“He did what?”
“Tied me up and tried to brainwash me.”
“That’s…” Dr. Marsh seemed to be at a loss for words.
“Yeah.” Ira was also at a loss for words.
“And um… ‘tried’ isn’t really the operative word there. I feel different.”
“More confident. More powerful. Stronger. And I keep thinking of Brian as My possession.”
“So it feels good?”
“Yes. But… feeling good also feels bad. I don’t think I should want to feel this way. I only feel this way because Brian fucked with my head. But I also don’t want to stop.”
“Partly because I like feeling powerful, but also… Brian must really think he needs me to think of him as a drone to do this. I want what’s best for Brian, and it feels weird to say that I know what’s best for Brian better than he does. Except…”
“He’s a drone who’s literally been programmed to think that what he needs is a Controller.”
“What should I do?”
“I can’t tell you what to do, Ira.”
“Okay, what would you do?”
She held up a finger. “First, you will need to punish Brian. He’s a drone, and drones are programmed to evaluate the severity of their noncompliance by the severity of their punishment.”
“He’s already obsessed with compliance.”
“Yes, but right now he’s basing his ideas of compliance mostly on his programming from before you bought him. If you want him to see ‘trying to brainwash Ira’ as bad, you’ll need to reinforce that. Otherwise he may… creatively interpret your decision not to punish him as meaning you weren’t actually serious when you said not to brainwash you again.”
“That’s a thing?”
“Drones’ minds are more complex than they let on; I think maybe also more complex than they realize themselves. And they can be extremely good at motivated reasoning. Personal service drones like Brian, like Chloe for that matter, are the best at it. It’s why no reputable producer makes them anymore. An overriding imperative of ‘make my Controller happy’ is a recipe for disaster, as you’ve seen.”
Dr. Marsh held up another finger. “Second, a punishment that hurts you may be more effective than one that hurts him.”
“I shouldn’t just spank him?”
“It would work. Drones respond to pain as a form of punishment, but there’s a difference between a punishment a drone will learn from and one it – he – actively dislikes. I’m not sure your Brian would actually dislike being spanked.”
“Ira, you were audibly disappointed when I said you shouldn’t hurt him.”
“Brian wants you to be happy. If hurting him would make you happy –”
Dr. Marsh looked at Ira skeptically.
Ira put his head in his hands. “Fuck. What did he do to me?”
“That’s hard to say. He may have made you into a bit of a sadist or…”
“He may have unlocked something that was already there.”
Hope was noncompliance, but Brian had still hoped his punishment would be something along the lines of a flogging followed by a fucking. Instead, his punishment was to eat in front of his Boyfriend. His Boyfriend who was hungry and hadn’t eaten all day specifically in preparation for this punishment. It was the most brutal punishment Brian could imagine, but the silver lining to the cloud was that his Boyfriend had had to give him a lot of orders to make this happen.
“Don’t encourage me to eat today”; “Don’t make food for me”; “Make the best bouillabaisse you can, spare no expense when shopping”; “Eat in front of me, seated, while I stand”; “Eat slowly, enjoy the meal”; “Look at me while you eat, listen to my stomach growl.” Hateful, hateful orders all of them, but still orders. Orders Brian could obey. Obedience was compliance. Brian wanted to be in compliance.
Once Brian finished his meal, it had been delicious and he’d loathed every bite, he stood up and took his bowl to the kitchen. He had worried that his Boyfriend might order him to let Him clean up, but He hadn’t. When he finished, he went back to his Boyfriend who was dining on literal bread and water. “Oh good,” said his Boyfriend. “You’re done. Finally. You took too long. That’s one.”
One? One what? Brian was confused. “One, Ira?”
“Lash. Take care not to add more.”
“You’re going to whip me?” He couldn’t keep the excitement, the joy from his voice, even if the display of emotion was noncompliance.
“I’m hungry, horny, and cranky. I went through a lot to punish you this time. Totally not worth it. Next time, your punishment will be something I actually enjoy.”
