Julia went down to John’s office and knocked on the door. He waved her in, so she entered and sat down. He said, “Is Rebecca doing OK? I suspect that getting a master’s degree and still being a slave is getting her down.”

Julia was surprised at her owner’s perception. “Yes, I think it is, a little. She said something about maybe trying to buy herself with her bonus. I told her that she probably wasn’t for sale, and that she doesn’t have enough money anyway. I think I cheered her up.”

“You’re right, she isn’t for sale, and neither are you. You are also right about her value. I hope she enjoys a little time off.”

“I think she will. She told me that quite a few women at the university are slaves. Some were protectively enslaved to prevent what happened to that big batch of girls a while back. Some are just smart slaves that are getting an education, most of whom are not going to be freed. Quite a few are slave wives. Rebecca told me that she didn’t tell anyone but her advisor that she was still a slave.”

“Ah. She’s still ashamed of it. At the end of the four years I expect that she will take the option.”

“Don’t be too sure. She’ll definitely want an improved contract. I told her about the trust-ownership thing you mentioned a few days ago, and that makes sense to both of us, if we can retain the freedom buy-out.”

“I’ll ask my lawyer to look into it. He’s still setting up Delia’s trust. I wasn’t planning on giving her a freedom option, but I expect that I’ll get some resistance from her mother. Maybe I’ll set it up so that the trustee has to agree, the trust attorney has to agree that the legal setup is to her advantage, and that any partner of hers must agree to forgo any rights to enslave, and maybe there should still be a contractual right of first refusal of enslavement for the trust. I don’t know that that will work, but my lawyer will have a ball figuring it out.”

“Sounds like a real blast to me.”

“To me, too. You said that you had information on my purchase?”

“Yes, I do. We got her for our target price. They were going to send her to the slave training institutes, but were just as happy to sell her to us. She’s still at the store, and doesn’t know who bought her. She’s waiting for pick-up at the back dock of the store, naked, cuffed, gagged, leashed, and blindfolded. Her stuff and the clothes that she had are in boxes with her. We can pick her up at our convenience. I’d like to do that soon.”

“OK. Go ahead. Are you planning on unchaining her on pick-up?”

“I had planned on it. Should I not do that?”

“I’m not sure. My first impression was to keep her naked and chained, but that would be a distraction. Some businesses keep their slaves naked, others don’t. It seems to be fifty-fifty. I doubt that a naked receptionist would be all that big a business draw. She just struck me as better naked. What do you think?”

“She’d be fine naked, but I agree that it wouldn’t be a big business draw, and might offend a few of our older, more-conservative customers. I also think it would be better motivation to let her be clothed. Are you planning on getting more slaves?”

“The warehouse guys are asking for more help, but the budget isn’t there for pay and benefits. We could swing a few slaves. Warehouse slaves would work clothed for protection against injury. I haven’t made up my mind yet. I agree with you about the receptionist; let her work clothed. I probably won’t use her; you, Rebecca, and my wife are almost too much for me.”

“That’s good for me and Rebecca, and it might be OK for her. She hasn’t had a good experience with bondage as a slave. Is it OK for us to play with her?”

“It’s fine by me. It needs the approval of the head slave.”

“Head slave? There’s a head slave? Who?” Julia figured she knew, but wanted to make sure.

“You. If we get any more, I’m going to need you to deal with slaves and slave support. We may need to get a slave to be cook and housekeeper. Have you consulted with the facilities people?”

“Yes, but I’m not sure how many rooms to add.”

“That’s a big warehouse room next to the apartment, and we don’t use it. Go ahead and use half of it, and add bathrooms. We can expand the kitchen as a second phase. I set up a budget for the project; you can find it in the budget system.”

“I’ll look it up. By the way, the new slave’s name is Roberta, and the sellers have dealt with the paperwork for the transfer. I had them make her a corporate asset as part of the transfer.”

“Good. Start a new file for her, and give her the corporate asset overview and discipline package. I’ll delegate to you the job of getting her set up in the receptionist job. I suspect that having her sit with the receptionist and assist will get her most of the way.”

“I think so too.”

“What’s the new bookkeeper’s name?”

“Willow. She’s really down about her situation, but I think she’ll work out. She’s in with the outgoing bookkeeper now, picking up the business. Am I in charge of her, too?”

“Yes, you are, except for bookkeeping matters, where she’ll report to me. I suspect that you will be able to deal with most of her supervision.”

“That brings up another question. Supervising Willow and Roberta won’t be too big a job after they get settled in, but getting them settled in may take a while, and will probably interfere with my inventory work. What is my priority?”

“Good question. This is getting complicated, isn’t it? I’ve thought for a while that you are capable of far more valuable things than the inventory system. Try to split your time for now, and let me know if something is going to give. I suspect that we will have to start offloading the inventory work. I don’t want to put it on Rebecca. If you think she can handle it, train Roberta on the system. The old receptionist will be here for another month, so we can do the inventory training first, if you want. I think I see more slaves for you to supervise in the future. Maybe we need a secretarial assistant, too. If Roberta takes most of the inventory work, we’ll need yet another receptionist. See how she does with it, and let me know whether we need to get an inventory slave or a receptionist slave.”

Julia nodded, and decided that John had decided that slaves were the way to go. “I’ll get that done, and get the slave quarters expansion started.”

“Good. I want to talk to you tomorrow about your new responsibilities and status. I have some work to do on that, and I can tell I haven’t thought it all the way through yet.”

“Of course, Mr. Thompson.”

John sighed at the formality. “OK, head slave, go get your new underling. I leave the manner of her pick-up and reception in your capable and merciful hands.”

“Yes, master.” Julia grinned at him to let him know it was a joke, and left.