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Something’s Cooking 6/29

Something’s Cooking 6/29 published on 25 Comments on Something’s Cooking 6/29

The clerk here is played by Clara Danao, who got a cameo by backing the Patrick and Tiernan pins Kickstarter.

She and Thorn address each other in their own respective languages, as a casual way to improve their listening skills. (It’s, ah, not foolproof.)

Clerk: Hello again! Good timing — we just got some fresh home cooking in stock.

Thorn: Sorry, I’ll have to try it some other time!

Clerk: You have company?

Thorn: This is Elisa. She’s shopping today. I’m just paying. Elisa, if you need any help, ask the clerk. She knows where to find it all.

Clerk: . . .

So . . . you got a pet, eh?

Thorn: Hm . . . ? Yes! I have a pet.

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Ewww, the whole pet thing is gross.

In terms of owning a human being or consenting adults who choose to have ghat kind of relationship?

Owning a human being. As a Dom/Master I have no problem with anything consenting adults choose to do

Lemme get all Sønska apologist.

‘Pet’ seems to be Sønska shorthand for “indentured servant.” See: The Hostile Sønska Restaurateur refers to Leif as a “pampered embassy pet”.

We can infer from page 6 of Can’t You Read the Signs that at least some Sønska indentured servants still have their bodily autonomy. -stares at Summer Sunshine– Mostly I’m hoping Lief is a special case where he has decided to throw himself into anything because he decided he can’t afford to turn away any paying work and has a pre-existing kink for being subservient that lets him be comfortable in that role.

It’s unclear if Leif could have refused to be eaten during Vampire Masquerade or if he volunteered.

Landslide Bring Me Down page 10 tells us it’s not outside the realm of possibility for an indentured servant to get time off for a family emergency. I suspect Elisa was going to try and lengthen her contract to go to the mine. One reading of Manager Ludolf’s reaction there is he’s not letting her do so impulsively.

Elisa thinks the idea of someone buying out your contract is romantic. See An Incredibly Platonic Storylinepage 6 and An Incredibly Platonic Shopping Day page 13.

Giving a slave some taste of freedom, makes it no less gross that you take their freedom from them without their consent. Doubly so when it’s due to the crimes of their parents and you’re punishing children for things they had no control over. They put people into slavery for monetary debt and take away their ability to say no to anyone who pays for them unless it breaks the contract rules. It’s a disgusting abuse of human rights. No apologism will change anything.

Leif being on the hook for his parent’s debt is disgusting, yes. But Leif is also a special case; perhaps even unique. Most debt-servants are there for a limited contract that they entered into willingly. A few months and their debt is cleared. Elisa may have even entered her contract to AVOID actually going into debt. Leif tells us she had nearly graduated from university, but put that on hold ‘because of the debt’. ( Borrowing Limits, Page 18)

However, where in the text has it EVER said that servants aren’t allowed to say no? Leif isn’t allowed to say yes, despite wanting to go further than he suspects Thorn wants to. Elisa quite certainly has refusal rights on the contracts themselves.

From a strictly utilitarian view, the terms of the contract should protect the equipment, not just the renter. Leif was drained as a fancy Vampire feast, but he also wasn’t on the hook for his medical bills; the embassy explicitly paid those costs, and I’d be willing to wager that the Embassy’s ‘catering fee’ included the cost of Leif’s care, if not the expected loss of productivity while he recovered.

I’m equally willing to bet that the generic sex-me-up package almost certainly isn’t a free pass for every fetish under the sun.

Of course not.

Each individual fetish is probably an additional charge. No need to worry about what the slaves might say after all.

Sønheim has enough skeeze without the readers adding it where it doesn’t exist.

If the servants have any amount of veto power over the contracts, we can safely assume they will exercise it. Elisa was prepared to refuse enough money that she would have been free of her contract that week. I think that stands to reason that anything beyond the normal companion rental is discussed up front, whether it’s the servant setting limits in their initial contract with the government or if the manager sits them down before accepting the contract fully.