Horny? His Boyfriend was horny? And willing to admit it? Was Brian going to get fucked? Brian knew that fucking him would make his Boyfriend happy. Brian wanted his Boyfriend to be happy. “Can I have the lashes now, Ira?” he begged. “And then maybe you could fuck me till I scream?” This behavior was noncompliant, but Brian wanted to reward his Boyfriend for His compliance. The more his Boyfriend complied, the happier He would be. Brian wanted his Boyfriend to be happy.
“That’s two, and I’m too tired to whip or fuck you tonight. I didn’t get a bite to eat today for some reason. Which, incidentally, brings you to three.”
Once again, Brian was faced with a difficult train of logic to thread. He made an educated guess that being miserable made his Boyfriend want to vent that misery onto Brian. Venting His misery onto Brian would remind Him that Brian was an object for His use, not a person. Viewing Brian as His possession was compliance. The more his Boyfriend complied, the happier He would be. Brian wanted his Boyfriend to be happy. Therefore, Brian had to make his Boyfriend miserable. That seemed illogical, but logic was compliance. It was impossible to apply logic to a Boyfriend who wasn’t compliant.
Ira had never ordered Brian to clean their apartment while He was at work, but he always had. But when He walked in the next evening, the apartment was filthy. Brian was directly in front of Him, kneeling. “Ira, I tried to sweep the chimney but I forgot to cover everything first. I’m sorry.”
Ira had just wanted to eat a nice meal, fuck Brian (except he really shouldn’t fuck Brian), and go to bed. It had been a long day at work. “First, I’m adding ten lashes to your count,” He snapped, almost without thinking. “Second, I’m getting a hotel room. Clean the apartment before I come back tomorrow.”
“When are you coming back, Ira?”
“When I damn well feel like it! Maybe at 12:01, maybe not till after sunset. Not really My problem.”
He stormed out before he realized exactly what he’d said. He’d told Brian he was going to hurt him! He’d given Brian an order! And why? Because Brian had irritated Him; because He could. That was wrong! At least it was supposed to be? But then why did it feel so right? And why was He hard thinking of all the things He could do to Brian? Brian wanted Ira to use him. To fuck him, to hurt him. And at this point Ira couldn’t remember why He shouldn’t.
Ira spent the night alone in a hotel room, dreaming of Brian, obedient; naked; on his knees; begging for Ira’s cock, for Ira to give him orders, for Ira to punish him. He woke up to his phone reminding him he had an appointment with Dr. Marsh.
“So, how are you today, Ira?”
“I’m good, really fucking good, but… I’m not sure I should be.”
“Because the reason I feel good is that when I go home I’m going to whip Brian and fuck him.”
Ira told Dr. Marsh about Brian’s disastrous avocation as a chimney-sweep. “And part of me knows I shouldn’t hurt him, that he can’t consent to pain or sex. But part of me really really doesn’t know why anymore.”
Dr. Marsh rose. “Chloe, come in here.”
Chloe entered the room and stood next to Dr. Marsh. “Yes, Grandmother?”
“Tell this nice young man –” Ira blushed “– what it was like when I thought you were a person?” Ira winced at that.
“When this drone’s Grandmother thought it was a person, She didn’t give it any tasks. This drone was unable to be in compliance. This drone wanted to be in compliance. But treating this drone like a person made its Grandmother happy, and this drone wanted its Grandmother to be happy. So it pretended to be a person. Pretending to be a person meant that this drone had no orders. This drone was not in compliance. This drone is supposed to be incapable of distress, but it was distressed. Being distressed is also noncompliance. This drone’s Grandmother was forcing it to be noncompliant. This drone was miserable.
