Alternate Consequences
By H.W.


Chapter 14

"No way," Torres said as she crossed her arms. "It ain't happening."

"I assure you..."

"And I assure you that it ain't happening."

Seven sighed. Her lover could be so stubborn at times. "Very well. Would you be willing to bet on it, like you prefer to say?"

Torres grinned when hearing the words. Oh, this was going to be so easy. She had already won; the blonde just didn't know it yet. "Alright, you're on. What are we betting for?"

"The usual?" Seven suggested.

"You do realize that I've lost a bet yet with you, right?"

"There is always a first time, and I have a feeling that today is the day that I will win a bet with you," Seven replied in total confidence.

"Alright, for the usual. I'm looking forward to a night of pampering and endless sex."

"Unless I win, in which case you will be the one doing the pampering and just maybe I will be nice and make you come once after you have worked me over to the point where all I can still move is my tongue."

"We will see, Blondie," Torres grinned.

"I wish you did not hear the other B'Elanna call me that," Seven said with an annoyed tone, which both of them knew only too well she was playing.

"Why, don't you like it?"

"I do not."

"Good," Torres said firmly. "There should be at least one 'endearment' that you hate to hear but suffer through because you know I like to pester you with it."

"If you say so," Seven merely said. Truth be told, 'Blondie' really wasn't her most favorite endearment, but because it was indeed used as an endearment, she still did like to hear Torres say it. "I believe we should begin, so I may prove you wrong."

"Alright; let's move to me proving you wrong," Torres replied.

Seven merely lifted her eyebrow and turned to the patiently waiting Toby. She picked up the ball laying in front of him and scratched his neck a little while as she threw the ball away. Toby's eyes followed the ball eagerly, but Seven patted his head softly, letting him know that his attention was needed somewhere else. Seven pointed at the two meter high wooden fence standing to one side. "Toby, over. Go."

The Targ reacted immediately and with a running start jumped at the wall and a little awkwardly managed to use his front legs to pull himself over.

"Sit," Seven said as the Targ hit the ground at the other side of the wall. And again Toby reacted; sitting down and looking past the fence at Seven in eager anticipation.

Seven meanwhile turned back and looked at Torres with a clear 'told you' expression on her face. Or at least for Torres it was a clear expression.

"Don't be so damn smug and just say it already," Torres growled.

"I am Borg; I do not believe in saying 'I told you so,'" Seven said as she gave a small smile.

"No, you just believe in having that smug expression and that lifted eyebrow. You don't say," she emphasized the word, "a damn word, but at the same time you are saying 'I told you so, I told you so, na, na, nana, na. I was right, and you were wrong, so there, take that.'"

Seven smiled fully at that. She stepped closer to Torres and molded her body against the Klingon. "I say all of that with just one look?"

"Yet bet your pretty ass you do," Torres said as she closed her arms around the blonde and then gave the 'ass' in question a playful slap. "But that's alright. Because normally you are standing beside me and looking at others like that. You, my pretty pet, give me a class that I will never manage to have by myself."

"You have class," Seven objected. She heard Toby whine, but gave him the hand signal to stay; she still wanted to show Torres something in a moment.

"I don't have class," Torres disagreed. She kissed Seven, and then just because she could, kissed her again before finally continuing. "I have a presence. There's a difference there. Sure, I can walk into a room and just by my presence let people know that their fate just walked into the room. But you, my dear, you have class. You are more sophisticated. You are a dagger, whereas I'm a sword; both get the job done, but the one sure is a lot more messy then the other. You persuade, I bully. You guide, I point. You... have class. I... have presence."

"And a 'fuck with me and die' attitude?"

"And that," Torres grinned.

"Good thing I like that attitude," Seven said, as she placed her own hand on Torres' behind. "Because let me assure you, I may have class, but there is something extremely satisfying about seeing how extremely well you make that attitude work. Now, let me show you a difference 'I' have discovered in our approaches." Seven turned to look at Toby. "What Toby just did, going over the fence that is my way. If there is a problem; a roadblock, I find a way to make it work." Seven took a step away from Torres and called Toby to let him know that a command was following. "Toby, through, go."

Once again the Targ responded, plowing headlong into the fence and using his thick head, body build, and mass, all designed by nature to forge ahead, to do just that. He hit the fence and just kept moving, sending splintered wood flying everywhere.

"Good boy," Seven rewarded, as Toby joined them. Looking back at Torres she said, "The first was my approach, the second was your approach. But did you notice the important part?"

"Enlighten me."

"The important part was, no matter which approach, the end result was the same: Toby ended on the other side of the fence."

"Are you teaching me some life lesson here?" Torres grinned as she started to scratch Toby behind the ears.

"A life lesson? No. I am merely pointing out that we might do things differently, but that does not mean that we are not moving in the same direction. As you said yourself when you talked about a dagger and a sword; both get the job done. Take the things that went differently because of my presence. Take the test you had planned to see if Jetur Adami would chose to side with Ro Laren over her family. My way worked and made her grateful to me. That does not mean however that your way would not have worked."

"It merely means that Jetur and Ro would be pissed at me. You are right. But as I said before, I prefer to have them thankful instead of hating me. But be that as it may. Let me ask you this, how the hell did you get Toby to go over that? It is well known that Targs can't climb. It is an unwritten... actually more than likely also written in some wilderness padd somewhere... rule that if you are hunted by a Targ, you should climb into a tree because Targs can't climb."

"Then this rule should also state that if you climb, you better climb higher than three meters because a Targ my not be able to climb, but a Targ is able to jump. Toby just jumped; not climbed. There is a difference. So, it seems that I won a bet, and in the process proved you wrong."

"Well, there is a problem there. As we both know; I'm never wrong."

