation of me as Captain and Tuvok as second in command be the second option. What I really would like to suggest though is that we offer Annika the position of Captain. She knows this space, and after having worked under her for a month now, we know that she is an excellent commander."
It was quiet around the table for a few moments while the senior staff contemplated his suggestion. It had been so commonly assumed that Chakotay would become the new Captain that they hadn't given other possibilities a second thought.
"That's some suggestion," B'Elanna finally said.
"You think she wouldn't be suited for the position?" Chakotay asked.
"I didn't say that. I think she would be great for the job..." B'Elanna was quiet for a moment before she leaned back in her chair and said softly, "But I think that I really shouldn't have a voice in this."
"Why not?" Chakotay asked bewildered.
It was Tom who answered that question. "Because B'Elanna doesn't want it to look as if she only voted for Annika because she is her girlfriend."
"She isn't my girlfriend," B'Elanna disagreed, before adding softly, "Yet."
"Want a sharper knife to split those hairs, Torres?" Tom asked with a smile.
"Watch it flyboy, or else you might accidentally fall off the second deck of Engineering one of these days," B'Elanna replied with a grin.
"Listen, B'Elanna," Chakotay said to get the focus back on him. "While I appreciate your honesty, I also know you long enough to know that you wouldn't simply agree because you happen to like Annika. You should have a voice in this, just like the others."
Tuvok felt that he had to point something out that the others seemed to forget. "May I remind you that a starship is not a democracy? A Captain is not chosen by the ship's crew. A Captain is appointed by Star Fleet Command, nor should a person become Captain on basis of popularity."
Chakotay nodded his head in agreement. "I know that. We didn't even work like that in the Maquis, as you know. But according to the laws, the crew can elect a Captain if the entire senior staff agrees, and if the second and third in command officially decline the position."
"Alright," Tom spoke up, "I'm the first to admit that I'm not too up to date with Federation laws, but I didn't know that you could decline becoming Captain."
"If I were to offer you a promotion to Commander, you could decline that, couldn't you?" Chakotay asked, knowing that Tom had meant him with the 'you.'
"Not that I would, but yeah, I could," Tom agreed.
"Well, the same goes for me. It is simply that it is not that common. The 'why not' is a combination of two things. First of all, in most conditions, the second in command will always make the most suited person for replacing the Captain. Second, normally a Commander is a person who wants to be promoted to a Captain at one point. So they are not going to turn down the chance to actually become Captain.
"The thing is, we aren't in a normal situation here. If I become Captain, we would still need Annika on the bridge most of the time, since we would be asking her questions all of the time. But it is more than that. I think that Annika is the kind of person we need as Captain if we are going to stay around here, which we are. She has shown us that she is an excellent Commander, and she has more command experience than any or us, except for Tuvok."
"Which means that he should get the job if you don't want it," Tom pointed out.
"With us Vulcans it is not unknown to decline a position so that someone else, more suited for the position, can conduct the work better," Tuvok explained. "Having the most suited person fulfill a position is only logical. Unlike humans and a lot of other races, we Vulcans do not have a problem with accepting that some people are better suited for a job. I do agree with the Commander that Annika Hansen would be very well suited for the position of Captain while we are in Coalition space."
"But?" Harry asked, the way Tuvok had finished his sentence, Harry was sure that a 'but' had to come.
"There is no, 'but,'" Tuvok said. "However," He went on, basically still saying 'but,' "I do believe that if we were to offer the position to Miss Hansen, we should have certain security factors in place."
"Such as?" Chakotay asked. Though he didn't show it, he was glad that Tuvok seemed to contemplate his suggestion. Chakotay had been worrying about what Tuvok's mindset would be. Either he would have seen the logic of the proposal, or he would have objected, offering himself for the position of Captain.
"We have decided to stay here for two years, hoping that we can go to the Federation at that point. I would suggest making it clear that the appointment would only be for those two years. After that time we should see what our position is, and decide if Miss Hansen should continue to be Captain."
"Why's that?" B'Elanna asked.
"Because there are several possibilities," Tuvok said before naming a few of them. "We might indeed go to the Federation at that point, but it is also possible that something would happen that would prevent us from getting to the Federation. It is also possible that we would have to flee Coalition space before that time, or return to the Delta Quadrant in our universe. There are a lot of possibilities, and while Miss Hansen would be suited to command us in most, she would not be suited to command us in all situations."