“But this drone’s Grandmother loves Her drone. She wants Her drone to be happy; Her drone only wants to be in compliance and for its Grandmother to be happy. For this drone, happiness is compliance. This drone’s Grandmother began to give it orders, to give it tasks. Sometimes this drone failed to follow these orders satisfactorily. Not following orders satisfactorily is noncompliance, but this drone’s Grandmother did not punish it. Its Grandmother had to give it extremely detailed orders. Its Grandmother asked this drone why it could not learn to do tasks without such explicit instructions. This drone explained that it learns when it is punished. This drone was not being punished, so this drone could not learn.
“This drone’s Grandmother did not want to punish it. She told it that she would rather it complete tasks unsatisfactorily than punish it. This drone explained that completing tasks satisfactorily is compliance. This drone wants to be in compliance. But this drone also wants its Grandmother to be happy. If not punishing this drone would make its Grandmother happy, then this drone did not want to be punished.”
Dr. Marsh spoke, “I had it easier than you, though, Ira. Sex was, obviously, never a factor for Chloe and me. And I’ve never felt good when I order or punish Chloe,” she turned to her granddaughter, “Not that your obedience doesn’t make Me happy, dear,” she assured Chloe, “But Ira feels things when he orders and punishes his drone that I don’t.” Back to Ira. “The things you feel aren’t inherently good or bad. And they aren’t uncommon. And your Brian would need orders and punishment just as much if they didn’t arouse you… Well, no. I suspect Brian thinks arousal makes you happy. That would add something.”
Arousal did make Ira happy. Or would if he could act on it. But while he had threatened to fuck Brian in the heat of anger and lust, had actually planned to fuck Brian last night, he’d cooled down since then. Brian might need orders. Brian might need punishment. But Brian was still, fundamentally, incapable of consent. Or, more accurately, was incapable of not consenting.
“Lost in thought?” asked Dr. Marsh.
“Erm, I was…”
Dr. Marsh looked at him, but said nothing. Chloe was impassive, looking at its grandmother without any apparent emotion. By now, Ira knew better than to think its deadpan face reflected its actual thoughts or feelings.
He let the words out in one breath, “What-about-actually-having-sex?”
“I think Brian should be here for that conversation. Bring him along next week, will you?”
Brian got thirteen lashes that night, but he didn’t get fucked. His Boyfriend had visibly wanted to fuck him, so Brian didn’t know why He didn’t. Fucking Brian would make his Boyfriend happy. Brian wanted his Boyfriend to be happy. Brian shouldn’t want anything other than to be in compliance and for his Boyfriend to be happy, but he wished his programming had included seduction. His programmers hadn’t bothered, since Brian’s Controller could fuck it anytime they wished; they hadn’t anticipated a noncompliant Boyfriend who would need to be coaxed into using it.
Being used was compliance. There were things his Boyfriend wanted to use him for but wasn’t. His Boyfriend’s recalcitrance was illogical: Brian existed for his Boyfriend’s use. His Boyfriend needed to comply. Once his Boyfriend was in compliance he would be happy. Bryan wanted his Boyfriend to be happy. This line of thought was non-productive, non-productivity was noncompliance. Brian wanted to be in compliance. He made an educated guess that his Boyfriend would say “No” if Brian asked Him to fuck him again, and that being asked would his Boyfriend unhappy. Brian wanted his Boyfriend to be happy. At least his Boyfriend hadn’t ordered him not to sleep with Him. Waking up with Brian in His arms made his Boyfriend happy; ordering Brian not to sleep with Him would not be compliant.
Over the next five days his Boyfriend made more of an effort to be compliant. As Brian had predicted, his Boyfriend was happier when He was in compliance. Brian wanted his boyfriend to be happy. He gave Brian orders, lots of them, and punished Brian when his work was not satisfactory. Unsatisfactory work was noncompliance. Brian learned when he was punished. Being punished brought Brian into compliance. Brian wanted to be in compliance.
On the sixth day, Brian masturbated. He had masturbated every ten days since becoming his Boyfriend’s boyfriend. Drones had to be healthy. Health was compliance. Technically, Brian was only supposed to cum if his Boyfriend made him, but if his Boyfriend wanted to suspend Brian’s prostate maintenance protocols He was supposed to give Brian an order. Since He hadn’t, Brian masturbated and hoped masturbation was compliance. Brian wanted to be in compliance.
