DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
Once the channel was cut Torres looked at Seven and grinned. "Seems that your plan worked. Again that dagger and sword thing. I would have only offered Shinze the chance to save his own hide, if I would have even thought of offering in the first place. Now, you offer him the position of setting himself up as the savior of the Vulcans. Which means, though he doesn't know it yet, that he has to work well together with you since you will have the power to bring forth the actual story. And you have yet again created another Intendant that will like dealing with you instead of causing you problems simply because he can. Yes, dagger and sword... you know, I think I'll get myself a tattoo of that."
"A tattoo? Why?" Seven asked bewildered.
"Because that's how I see us two, and I don't think either of us will change any time soon in that regard. Seeing that it is very likely that you'll be an Intendant soon I think it's only fitting that I start walking around with your mark, since you sure as hell own me."
"You are in an extremely good mood," Seven observed with a smile.
"Sure," Torres agreed readily. "I only have to buy off Dukat and then the deal is made. And on top of that, you have now finally seen me at my worst; you have literally seen me at my worst. You have seen me torture someone; no mere words, you saw it with your own eyes. And yet... I love you Seven."
"And I love you B'Elanna, which is the every reason why seeing what I did does not change how I feel about you. I already knew that you were capable of that, and I accepted it. The rest," Seven gave the impression of shrugging without actually doing so; a feat of which Torres had still not been able to work out how the blonde did it. "The rest is merely visual images. B'Elanna, believe me, noting you could do can compare to seeing people assimilated; the second stage of assimilation that is." Seven lifted her artificial hand. "How do you think I got this hand? Do you think that the Borg would have taken the time to first sedate me and then prepare a sterile operating room? No, that would be inefficient. B'Elanna, please understand that to me knowing that you are capable of cutting of someone's fingers is more shocking, if I had not already known that, than actually seeing it happen."
"Alright," Torres said, deciding that a change of subject was in order. "Now I'll contact Dukat and see what he wants."
"Actually mistress, if you do not mind I would first like to contact the Bajorans for a minute."
"Sure, go right ahead," Torres simply said since Seven had dealt with the Bajorans last.
"Thank you," Seven said before opening a channel. Minutes later she was once again looking at the face of Jetur Adami, but this time Ro Laren was with her.
"Seven, good to see you again. And very good to see you alive and well, Intendant Torres." Jetur said.
"Thank you," Torres said before looking at Ro with a frown and asking, "You don't look too well, Ro. Are you alright?"
"She will be," Jetur said for her wife. "It's just that the pending retributions are a big weight on her shoulders, seeing that you were the second Intendant killed, and the first, well," Jetur didn't finish her statement, but she also didn't have to.
"That is actually the reason why we contacted you," Seven informed. "We did a little further investigation and it seems that the assassination attempt," there was no mistaking the clear emphasis on Seven's last word, "was simply the work of a misguided mental individual. He has already been sentenced and executed for his crime. So there is no further need for you to continue to investigate this event. My mistress personally reminded the would-be assassin of the fact that everyone in the Coalition would be wise to remember. Over all my mistress may be a nice person, but she has her 'mess with me and die' attitude for a reason."
"That's it?" Ro blurred totally surprised. "That's all there's going to be to it?"
"Actually, since you ask, I have a bit of good new to tell you, and I was hoping that you would be so kind as to inform Deanna and Jadzia as well," Torres said. "I had a little discussion with Shinze and he agreed that ending slavery would be in the best interest of the Coalition."
"Oh did he now?" Ro asked and Torres could see that her whole demeanor had changed in mere seconds. It was clear that she understood only too well the link between the Romulan cooperation and the fact that retaliations for killing the Klingon Intendant suddenly had disappeared.
"Yes he did. And since he now knows something you don't, let me rectify that," Torres said while placing her hand on Seven's shoulder. "Assuming that I get Dukat to agree to the deal, may I introduce your new colleague to you, Intendant Seven of Nine. That's Worf's personal condition, and I think he is right."
"Well congratulations, Seven," Jetur said with a broad smile. "I think you will be great for the job."
"So people keep telling me," Seven merely said.
"I'll be meeting with Shinze face to face tomorrow," Torres continued. "After that Seven and I will return to Bajor so that we, you two, and Deanna and Jadzia can talk some more. I know that our negotiations are over, but these evens cheated me out of spending some time with my friends instead of having to deal and negotiate with other Intendants, I want to rectify that."
"We would like that," Jetur said, touched by Torres' open acceptance of their friendship.
"At least that is," Torres said with a grin, "if you don't mind spending some time with such a hard bitch as me."
"You just had to tell her, didn't you?" Jetur said while glaring at Seven. Then she smiled. "See you both soon, touch bitch and all. Jetur out."
"You know," Torres said as she turned to face Seven. "I think we really lucked out here. Not only are there the Intendants willing to support the deal, for whatever reason. Most of them are even friends in some degree. You have the new to be installed Intendant; you, and then the Klingon, Bajoran, Betazoid, and Trill Intendants all being friends. While any deals made will still be between Intendants and not the friends, it will still be that those deals are made in the 'friendly get-together' kind of way, and not in the 'my gun is bigger than yours' kind of way. This will make it a lot easier to the new faction to make deals because deals won't be blocked for nothing more then the reason to make things difficult for you."