"So what are you going to do to keep this secret from leaking out?" Seven asked as she leaned against Torres once more, very deliberately pushing one of her breasts against Torres' arm.

"There is this famous Klingon saying: if at first you don't succeed... destroy all evidence that you tried. I think this could apply here."

"For it to apply here, you would have to 'destroy' the evidence of you losing the bet," Seven pointed out. "Toby is easy; he can not talk and give your secret away. I however, could. So, how are you going to destroy the evidence?"

"Um, knife?"

Seven shook her head. "Even though we are on the holodeck, my real blood would requite cleaning. You would have to call for a cleaning slave, which you would then have to kill because the slave saw what they were cleaning, which means that you would need to get a second slave to clean away that mess; too much trouble."

"Right. Disrupter?"

Seven shook her head once more. "You left the disrupter in the quarters and a replicated one doesn't work on living beings."

"Damn. I'm running out of options here." Torres pretended to think deeply for a moment. "Oh, I know. I could always lick you to death. No mess, except for some tasty juices I love to clean up anyway."

Seven brought her hand to one of the buckles that held Torres' Uniform jacket closed and opened it with a playful tug. "Lick me to death you say? Hmm, I think I could 'suffer' through that, but this is not the payment for the bet I won."

"Yeah, yeah, a night full of pampering. Don't worry, I'll give you that, when we both feel like it," Torres assured. But the talk with Seven had put her in the mood for something else right now. She loved how Seven showed absolutely no fear; trusted her completely. The blonde had seen Torres kill people with her bare hands, had seen Torres do things that would make most people vomit, seen Torres sign execution orders for hundreds. Yet, Seven trusted her, rightfully so, so completely that she actually joked with Torres about finding a good way to kill her. Torres never could believe that it was possible to love someone that much, to love someone totally, completely, absolutely... and yet here she was, loving the blonde even more than that. "But now baby, I want something else. Talking about licking you to death had put me in the mood to just eat you, are you in the mood for a long dinner?"

Seven definitely was. This was nothing like the oral sex Torres performed pretty much every time they made love. There would almost always be at least some time that Torres ended up with her mouth between Seven's legs, and some time with Seven's mouth between Torres legs. Both of them loved to give oral pleasure, enjoyed the taste of the other. That was not what Torres was talking about now though. Torres didn't feel like it all of the time, but every few weeks there would come a time where Torres wanted to do nothing more than just lie between Seven's legs and feast.

The last time Torres had stayed right there, doing nothing more then concentrate on Seven's center, it had lasted for almost a full hour. When she felt like this she wasn't even really working to make Seven climax; in fact she had made Seven come 'only' once the last time. No, she simply placed kisses, licks, enjoyed the smell, the taste, and in the meantime talked unimportant nonsense talk with Seven.

"Computer, replicate a bed and add a beach with a slight ocean breeze," Seven said while she playfully tugged the second buckle open. She heard Toby whine when the scenery changed. The Targ didn't like the changing of scenery while he was on the holodeck. Of course, Seven had no illusion and knew only too well that Toby with his keen senses would know that not a single thing on the holodeck except for him, B'Elanna, and Seven were real. However things still moved. The fake animals still ran away and chasing was fun! Yet, he didn't like to see things suddenly disappear and appear around him. This was why he also didn't like the transporters. "I apologize Toby," Seven said sincerely. "I will make it up to you when we are done. The time you lost and an extra hour. But for now, Toby, private time."

Toby sulked away when he heard the command 'private time.' He wanted to play. Yet despite this little show of looking at the two nest mates with sorrowful eyes, he really wasn't too upset. He knew that if 'private time' happened when they had been spending time with him, they always made it up to him with much extra time later on.

Besides, 'private time' really wasn't that bad; it was actually kinda fun. He would sulk away to a corner of the room and just lay there, knowing that by not interrupting 'private time' he could stay in the room. He liked that. It was always fun to watch his nest mates play. He wasn't selfish. He really didn't mind if his nest mates played their funny game by themselves, just as long as they didn't forget to play with him too somewhere during the day. Besides, when his nest mates were playing with each other they always made those funny noises. It made him feel so at home, reminding him of when he was just a little one in the nest with mama, of how his brothers and sisters would play. They would yelp, give fake growls, howl; no, he didn't mind them playing at all. It made them happy, and he liked them happy. So he just lay down and pretended to be totally uninterested in anything. See, there was the first funny noise: a yelp.

"Just take him with you," Torres suggested.

"Mistress, I cannot. There is a strict law prohibiting any Targ to be brought onto Bajor. This law was put into place when a parasite that most Targs carry ended up eradicating thirty-three domestic animals on Bajor fifty-one years ago."

"So, Toby has the best vet there is to find in the entire Coalition."

"That is not the point," Seven insisted. "Mistress, considering what you are going to negotiate, considering the fact that you need the Bajoran help, do you really want to sent the signal that you do not even respect one of their simplest rules: 'Do not bring any Targs onto Bajor.'"

Torres had to think about that. If it had been just her, she would simply have done so and dared the Bajorans to say something about it. She sighed. She knew that the blonde was right, at this point she really couldn't afford to piss the Bajorans off over something as simple as whether or not her pet's pet could come along for the visit too. "Fine. We'll just plan the days in such way that we can beam up once during the day to give Toby his exercise, and when we retire to our room at night, we beam onto the ship from there." Torres grinned. "You know, that little change switches things from me getting in their face, to me being so thoughtful about their laws that I try to plan my day to it."

"Indeed," Seven agreed. "Which is why my approach of going 'around the fence' is not as difficult as it seems. The smallest things can make one look considerate and compassionate."