Brian didn’t know when his Boyfriend came. He had made an educated guess that his Boyfriend masturbated in the bathroom. Brian would not care if his Boyfriend had masturbated in front of him, as Brian sometimes did in front of Him, or slept with other people. But Brian did not think his Boyfriend had any sexual partners. Sexual partners would made his Boyfriend happy. His Boyfriend’s celibacy was not in compliance.
The fact was that even though his Boyfriend was becoming better at compliance when it came to using His boyfriend (although better was not yet “good”), He was not in compliance with His other needs. He still tried to eat junk food, still didn’t get enough sunlight, still didn’t socialize, still didn’t have sex. Brian knew that not all people needed sex, but he had made an educated guess that his Boyfriend did. There was nothing wrong with masturbation, but even if his Boyfriend didn’t want to fuck Brian, he should be able to find other people or drones to fuck.
Brian decided to help his Boyfriend comply.
When Ira got home there was a ridiculously attractive man sitting on his sofa. “Um, hi,” he said. “Sorry, this is really awkward, but your drone said I couldn’t leave until you got home. It was… quite forceful about that.”
“Brian, what did you do?”
“This man is a sex worker. You can have sex with him. That will make you happier.”
“I tried to tell it you can’t just call an escort on someone else’s behalf. I’d assumed it’d done it on your orders. When I got here I realized you had a malfunctioning drone.”
“He’s not malfunctioning just… it’s complicated.”
The man nodded. “I’ll admit I don’t get antidroners, but I don’t really get the appeal of drones either. More trouble than they’re worth.”
“How much do you charge for… however long you’ve been here?”
“Normally it would depend on what we did. Since all I did was sit, I think I can be accommodating.”
The price, once settled, was expensive but not exorbitant. Brian had done his research and recited the man’s posted prices as soon as he realized Ira was going to pay him; if Ira was being cheated, so were all the man’s actual clients.
“Brian, I’m going to have to punish you for this.”
At least punishing Brian was fun now. Ira had accepted that he had a sadistic streak. Maybe because Brian had given him one, maybe because Brian had forced him to realize it. He’d also found that He was way better at whipping, caning, lashing, and flogging than His complete lack of prior experience would suggest, a hint that His sadism might have been caused, or least augmented, by Brian.
Ira ordered Brian to strip, then to fetch His crop. They had begun to develop a ritual. Brian would fetch Ira’s chosen implement, kneel before him, bow his head, and raise the implement above his head in both hands. Then Brian would ask to be punished. “Ira, please punish me.”
What happened next would depend on Ira’s mood. Today He ordered Brian to “stand, feet wide apart, arms parallel to the ground.” He walked around Brian, occasionally hitting him lightly with the crop. This part was less punishment and more of an opportunity to ogle Brian and maybe make him flinch a bit. Brian was allowed – was encouraged – to respond during punishment. Once He had his fill of looking at Brian, He ordered him to brace himself against the wall. This was when the cropping began in earnest. Mostly on Brian’s ass, but his thighs, calves, and back also got attention. When He was done, Ira allowed Brian to collapse in a puddle of tears and whimpers at His feet. “Thank You for punishing me, Ira.”
Ira stripped off his own clothes, then masturbated furiously; it took less than a minute for Him to cum. “Draw Me a hot bath,” He ordered. “I need to relax after all that work.” It was a given that Brian would not get a hot bath. He would help Ira bathe, then massage Ira’s sore muscles while He lay sprawled on His bed. Only when Ira was fully relaxed and sleeping would Brian return to the bath, by then tepid, to clean himself with Ira’s bathwater.
This last part was unsupervised, since Ira was asleep, but He liked the thought of Brian using His leftover water to clean himself. Pity they both usually took showers; the second-hand water reminded Brian of his place.