DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
"Hi," B'Elanna said while she entered her quarters. After the senior staff meeting to discuss the headway that was made in stabilizing one of the mining corridors, B'Elanna had gone back to Engineering while Annika had gone to their quarters to do some reading. "So, what is that mysterious reading that you were going to do?"
Annika looked up from the padd and tilted her head slightly. B'Elanna thought that Annika looked absolutely adorable when she did that, not that B'Elanna was going to tell this to Annika of course.
"I never said that it was mysterious," Annika disagreed. "I merely said that I was going to do some reading."
"Yeah, well, since I don't know what it is, it's a mystery to me. So, what is it?"
"Starfleet procedures," Annika relented with a smile. "I may know front from aft, and starboard from port, but I didn't know the commands you normally use. I thought it would be quite convenient to know what a red alert really means."
"Good idea," B'Elanna agreed. "Especially since you might be calling them yourself in the future."
"With the emphasis on 'might.'"
B'Elanna decided to not try and convince Annika to take the job, knowing that the woman had a point in wanting to know how the ship felt about having her as Captain. "And?"
"Surprised about what?" B'Elanna asked while she walked to the replicator to replicate some underwear along with some slacks and a t-shirt.
"About all the stuff that has to be done at a command. I'm used to the fact that I tell someone to go do this, and that person goes and does it. But here an order is given to one person and that same order might have an effect on someone on the lower decks as well."
"Well, yeah," B'Elanna agreed while walking to the shower. "Join me?"
"I thought you would never ask," Annika said while she walked into the bathroom.
"Yeah, yeah, you can hand me the towel again when I'm done."
The behavior had quickly formed while they were in the prison, talking while taking showers, and even now that the shower was actually in a different room, the behavior continued, neither of them really seeing a good reason to stop talking only because one of them was standing in the shower.
B'Elanna let Annika pass so that she could sit on the toilet seat, before she opened the shower door so that she could strip behind it.
Annika decided to not point out that though the door might obscure her view, she could still see the reflection of B'Elanna in the mirror above the sink if she wanted to. After thinking about it for a moment, Annika decided to keep her eyes firmly on the door, and not on the mirror. "I don't mean the obvious things, like how a red alert means that people might have to leave the place they are that the moment. But the simple things. Let's say on an away mission. If Tuvok goes on that mission, then someone of the Beta shift has to come in and take his place, and their place on the Beta shift is taken by someone else. And the position of that person is then more than likely filled by someone from the lower decks."
"True," B'Elanna agreed while stepping into the shower and opening the water. "I myself have three Engineers that are tagged for replacement duty. They had to leave Engineering more than once to fulfill other tasks."
"I don't like that," Annika said thoughtfully. "Engineers aren't people you should take away from where they are needed the most in case of an emergency."
B'Elanna adjusted the temperature of the water a little before reacting. "Well, it may look like that at first, but a lot of thought went into that. I mean, think about it for a moment. When do you need Engineers the most?"
"In case of an emergency, or when the ship is under attack," Annika replied.
"Right," B'Elanna agreed. "But the Senior Staff is not about to leave on an away mission at a time like that. So, the Engineers won't be called away then. The Engineers are only called away when they can be missed. And even if the Senior Staff would have to leave in the middle of a battle, they would call people other than the Engineers to take their places."
"Hmm, well, I guess that means that the next thing I have to read is the guidelines of summoning replacement personnel."
"Sounds like a good idea," B'Elanna agreed while shutting off the water and opening the door a little. "Do you think that this different way of ordering will be a problem for you, if you decide to do it? Towel please."
Annika handed B'Elanna one of the towels that lay always ready and waiting in the small bathroom replicator. "Here. No, I don't think it will be a problem, it just means that I would have to change my way of thinking a little. But I don't think that should be a problem. Anyway, to change the subject, are you hungry? I feel like doing some elaborate cooking to help me think about whether or not I actually want to do this."
B'Elanna stepped out of the shower with the towel wrapped securely around her and grinned. "Like I would say no to that."
A few minutes later, after B'Elanna had dressed, they moved to the kitchen area.
While Annika was busy creating some wonderful smelling food that made B'Elanna's mouth water, the Klingon looked at the kitchen unit with a halfway sad look on her face.