"You are talking as if Intendant Dukat already agreed to the deal," Seven noted.
"That's because I think he will, but let's find out just to be sure. Computer, contact Intendant Dukat."
"Torres, to what do I owe this pleasure?" Dukat asked minutes later.
For a moment they merely looked at each other, Torres grinning and Dukat smirking. Finally Dukat spoke up first. "My spies tell me that you already managed to get the support of all factions except the Romulans and me."
"Actually, I just spoke to Shinze mere minutes ago, he too agrees to the deal."
"Really? So that means that it comes all down to me, oh the power."
"Don't go overboard Dukat," Torres merely said.
"So what did you use to get his agreement?" Dukat asked, getting down to business.
"Shinze will go down in history as the savior of the Vulcans. He and I had very tough negotiations for three grueling days before we reached an agreement. It's actually it was an idea Seven here came up with. Intendant Seven by the way if the deal goes though; Worf's decision."
"Really?" Dukat asked, and Torres noted that he didn't look as surprised as she would have assumed. "In that case, may I congratulate you on your new position, Intendant."
"I thank you," Seven said politely. "Since you are congratulating me, does that mean that you agree to support my mistress' proposal?"
"If the price is right; sure. After all, that's the reason she contacted me last. Torres and I always knew where we stood with each other, right Torres?"
"Right. But before I go into the price, I would like to do you a little favor. You know that hobby of yours, with those smugglers?"
"Yes?" Dukat merely asked.
"Do you happen to have any dealings with the Orion Syndicate?"
"Some," Dukat said with a shrug, not really seeing any reason to deny it. "After all, they do have a firm control of a lot of illegal things; you can't really do smuggling without using their distributions routes from time to time."
"Then I would strongly suggest that you cut all ties and order your smugglers to lay low for a while; very low."
"And just why would I do that?"
"Because," Torres said. "I'm sure that you already heard on the assassination attempt on my life?"
"I did," Dukat admitted. "But when I heard that your ship was leaving Bajoran space in pursuit of another ship, I assumed that the attempt failed."
"Hmm, well, unfortunately for the other Orion Syndicate members, it was their boss that ordered my assassination. You can understand that I'm not too pleased with that. As of tomorrow I'll be making the Orion Syndicate first enemy of the Klingon faction; and authorizing our security department to take actions wherever needed in the Coalition, no matter in what faction those actions take place. I want the Orion Syndicate eradicated within one month; and they will be."
"Really now?" Dukat said strangely interested, only to reveal why with his next words. "You do realize that if you remove the Orion Syndicate, you will create a vacuum, and vacuums have the tendency to fill themselves again. A new crime organization will be bound to evolve."
"I don't give a shit," Torres said while waving her hand in a dismissive gesture. "Dukat, you know as well as I do that the Coalition needs organized crime; it's why we left the Orion Syndicate for what it was for so long. Organized crime governs itself; it sets limits on how much of what crime may happen where. It's better than small criminals doing their own thing. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem with the boss of the Orion Syndicate becoming so damn comfortable that he even orders the assassination of an Intendant.
"I think a signal is needed to organized crime that we only stand by for so long, and that we do have the means to hunt every single one of them down if we really want to. Having said that, I also don't give a damn about you and your hobbies, but I don't think it would be a good idea to expand your hobbies into trying to become the dominant factor in organized crime. I don't think it would strife too well with you being Intendant."
"You don't have to worry about that," Dukat assured. "I wasn't thinking of me. I was more thinking along the lines of some friends that make a good living of off slavery and will be very sad to see it go, if you catch my drift. Since you are getting rid of the Orion Syndicate anyway, I could throw that bone to my friends; keep them happy."
"You do what you want, as long as you remind them to be reasonable."
"I will," Dukat assured, then he grinned. "After all, I will then only have to remind them what happened to the Orion Syndicate when it became too blatant."
"Alright then," Torres said, closing that part of the conversation. "About your price for supporting the deal, I was kinda hoping that you would remember that you still owe me a huge favor for the Dilithium I gave you. Which reminds me, how is your sister doing?"
"My sister is just fine, thank you for asking, and you know damn well that that favor is no where near enough to cover this."
"It is not?" Torres said with fake surprise. "Then how about the fact that you also still owe me a favor for... you know what? Come to think of it you still owe me so may favors that I lost count. So what would you say if I just forger all of them in exchange for you support?"
"All of them?" Dukat asked, clearly liking what he heard. "As in even score? I must say that I do like the sound of that, but, there still is the fact that for the first time ever I have you in a position where you need my help or else you can forget about what you want. So how about instead of what you suggested, you forget all the favors I still owe you and on top of that you owe me five very big favors to be collected at some point in the future?"
"Now your just being plain greedy, Dukat," Torres growled. "Tell you what, three extra favors, big favors, but I have the final word on them. If I would not have done it if you had asked me normally I also don't do it then. But I will promise you that when you ask, I will keep in mind how helpful you were to me."
"Three seems like a reasonable number," Dukat said with a grin. "Always a pleasure doing business with you, Torres."
