The Need to Serve
I remember her red face clearly when I got close enough to hit her. It showed nothing. Nothing at all. She just stared at me. Then I was looking up—I remember feeling every little piece of grit in my back—looking up at the sole of her boot as it came down on my belly. I can only remember intermittent bits and pieces after that. I remember her manoeuvring me, then I was over her shoulder and she stood up. I remember bouncing up and down with her gait and hearing chimes as she walked towards the stall where she gently laid me down and reattached my collar to that chain. She checked my balls carefully, especially the back, before walking back towards that machine returning with a leather harness of some kind which she fitted on me. It was looped round my waist and linked to the collar I wore. The belt part had straps leading to cuffs and the cuffs were strapped round my thighs. It looked like some sort of kinky garter belt. My wrists were placed in those cuffs and buckled in. I couldn’t move my hands. That belt also supported the jockstrap she attached. My balls were now cupped and protected.
I was still too far out of it to remember exactly what happened next, but I do remember her being back in the middle of the room saying “Those arms are to remain like that until he’s healed.”
A chime echoed around the room as my balls clicked against each other when I struggled to get up without using my arms. Those chimes repeated themselves with the accompanying colour display until I stood upright and I stared at them wide eyed, breathing heavily through an open mouth. I was trying to understand what had just happened.
They all stared at me until the echoes of the chimes died down.
Business girl smiled and said “Thank you Colleen. Please come to my office now.”
“What do you think, Pat?” said one after the girls had gone.
“Just a trick. She’s no chance here,” he replied with a sneer. The others didn’t sneer, but they all deferred to Pat.
No one talked to me but eventually someone came to order me. He stood at the edge of my pool and told me to come. I didn’t and was shocked. My body spasmed and my mind went blank as I had a type of fit in the tank. I didn’t know how long it took me to recover, but recover I did. As soon as it was obvious I had recovered that order came again. I received the shock again when I didn’t.
It took over an hour of repeated shocks before I started towards the voice when it gave the order.
“Good girl,” was the revised cry when I did so. I looked up at the man with fear in my eyes. I couldn’t cry but my eyes must’ve looked red and raw as though I had been.
That ‘Good girl’ statement immediately turned into, “swim round the tank,” I couldn’t take it in and simply stared at him. I was shocked again and the process repeated.
Every now and then the man who was ordering me was changed for another. But the training continued long into the night.
Eventually a man held up a small fish, small enough to be swallowed whole, and I fearfully approached.
“Beg,” he called and I stuck my head out the water, whereupon the man let go the fish and I had my first solid food since all this started. It wasn’t nearly enough but it was a start. I wanted more and the man gave me more as long as I came and begged, lifting my head and body out of the water and using my tail to stay in place until he dropped it. That was exhausting and almost not worth the effort.
Eventually that day was over and I could sleep. I was still ravenous, my body demanded a lot more food than it was receiving, but it was all they gave me so it would have to do.
This went on for over a year, until a change happened. I was let into a pool where other people were around. I soon realised these people were there to train me more. This training was more extensive and lasted a couple of years, long after I was perfect in my obedience.
MS EVE FITZGERALD MP
We changed the location this time to a different park. But the approach was the same.
“Well?” I queried after he was seated.
“You’re impressive and I’m convinced. What now?”
“First I want to know how you understand the situation.”
Most politicians used this trick to rapidly acquaint themselves of the facts because they hadn’t already done so. Whether because of lack of time or lack of effort was moot. But here and now, I really wanted a straight answer.
“Mind control is an academic hot subject right now and great strides have been made in understanding the human brain as well as the human body. So much so that it’s now possible to alter a person’s perception of him or herself relatively easily. So far this type of thing has been the prerogative of the ultra rich as it took a long time using very expensive personnel, drugs and equipment to achieve the required product.”
I realised he was using such impersonal terms to see how I’d react. I didn’t.
“Now, as these new techniques become readily available, that will all change. They will soon become available to all at a very affordable rate. Modern technology can now target the victim far more effectively and far cheaper. Even hypnotism is becoming more effective because of our increased understanding of the brain and how it works.”
“Remember, these techniques demand application and study. Not everyone will be able to do it.”
“True, but just about anyone who cares to study it up and practise for a short while will gain the ability. Not to mention the machines that’ll do the job for them. They’ll come soon after.”
I nodded. He had a grasp of the situation all right.
“Now do you understand why we can’t protect every member of the public?”
