In this age, slave labor is apparently used in many industries and fields. It’s not usually free, though it is cheaper than legal wages in most of the developed world, and one of the reasons that facilities like Pandora’s Box haven’t really cropped up in Africa and southeast Asia. Basically, if people can engage in slavery in the open, there’s no need for a place like this.
And what sort of work is there? Well, we train people for all sorts of things. Sometimes manual labor like automobile maintenance, sometimes interpersonal labor like serving customers at a restaurant. Then there’s the knowledge division, which includes training physicians and nurses at a fraction of the cost of a medical school. We also train domestic workers, entertainers, and pleasure slaves. More about those in a bit. . .
# # #
I wasn’t quite sure where we went after we left the outfitters. All I remember, about how we moved through the halls, is that Innu said, “Time to give you the grand tour!” After that, she walked, I followed.
We also talked a bit. I think that after the first few seconds, I started. “What is there to see?”
“Well, there’s the commons. Not just the administrative commons here,” she said. “There’s a also the cafeteria, the classes, and we’ll end up by going to our room.” The way she emphasized the word “our” told me I wasn’t going to be alone. It was a little comforting to know I would have someone around.
“Our quarters, huh?”
“Yeah, well, until you get settled in. And maybe until the construction is done.” She paused and turned to me, smiling broadly. “Mistress ordered me into a room with you until things are settled down, to help you adjust in particular, but also to help you out in general.”
“Well, what’s the furthest part?”
“Classes. Most of those are on the bottom level,” she said. “Also, we can do the tour however you want except our quarters are the last stop. Mistress ordered me to take you there only after you’ve seen the rest and eaten.”
I nodded. The corridors seemed so featureless, I was left to just trust Innu as she led the way. For almost a minute we stayed quiet. “I guess classes towards quarters, then,” I said.
“Okay. Um, by the way, though mistress is enforcing a rule that all of the slaves here wear her uniform right now, there are several other owners with slaves, and a few of them have acquired new slaves since we opened. You’ll probably see some of them around. They will have a mark on their collar indicating who owns them, unlike you and me.”
I don’t think I was surprised. This sort of place was not cheap, and even if she were rich, I couldn’t imagine Pandora spending the money this would cost on her own. It made sense that there must be others helping to pay for the work, the computers, and everything else. Innu continued:
“Not all of the owners are as nice as Mistress. She doesn’t necessarily like them all, but she doesn’t think of them as enemies. She does her best to monitor how abusive an owner is, since she’s in charge here.”
“Okay,” I said, interrupting. “How many owners are there in here, exactly?”
Innu was silent for a few seconds. “Four, including Mistress. YOu actually met one of them already,” she said. “Doctor Hybert and two of his nurse dolls were in the admin clinic where you were processed.”
I just blinked at how casually she said all of this, though I felt she was being a little bit sarcastic there. “His tastes are not those of Mistress, however he’s not the worst owner I’ve met. At least he keeps his slaves happy. As far as I can tell.”
“Alright, can you tell me how many slaves there are?”
“Right now we have a capacity for two hundred slaves plus ten apartments on the admin level for Owners. We are currently at about one hundred forty slaves,” she said. “Though the majority belong to the other three owners, Mistress owns more of us right now than any one of them has brought here.”
“Can you tell me how many are Pandora’s?”
“Fifty of us. Including you,” she said. I think by this point we were in a lift. She suddenly changed the topic. “None of the owners here currently use fear of punishment to motivate their slaves, though I think every owner uses punishment when they feel it’s appropriate. Mistress likes these collars because she rarely needs to use the punishment setting, and unlike the old training collars. . .”
She paused and rubbed her neck. “The old collars only did electrical shocks. These new ones calibrate to your nervous system so they can provide pain or pleasure. I’ve spent time in some other facilities, places where you can feel pain hanging in the air.”
This did surprise me. I’m not sure if my eyes went wide or my jaw dropped, but I showed some reaction. “So there are other places like this?”
“Yeah,” she said. She took my hand and tugged me gently, to keep me moving. “It’s like a chain business in a lot of ways. Each location has a manager, and can rent out space to other owners or use the space for his or her personal harem. It’s more economical to have a mixture of the manager’s slaves and rented space.
“Right now, though, we’re still under construction here. We were forced to open by the chain’s owners, even though we barely have half of the living and admin levels complete. Mistress is the manager of this facility, the three owners staying here are helping get us settled into operations, and once we’re fully open, they may leave to make space for more local owners. Doctor Hybert and Pandora are both from Berlin. I’m not sure where the other two originally came from,” Innu said. “Mistress does plan to have the active side of the facility fully staffed before the holiday season, though you were a personal treat for her, not just a requirement.”
I blushed a bit at that, unsure if I felt worried, or complimented, or some other feeling I can’t name. “Fully staffed means she’s planning to take a lot more slaves, right?”
“And what about my school? My job? My boyfriend?”
“We have people to deal with that,” she answered. “If you are considered a missing person, your case will barely be investigated. Adult cases tend to get closed as soon as they can, on the assumption that they chose to disappear. A personal counselor will deal with your schooling, to make sure that your completed studies can be transferred to online programs. Well, if you’re trusted enough for internet access later on. And what was your job?”
“I worked at a book shop,” I said. “And I was a regular at the coffee shop next door. People will miss me.”
“Not enough to do anything,” Innu said, sighing heavily. “I really was in your position a couple of years ago. I had these same questions, Hannah. What I discovered was that I had emailed my employer about a family emergency that kept me from giving my proper notice, but that I had arranged with my co-workers to cover my shifts. If you were at a book shop, it might have been as simple as arranging a ‘friend’ to interview for your position and cover your remaining hours. Or Mistress might have simply offered a worker to your boss to finish working your hours, and there’s no written record at all.”
At this point we stopped and I looked around. It looks a lot like a hotel hallway. On the wall was a blue and gold stripe. The same gold color as Innu’s uniform. “This is the area where labor and knowledge students do the majority of their studies. Let’s go into this room.” She stepped towards the door and led me into a classroom. A small classroom.
The room was fairly plain. There was a whiteboard on one wall, with some sort of flowchart drawn on it. I couldn’t read the handwriting. At the far end from the door was a computer with a chair sitting by it. Across from the whiteboard were two tables and four chairs. “Do they always leave classes like this?”
“No, and now we have to clean it,” Innu said. “If you enter a messy room, you can notify Mistress which room it was and when you went there, but if you don’t clean it as best you can, you can be punished. The exception is any sort of biological messes. . . those are up to the custodial staff.”
Innu held up her left arm and looked at her bracelet. “Hm. It’s almost two o’clock. . . Let’s clean this fast and keep moving.”
I went to the whiteboard and grabbed the eraser, while Innu cleaned off the tables and stacked the chairs. As we did, I asked what sort of things they taught. She explained that, more or less, anything. They divide the education into five Branches, which correspond to the uniform colors. Gold is labor, which ranges from retail to construction, from call centers to factory management. She said we would discuss the other colors when they became relevant.
“The beige uniform,” she explained after we left the room, “With its rainbow stripe, means you do not yet have a specialty. You will receive education in all five areas starting tomorrow, until you, or we, can pick out the branch that fits your best.”
“Okay. And we’re going to the common areas now, right?”
“One more stop in classes,” she said. “You may not want to be a pleasure slave, but you will receive basic pleasure and sexual training. Mistress requires the basics of the pleasure branch for all of her slaves, but if you want to avoid the area when you don’t need to be there, you’ll need to know which area it is.”