DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
"Here it is," Seven said as she pointed out the bloodied wire trap.
She and Torres were once more on the mountain. This time because Torres was 'too damn stubborn to let a damn mountain beat her.' Or so Torres said. But Torres also wanted to check out the story Seven had told her about the Targ. Not that she didn't believe Seven; she did. Torres simply had the same trait that most people did; she wanted to see things for herself. Seven was just glad that this time around they had the four guards with them that normally accompanied Torres if she only took a small guard force with her.
"Does it look like it's being touched?"
"No mistress. The trap is in exactly the same place where I dropped it."
Torres knew only too well that with Seven 'exactly the same place' meant something else than with most others. With others it meant that it was in the same place where they could remember it being. But with Seven, it meant that it was literally on the millimeter in the same place.
Seven picked up the trap and showed it to Torres. She pulled on the loop a little to indicate that it could open further, and thereby proving that she had indeed destroyed the locking mechanism.
"Seven, I'm not here because I doubt your word; you know me better than that."
"Then why exactly are we here, mistress?" Seven asked as she and Torres moved back onto the path and started walk up the mountain. Nobody in the group noticed the caramel colored eyes that were looking at them in great interest from a small distance away. "Somehow I do not believe that 'beating the damn mountain' is the only reason you came here."
"How about, I still want to see the temple?" Torres asked with a grin.
"Also doubtful, mistress. As you stated yesterday; you have been here three times before. While I do believe that part of your motivation is to go to the temple with me so that you can be the one showing me the temple, that alone would not be enough for you to do what you did. You cancelled other plans so that we could come here. Therefore there are not other things I will not see. If me seeing places was the only motivation, than we would have gone to the places that were planned for today and the temple would have been saved for another time."
"Well, I guess then in that case there is only one reason left."
"And that is?" Seven asked patiently, knowing that Torres was playing with her a little.
"Klingon Intendant rule fifteen."
"And that is?" Seven asked again, this time giving Torres a little smile.
"If someone sees you as weak, you have to prove just how tough you are."
"And because yesterday you were carried off this mountain by people of that temple, now you have to go there and remind the people at that temple that it still is not wise to mess with you?"
"Is that not unfair? Those people helped you, and now you will punish them."
"Don't worry, my pet. I promise you, the people that helped me aren't the ones in deep shit. The person that set that trap back there is the one that is in deep shit."
"Why? I do realize that mountain Targs are normally not allowed to be hunted, but this one did settle in a part where it may be a danger to people that visit the temple. If I remember correctly that means that it can be hunted for the safety of the travelers."
"It isn't the fact that it's being hunted that I have a problem with; it's the how."
"I see. Mistress?"
"You jokingly mentioned Klingon Intendant rule fifteen. Are there actually such rules? I do know that there are rules for the Bajoran Intendant, but I never heard you say that you yourself could not do something because of a certain Intendant rule."
"Sure there are, my pet. It is just that the first Klingon Intendant was a lot smarter than the first Bajoran Intendant."
"Mistress?" Seven asked, confused about the sudden mentioning of the first Intendants.
"Oh, sorry. See, the thing is that the general rules for the Intendants were set up when the positions of Intendants were created, but those are really only the minimalist amount or rules. Like, no I'm really not allowed to claim half of Cardassian territory as mine simply because I feel like it. But the rest of the rules were made up by the first Intendants and are more tailored to their faction. The first Bajoran Intendant was sooo set on making sure that he would keep his job and all the power possible for as long as possible that the set up a virtual mountain of rules making sure that his job was secure."
"Which explains why Intendant Kira could continue as Intendant while all of Bajor hated her and wanted her dead," Seven said in understanding.
"Right," Torres agreed. "But you see, the first Klingon Intendant was more into the saying 'less is more.' He realized that if you make a rule, sooner or later you are going to run into that rule. And that, my pet, is the reason why the Bajorans have the most of the rules for Intendants, and the Klingons have the least. In fact, we are the only faction that has less faction rules than Coalition rules for the Intendant. Something I like very much."
"Because you can basically do that ever you want," Seven said with a smile.
"Sure, it's that power trip thing, you know?" Torres shot back with a grin, forgetting for a moment that there ware actually four guards right behind her. "Thinking 'my word is law' and having it actually basically be true is even better than sex."
Seven didn't reply but only lifted an eyebrow in response.
"Alright, it was better than sex before I met you, now it's in a good third place."
"And what is in second place?" Seven wondered.
"Hearing you say 'I love you,'" Torres came back right away before remembering the guards behind her.
"Ah, I see," Seven said just as they reached the doors of the temple. "Mistress?"
"I love you."
"And I love you, my pet," Now Torres simply didn't care about the guards. She was the Intendant, damn what the guards thought. "My pet,"
"I know. Now it is time to be the Intendant everyone fears."
"Well, I still love you. It is that power trip, you know?" Seven smiled before adding, "to know that this woman that others have to fear is in reality the most tender person I have ever met."
"Don't have any illusions baby. I most definitely am that other person, just that you also brought out a side in me not even I knew I had."
"That is part of the power trip, to be the only person you ever show that tender person to fully." Seven sighed while she indicated the woman she had talked to the day before. "But now is not the time for the tender side of you. Mistress, that woman is the one that said that she had put out the wire trap."
"Thanks," Torres said as she turned to the commander of the temple that had come closer, no doubt warned right away the second Torres set foot inside the temple gate.
"Intendant, it is good to see you again. I see that got excellent medical help."
"Of course. Once I was down that damn mountain, it was really just a matter of minutes before my leg was fixed; my doctor is one of the best. Unlike you, I don't have hacks working for me."
"Intendant?" The commander asked totally confused.
"When my pet and I came up here yesterday we heard a mountain Targ. My pet told me that when she came here someone told her that efforts were being made to capture the Targ. Can you tell me a little more about that?"
"Um, well, there isn't much to tell really. About six months ago we heard the howl of a mountain Targ for the first time. Soon after that we also spotted it. We saw that it still had the fading stripes of a young Targ so we knew that it couldn't be much older than a year. Seeing that it was still young we left it be and waited to see if it would move on to settle somewhere else. But it didn't. Last time it was spotted, its stripes were gone, so now it's fully grown, which means that this is now its territory. So we took the only option we really have if we want to keep this temple open and hired a huntress two weeks ago to kill it."
