Alternate Consequences
By H.W.


Chapter 16

Martok walked in half an hour later to find Torres and Seven still lying on the bio-bed. "My, doesn't that look really tough and Klingon like."

"If you want to see touch and Klingon like, I could always come over there and gut you," Torres growled.

Martok merely chuckled as he came closer. "That's alright, I like my intestines just fine where they are. So, are you feeling well enough for me to kill you?"

"Hey, let me point out here that I have already been killed once today," Torres said.

"Precisely my point," Martok came back.

Torres looked at Seven, only to see a total lack of support there. She sighed and started to get up, only to feel strong hands holding her down. Figuring that she really wasn't going to ruin her image with Martok, Torres decided that Seven was right and stayed at the blondes side, only turning a bit so that she was lying on her side and could see Martok better. "Why do I get the distinct feeling that I'm about to be yelled at? May I remind you both that I'm still the Intendant here? You know, boss of bosses and all that?"

"And here I thought that you were a person that was dead mere hours ago," Seven spoke up. "Being Intendant did not help you much then, did it?"

Torres bit back the anger that arose at the challenging words, reminding herself of just what she had put the blonde through. Sighing once more she dipped her head a little in agreement. "Alright, but before you two start yelling, let me go first so that we can see that there is still need to yell." Taking a deep breath, Torres began. "I told you several times already, Seven, that I'm a Klingon and I like to flirt with danger.

"Well, in the last half year I have broken my leg in the middle of the wilderness, some guards around would sure have been convenient then. I have been attacked in my own home, if it wasn't for the fact that you were with me I would more then likely have been dead. And now, now I actually have been killed, and it's only thanks to you that I'm alive now. Yes, I like to flirt with danger, but I think that danger is telling me that she is tired of my flirting. So, as of today, right now, I'm going to take security a lot more serious. I'm going to take along guards, and actually give them the opportunity to do their job and not just be there for crowd control."

"How many guards?" Martok asked.

"Eh, let's say ten," Torres said after thinking about it for a moment. "That way four of them can be on duty at any time while the others cover the second shift and two are there to take up any days off."

"Torres, ten guards is only false security," Martok growled. "It makes you think you are safe, but you aren't."

"And what would you think is a reasonable number?" Torres asked.

"Worf has a guard contingent of five hundred."

"Forget it," Torres said resolutely. "The reason why Worf has five hundred guards is because he is normally always at the same place. The times that per year that he leaves Kronos are so few that I can count them on one hand. They need to secure the palace and the High Counsel building. I on the other hand am always on the move; I don't want hundreds of people running around me all the time."

"You go places that need to be secured," Martok defended. "Those ruins you visited today needed to be secured for instance."

"Damn it, I told you I'm not going to put up with that. You know what? You can just forget about it alright?"

"Mistress, is I may make a suggestion?" Seven spoke up.

"You know, one of these days I'm really going to get sick and tired of hearing that line," Torres growled while looking down at her lover.

"Then I will come up with another line," Seven said with a ghost of a smile, knowing that Torres would see it.

"Alright already, suggest away."

"Thank you, mistress," Seven said. "I believe you both have a point, and my suggestion would a combination of both your positions. Mistress, Martok is right; there will be situations where a few guards will not be sufficient. I still do not know that this assassin used at the ruins to render us both unconscious. Whatever it was, it worked from over twenty meters away, and rendered us both unconscious at the same time. I am certain that if we merely had the four standard guards with us they would have been rendered unconscious along with us. In a situation like with the ruins is would be best to have a small group of guards with us, and also a larger group that is securing the perimeter but keeping out of our way and maybe even our direct field of vision.

"On the other hand, Martok, my mistress is also right. When we are here on the ship the ship provides enough security that close guards are not needed at all. When at my mistress' home on her planet than close guards would also not be needed once it is certain that the home is secure and from then on can be guarded from the outside and at entrances.

"My suggestion is to have two groups of guard, the first group consisting out of ten people, highly trained and absolutely trustworthy. My suggestion for them would be to add six more operatives of General Martok's department to the four operatives that are already serving as your guard now. The second group of guards would then be the three hundred commandoes that are stationed on this ship anyway. The small group would then be a personal guard that would work just like my mistress just suggested, with four of the guards with us at all times unless the situation is totally secure; like us being on this ship. The commandoes would then be the ones that secure places with as many or few people they need to secure a situation. For instance, the ruins could easily have been secured by a group of twenty or thirty people."

Torres and Martok looked at each other for a moment, both of them going over the plan Seven had suggested. It was Martok that spoke up first. "I can live with that, as long as the commandoes are placed on alert whenever you leave a 'secure location.' Twenty or thirty people would have been enough to secure the ruins, but the rest of them should be on active standby; ready to beam down on a moments notice if needed."

