The Vassal Academy Ch. 28


Dominique glanced at Michael for a moment and then turned her attention back on Devon.

Michael had been around long enough to see that Dominique was going to side with Devon which meant instead of rectifying the situation, he had escalated it. "Look, why couldn't you tell me that before?"

"Because you've shown no ability to maintain any discretion." Devon said without looking at him.

"That is a load of crap." Michael objected

Dominique silenced him with a glance and returned to Devon. "Honest assessment, will she do the movie?"

Devon nodded. "Certainly, we've gotten her over the first hurdle, and if we can give her the time to become comfortable with herself before the world knows, she'll be fine in the long run." Devon glanced at Michael finally and then continued. "However, since I know Michael will discuss it with the others, and I know they won't keep their mouths shut, you can consider it a given that neither Elaine or Kristy will do the movie now."

"What?" Michael demanded.

"He's right." Dominique said coolly. "If Elaine is taking the role as Kristy's dominant, then she'll have to side with her submissive. When you out her, and she's not ready for that now, Elaine will refuse to do the movie to show solidarity with the submissive."

"You have just fucked up your movie Michael." Devon summarized. "I presume you will be reporting to Christina now Dominique?"

"Yes." Dominique picked up the phone and started to dial. She spoke for several minutes highlighting the report that Devon had given. She summarized the position of the Academy as such. "I now have no faith that the movie will be done. The fact that Michael barged in on a private internal discussion and report with my subordinate, not his, is absolutely unacceptable. You may tell your superiors that in all likelihood, we'll be sending the Actors home in the morning."

After a pause that Dominique did not show any reaction to, she began speaking again. "The only salvation I can see here would be to immediately remove Michael from this house, and limit his contact with the actors and production team. I would also suggest that you introduce the term discretion into his vocabulary, developing it into his character may be more than I can hope for."

Michael was sweating now. He didn't know how to get this train back on the track he wanted. Dominique was supposed to go with the customer was always right at least a little here. He'd objected a few times during the call but Dominique had utterly ignored him.

Dominique finally recognized his existence and held the phone out to him. She locked eyes with Devon as Michael began speaking into the phone.

After two minutes of Michael trying to explain how he didn't think the project was in jeopardy, and finally listening to him say he agreed and finishing with him saying three times. "Of course Christina."

Michael handed the phone back to Dominique, and she spoke into it. After a minute she said. "I believe that will be quite satisfactory. I can assure you that our staff will be reminded of the dedication required to make this project a success."

Devon waited and after five more minutes of agreement confirmation from Dominique the phone was hung up and she glanced at Michael. "Christina said you were headed home, as I understand it, an unforeseen personal situation has developed?"

"Yeah." Michael said obviously still stunned by the turn of events. He looked at Dominique and then asked the question he didn't understand, and obviously never would. "Why all this drama over that little whore?"

Devon tensed slightly and then relaxed and surprising Dominique greatly, he actually laughed out loud. "Michael, allow me to try and explain. Something despite your days in this house, you haven't even begun to grasp." Dominique said coldly. "The slaves are loyal to us, the Dominants. They would willingly die to protect us. They would gladly give us anything they thought we could use. The loyalty that I speak of us utterly unknown in your world, your experiences. No one would die for you. No one would sacrifice anything for you, and you would not sacrifice a good nights sleep for them."

"I think that's out of line." Michael started to object.

"I don't. Christina is weighing your job, and you know she is. Not by what you have done for the company, but what you can reasonably be expected to do for the company, in the future. Devon would not be fired right now, because of what he has done, and what he has done is demonstrate loyalty to our slaves, and a new slave. He is perhaps a little overprotective, but he is absolutely right, as a Dominant, we must protect our slaves, and side with them in confrontations, if it is appropriate to do so based upon our relationship with them." Dominique suddenly shook her head.

"It's wasted Dominique, you see that now." Devon said.

"Yes, it is." Dominique said sadly. "Michael I believe you should pack, and I have some purely internal matters to discuss with Devon, unless you'd like to crash that discussion as well?"

Michael stood. "I'll pack. Christina is arranging a flight for me now."