"I see, why not hunt it down yourself?" Torres asked, though she knew only too well why not. At least she knew if the temple guards had any common sense at all.
"Intendant, as much as I like a good fight, I'm not suicidal enough to go up against a mountain Targ with bladed weapons only. As you know, other weapons don't work here."
"So how is your hunter planning to kill it?"
"Um, I don't really know. She just assured us that she could find it and kill it. If she wants to try her luck by trying to kill a mountain Targ with bladed weapons, then that's her choice."
"Ah, but that's the problem. She isn't going out to try and hunt it down and kill it, instead she is setting out wire traps to capture it. I can only assume that once she captured it in a wire trap she is planning to take a lance and kill it from a safe and very cowardly distance."
"What?!" The commander said as he turned to look at the woman that was standing very quietly against the far wall hoping very much that she was anywhere else but right there. "We are paying you all those credits so that you can disgrace this temple by capturing a Targ by the most cowardly way possible? This is the temple of Malki, damn it, and you, another woman, go and disgrace it by setting out wire traps? I will,"
"Do nothing," Torres interrupted. "I'll take care of this. In fact, I think that I have the perfect way of dealing with a coward that likes to use wire traps."
Torres patted the woman on her cheek, who pulled her head away with a growl. She knew right away that it was a mistake when she felt the wire cut into the skin of her throat and breading getting that little bit more difficult.
"Better be careful there. I made sure to take that trap of yours with that extra thin wire. Surely I don't have to tell you that these traps don't loosen up; they only get tighter and tighter."
"You bet I am," Torres agreed happily. "But the difference between you and me is that I'm good at it." Torres got off her knee and looked down at her handy work. The woman was sitting with her back against a tree, and one of her wire traps around her neck. The trap had been attached to the tree in such a way that the woman couldn't do anything else than sit with her back straight against the tree. She couldn't get up, or even lean to the side a little.
Torres looked at the temple guards surrounding her and spoke to nobody in particular. "She stays like that for three days and nights; no food or drinks. If it is found out that any of you even gave her as much as one drop of water, that person will be sitting here for twice as long." Torres looked back down at the woman. "In case you actually survive, you will be cut loose then. Your hunting license will be revoked, and I can promise you that you will never find any job at all anymore here in Kronos. If you want to try your luck outside Kronos; good luck."
"Why, it's just an animal?"
Torres shook her head a little. "You really don't get it, do you? Well, let me explain it so that you can think about it while sitting here. The
mountain Targ is a proud hunter; a predator that earns respect because it's the toughest, most feared, land predator. Did you hear me? They deserve, earn, respect. There isn't a land animal on Kronos that doesn't fear the mountain Targ. You don't go capturing such a proud animal in the most cowardly way possible, and then on top of that don't even bother to check your trap every day.
"I don't hold it against you that you wanted to kill it for its skin; I think it would be a great decoration. But the way you went about capturing it, that's cowardly. I'm amazed that a Klingon would even use such a cowards way of trapping. Tell me, if you had captured it and then killed it. If someone had asked you how you had killed it, you would have said proudly; 'oh, I set out a wire trap and once I captured it I killed it from a safe distance.' Would you have said that?"
The woman didn't answer with words, but she did look away, still giving Torres an answer.
"I didn't think so. So when you sit here with that wire around your neck, you can think about how an animal would feel with that wire around its feet. An animal that unlike you doesn't know that it should keep as quiet as possible. Well, I have a temple to tour. Enjoy your stay under this nice tree. Don't fall asleep though; you might loose your head."
Torres turned away from the woman and walked the four steps to where Seven was waiting. "Come on, my pet. Now that we are here, let me show your around."
"Yes mistress," Seven said as she followed Torres into one of the buildings. "Mistress?"
"I just learned something about you that I did not know yet."
"And that is?"
"You like animals."
"What gave you that stupid idea?"
"The way you talked about the mountain Targ and respecting it."
"My pet, I couldn't care less about some damn mountain Targ. I was just making up some crap excuse to do what I did, and you know that in reality I only did that to remind these people that a broken leg doesn't makes me any less of a bitch."
"Of course mistress. Forgive me for assuming that you like animals."
"You are forgiven, just don't bring that stupid crap up again."
"Of course not, mistress. Mistress?"
"Do not worry, the fact that you like animals is safe with me."
Torres grinned. "Good, since I don't like animals anyway."
"Of course. Mistress?"
"You are such a softy."
"Seven, just shut the fuck up already."
"Yes B'Elanna," Seven said with a smile. "But it will cost you."
"Yes, unless you pay the price, I will tell both Worf and Martok that you like little fuzzy animals."
"I do not like fuzzy animals!" Torres growled. "And what price?"
"I will tell you the price later; when we are lying in bed, naked."
"Well, come to think of it, my little secret should remain just that; a secret. Naked huh?"
"You, my dear, know how to negotiate with a Klingon."
"But there is one flaw with it; I will only ever negotiate like that with one very specific Klingon."
"Lucky me," Torres grinned.
"So what do you think?" Torres asked as they were walking down the mountain.
"It was very interesting, mistress. It was also very interesting to life size statue of Malki. Somehow this statue made her more 'real' than the black marble statue in the great hall. More so since the statue in the hall of the great was at least two heads taller than this life like statue."
"True. But some parts of her were still, big. I saw you checking out her boobs, my pet."
"I was merely comparing," Seven defended. "I personally prefer breasts to be a few sizes smaller than that." Seven let her eyes very deliberately drift down Torres' body to indicate exactly what size she preferred.
"Well, if you really were only comparing," Torres said with a smirk, "Then I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Malki even puts you to shame; hands down."
"I agree. In fact, I wonder how she was able to wield a bat'leth so effectively. I noticed that my chest is sometimes in the way when I use the bat'leth, I can only imagine how someone that has a chest almost twice as, large, as mine would be able to use the bat'leth."