"You do need to keep in mind that we can be gone for a longer time," Seven reminded. "It would be better to have the commandoes work in shifts as well. As the negotiations on Bajor have proven, we can be in situations where days of security is needed."

"I'll work something out with the commanders of the commandoes," Martok assured.

"Alright," Torres agreed. "I can live with that as well, but," Pointing a finger at Martok she added, "They'll work like Seven suggested. I don't want to see a wall of them around me. I can accept seeing one or two of them standing around at a distance pretending to blend in, but I don't want to have them standing around with their hand on their gun waiting for someone to make a wrong move."

"Torres, commandoes aren't trained to just stand around and pretend that they are people that are just happen to be at the same place we you are; at least the Klingon commandoes aren't."

"Then I guess the first thing you need to do is give them some extra training," Torres said in a tone that Martok knew only too well. He knew that Torres had reached the end of her willingness to give in a 'give and take.' He snarled but wisely said nothing.

"Glad you see things my way," Torres continued. "One more thing, those ten people that will be mine, and Seven's, personal guard..."

"What about them?" Martok asked when Torres didn't continue.

"Make half of them women, and of the four that are on duty, make sure that two of them are always women."

"Can't you make it a little bit more difficult for me?" Martok asked while he pushed away from the bio-bed and started to pace. "Not only do I have to find six more operatives that are 'compatible' to you so that you don't end up killing them, now I also have to make sure that five of them are women so that the ten person group is half/half."

"I thought you would be happy with the request," Torres said, and from her changed tone of voice Martok knew that the risk of Torres just forgetting about the guards had passed. It seemed that Torres really was going to do this, and that meant that Martok gladly would search the entire Coalition himself for suitable people if he needed to. But that still didn't mean that he couldn't complain about it.

"Why the hell would I be glad for that?"

"Because," Torres explained, "It means that I'll be letting those guards close enough to be witness to some private things, up to the point where I would rather have a woman guard than a man." Torres waved her finger at Martok in a warning matter. "Which means that you better make damn sure that they, all of them, are the kind of people that don't puke when they hear me tell Seven that I love her. That know how to keep their mouth shut and not tell their friends about how they heard me through the door begging Seven to fuck me harder. And on top of that, you better make damn sure that the men have enough control over all their appendages, because I swear right here and now, if I see ever, even once, one of them get a hard on because he happened to see Seven or me naked, I swear I'll cut the damn thing off."

"Oh, so it's alright for the women to enjoy what they see?" Martok asked with a grin, knowing that their agreement had been reached.

Torres grinned as well. "Well, with women it's harder to see. You don't really see nipples getting hard under a battle uniform, but I sure have seen more then one man walking around with a bulge."

"And just why were you looking at men in that place?" Seven asked before giving Torres a kiss and slipping from under her and off the bio-bed.

"You are right, my pet," Torres said as she got off the bed herself. "Time to get moving." Looking at Martok she added a little more serious, "I mean it, Martok. I'll be letting those guards as close as personal guards should be allowed to do their job right. As you know, I have nothing against men," A very pointed look at Martok, "I think they make the best of friends. It's just that I'd feel a little bit more at ease with female guards being the ones that are in the room when I have to change, and more so when Seven has to change. I know that whoever you pick as guards will be professional enough not to be sidetracked by something as small as a naked person. It's just... just make it happen."

"I will," Martok assured. "Give me a week or two to select the right candidates and you'll get your guards just like you want them. I'm just glad that you do actually finally want them."

"Var'Ck to Seven," The voice of the captain interrupted.

"Seven here."

"Ma'am, I just wanted to inform you that we just entered Romulan space, and that we are picking up a ship at the edge of our sensor range."

"Captain, I would like to inform you that Intendant Torres had fully recovered. Please contact her from now on."

"Yes ma'am. Intendant?"

"One moment," Torres cut the channel before asking, "Alright Seven, your guess is that this guy is a Romulan spy and that he is certain that it's impossible for us to catch up to him before he arrives where he is going, right?"

"That is the gist of it," Seven agreed.

"Alright. Computer, reopen channel. Captain, activate the cloak and get as close as possible. As soon as you can locate him with normal sensors without doing an active sensor scan, beam him off the ship and directly to sickbay."

"Yes Intendant. Var'Ck out."

"Alright, let's go find the doctor and after that I'll contact Worf; I have a feeling that he'll be waiting already."

"And your feeling is correct," Martok agreed. "He told me to let you know that he was expecting your message as soon as conveniently possible for you."