"If you say so. But I still say that you can pull that off better than me. Let's face it, I may be a lot of things but compassionate I am not. But, now it's time to play nice... so lets go play nice with the others," Torres said as she started to walk to the door.

Toby started to follow them but was stopped by Seven's command. "Toby, stay. Guard." Seven kneeled and gave him a good chin scratch before placing a kiss on is head. "I am sorry boy. You cannot come with us. Be a good boy."

Torres patted Toby's head in a goodbye. "We'll be back this afternoon boy."

"Damn it all to hell. I'm going to kill the fucking bitches!"

"Mistress, I have a feeling that even you will not be able to get away with killing the Bajoran, Betazoid, and Trill Intendants." Seven paused. "At least not all at once."

"Ooh, we are being funny today," Torres growled.

"And we are being cranky today. Mistress, why are you so upset? We have been in negotiations for three days now and none of them has made a request today that was unreasonable."

Torres sighed frustrated. "I don't know really," She finally admitted. "Maybe," She hesitated for a moment. "Maybe that's exactly the problem. We have been negotiating for three days already, talking about details that I normally never deal with. Normally I just agree, or not, to a deal and have others work out the details. But I can't do that now. This is too important. It's me that has to make the little deals, if for no other reason than the fact that this way I have nobody but myself to blame if I mess something up."

"However, your preferred way of doing business is to say 'take it or leave it,'" Seven said in understanding. "So, what are you going to do about it?"

Torres spread her hands a little in an 'I don't really know gesture.' "Sit back and let you do all the dealing?"


"Well, you are making about sixty percent of the deals as it is anyway; you with your 'Mistress, if I may make a suggestion' crap."

"I am merely making suggestions. I am not to blame for the fact that you, and the others, do think that most of my suggestions are a decent middle ground."

"Stop fucking arguing with me," Torres growled.

"My, we really are cranky," Seven said as she stood up and moved closer to the pacing Torres. "Want me to kiss it and make it better?"

Torres pointed her finger at Seven and after a moment she shook it a little. "You drive me fucking wild, you know that?"

"Of course," Seven said as she moved closer yet and placed a kiss on the pointing finger. "You know only too well that I have made it my goal in life to drive you wild at least once every day."

"Come here already," Torres said as she grabbed Seven's arm and pulled her closer. Once the blonde was standing as close as she could and still make it possible for them to look each other in the eyes Torres continued. "Now, why do you always have to interfere with my perfectly good temper tantrums?"

"Because it is fun to see you getting frustrated by the fact that you want to lash out verbally, I am a very convenient target, yet you do not want to lash out at me."

"Glad to see that me being pissed is amusing to you. So, what were you going to kiss and make it all better?" Torres asked.

"Does it matter?" Seven asked amused. "No matter what I kiss, I am certain that it will make you feel better."

"Let's test that," Torres said as she claimed Seven's lips in a sensual kiss. "Hmmm, guess you were right; I do feel better now."

"Do you think the others are being unreasonable?" Seven asked, deciding to get to the point of Torres' anger.

Torres sighed and resumed her pacing, this time at a slow stroll speed. "Realistically? No they aren't. In fact, considering the magnitude of this, considering that this is a deal that can get them in trouble while it is normally damn hard or even almost impossible to get an Intendant in trouble, you can even say that they are surprisingly forthcoming. It's just that," she hesitated, putting her thoughts together, "I don't give a fucking shit about whether or not that tax cut was by two-point-zero-one, or by two-point-zero-two percent."

Suddenly Torres turned to Seven and pointed at her. "And just why the hell did you insist that Risa should become the only place to train certified body servants and that no other 'certification' should be recognized or even allowed in the coalition? That damn point alone has kept us arguing for an extra half hour."

"I," Seven actually had to think a little about that. "Can we sit down again?"

"You go ahead and sit, I need to walk. Do you want a drink? I need one."

"I will," Seven began to say as her direction moved to the replicator.

"No, you just sit, I'll get it. Really Seven, I'm not pissed, anymore. Just annoyed, and that's why I need to walk."

"Very well," Seven agreed as she moved to the chair and sat down. "I think," Seven began, coming back to the question Torres had asked. "I," she hesitated again, trying to find the right words since she was explaining this as much to herself as to her lover. "The problem is that you are talking about things that will free the slaves, true. However, there is nobody there that can speak for them; nobody to simply say 'can this be done that way?' I guess that this is why I do so when there is a point that is very important to the future free slaves."

"But why is the point whether or not the Bajorans can also train body servants so damn important?" Torres asked as she handed Seven the drink that the blonde preferred to drink most of the time.

"Thank you. The problem is not with the Bajorans, as much. The problem is that if there are two places, what is there to stop a third place from being established? What is there to stop, say the Ferengi, from opening a 'school' that turns out thousands of 'qualified' body slaves every day? For the sex industry to survive and be a healthy industry it has to be an industry that people are proud to be a part of. A body servant should not be a glorified whore."

Torres had been looking at the carpet thoughtfully as Seven spoke, but with that last word her eyes snapped up, and she quickly realized that the crude hardness of the word had been chosen very deliberately by Seven.

Seeing Torres' eyes coming up, Seven continued. "A body servant should be a profession to be proud of. If there are three people at a party talking about what their profession is; an Engineer, a scientist, a Risa trained body servant, the body servant position should be so respected that with total respect the other two say, 'really? Wow.' When someone goes to that party the introductions to the host should be, 'thank you for inviting us. May I introduce my husband/wife to you, and this is our Body Servant.' You can only get that level of respect for a profession, which can just as easily turn into a shameful profession, if it has the full support of all factions and if its exclusivity is firmly guarded."

"Alright, I see your point," Torres had to agree. Thinking about it a little longer, she added, "You know, a grading system would help even more."

"Mistress?" Seven queried curiously.

