Green Ranks sent derision their way. Why would Yellow Thomas waste time working with slaves? He is more suited to intellectual pursuits (chemistry) (mathematics) (physics).

Yellow Thomas, choose Me (or Me!), and pursue an intellectual (Green to Blue) career path.

Yellow Thomas tried to tune them out. He popped in and out of the minds of astrophysicists, chemists, and pioneers. Any question he thought was answered within a millisecond. Millions of people offered him their memories, their expertise, as much as he could take.

The Upward Governess was pleased whenever Yellow Thomas gained knowledge, and most Torth wanted to please her. She affected the Megacosm like a weather phenomenon. As she gulped huge amounts of knowledge, her multitudinous audience leaped to catch the eddies of knowledge that swirled in her wake. She could be on the far side of the galaxy, but if anyone wanted to find her, all they needed to do was ascend into the Megacosm and wonder where she was. Then people would ping their colleagues, who then pinged to others, and others, until they located the huge Torth audience that spent all day learning from her. The chain might span hundreds of people but only lasted for a split second. Fame made her highly visible in the Megacosm. That, and the sheer godlike size of her mind.

She sent him a vivid mental image of three humans (Cherise, Margo, Lynn) wearing slave collars. Would you like to own your foster family?

!!! Yellow Thomas struggled to dampen his reaction. He hadn't anticipated this topic.

Oooh. His inner audience collectively imagined human slaves. So exotic.

(Yes) Humans are lovely to look upon.

The Upward Governess silently informed Yellow Thomas, You are too low-ranked to claim exotic slaves. However, I can claim them and gift them to you. Would you like that?

He imagined Lynn giving him a sponge bath. Or worse, Cherise. Personal slaves mainly acted as janitors and maids, but his slaves would need to take care of his bodily functions. They would need to cook for him, serve his meals, fluff his pillows. Margo might adapt, since she had been one of his caretakers ... but if he was silently crooking his fingers to make her do whatever he wanted ... somehow, that crossed a line. They wouldn't understand. They would hate him.

Animals do not need to understand Our motives. Statistics fanned through the mind of the Upward Governess, and Yellow Thomas saw a subtle pattern implied by numbers. Slaves survived longer if they had a lenient owner.

This slave has belonged to Me since My infancy. The Upward Governess indicated a stout male ummin who strode behind her hoverchair. For his loyalty, I reward him with an easy lifestyle. He sleeps in My bedroom rather than in the slave quarters, and eats leftovers from My chefs. I suspect he'll outlive Me.

Yellow Thomas nearly agreed to accept the humans as a gift. But when he imagined certain slaves (Cherise) taking care of his body, his heart began to pound, as if he was hovering near the crumbling edge of a cliff. He dared not examine why such thoughts were dangerous. Instead, he studied kiosks along the boulevard, trying to work up interest in the robotic equipment on display.

All right. The Upward Governess laced her hands on her stomach. Let Me know if you change your mind.

Yellow Thomas eyed her sideways. He sensed no kindness in her, no compassion, no surprise about his thoughts. Only a vibe of greed. Debt and barter meant a great deal in Torth society, which didn't use money. She was showering him with gifts because she wanted him deeply indebted to her. She believed that she was buying his loyalty. Why? Her motives were buried—hidden—beneath torrents of data.

City of Slaves [#SFF] [#Complete] [#Ooorahs2017] #1Where stories live. Discover now