"Likewise, Dukat," Torres said, grinning as well. "Now, before I go let me give you a little warning to give to your friends. As I stated, I have no objection to the vacuum of organized crime being filled, but if they cross the line they'll piss me off,"
"And as the Orion Syndicate is about to find out," Dukat interrupted, "You don't want to piss off Intendant Torres. Don't worry, I'll make sure they get, and also understand, the message."
"Glad to hear that, Torres out."
"That is it?" Seven asked slightly surprised when the screen went black.
"That's it," Torres agreed. "It's done. The deal has the support of all Intendants and the Chancellor. We have the new Intendant picked, Intendant Seven of Nine, now all that is left to do is wait for the Grand Assembly to let the entire Coalition know."
Seven merely lifted her eyebrow at that.
"Yeah, so it's just a little but more work than that," Torres agreed. "Deals will go back and forth between the Intendants to iron out any humps there might be, but point is, they won't retract their support. The deal will be made official and will be rectified and the next Grand Assembly." Torres was quiet for a moment before adding, "Which means that your friends will have the means to go home soon. Why don't you sent them a little message, telling them that they should tune in to the Grand Assembly broadcast?"
"Yes mistress, that seems like a good idea," Seven agreed. "Mistress, about the name, Intendant Seven of Nine, I was thinking more of a different name."
"You can pick any name you like," Torres assured before asking, "Um, what name were you thinking of?"
"Do you think they'll mention something interesting?" Chakotay asked as he, just like the rest of the senior staff, sat looking at the view-screen where the Coalition emblem was shown with underneath it a clock that was showing the Coalition standard time.
"I doubt it," Annika said just as the emblem started to fade away only to be replaced with a shot of a huge hall with all seats facing a stage in the front of the hall. "Normally this is boring as hell. I would be surprised if anything major would be announced."
With the fade-over completed, the camera zoomed in on the stage and one could see a long table with chairs facing the hall. The table had a privacy screen so that nobody could look underneath the table and the only things one could see of the chairs were their backs. Besides the table and chairs there was also a speaker podium. For the rest the stage was completely bare.
"And than again, this could be one of the most important Grand Assemblies of at least the last six years," Annika said when they could see the table, and more importantly the chairs behind it. She straightened before leaning forward a little.
"Why do you think that, Captain?" B'Elanna asked from her engineering station. She had figured that it would be better to look at the opening of the Grand Assembly on the big bridge view-screen instead of some small screen in Engineering. More so because Seven's short and overly cryptic message had said that they might hear something at the Assembly they would find interesting.
"Because of the chair in the middle," Annika explained. "See how it's taller and more ornate then the other six? That's because it's the chair of the Chancellor, and he normally doesn't come to the Grand Assemblies. The last time he was present was six years ago, and at the time the reason he was here was to approve a redrawing of Faction lines. The borders between territories were straightened out some, which meant that some planets were going to fall under a different faction. The Chancellor was there so that people knew that the proposal had the complete approval from all Intendants as well as the Chancellor himself."
Annika stopped talking when the door at the back of the stage opened and a Klingon walked up to the speaker podium.
"All stand and show the proper respect for Chancellor Worf."
"I guess nobody wanted to be seen as the last one getting up," Tom said amused when all three thousand people in the hall practically jumped up at the words.
A few minutes went by in which not a sound was made in the hall. Finally the door opened again and Worf walked onto the stage and sat down in his chair with a sneer. "This Grand Assembly is now opened. There are some rather important issues to be announced, so let me say personally what anyone should know anyway. After this Grand Assembly is over, any and all things announced will be implemented according to the timeframe included in the information package about the announcement. Anyone that is found to ignore that timeline will suffer the most severe consequences." Worf looked to his side where the announcer was standing at the speaker podium. "Get the rest in here."
"All stand and show the proper respect for the Klingon Intendant Torres."
Annika couldn't help but smirk at the 'all stand.' As if anyone of those three thousand people had been so stupid to sit back down again while the Chancellor had been talking.
The door opened again and this time Torres entered with two steps behind her Seven who was carrying a small box.
"I'll be damned."
"Captain?" Chakotay merely asked, but while he was asking the one worded question, he heard a mumble starting to form in the hall on the screen.
"Torres took Seven with her. As far as I know there has never been a slave in that hall during a Grand Assembly."
On the screen, Torres took the chair to Worf's left side and Seven kneeled on the floor at her left side. The announcer choose that time to introduce the Cardassian Intendant, who was going to sit at Worf's right side, and continued like that until all the Intendants were seated. Finally the announcer told the people that they could sit back down again.
"The first proposal of this Grand Assembly is from Intendant Torres. Intendant?"
With the last word the announcer looked at Torres who dipped her head a little before starting to speak.
"On this day, it is exactly one hundred and fifty standard years ago that the Sol Empire fell and the complete and unconditional capitulation was signed. Because the Sol Empire used many of our ancestors as slaves, our ancestors felt that it was only fair justice that the six species that had the biggest hand in enslaving us, or in case of the Vulcans, didn't stop the Sol empire while they still had to power to stop them and instead choose the work with them, should become slaves themselves. It was agreed that for five generations those species should be slaves.