"Well, rumor has it that this is actually part of why she was able to hold back the Sol troops. You are right, it's simply impossible to use normal bat'leth patterns if you have something as big as that in your way. Because of this, Malki spent her whole life, ever since her boobs started to grow, learning and creating her own bat'leth patterns. So, not only had the Sol troops to deal with a stubborn and determined Klingon. They also had to deal with that Klingon using bat'leth patterns the Sol troops had never seen before."
"Hmm, maybe I should learn some of her techniques then."
"My pet, you have a great set of breasts, and I love them, but not even you are so big that you would need Malki's techniques."
"I know, but the point is that you just stated that her techniques are not commonly used. Therefore, knowing those moves would put me at an advantage, an honest advantage, while in a honorable bat'leth fight."
"Hmm, you have a point there. Come to think of it, we could practice them together. There is no rule that says that a woman with 'a nice hand full' can't use Malki's techniques as well."
"And what a very nice hand full they are," Seven said. "I would really like practicing Malki's techniques with you."
"Intendant," One of the guards said, putting both Torres and Seven on alert since normally the guards never spoke up unless needed.
"Over there," The guards said as he moved from behind Torres to beside her and pointing a little further down the road. Slowly but surely a huge mountain Targ stepped from the bushes and on to the path.
"I believe that is the Targ I met yesterday," Seven said after looking at its markings for a moment.
"You bet you ass it is," Torres agreed. "Mountain Targs don't share their territory, unless they are in mating. Kahless that thing is huge."
"Mistress, I did describe the Targ to you, and I told you that its shoulder height came up to my hips."
"I know my pet. But hearing something and actually seeing it makes a world of difference."
Seven slowly walked closer to the Targ.
"Seven, what the hell do you think you are going?"
"Mistress, if it wanted to attack me, it would have done so yesterday when I was hurting it while freeing it. We have to get past it to move down the mountain."
Before Torres could say more, Seven had reached the animal and reached out her hand to touch the animal's snout. The Targ moved its head into the touch and when Seven started to scratch it behind its ear, it's whole body started to shake slightly with excitement. But as soon as Torres and the guards came close the whole demeanor of the Targ changed. It put itself between Seven and the rest and let out a low and very dangerous sounding growl while all of its neck fur stood on end.
Torres frowned at the strange behavior for a moment and then realization set in. "Oh fucking great. Why am I not surprised?"
"Mistress?" Seven asked as she took a firm hold of the Targ's neck fur to keep it in check.
"You managed to somehow make the most powerful and dangerous people in the coalition like you, why am I not surprised to find that you also managed to make a mountain Targ bond with you?"
"I did what?"
"Seven, after all you heard about Targs and mountain Targs, do you really think that such protective behavior is something that they would do unless they are bonded to that person?"
"I, I did not really think about it. I just helped an animal that needed help. I was not looking for it to bond with me."
"It's alright, my pet. As you were told in that pet store; it's the Targ that makes that choice. It is more than likely that it would have also singled you out if we had made it up here together yesterday. You are, after all, a very likable person."
"Shall we move on now?" Seven asked, not really knowing how to handle the situation.
Seeing that these tall animals weren't going to attack the light colored tall animal it liked so much, the Targ sat down but didn't take its eyes off the group.
"And do you want to leave it..." Torres looked down the belly of the Targ before correcting, "... him I mean. Do you want to leave him here?"
"What do you mean? Of course it, he, should stay here. This is his territory after all."
"Which would mean that he would be dead soon. I dealt with that trapper up there, but the people in that temple are in their full right by wanting to get rid of him. In fact, they have no other option but to get rid of him. Either they do it themselves, or they hire a new hunter to kill him, but he will die either way if he stays here. Besides, look at his left hind leg. If that isn't treated by a vet soon that infection will spread, still killing him."
"I believe you are correct, Seven said as she looked at said leg. Where the wound was that had been made by the wire trap, the leg was twice as thick as the right leg and a yellowish liquid was seeping from the wound. "We could take him with us so that it can be treated and after that he could be released somewhere in the wild."
"What? You don't want him as a pet? You would be the only person I know in Coalition space that has a mountain Tart as a pet."
"He is a wild animal, he should remain just that."
"If you say so. Well, come on, let's get going."
The group started to move and once more the Targ started to growl at them.
"Alright, Seven hold him tight for a moment," Torres looked at the guards before continuing. You guys walk past him and a little up front. I think he will feel more at ease when he can see that you aren't too close. Seven, once they are moving, you keep him on that side of you and I'll stay on this side."
"How's the leg?" Martok asked at the third day of Torres' stay in Worf's palace. He had caught up on the work that he needed to do on Kronos and had taken the invitation to join them at breakfast. Torres decided that she really didn't want to know that the 'work' was that Martok, as head of the Klingon Security Department, needed to do on Kronos.
"My leg is fine, why do you ask?"
"Well, I just happen to have heard that you broke it."
"And where did you happen to hear that?" Torres asked absently while she was deciding which sauce to dip her food in.
Martok knew that so-called absent behavior of Torres only too well and knew that he had to watch his words. "Oh come now, Torres. You really don't think that I would give away my sources."
"You just blew it, my friend," Torres said with a grin. "There is only a limited number of people who knew that. I didn't tell you, nor did Seven here. As soon as we were down that mountain and could use a transporter we beamed right into the guest quarters here in the palace, and my doctor only found out there that I was wounded. He is smart enough not to tell anyone anything at all about me, not even you.
"So that leaves the people at the temple, and my guards. You can ignore the people at the temple; what reason would they have to contact you to tell you that I got wounded. Hell, they would never be so stupid to bring themselves to the attention of the Commander or the Security Department for whatever reason.
"Which leaves the guards. Tell me, Martok, just why would my guard tell you that I got hurt?"
"Um," Martok said as he looked at Worf to see if he could expect help from him. But Worf merely leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms across his chess with a smirk. "Why can't you be a little bit more like Worf here?" Martok finally blurred. "He is smart enough to take his personal guards along whenever he leaves his home. When he leaves Kronos he always takes his whole guard contingency along, and actually lets them do their job. But you? You just use them for crowd control, or parade some commandos around if you want to prove some point. Do you really think that you are that safe? True, no sane person would be so stupid to try and kill you. But there are also insane people in the Coalition. Or what about people that lost everything because of some deal you made?"
"Bla, bla, bla, Martok. I don't like it when people close to me don't actually report to me."