“Yes, of course. That’s obvious. No one can stop this from happening now. Your idea of protecting as many people as possible is the only way to proceed. We will have to get our fingers out and become the leading, or one of the leading countries in this field if we’re to survive in any fashion.”
I nodded. “We mustn’t become like what America will become, a country divided into a number of controllers, each vying for more and more power. Such a situation will level off at a stage that makes it more susceptible for another, more focused, protagonist to walk in and just take over.”
“Most countries will devolve into such a situation, not just America.”
“But America has the economic power. That makes it a prime target.”
“So, to protect ourselves from the rest of the world, we must control America’s economic power.”
“Things will change, but that’s the general idea at the moment. Other totalitarian states will be relatively easy, but the socialist states will be more problematic. They’ll be in the best position to take advantage of the situation.”
“A reversion to the European wars?”
“That’s to be avoided if at all possible.”
This wasn’t a pleasant conversation so I looked at the ducks and swans, then at the people, my people, obliviously eating their lunches out in the open air. I returned to the topic.
“You said you had nothing legal to suggest. Have you changed your mind?”
“Then what illegal activities do you suggest?”
“I can’t say that. That must come from you and I must get approval.”
“Based on my report, will we obtain that approval?”
“Do you still agree with my report?”
“Nothing to add or amend, even superficially?”
“Then we must go ahead without permission. Do you agree?”
“Technically, my employment is to protect this country within the legal framework. Your report makes that impossible, so I’ll have to go with the protection aspect.”
“The legal framework can and will be amended.”
He smiled at that bit of politician logic.
I went on, “We’ll need funding. I can deal with that. I know how to skim the budgets without anyone knowing. But then we’ll need your expertise. Are you willing to do that? You realise what this will mean to you and your career?”
“I won’t have a career if you’re right, and you are, so, yes, I’m ready to go ahead if I have one more item of information.”
“And that is?”
“Why you? I mean I’ve checked you out and you pass, but that’s still not good enough. I need to know how you managed to turn from mind controlled slave to what you are now, a potential master. You certainly have the ability to order people around and your manipulation skills are second to none.”
“They won’t work on you though.”
“No, because I’m asexual. You seem to have taken your slave mindset of sex at your owner’s whim and changed it somehow to sex for personal gain.”
“No. Not personal gain. Project gain.”
He thought for a few seconds before nodding.
“Accepted. But that doesn’t change the thrust of my concern. I don’t know how you think but you shouldn’t be able to think as you do.”
This was private information I wasn’t happy talking about, but the project obviously came first.
“All right. You need to concentrate on when I was recovering from the slavery. I was under Dr. Jeffries.”
He nodded. This wasn’t public but he had researched it thoroughly.
“I was bored. Perpetually bored. Dr. Jeffries had weaned me off the compulsions I had, but I was susceptible to another attack, so I was kept in a safe house. Have you seen daytime television? It’s designed to get people back to work as quickly as possible or keep the permanently unemployed in an absolute state of lethargy. I ended up reading—a lot. Eventually, I think from a suggestion from Dr. Jeffries, I ended up reading Doctor Asimov’s Robot series. Have you read them?”
“I thought not. Science fiction isn’t your cup of tea, is it? Anyway, the series is about artificial intelligence that has been installed in robots. I think android is the correct terminology, but it was written a long time ago, so we must give the good Doctor some leeway in his terminology.
“Those robots were constrained by the laws of robotics which were installed in every last one of them. These were, first, a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Second, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law, and third, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
The stories revolved around these laws and how the robots all obeyed them while the humans continually misinterpreted them. Until the story that changed my life.”
I looked at him closely. He was following every word.
“The actual story doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the robot, R. Daneel Olivaw, extrapolated those three laws into a fourth law, which he called the Zeroth Law. This was, a robot may not harm humanity, or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm.
“That was an immediate revelation to me. Of course I saw the parallels with my own plight and I saw how I could proceed with my life. I had my own version of the Zeroth Law. I would protect my country and I don’t have the option of inaction either. Everything I’ve done since then has been to this end.
“And, unlike those robots, I don’t have the problems they did in interpreting each situation as it occurs and overriding the First Law. I’m capable of doing what it takes to get this done and I certainly don’t have to protect any human at all costs. But I do have this need to serve. It’s very real to me and I can use it this way…
“No that gives the wrong impression. I’ve already imprinted myself with my version of the Zeroth Law. This project is a manifestation of that.”
I smiled before I added the rest. Nobody had ever heard this before.
“Dr Jeffries was amazed after I absorbed this self command. My resistance to mind control went from way below average to extremely high. Higher than he thought anyone could go, in fact.”