"But the Coalition got used to its slaves and made use of the fact that in that agreement it was never mentioned exactly which species would be used to measure the five generations time line. Everyone knows that we are still in the first generation of the species that was eventually picked as an indicator. If we continue to do as we have, the five generations time frame will only be reached twenty-four thousand years from now.
"We Klingons are proud and honorable people. I am of mind that having slaves doesn't make you proud, nor honorable; having slaves only makes you weak. Just think, what would Kahless have done? I think that he would have either killed them all, or taught them a lesson they would never forget. He would however not have enslaved them, their children, and their children's children.
"Some might want to point out that I myself also use slaves, and they would be right. But that actually proves my point; we have come to the point where we are dependent on slaves. You either have to have them, or you can never run a business or the likes.
"I think that we have taught them a lesson they will never forget, and therefore I think it's time slavery of any kind is ended. Continuing slavery will not teach them something new, it will only serve make us weak and complacent." Torres was quiet for a moment so that there could be no mistaking her next words. "I herby propose the complete and undeviating end of any and all slavery, barring any and all conditions set forth in an effort to ensure a smooth transition."
"I herby propose the complete and undeviating end of any and all slavery, barring any and all conditions set forth in an effort to ensure a smooth transition."
Annika's heart stopped beating for a moment when she heard that last sentence. Tears started to form in her eyes and she made no effort to stop them from falling. She knew that people were looking at her, but she didn't care. There was no way that she could explain to them that hearing those words meant for her. She would be an officially free person. No more property on the run; a nice bonus for anyone that might be able to catch her and turn her in.
A free individual with rights; someone that could simply say... no.
"Ha... Harry, download that information package into a padd and give it to me."
"Does anyone second the proposal?" The announcer asked.
Of course, there wasn't a single person in the Coalition that didn't know that the proposal already had the support of the others; otherwise Torres would never have brought it up. The only question was who would show themselves to be such a clear supporters of the proposal. The others would be able to say that they merely hadn't voted against it, but the person that second the proposal would be known as a person that voted for it.
Torres waited for Jadzia to speak up, just as they had agreed. But just as Jadzia took a breath to speak, Torres was surprised by an 'aye' coming from the other side of Worf. She looked past Worf at Dukat and saw him looking back. There was no mistaking the look in his eyes. That was the 'you owe me, big time' look, and he was right.
To have the Trill Intendant second the proposal was one thing, but to have the Intendant of the second biggest faction so clearly support the proposal gave it a foundation it could never have had otherwise, or so Torres thought. But within mere moments she was proven wrong.
"Aye," Shinze said, even though only one other person was needed to 'second' a proposal. Of course, Torres knew that by so clearly supporting her, Shinze was only working himself further into the position of being the 'savior' of the Vulcans. But that was alright, Seven had given him that approach to begin with.
"Aye," Ro and Jetur said at the same time, sitting on their one chair that was wide enough to seat them both. Torres wondered for a moment why they so openly supported her proposal, but then realized that they weren't just supporting her proposal; they were merely evening out some of the thanks they had for Seven's help in them becoming Intendant themselves.
"Aye," Deanna said with a small smile. That smile told Torres that her support was the help of one friend to another. Nothing more, nothing less.
"Aye," Jadzia said, and Torres knew that she had supported the proposal simply because she was looking forward to the troubles and challenges the upcoming changes would bring and no longer because they had agreed that she would second the proposal.
Yes, Torres was proven wrong. She had thought that with Dukat's support her proposal had gotten the best support that it could, but now she knew that it could be even better. With all Intendants 'seconding' her proposal it would become near to impossible for people to find a way to get 'passed' the proposal.
By now the hall was filled with a loud buzz of voices, but they quickly died down when Worf stood up and took a moment to pull his battle uniform straight. "Kahless once said, 'every man has his own fate in his hand. He, and he alone, decides if he dies as a hero, or as a coward.' I think it's about time that everyone in coalition space had their own fate in their hands. In case anyone is still wondering, let me be clear. The days of slavery are over. What comes when the Grand Assembly is concluded is an orderly transition to a Coalition in which everyone is a free person. Intendant Torres, aye, I too give my voice to your proposal."
"It's true. Their really going to end it," Annika said in nothing more then a whisper.
B'Elanna decided that protocols be damned and kneeled beside Annika's chair on one knee. "Are you alright? Maybe want to rest in the ready room, or at home?"
"No! No, I want to hear this; I NEED to hear this. They are going to end it, B'Elanna. They really are going to end it."
"Captain, the file is complete," Harry said as he handed a padd to Annika. "I took the liberty to have a look while it was downloading, and there are quite some conditions. Most noticeably is the one that slaves are turned into something called 'long contracts' and they have to serve the contract with the same people that they were now serving as slaves."
"Probably the transition part they keep talking about," B'Elanna said in understanding. "I'm Sorry, Annika. I know it sounded like,"
"No," Annika interrupted. "No, don't you understand? Of course they had to do something like that. They can't do without us doing all their jobs. But don't you see? A long contract is a set time frame of ten years. After that time the contract is renegotiated, or if they prefer, the people can look for work somewhere else. Don't you understand? At the moment we lived our lives knowing that we would never be anything else but unnamed manual labor for the rest of our life. Now we... they... have something to look out for. Even if that is still ten years away. They can have hope again. Yes, then years seems a long time, but it does give you the opportunity to say 'only ten more years, only nine more years, only two more years.' Your life gets a purpose again."