"But they do!"
"Just that they also report to someone else, right?"
"What are they, Martok? They are not the average Commando, are they? I noticed it before, but it never really clicked because I was glad that they just stayed out of my way."
"They are operatives of my department," Martok finally admitted. "And I apologize that I had to resort to this, my friend, but if I had asked you to take them as guard you would never have done it."
"True," Torres was forced to admit. "Alright, I'll make you a deal. I kinda got used to them, and I really like the fact that they don't start puking when they hear me telling Seven that I love her."
While Seven listened to Torres' words, a smile came to her lips as she saw both Worf and Martok sneer just a little bit when hearing the word 'love.'
"So I'll keep them as the team that I'll take with me when I take along some guards."
"But?" Martok asked. After all, Torres had talked about a deal.
"But, they stop reporting to you..." Torres lifted her hand to stop Martok from speaking up. "...Except for the important things. Really, Martok, how can I trust them if I know that every little detail they see or hear is reported to you. Report that I am leaving the city so that you can put some people on alert just in case they might be needed, sure, I can see that. But why would they need to report to you what we did on that trip if we came back unharmed, or in this case came back with me having a broken leg. Why would you need to know that?"
"Alright, I'll talk to them and make it a little clearer on what they should report," Martok said, actually seeing the deal as something of a victory. Torres could just as easily have told him to mind his own business, which would have made providing her with good guards only that more difficult. "Tell me, what tipped you off about them?"
"Small things," Torres said. "The first clue was the replacement of all four guards including the commander when I told said commander to take care of the guard that was listening too much to what Seven and I were talking about. I told the commander to replace that guy, and suddenly all of them were replaced with other guards and there was no longer a commander in the group. Martok, if they don't report to the commander of that group, hell if they don't even have a commander in the group, than who do they report to?
"Also, as I said, they don't puke when I tell Seven kind things. They don't react at all. They don't do a double take when Seven and I are acting on equal level. And lastly, they don't hesitate if Seven asks them to do something. Seven isn't telling them that it is me that wants this or that. No, she, a slave, asks them to do something, and they do it."
"That's my fault then, not theirs. I told them to be cooperative so that you would keep them around and not replace them. I have only so many operatives I would place with you."
"Why, don't you trust them?"
"Sure I do, otherwise I wouldn't have them working for me. No, the thing is that I have certain operatives to do certain jobs and most are... incompatible with your character. I invested a lot of time and credits in having them trained, I don't want them killed because they pissed you off."
Torres grinned at that. "Alright then, why don't you go and have you talk with, my, guards? Seven and I will be leaving soon." Torres looked at Worf before asking, "Not that I want to rush you, but if I give you my proposal now, could you tell me by tonight if you will support it? If you do then I could leave tomorrow and catch Troi and Dax while they are still on Bajor. Then I could negotiate with all three parties being on the same planet; no tedious traveling."
"Torres," Worf growled. If Worf hated one thing, then it was being rushed.
"I'm only asking, Worf, nothing more. You know most of it already anyway from the talking we did about it in the last couple of days."
"I'll have a look, and we leave it at that for now," Worf offered.
"Thanks. I appreciate it. Alright, Seven. Let's go free your Targ."
"He looks miserable," Seven said with a frown. They were separated from the Targ by an observation wall, making sure that the animal couldn't see, hear, or smell them while they however could see him. "It is good that he will be released today."
"I'm sorry to tell you this, my pet, but I don't think that's the reason he is so miserable."
"It is not?" Seven asked surprised.
"Nope, I think he is miserable because the person he bonded with didn't come to see him for a whole day."
"He is a wild animal; he should be free. Eventually he will be better off. Why would he want to give up the freedom of the mountains to be in confined rooms with me?"
"My pet, Seven, he would prefer to live in captivity with the person he bonded to, instead of being free and having to live without the person he bonded to. I would think that you of all people could identify with that."
Seven had absolutely no reply to that. Finally after a few long minutes of silence, Seven finally asked, "What other option is there? I can not take him with me. Can you imagine a Targ on your ship? Having him in our quarters?"
"Actually, yes I can. It isn't uncommon for Klingon Captains to have Targs on their ships. There are devices that are used to 'housebreak' the Targ so that you can keep them on a space ship without them shitting up the place, literally. I do know for a fact that now that he is bonded to you he will be happy everywhere, as long as you are there, and he will be unhappy every where else because you aren't there."
"So you believe I should take him with us; treat him as a pet?"
"That is your decision to make. It really wouldn't be that hard to have a room added to our quarters where a device is that he uses when he has to go and also where a pet replicator is installed; providing him with continuous fresh food and water. The adaptation to the quarters isn't that hard and could already be done by the time we get back to the ship tomorrow.
"Before anything else, you should ask yourself if you even would want it. Seven, if your aren't sure if you should have a pet, or willing to give it the attention it needs, then you shouldn't take it, no matter how cute, or in this case, miserable it looks. And make no illusion, taking him as a pet would be a huge amount of work for you. As you say yourself, he is a wild animal, and while he will never attack or even accidentally bite you, you would have to train him to where he also doesn't attack anyone else... unless you say so."
"I do not think that training him would be that much of a task. As we were told in the pet-store, the mountain Targs are the most intelligent of the Targs, and I know that I have the determination to see his training trough. However, he would also be a great change in your life."
"Not really, Torres disagreed. "He is bonded to you, not me. He will mostly ignore me. But you. You should be willing to live with a shadow. He will follow you around everywhere. Maybe, if we are in our quarters he won't literally follow you from room to room because he can smell you all around him and will know that our quarters are 'home.' But as soon as you would leave the door, he would be at your side. You would also be the one that has to live with looking him in the eyes and seeing his disappointment when you have to tell him that he can't come along when you go to places that he can't be at. And not lastly, you will be the one that gives him some extra training."
"Extra training?" Seven repeated while thinking about whether she could live with an animal so close all the time.
"Seven, baby, as much as we make love, you have two options. Either you kick him out of the room every time we make love, no matter what room we are in when we make love. Or you will have to train him to where he will understand that if he values his life, he better not come close to us when we are naked. Especially train him to understand that I'm really not hurting you when you are moaning and groaning."