I saw him absorbing this detail. It was obvious this was one piece of information he was keeping back to see if it would trip me up somehow.
“This is my detailed plan including costings.” I handed him a memory stick. “We’ll be financially ready in two months. Go over it and comment as you see fit. We’ll need to plan carefully and, obviously, the utmost secrecy is essential.”
He pocketed it. “Which computer did you prepare this on? And your researches?”
I knew he was the right man for the job.
“I bought myself a cheap laptop which has only been used for this and never connected to the web. My researches have been done in libraries around the country and not online. I’m hoping your abilities will give me—us—the ability to use the full online facility without giving away our presence or even the fact that someone’s looking.”
He nodded. Apparently that was possible. I had hoped it was. Effective lying is such a useful ability it should be taught in schools as part of the curriculum. It’s vital for politicians.
“We’ll need a secure base. Check out what we’ll require fifty years from now and base your assessment on that. We don’t want to chop and change regularly as we grow. I assume you can move if necessary, but remember I’m a public figure. Mostly I’m in London or Tynemouth.”
He nodded. “We’ll also require an effective postal service.”
That puzzled me. “Why? The post in TYnemouth is just like the rest of the country.”
“We’ll need that to continue because transferring data is sometimes faster through the post.”
“Yes. The present internet transfer rate takes days when the data is in the Terrabyte range or larger, and I suspect that’ll often be the level we’ll be dealing with. It’s faster to transfer to a device and physically move it to the required location. We could use couriers but they leave a more distinct trail than the post. And, obviously, data transfer over the internet is detectable, especially in extremely large amounts. There’ll have to be suitable precautions, of course.”
I didn’t know this and tried to immediately absorb the implications before continuing. “Are you up to date on the researches in the mind control field?”
“Well, I think you should get yourself up to speed. The changes are coming very soon. Some are here already but they’re avoiding us at the moment for obvious reasons, which gives us some leeway. The English language versions in Europe are targeting Ireland right now.”
“At least we’ll miss the initial cock ups when the mind control equipment is introduced before it’s been fully tested. All those failures will be someone else’s problems. Their health service can deal with it. We’ll ensure we’re as up to date as possible. And speaking of this, how are we going to control it?”
“We control the direction it goes and we target and destroy anything or anyone who looks like taking the UK in the wrong direction.”
“And what is the right direction?”
“Anything that increases our influence and economy on the world stage.”
“That’s pretty broad. We can’t work to that.”
“It’ll have to be tightened as we go. We’re heading into the unknown here. History,” I was referring to his qualifications and passion, “is definitely not repeating itself now and I can’t find many rhymes.”
“I assume you’ll deal with the politicians?”
“Yes. That’s obvious.”
“How long will you be able to do that? Your looks aren’t going to last forever.”
This time I assessed he wasn’t trying to provoke me. He was relaxing into the team.
“You’ll be surprised how long I can keep this up. Sexual influence isn’t directly dependant on looks. Just check out your recent history. I expect to be able to do this effectively all my life. Cosmetic surgery will help, of course.”
There was a silence for a while before he spoke again.
“It looks like the planet will revert to some form of city state power system?”
“Is that a classical reference? I don’t know it. What I see is untold millions of mind controllers will emerge and fight for power. Most will succumb and be absorbed into the winners’ control. It’ll only take a couple of decades before a small number of power centres will emerge. We’re going to know and understand them all in order to control them. Or divert them. Whatever works.”
“Some people won’t be affected by mind control. Would they be significant?”
“Oh yes. Mind control will infect society, like drugs, but the majority will be unaffected one way or another. Some will experiment with it, some will never try it, some will be forced to become slaves and a minority will use it to control others for their own aggrandisement. Society will adjust and the laws, religions and customs will amend themselves to conform to the new reality.
“But there are other technologies that will also come into play and, perhaps, merge with mind control. AI and robotics seem to be obvious candidates.”
Reese smiled. “It’s going to be an interesting rest of my life.”
“Is that what you want?”
“No. But it’s going to happen anyway.”
“Do you have any recommendations now?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I propose to recruit Gillian Ferguson if we can.”
I thought about it. “She’s still in a secure centre. Remember she’s been through a lot and her mental health isn’t of the best at the moment.”
“But she’ll be committed to our cause. They’ve cost her seven years of her life so far and she won’t get anywhere near her career objectives now. That’s not possible. And they’ve cost her the opportunity to have a family. She lost her baby as a result of her escaping, and refuses to even hear about her first born. She can’t have any more either. Plus she’s highly intelligent and should have the required abilities for this job. Of course, I’ll need to check her out first. I’ll have to get reliable psychological evaluations on her before we make any final decision.”