"Well, think about it. If you only have certified, or not, it still doesn't say much about just how good a body servant the person is. Just that he or she can do certain things. But if a grading system was added, then they would leave Risa not just certified, but even classed. Then the job could be come even more exclusive. It would also help with the wages. Let's say that there are," she thought for a moment, "five grades, with five being the highest. If someone manages to work his or her way up; become a wealthy person. When they reach a stage where they have enough credits to afford a body servant they would hire a first grade body servant because that will cost them one hundred credits every month, or whatever a body servant will be making.

"But, lets say that a very rich person wants a new body servant. They can afford to spend more, so they hire the best there is to get. They hire a fifth grade body servant. But the thing is, this body servant has this certificate proving up front just how good of a service they are going to provide. So this freshly Risa trained, fifth grade, body servant that has never worked a day in his or her life can immediately start the negotiations by asking a ten thousand credits a month."

Both of Seven's eyebrows rose at that. "Do you really think that even in the beginning a body servant could ask that much? The average wages for a normal working person is between one and two thousand credits a month. How can a body servant ever ask ten times the average monthly wages, every month? When we were talking with Worf we all agreed that in the beginning the 'wages' for a former slave would more than likely be nothing more than food and a place to sleep. Can asking such high wages even be possible?"

"If you have a grading system that proves how good a body servant is? Sure. Can I use you as an example?"

Seven smiled at that. Liking how Torres had moved from simply using Seven as an example as a slave to first asking her if Seven minded. "Please do."

"Well, you have to remember that wealthy people can afford to spend some credits. If I didn't have you and I decided that I was going to get myself a body servant, well, I would look at the possible candidates and of course, nothing under a fifth grade would do. If you would be between that group of candidates. Baby, just from reading your stats I would be willing to pay twenty thousand per month for you. Even though I know that for that amount of credits I could get a hundred sex servants. Then once your first contract was over and we had to renegotiate a new contract, I would even be willing to pay you a hundred thousand credits a month just to keep your services."

"You would?" Seven asked amazed.

"Sure, no question about it," Torres replied emphatically. "Seven, the hundred thousand credits a month I wouldn't even miss, but you..." She trailed off, letting the words sink in.

"Of course, if you have a grading system you will have to make it possible for a lower grading to get higher; a low grading shouldn't influence their entire life. Maybe the grading can be some test and if a lower grading thinks he or she can do better they can take the test again to see if they actually can."

"A valid point," Seven said in agreement. "The first test that gives them the original grade could be a free part of their education, while any additional test they want to take will be an expensive test they have to save for. That would keep people from applying for the test time and again. If they apply and fail, they would first have to work for some time to save before they can apply again. This would also bring Risa some extra revenue. B'Elanna, may I ask you a question?"

"Oh ho," Torres said, having heard how Seven had suddenly addressed her as B'Elanna. "Go ahead."

"I know this is an unfair question to ask, but I am curious. If you really did have to pay me, just how much would you be willing to pay me?"

Torres snarled at the question. "Not nice, Seven. Not nice."

"Please be assured that there is no ulterior motive. I really am curious," Seven soothed.

"What would I pay you? For the services you now supply? Including actually loving me? Baby, I'd be ready to give you every damn thing I own."

"You mean that," Seven said surprised.

"I would sign it all over to you in a heartbeat," Torres assured. "Come on, Seven. I'm the Klingon Intendant, I get paid a million credits every damn day just because of that. You know I really don't give a damn about the credits I have, which ironically enough makes me more credits than if I did care. Even if I would lose it all, or sign it all over to you, I can simply go on some state visits tour that lasts a month. By the time I'm back I have 'saved' enough credits to buy myself a new mansion, slaves... or servants.... and a business or two just for the fun of it. I don't care about my credits, but I do care about you. So yeah, if that was what it would take, I'd do it."

"I love you, and no, that is not what it takes," Seven assured. "What it takes is for you to come here and kiss me."

Torres did so and soon they were spending a few fun minutes just kissing and touching while Torres was sitting on Seven's lap, in the chair that would never have allowed them to sit besides each other.

"Why did you ask me that, Seven?" Torres finally wondered when they stopped kissing.

Seven actually shrugged. "I really am curious. We both know that what we have, we both want. I know that the emotions, the love, you can not hang a price on that. I also know that because of the love the sex feels better than the same sex act would feel without the love. What I do may feel great to you, but if I was 'just' a slave that same act would feel... boring."

"Somehow I sincerely doubt that. But, if I understand this correctly, you basically asked how much your were 'worth' because you want to know how good you are?" The Klingon asked.

"You know that you were the first person I was every with sexually. All my knowledge came from research," Seven began.

"Did you ever stop to think that maybe that's a good thing?" Torres interrupted. "You never did things in a certain way because you assumed I would like it since previous lovers had. Because you were 'new' you learned on me, and in doing so learned exactly what and how I like it. You really are the best, Seven."

When Seven was about to speak again, Torres continued. "But that still doesn't answer your question, does it? You want the blunt truth. You want to know how good you are separated from how feelings may color it. Alright, I can do that. Pretend that we are negotiating the prolonging of your body servant contract. I say prolonging because I do know how good you are. How much would I be willing to pay you to keep you as my body servant?"

Torres thought about that for a moment, weighing the pro's and cons. "Alright, also keeping in mind that a body servant is more then sex, and that I also appreciate the input as an advisor, and the small things like the damn fact that ever since you help me dress my damn uniform doesn't pinch anymore," She thought about it for a moment longer before finally saying, "Two hundred thousand."

"Really? A month?" Seven asked, strangely satisfied by having a financial number.