When Annika looked up from what she was doing for a moment she saw the expression on B'Elanna's face and asked, "What?" Before looking down again to the vegetables she was cutting. "It doesn't smell that bad, does it?"
"No!" B'Elanna was quick to assure. "It smells absolutely wonderful, I can't wait to taste it. No, I just..."
"You just... What?" Annika asked when B'Elanna didn't continue.
B'Elanna sighed, and then decided to say what was on her mind, despite the fact that she had told herself before that she wouldn't bring it up. "I was just thinking, it's really sad that once you are gone, this kitchen won't be used anymore."
Annika's eyes shot up at that and the knife was put down. "What do you mean, 'once I'm gone?'"
"Well," B'Elanna slowly started. She was mentally kicking herself, she knew that she should have stayed quiet, but now that was no longer an option. "Well, it's just that... Once... if, you become captain, you will be granted the captain's quarters to live in."
"Ah," Annika said, understanding, or so she thought. "Well, yeah, you are right, it will be a shame to leave these quarters now that we just changed everything. But, I don't like they layout on the Captain's quarters anyway. So, we can just copy the layout of these quarters there. I really would like a kitchen unit."
"I would love to help you with the redecorating before you move there," B'Elanna said lamely.
Annika was starting to get the feeling that something else was going on, but couldn't quite put her finger on it. "Well, I think that you should have a say in it too. Just like we did here. After all, it's going to be your place as well."
"No it won't," B'Elanna disagreed, and immediately wished that she had kept her big mouth shut.
"What? What are you talking about?" Annika asked, all thought of preparing food forgotten.
"Well, I mean. I would stay here, of course. Annika, the captain's quarters aren't shared quarters. If I would stay there, it would give the impression that we are in a relationship. The captain can't be seen having a weak spot like that."
"Yeah, the captain has to be above having a personal life."
"You're nuts," Annika said while pointing at B'Elanna. "You are ready for the voluntary deep minding detail,"
"What's that supposed to mean?" B'Elanna interrupted.
"It means that you are nuts," Annika repeated. "Nobody volunteers for that unless they are absolutely crazy. Why the hell shouldn't I have a personal life if I were to become captain?"
"I'm NOT Janeway!" Annika interrupted forcefully. "A Captain shouldn't be above love and compassion, a Captain should be able to do things despite being loving and compassionate. I'd be damned if I would give up the woman I love just so that I would be able to become Captain. As a matter of fact..." Annika put the knife down and slapped her communicator forcefully. "...Annika Hansen to Commander Chakotay."
"Commander, I just wanted to inform you that I decided that I won't take the position of captain on this ship."
"I... See." Chakotay said slowly. "Is there any chance of you changing you mind on this?"
"None, I'll fill you in tomorrow, Annika out."
"You can't do that!" B'Elanna said bewildered.
Annika put both her hands firmly on the counter and looked at the Klingon with narrowed eyes. "I just did."
B'Elanna slapped her own communicator in irritation. "B'Elanna to Chakotay."
"Chakotay here," The voice came back with a trace of confusion in it.
"Commander, ignore that last conversation with Annika, she will take the Job. B'Elanna out."
Annika's eyes narrowed even more and once again, she slapped her own communicator. "Annika to Chakotay."
"Yes?" Chakotay now merely asked.
"Commander, I stand by my decision to not take command of this ship. And I would furthermore request that the next time you speak to B'Elanna, you tell her that she has no right to make my decisions for me. Annika out."
B'Elanna growled and leaned a little closer over the counter, now their faces were not more than a thirty centimeters (1 ft) apart. "B'Elanna to Chakotay."
"Yes, B'Elanna?" Chakotay asked, and now both women could clearly hear the trace of amusement in his voice.
"Next time you speak to Annika, could you please let her know that she should stop acting like a child? B'Elanna out."
"I should stop acting like a child?" Annika repeated.
"Yes, start acting like a grownup and do what's right," B'Elanna said with a growl.
Annika leaned even closer at that. "Acting like a grownup, and do what's right?"
"Yeah, that what I said," B'Elanna, also leaning a little closer.
