I had been lucky to have such good interactions so far. It turns out that not every owner and slave is as nice as the ones I had met, and the differences in discipline, training styles, and personalities of owners leads to its own class system within the Facility. Most slaves minimize their interactions with slaves from rival owners, either on the command of the owner or just out of social habit .
Pandora, for example, has a distaste for Doctor Hybert. So outside of things like lessons and medical care, we just tend not to hang out with his dolls. On the other hand, she is intrigued by Sarah, who offers her slaves a lot of liberty, and since they both to be liberal-minded, we tend to get along with Sarah’s slaves pretty well.
# # #
The morning had gone well, so as I ate a baguette at lunch time, I expected the afternoon would be fairly similar. An overview of my curriculum for this general training period by boring or friendly instructors. I felt like I was back in gymnasium as Innu escorted me to my opening lesson for domestic labor.
When I walked in, I saw a male in black latex with a green uniform above it. Once I took my eyes off of the imposing figure, I saw the messiest apartment I had seen in my life. “Clean,” he said. “The tools are here, get to work. I will lecture if time remains.”
I tried to make a plan of action. I grabbed a trash bag. I started filling it with anything that was disposable. Why was I being tested on my ability to clean house instead of given an overview of the domestic department? A few times I heard a sharp snapping sound, his indication that I was taking too long. Once the obvious rubbish was taken care of, I grabbed a laundry basket, and started sorting out serviceable laundry from things the seemed to be impossibly crusted or worn. After that. . . at some point I cleaned out a refrigerator, washed dishes, and cleaned a toilet. I don’t remember the order.
There was still work to do when he ordered me to stop. “Lee Two-Five will instruct Hannah in planning and efficient strategy. Hannah’s performance is adequate. Tomorrow Hannah will focus on laundry and making up bedrooms.” His tone was flat and professional, almost, I thought, robotic.
“Why do you talk like that?”
“Lee Two-Five speaks as Mistress commands Lee Two-Five to speak,” he responded.
It creeped me out. I was actually happy when he dismissed me, with instructions to shower before my next lesson. Even with rubber gloves, I was not feeling clean after the mess I had walked in on and failed to completely clean.
“Lee Two-Five told me to shower before my next lesson,” I told Innu. “Where is the shower?”
“This way,” Innu said. She showed me to an area between the green and the blue wings, where there was a public shower. “Would you like me to fetch you a clean uniform while you wash?”
I looked over my uniform and shrugged. I had tried to keep it from getting too dirty, and felt like I had done well. “I suppose it can’t hurt,” I said. “Is a house cleaning test normal?” We were both stripping as I asked the question.
“It’s not unusual,” Innu said. “Though Lee Two-Five may have expected your role was chosen for you. Yuki is not big on personal choice in her slaves.”
I nodded. The black latex that stole any individuality from them had hinted something along those lines to me. We got into the shower room, an open shower, and each turned on a head. Innu stayed close, and as I washed for the first time today, I thought.
The woman in the science room had listed off careers and courses of study ranging from algebra and biology to trigonometry, linguistics, and zoology, with a focus on careers in teaching, cryptanalysis, and space development. I didn’t, and still don’t, remember her name well enough to write it here.
Miss Geneva was one of Pandora’s slaves who was focused on passing on the pleasure arts, in which she said she was a generalist. While she worked in the brothel upstairs, she said that entertainment is the formal version of pleasure. Entertainment is about making things you enjoy or things which many people enjoy — pleasure, she said, is about making one person, or a small group, enjoy you and themselves better.
Now there was Lee Two-Five. An expressionless drone under the control of a mysterious woman. He had told me to clean, to shower, and what tomorrow’s lesson would be. I knew nothing about him, though perhaps if Innu was right, there wasn’t a “him” to know at this point.
I tried to imagine what my next instructor would be like as we got out of the shower. We got dressed again, me in my khaki colored skirt and skirt, Innu in her golden-yellow dress. “Next up is labor,” she said, smiling happily.
We found ourselves in the science wing, and we both walked into an empty room. “Wait, are you?”
“Yup!” She giggled a bit. “I’m your supervising instructor for labor training, Miss Innu.” From there it’s not important what words she said, but she was both different and the same. She did seem to be professional, despite her bubbly speech and behavior, and went over the points she’d made on my first day. Labor could be almost anything from a fry-cook in a restaurant to a delivery truck driver or a receptionist at a hotel.
Some labor positions are generic — like reception, clerk, and cashier — and will be trained regardless of my desire or enjoyment of them. After that, we’ll explore more focused labor operations like cooking and craftswork. I could even become an apprentice to a more experienced slave and be a certified craftswoman in the standard amount of time. After a quick review of my skills as a clerk and cashier, we moved on.
A brown-haired young man was sitting in the room waiting for me. He wore a purple uniform with a pink badge on it, and he was strumming on an acoustic guitar. “Hello, miss. I’m Charles, and I’ll be overseeing your education in entertainment skills.”
I blushed. He was kind of cute, and had a disarming smile. Okay, he also seemed like just a friendly face. “I’m Hannah,” I said. “Should I call you Mister Charles?”
“No, Mister Charles is my father,” he said with a gentle laugh afterwards. “Sorry, I forget humor doesn’t always translate. I’m an American. Entertainment is a loose field. It’s about making things for others to enjoy, making things you enjoy. Pleasure is about the actions, but entertainment is about the product.”
That sounded familiar. Miss Geneva had said something similar, after all. “Entertainment is also about the audience, while pleasure is about the interplay of two people. Your lessons here are going to largely focus on performing or creating art for an audience. Music, theater, painting. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, even if its not where you plan to make a career.”
I drifted into a receptive listening mode, I think. I wasn’t listening to his words as words, but as sentences and ideas. He liked music, and some other stuff. He said his sister was a skilled entertainer who had inspired him. She did stage hypnosis and practiced it every day, and from that point covered how I could be anything if I put the effort in to work at it every day.
I was really feeling good when he said that our lesson was over, and he looked forward to seeing me again tomorrow. I blinked a few times, shaking my head to try and remember the lesson more clearly, and I still can’t bring it back with a lot of clarity.
Innu was waiting outside, and she smiled. “Your bracelet is ready now. Also, I have work upstairs tonight. You’ll need to entertain yourself, but make sure you have enough time to sleep.”
I just nodded and smiled as she slipped the bracelet, with its small LCD screen like a watch, on my wrist. I was already making my plans for tonight.