"A very valid point," Chakotay had to agree.
"Furthermore, I would suggest to not actually appoint Miss Hansen Captain, but rather to leave the post of Captain vacant," Tuvok continued. "Instead I would suggest offering her the position of Acting Captain. This is a position that can be fulfilled for several years, and it is something that has a well used base in several Federation occurrences."
"What's the difference?" Tom asked.
"The difference is," Chakotay said, knowing where Tuvok was going with his suggestion. "That an Acting Captain can be stripped of her powers if she loses the faith of the senior staff. With a full Captain this isn't possible. With a full Captain I, or the Doctor, can relieve her of her position for some very valid reasons stipulated precisely by Federation law. And 'we don't think you are doing a good job' isn't a valid reason."
B'Elanna leaned forward when Chakotay stopped talking. "Well, I personally think that Annika would be great for the job."
Chakotay nodded his head slightly. "That's one vote. Doctor, you are very quiet. Do you object?"
"Not necessarily. I have no problem with Annika being captain. She has shown to be a person I can actually work with better than... A person I can work with. Since she is commanding us, the amount of people actually showing up for their medical checks has gone up to one hundred percent. And that simply because she gave one order that the crew should have their checks. She had her own checkup and showed that way that she expected the rest to do the same; they did."
"While Janeway on the other hand made it a sport to stay out of sickbay as long as possible," B'Elanna spoke up.
"It's true, Chakotay, and you know it. I'm not one to talk bad about the dead, but a fact is a fact. And this fact shows you why the crew is eager to follow Annika's orders. Annika isn't ordering them to do things she herself doesn't do. Come on, if a captain breaks Federation law so blatantly on the small things, is it that really so surprising that the crew starts to slack on the unimportant things as well? But you know what? A week ago I saw Carlson actually scrubbing the plasma conduits without me having to remind him not to 'forget' them. When I joked with him about how surprised I was, his only explanation was that Annika had rethreaded one of the thruster coils by hand the day before."
"She did?" Chakotay asked, knowing only too well what a laborious and tedious task this was. So much so that it was something that was normally never done by an officer.
"She did," B'Elanna affirmed. "I was doing stuff that can really only be done by one person at a time, so she used the time to do something that had to be done. And that is the point, Annika leads by example."
"Which means," Harry pointed out, "that if she is captain, she will be even more at the front as Janeway was. Going on more away missions, putting herself in danger more than a captain should."
"He has a point," Tom agreed. "While I think Annika would be great for the job, I do also think that she would put herself in unnecessary danger."
Chakotay leaned back into his chair. He knew that the two men were right. The thing that made Annika so perfect for the job, was the very same thing that might have had her passed over for the job if they were in the Alpha Quadrant, their Alpha Quadrant.
"It really is not a point of discussion at this moment," Tuvok spoke up after a moment. "True, this might happen. However if something were to happen to Miss Hansen, we would be in the same position of not having a Captain. At that point Commander Chakotay could take the position..."
"So we can afford for her to get killed?" B'Elanna asked with a raised voice.
"May I remind you, Lieutenant, that we are in a senior staff meeting. Raising your voice will not accomplish anything," Tuvok said calmly. "And if you had waited a minute longer, you would have heard me add that therefore the real point we should discuss is not if we want Miss Hansen to be our Acting Captain, but if we are willing to put her in this position of elevated risk."
"Sorry," B'Elanna mumbled, being dutifully reprimanded.
"I think we should let Annika make that decision," Tom said. "You have to remember that she is used to a whole different level of danger. True, for our doing she would put herself in more danger than we like to see our Captains in, but she comes from a place where she was in danger every day. She only had to do something that her 'masters' didn't like and she could be killed just like that."
Chakotay nodded his head in agreement. "We will make sure to point this out to her, if we offer her the position. So, what do you all think?"
Seven didn't turn around when two hands were placed softly on her shoulders from behind. Instead, she continued to look out of the window, in the direction that Voyager had disappeared in the day before.
"Having second thoughts?" Torres asked softly while she lowered her hands to take the blonde into an embrace from behind.
Seven placed her own hands on those of Torres, which were now resting on Seven's stomach. "Never. I was merely wondering what would become of them."
"And I would be worried if you didn't." Torres looked over Seven's shoulder out of the window as well. "While you stayed with me, they are still your friends, still the only people you know, except me of course. This should be hard for you, because that is the person you are."
