Mary was picking at her food over lunch. She'd brought a healthful salad and juice; it even tasted decent, if very bland.
The blandness didn't really bother her. It was the fact that she remembered what intense taste sensations her new tongue could provide under the right circumstances that was distracting her.
As she'd told Slave, she understood now why Slave was so happy where she was. Understood quite possibly all to well: The desire to be back there, crawling on her knees, his cock on her tongue… It was stronger than she'd thought it would be.
She took a deep breath, and forced herself to take another bite of bland food. Besides, if cock, or pussy for that matter, was all she wanted, she could probably get half a dozen volunteers at the club tonight. All she'd have to do is show off her tongue, and imply that she wanted to use it.
"Officer Vela, may I see you in my office for a moment?"
"Certainly, sir." If the director wanted to see her, no problem. She put her food away, and followed him to his office.
He shut the door. "Take a seat." Mary obeyed.
"This week's report from Officer Scavo was marked for my eyes only. I just finished reading it. Do I need to scan you?"
"I had them do a security scan when I came in this morning. After all, I'd been on vacation, sir."
"And what you do during your vacations is your business, correct?"
"Yes, sir. Um." He didn't continue, so she did. "Officer Scavo is my friend. She's been acting different — nothing beyond the templates of the cover, but I wanted to see what it was like for myself, so I could judge what was necessary for the cover, what was natural for a woman in her position, and what would constitute a change worth worrying about."
"And you think you understand better now?"
He turned back to his viewer. "She says here you spent most of the time in various forms of practice with your 'new' tongue."
Mary blushed. "Yes sir. I'd been curious about one her mods — the tongue that's been mentioned before. I had some extra money, so had Mr. Yoshida give me the same tongue mod, and the training to use it. It was… extensive."
"So Officer Scavo details." Mary blushed again. "Though she is usually a bit more detailed in her reports on Mr. Yoshida's training techniques."
"Perhaps she didn't think it needed to be repeated, if he was using the same techniques as before."
"Perhaps. Anyway… This is the second time, I recall, that you have visited Mr. Yoshida's residence on unofficial business."
"If you are referring to my dinner there a few weeks ago, we did talk official business."
"Yes, but not visibly, if you understand my meaning. You went as a social caller, who wouldn't draw attention."
"Yes I did, sir."
"Are you planning on making it a regular thing?"
"I… I hadn't really considered it, sir."
"Because the one thing we do need on this operation is a way to convey planning and strategy between our cover operatives and us here at HQ. Officer Scavo is performing a remarkable job as an undercover agent, but she can't be here for meetings. And we can't afford to be to visible in our contacts with Mr. Yoshida. If you were planning on forming some regular social contact between you and your friend, well, that would be understandable and would be supported by this office, however we can."
"Sir, are you telling me to…"
"I'm just saying that if you had a reason to visit there regularly, it could be considered an asset to the investigation, that's all."
"I will think about it, sir."
"That is all I can ask. Thank you Officer Vela. You are dismissed."
Mr. Larsen, Ms. Larsen, please come in, have a seat. Elliot, good to see you could come, and it's Candace, right? A pleasure to meet you."
"What is this about Mr. Yoshida? I had a busy schedule this afternoon."
"Dear, this is the man who trained Romy, who Alicia's been playing with." Elliot turned back to Talib. "Has there been some problem? I know Romy's current Owner has been allowing Alicia to visit her during the day as long as he's away…"
"No problem, exactly. And I'm grateful you were able to make time in your schedule for this. I've been asked to put forward a proposal to you: Romy and her former Owner decided to end their Property contract, but Romy been enjoying her time as Alicia's playmate. So, she came forward with the idea of forming a Property contract with Alicia, directly. I had to talk to some lawyers, but it appears possible, assuming Alicia's legal guardians agree."
Candace started to speak, but Talib continued. "Before you say anything, I want to make clear that Romy is fully aware of the situation this would put her in, and has offered to make concessions in order to make clear her role in your household: Yes, the common purpose of puppy-dog training is sexual, but Romy has found some mods that would allow us to turn off her sex drive, and give her a 'Barbie-doll' style anatomy, so there would be no question that she was not being contracted to provide those types of services to Alicia — or to anyone else in the household."
"So what role does she see for herself in our household?" Elliot at least was intrigued.