"Actually, if they happen to be forty, or be that soon, they don't have to wait ten years. I didn't see the ten year part, but while I was downloading the info, I did see that there is an 'age forty renegotiation option,' or at leas that's what it's called in this thing."
"Thank you," Annika said as she took the padd.
"Looks like they are about to go on," Chakotay said.
As soon as Worf finished his speech of support and set down again, the hall erupted into wild conversation. Worf let the conversations continue for almost five minutes before giving the announced a small nod to indicate that he should go on.
"It has been decided that a new faction should be installed that will cover the soon to be former slave species; headed by a new to be installed Intendant. This faction will be established in sector twenty-one through twenty-eight of the Klingon sector and it will enjoy the same rights and privileges as all other faction."
"Bring up those sectors on the screen; split screen," Annika said, and seconds later the left side of the view-screen was covered by the part of space that was being talked about.
"It isn't really a big part, compared with the other factions," Chakotay pointed out. "It's only one fifth the size of the smallest other faction, while it won't even really be missed in the huge territory covered by the Klingons."
Of course, he had no way of knowing that this part of space was actually bigger than what the original plan had been. Worf had decided that he really didn't like the idea of a 'sphere' of space which would intersect sector borders. This would mean that when people talked about a sector number they could be talking both about Klingon and former slaves territory. Because of that Worf had decided to make the territory a square eight sector part of space; a block of two by two by two sectors. The borders of which ran exactly along the sector grid lines. A side affect of this also was that there now were nine free species that fell inside that territory instead of the original eight.
"Considering that they are basically giving the territory away, I think that the slave species will be more than happy with the eight sector territory they are getting," Tuvok pointed out.
"You are right," Annika agreed. "But I'm a little surprised that 'I' have to point out the importance of that part of space to you two. In there you will find Sol as well as Vulcan. You will also find the Homeworlds of the other four slave species, and not at the least nine Homeworlds of free species. Risa is located there in that left sector."
"Why do you point out Risa specifically?" Tuvok asked.
Now Annika chuckled. "Because if all slaves fall under this new faction, and the new faction owns Risa, this means that the new faction is in control of all sex slaves as well as the one place in the whole Coalition that is known by name for turning out the best sex slaves."
"In other words, they will control the entire sex marked," Tom said from his chair.
"That's your first monopoly right there people," Annika said with a grin. "And what a monopoly it is. Oh, it doesn't sound like much, but just think about it. This new faction has the power to cut anyone in the coalition off from free and legal sex with people their not married to, if they're married and not single that is."
"Support our proposal or you will never get laid again," B'Elanna said with a grin. "That's a threat alright, especially in dealing with the Klingons."
"Since there are no free or former slaves at the moment and therefore no election for the first Intendant can be held, the Chancellor has decided that he will appoint the first Intendant for this new faction," The announcer said before handing the proceedings back to Worf.
"Before I appoint the new Intendant let me remind people that this new Intendant has full Intendant powers from the second the Intendant is appointed, and should be addressed as such and with the respect shown to all Intendants. I also want people to remember that not recognizing an Intendant as such is a capital crime that can be punished by immediate execution."
Worf looked passed Torres where Seven was still kneeling with her head held down. "Slave, get over here."
Seven got up, only to kneel once more at Worf's side. "Master?"
"What is your name, human?"
"I am merely a slave; I have no name, master." Nobody but the people sitting at the table would ever know just how hard it had been for Seven to say those words.
"Kahless," B'Elanna whispered.
"Are they going to..." Harry asked in total disbelief.
"As of this moment you are no longer a slave; you are a free person. Pick a name you want to be known as."
"Yes, Chancellor." Only the very smart people in the hall picked up on the smooth transition of Seven going from calling Worf master to calling him Chancellor, and the fact that he didn't react to it. Clearly this had been agreed upon. "Chancellor, if it is acceptable, I would like to be known as Annika Phoenix."
"Very well. Annika Phoenix, you are hereby appointed as the Intendant of the new Coalition faction. Do you have a name for this new faction?"
While they were talking a chair was added at one of the ends of the table, beside Jadzia Dax but Seven continued to sit on her knees besides Worf. It was clear that she was sending her own message to the Coalition. She was making it very clear that her reign would be marked with cooperation, not confrontation.
"Chancellor, with your permission, I would like to make the first Intendant decree that my faction will from now on be known as the Phoenix alliance."
"Chancellor, with your permission, I would like to make the first Intendant decree that my faction will from now on be known as the Phoenix Alliance."
"Way to go, Seven!"
"Tom?" Annika asked at his clear excitement.
Tom turned around and looked at Annika. "It's the name she chose." When he still saw confusion on Annika's face he looked around only to see confusion there as well. "Oh, come on. Ancient earth mythology, um, our earth that is."
"Why don't you just fill us in and we will know as well," Chakotay suggested.