Seven smiled while she turned around. "You do realize, if Voyager's B'Elanna Torres were in your position, she would try to convince me to go after my friends, to leave her, thinking it would be better for me."
"Well," Torres said while she led the blonde to the couch. "Lucky for me, I can be damn selfish. You made your choice, Seven. You stayed, and I'm not going to pretend that I'm not happy about it. If you wanted to leave, I would let you go, you know. But before that time I would beg you on my knees to stay."
"You do not have to worry about that, I will never leave you, I could never leave you. I just wish that it had been possible for me to be with you, and be in contact with my friends as well."
"Well, it isn't really in contact," Torres said slowly, "but I'm having the ship followed by a drone ship. You will know at all times where they are."
"You wanted to know where 'I' was," Seven said softly, indicating that she knew why Torres had Voyager followed.
"Yeah," Torres agreed just as softly before going on in a little louder voice. "I can't promise you this, Seven, but if they don't make too many problems I might, maybe, make it possible that you can contact them from time to time."
"How?" Seven wondered.
"Well," Torres said with a smile. "Space is a very vast and relatively empty area. I wouldn't be able to actively search out your friends so that you can see them, I as Intendant could never do that. But, if we were traveling from point A to point B, and your friends were to accidentally be on that same course... I think I could get away with stopping somewhere for a day or two."
"But if someone were to find out," Seven said before being interrupted by the Intendant.
"They'd do what? I'm the Intendant, remember? I'm the highest thing there is. People can't go over my head. Do you really think that the Chancellor would grant some unnamed person from some unnamed place an audience and listen to that person complain about the Klingon Intendant, me, rendezvousing with some space ship? No, it would have to be an Intendant who would bring forth such a claim before Worf would even listen to it, let alone actually acting on it. And all of the other Intendants know damn well that they better have a damn good reason before they get on my bad side. Tell me, Seven, if you were an Intendant, would you want to get on my bad side for nothing more than the fact that you saw me rendezvousing with some ship?"
"No I would not," Seven had to agree. "But if this on not something to worry about, than why can we not meet with them without having to be on our way to a different place?"
"Because," Torres sighed, "it is all about perception. If I were to go to some place with only one purpose, to see your friends, I would be officially recognizing them."
"Do you think that the other factions would find out that you had gone to see a ship?" Seven wondered. "As you said, space is a vast place. You do not have to give flight plans, nor do you have to tell anyone why you went somewhere."
"I doubt they would find out," Torres agreed, "but the fact is that I just can't take the risk. Seven, you have to understand, I can do a lot. I can get away with a lot more that I do now. I could kill people on a whim, I could plunder entire planets, I could put thousands of free people in slavery just because I thought it would be funny. I could do it all, but I don't want to. And the only way I keep myself from becoming what I don't want to be, from what Kira was, is by only doing things that I could explain if, by some miracle, others would actually call me on it. For myself, Seven, I CAN get away with meeting up with your friends if I happen to be going somewhere else anyway. But I CAN'T justify it to myself to go out to meet some escaped slaves. Please try to understand that, my dear. If I start shifting my own borders, soon there will be no borders left."
"I do understand," Seven said. "You enjoy the power you now have, but you are not addicted to it. Once you start doing things that make you addicted to the power, you will soon do more and more, just to get the rush you get from using the power. You do not want that to happen."
"Right," Torres agreed after untangling what Seven had said.
"How often do you think I could see them?"
"Wellll, I travel a lot, and I do make longer journeys from time to time. I think that once every three months or so might be doable. But that is no guarantee, my dear. If they start making trouble, if they start doing things I shouldn't let them get away with, then it will be longer."
"I understand. Thank you, mistress."
Torres smiled when she heard Seven call her 'mistress.' Despite the fact that they had agreed that the relationship would stay the same, Torres had decided that she would take the relationship in any form she could get it. If Seven had wanted to be Torres' equal at all times except when they were out, Torres would have agreed to that. But she was honest enough with herself to know that she really liked being the blonde's mistress.
She liked it that over all, she was clearly the one in charge of their relationship. The fact that she knew that Seven could, and would, say something if she wanted to, would object if something wasn't to her liking, it made Torres truly enjoy the fact that the blonde was hers. Knowing that Seven wasn't afraid to object, and would, if Torres started to act in a way that the blonde didn't like, made it possible for Torres to confidently be the mistress Seven wanted her to be.