Annika nodded her head a little. "Alright, I can do that." Suddenly she grabbed B'Elanna's T-shirt and pulled her closer still, closing the distance between them. "I think what I'm about to do is very right," She said softly before capturing B'Elanna's lips with her own.
"Feels very right too," B'Elanna said breathlessly after a moment before leaning in once more to share a long and very passionate kiss.
Annika moved from behind the kitchen unit so that she could get closer to B'Elanna. They had just started kissing again when they were interrupted.
"Chakotay to Annika and B'Elanna."
B'Elanna was the one to answer. "Yes?"
"I am about to go to the mess hall. Is there something you want to talk about before I go out and others can hear you?"
"Alright. But are you able to tell me Annika's stand on taking the position of Captain?" Chakotay asked, and B'Elanna could tell that he was trying very hard not to chuckle.
"She hasn't accepted, nor has she declined. I'm sorry, Chakotay. Annika and I had a disagreement, I'm sorry we pulled you into it. It won't happen again."
"Alright. Have pleasant evening then, ladies. Chakotay out."
Annika and B'Elanna looked at each other for a moment, both of them smiling.
"Talk about lousy timing," B'Elanna finally said.
"Actually, I think it is a good thing he interrupted us," Annika said while moving back behind the counter. "I think it is time we had a little talk."
"Um, sure," B'Elanna said, not really knowing if she was going to like this conversation.
Annika moved back behind the kitchen unit, picked up her knife and started cutting the vegetables some more. "I know that I'm not making this easy for you, B'Elanna. I know that I'm testing your patience by teasing you and hinting that there can be more between us, but never actually giving you anything except some peeks at my naked body. Something, we both know isn't a real hardship for me. I could walk around naked on this ship and it wouldn't bother me."
"Yes, it would," B'Elanna disagreed. "It would irritate the hell out of you that everyone stopped doing their job every time you came walking by."
The both smiled at that. "True," Annika agreed, "you are right, that part of it would bother me."
B'Elanna sighed and decided to get back to the matter at hand. "Annika, I am a Klingon, and yes, I have healthy libido, but I don't want anything that you are not fully ready to give me. I enjoy the fact that you love to tease me, I really do like that, no matter how much it makes me groan. But I also know that you are not ready for more."
"I'm glad to hear that you understand me so well," Annika said with a smile. "But I really want to see us in a relationship in the near future. I'm not about to give that up for the fact of what position either of us will have in the chain of command."
"Yeah, but if you are Captain, I will have to follow your orders. Don't you think that will cause problems at some point?"
"I really don't see the problems you apparently see," Annika said while she put the knife down once more, she decided that the conversation needed her full attention. "You have been following my command for the last month, and there never was a single problem."
"Yeah, but that will be different here on the ship," B'Elanna said lamely.
"B'Elanna, if I don't accept the position of Captain, I will more then likely be posted in Engineering, under your command. Do you object to that as well?"
"That's different," B'Elanna could only repeat. Now that Annika was asking her these obvious things, B'Elanna herself didn't even really know what the problem was.
"Why's that different? If I have to follow your command in our professional life it's not a problem, but if you have to follow my command it suddenly is a problem?"
"No... Yes.... Well, no, but..."
"You know what I think the real problem is?" Annika asked, believing that she finally had figured it out. "I think the command thing isn't really the issue. I think that it's the name thing. It's the 'Captain.' You are so used to the fact that the Captain is this elevated command figure that is beyond reach, beyond even being able to have a simple conversation with that person without having to watch your word, that you just can't see yourself in a relationship with a Captain."
"Maybe you are right," B'Elanna agreed, wondering when she had lost the lead in the conversation. "Just thinking that I could be the Captain's girlfriend freaks me out."
"B'Elanna, forget about the Captain issue for a moment and answer me this honestly. I need this answer anyway, no matter what I do in the future. Can you see us together?"
"Yes." B'Elanna said immediately.
"Together as more than just friends, as lovers?"
"Yeah. I would really like that. But I know that you aren't ready for that yet," B'Elanna repeated. She really did want Annika to see that she understood this.
"Yet you are willing to give that up before it even happened?"
"If it is for the good of the ship, then yes. Annika, you have to understand, in the years that we are underway now, we have become Voyager. Voyager is no longer just a ship, it is an entity. Every single one of us would give their life to save the rest."