He left the office, and Devon followed him closing the door to the office. He sat in the guest chair before his desk again, and waited. Dominique didn't make him wait long. "Why did you decide to do the discovery phase with one of these fucking actors now?"

"She decided, I didn't. I decided that it would best be handled by our people, gently. I was unaware of her history, which made it more delicate than we were prepared for. It's been handled, as best we could, and I expect her to be able to rejoin the normal training in the morning." Devon said.

"She gave obvious signs?" Dominique asked.

"Yes." Devon agreed. "She's a textbook case, regarding the discovery anyway. The history makes her a delicate case, but again, I believe we can manage it without any further problems."

Dominique was silent, and Devon waited. Suspecting the thoughts going on in her mind. They had already flashed back to him.

Before opening the academy, they had spent a month discussing all the things they had to incorporate, all the ideas they had to embrace, to make it a success in the world of voluntary slavery. One discussion, started by Rebecca was really applicable to this situation. The Dominant must show loyalty to the slave. Not protection, not running to the rescue. The slave didn't want a knight in shining armor, the slave wanted a demigod to worship. The dominant god must be wise, and just. Offering no punishment for obedience, and showing loving traits through the domination. The scenario they had discussed was a slaves failure to obey, and in doing so, obeying a higher rule, one of the hard limits.

"When the slave obeys the hard limits, and disobeys a direct order, we must side with the slave, we must not allow the slave to be punished by anyone for doing so." Rebecca had argued adamantly.

"It could be embarrassing with a potential client, if there is no harm, no physical harm, I'm not sure that it's going to be a problem." Andre, who had only just joined them from the farms had argued.

Devon had remained silent during the debate, allowing the trainers to explore the scenario, and find all the nuances on their own. Jeannette knelt near Devon's chair, and watched. As the debate wound down, both sides making good points about respect of the Dominant, and respect for the lifestyle, the question had inevitably been tossed at Jeannette.

"Mistress." Jeannette had begun. "The slaves must believe that the hard limits are absolutely hard. That violating the hard limits is absolutely forbidden, taboo to use Mistress Dominique's word." She looked up suddenly. "If the hard limits are not to be absolutely inviolate, we must not call them hard limits. We must not allow the slaves to believe them to be hard."

Devon had ended debate. "The hard limits are hard. We will side with the slave, and refuse punishment or chastisement if the slave refuses to break one."

"Thou shall have no other God before me?" Thomas asked with a small grin.

"Something along those lines." Devon admitted. "Our word must be good, the slaves have to know our promise is kept." He looked at each in turn and finished the thought. "They must know that we will be as loyal to our faithful servants as our servants are to us."

Andre accepted the decision with his usual grin. "Good, I'm glad that is the policy we will follow."

"You are?" Rebecca asked surprised.

"Yes." Andre replied. "Devon told us to consider every side of the issue. The only way I could think to do that was to argue in favor of the obedience to Master's order side of the issue."

"We did cover the issue quite completely." Rebecca agreed. Later that evening, they slept together for the first time, and Rebecca got familiar with his power, and he learned of her passion and her energy.

Dominique nodded slowly. "OK, we sided with the slave, because the slave was right, despite the fact that she's not our slave."

"Our slaves would not have liked any other action. They would have been very upset if we had allowed Kristy to be sacrificed to the public humiliation certain to follow the disclosure to the actors."

"All right. Here's what we're going to do. I'm going back to town, I'll ride in the cab with Michael to the Airport, and smooth him over if possible. Then I'm going to my apartment to pack a few things." Dominique said in her command voice.

"Your room will be ready by the time you return." Devon acknowledged.

"Christina will probably arrive in the morning, she wasn't sure when. She believes that the attention of more senior representatives on both sides is required." Dominique said.

"Her room will also be ready." Devon agreed.

"No argument?" Dominique asked.

"None. I think your presence will both inspire, and intimidate the actors. I know Christina's presence will keep everyone in line from that end."

"Get Michael and get him ready to go. I'll call a cab and have it standing by." Dominique told him next.

"Yes Boss." Devon said with a friendly smile.

Devon knocked on the open door to Michael's room. "We've called a cab, it will be here shortly."