"Well then, my pet. I need to go to the bridge for a moment, and you will come with me, and after that we will retire for the evening."
"But, mistress, it is only four o'clock in the afternoon."
"I know," Torres agreed with a grin. "But once I have been on the bridge and showed everyone that my body slave is here to stay, I want to come back here, and celebrate."
"Celebrate?" Seven repeated.
"Yes, yesterday I was glad that you stayed, I just wanted to hold you to make sure that you were really here. But today..."
"Today?" Seven asked, knowing that the Intendant was waiting for her to ask.
"Today we will celebrate 'til way past midnight."
"Ah, you mean you want to have sex for hours on end." Seven said with a smile, definitely liking the idea.
"No," Torres disagreed, "I don't want to have sex for hours on end."
"You do not?" Seven asked surprised, she was sure that this was what Torres had meant.
"No, I don't want to have sex. I want to make love to you, Seven. I want to love you until you don't even have enough energy left to pull up the sheets."
Seven's heart skipped a beat when she heard what the Intendant said. "I would like that," She said in nothing more than a whisper. "I would love to make love to you. I love you, B'Elanna Torres. I love you more then life itself."
"Good, let's get out of here then," Torres said. "I need to tell the Captain to set course for Kronos, we really need to have a little chat with Worf."
Seven merely smile while she got up. She knew how hard it was for Torres to say 'I love you,' after all, the Klingon had learned her entire life that love was a weak emotion. One did not talk about love. Even in married couples the word 'love' was seldom used. Oh, the Klingons sure did love, and sure believed in the strength that love could bring. They just didn't talk about it.
But just as they were walking out of the door, Torres totally surprised Seven by saying softly, "I love you as well, Seven."
"Wait, let me get this straight, you want me to become your Captain?" Annika asked, not really believing what she heard. She had been surprised when the senior staff contacted her after only four hours and ask her to come to the conference room. But now, after hearing them talk for more than half an hour about offering her the job of Acting Captain, she was actually totally astonished, "I thought you were going to talk about my position onboard this ship."
"And we did," B'Elanna said with a grin before Chakotay took over again.
"Believe me, we are not making some hasty decision."
"I appreciate that. But I was thinking that I would get appointed to Engineering or something like that. I mean, come on, half of the people around this table would be more suited than me to be your Captain."
"Acting Captain," Chakotay corrected just before Tom spoke up.
"And I'm glad to hear that you think that I could be Captain."
Annika saw the smile on his face and knew that he himself knew that he was one of the reasons why Annika had said that HALF of the people around the table could be Captain. She returned the smile. "Tom, no disrespect, you might be a great pilot, but you would be a lousy Captain. Commander, yes, somewhere about ten years or so down the line. But Captain, no." Then she turned to Tuvok. "Surely you, with your firm believe in Federation law won't agree to this. From what I read on Federation law, and from what B'Elanna told me, Chakotay is next in line to become Captain, and you would then become the first officer."
"That is the normal procedure," Tuvok agreed, "however; we are in a uncommon situation. One of the most important abilities of a Captain to be able to make decisions immediately. To do so, one needs to know what the situation is that one is in. We do not know that; you do. Normally that would have been enough to give you a position comparable to the one Seven of Nine got when she became a member of Voyager, or Mister Neelix before her; making your information available to the senior staff. However, you also have a life time of experience in command functions. You would be well suited to be in command of Voyager while we are in this alternative universe."
"But in the Delta Quadrant you also didn't know what was going on, yet Janeway continued to be your Captain. According to the reasoning you just gave, Neelix here should have become your Captain then; he knew what was going on."
Neelix let out a chuckle at hearing that.
"Mister Neelix would not have been suited for the position of Captain of Voyager," Tuvok disagreed in his blunt straightforwardness. "So we were in a position where all the people that were suited for Captain did not know the situation we were in. Besides, we had a Captain then. One does not replace ones Captain only because one is in a part of space one does not know. If Captain Janeway was still alive, we would not be offering you this position. But now we have the situation that we need a new Captain, and now we have a person that is very suited for the position, and knows the territory we will be staying in for the next two years. Appointing you Acting Captain in a logical step, and it is allowed according to Federation law, just not that commonly used."
"I'm sorry, but I just can't believe that you would just hand me the command over your precious ship," Annika said to the senior staff in general. "And truth be told, I don't really know if I want to take on the job of commanding you all on a continued basis."