"But how would us two being in a relationship harm the ship?" Annika asked. She just couldn't see that. And she knew that B'Elanna also didn't see that, not really.
"It would undermine your position of Captain," B'Elanna said weakly.
"That's crap, and you know it," Annika shot back immediately before sighing. "Knowing that you and I live in the same set of quarters doesn't undermine my authority. Acting in a way not fit for a Captain would. Hell, if people know that we are in a relationship, and yet I can treat you like everyone else while we are on duty, it will actually enhance my position as a fair Captain. What would undermine my position would be if I would treat you differently from the rest, or if I would contact you from the bridge and ask you, 'honey, do you think you could get a little more power out of those engines for your baby,' that would undermine my authority."
B'Elanna had to laugh when she heard Annika talk about contacting her. She could just imagine standing in Engineering and hearing THAT question come over the communicator.
"Look, B'Elanna. I don't desperately want to become captain of this ship, I'm not indifferent to it, but it also isn't that I'm hoping with all my being that the outcome of the voting will be yes. You all are asking me to do that, and if enough people ask, I think I will do it, but on my terms. In the place where you come from your captains might be trained to want command no matter what the sacrifices, but I don't work that way. I'm not about to give you up, give us up, to take command, a command that you all are asking me to take.
"If you want me to be your captain, than you have to take me the way I am. And I am very interested in a woman with whom I want to be in a relationship. Let's be honest, with who I AM in a relationship. The fact that we don't make love doesn't change the fact that for all intents and purposes we are already girlfriends."
"Yeah, but once we do make love,"
"This would change how?" Annika interrupted. "At this point you can take my orders on duty, and yet not be my subordinate when we are alone. Why do you think that would change once we do become lovers? I really don't understand that, B'Elanna. Why is it okay if we are in these quarters and play chess for five hours, but it wouldn't be okay if we used some of that time differently. The others don't know what we do in here. All they know is that we are in the same set of rooms. Explain to me, how me knowing what you sound like in ecstasy prevents me from being you Captain."
After a moment of silence, the only answer B'Elanna could give was; "Damn you."
"Well, damn you too," Annika replied with a smile. "At least we are damned together."
"Why do you have to make this so complicated?" B'Elanna asked with a growl.
"I'm not," Annika disagreed. "You are the one making this complicated. All I'm doing is refuting every statement you make, showing you that it is just a lot of crap and not the real issue. First it was that a captain should not have a private life. Then it was that being seen as the captain's girlfriend freaked you out. Yet I was easily able to steer you away from that without truly talking about it, and you never came back to it. So that can't be that much of a problem either. Tell me, B'Elanna. What is the real problem?"
B'Elanna pushed away from the counter and stalked over to the dinner table that stood two meter away from the counter. She dropped down in the chair that she normally sat in during dinner and sighed. "The fact that I would be the captain's girlfriend really does freak me out. You could steer me away from that issue because all that you say makes so much damn sense."
"Then what is it? B'Elanna, talk to me, tell me what the real problem is. I want to work this out. I don't want to worry about if I may lose you, I don't want to lose the best thing that ever happened to me in my entire life."
"You say that you don't want to lose me, but it might be that you have to choose the ship over me."
"I know that. While I don't want to lose you, I would, if it is needed, also not hesitate to give you an order that could mean your death." After a second of silence, Annika added the question she knew had to be on B'Elanna's mind. "How I would be able to do that you wonder?"
B'Elanna nodded her head to indicate that Annika had guessed right.
"It's surprisingly simple. Because I know, if I would not do it, I would still lose you. You could never stay with me if I had chosen you over the life of your friends, over the rest of the crew. Is that what you are worries about? B'Elanna, I can't promise you that I won't put your wellbeing over my own in our private life. But I can promise you that this will ONLY be in the private life. While on duty, I will be your captain, I will ask the same sacrifices from you that I will ask from any other person on this ship."
B'Elanna gave Annika a smile. "It was a very big part of it."
"If it is a big part of it, than what is the rest?" Annika pressed on.
"It's stupid," B'Elanna merely sighed.
"B'Elanna, don't have secrets from me. Talk to me."