I nodded my approval. Gillian Ferguson was one of my main choices too, but it’s always best to let people think they’re making a real contribution early on.
He added, “I also suggest we recruit Stephanie Johnson and Clara Bow.”
That was a surprise. I paused, trying to think what he was on about. “I didn’t even consider those two. Officially they’re missing. Do you have any information on their whereabouts?” I knew the police were searching for them, so I wondered what ideas he had about them.
“We already have Stephanie Johnson. She’s in a psychiatric hospital in Fife under the name Louise Brooks. We know Clara Bow is in the States. She calls herself Colleen Moore now.”
This was interesting. “You have more information on these two than me. Does your assessment require recruiting them quickly?”
“No. They can wait.”
“I assume we’ll have to mind control them? Can we do this now?”
“Yes, but it’ll take at least six months before we can get the relevant equipment installed in secret.”
“What about Gillian Ferguson? Have you considered how she’ll react?”
“Yes. Ms Ferguson will either accept them or not. If not, we will let her deal with them in whatever way she chooses. That will help cement her allegiance to us.”
“Will that work?”
“I think so, but a psychiatric evaluation would be undertaken before any final decision.”
I had to think that one over. “Good. If you think it right, try and recruit Gillian Ferguson as soon as possible. We’ll leave a decision on the other two ’til later. We’ll also have to convince Gillian to accept the other two as well. That’ll be a hard sell, I think, even with them being controlled. As you suggest, we’ll let Gillian decide which way to go.”
I thought for a while.
“Is there any reason you didn’t include Abbey Cornish in your list?”
“Yes. She’s in police custody and is facing trial. I can’t see her getting off this one and she’ll be in goal for quite a while. Getting her out will flag up the fact that something’s amiss with all the wrong people, even if the public never learn about it.”
I thought about it, but not for long. It was obvious. We left it at that and went our separate ways.
Eventually I found out what they wanted. They wanted me to work for them, although by now, I didn’t care. All I wanted was my fish and the ability to obey.
My workday started around 10am and consisted of swimming around to order before the crowds of families who had come to see me. I was the only mermaid in the world that had been captured and they were going to get their money’s worth and, hopefully, make a fortune.
So, I swam round and round the pool, doing tricks and pleasing the crowds. My weird cries were taken to be the cries of a wild animal and the public were happy they could see me while the scientists studied me at the same time. That’s why the show ended at five and the public went away happy, having seen one of the wonders of the world. And I was cute if you discounted my fat, despite my being a lot slimmer than in my wild state. They knew I had to be fat to keep out the cold of the ocean, but it was still wondrous to them I could move so fast and be so agile while fat. The difference between fat and blubber wasn’t explained as it was thought that would just confuse them. After all, the public were there to enjoy themselves, not to learn anything.
The scientists in the evening consisted of people sitting round the pool drinking. They went in after I appeared and dramatically removed my dentures. Nobody liked being in a pool with such sharp teeth around, even if they knew I was now tame.
Every now and then naked men entered the pool to their waists and I had been trained well. My breasts automatically became globes stuck onto my chest as I swam towards them and began to suck them off. There was a never ending supply of men to please and I did them all. Eventually, late at night, the session was over and the way to my tank opened. I tiredly swam there, desperately wanting sleep and food. The tank was locked and I was left until early next morning when it started all over again. My need for open waters and freedom was now gone. If, somehow, I found myself back in the ocean, I knew I would would immediately panic and desperately try to get back into my tank.
“What the hell was that all about?” I asked worriedly as soon as I entered the ops room.
Allsun didn’t have an immediate answer. “I don’t know. How could I? I’ve been programming on the fly to account for it all the time. I’ve not had time to think.”
I stared at him and calmed myself down. “All right then, let’s try to think now. She’s asleep and she’ll have to leave in an hour or so. First things first. Did it work?
“Yes. Can’t tell right now if it took but the programme was inserted. That’s definite.”
“Good. That’s the main thing. Now, what happened? All I saw was you altering the program multiple times. It was supposed to be just about automatic.”
“I think it’s that mermaid fantasy she has. That’s not in the data banks. Either she’s weird or the data banks need expanding.” He thought for a while. “The data banks need expanding either way. It looks like we came across a hard one straight off the bat.”