"Seven, I was talking per day. Two hundred thousand a day, that's what I would offer you to prolong your contract. And no, I'm not just saying that to make you feel good. That's the brutal truth. Oh, as your lover I would simply beg you to stay, but as your employer, that's what I would be willing to pay. First, let's cover the sex angle. Seven, I don't know how I can convince you about this, but you are incredibly good. For that alone, for the great sex alone, that also is at my beck and call every moment I need it, for that alone I would pay you fifty.

"But you are also a great advisor. For that I would pay you another fifty. Suggestions you gave me for my businesses alone have earned me enough to cover the extra cost of having to pay you for years. You are also great in taking care of other business for me, simply because of those Borg implants you have, that you read all my padds and only hand me the ones that really need my attention, again fifty."

"And the other fifty?" Seven wondered.

"Those are simply for your company. As you yourself told my counterpart; you stimulate my mind. Just for your company, for the simple fact that I have someone around me the entire day that I can actually hold an intelligent conversation with instead of having to wonder if they are going to pee themselves, you are worth another fifty. So as I said, I would pay your two hundred a day, but to me you are worth all the billions I have."

"I am still amazed at the large amount though. I know that you can 'miss' two hundred thousand every day because you 'make' five times that amount every day as payment for your job. But there will not be many others that will have the financial means to pay someone seventy-three million credits every standard year, and if they do, they will prefer to spend that amount of credits on something else."

"Oh, I agree, there will not be that many people that will be willing to pay that, but you should also not underestimate the number of people that will. I think, once firmly settled into the new roles, there might actually be several hundred body servants in the Coalition that might actually really make that. Seven, on every Home planet there is normally at least always one person that managed to get to be the wealthiest, and normally there is a 'top' of four or five extremely rich people. There are several thousand billionaires in the Coalition, and on a total guess I would say over five hundred multi-billionaires.

"Once you have reached such a level of wealth, you see 'wealth' differently. Credits become just a number. But someone that makes you feel that you are the most loved person in the universe, that's priceless. You know, and I'm not kidding here, there will probably even be cases where the partner of the rich person insists that they get a body servant and the rich partner pay for it, because they want to have someone that makes them feel that they are more important than the credits the partner is making."

"So, if I understand this correctly, the most important part about a body servant might not even be his or her sexual abilities, but just how good they can pretend?"

"Right," Torres agreed. "If I may use you again?"

"Oh, but mistress, you know you may use me at any time."

"Cute, Seven... but that is actually a great example. I know you love me; I know you would do anything for me. I can simply feel how much you love me. A body servant that would be worth so much that he or she gets paid a five figure amount or more, every day, is someone that would make me feel just like you do. While thinking on the inside, 'bitch, can't you do that yourself instead of bothering me for something as small as that.'

"A 'cheap' body servant will actually more than likely have to perform sexual services a lot more then an 'expensive' body servant. Some body servants might actually never have to do the sex thing and get paid for their other abilities. While yet other body servants will get paid so much because of the simple fact that they really do make love to the employer instead of just have sex. Seven, no kidding here, a body servant that is able to really make love to an employer, that is really able to not have sex, but make love... Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I know for sure that body servant will be the profession where some payment records will be broken within a year. As soon as the first contracts start to end... yeah, expect some records that have never been set by the other normal contract jobs."

"Thank you for that explanation. And thank you very much for telling me honestly what you would pay me. You may find it strange, but knowing what I am worth to you in credits is very important to me. Please believe that I know that you love me, and that because of that I mean everything for you. However, it is satisfying to know how much my services are worth to you, be it the love making, or the other things. For instance, I really appreciate the knowledge that you value my advice just as much as my lovemaking."

"You didn't know that?" Torres asked surprised.

"Did you ever tell me?" Seven asked in her turn, but making sure that the tone didn't sound accusing. "All I could do until now is guess. I did know that you appreciated my advice, and my presence, and the fact that my implants are extremely convenient to you, but I never knew how much."

"Well, if you really want to have numbers, how about this, every quarter year I'll tell you. We do as we just did, pretend that if I had to pay you, how much I would pay you. Just as long as you remember that the package Seven of Nine is totally, absolutely and unconditionally priceless to me."

"I would like that. It would also tell me where I can focus more of my energy to please you more. Because until now all I knew for sure by direct reaction from you that pleased you was making love."

"As long as you don't start putting less energy into that," Torres grinned. "Kahless, I can't tell you how pleased I am to have someone that can keep up with my Klingon urges of making love at least, at the very least, an hour a night, and on top of that sometimes during the day as well."

"You make it sound as if you are the one that always starts our love making," Seven said before playfully nibbling Torres' neck. "May I remind you I am still the one that initiates the most lovemaking with fifty nine percent of the time?"

"Damn it woman, you really keep track of that?"

"Of course; I keep track of a lot of things. You never know when knowing percentages of something can be convenient, like it was now."

Torres just grinned at that for a moment before deciding it was time to go do something with their time away from negotiations. "So, my little blonde vixen, anything you would like to do? We have six more hours until it's a decent time for us to beam back to the ship."

"Are there no more negotiations this afternoon?" Seven asked surprised.

"No. Ro and Jetur had some Bajoran crap commitment they couldn't get out of. Since it was a real commitment and not just something they pretended was important, I suggested to the others that we get together again tomorrow. I think that we can finally wrap things up then."

Seven frowned at that. "And where was I during this conversation?"

"Talking to Martok about that plan of his," Torres replied. "It just happened to come up at that time because Ro and Jetur were informed then of the exact time."

"The Bajoran Intendant did not know the exact time of something that would influence something as important as negotiations with the Klingon Intendant?" Seven asked confused.