B'Elanna gave a small chuckle at hearing that. "Funny, you just brought up the very point."
"Secrets?" Annika asked.
"Dishonesty," B'Elanna corrected. "I want honesty from my partner. That is one of the reasons why things didn't work out between Tom and me. He lied to me. Oh, not about big things, but he never understood that the small things he lied about did more damage to our relationship that one big lie could ever have. If I asked his opinion on something, he more than once gave the answer he thought I wanted to hear, not the answer he really would have liked to give. And if I asked him what was bothering him, I got back a 'nothing, I'm fine.' While this might work in a relationship with another full human, it doesn't work with me."
Annika also walked over to the table and sat down in her own chair, "Sometimes people have to work out their problems for themselves, and not even you as the partner can help them."
B'Elanna waved her hand as if brushing something away. "I don't mind that. But then simply tell me that it is something you have to work out for yourself, don't lie to me and say 'I'm fine.'"
"Alright, I won't," Annika said with a smile, even though she knew that B'Elanna had talked about general behavior, and not about Annika specifically.
B'Elanna returned the smile with one of her own. "But you see, Annika, as Captain, you will have to lie to me, you will have secrets from me. There will be things that you as Captain can't tell anyone, not even your partner."
"I would tell you," Annika disagreed softly. "I won't have secrets from you, I won't have secrets from my partner. I don't care one bit about what those regulations say I can't tell you, I would still do it. But, you will have to be up to the task. I will tell you things the others aren't allowed to know, but I will also trust you to not tell anybody else. If I tell you, 'this stays between us,' then I have to be able to trust that it will indeed stay between us. Are you up to that?"
B'Elanna thought about that for a moment. "Yeah, I think I'm up to it."
"Think, is not good enough, B'Elanna."
"You are right," B'Elanna agreed. "Yeah, I KNOW I am up to that."
Annika reached over the table and took hold of one of B'Elanna's hands. "But B'Elanna, there is one exception. If a person tells me something private about themselves, I will uphold that privacy. I do this now already. This has nothing to be with being captain, but with the person I am. I want people to feel comfortable to tell me things that are bothering them, that are influencing them and their work. If someone will tell me a personal problem, it will stay personal, and I won't even tell you."
B'Elanna reached over the table with her second hand, right away getting Annika's second hand to hold. "Alright, that's fair enough."
Annika looked B'Elanna in the eyes for a moment before asking, "So, if I do take the job, would you mind being in a relationship with the captain of the ship?"
B'Elanna held the gaze for a long moment while setting her mind. Finally she said with full sincerity, "It would be my honor to be the captain's partner."
"This won't be a silent thing, B'Elanna. Every person on this ship will know. Do you mind that?"
"Do you?" B'Elanna asked, not really answering the question.
Annika laughed at the question. "Would I mind? B'Elanna, I was just ready to turn down being Captain, just so that I could be with you. Do you really think that I would hide our relationship? I'm proud that you want to be my partner, and I would be honored to call you my partner in front of others."
B'Elanna smiled and after a moment she let go of one of Annika's hands so that she could activate her communicator. "B'Elanna to Chakotay."
"Chakotay, are you in the mess hall by now?"
"Yes, and there are about twenty people here. You want me to go somewhere private?"
B'Elanna brought Annika's second hand to her lips and placed a kiss on the knuckles before speaking to Chakotay again. "No, no need. I just wanted to ask you to let people know, before they hand in their choice tomorrow on Annika becoming captain, that the captain will continue to share her quarters with the Chief Engineer, and that we are involved in a romantic relationship. The people that have a problem with that should vote 'no' to Annika becoming captain, because we aren't going to give that up."
Now Chakotay actually did chuckle before answering. "I will send out a ship wide note. But I have a feeling that I will only be spreading news that people already know. For some strange reason nobody but me is still talking here. Seems that they suddenly really like the food. Chakotay out."
Annika let go of B'Elanna's hand and leaned back with a smile. "Guess you truly are over having trouble with being my partner. Good."
"I am," B'Elanna agreed. "That's another thing you better learn really fast about me; I'm not into doing things halfway."
"And that also go for our relationship?" Annika asked.