"Alright, here's the deal. The Phoenix was a bird that existed out of fire. A beautiful bird that was almost impossible to kill. But there is the part that it was known for the most. If it did die, its body turned into ashes, and from those ashes raised a new phoenix. One that was bigger, stronger, and more beautiful as ever before, and if that one died, from its ashes would come even more beauty and power. 'Rising from the ashes like a phoenix' was a saying that was used often to indicate people or organization that had been beaten in to the dust, only to come back better and more glorious than before."
"While everyone just assumed that their time was over and time would move on," Annika said in understanding. "And with that name Seven, Intendant Annika Phoenix I mean, is basically sharing her hopes for the new faction; that slave species will be back to become an important part of the Coalition."
"Way to go, Seven," B'Elanna said, mimicking Tom's original words.
"It's so noticed. The Phoenix alliance is as of now an official part of Coalition space."
"Thank you, Chancellor. For my second decree I would like it to be known that as of now, any person that will become Phoenix Alliance Intendant in the future will take the last name of Phoenix. Now, and in the future the Phoenix Alliance Intendant will be know as Intendant Phoenix."
"Again, it is so noted. Do you have an emblem that will become the Phoenix Alliance emblem?"
"Chancellor, with your permission, I would like to hand in two emblems. One the official Phoenix Alliance emblem, and the other one is my personal emblem. I would also like to make my third Intendant decree that where there is one emblem that represents the Phoenix Alliance. Besides that there is an emblem that only the Phoenix Alliance Intendant and first degree family of that Intendant will be allowed to wear.
"This emblem has to have the main trade of the Phoenix alliance in it to make clear that the Intendant is the Intendant of the Phoenix Alliance. However, the emblem is personalized for the particular Intendant and is never to be used again once the Intendant died, with the exception of any first degree family that is still alive. They are allowed to wear the emblem until their death as well. A new Intendant will then design a new personal emblem for them and their families."
"Show me the emblems," Worf said, and while he spoke a large screen started to decent behind the table until all the space behind the table was filled with the screen from floor to sealing.
Without words, Torres pushed the small box that Seven had taken with her across the table until it was lying in front of Worf.
Seven opened the box from her kneeling position, took a round emblem out of the box and handed it to Worf. "Chancellor, the official emblem of the Phoenix alliance."
At the same time as Seven spoke, the screen came to life with a picture of an orange and red bird made of fire. The picture looked as if the bird was flying straight up to the skies with wings fully outstretched and streaks of fire trailing behind it. To the Voyager crew the picture proved that Tom's guess had been correct.
"This is as of now recognized as the official Phoenix Alliance emblem," Worf said with an approving nod.
Seven took out the second emblem and handed it to Worf. "And this is the personal emblem of me, Intendant Annika Phoenix. As my fourth Intendant decree I would like it to be noted that it is a capital crime for anyone but me and first degree family of mine to wear that particular emblem. The same will be for the individual emblems of any Alliance Intendants in the future."
As Worf took the emblem it was once again shown on the screen behind them. Once more the firebird was in the emblem, but this time it was sitting proudly on a branch with its head cocked to the side slightly and its wings were folded nicely against its body. The most surprising part of the emblem however was that behind the Phoenix there was standing a B'Rel, the famous Klingon bird of prey. The B'Rel had its wings outstretched protectively over the Phoenix, offering the Phoenix its protection.
There was absolutely no mistaking the implication of that emblem. The fledgling Phoenix Alliance, and especially its Intendant, enjoyed a protection others should be right to fear. Of course, what nobody but the people sitting at the table and Martok knew was that the particular B'Rel was actually the B'Rel of Torres' mark, down to the coloring of individual feathers.
"Both emblems are accepted, as is the capital crime rule about the second emblem. Since you are now a free person, you no longer have to wear the mark of your former owner; you can take off Torres' mark."
"Chancellor, I beg of you that I will be allowed to wear my mistress' mark," Seven said as she touched the pendant of the necklace with her hand.
"Torres is no longer you mistress," Worf pointed out with a frown. This was something they hadn't talked about since Worf had assumed that the so stubborn slave would be only too glad to not have to wear a mark anymore.
"In our official life, no she is no longer my mistress. When I have to deal with her as one Intendant to another, then I will do so with the wellbeing of my faction in mind. But in our private life she will always be my mistress."
"Is wearing her mark really that important to you?"
"Chancellor, besides my mistress herself, and now the wellbeing of the Phoenix Alliance, wearing my mistress' mark is the most important thing in my life to me."
Worf smirked at that. Seven's public show of devotion to Torres was sure to start people talking about just exactly which of Seven's, qualities, had landed her the job as new Intendant. But it also meant that people wouldn't be so hasty to come to the Klingons to complain about the new Phoenix faction. Good; les problems for Worf.
"Well, I guess that if an Intendant wants to wear a necklace that bears her lover's mark, then it's that Intendant's own business. Just know that from now on it is no longer proof of your ownership. Or better said, no official prove of who owns you, mind, body, and soul."
"Thank you, Chancellor."