"I'm nearly done packing." Michael said from the bathroom. He emerged holding his travel shaving kit. "I still don't understand all of this."

Devon leaned against the doorframe and considered. "Michael, would you like to know what mistake I think you made?"

Michael nearly told him to shove it up his ass, and then considered. That would not make Christina happy, and that was paramount right now, saving his job was first. "Sure."

"You heard our words, but didn't believe them." Devon said. "They were genuine, and we were serious."

"It's bullshit." Michael said exasperated. "Look, it's a great scam and all that. Very well done in fact. But it's still a scam."

Devon smiled gently. "I know, that is what you think, and that is why our relationship hasn't worked out. I take you at your word, but you don't take me at mine."

Michael considered as he zipped his large garment bag up and placed it on the ground next to his other two bags. "I'm in trouble over this you know."

Devon nodded. "I understand Christina is coming out here. I intend to speak with her and tell her that the cynical attitude that serves you so well in Los Angeles, is ill suited to the environment of this house."

Michael considered for a moment. He shrugged. "I'm liable to be fired before that."

"Dominique will relay much the same message before you land." She is also coming here, it's thought that the presence of two senior managers will settle things down before they begin."

"You really want this to succeed?" Michael asked.

"Yes." Devon answered simply.

"Ok." Michael said reaching for his bags. Devon surprised him by picking up the two larger ones.

They waited at the front door for ten minutes until the van arrived. Dominique had spoken to Devon, re-enforcing the message to the rest, and making a suggestion for the evenings activity. Devon had agreed. She was the boss.

Michael looked over his shoulder with confusion obvious on his face as the cab rolled away.

Devon returned inside and first found Tony, who was working with the Dominants. It was very close to the meal time, and Devon had little time to accomplish anything. "Tony, Michael has been called away, and as I understand it, Christina is arriving tomorrow to take his place."

"Nothing serious I hope?" Tony asked.

"I am not certain, I don't believe so, I understand it required his presence, but would be manageable." Devon demurred.

"OK." Tony agreed and returned to looking at angles for the filming of the movie. It was doubtful that he would remember the conversation in ten minutes; he was totally absorbed in the movie now.

Upstairs, Frank was not as easily deferred. "OK, something is going on isn't it?"

Devon almost groaned. "Frank, if you trust anything here, trust me in this. I have been and continue to work in your best interests, and the best interests of those involved in this."

Frank considered. "OK, this is your art isn't it?"

Devon nodded and almost breathed a sigh of relief. "It is."

Frank nodded. "OK, I'll pretend I didn't see the closed door meetings going on all afternoon. I'll even pretend that I haven't noticed that actors are missing from our little groups. I'll even go so far as to trust that all this is going to make the project as success."

"You saw the doors closed?"

"I've been making regular calls to LA, for set design issues, remember?" Frank asked.

Devon smiled as he remembered this little fact that had escaped him during the confrontation. "Yes. You have been in admin off and on. Anything I can do to help there?"

Frank shook his head. "I'm doing sketches and layouts right now."

"If there is anything I can do, please let me know." Devon offered sincerely.

"OK." Frank said and returned to his job.

Dominique was in the back of the minivan taxi that was taking them to JFK airport. She hung up her cell phone and turned to Michael. "OK, you heard me explain the situation to Christina, would you like to know what you're going to say to her when you get it?"

"I think I can guess." Michael said cautiously.

"You are sorry, but it was your belief that you were supposed to be involved in all aspects that had led you to interfere with the activities of the trainers. That way, instead of an arrogant ass who doesn't know enough to mind his own business, you are a dedicated company man who believes that the best interests of the company are served when he is personally involved in the details." Dominique summarized as the cab took the turn off for JFK.

Michael grit his teeth and forced a thank you through them.

"Delta Terminal." Dominique said. "Then we'll head into the city."

The driver acknowledged the directions and turned into the proper lane. At the departures terminal entrance, Michael unloaded his bags and after a perfunctory well wishing from both, the car moved on.

The driver, couldn't help grinning at Dominique. "Ma'am, forgive me, but I've never seen anyone put in their place like that before."

"You are forgiven, this time." Dominique said dismissively. "Do you think you can find the city?"