"More than anything else," B'Elanna answered softly. "Also one of the reasons why I was willing to end this now if it was needed. I don't do relationships in a 'kinda' way. If I did, I would still be with Tom."
"I'm glad to hear that. I really want to make this work. Be patient with me, B'Elanna. I promise you, once I am ready to go all the way, I'll make it all worthwhile for you."
"Annika, stop worrying about where you are giving me enough to keep me interested in you. I enjoy every minute I spend with you, I feel more at ease with you that I ever did with my lovers. Even if what we have now would be all I could hope for, I would gladly settle for it."
"As long as it wouldn't be at the expense of the ship, right?" Annika more added than asked.
"Right." B'Elanna agreed.
"Well, as I said, give me time and you won't have to settle."
"You got all the time you need, and talking about settling," B'Elanna said, knowing it was time to change the subject. "Now that we settled the fact that you will move, and I will move with you, if you take the job... are we going to get some food today yet?"
Annika stood up, but instead of walking back to the kitchen unit, she walked around the table to B'Elanna. Annika sat down on B'Elanna's lap, which was a little bit of a squeeze since the table was a little in the way. But that was okay, Annika liked how it made her body mold to that of B'Elanna. "B'Elanna, I'm not ready yet to make love to you," Annika repeated.
"I know," B'Elanna agreed while she put her hands around Annika. It was an automatic reaction which she had no control over. Not that B'Elanna really tried to control it. The woman had sat down on her lap, chances were that she actually wanted to feel B'Elanna's arms around her.
"But," Annika continued. "When we were standing at that counter I noticed something."
"What?" B'Elanna asked hoping really hard that Annika was going to say what B'Elanna wanted to hear.
"I noticed that I really, really like kissing you. I would love to be able to kiss you."
"I would like that as well," B'Elanna said breathlessly. "I would really like to simply kiss you when ever I feel like it."
"You feel like it a lot?" Annika asked, bringing her lips within a fraction from B'Elanna's.
"Almost all the time when we are alone," B'Elanna admitted. "When I see you making something to eat for us, and I really have to hold myself back from leaning over and kissing you to thank you for it. Or when we are discussing a problem with Voyager, I would really love to kiss you and say 'you are right', instead of only nodding my head in agreement."
"Shut up and kiss me."
And so, B'Elanna did.
"Torres, it is good to see you again," Deanna said while she stepped off the transporter.
"It is good to see you too," Torres said while returning the hug that Deanna was now giving her.
Jadzia also stepped down and gave Torres a hug. "It has been too long."
Seven looked at how the two women hugged Torres and a certain feeling of irritation started to grow. While she had seen people touch the Intendant before, it was not that common. Generally Martok was the only one to be close enough to Torres to touch her on a regular basis. To then suddenly see these women touch Torres in a way Seven normally only did, it ticked Seven off, despite the fact that she knew that she had nothing to fear from these women.
"She is very possessive of you, isn't she?" Deanna suddenly asked Torres while looking at Seven. "She doesn't like the fact that we are touching you, and I don't need my empathic abilities to see that."
"Hmm," Torres agreed, "we have to work a little more on that. But having said that, she has every right to be possessive of me, I want her to be possessive of me." Torres knew that she would never be able to hide from Deanna, and therefore by extension Jadzia, how she felt about Seven. Best to just acknowledge it and get it over with. Which was also why nobody else was in the transporter room. "As Intendant you don't make someone into your body slave if that person is just another slave for you."
"True," Jadzia agreed. "As far as I know, Curzon Dax was the last Intendant to have a body slave. He ended up having to kill her."
"Why?" Torres asked, while she moved out of the room and into the corridor.
"She deceived him. She thought that getting freedom was only a matter of having enough credits, even if she was a slave. She used Curzon's name to make some deals, she just didn't figure on him finding out long before she could actually make a profit from those deals. Pity really, I wouldn't have minded keeping her around. She was trained on Risa for five years before he bought her."
"Deals or not," Torres said. "She can't have been too smart, it is commonly known there is no way that she could have actually taken possession of those credits. She had no name, and therefore no account."
Jadzia laughed, "I never said that she was smart; I said that she was good. No, I think that actually was her biggest problem. Oh, she wasn't stupid, after all, if she had been stupid, I would never have made her my body slave, but certainly not smart enough to actually be able to pull off her plans. She just thought she was."