"You are welcome. Now go sit in your chair, Intendant Annika Phoenix." Worf waited until Seven was seated before speaking up again. "Before I give the word to Intendant Phoenix, I would like to make an announcement myself. I hereby wish the Klingon and Phoenix Intendants all the best and good luck in their upcoming marriage."
Torres had been looking to the end of the table where Seven had set down and her head snapped to the other side so that she could look at Worf so quickly that she almost gave herself whiplash. That she and Seven were about to get married any time soon was even news for her. But then she saw the self-satisfied smirk that Worf was sprouting and she understood only too well that he had announced this little surprise for only two reasons. So that the Coalition knew that he agreed to the marriage, and that two Intendants could actually get married to each other in the first place. All so that he didn't have to bother with it somewhere in the future.
She looked back to the other end of the table and saw Seven looking back with a surprised expression on her face, but also with a big smile. "Thank you for your well whishes, Chancellor," Torres finally said, her eyes never leaving those of Seven. "My pet and I are looking forward to the day that she will become officially what she already is unofficially; an irreplaceable part of the House of Torres." Now Torres looked out into the hall and her expression grew cold and hard.
"But let there be no illusion. That is our private life, and we keep that separate from the official part. As the Klingon Intendant I will focus on the wellbeing on the Klingon faction, even if that is at the cost of the Phoenix faction. The same goes for Intendant Annika Phoenix. Let there be none in the Phoenix faction that think that they can get away with things merely because their Intendant is my lover in our private life. I won't hesitate to take Klingon forces into Phoenix territory to take care of... problems."
"And I would not at all be pleased with people that think that they can use me to get to the Klingon Intendant," Seven added.
"Intendant Phoenix, I believe you have some information you want to share with the Coalition?" Worf asked to get things moving along.
"Thank you, Chancellor; I do." Seven looked out into the hall. She knew that anyone was expecting her to talk about all the grand things she was going to do for the new faction so she decided that it was best to lay out the bad with the good.
"Let there be no mistaking the situation. The other factions have absolutely no reason to end slavery, except for the simple fact that they think that we have learned our lesson. I fully intent to prove them right; the past will be put behind us. That means that now and in the future no claims what so ever for compensation can be made. Nor can claims be made for assets of any kind that once belonged to particular ancestors or families in general. As Phoenix Intendant, I hereby declare any such claim void and unsupported.
"I would like to thank the other factions for all the help they offered, and are still offering, for the buildup of the phoenix alliance. I would especially like to thank the Klingon faction for so graciously offering their sixteenth fleet for patrolling Phoenix Alliance space for as long as it takes us to build the ships and train the crews that are needed to do the patrolling ourselves. Because we are only starting to build our faction, it might be very tempting for pirates to raid our planets and moons, or for smugglers to set up base in our territory. Let it be known that we will not tolerate this. If you do enter our space you will be hunted down and captured, even if you leave our space again.
"For all others, because our space is located deeply in Klingon space, we will waiver the permission rights. You will not have to ask our permission to enter our space, nor will you have to ask permission of the Klingons to enter their space once you leave ours again. However do know that any and all ships inside Phoenix Alliance space are subject so search at any time at our discretion."
Having made it clear that they would not interrupt travel of others, but that it also would be a stupid idea for smugglers to come inside Phoenix Alliance territory, Seven moved on to addressing her future subjects.
"Slaves. Your slavery will officially end in two days time. As of that minute you will all be a subject of the Phoenix Alliance. However, it is of paramount importance that the transition from slaves to free people happens in an orderly and smooth fashion. Because of that all of you will be entering into a long contract at the place you are working now. It is very important that everyone in the Coalition understands that they will not suddenly lose their entire work force. At this moment an information file is sent out. It is mandatory for all, including slaves, to read that, or have it read to them if they can not read. Employees that do not give their slaves this information file to read will suffer severe punishments.
"Also, this might give some slaves the idea that they do not have to work anymore, or not as hard, since soon they will be no longer slaves. Let it be known that such slaves will have to suffer the same punishments as all long contracts do that no longer fulfill the work they were hired to do.
"On the other hand, this might give employees the idea that this is the perfect time to even out some old scores with some troublesome slaves. Do not. Any and all incident will be investigated. To insure this the other factions have pledged their full support. Depending on which faction you live in, incidents will be investigated by the Klingon Security Department. The Cardassian Seventh order; Internal Affairs. The Bajoran Special Forces; Social Stability Section. The Romulan Tal Shiar. The Betazoid Security Agency. And the Trill Investigation Department. We want to work to a future where the former slave races are a proud, but equal part of the Coalition. The best way to insure this happens is to look forward and not hold old grudges."
Seven was quiet for a moment as she lowered her eyes. When she looked back up and spoke, her voice was soft and there was a slight trace of sadness in it. "As I said, the transition is a very important time. Now people can finally look forward to a future in which nobody but themselves owns them. Unfortunately this transition takes time. There will be people that are old now and will die of old age before ever having lived one day in freedom. There are people that will die from accidents. There are people that will get sick and die. All in all there will be millions that will die without having tasted the freedom we are promising. For this I apologize to you.