"What does that have to do with his life?"
"Because I give you a guarantee right here, if we are making love, and he would think that interrupting that would be a fun thing to do, 'I'll kill him and skin him for his hide."
"I see. Training is good idea then. But still, I am surprised that you would not object to having such a big animal around at all times, despite your liking for cuddly creatures."
"I hardly would call that cuddly," Torres said as she pointed at the Targ.
"He is beautiful," Seven defended.
"Beautiful, yes. Cuddly, no. As for not minding, it's more like me not looking a given Targ in the mouth... literally in this case. Despite the fact that you are my body slave, some people still would like to treat you like nothing more then just a slave, like that woman in that pet store did. They think that they can get away with it because they are Klingons and because they assume that you mean nothing to me. Frankly, I'm not looking forward to having to correct such behavior time and again. But people would think twice about offending you if you have a mountain Targ sitting right beside you showing them his impressive teeth. Even if you are 'just' a slave, they will be smart enough to not mess with the person who has a killer animal as a pet, even if that person is 'just' a slave."
"I see. But beside that, would you personally not object? I would not take him with us if you did not fully support it. He would be a constant presence in our quarters, you should be comfortable with that as well."
"I really won't mind, Seven. I've lived alone long enough, I think it's time for me to do the partner with pet thing."
"Well, yeah, aren't you that? My partner?"
"That I am, B'Elanna, my wonderful mistress."
"Alright then, let's go collect our pet, my pet."
"My pet, you mean," Seven couldn't help but point out.
"So my pet has a pet huh? I kinda like it. My dangerous pet has a dangerous pet herself. I wonder if people will ever realize just who of the two is really the more dangerous. Come on."
They left the observation room, and as soon as they came close to the cage entrance they could head a whine coming from the Targ. "He knows you are here; he can smell you."
"Are you telling me I reek?" Seven asked with a smile.
"No, I'm just telling you that a Targ has a sense of smell that is almost a thousand times as strong as that of a Klingon, which would make it, what, five hundred times as strong as your enhanced sense of smell?"
"Approximately, and almost fifteen hundred times as strong as a human."
"You don't seem surprised by that."
"I am not, mistress. Even in this time of technology, there are animals used in the Federation for certain searches because of their strong sense of smell. The Sol animal called dog actually has a sense of smell similar to that of a Targ."
I see," Torres said as she nodded to the man at the gat to indicate that he should open it.
The Targ came running when he saw Seven, but then he saw Torres and stopped. Once more he bared his teeth and started to growl.
"I'm not going to put up with that though," Torres said. "Alright, Seven, hold him down."
Knowing that Torres wouldn't hurt the Targ, at least not right after suggesting that Seven would take it as a pet, Seven did as Torres had said. She put her arm around the Targ's neck and softly pulled down until the Targ was lying on its side.
"Alright, when I grab it, you let go. But stay close; I have no illusion about actually being able to handle a mountain Targ if he really wants to resist me."
Seven merely nodded her head, wondering what Torres was planning.
Suddenly Torres grabbed the Targ's neck and pushed the Targ down. She brought her head close to the Targ's and growled. She got a growl back from the Targ and Torres put even more pressure on the neck. By now Torres was leaning with all her weight on the neck, but as a testimony to the sheer strength of the Targ's neck muscles, she still wasn't even restricting his airflow. Torres growled again and this time she didn't get a growl back. Instead, after a moment of hesitation, the Targ rolled over a little more; clearly offering his belly to Torres in a submissive gesture.
The Targ was happy that the tall animal had come back, and when the tall animal pulled him down he was more then happy to go with her. Suddenly the other tall animal, the darker one, grabbed him by his throat and the light tall animal let him go. He noticed that the grip of the dark animal was no where as strong as the grip of the light one, and he knew that he certainly had the power to break the dark animal's grip and turn around to kill it.
But despite the fact that he was a predator, he couldn't bring himself to kill or even hurt the dark animal. The smell of the light animal was all over the dark one, and the smell of the dark one was also all over the light one. Clearly they were nest mates. And from the way the light animal was reacting to the dark one it was becoming clear to the Targ that the dark animal was the dominant one. It was confusing to him that the weaker one would be the dominant one. But he did understand that if he wanted to be with the light animal, he had to accept the dominance of the dark animal over him.
He could do that. He could see the dark one as the dominant of the pack, as long as he could be with the light one. He rolled over, offering up his soft belly to the dark animal in a show of total submission. For him, from now on, they were one pack, and if needed he would fight to the death to protect his pack mates; both of them.
Torres grinned as the Targ offer up his belly and she took a few minutes to pat him. "Seems like I'm accepted."
"Are you certain? This could be a one time behavior."
"No, what he's doing now is the important thing. Targs, all of them, never offer up their belly unless they feel that the one they are offering their belly to is their dominant. So, MY pet, what are you going to call YOUR pet?"
"How about Toby?"
"Toby?" Torres asked.
"Yes, Voyager's B'Elanna has a stuffed Targ that she has had ever since she was a child, she calls him Toby."
Torres frowned while thinking back. "I think I remember having a stuffed Targ. Yes, yes I did. Well, if you want to give him that name, suit yourself. I just don't wish him the same fate."
"Why? Do you no longer have Toby?"
"My pet, I got that thing when I was a little child. Within two days, I had cut off its head, pulled out all four of its legs, and set what was left of his body on fire."
"I see. Maybe a different name would be in order."
"So?" Torres prompted.
Seven looked at the Targ lying on its back and basking in the patting that both she and Torres were doing. "How about fluffy?"
"Will you cut it out with the fluffy cuddly stuff already?"
"Alright, I will. How about Nomi?"
"Yes. After my friend Naomi Wildman. I like the reminder, and I also like the fact that, 'Nomi' sounds small, cuddly, innocent, and then you have him reacting to that name."
"It's fine with me, my pet. He is yours, so it's your choice. But since the child is your friend, you might want to think about how she would feel about having her name connected to a killer."
"My pet, don't make the mistake of thinking anything else of that animal but as a ruthless killer. Which is why I think he actually fits in rather well with us. You have killed to protect me, I have killed about a hundred people myself, and I have ordered the killing of millions, literally. Face it, my pet; both of us are killers, if only for different reasons.