They were quiet for a few minutes until they walked into Torres' quarters.
Seven was glad to see that no matter how close the women were to Torres, even they weren't brought into the private part of the quarters. Seven suspected that these women didn't even know that there was a second, more private part to the quarters. By now, Seven knew the official part just as well as the private part, and she also knew that the official part existed out of a full set of quarters, including a bedroom.
While they were on their way to meet the two Intendants, Torres had told Seven that the two women had never slept in the bed that Seven was now sharing with Torres. They had sex in the bed of the official quarters. Seven was glad for this, and had said as much to Torres. Glad for the fact that she truly was the first women ever that shared the bed that Torres actually slept in.
"My pet, get us something to drink please," Torres said before asking the two women, "Still the same?"
Both women nodded their head and Seven went to the replicator, having been told by Torres what the two women used to drink the last time Torres saw them.
"Well. That is something I don't have to worry about," Torres continued the conversation from a moment before. "See, my pet is actually smart enough to be able to pull that of. That is why I said the 'commonly known.'"
"Impossible," Jadzia said right away.
"Mmhmm," Torres hummed in agreement. "That is what I thought too, until my pet showed me otherwise yesterday. We had a conversation about slaves and how we made sure that they couldn't really do things without us masters knowing about it. And she, being her stubborn self, disagreed. So, I had her prove to me that slaves can indeed set up an account."
Now it was Deanna who asked the question. "They can?"
Seven offered the two women their drink and, when she came back from getting Torres' and her own drink, she was about to kneel beside Torres when she was stopped with a single word.
Seven understood and sat down on the couch beside Torres.
"Yes, they can, if they are smart enough. My pet here set up a fully functional account in less than one hour." Well, thirty minutes was less than one hour, wasn't it?
"How the hell is that possible?" Jadzia asked.
"Explain it, my pet," Torres said, wanting to get as fast as possible through the problem of all of them talking through Torres, instead of straight to each other.
"Yes, mistress. The mistake that most people make is to set up an account and then try to hide it from the automated scans of the financial system. Not understanding that if it truly was so simple than the scan system would never have been installed. The system is designed for exactly this thing."
"Then how get around it?" Deanna asked, having a good feeling that she knew why Torres had told the slave to speak up.
"By not hiding the account. Make it seem as if it is just one of many, make some transitions that are actually bound to draw the attention of the scanning program."
"Hiding in the open," Jadzia said thoughtfully. "If someone checks the scanning program's log, they will think that the account is a legit one, since if it was an illegitimate account, surely those transactions would have been hidden better. That could work, but the scan would still make it clear that the account only 'jumped' into existence a few days before, at most."
"True," Seven agreed. "Therefore, most work does not go into setting up the account, but into creating a history. For the account I set up, I created a history that could be tracked back to the creation date of the Coalition."
"Including all the right backdating of course," Torres added. "And she didn't just 'create' the account, she made is seem as if it had been in use for all the time of it's existence. Adding and removing credits, making sure that it the amount of credits change, making it seem as if the amount of credits on the account is the result of a family being good in handling their credits and finally being able to build up an saving of six million credits."
"So, what stops her from getting out of here as fast as she can?" Jadzia asked.
"Jadzia," Deanna interrupted, "Torres doesn't have to worry about that. Torres is very lucky, she found a slave that has actually fallen in love with her."
"However," Seven said, knowing that her feelings would be enough for Deanna, who could sense what she felt for the Intendant, but not enough for Jadzia, who would wonder about the ulterior motives. "Even if I did not love my mistress, it would still be in my best interest to be at her side."
"Why?" Jadzia asked. She knew why it would be better for the slave to be with Torres, but she wanted to know if the blonde knew it, her own... or better said, Curzon's body slave, hadn't understood just how good her life had been with the Trill.
"If I were to leave her, I would be nothing more than a slave on the run, even if I could use the credits in the account I created, I would still have to hide, still have to worry every minute that I could be captured and my freedom taken away from me. But if I stay at my mistress' side, I have a warm bed to sleep in, good food every day, and more power and freedom than most free people in the Coalition."