“Right. So what was happening? That was nothing I would expect from a mermaid fantasy. What’s with those tits? And the fat? And the teeth?” I shuddered at the thought of those teeth, especially around my cock. “How did all that happen?”
“Look. She’s a marine biologist and the programme’s basic. It doesn’t go into every nook and cranny of her brain, just the main pathways. As a marine biologist she knows deep down that mermaids can’t exist for multiple reasons, despite her fantasy, and her mind just accommodated the programme while adjusting her mental imagery to make it as real as possible for her. This fed back into the machine which adjusted itself to her preferences in a feedback loop. She’s a mammal-fish thing living in the sea, so she’ll need blubber, lots of it. She’ll also need to eat in the sea, hence the teeth and those tits were outrageous, but logical. She used them for manoeuvrability and sex and as weapons, so they had to be enormous and changeable, so the erectile tissue and the muscle development had to be added as well. And the sex was obviously guided by her fishy nature.”
“But you got the basic programming in?”
“Yes, it’s there now. We’ll find out if it works if she returns next week. If she doesn’t, it didn’t work but the odds are high it’ll work. We’ll have to assume that right now.”
“Right. Can we get any further ahead by next week?”
“Oh yes, I can do that right enough. I’ve my own ideas about the conditioning. Do you have any?”
“What are yours?”
“Well, she’ll have to lose that fat she has now, so she’ll have a sudden overwhelming interest in diet and exercise. It would be better if she was taller, so she’ll also develop a phobia about it and resort to heels more or less permanently. What about her teeth? That gap could look endearing.”
“She’s our first, so we’ll need to service the maximum amount of clientele with her, so that gap goes. Latex is also good, even if it’s just for promotional purposes. I want her to want that.”
“What about sex? She’ll have to want that. Normal or kinky?”
“Kinky, obviously. She needn’t use it much but it’s best to cater for the extremes, just in case. And lesbian as well, obviously. We’ll have to get someone else she can, er, do it with eventually.”
Allsun brought up the subject hesitantly. “Look, I know we’ve talked about this before but she’s changed a lot of our parameters. She’s a difficult subject and it’ll be far better if we could keep her here under twenty-four seven control...”
“Absolutely can’t be done,” I interrupted. “I’ve prepared the finances and we’re extremely tight as it is. We only have one chance at this and Rosie’s the only one we can access given the time and finance available. Remember the programme only works on one out of three hundred and twenty seven people on average. We can’t afford to do more right now.
“She has to be available by this time next year. We’re relying on the programming to control her while she’s at home, supporting herself. We just can’t afford to house and feed her, never mind the time and personnel needed to accompany her everywhere. We don’t have a convenient dungeon to dump her in while you experiment. And as for her diet and exercise, we can’t afford any trainers either. No, the only way this’ll work is if Rosie herself pays for all the add ons we want. And I’m thinking of bigger boobs as well. Would that work?”
Allsun stared deep in thought for a moment. “There may be a problem there. Technically it’s easy. I can have her gagging for massive boobs in one or two months, but we don’t know her finances. The whole thing’ll be a disaster if I give her a phobia she can’t fulfil.
“Good point lad, very good point. First things first then, next time our priority is to get her financial details from her. We don’t want any outside enquiries that could be traced back to us, so we’ll wait for that one and let her pay for the upgrades. The most we can hope for is a complete job, boobs, butt and face, as well as fixing those teeth, but we’ll have to wait until we know what we’re working with here. The best way would be for her to take out a loan to get the work done. That would be automatically nulled when she dies and we’d not lose too much of her assets. It’ll be great if she has a mortgage and can get a loan against her house, so that’s another item to check, as well as her getting a second job. We don’t want her sitting around doing nothing, do we? She has to earn her keep.”
“Rosie’s only the start. We’ve already proved the basics with her so when do we go for another one? Do you have a target yet? I don’t. And while we’re here, what about her name? Rosie isn’t very Irish. Is she foreign? She doesn’t sound it. If she’s foreign, we’d have to consider any possible interference from abroad. Someone there might miss her and it’ll be harder to deal with them.”
“We’re in Tralee, lad. Haven’t you heard of ‘The Rose of Tralee Festival’? A lot of girls here are called Rose, or have it as a middle name. It still needs checking though.