"He is also a killer. He kills for food, he kills to protect, he kills anything that is considered a threat to his dominance of his territory, and just like other Targs, mountain Targs are known to kill as a game; playing with their prey before killing it and then just leaving it. To you, and now us, he will always behave as that stuffed toy you just talked about, but others... Tell me, now would you feel about introducing him to your friend Naomi and telling her his name while he is showing her his teeth and thinking of her as dinner?"
Seven closed her eyes for a moment, pictured the scene of introducing the Targ to Naomi, and knew right away that Torres was right; there was no way that she could name him Nomi.
"You are correct; Nomi would be a poor choice. In that case I believe that I will call him Toby after all."
"After a butchered stuffed Targ?"
"I believe it is fitting. After all, you are bringing the Coalition into a time of second chances for the slave races. The first Toby was butchered, never getting any love. Now 'Toby' gets a second chance, and this time Toby will be loved and an essential part of our lives."
"Loved huh? So you like him?"
"If I did not I would not have agreed to take him as a pet," Seven pointed out.
"But you never said it," Torres shot back with a grin.
"You are correct, however now that I have accepted him as my pet that will change. To be honest, I really like him a lot, and I am glad that he will be coming with us. It is simply that I felt that he should live in freedom, not in captivity. Therefore I did not want to get attached to him."
"But now you can."
"But now I have," Seven corrected.
"Well, as I said, the name is up to you. If you want to call him Toby, then call him Toby."
"Toby it is then." Seven scratched the Targ... Toby behind the ear. "Would you like that name, boy? How does Toby sound to you?"
The Targ loved every second of the attention he was getting. Maybe accepting the dark one was a good thing, because the dark one sure gave a great belly rub. He looked at the light one when it made those sounds again. The light one was repeating a certain sound several times and the Targ had a feeling that he had to pay attention to that particular sound. Besides, he liked that sound.
"Alright, let's get a leash and get out of here," Torres said as she got up to get the leash.
Worf pulled his beard thoughtfully while looking at the padd in his other hand. He knew that supporting the proposal would mean an upheaval in the Coalition that hadn't been seen since the Coalition was created. He would get more complaints and objections than he had in all his time as Chancellor. He would lose his slaves. Despite Seven's words, he doubted if sex slaves would really want to stay with the people they were serving if they had a choice.
"Master? Is something troubling you?"
Worf looked up to the slave that had addressed him.
She was of the couple of slaves that Worf had specifically for when he wanted to see two women together. They were a couple existing out of a redhead and blonde human, and Worf liked them because they actually were in love with each other and therefore their 'shows' were real and he could see the true love between the women. Despite the fact that he hated to talk about love, he sure appreciated the power of it.
And just as always when thinking about love, an image of K'Ehleyr came to his mind, combined with the sorrow of no longer having her in his life.
"Why do you ask, Red?"
Red wasn't the real name of the woman, but Worf had never bothered to ask for the names of the women. Dukat had given the slaves to him saying, 'a little present Chancellor, a blonde and a red slave.' Worf had just called them Blonde and Red since then, and this had never changed in the ten years that he now had them.
Worf looked at how Red kneeled before him and is struck him that of all his slaves, these two were the ones that were in his quarters the most. He had hundreds of slaves. Some he never saw... which was good for them because if he did see them it meant that they had done something wrong and their days were numbered.
Others he saw daily as they did certain things, like cleaning the quarters, or bringing him food. Yet others were his favorite sex slaves simply because they were damn good. But despite having so many people around him, the life of a Chancellor could be damn lonely.
A few years back this was different because at least Alexander lived with him all the time. But now Alexander was at the Academy and only came home at the weekends. Worf loved the time he had with his son, but this still left five days every week in which he was basically alone. One day he had called Red and Blonde to his chambers and when they had started to undress he had stopped them and giving them some mindless job to do, simply to hear some sounds in his otherwise quiet quarters.
Over time this had evolved to where Red and Blonde now spent about four hours every day in his quarters. And the best thing about it was that unlike with K'Ehleyr back then, with these women, he could simply send them away when he was tired of hearing them talk.
"Master, I just noticed that you have been scowling for some time now and I was wondering if I could be of help."
Worf snorted and looked over at Blonde. "Blonde, get over here."
"Master?" Blonde said as she kneeled beside Red.
"What do you think about the fact that your friend here thinks that she can help me?"
"I apologize for her behavior, master. She believes that talking about a problem can fix the problem, but it seems that she has forgotten her place. Please forgive her, master. I will try to make sure that it not happens again."
"And what if I make sure that it never happens again... by killing her?"
Neither Red nor Blonde replied and instead they both lowered their head a little.
"That doesn't phase you at all, does it?" Worf asked after a moment. "Do you really think that I would hesitate to kill a slave?"
"No master," Red said. She had always been the more daring of the two. "We know better, we have seen better."
"So why don't you fear me when I tell you that I will kill you?"
Red was about to answer but Worf stopped her. "No, Blonde, you answer.
"M, Master, you never punished us except by sending us away. We have survived in your service for ten years, while we have seen you kill others; clearly we are doing something right."
Worf smirked at that. Oh, they did something right alright.
"And you think that I won't kill someone that that is doing something right," Not waiting for a reply, Worf Warned, "Complacency is a slave's worst enemy."
"Of course. Please forgive us master," Red said, fully understanding the warning.
Worf waved his hand, closing the matter. Looking at the padd once more, and then back at the kneeling women, Worf decided that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to test Torres' sanity in asking a slave for advice. "Here, read this."
Red reached out to take the padd but once she had it, Worf didn't let go of it. "Look at me, the both of you. If you ever talk to anyone about what your read here, in fact if you even talk between each other about it and I find out, I'll personally kill you both." Both women knew that look in Worf's eyes and knew that he was deadly serious, literally.
Worf finally let go of the padd and the women began to read. Within seconds both of them had actually stopped breathing from total disbelief.
"Well?" Worf asked half an hour later, glad that the women had remembered how to breathe.
The women didn't answer, instead they looked up at him with eyes filled with confusion.
"What would you do, where would you go?" Worf prompted.