"But the Vulcans have a saying that is very fitting for this situation; 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.' For those that die before having tasted freedom, I hope that you can find consolation in the fact that while you have never experienced it, your children are born in freedom. I hope that your last thought will not be of the hard life you lived, but of your children growing up in a universe where they can make their own choices.
"For some, if not most, people it will feel like changes are coming for everyone but them. They will wonder why changes are not implemented for them 'now.' To those people I say, keep in mind the magnitude of this endeavor. We have to make plans for literally billions of people. We simply can not do that in only a few days. But rest assured; changes will come, and the first one comes right now."
Seven looked to her side and down the table to Worf. "Chancellor, I thank you for giving me the chance to address my future subjects. As my last act on this Grand Assembly, I would like claim a monopoly for the Phoenix Alliance."
"You would, would you now?" Worf asked. They hadn't discussed any monopoly, but if it was a fair one, he would address it like any monopoly claim that had ever been made before. "And just what monopoly would you like to claim?"
"Chancellor, considering that all sex slaves will become subjects of the Phoenix alliance in two days, and will be called Physical servants from then on. Also considering the fact that Body slaves, from then on to be known as Body Servants, may only be trained by Risa, which is a member of the Phoenix alliance as of now. I would like to claim a monopoly for the Phoenix alliance on the entire physical service market."
"Would you now?" Worf asked slightly amused while a buzz was starting to fill the hall.
The people in the hall weren't stupid; they knew that if slavery was going to end, you would have to hire the people instead of buying them. And if Worf were to grant the monopoly claim this would mean that only Phoenix Alliance personal would be able to fulfill official contracts and have the renowned office buildings in capital cities. While the best others could hope for would be the crumbs, the small deals that weren't really worth the time of a higher level contractor.
"For a viable monopoly claim you need to prove an infrastructure that you can service the entire Coalition. How can you do that? You don't even have any people to negotiate contracts between employers and possible employees."
"With all due respect, Chancellor, I do," Seven disagreed as politely as it was possible while still disagreeing. "As of now Risa is part of the Phoenix alliance. A Risan representative can be found at in any capital city slave market in the Coalition. Since these places can no longer sell slaves, the Rira representatives there can from now on concentrate on negotiating fair deals between employers and employees. As you can see, the Phoenix alliance already has a full infrastructure through the entire Coalition; the Risa infrastructure. In fact, it would take any other organization years, decades, to build an infrastructure to rival ours if you were to awards the monopoly to another entity. Add to this also the fact that we do not only have the infrastructure, but also the personnel that has years of training in negotiating deals and contracts in this particular sector and you will see that we are the best choice for this monopoly."
"Hmm, true," Worf was forced to admit. "Very well, you got your monopoly position. As of now the main seat for the Physical service industry will be located on,"
"Risa," Seven supplied when Worf stopped so that she could fill in the location. The location of Risa had been chosen by Seven very deliberately for three reasons. First, having the main seat of an industry always brought extra prosperity to the planet the seat was located on. By having this be Risa, Seven was sending a message to the species that hadn't been slaves that they wouldn't become second place to the species that had been slaves. The second reason was a simple one; Seven hadn't been lying when she said that the Risan were the best at what they did. By having them take care of the seat, the industry would get a professionalism from the first minute without having to suffer from trial and error. And third, the name would go on. For generations people knew that 'the best' came from Risa and with the physical service seat located on Risa, 'the best' would still be coming from Risa, even though Risa was now part of a new faction.
"Very well," Worf said in agreement. "As of now the main seat of the Physical service industry is located on Risa. Good luck with your new faction Intendant Phoenix," Worf said before looking at Torres. "Intendant Torres, you had a few more announcements?"
"I do Chancellor thank you."
"So Intendant Phoenix, what is your next course of action?" Torres asked amused when she and Seven had entered the Intendant waiting hall here the Intendants always gathered during the Grand Assemblies. "Want to go over to the Bajorans and ask them for their help in getting your friends home?" she asked while pointing in the direction of the two Bajoran women. "Your friends could be home, their home, within days."
"That sounds like a good plan," Seven agreed. "They have seen several options to get home, only to see them disappear right in front of them. It will be good for them to finally have an option of getting home that does not disappear. For once the words 'a way to get home' are real. I believe they will like hearing them, and I also believe that I will like the fact that I will be the one to tell them; 'I have a way home for you.'"
And this, my friends, is where the story I envisioned ends.
I thank you all for taking this ride along with me, and the nice words of encouragement along the way.
So, you might wonder, are we now leaving the 'Alternate Universes' universe for good? Welllll, no. See, while writing this story scenes came to my mind about how this would be done, and how that. Just where will Intendant Phoenix make her official residency seat? Just how can one free person create an entire Faction? Just who will help her? So to answer some of these questions, since the AU doesn't seem to want to let me go, there will be a third story called 'Alternate Conclusions.' But make no mistake, the storyline I was setting up has ended, so don't expect any big plot moves in the third story. It's more of me having fun with creating a fictive society. If you want to read it, do so, just know that the storyline you have been following is considered over now. My story was to end with the creation of Intendant Phoenix, and it did. Just that we now get to see a story that deals with the life of Intendant Phoenix.
Thanks for your time,
Started 4th of April 2004
Finished 31st of January 2006
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