Naliya Orloff sighed as she read the message. It was another frivolous “special job” for the Special Re-Education Directorate.
Of course, it had been assigned to her. They always were, ever since Assistant Director Krivetz had decided to get back at her for “stealing her boyfriend”. The guy was another jerk who had been gone within a month, but the feud lingered on. She wondered when she’d get another normal and useful assignment, like correcting the allegiance of a rebel prisoner whose skills were too valuable for internment or execution.
Instead, she got the “giftwrapping” assignments. Occasionally, the Emperor or the Central Committee or some other grand high muckity-muck would reward a favorite with a fancy certificate authorizing the lucky winner to pick out a not-so-lucky winner from among the rebel prisoners like an Eridani Cuttleprawn at the restaurant aquarium. The chosen one would then receive a modified version of the standard obedience conditioning to serve his or her new master or mistress as a loyal attendant, servant, and concubine.
These assignments were always aggravating. She had to act like a personal shopper, since anyone important enough to receive such a reward was far too busy, or at least far too self-important, to personally review each and every capture report. She had to find out just what the recipient wanted and review the files to select candidates for consideration. Preferences based on height, weight, and hair or eye color could be filtered automatically. Other common requests, such as “big boobs” or “washboard abs”, had to be sorted out one photo at a time. Still others, like the ever-popular “cute butt”, were uselessly vague.
Dealing with Admiral Meghan MacNeary was worse than usual. She’d been sending three or four messages a week over the past two months, complaining about her failure to find a suitable trim petite elfin-faced green-eyed redhead, or rejecting the latest petite elfin-faced green-eyed redhead Naliya had found, or directing Naliya to start looking for a trim petite elfin-faced blue-eyed or perhaps hazel-eyed redhead instead, or switching back to the original trim petite elfin-faced green-eyed redhead search.
Finally, she found a candidate that met with the admiral’s approval. She immediately replied, requesting signed authorization to begin prisoner processing. Once that was on file, MacNeary’s finicky and fluctuating demands would no longer be her problem.
Instead, she got a reply asking her to confirm that the woman in question was currently heterosexual and directing her to add homosexual imprinting to the obedience conditioning process. Reading the admiral’s unnecessarily detailed description of the “supernova hot” introduction to various lesbian sexual techniques that awaited the new slavegirl, Naliya got the distinct impression that the message had been typed with one hand.
After planting her face on the desk and scrunching her eyes shut for a long moment, Naliya gave some thought to her response. The first part was no problem. The files on Miss Jaelynn Knechtel confirmed that she had been involved with several boyfriends, lived with a man in her civilian life, and was sharing her quarters with a man when her ship was disabled and captured. There were no indications pointing in the other direction.
As for the second part, her first impulse was to just tell the admiral what she wanted to hear. She realized that was a very bad idea. All she had to do was ask her new slavegirl—who would of course answer truthfully—whether or not she considered herself to be a “lesbian”, and the deception would be exposed.
The other option was to rationally explain the situation. The thrall conditioning program was designed to instill preferences and desires directed to an individual, not a gender. It might be possible to reprogram the cerebral transmodulator to perform the latter function, given a full research team, a multi-megacredit budget, and a few years to work. Nobody had ever bothered; there was no point to it. For all practical purposes, fixation on Master or Mistress was a thrall’s sexual orientation.
That approach probably wouldn’t work either. Naliya took another look at the admiral’s closing sigline: “Nothing is impossible if you have the grit and the wit and just won’t quit.” It sounded like an inspiring can-do motto, but what it actually expressed was stubborn resistance to reality. She remembered the steady stream of complaints about how slowly the search was proceeding, and how useless it had been to explain that trim petite elfin-faced green-eyed redheads were a rather rare commodity. She wondered how the hell that woman had made it through the Academy, much less risen to flag rank.
“Nothing is impossible if you have the grit and the wit and just won’t quit.” she sing-sang mockingly, followed by a growled “More like ‘Nothing is impossible if somebody else has to do it’, you two-bit full-of-shit twit....”
The problem was that everything was impossible when you had to deal with somebody who has an unreal idea stuck in her head....
Aha! The solution clicked into place.
Of course the slave would tell her mistress the truth... as she understood it. She’d be aware that she’d been brainwashed, but would have no way of knowing the full details of the process. She didn’t need to be actually converted to lesbianism; she just needed to think she had. Then, she’d tell her mistress what she wanted to hear, and everyone would be satisfied.
She confirmed Jaelynn Knechtel’s current location and checked the current courier schedules. Then she sent a reply to Admiral MacNeary, assuring her that she would have her straight-to-lesbian convert within a week once she confirmed her selection. That documentation was in her inbox two minutes later. She made arrangements to have Jaelynn Knechtel transferred to her custody and delivered to her in five days.
She made a few calendar notations to remind herself to have all the preparations in place.