“Come on Romy, heel. You’ve got to keep up. We’re almost there.” Slave didn’t mention that she knew it was hard — she was jogging, and Romy had to crawl along beside her — but those were the orders she’d been given. They could walk home at least.
Romy put on a burst of speed, and managed to keep up long enough to get to the park’s entrance. Slave slowed down to a walk, and let Romy catch her breath.
They wandered a bit, ﬁnding an open ﬁeld, and attracting looks. Slave was more dressed than she normally was: A jog-bra and jogging shorts, so she was almost normal, except for her collar. She even had special jogging ‘heels’: No actual heel, but the front sole extended back a bit more. She’d have attracted a few eyes on her own, but Romy was an unusual sight: She’d eventually opted for a full mod to paws, though they still looked fairly hand-like, and they’d found a mod that reinforced her knees without looking like it did anything. But she wasn’t wearing anything but her own collar.
Slave had been told she could defend the two of them if necessary, but mostly people were just staring a bit and moving on. When she thought she’d found a bit enough area, and Romy appeared to have caught her breath, she reached down to unbuckle the leash, stowed it in her pack, and pulled out a frisbee. “Fetch!” She gave it a good throw, and Romy took oﬀ across the ﬁeld.
She’d gotten good enough so she could use the toes-and-hands crawl position for running, and she could cover quite a bit of ground like that. Slave smiled, and mentally triggered a ‘reward’ button: One of the ﬁrst things Master had done during Romy’s training was install a couple of — legal — programs in Romy’s implant. This one would give her a bit of sexual stimulus as long as it was activated; Slave wasn’t to use it too often, but Romy had kept up fairly well, and taken oﬀ to fetch the frisbee with enthusiasm, so Slave felt she deserved it.
“Why’s that woman naked? And what does it mean that both of you are labeled ‘Property’ in the implant?”
The voice startled her, and Slave had to look around for it’s source. She found it behind her: A young girl, maybe ten years old. It was Slave’s turn to stare: She hadn’t seen an actual child in ages. With people living so long, the population was strictly controlled, and few people could aﬀord the license for a child. Or wanted to, for that matter. “Ah… Hello.” She knelt, so she could deal with the little person face-to-face. “The implant labels us as ‘Property’ because we are. It means we’ve agreed to follow orders from someone, no matter what they say.”
“Why would you want to follow orders?”
Slave shrugged. “Because it’s fun, if you get the right orders. We don’t follow orders from anyone, just the person we’ve agreed to follow them from, and we agreed on what types of orders we would get ﬁrst. Romy there,” And she indicated where Romy was returning, at a trot. Slave would punish her for that, under normal circumstances. “wanted to be treated kinda like a dog, so that’s what we are doing. Dogs don’t wear clothes, so she isn’t wearing any.” Romy arrived, and dropped the frisbee at Slave’s feet, then sat on her hunches and panted, playing up her dog-like actions.
“Why would anyone want to be a dog?”
“You’d have to ask her that.”
The girl looked sceptically at Romy. “Can she talk?”
Save laughed. “Yes, though she sounds a bit dog-like. Go ahead, ask her.”
“Miss, why did you want to be a dog?”
“Brecause rit’s frun! Rye ret to play and have frun all day, and rye neverr reed to work.”
The girl turned back to Slave, smiling. “You’re right! She does sound like a dog. If a dog could talk.”
“Yes, that was something she agreed on when she agreed to act like a dog.”
“What if she doesn’t want to be a dog anymore?”
“Then she tells the person she agree to follow orders from that, and she stops following their orders. Then she’s no longer Property any more. Of course, she might need to work, and she couldn’t play all day then.”
“How about you? The implant says you are ‘Property’ too, and you aren’t being a dog.”
“No, I’m not. That wasn’t what I agreed to. What I agreed to is… complicated, but I can’t play all day, and I still have to work sometimes, when I’m ordered to. But there are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about either, and I ﬁnd it fun. Everyone has diﬀerent ideas of what fun is, after all.”
“So, who’s orders are you following?”
“He’s not here right now — he sent me to play fetch with Romy here in the park.”
Slave looked at the girl quizzically. “Because it’s a nice day to go to the park and play fetch with your dog, and he’s busy working?”
“But you have to follow_his_ orders. He should make you work, and come play himself.”
Slave laughed. “But that wasn’t what we agreed on. This is his work. Now, I’m supposed to be playing fetch. Unless you want to play instead?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, if you pick up that frisbee, throw it, and yell ‘fetch’, Romy will go fetch it for you.”
“But she doesn’t have to follow my orders.”
“No, she doesn’t, but the person she agreed to follow orders from told her to follow my orders for a while, and I’m telling her to follow that order from you. She can complain, but I think she wants to play fetch, and if I’m letting you play instead of me I don’t think she’ll mind. Would you, Romy?”
“See? Go on.”
The girl hesitantly picked up the frisbee, and threw it. A moment later she remembered to say “Fetch!”, and Romy took oﬀ at a run.
The frisbee hadn’t gone far, and Romy was soon back, dropping it at the girl’s feet. The girl picked it up, a bit more sure of herself now. “You should give her a pat, and tell her she’s a good dog.”
The girl looked up at Slave, then reached out and hesitantly patted Romy on the head. “Good dog.” Romy smiled and gave a yelp, then waited.
Smiling now, the girl gave the frisbee a hard throw. “Fetch!”
Slave stood back, and watched her play. She thought about giving Romy a reward for how hard she was working, but decided against it; she was working for the girl, not the reward at the moment.
“Alicia!” A man stepped around the corner calling the name, and the girl turned and ran to him. “Daddy! I was playing ‘fetch’ with Romy! She’s Property, and wanted to act like a dog.”
Slave stepped forward, and extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Scavo. Your daughter came up to us and started asking questions, I hope that was ok?”
The man looked up at them, relieved that his daughter was safe, and worried that she was with strangers. And unsure how to handle exactly how to handle the idea of his daughter playing fetch with someone who was Property. He took the hand. “Hi. I’m Elliot. I’m glad to see Alicia didn’t cause any trouble.”
“No trouble. She had a few questions about what we were doing, and what ‘Property’ is, but no trouble.”
“ ‘Property’ means they agreed to follow someone’s orders, but not anyone’s orders. They think it’s fun.”
“It does, does it?”
Slave interjected. “There can be a lot more to it than that, but that’s the basics.”
“Daddy, can I come and play with Romy again? She was funny.”
“We don’t come here very often, Alicia. Today was a special day. We might see you again by accident, but I wouldn’t want to say we could meet regularly, or plan on it. After all, I don’t set my schedule: I just do what I’m ordered to.” Slave gave a smile to the girl.
“Oh. Maybe I could come play at your place?”
Slave looked up at Elliot, who looked completely lost. “I don’t know. I can ask, and have who I have to follow orders from talk to your dad, but I can’t make any promises. He usually keeps us very busy.”
“Can I, dad?”
“I… We’ll have to talk to your mom, and to Scavo and Romy’s owner. Maybe.”
Crisis averted for the moment, Scavo and Elliot shook hands again, and Elliot left with his daughter. “Bye!”
Slave waved back. “Bye!”
She waited until Alicia was out of sight, then looked down at Romy, who was covered in sweat, though not really tired yet. “Come on, Romy, let’s go home. Heel.”