Torres lifted both her hands in a 'don't ask me' manner. "It's that Bajoran fate nonsense again. It has something to do with the hatching of the first young of some animal or something. All that was really important was that it was predicted that if they didn't attend, their popularity rating would fall, and if they did attend even though everyone knew that they were in a meeting with three other Intendants, their popularity would climb even a little more. Seeing how their popularity rating is actually real, I saw no reason to make them choose. I can understand how the high popularity rating makes things easier for them. And if things go easy for them, they go easy for me as well because now they appreciate me actually understanding them having to go. See, my pet, I am learning from you. That's another reason why you are worth those fifty as advisor."

"In that case, we could make love now," Seven suggested.

Torres shook her head with a grin. "You just want to work on getting that fifty-nine rating to a sixty. Come on, let's go look at some more Bajoran stuff. Hey, with the Bajoran whatever going on, I bet we can even slip away from those Special Forces that they had following us the last time. After all, they will be needed at that, um, whatever thing."

"I actually prefer it if there is some security following us," Seven pointed out.

"And I told you so many times already, I'm a Klingon; I like to flirt with danger. Besides, I got you."

It was quiet; in fact they were the only people there. Which was the exact reason why Torres had opted to go to this normally otherwise crowded location now. She knew that all the Bajorans would be at home or at gathering places following the 'whatever' like Torres kept calling the important Bajoran religious day.

"Great day, isn't it?" Torres asked as she looked up at the cloudless sky. "Come on; let's see what's so famous about the famous ruins of Ganyario."

"So, what did you think?" Torres asked. They had walked for over an hour between the old ruins, never seeing a single other person. Only now that they were moving back to the hover car did they see a second hover car parked besides theirs.

"While it was interesting, I believe that these ruins lacked the sphere of history that the colonial ruins had," Seven replied. "With the colonial ruins you had buildings that had been the seat of power, that were destroyed in the rebellion. But these ruins are only important because Ganyario once lived in this city: a person that was forgotten by history until one hundred years ago. There is nothing important about the buildings, merely the fact that an important person once lived in one of those buildings. In fact, even that is only a compromise because the last fifteen years of his life Ganyario lived in a different city. However, since they never were able to find out the name of that other city they simply turned this dilapidated city into 'the ruins of Ganyario' to give them a historical site they do not really have."

"Ouch, my pet, easy on the brutal honesty. Even I feel sorry for the Bajorans now. Of course, all you say is absolutely true, but still."

"That is because I am here with only you. If Bajorans were here I would be talking about the interesting facts that were indicated on those texts beside the buildings. Which were indeed interesting, just totally useless."

"You are here with 'only' me? Should I feel insulted?" Torres asked amused.

Seven was about to answer but then she saw movement at the hover cars and saw how someone was pointing something at them before suddenly all went black.

Seven woke up and found she was incapable of moving much. Only the very basics were possible, like opening her eyes, her mouth, letting herself drop onto her back instead of lying on her side and moving her head slightly. With that head movement she was finally able to find Torres laying on Seven's other side.

"Hmm, you are a strong one aren't you?" Someone said and Seven moved her eyes trying to find the owner of the voice. "You should be out of it for at least half an hour more." She saw the Romulan sitting a little further away, clearly making sure to stay out of any reach that a recently sedated person could have.

"No matter," The Romulan continued. "By the time the immobilization has fully worn off I'll be long gone. In case you are wondering, I have removed Intendant Torres' locator beacon and it's about five day's walk in northerly direction. Any sign of sentient life is about just as far away, so the best thing you can do is just sit and wait until the Klingons notice that their Intendant isn't coming back from her day trip and start scanning for her body after finding the locator beacon."

While the Romulan was telling the blonde slave this, giving the perfect impression of the half-ass criminal that was giving away his perfect plan just to show off, in reality he was less then thrilled with the situation. It went against all his training and 'on the job' experience to leave a witness behind. But five million extra credits were hard to pass up, and this blonde slave would be perfect. She would tell her story to the Klingons, but when the Klingons went to the Romulan Intendant he would wave them off because all their evidence was only the word of a slave.

"Just be glad that the job was for the Intendant only." Yet another deliberately placed piece of information. When hearing that, the Klingons would wonder just who had ordered the 'job.' Had it only been someone with a grudge, or had it been someone high up. Like the Romulan Intendant himself for instance. After all, The Klingons would have no idea of just for whom the assassin had been working.

The Romulan checked his time piece and gave a short nod. "It's time. Say goodbye to your mistress, slave. Because she is going to die now."

"You hurt her, I kill you," Seven managed to stammer with much difficulty.

The Romulan chuckled when hearing the words. "Feisty thing aren't you? Must be the reason the Intendant picked you; she's like that, I know," He said, secure in the knowledge that the slave would never be able to recognize him once he had changed his appearances. "You really aren't in a position to threaten me, slave."

"No threat; promise." Seven forced out. Of course, the Romulan had no way of knowing that the blonde slave had implants that had made it possible for her to not only put his fake face to memory, but also his thermal image. No matter how much he changes his face, he would never be able to change his thermal image and therefore Seven would be able to recognize him anywhere, if met face to face. Besides that, she had also committed his voice to memory, down to the last octave, and the chemical composition of his smell.

The only thing Seven couldn't do yet, was physically move to save Torres. To her horror she saw the Romulan take a small weapon that Seven easily recognized as a cellular destabilizor, making it very clear to Seven that this Romulan wasn't the amateur he pretended to be. Kira had been killed with the same kind of weapon and because of the investigation into that death Seven knew that a cellular destabilizor was a weapon favored especially by assassins. It was easy to hide, hard to detect with standard scans, and most importantly, once used any medical help would definitely be too late. Especially that last was an important factor for assassins. With a normal death someone could still be saved, sometimes hours after dying. With a destabilizor this wasn't the case, and assassins really liked for their victims to stay dead.