“As for another one, that’s too dangerous right now. We could keep on trying and keep any catches on the back burner until we can afford to process them. As for Rosie, we can wait a few weeks. It would be good if she has a sister or two we can use, and a mother as well, if she’s good enough. After all, they’ll be more likely to succumb as they’ve Rosie’s genetics and the mother, at least, should have access to larger loans. All we need do then is one tragic accident that wipes out the whole family, the males can die and be the only ones recognised. That’ll be good for the Gardaí to find. I’m not sure how we can arrange it exactly yet, it’ll be tricky but it’s still worth investigating. I don’t want the Gardaí noticing any sort of pattern if a number of girls go missing or die within weeks of each other.”
“Good point. Never thought of that. I’ll add that info dump to her next session and we’ll take it from there.
“And talking about this gave me an idea. Maybe we could take on and develop more than Rosie if we can get the enhancements done cheaper? I’ve heard significant savings can be made if whatever it is is injected right into the boobs and arse instead of using those implants. It’s been banned for some reason but it’s bound to be a lot cheaper. If we can get her sisters and mother in the same batch we can get them all done as a job lot. There’s bound to be a hospital somewhere that’ll do it at the right price. After all, we only need them working for about five years before we’ll be secure financially and have a complete new set of better employees. Anything more than five years will be a bonus.”
LUCINDA E GABRIEL
I called the whole team into the conference area and addressed them. Colleen was standing at my side.
“You all know what happened in Britain. I want to put your minds at rest because nothing like that will ever happen here. This industry is too well established now and our lobby is extremely effective because it donates substantial amounts into the coffers of each party.
“I have just offered Colleen here, Colleen Moore, employment as Office Manager. She’s here to ensure our profits do not diminish because of the increased competition we’re now seeing.”
Colleen takes the hostile stares without emotion. She’s looking at each employee in turn and taking her time about it. She seems to be staring at each one without embarrassment. They find this uncomfortable but can’t do anything about it.
“At the moment we supply millionaires but that will fade away in time and our new clients will be billionaires. You might think they are effectively one and the same, but they are not and it takes a different technique to capture a billionaire’s interest and sell to him. Colleen is here because of her experience and talent in this precise field. She’ll talk to you now and introduce herself and discuss what will be happening in the future.”
Colleen stopped her investigation of the men, took a step forward and began to speak in her clipped English accent.
“As Ms Gabriel said, we are going to change our methods and practises. I’ve already checked you all out and I can’t see why any of you would have any trouble adapting to the new regime.”
“What’s wrong with what we’re doing now?” came a voice from the men. It was Pat. Colleen looked squarely at him.
“Absolutely nothing,” she replied.
“Then why change,” came Pat’s reply before Colleen could amplify.
She looked him in the eyes. “Because,” she said, slowly, “there will be everything wrong with what you’re doing now in just two years.” She continued to stare at him, speaking slowly and emphatically. “In as little as two years from now this firm will see its profits decrease markedly. You may not be interested, but what will interest you are the redundancies that will inevitably follow. This farm will probably survive but as a smaller operation, more on a shoestring. There will not be enough work for all of you and the workload for those that are left will increase while your salaries will probably stay the same.” Now her gaze swept them all. She had their full attention.
“This type of operation is becoming very popular and has just had a major boost because of the collapse of the British operations. You all know we British led the world in stabling, but that’s all gone now. However, the personnel, like me, are not gone, and we want to continue making good money. So, a lot of us are over here now, just like me, and are injecting the techniques they know into your market. I am one of the best there is. Ms. Gabriel has already checked me out and confirmed my credentials. I will lead you all through the coming downturn with vastly increased profits on the back of a decreased workload. This will be done through providing superior products to billionaires. The operating costs will double, more or less, but the cost we can charge will increase at least tenfold. It’s that simple.”
Pat could feel his authority wane at this point. He didn’t like that.
“Crap,” he announced. “We’re Americans. We don’t need anything from anyone.” He straightened his body at this, ultimate, reliance on authority, looking at her aggressively, eye to eye. This argument always worked on him and he assumed it would work on every one of his workmates. But, they were all a lot younger, and it didn’t.
Colleen stared back at him, unfazed. Then she turned to Ed and Eric. “Pat here is fired. Escort him off the premises now.”
She left it at that. Ed and Eric were good choices. They didn’t think much, preferring to obey orders without wondering too much about what they were doing. They were both good at their jobs, just not ambitious. I nodded when they looked at me, so they escorted Pat out, each one standing at his side, not giving him any choice in the matter. Pat couldn’t believe what was happening and he spluttered a bit, but Eric told him he was going, now.
Colleen said nothing until Ed and Eric returned and reported that Pat was now off the premises. I wasn’t worried about Pat talking. All the media outlets and the prominent social media players took our ads, the ones for our other, non problematic products.