"Mistress, why do you need to talk to the doctor?" Seven wondered as she took her place at Torres' side with Toby beside her on her other side.

"Cause Romulan spies are known to have ways of killing themselves in case they are captured. I just want to make sure that he can't kill himself before I can ask him some questions. Once he answered my questions though..."

Neither Martok nor Seven decided to ask Torres to complete her statement.

"Torres, I'm damn glad to see that you are alright," Worf said from the view-screen in Torres' quarters. Yet no matter how glad Worf was that she was alright, she could still see from his face that he sure wasn't in the happiest of moods. "Having said that, I feel like kicking your damn ass for the mess you caused. Shinze just contacted me to object to how you are handling this situation."

"I haven't been handling anything yet; Seven has," Torres pointed out. "But now that I'm going to start handling it, I can assure you that Shinze will really have to start getting worried. What did you tell him?"

Now Worf smirked. "I told him that if he really wanted to I would take you off this case. Then I added that since this involves the Klingon Intendant that I personally would take over the case, and that if he really wanted me, the Chancellor, to lead the retributions for the Klingon Intendant being killed by a Romulan, that he could contact me again in five minutes to let me know." Worf lifted his hands in the universal 'I don't know' gesture. "I'm still waiting for him to contact me; guess he really didn't want me to take over after all."

Torres smirked at that as well. There were many official rules for the Intendants, but there was one unofficial one that was even more important than any of the official ones; you did not want Worf to come by to deal with matters personally.

"Now," Worf continued in a serious tone. "From Shinze's whining, and Martok's report, I know that that slave of yours basically took over your role as Intendant while you were unconscious. That she ordered ships around, talked to the Bajoran and Romulan Intendants and even told the Romulan Intendant what to do. She also ordered our flagship, your ship, to go into Romulan territory in pursuit of that guy. Martok told me that she is planning on killing the guy. Am I right in this?"

Torres first looked at Seven for a moment and then at Martok. She knew that Martok would have told Worf the bare facts as they were without adding any color to them. Turning back to the view-screen she nodded her head in a agreement. "That's pretty much it, but to give you a little update, I was able to talk Seven out of wanting to kill the guy. I want to have that pleasure all for myself." Torres decided not to add her other reason why she didn't want Seven to kill him; that was a too private of a reason. After all, how did you explain to your friends that were just like you that you didn't want your lover to also become like you?

"Do you have any idea what this mean?" Worf asked with a growl.

"It can mean a lot of things, why don't you tell me what you think it means?"

"It means," Worf began, only to stop again to give his next words more meaning. "That we have found our white crow."

"No, I stated before that I will not," Seven spoke up forcefully, remembering only too well the comment she herself made. "My viewpoint has not changed; I will not be separated from my mistress."

"Who is separating you?" Worf asked. "Troi and Dax never leave each other's side, I won't have a problem with two other Intendants traveling together all the time as well."

"I do not want to be Intendant."

Worf brought his fist down on the armrest of his chair. "Good. As Kahless himself once said, 'true leaders don't want power; the have it trusted upon them.' The fact that you don't want to be Intendant makes you perfect for the job."

"Seven," Torres spoke up. "I think you would do great. You have the mind for it, you don't cower for the other Intendants, you... Frankly Seven, you might become the Intendant of the smallest faction, but I have a feeling that you'll be able to out negotiate us all; just what the new faction will need in order for it to survive."

"Even if I were to travel with you all the time, B'Elanna, the Intendant work alone would take so much time that we would hardly have any time for ourselves," Seven said, hoping that Torres would forget about if it meant having less private time with the blonde. Unfortunately that hope was about to be dashed by Torres.

"I disagree. The part that's going to be the new faction is now part of Klingon space, any and all deals concerning that part is now already part of my workload. Sure, in the beginning, say the first two years when rules are being established and specific deals are being made, it will take extra time. You will personally have to be at certain places, but there is nothing that says that the Klingon Intendant can't be at you side when you go to those places.

"Seven, the basic work of being Intendant of the new faction won't make much difference to our daily life. You will still read all the reports coming in, just that there will now be a little les reports coming in for the Klingon Intendant because they are now replaced with reports for the new Intendant. Once the new faction is firmly set up you can leave the rest of the physical presence work to others. Hell, you can leave almost all the work to others."

"That is possible?" Seven asked confused.

"Sure," Torres assured. "Worf just pointed out that Deanna and Jadzia travel together all the time, do you think the could do that if they didn't have people that take care of they daily work? Or take the Bajorans; they have their advisors. Remember what Laren and Adami told us? Kira had all the work done by her advisors the only thing she did was go to things that required the physical presence if the Intendant. You could also install advisors. Remember what I told you when you asked me why the Klingons had so few rules for their Intendant while the Bajorans had so many, what did I tell you the reason was?"