"Interesting," Jadzia said thoughtfully. "Most people, and certainly almost every slave, would never understand just how much freedom you truly have."
"True," Deanna agreed. "Most see as the most important thing that they are free and can pick up and move out when ever they want. But in reality, how many people truly do that? Even if they aren't in long contracts that they have to serve out. They still stick with the same lousy job they have, keep living on the same planet, in the same lousy apartment. But, hey, they are 'free.'"
"Indeed," Seven could only agree. Even in her own universe people had normally only moved to different places in the Federation if they or their family were posted somewhere else by Starfleet.
"Not to be one to look at things pessimistically," Jadzia said thoughtfully, "but aren't you afraid that this will open you to being influenced?"
"By Seven?" Torres asked. "Sure she will influence me, but even a slave that I hated could influence me, if she knew how to play me. Just make it seem that she wanted me to do one thing, because she would know I would do the opposite to spite her. At least with Seven I will know that I'm doing something she wants me to do."
Jadzia shook her head slightly. "No, I mean by someone using her to influence you. One of the reasons why most people don't try to influence us Intendants by force is since there is nothing higher than us, nobody that can give in to their demands to save us. But what if... Well, say that I was to put a disrupter to her head and tell you to lower the tax on Trill products, or else I would kill her?"
Torres grinned, knowing that Jadzia was truly only asking out of curiosity and not because the Trill would truly ever be so stupid to actually try that. "Well, if you were to put a disrupter against her head... she would kick your ass. She is a lot more than 'just' a human slave. How much more, we are keeping silent so that people will underestimate her. They would think that a group of four would be more than enough to overpower the helpless slave, the mere human. Not knowing that even if they had come with a group of ten people, my pet could sweep the floor with them.
"That is what would happen if someone was to only try something. But let's assume that you succeeded in taking my pet away from me, and then did kill her. Well, if you were to do something as stupid as that... I would eradicate every fucking Trill in existence. And you would be the last to die, knowing that your action would have resulted in every Trill that lived being killed."
Jadzia looked at Torres with wide eyes, she saw that Torres' grin had changed from being amused to something even the Trill Intendant took as a warning. Knowing that she didn't have much to fear since it was clear to both of them that she was only doing a 'what if,' she merely said; "You're bluffing."
"No she isn't," Deanna spoke up. "She is being fully sincere."
It was quiet for a moment when all of them, even Torres herself, contemplated just how far she would go if someone were to take Seven away from her. It was one thing to think you would do something, but to actually hear Deanna tell her that she would truly do what she thought she would do, made even Torres understand just how deep her feelings for the blonde were.
"But," Torres finally said into the silence that was slowly becoming uncomfortable. "I would kill all the Trill because you as their Intendant had done this. I wouldn't kill all Trill if some unknown person from some unknown colony had killed my pet. If that were to happen, I would do the same on a scaled down level. If it was some person with no power, with nothing but a grudge, I would eradicate the city they came from. If some colony administrator were to do it, I would eradicate the entire colony, and every friend, family, or acquaintance that didn't live in the colony."
All of them were quiet once more after that, until Deanna finally asked, "You know something, Torres? You truly know how to bring the mood down."
Torres laughed at that. "That's what you get for talking about taking away something that's mine. Alright, let's change the subject. You both interested in lunch?"
"Sure," Jadzia said right away and before Torres could add, "We'll be sitting at a table with four chairs."
Deanna and Jadzia looked at each other for a moment, both knowing that they still could decline the dinner if they wanted to, knowing that Torres would not hold it against them. Finally it was Deanna who answered for the both of them. "That's fine with us, as long as you don't have us eating that Klingon stuff again that you put in front of us last time."
"Gagh you mean?" Torres asked. "Why? What was wrong with it? I thought it tasted great, I noticed that you both only ate the other stuff, never touching the Gagh."
"I didn't eat it in sympathy of Jadzia," Deanna explained.
"I'm not following," Torres was forced to admit.
Jadzia put her hand on her belly before speaking up, indicating the symbiont living there. "Torres, considering who I am, eating living worms seems a little too much like cannibalism to me."
Torres thought about that got a second before bursting out laughing. "I never thought of that. Alright, no Gagh, you can make the selection this time."
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