Once everyone was settled again, Colleen continued.
“Things will change gradually, so don’t worry about that. There will be plenty of time and plenty of training for you all. No one will be left on their own devices.
“Billionaires are a funny lot. They’re used to having everything their own way, no matter what the cost. We won’t do that. They will be told exactly what will happen and they will have to put down a hefty deposit, nonrefundable, for us to take on one of their projects. We will determine which clients we accept, and there are some we will reject, which projects we take on and we will indicate the approximate time it will take. Our customers will try and bully us to speed up, but we will resist.
“And they will accept all our conditions, conditions which will be spelt out to them beforehand so they have no excuses. They are so used to getting their own way, this will be a novelty for them. So much so, they will start to boast about it to their colleagues and friends. Boast about what they had to go through to get the product I mean, as well as how worth while it all was, eventually. Their own egos will dictate this behaviour. They will, quite automatically, convert this attitude of ours into something worthwhile for them. Getting us to even take on their project will become something to boast about. Our product will be so obviously superior they will wait and accept our rules.”
She looked around. “Any questions?”
“Yes,” said Ed. “What sort of conditions are you talking about?”
I was watching her closely. She wasn’t disturbed. She just calmly answered the question.
“That depends. Each project we take on will be difficult for the average stables to undertake. I assume you’ve all had some projects that were more trouble than they were worth?” She looked around the staff, who all nodded.
“Our new methods will make it possible for us to take these on with a high likelihood of success. But to get back to your question, one example is Jaidon Hahn right now. For people like that, it’s generally necessary for them to understand and accept their new name from the start. That hasn’t happened with Mr. Hahn because his new owner simply wouldn’t make up her mind. She wanted him taken straight away, which we did, and now we dawdle because she won’t make up her mind. In future, clients will have to comply with our rules and geldings like Mr. Hahn would not be taken on until the client accepts our conditions, which will include the name she wishes it to be known by. And we will not accept a change of heart from the client later on. They will have to commit fully to the name they choose.
“Another change will be the equipment. You will be trained in the use of neural whips and the collars you use now will be replaced by neural ones. At the moment your shock collars can create a scar through overuse of the electric shock. Neural collars, and whips for that matter, directly stimulate the nerves to cause pain without any chance of a mark, either temporary or permanent.
“The drug regime we use will also change. At the moment we typically use drugs in tiny amounts to get animals to perform a specific task. That’s all well and good, but animals develop a tolerance over time which makes the end product more liable to failure. Our new regime will be to not use mind control drugs at all until the Pavlovian techniques create the perfect animal for our client. Once they are at that stage we will then inject them with a large amount of the drug all at once. This has the effect of permanently fixing the new brain patterns while the animal has absolutely no defences to counteract the drug. At present, there are far too many animals that revert over time. Our animals will not revert. That is one of our new selling points.
“The last major change will be to take on both sexes for training. We need to satisfy the market completely in this respect. Now, I am well aware of previous happenings elsewhere when this was undertaken, therefore, we will train three or four fillies for your own use. You can consider that to be a perk of the job. You may want to get together later and decide who you want from the local pool, if that’s of interest. Just remember recidivism rates drop drastically after the filly is fully grown, so we will only take those in their early twenties at the earliest. That is not negotiable.”
They weren’t convinced, but they were thinking it over.
“I can see you’re not totally convinced,” she said after scanning their faces. “This is something you will have to take on trust until the results come in.”
She deliberately looked around their faces slowly. “The other problem I have is your salaries.”
They all looked alarmed.
“Don’t worry. I don’t intend to stiff you. Quite the opposite, in fact. In two months, I will instigate new contracts for you all. Your basic salaries will not change, but you will all be placed on a profit sharing programme. If all goes to plan, each customer will provide us with large profits. Fifty percent of the profits will be shared out amongst the staff. I envisage your profit share will, in a couple of years, be, approximately, fifteen times your yearly salary. Paid once a year into any account you desire. I will assist you with negotiating with the offshore account industry if you need such help. My own renumeration is of the same form as yours. I am paid what you all would consider to be a miserly amount on a monthly basis. But I will grow rich in ten years of such an operation because I’m also on the profit share programme.”
She looked around again and saw them start to think.
She convinced me this was a good programme for me as the owner. The staff would only see such yearly payments if the profits were there in the first place, and they would know this. This should incentivise them into more productive work while also increasing my profits at a stroke.