Seven though back for a moment before quoting word for word, "You said: '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."'

"Exactly, and the important part of that is the line, 'but the rest of the rules were made up by the first Intendants and are more tailored to their faction.' Seven, if you become the new Intendant, you'll be the first Intendant of that faction, which means that you can set up every damn rule you want."

"Within limitations," Worf interrupted. "I don't care if you have a whole army of people helping you, for all I care you can even allow them to speak in name of the Intendant, but there is a reason why I want you as the new Intendant and not the next best person. Because of that you make damn sure that you'll be the one at the top of the line. If those below you mess up big time, it'll be you I'll come to see; not them, and I'll never accept 'I didn't know' as an excuse. Also, if there are things that are Intendant specific, you'll be there. Like the Grand Assembly that's coming up. For things like that I won't accept a substitute. Or when negotiating with the other Intendants, same thing; you'll be there. And you better make damn sure that you remember this, if someone of the new faction needs to talk to me, it damn better be you. You'll be the Intendant, you'll be the one I'm talking to."

"As I stated, I do not want to be Intendant," Seven said, coming back to the matter at heart.

"Unfortunately for you, I'm not letting you much of a choice," Worf said with a smirk, thinking that he had Seven in a position of no defense. "You see, my support for Torres' deal was only unofficial; nothing more than something that she could take to the other Intendants to show that there really is a chance of me supporting her deal. I'll tell you right here, right now, if you don't take the position of Intendant, I won't support the deal, which means that it's dead. How long do you think it'll be before there once again will be a Chancellor and enough Intendants to support the deal? If you say no, slavery is here to stay. And that, my friend, is a take it or leave it deal."

"I," Before Seven could say more, Torres interrupted her.

"Seven, one thing you should know about Worf, if he says it's a take it or leave it deal; it is. There is no more negotiating, at least not about the part where he said 'take it or leave it' about. Now, I also want you to become that Intendant, but I personally won't make you chose; Worf already did that. There is one final piece of information I want to give you though."

"And that is?"

"A number; thirty billion." (30 000 000 000) Torres stated matter-of-factly.

Seven merely frowned, clearly not understanding that Torres meant.

"That's my rough estimate of how many slaves there are in the Coalition," Torres explained. "Six slave species, an average of five billion each; thirty billion. Thirty billion people, living from day to day. Hoping that today will be a day they survive without being beaten, without having to sexually serve a master, or even without being raped. Thirty billion people that are nothing more than property, and you, as Worf said, right here, right now, will make the choice. If you agree to become the Intendant they will eventually be free. If you don't take the job their life will go on being only about surviving to live another day."

Seven glared at Torres, knowing only too well that Torres had used a number very deliberately. Most people couldn't even comprehend the meaning of such a number because they never dealt with it from day to day. The only big number they might have an understanding about would be millions, after that it was only 'more than millions,' but Seven did understand. She grasped the meaning of the number, and she also understood that every singe 'one' that combined to form the total of thirty billion was a living person who's fate she had in her hand at that very moment. "You said that I can have people do the work for me, could I call them 'sub-Intendant' and have the rules of Intendants also apply to them?"

"I don't see why not," Torres said with a grin. "So you're doing it?"

"Apparently I have to since you are not leaving me much of a choice about the matter, are you?" Seven said angrily.

Torres moved over to Seven and give her a kiss. Then she turned and said 'one second' to the men before turning back to Seven. "Baby, don't worry. I know you can do this, and I promise you that this won't separate us. I also promise you that we will still have our same amount of private time, and you will still have your time to train and play more with Toby here. That this new faction is stable and run in a correct way is very important to us Klingons.

"Because of this I'll be at you side, I'll play advisor to you in things that you don't grasp, yet, about being an Intendant. I'll give you my experience as Intendant and tell you how more then likely the Coalition or individual factions will react to things. Where you now go along with me, I'll then tag along with you, and if I have to go somewhere to do something as the Klingon Intendant I am, you'll be at my side. You really don't think that I'll give up the only advisor I ever trusted blindly, do you?"

"I still do not want this."

"I know baby, I know. But realistically, could this new faction even afford to have anyone but you being their Intendant? Would anyone else have stubbornly held his or her ground in a meeting with the Klingon, Bajoran, Betazoid, and Trill Intendants and stubbornly argue the point that Risa should be the only place to train body servants? Tell me honestly, if this new faction is installed, can they afford to have anyone but you de the Intendant?