"The role dogs have always played in children's lives: Companionship and protector to Alicia. No more. So, are you willing to consider the idea?"
"I believe we already are. My question is 'Why?'. Why would anyone volunteer for this?" Candace was going to take more convincing.
"Probably the best person to answer that in Romy herself; she's in the other room, shall I have my assistant get her?"
Neither of the Larsens had noticed Slave standing there. The gray suit was back, but this time the skirt started at her waist.
Candace shrugged, and Elliot answered: "Please. It's probably best to hear it from her."
Slave bowed lightly in acknowledgement, then opened the door and went to the other room. In moments she returned holding Romy's leash. "Romy, Alicia's parents were wondering why you would volunteer for this."
The puppy-girl sat in a clear space on the floor where she could see, and answered. "First off, because I enjoy being a dog. As I told Alicia once, it's fun: I don't have to do much in the way of work, and I get to do a lot of play. Especially when she's around. Secondly, because Alicia is a charming young girl, and I would love to be a part of her life if I can be. Thirdly… I'm not sure if any of you remember what it's like to be a child these days. Everyone is older than you, giving you orders, and when they play with you it's on their terms. Not that all of that isn't correct, and or that a child shouldn't be listening to her parents and elders, but, there is no one they can play with as an equal. It's very rare that they'll get to meet another child, and even if they do… Even a couple of years makes a major difference at those ages, and as likely as not the other child will be on the other side of the world, so they can't play together often. Having a playmate they can treat as an equal, or even order around, but who's more than just another AI, is invaluable."
"And she could play with you as an equal? Why not just ask us to hire you as a nanny?"
"First off, because she knows me as a dog. I wouldn't want to switch roles on her. But more importantly, as a nanny — or any other 'human' role — I would just be another adult. As a dog, she's in charge, at least mostly. I'll still have a mind of my own, and I'd be able to keep an eye on her for you, just to keep her out of trouble, but, well, as a kid, adults play with you, not the other way around, usually. This way, she's playing with <em>me.</em>"
"And you, Mr. Yoshida? What's your role in this?"
"I'm here to help set up this meeting, provide a venue, to offer my knowledge on the legal and practical aspects, and to offer my skill on any adjustments to Romy's training, or in applying any mods you agree on."
Elliot broke in for a moment. "Excuse me. If I understand correctly, Romy's not currently anyone's Property, and is here of her own accord. Why then the leash? And why's she sitting on the floor?"
"Because I'm hoping you'll agree, and if so I'll have maintained training and," she raised a paw for inspection, "mods as a dog. It took a couple of weeks before I really felt like a dog, and I'd rather not break training if I'm going to continue to be a dog."
"As a businessman, I should point out that you are being offered an excellent deal, financially: Romy's already had the main training, as well as what I would consider the 'required' mods, and has offered to pay for a couple others out of her own pocket. Most puppy-girl owners would have to either pay for or do all that themselves."
Candace jumped on the money angle. "But Romy herself would be a cost, wouldn't she? She would have to be fed, housed."
"Sentient Property Owners are entitled to their Property's standard ration — and Romy has been trained to not need clothes or expensive food. As for housing…" He shrugged.
Romy picked up the thread. "I have also been trained to be comfortable sleeping on the floor, or on a simple pet-bed. If there is space, I can easily sleep at the foot of Alicia's bed. I won't be a cost to you."
"You might even make money on the deal: as a dog her needs are less than normal."
"I'm still not sure if I approve of having Alicia around someone who displays themselves like <em>that.</em>" Candace spoke to Talib, but pointed to Romy.
Everyone looked, of course. Romy was in her standard 'sitting' pose: knees front, paws straight down from her shoulders, her knees spread outside them. "And that's why I'm involved, Ms. Larsen. I agree that is a very 'suggestive' pose, but it would be less so with the mods Romy is offering, and I can offer training to help her behave in a more modest fashion, if needed. Her previous owner was a single adult male; displaying herself this way was appropriate with him as an owner."
"And how much will that training cost?"
"It won't be free, unfortunately. However Romy would probably be willing to cover a small amount of training out of her own funds, and I wouldn't expect you to need much extra training. So, depending on what you agree on, it may be effectively free for you."
"How much training do you think she would need? Since you know what training she already has."