The driver stiffened and then got more professional. "Yes Ma'am. I do."

"Good." Dominique said and gave the address.

Devon glanced at his watch and sat at the table for dinner. "As some of you know, Michael was called away unexpectedly. Dominique and Christina will be taking his place as senior representatives."

Ann had heard Dominique on the radio, and was surprised that she wasn't still here. Usually if she arrived in the afternoon, she stayed through dinner. "I kind of expected Dominique for dinner, she usually stays."

"She had to return to the city, to get some things for the next few days." Devon brushed it off. "OK, any complaints on the training today?"

"None here." Tony said. "You have those actors striding around like you all now."

"Yes, they're pretending to be us." Rebecca said. Andre agreed.

"The actors slated to be slaves are starting to glide, and I see what you mean, it just looks better somehow, than the swaying walks they were doing." Frank offered.

"OK. I think a small reward may be in order for this evening." Devon offered.

"Instead of more classes?" Ann asked to be sure.

Devon nodded. "Pay per view movies, and two, only two, beers per person for those who wish it."

Ann blinked at him in genuine surprise. "Beer for the students?"

Devon shrugged. "They aren't really students, not like we're used to. I'm trying to get them into the frame of mind that this isn't so bad. That way they continue like today, not fighting us and instead, working with us."

Andre shrugged. "OK. Movies and beer it is."

Tony looked surprised. "I didn't think you all ever relaxed."

"Sure we do." Thomas said grinning. "We schedule some fun every week or two."

The trainers laughed. Devon shook his head. The team was loose, comfortable, and confident. Exactly where he wanted them. He touched his watch changing the channel to six. "Chef you there?"

"Certainly Devon, how can I help you?"

"Chef, can we ice a case of beer and have it cold in an hour?" Devon asked.

"Certainly. Josh, see to that please." Chef said.

"Sure thing Chef." Josh answered. "The St Pauli Girl in the big refrigerator?"

"That's mine Josh. Give them the Heineken." Chef replied.

Devon tapped the channel button, leaving the matter in Chef's hands.

Josh shrugged and looked at Jeannette. "Beer?"

Jeannette shrugged back. "For them I guess, a reward." She gestured towards the actors who were smiling in anticipation of a couple cold beers.

Josh stood up and said. "Let me get the beer on ice then."

Devon entered the slaves dining room. "As I'm sure you just heard, in appreciation of your hard work, and not fighting us as much today, we're going to give you the evening and a couple beers. The TV is still in the central area, and we would like to invite you to pick a movie, or two, or whatever, and just flake out and relax this evening. The chairs aren't all that comfortable, I apologize for that, we don't do much lounging around normally."

Lisa grinned at him. "I knew you were a big softie."

Devon smiled graciously. "No, but I'm not blind either. I see you all working now, trying to assimilate what we're trying to teach. As we said in the beginning, work with us, and we'll work with you."

As the Hollywood people meandered towards the central area after dinner, and found a case of beer in the kind of tub you use to wash a large dog surrounded by ice, they took one and opened it. Elaine and Kristy slipped off to go to the training wing, where no one would look for them.

The sounds of laughter and the TV on loud were audible around the house as Devon pulled Ann and Rebecca aside. "OK, the TV and Beer are Dominique's idea. To keep anyone from asking questions about Michael being pulled out."

"Relax them and keep them happy, and they'll leave us alone?" Rebecca asked.

"Something like that. As you guessed, it blew up this afternoon. Dominique should be here soon. Ann, have Jeannette and the girls go through Guest room three tonight. It needs to be ready for Christina in the morning." Devon said.

"Right, I'm on it." Ann said and moved to leave.

"Now, the rest of us are going to be doing whatever we can to keep these babies smiling and happy." Devon said with grumpy attitude that was obviously an act.

"On it boss, keep the babies happy." Rebecca said and stood to go. "I may just have a beer myself."

Kristy sat with the other actors, they hadn't asked her where she was, or what she was doing all day. She tried to watch the movie, but she was really thinking. What should she feel here? She didn't want to chill out tonight. She didn't want to get laid, she just wanted to be close to someone who understood. Elaine had told her to just act natural, like she had before.

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