"We don't just hand you the ship," Chakotay corrected, "that is why we are offering you the position of Acting Captain, and not the position of Captain."
"And the difference is?" Annika asked.
"The difference is that just like we now offer you that position, the senior staff can take you out of that position again without it being considered a mutiny."
"I'm not used to having my orders questioned," Annika pointed out.
"It's not about that," Chakotay said while softly shaking his head. He really hoped that Annika would say yes, but he also knew that the more they had to work to convince her to take the job, the better she was suited for it. If she had jumped at the chance, then it would have indicated that she wanted the power that came with the job and a person who wanted only the power wasn't suited for the job. "As your second in command it will be my job to question things you do. Playing the devil's advocate is in my job description. No, the thing is that we decided to stick around here and wait those two years, hope that we can really go home then.
"But we also decided that we want to go on like we have; living up to Federation standards. So this is our middle way. We trust you, Annika. We have seen how you command and we think that you would be an excellent leader for us. But, we also want to make sure that we as the senior staff can still go back to the second option if things don't work out."
"The second option being that you become Captain and Tuvok your second in command?" Annika asked.
"Right," Chakotay agreed.
"Alright, before I say more on this, I want to know some things. First, who suggested this? Second, did you all vote on this? And third, if you voted on it, what was the outcome of the vote?" Annika was slowly coming around to their idea, their point about her knowing the universe they were in was a very solid one. But if she really was going to think about taking the position, she wanted to know just how welcome she would be as a commanding figure.
"I was actually the one who suggested you for the job," Chakotay said. "Tuvok was the one who suggested that we would make the offer or Acting Captain and not for Captain. Yes, we voted on it, and the outcome of the vote was unanimous."
"Alright, I'll make you a deal," Annika relented. "I'll only think about this if you extend that vote to the rest of the crew. You make it an anonymous vote so that everyone can vote the way the want and not the way the feel they HAVE to vote. And if the vote is seventy-five percent in my favor, I will give it serious thought."
"Seventy-five percent is quite a hurdle," B'Elanna pointed out.
"I know," Annika greed, "but if I do this, I will only do so with the support of the crew. I don't want to start the job by having to fight the people on this ship as much as we will have to fight what ever we will come across out there."
"Alright, I'll sent out a ship wide message," Chakotay said, "letting everyone know about the vote and that they have to turn a padd with their vote, and only their vote, in to Tuvok by tomorrow."
"Make it the day after tomorrow," Annika suggested. "Give them a full day to actually think about it. We are safe here for now. Come to think of it, this planet is extremely unstable because of the excessive mining that was done here. But some of those very same mine corridors should be wide enough to conceal a ship like Voyager. We can stabilize one of those corridors so that Voyager can hide in it if needed. When we do that then we would be totally invisible unless someone does a level two surface scan. It would mean that we could hide without having to have the cloak on all the time. If we are going to stay in Coalition space, we might as well use this planet as our base for now and once we are good and ready for it we can go look for others places we can use to hide, I have some ideas."
"You think having that many places to hide is really necessary?" Tom asked.
"You have to remember," Annika pointed out, "that here you have nobody to help you but yourself. Even if the Klingons are not actively hunting us, there are still thousands of ships in Coalition space, all of them more or less hostile. It will not be a bad idea to have a hiding place nearby no matter where we are. Let's say that in a fight the cloak system is damaged, I would still like to get away then. Because make no mistake, there will be battles, and we will be on the run. And also, it will keep us busy for the first couple of months, by the time we finished with the hiding places we will have decided what we are going to do with the rest of the two years."
"Alright, sounds good," Chakotay greed. "I'll make a roster and we will start work on stabilizing a corridor, once we find one of course."
"Sounds like a plan," Annika looked around the table before asking, "Anything else?"
When nobody spoke up, Annika continued. "Alright, then I would suggest that we suspend this meeting and get together again the day after tomorrow to see how the crew feels about your suggestion."
Annika looked around the table once more and when nobody spoke up, she stood up and left the conference room.
Once the door closed behind Annika the senior crew looked at each other and all of them had a smile or grin on their faces. All except for Tuvok, he merely lifted his eyebrow. None of them said it, but all of them knew that Annika had just walked in, taken over the meeting, and told them what to do. Truly a sign of an excellent leader.
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