Talib paused, then typed something into his terminal to pull up a virtual display they could all see. "This is what Romy would look like in her current position with the anatomy mod we mentioned earlier. As you can see, it's significantly less sexual without her having a vulva or aureole to display. The only other pose that's directly sexual that she has been trained in is 'beg'." He pulled up another view. "Again, without any visible sexual organs, it's fairly tame. Personally, I might leave those poses without change: There are other reasons for her to sit that way, after all. But if I were to change anything, that would be all that I would change of what she currently has."
"'Of what she currently has'?"
"I'm assuming you don't want her trained in anything else. She currently is well-trained in 'fetch', 'beg', 'come', and 'heel'. She's also worked on 'sit', as you can see. None of these are hard — Alicia actually did much of the training for 'fetch', while playing with her — but if you wanted something else specific or had a mod in mind that would need training for her to use, then she might need more training."
Romy spoke up. "If it's just sit and beg that are the problem, I'd rather not pay for it." Everyone looked at her. "I think the 'Barbie-doll' mod will remove any issues with them, and modifying them would turn them into more 'human' postures."
Candace wasn't happy, but didn't complain, directly. "Is that all the sexualized training she's received?"
"No; she's also been trained in both oral and vaginal sex techniques, primarily to designed to satisfy a male. I see no reason to do anything with that training; if she's not approached sexually, and especially if we use the sex drive turn off mod, they will simply never come up."
Candace shut up for the moment, but Elliot had a question. "We've been talking about these two mods, but you've mentioned others. Why would we want others? And what choices would we have?"
Talib shrugged. "Both the 'why' and the 'what' are pretty limitless, actually. Romy currently has three mods: A very basic 'paws' mod, which actually allows her some dexterity, a 'crawling support' mod, which toughens her knees and offers some other minor support to help her crawl without damaging herself, and a tongue mod to allow her to hang her tongue out like a dog. All are basic; the paws and crawling support mod were actually picked out by Romy herself to make it easier for her to get around. Common options would be something to make her appear more dog-like: fur, tail, ears, etc."
"Um, Alicia has often tried to give me dog ears or a tail. I'd foot the bill for those, assuming they aren't to complicated."
"Between fur and a tail, I can see she almost would look dressed." Candace commented.
"Um, actually…" This time Talib had to look sheepish. "There aren't many 'modest' fur mods that I know of — and none that are cheap. Most of them are designed to draw attention to the breasts or below. There are a couple of high-end fur mods that would give a full even coat, but they are high-end for a reason: They are typically for people who want real fur, not just a furry covering. They also tend to do things like shed like real fur, which means that Romy would take a lot more care, some of which she wouldn't be able give herself."
"Alicia has also gotten used to the idea that I'm naked because I'm Property, and because I'm a dog. She accepts that most people aren't supposed to be naked, but that I am."
Talib felt he should move the meeting towards an end. "So, I take it you accept the idea, at least in general? Romy has agreed to pay for a few more mods she's picked out, which I can handle, but we agree that this can happen?"
Elliot and Candace looked at each other. "I don't see any reason why not." Elliot replied. "Alicia will be thrilled, and I can see having someone around who can give her company would be good for her."
"Sure, fine with me, as long as Alicia's happy."
"Thank you." Romy's reply was heartfelt.
"Ok then, I have a contract here that me and Romy worked up with the lawyers, spelling out exact details. It specifies that Romy will become Sentient Property for the purpose of companionship and protection for Alicia, who is to be the listed 'Owner'. However, as a minor, her guardians have to agree to the contract as well as Alicia, and Alicia's Property rights will be distributed as detailed. The contract is for the maximum one-year term, renewing. Either Alicia herself or Romy can end it at any time, of course. Otherwise, it's fairly standard. We didn't want to stretch legal precedent to hard."
"Seems fair enough." Elliot leaned forward and signed.
"Oh. You didn't have to sign right now, but it doesn't matter. The contract will only go into effect once both of you, Romy, and Alicia all sign it."
Romy reached up to sign it herself. "Consider it a pledge. Once I've got the mods, we'll ask Alicia to sign."
Candace shrugged, and went along with the group. "Ok."
"Well then, I'll get working, and I'll bring Romy by in a couple of days when the mods have all set in. All right with you?"
"Sure. We'll make it a surprise, so she doesn't get to excited ahead of time."
"Sounds good. See you in a couple of days; I'll call before I come over."
"See you then."