"When they have to find their place in the Coalition, can they afford to have an Intendant that cowers for the other Intendants, that doesn't raise hell when a deal is not kept? Seven, forget about the fact that it's you personally for a moment. Only look at your abilities and tell me, play my advisor in this, tell me as my advisor, tell the Klingon Intendant... can she afford to pick anyone but the person Seven of Nine for the job Intendant?"

Seven sighed and leaned her head against Torres'. "Since the new Intendant will set the rules for the faction, you need this Intendant to be a person you can trust blindly; someone that will not set up rules for nothing else than to 'get back' at the former masters. You also need someone that you can trust with the power; someone that will make decisions to better the live of the former slaves, and not the live of themselves. As much as dislike to admit it, from all the people I have information on at the moment, Seven of Nine is the best candidate for the job."

"Then do it baby, be that new Intendant and be an Intendant that they will be proud to have. You will set the mold of how their Intendant should be, anyone that comes after you will have to live up to the standard you set; make it a great one."

"I love you, B'Elanna Torres, even though I may have to hurt you for making me do this."

Torres grinned, knowing that the battle had been fought. "Tell you what, later you can put me over your knee and give me a spanking alright?"

Both of Seven's eyebrows shot up at that. "I believe we need to get you back to sickbay, clearly you are suffering from brain damage." Seven sighed and took a step away from her lover, looking at the two men looking back at her; one on a view-screen and one standing with his arms crossed over his chest. "And apparently I am suffering from brain damage as well. Very well, I will take the position of new Intendant."

Seven looked directly at Worf before adding, "Chancellor, you just said; 'and that, my friend, is a take it or leave it deal.' I would like to thank you for calling me 'my friend' I appreciate it greatly. However, I find myself in a similar situation as my mistress was once in; there are bound to come times where I will 'piss you off' to the point where getting rid of me might be an option that comes across your mind. Therefore I am hoping that you would be so kind to offer me some 'free passes' of the same kind as my mistress has one."

"Some!?" Worf growled. "You really want to die young don't you?"

"I assure you, I do not. Which is why I am asking for the free passes."

"And just how many free passes are you hoping for?" Worf asked with a snarl.

"I am not an unreasonable person, and I know that too many 'free passes' would take away the fear for the Chancellor that should exist. I think that five is a reasonable number."

"I'll give you two," now Worf smirked, "and that, my friend, is a take it or leave it deal."

Seven dipped her head slightly. "Two free passes is a very reasonable and most generous offer, thank you Chancellor."

Torres moved behind Seven and put her hands on the blonde's shoulders. "And you thought that you were the wrong person for the job? Seven, you were just able to negotiate the Chancellor out of two free passes where I was only able to get one."

Seven looked over her shoulder and Torres was glad to finally see a small smile on those lips again. "I never said that I was the wrong person for the job; I merely said that I did not want to do the job."

Torres looked passed Seven and Worf and winked. "I have a feeling that we all have to have our mind on the job when she starts dealing for her faction; she'll talk us all under the table."

Worf laughed and nodded his head in agreement. "Maybe I should start taking my bat'leth to the meetings we will have then. You know; a subtle reminder."

"I don't think you want to do that," Torres said, stepping from behind Seven to beside her. "She is getting great at the bat'leth fights we have; wins most of them. Of course, that is with her doing the 'inefficient showing off fighting,' as she calls the friendly combat style. If she goes in for her 'efficient' style the battle is over in minutes."

"Really?" Worf asked. "Maybe we can hold a little friendly contest the next time we meet face to face."

"I am not worthy of that honor, Chancellor," Seven said, remembering what Torres had told her about the different challenge rules and that it was considered an honor to have a superior ask, not challenge, but ask you to a friendly fight.

"Oh now she plays humble," Worf said, with a grin.

"Not to be one to spoil the mood," Martok spoke up, "but it isn't even sure if there will be a new faction. For that to happen you need the support of all Intendants, including the Romulan one, and we have a small situation going on right there."

"Right," Torres agreed.

"Mistress, I have several suggestion on how this could be played out, depending on how much you want to 'get even' over the fact that it was a Romulan that killed you. We might actually be able to use this situation to get the complete support of the Romulan Intendant. I know for a fact that you will 'get even' with the man that killed you when we catch up to him, but the question is do you want to get even with the man for killing you, or do you want to get even with the Romulans because the man that killed you happened to be a Romulan?"

"How about you tell us why you are asking that, and then I'll tell you how much I want to get even."

"Now it's time for me to get even for him killing me," Torres said as she stood in front of the door to the interrogation room with Seven. Her plan had worked; by closing in on the ship under cloak and beaming the Romulan over as soon as it was possible they had managed to get him into sickbay alive. Once there he had managed to kill himself several times, but unfortunately for him, Torres' doctor had been prepared. "I'm planning on first asking him a few friendly questions about just why he killed me, and after that I intend to keep my promise to you that I'm going to make his wish that you had killed him. If you want you can go to the holodeck with Toby." Without waiting for an answer, Torres stepped up to the door and then into the interrogation room.