Suddenly their eyes got wider. "Go?" Red finally said. "You mean leave? Please don't sent us way master. Please tell us what we did to displease you. We will never do it again!" Red pleaded.
"You didn't do anything wrong," Worf assured. "But surely, if you are free to go, you will leave to go live somewhere else."
"But where would we go?" Blonde asked. "Why would we go?"
"The Sol Homeworld for instance, and as to why, to be free of course."
"But we would lose everything we have," Red said.
"Everything you have?" Worf asked in disbelieve. "You have nothing, you own nothing!"
"Of course not. Forgive us, master," Blonde was quick to say.
"Just what exactly do you have then?" Worf asked.
The women looked at each other for a moment and finally Red spoke up. "Master, we have everything. True, we don't have personal possessions,"
"You lie!" Worf interrupted. "Do you really think I don't know about that box you are hiding?! Maybe, since you should have no personal possessions, I will get that box and destroy it."
"Master, please," Red begged. "Please, there is nothing in our box except for some reminders, memories, like our collars."
"Collars? I haven't had you wearing those chokes for six years now," Worf said. One day he had enough of seeing that reminder when the women were making love and he had ordered them to take them off and never wear them again.
"Master, that is why we are keeping them in the box," Blonde said softly. "It was such a wonderful day when we no longer had to wear the mark of a slave; it was one of the best days of our lives."
"Hmm, well, let me ask you again; just what do you have?" Worf smirked before adding, "Except for some personal positions that is."
"Master," Blonde said, "five years ago you had a replicator put in our quarters,"
"Because I got tired of you coming in here with worn cloths or being skinny when I forgot to feed you again."
"Whatever the reason," Blonde said, knowing only too well that it would not be too smart to point out that they had never gone hungry even for a day, at least not since becoming Worf's property. "We can replicate everything we want. We don't have to fear punishment if we did nothing wrong." Blonde got a little daring and lifted her hands to indicate the room around her. "We are living in a palace."
"And you have to do whatever I tell you to do."
"But you don't tell us every minute of the day what we have to do," Red pointed out. "We are in your presence for four or five hours every day. For the rest of the day we can do what we want." Red looked at the padd that Worf was holding once more. "If you sent us away and we need to get a job, we would have to work at least twelve hours every day just to get one tenth of what we have now."
"Also," Blonde added, "If we would leave the only industry we could find work in would be in the sex industry; other jobs would be given to the slaves that performed those jobs for years and don't need training. Master, we don't want to work in the sex industry."
"Last thing I knew, you were sex slaves," Worf pointed out. "What else would you call your services to me?"
"Master, because of the offer you gave us when we became your property, we haven't performed any sex services for ten years now," Red said. "Blonde and I make love, and you watch... Master, forgive me my forwardness, but that is not sex services to us because we actually like that."
"You what?" Worf asked.
"It is the fact that we don't have to worry about you wanting satisfaction, from us," Blonde said. And Worf was surprised to hear a trace of shyness in her voice. "We like being watched, by you. We, um, always cherish the times we are allowed to make love in front of you."
"So if you were free, you would still like to stay here? As sex servants?" Worf asked. "Are you telling me that there is absolutely nothing at all that you would want that you don't have now?"
"Please master, please let us stay," Red said, her pleading voice once more firmly in place.
"Actually, there is one thing we would want to do that we couldn't do as slaves," Blonde said very softly.
"And that is?" Worf asked curious.
"Get married. That is the only thing we knew we could never have."
Worf sat in silence for a moment. The conversation had given him a few things to think about, but it had also showed to him that Seven had been right about how relationships between masters and slaves could change. These two women had at one time been nothing more than sex objects for him. But somewhere along the ten years they had been with him, that relationship had somehow changed. He realized that he would be damn sorry to see them go, and that the felt a certain relief about the fact that they wanted to stay. He was certain that there would be countless situations like that in the Coalition.
"No, Red. Be silent for a moment and just sit there, both of you. I need to think.
Half an hour of silence later Worf finally spoke up again. "What would you think about moving?"
"Please master, please let us stay," Blonde pleaded, and Worf could see tears running down her face.
"Oh, I'm not talking about sending you away," Worf assured. "No, I'm talking about this," Worf focused on the padd again and made some addition to it. Points Torres would have to add, and if she did, he would support it. Of course, this wasn't the official proposal yet. This was the opening proposal, and his support only meant that Torres could take the proposal to the other Intendants and show that there actually was a big chance that Worf would approve the final proposal that would include concessions and agreements with the other Intendants. A few minutes later he handed the padd to the women once more.
Worf had added that it should be made clear in the new contracts that these, just like the other contracts, were allowed to have a private life and that in that private life they were allowed to be married. This also was so for the sex and body servants, as long as the service to the employer didn't suffer from it. Worf had also added that it had to be absolutely clear that people were only allowed to have one body servant, no matter what their position was. There was only one exception to that. The Klingon Chancellor was the only person in the Coalition that was allowed to have two body servants.
"Master?" Red asked. Not believing what she thought this meant.
"That's why I asked what you thought about moving. Don't you think that my future body servants should live a little closer to my quarters than in the general slave quarters? Besides, even if this proposal won't work out, don't you think it's time we elevated you a little to the privileged position that you deserve for putting up with me for ten years, and more importantly doing it is such a way that I haven't been tempted one to actually kill you."
"Y... Yes m, Master," Red stammered.
"But we can't," Blonde spoke up. "I mean, according to those rules, only slaves that are body slaves now can become body servants without having to first serve two years as sex servant."
"Well, I don't think that anyone will be so stupid to point out that small detail out to me, officially," Worf said with a smirk. "Alright. Go back to what you were doing, I have a padd to send."
The two women stood up and turned away.
"Actually, there is one more thing," Worf said and waited until the women were facing him again.
"Just what are your names anyway?"
"I'm glad that we could come to this agreement," Jetur Adami said with a smile. "I believe that this will serve all our parties well."
She and Ro were having the last meeting with Deanna Troi and Jadzia Dax in the privacy of the personal quarters. The negotiations had gone surprisingly well. Oh, there had been tense moments. In fact, there had been some occasions where one or the other of the parties had to give a lot more than they would like. But in the end the giving and taking had balanced out and all in all, all three parties were satisfied with the result.