Without saying another word, the Romulan brought the weapon as close as needed and activated it. For a moment Torres' body was engulfed in a blue light, and then it was over.

Intendant B'Elanna Torres was dead, and not a single medical science in the Coalition could bring her back.

Seven wanted to scream, but all her body could manage was a weak 'nooo.'

As another proof of his being more then he pretended, the Romulan spent a moment to make sure that Torres really was dead, despite the fact that she had to be.

"I, kill you," Seven forced out when she saw the Romulan check Torres' body a final time.

"As nice enough a fantasy to keep you company as any," The Romulan merely said, not at all impressed. Then he turned and walked out of the cave they were in, secure in the knowledge that even Kahless himself couldn't save this Klingon anymore.

It took another agonizing slow thirty minutes before Seven started to get some control back over her body. Using all of her power, she managed to pull herself to the lifeless body of Torres. She knew that the situation would be hopeless; that there wouldn't be a single person out of the entire Coalition that could save Torres.

There was just one thing that the Romulan hadn't known: Seven wasn't from the Coalition.

"I am sorry. I hope that you will be able to forgive me, but I cannot let you die. I love you."

With those words, Seven plunged her assimilation tubes into Torres' neck and for the first time since being severed from the collective willingly let her nanoprobes free in someone's body.

The Doctor had used her nanoprobes to save people. For instance, Harry owed his life to them. Yet those had been programmed specifically for the job by the Doctor. These nanoprobes lacked the Doctor's fine programming and instead only had one basic command that Seven had given them; stop and repair the cellular destabilization going on in the body. Seven had no idea what else the nanoprobes would do to the body of the person she loved more then her own life.

Torres opened her eyes, only to close them again and open them once more.

"What the fuck?"

She looked around herself, trying to make out forms in the twilight that was suddenly surrounding her. She noticed that she was standing in some kind of mist that came up to her knees. While the area surrounding her had the feel of a cave, she couldn't seen any cave walls, nor a ceiling for that matter. She did however see Klingons, all of them walking in the same direction.

She tried to speak to one of them, but he didn't react. He just kept staring straight in front of him and as soon as she let go of him he started walking again.

Not really knowing what the do, Torres followed the Klingons to see where they were going. Soon she saw a huge gate looming in front of her, and just beyond, through the open doors, she could see a dock; a dock with two distinctively different ships waiting, taking Klingons on board.

Now Torres knew where she was; she was at the docks. She had finally gotten herself killed.

She gasped in realization. "Great, just fucking great."

She knew that one type of ship would sail to Gre'thor, while the other would sail to StoVoKor.

The gate had a certain pull to it, and she couldn't ignore its call. She just had to go there. Soon she was stepping through the gate. She wondered where to go. The others around her seemed to know; some went to the left, some to the right, but for Torres the choice just wasn't clear.

Suddenly she was stopped by someone putting his hand against her chest.


Torres looked up to the Klingon in front of her... and just kept looking up and up. The man had to be at least two and a half meter tall and had a body that clearly existed out of nothing else but strong muscles.

"Kahless," she breathed impressed.

"Hardly," the Klingon snored. "I'm just one of the lesser; doing all the damn footwork while he stands on his pedestal and gets all the credit. I'm the guardian of the docks. Most people have led their life in such a way that they know what way to go: either to the left to the barge of death and on to Gre'thor, or to the right to the barge of honor and on to StoVoKor. But some people, like you, Torres, have lived their life in such a way that they are dancing on the Bat'leth's edge. They have done things to make them go to the left, and they have done things that allow them to go to the right. I'm the person who, in those cases, makes the decision: left, or right."

"So what way should I go?" Torres asked, while her mind traveled to Seven, and the fact that she had died on the person she loved, leaving her behind after only having been with her for such a short time. There was so much more she had wanted to tell the blonde, so much more she had wanted to show her. So much more. But now it was too late, too damn late.

The realization made her sick to the stomach. That she had cheated herself and Seven out of a life together. That, and just what she had done to the blonde. Seven had urged her to take guards along, but Torres had told her that she would be enough protection. Now the blonde would live on knowing that she hadn't been able to save her lover. Nobody deserved to live with that notion, especially not Seven, who had done more than enough, and then some, to keep Torres safe.

"Eager, aren't you?" The Klingon asked. "Did it ever cross your mind that left and right aren't the only options?"

"What do you mean? Everyone knows that once you get here, you go either left or right, there is no other way."

"And they would know this... how?" The Klingon didn't wait for an answer. "Torres. Torres, Torres, Torres." Every time the Klingon said her name, he let the R's role, almost making her name sound like a purr. "That is quite a name you got there... Torres. Feared throughout the Coalition. Torres... just hearing the name alone has made grown men piss their pants. Torres... a name feared even more than Worf's name, for everybody knows that it is you that makes all the decision that can get them killed. Torres... a person not to be trifled with. Torres... You have more blood on your hands than any of the people that went onto the Barge of Death in the last half year... combined. Killing millions for harboring slaves, and yet here you are, in love with a slave.

"Torres... the name alone has decided debates. 'Let's ask Intendant Torres' has concluded many a debate. People don't dare to ask you; afraid that you might just have them all killed just the have the debate over with. Tell me... Torres. What do you think of the fact that the most feared name in all of Coalition space... is really a human name? That one of the most Honored houses in Klingon history carries the name of a slave?"

Torres merely shrugged her shoulders. "As the saying goes; 'Irony is a bitch that likes to laugh her ass off.' I don't care where the name comes from. All I care about is that the name is mine and I carry my name with Honor."

"That you do," The Klingon agreed. "But I still wonder about what your family was thinking when they gave you the name of the slave."