Seven knew what Torres was doing. At one point on Bajor, Seven had seen people being gutted because of an order Torres had given. When she had been with Torres for not even a full day, Seven had seen Torres kill a slave by shooting him with a disrupter. One thing that Seven had never yet witnessed was the truly gruesome side of Torres. The blonde had no illusion, Torres' interrogation would be a torture; plain and simple. After Torres had gotten the answers she was looking for she would shift to actually concentrating on hurting the Romulan as much as possible as a retaliation for killing the Klingon Intendant, maybe not even so much for killing her, but especially for killing the Klingon Intendant.

Seven knew that Torres was giving her an option of walking away, of knowing about Torres' cruel side, but not seeing it. To not hear the screams, to not see the blood, to not see why Intendant Torres was the most feared person in the Coalition. There was only one problem with that; Seven's love for Torres was unconditional. To Seven unconditional meant just that; without any conditions at all.

With head held high and eyes wide open, Seven stepped up to the door and in to the room.

"I'm not a happy person Shinze," Torres said while looking at the Romulan Intendant on the view-screen.

Shinze nodded his head in understanding. "Neither would I, surviving an assassination attempt is not at all amusing."

"Surviving one is not amusing?" Torres asked. "You think that not surviving one is amusing than?"

"No, of course not. What I meant was that this attempt,"

"Oh, but it wasn't an attempt," Torres interrupted. "The assassination succeeded. I was killed by a Romulan, and not just any Romulan; a Romulan spy even. Someone trained by the Romulan government killed me. No, I'm not amused at all."

"I assure you that he will face his rightful punishment as soon as you hand him over to me."

"Hand him over?" Torres asked.

"Of course, you did say that you captured him," Shinze said slightly confused.

"Oh, hand him over," Torres said as if seeing the light. "Sure, no problem. Do you want only his head or all of his parts?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Shinze asked.

"It's just that he kinda fell apart when I was interrogating him," a pause, "literally." When saying the last word the look on Torres' face told Shinze that she was completely serious. "On the last count I think there were thirteen parts to him."

"Fifteen, mistress," Seven corrected.

"Fifteen?" Torres repeated. "Sorry must have lost count at one point. So Shinze, do you want all fifteen parts of him or just his head?"

"If you already killed him you can keep his body; I have no use for the body of a traitor to the Romulan cause," Shinze said.

"Hmm, you have no idea how much of a traitor he was," Torres agreed. "Or at least for you I sincerely hope that you didn't. It seems that he was something of a busy guy. When he wasn't working in the Klingon Main communication center he was busy doing his side job of selling the information he had gathered for you Romulans to interested third parties. If those third parties then didn't like the information, our guy would take offers of removing people that those third parties would like to have removed; seems that I was worth twenty million credits. But you know what really pissed me off the most, Shinze?"

"What?" Shinze merely asked, knowing Torres long enough to know that here seemingly carefree tone meant noting but trouble for him.

"What really pisses me off is the fact that this guy was so good at getting rid of people because he was trained by you Romulans."

"I told you,"

"Trained," Torres interrupted, "by the Tal Shiar."

"Nonsense," Shinze said immediately. "If he truly had been Tal Shiar, he would never have talked."

"Yes," Torres agreed, "I was kinda surprised at that. He already started talking at his fifth finger. I would have assumed that I would have had to cut off all of his fingers at least. Maybe the stability of the Coalition has made the Tal Shiar sloppy. Not only are they recruiting people that give so little about the Romulan cause that they rent themselves out to the highest bidder as an assassin, they also let this person working as an official spy. I mean, I can see the benefits of hiding a operative in the open by making him a official spy, but in reality it's a stupid move. If the operative has to fulfill an order there is the chance that he will either blow his cover as an operative, or make it impossible for him to keep working as an official spy."

"I still doubt that he really was Tal Shiar," Shinze said stubbornly. "It's more then likely that he was just making things up to appease you and stop you from," Shinze stopped talking for a moment to find a suitable word, "hurting, him more."

"I have the entire interrogation recorded," Torres said with a shrug. "I'll send the file over to you so that you can fact-check the things he said. He named quite some names. You might find it interesting yourself just how many Tal Shiar there actually are in your own top of command Shinze."

"I will take a look and take all the necessary actions," Shinze assured. "I think,"

"Not so damn fast, Shinze," Torres interrupted. "I'm not quite done yet. You can verify the information all you want, but for me the fact remains that I was killed by a Tal Shiar operative; I'm not pleased all Shinze."