During the negotiations the women had also found out that they liked each other, and had actually openly expressed that they hoped that this was the tone that would be used in all business between the partiers. All of them liked the honest give and take a lot more then the approach that Kira had used; the 'eat shit and die' approach.
"Even though the Ferengi will be not so pleased about having to leave those star bases," Deanna pointed out.
"I'm sure that they will grumble, but all of them will take the buyout credits we Trill will be offering," Jadzia pointed out. "It is a more than profitable offer."
"So, what are your plans now?" Ro asked when it was clear that for now the talk about deals was over. "There have been several offers dripping in from theaters and restaurants and all that that would be delighted if you were to visit them."
"So that they can boast with it of course," Jetur added. "Our food is sooo good that both the Betazoid and the Trill Intendant always come and eat at our restaurant."
"Of course," Deanna said with a smile. "But as much as we would like to help them promote their business, we do have other plans. Jadzia here needs to buy some slaves from Risa as prizes to give away."
"Talking about promoting," Jadzia added, "we saw the Bajoran news last night, are those numbers real, or promotion work?"
"Numbers?" Jetur asked.
"Yes. They said that ninety-two percent of the Bajorans support you. Aren't those numbers a bit on the high side? A lower number would be easier to believe. There hasn't been a Intendant yet since Intendants exist that had such a high support number, which is why support numbers are normally never mentioned on any news."
"Ah, but that is the beauty," Jetur said with a smile. "Those numbers are real, at least at the moment. But to be fair, it's really not us; it's Kira that we have to thank for that. After how Kira ruled over the Bajoran sector, even a Ferengi would have been accepted as the new Bajoran Intendant and would have had great support numbers."
"It helped, of course," Ro added, "that the Chancellor already approved the new Bajor rules. Even though the official announcement is at the Grant Assembly, we let it 'leak' now already so that the people knew that there was nothing they could do about it anymore, and to show that we are serious about changing things. As soon as the people on Bajor found out that we were actually spending Bajor's credits to better Bajor, we couldn't do anything wrong. Even the people that did have to take a pay cut are glad that they still have a good paying job. After all, government jobs are still the best paying jobs on Bajor."
For a moment further conversation was stopped when the door opened and a Bajoran Special Forces member walked into the room.
Since becoming Intendant, Ro had handed many of the important supporting positions over to the Special Forces to take care of. The Intendants before her had never done so, afraid that they Special Forces would use the opportunity to get more influence on Bajor. Ro didn't have that worry. Having been a Captain in the Special Forces herself, she knew that the Special Forces had all the influence they wanted. And more importantly, that the Special Forces knew that gaining more influence than they already had would be very unhealthy. They didn't want the Klingons or Cardassians to become nervous. No matter how good the Special Forces were, with the five thousand people they had, even they wouldn't be able to take on the vast numbers of Klingon commandos, or the Cardassian fifteenth order.
"Intendant, an urgent message for you from the Klingon Intendant," The man said as he handed the padd he was carrying to Jetur. "This message is also addressed to Intendant Troi and Intendant Dax."
"Thanks," Jetur said, and without a further word the man was gone again.
In the beginning Jetur hadn't been so sure about bringing in more of the Special Forces. But taking Ro's assurance, she had agreed, and now she was glad she had. It was amazing how good these people were at whatever job they did. They actually understood all orders given to them, and not in the least, since there were now thirty Special Forces working in the palace, the bickering and backstabbing between the former advisors was virtually nonexistent. Instead they were suddenly a lot more interested in doing their job right than trying to put someone else in a bad light.
Jetur decided that saying what the message was about would be a lot easier then handing the padd from person to person. "Intendant Torres asks if the both of you wouldn't mind staying on Bajor a little longer. She is working on a proposal that she wants to have finished by the time of the Grand Assembly, and she hopes that she can negotiate with the Bajoran, Trill, and Betazoid Intendants here on Bajor to speed up the negotiations. There is a indicator here showing that the Chancellor gave the proposal initial approval."
"She first went to Worf before even starting to negotiate the proposal with us?" Jadzia asked. "That must be some proposal. She must have known that if she had taken it to us first we would never have agreed because we would be certain that it would never pass Worf's approval."
"She included the proposal so that we could read it and be prepared to negotiate," Jetur pointed out as she started to read the proposal.
"Probably didn't want to wait for a day or more while we go over the proposal when she gets here," Deanna said with a smile. "Instead she sent it now so that we can have a couple of weeks to prepare before she actually gets here. She knows that none of us will agree to any proposal without giving it some thought first."
"By the Prophets," Jetur whispered when she read the synopsis of the rather long proposal.
"What?" Ro asked as she saw the look of shock on her wife's face.
"This proposal, it's about ending slavery and installing a new faction existing out of the former slave species and eight species that would fall inside the territory that would be given to this new faction."
"You are kidding," Jadzia said, reaching over and taking the padd to have a look for herself. "You aren't kidding," She added a minute later.
"Worf really supports this proposal?" Deanna asked.
"It's sealed by his thumb print and the official Chancellor's seal," Jadzia said, double checking it just to be sure.
After a moment of stunned silence, Deanna finally contacted her ship.
"Cancel our trip to Risa and prepare to stay at Bajor for a few more weeks days; two weeks at least." Deanna looked over at Jadzia and Jadzia answered the unasked question with a little nod of her head. "Let them know that the Trill Intendant will also not be coming. If they ask if we will come at a different time, just tell them that we will get back to them on that."
"Troi out." Deanna looked at Jadzia and deadpanned, "Good thing we didn't go to Risa first; we saved you some credits."
"So it seems," Jadzia agreed with a smile. The smile wasn't because of the situation, far from it. The smile was for Deanna, simply because Jadzia could. Then Jadzia looked at the other two women. "It seems that we are staying a little longer. If Torres is on Kronos now it will take her two weeks to get here. I hope you don't mind having us under foot for so long. Maybe it would be a good time to check out those offers you have been getting for us. After all, since we are here, we can do our share in supporting the Bajoran economy."
"Unless you would prefer to be alone, Laren and I could show you some of our favorite restaurants and plays," Jetur offered.
"We would enjoy the company," Deanna assured.
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