I was very pleased with the way Colleen had handled Pat. She used the classic method of working out which one would be the most disruptive and sacking him. She was just so much faster at coming to decisions than the people I was used to.
It made me confident I had made the correct choice.
I took Rosie home personally. After all, I had a vested interest in how she reacted after her experience on the brand new world class immersive fantasy game we’d started in Tralee. We just didn’t advertise how personal the fantasy was. I parked right outside her door and helped her into her home. The garden was interesting because there was a goodly sized garden statue of a mermaid, red hair that sparkled, tail and boobs coquettishly hidden behind a sea shell necklace. The mermaid was what I thought of as a proper mermaid, not a fat monster with scary teeth.
I had to help her open the door as her hands were shaking so much. Once inside I helped her to the couch in her living room and lay her down there.
“There you are Rosie. Back home. Now, are you okay? Is there anything else I can do?”
She smiled at me, a smile of the ultimate fantasy fulfilled and with with more to come. “No, I’m fine Mr McCluskey. Thank you.”
I smiled down at her while I assessed her again. The programing was already taking hold. She addressed me as Allsun as soon as I told her my name and now she’d changed it to Mr McCluskey with only the barest notification of her new status. It was a good sign. The roll of fat round her stomach would obviously have to go and Douglas was right about her boobs and ass. I didn’t agree about her teeth though. I loved seeing that gap when she smiled, but she had to satisfy the majority of clients so it would have to go. Oh well, there’d be plenty more when Rosie came through for us. She was too small for my tastes anyway.
On my way out I noticed a plaque on the wall. It was one of those jokey obviously American tat ones, a model of a mermaid—that fantasy again—sitting and holding her tail, her bare boobs again conveniently hidden and stereotypically large. There was a discreet button on the side which I pressed. The model came to life and her hands clutched her tail and drew it to her face, all the while saying, “Look mom, I’m a mermaid.” The voice was remarkably lifelike in its giggly girly American accent.
Looking back at, so far, our one and only asset, I saw her staring at me. I returned to reassure her. “It’s all right Rosie. Everything’s going to be fine. Just lay yourself back and sleep.”
She smiled at me and did as she was told.
I walked out again to the refrain of “Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
In the hall…
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid,”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
I gently closed the front door to the refrain, and I could still hear it while walking to the front gate.
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
“Hi mom, I’m a mermaid.”
I was glad to see the nurse enter with the trolley, but tried hard not to show it—I knew what they were doing and I had to fight it. She just looked at me and I walked over to the leg box and placed my bare feet in it. It closed automatically, trapping my feet. Nurse then took the large potty and placed it on the floor behind me and I sat on it. While my feet were trapped in place, I automatically opened my knees to their widest as I sat down, The canvas strap between my legs was most uncomfortable and had created small painful sores at the top of each thigh. Sitting down like this was painful enough without adding more unnecessarily.
She then proceeded to feed me something. It was cheap and tasted of nothing really. After completing the meal, she fed me my water through a large baby’s bottle. This was supposed to be embarrassing. I knew that. I was determined to resist, so I fained unconcern, but the thought of this routine going on for years scared me. After all, I must have been here for months now, possibly over a year. I lost track of time long ago.
“Stand,” she said after the meal.
She undid that strap between my legs and I sat down again, as usual, and did my business in the potty. I didn’t look at her or show any embarrassment. I just did it. When finished, I stood and she wiped me clean before replacing the strap and connecting it to the canvas straitjacket I wore continuously. I was worried about the lack of activity in my arms, but they were not going to be freed anytime soon. At least they washed me while I slept. They must drug me then because this never wakes me, but I’m clean. I checked. I continuously tried to stop worrying about being addicted to that drug, whatever it was.
This time something exciting happened. It was exciting just because it was new. She took my potty away and brought in a wheelchair which I had to sit in. She wheeled me away after strapping me in.
We went to a medical room where she left me, still strapped in the wheelchair, with a man, presumably a doctor. He opened a syringe.
“What’s happening?” I asked. This was scary.
“This’ll just send you to sleep,” he said while injecting me.
“Why?” I asked before it took effect.
“So I can inject you with this when you’re asleep,” he said, holding up another syringe. “This’ll kill you. Apparently you’re too dangerous for the government and they don’t want to deal with you.”
I fell asleep.
I woke feeling like death. I’ve never had a migraine, but this sure felt like one. The light was too much and I had to keep my eyes closed. I felt sick and my skin hurt.
“Hello Steph,” said a voice I’ll never forget. It was Gillian Ferguson. “You’re a zombie now. Welcome to your new life.”