"Torres, surely we can chalk this assassination attempt up to,"

"No attempt," Shinze," Torres interrupted. "The guy succeed in killing me. I, was, killed, by, a, Tal Shiar, operative," Torres growled, emphasizing every word. "Don't take my calmness wrong, I'm merely trying to be polite to another Intendant. Fact is, I'm pissed. Call me crazy but getting killed really, pisses me off!" The last three words were shouted at the top of Torres lungs and she had to take a calming breach before she could go on. "Shinze, I promise you, the next month will go down in history. I'm going to order retaliation actions that will make the entire Romulan faction cower. The planet this guy was born or, and where he was recruited by the Tal Shiar, every damn person on that planet will be killed, the planet itself will be destroyed, and that's only for started. After that I'll move on to,"

"Mistress?" Came a quiet interruption from Torres's side.

"What do you want? Will you fucking stop interrupting my piss moods?"

"Yes mistress," Seven said dutifully. "Please forgive me, I just thought that it might be a good idea to remind you of your plan."

"What plan?"

"The plan to end slavery," Seven reminded. "For that you will need the Romulan support, and I do not think they will give you that support if you perform the retaliation actions you were talking about."

"I most certainly wouldn't," Shinze said, seeing an opening.

"Of course you wouldn't," Torres growled. "You'd be fucking dead. How long do you think the Romulan Intendant would live that had not been able to prevent these retaliations from happening? You're already dead, Shinze; you just don't seem to notice it yet."

"So it's not already for you to get killed, but it is alright for me to get killed?" Shinze asked raising his voice.

"First," Torres said calmly, "you seem to forget that I'm the Klingon Intendant and if push comes to shove, you will eat every damn thing I shove down your throat. Second, you tell me, when is the last time a Klingon operative pulled something like this?" After a moment of silence where Shinze clearly couldn't come up with any examples, Torres continued. "I tell you Shinze, forgetting the rest for a moment, it seems to me that the Romulans have lost a little too much of their control over the Tal Shiar."

"Mistress," Seven spoke up again, "maybe this all can be prevented from escalating too much. Maybe if you were to, forget, the fact that a Romulan killed you, Intendant Shinze would be inclined to give you full support in your endeavor to end slavery. At the moment all that is known is that there was an assassination attempt, and even that is only knows in the tightest of circles. Maybe if Intendant Shinze were to support your endeavor you would be so thankful to him that you would be satisfied with the revenge you already have gotten by killing the man that killed you."

"Supporting the end of slavery will make me many enemies," Shinze said.

"Just how many enemies do you think you'll get when it is found out that you could have prevented the death of a planet full of Romulans?" Torres countered. "Shinze, I'm inclined to listen to my pet because she has a point, but don't try my patience because let me assure you; it's at a fucking end."

"Mistress, if I may?" Seven asked.

"What? Just talk already," Torres said annoyed.

"Yes mistress. Intendant Shinze, since I became my mistress' body slave I have been studying several aspects of the Coalition. I find it interesting that you Romulans have slaves, but that it is illegal to have Vulcan slaves in the Romulan part of the Coalition. Can you tell me why this is the case?"

"I'm surprised that you as a slave don't know this; it's common knowledge thought the Coalition."

"Humor me," Seven merely said.

"Well, it's simple actually. We Romulans see the Vulcans as our brothers; we are decedents of the same ancestors."

"If this is the case, then why not work to free your brothers from slavery?"

"It's been tried," Shinze said with a shrug. "There have been two attempts by previous Intendants to get the Vulcans out of slavery, but it never worked out. Fact is that the Vulcans had the chance to stop the humans from starting their Sol Empire, and they didn't do it. They thought they could guide the humans, and we all know how that ended. Because of this they too were punished into slavery."

"So basically they are slaves because it is better to see your brothers in slavery than being in slavery together with them?" Seven surmised.

"You could call it that," Shinze was forced to admit.

"You say that supporting the end of slavery will make you enemies," Seven continued. "Then what do you think would happen if you were to go down in history as the Intendant that was able to free the Vulcans? You should not look at this from the negative side of having to deal with the problems of people that can no longer make a living from slavery, instead you should see this as a chance for you to go down in history as the Intendant that succeeded where all other Intendants before him failed. Intendant Shinze, you could go down in history as the Romulan Intendant that succeeded in freeing your Vulcan brothers."