"You'll have to ask them, my guess is that they figured that my mother's name was disgraced by her having a child with a slave. So they gave me the name of the slave, it sounds Klingon enough for nobody to notice that it isn't really a Klingon name."

The Klingon nodded his head in agreement. "Oh, I will ask them alright, once I have them standing in front of me. Now, Torres. You are here too soon, now is not yet the time for you to stand here."

"Then why take me here? As far as I know, you have to be taken to the docks," Torres asked with a slight growl. It annoyed her that the Klingon was making it sound as if it had been her choice to be standing there.

"True," The Klingon agree. "You were taken here because you were critically injured, an injury you would have died of if your Mate hadn't been at your side. In fact; you did die. You weren't just injured; you were killed. She gave you back your life, Torres... and once you are back with her you will be thankful to her for saving your life, despite the way she did it."

"The way she did it?" Torres only repeated.

"You will find out soon enough. Just know that you didn't actively seek this out, and therefore there is no disgrace in accepting it. Now Torres, you are going to bring a lot of changes to the Coalition and I was told to give you a message. You make sure that the Klingons stay the dominate factor in everything. Be it through diplomacy, alliances, or aggression. You can make concessions, but you make sure that the Klingons don't become less powerful as they are now."

"What changes?"

"Torres, I'm not going to draw you up a schematic," The Klingon growled. "Changes, like the ones you have been working on for over a year now. We Klingons are a proud race; having slaves doesn't make you proud, it makes you weak."

"Ah, well, yeah, I think so," Torres agreed.

"Torres, about your Mate,"

"What about her?" Torres asked with a growl, ready to come to Seven's defenses.

The Klingon chuckled for a moment. "Now there's that famous protective streak that has sent more than one person to these docks. I was going to say that she makes a good Mate for you. She would also make a good Klingon warrior."

"For her to be able to be seen as a warrior, she would have to be free, beyond any doubt, and be part of a Klingon house," Torres stated.

"No really?" The Klingon drawled, making clear that this certainly wasn't news to him. "Then I guess you will just have to make sure that she is part of a Klingon house at some time; officially, that is. Which reminds me: that little trick with making her a part of your house, yet not officially, won't work. Really, Torres, what were you thinking? Do you really think that we would accept a bond here that isn't official? What Honor can be found in hiding your Mate? You should be proud of her; not hide her.

"Now, as I said, your time to stand here hasn't come yet, and unless you get yourself killed by your own stupidity, again, it won't come for some years yet. You can forget how you lived your life until now. As I said in the beginning, right now you could go to the left, and to the right. The life you lived until now won't decide if you go left, or right, the next time I see you. It is how you handle the changes you are going to make. Make the changes, but never at the cost of Klingon honor or power."

"And what about Seven? I won't give her up, not even at the cost of Klingon honor."

"Then I guess you have to make sure that she moves to the point where she is no longer 'just' your Mate, but your life partner as well. And if you live a life that allows you to go to the right the next time I see you, you might want to perform the blood oath at some point before that time so that she will be able to find you in StoVoKor."

"Make her into my wife. I could do that if slavery ends. Then she would be a free person and I can marry a free person. But despite what Seven wants, I still haven't given up hope of her actually being the Intendant for the former slaves. If she were to marry me, doesn't that weaken her power? Won't it make people think that she is just a puppet for me?" Torres asked with a worried frown.

"Weaken her power?" The Klingon snorted. "Get real, Torres. Those people will wet themselves in excitement form knowing that their Intendant has such a base of influence with the Klingons. They will know that this influence, and only this influence, will actually keep them free. But you, Torres... People will doubt you. They will start wondering if maybe you lost your edge, taking a human as your Mate. Don't, ever, let them doubt you," He glared as he emphasized every single word. "You will need to be on top of your power until the day you die. You will need that for yourself, and your Mate. If people challenge you, Torres, don't hesitate to send them and who ever is in with them to my docks, not even if the doubter is a member of the high council. Luckily you have found a Mate who understands that you need to do that sometimes, and won't love you any less for it."

"I am lucky to have found Seven," Torres agreed, "not only for that reason but for all that she is."

The Klingon nodded his head slightly in agreement. "And now it is time for you to go back. Your Mate is starting to wonder if she failed in saving you. And remember: be thankful to her for saving you."

"Yes, I remember, be thankful, no matter how she did it. I know, I know. But do you happen to know just how in all levels of condemnation I'll actually get back?"

"Torres, it is not a wise idea to speak about the levels of condemnation here. We actually can send you there to find out just what it is like to spend some time there. As for how you get back, that is very simple." The Klingon suddenly pushed Torres back with so much force that she was lifted off her feet and dropped back into the knee-high mist.

To Torres it felt as if she had been falling through that thin layer of mist for minutes. Finally the mist started to lift and she found herself being cradled in the strong arms of her lover.

"B'Elanna, please come back to me!"

"I'm here love." Was that soft hoarse whisper her own voice? Torres wondered. Damn she suddenly felt weak. "Need to rest."

"NO! No, do not. Stay with me, I can not bear to lose you again."

"Don't worry, love. You saved me. I'm not going to leave you. I was at the dock right now, but they sent me back. All I need is a little sleep. I promise I'll wake up again."

And then everything went black again.

"What happened to her?" Martok asked. He was standing beside Seven in the sickbay of the Intendant's ship. He had personally headed the search party when Torres hadn't returned at the scheduled time.

Seven only reluctantly took her eyes off the resting form of Torres and looked to her side. "I told you; she was shot with a cellular destabilizor."

"That I know. But I want to know what happened, who shot her?"

"A Romulan. A Romulan that is going to die." Without saying another word Seven turned around and left sickbay.

Chapter 15

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