"Go on," Shinze said, clearly interested. He knew only too well that if what the blonde slave was suggesting actually worked he would not only gain the support of enough Romulans to offset the support he would lose by supporting the end of slavery; he would also gain the gratitude of all the Vulcans. He would go down in history as the savior and protector of the Vulcan brothers, that was a power base that none before him had been able to have.

"Intendant Shinze, Chancellor Worf insists that I become the new Intendant if this plan is put into affect. I always had the greatest respect for the Vulcans. I am certain that if the humans had listened to the Vulcans in the beginning, the Sol Empire would never have existed." Of course, Seven didn't point out that she was so certain of this because this was exactly what happened in the Universe that she came from. There the humans had listened for one hundred years to the Vulcans saying that the humans were not yet ready for space exploration.

"I plan on installing three people to share my workload so that I can stay at my mistress' side," Seven continued. "Because I respect the insight of the Vulcans so much, I intend to put it in to law that at least one of those positions has to be fulfilled by a Vulcan at all timers. Intendant Shinze, what do you think it will do for your support base if it was found out that you, after touch and long negotiations, had been the person that had demanded and gotten that concession that for all times a Vulcan will be at the very least in the second highest position amongst the former slaves. That for all times a Vulcan will share the Intendant powers with two others of the same rank, only to be outranked by the actual Intendant."

"It sounds rather interesting," Shinze had to agree. "But how will you make sure that the entire Coalition believes this?"

"We do not have to," Seven said. "You will get full freedom in 'spinning' the story. It is common in the Coalition for people to have different views of a situation depending on where they live. Ask anyone in the Cardassian faction who was the winner in the hundred day Klingon-Cardassian war and every single one of them is sure the Cardassians won, and that the Klingons are only the biggest power now because the other factions backed the Klingons since they feared the over-powerful Cardassian troops.

"Yet every other person in the Coalition knows the real story; that the Cardassians did indeed have a powerful army, but that they were not powerful to win the hundred day war. You would be free to spin the tail of how you managed to accomplish all these concessions that safeguard a more prominent position for the Vulcans. The only condition is that you do not try to undermine the authority I will have over them."

"Worf wants your slave to become the new Intendant?" Shinze asked Torres.

"He does," Torres agreed. "He thinks she's a good choice, and he also thinks that the fact that she actually doesn't want the job makes her perfect for being the first Intendant and set up the rules for the new faction. She also has a point about my proposal. I have been working on it for a long time now; too long to just give it all up. More so because this seems to be exactly the reason why he was hired to kill me. So, I'm willing to 'forget' that it was a Romulan that was trained by the Tal Shiar that killed me and instead concentrate on the person that ordered my killing, if you can find it in yourself to support my proposal."

"What do you mean with that it was the reason for killing you?" Shinze asked.

"As I said, I'll send you over the recording of the guy's interrogation, you'll find that it will answer a lot of questions for you." Torres was quiet for a second before adding in a completely serious tone, "Just a suggestion, you might not want to look at the recording right after lunch."

"I... see," Shinze said, clearly changing what he was going to say in mid speech. "Very well. I'll have a look at the recording, and if the facts are as you stated them, you will have my support for your deal."

"Glad to hear it. So how long did we negotiate again for those conditions that favor the Vulcans?" Torres asked with a smirk.

"Seeing that they were such touch and yet sensitive negotiations, I believe we spent three days on it, didn't we?" Shinze asked, seeing if this time frame suited Torres for the official story.

"Right, three days, sorry I forgot for a moment. I'm glad we could reach an agreement on this Shinze."

"As am I," The Romulan agreed.

"Shinze, since we just reached such a nice deal, let me give you a little suggestion, completely off the record and which has nothing to do with what we just agreed on."

"Go on," Shinze said curious.

"Have a look at that recording and listen to the Tal Shiar comments. I would suggest that you do something about them. I'm not talking about removal; we all need our secret services. Just make sure you have them a little better under control. If they go on like this, trying to get so far into the actual decision making field, how long do you think it will be before we Klingons had to sit down with the Cardassians and decide whether we will have to do something about them?"

"Rest assured," Shinze said with clear determination. "If I agree with your vision after seeing the recording the Tal Shiar will be dealt with."

Torres nodded her head, knowing him well enough to know that he would indeed do as he said. "Alright then. My pet told me that you have set course to meet up with me?"

"That is correct. I should arrive in sixteen hours."

"Good. In that case, I'll sent you the recording, you can study it, and once we meet up the three of us can sit down and Seven and you can talk a little more about you being the savior of the Vulcans. Now, I have some other people to contact so let me ask you clearly, we have a deal?"

"We have a deal," Shinze assured. "The only thing that can still prevent that is that the recording is not as you say it is."

"Seems that we have a deal then. See you in sixteen hours, Torres out."

Chapter 17

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