I think this pretty much covers that they don’t get a choice if someone pays for it.
Elisa’s reaction here says she’s been rented for sex she didn’t want before. That and the sexual assault trigger warning for the chapter.
This says she’s turning down the offer, it says nothing about her being able to say no if it’s already paid for.
The part about being fine being for sale says that they are in face, for sale whether they like it or not.

This sounds like a job for any of our resident archive-divers…HAS that lack of choice been made explicit in the text?

(Autocomplete thought I wanted to say “lack of chocolate,” which is a whole other issue.)

Making a new thread here as we’ve run out of reply nesting on the previous one.

@Erin Ptah: I did a quick skim, but I didn’t see anything explicit one way or the other Beyond Leif’s pained exasperation when Thorn kept pressing. (I belong to the Embassy! What part of that is so hard to understand?!“)

@Foxy: Yeah. I understand your interpretation of that dialogue. The text of page 5 and Page 13 of Can’t You Read the Signs supports your conjecture that once money has been paid, the contract is locked in. I do not agree with your hypothesis that Elisa has been assaulted as part of a contract in the past; that face could also be “I’m skeeved out at the idea of a total stranger engaging in any form of sexual congress with me.” To my mind, if she’d been assaulted previously, she would’ve trusted Leif’s trust in Thorn LESS after just seeing how wound around Thorn’s finger Leif is.

We don’t know if servants are consulted before the money is accepted. I don’t think that Sønheim would be able to get away with it if state-sponsored sexual assault is on the table for anyone under a servitude contract. There must be limits, the readers just don’t know where they are…

The first page of the chapter literally says there’s a sexual assault content warning and no one else talks about sex, but Leif and Elisa, and she freaks out. see the hidden warning under the page.
Also, look at this page
Elisa says, “But if he makes this payment, and then he does try something, I would have to”.

1: “short non-graphic discussion.” Does not mean “A character in this chapter totally was sexually assaulted.” People are allowed to be upset by things that haven’t yet and may never happen to them.

2: I mentioned page 13 in post you are responding to. “If Thorn makes the payment and try something, I would have to…” has one very important clause. If. The Embassy can refuse the money.

I know that Sønheim is being painted as an antagonist here, but do we have to always, because of an absence of evidence to the contrary, assume everything they ever do is hand-crafted to be as horrifying as possible?

Why is it so hard to accept that maybe, the people who have government-run debt forgiveness could, for once, actually care for those who willingly surrender themselves beyond wringing every last groat of use from them?

1. We’ll have to agree to disagree on the meaning, but point out any proof it didn’t happen.
2. Yes, they could, but they certainly wouldn’t ask Elisa how she feels in making that decision.
They enslave people, they force them through compulsion to obey, they’re already doing things as “horrifying as possible.” It’s not willingly when they are charged with their parents crimes, when they’re indoctrinated their whole lives, and when they’re placed in slavery as young as Elisa is. The government is doing bad things and teaching people to accept it. IT. IS. WRONG.

Most Sønska servants aren’t pressed into service by sins of the father. Most of Leif’s friends with benefits were on contracts of a few months. Elisa volunteered. She wasn’t forced. She deferred her graduation to pay down this debt. We don’t know what debt she’s paying down, but she stepped up to pay it through servitude rather than getting a minimum wage non-servant job.

I find it impossible to reconcile signing away everything for a maybe-year long stint then acting like you can just refuse if the manager just unilaterally accepts contracts on your behalf without consulting some sort of master contract limit or an interview before your services are engaged.

The Fleurcode is removed when servants leave the service, meaning the system cannot use brainvolts to suppress this information. If sexual assault by way of your manager just accepting contracts willy-nilly is the norm, there is no fucking way that Elisa is the first case in the history of Sønheim, and there is no way it’s been kept under wraps.

I should probably point out that Elisa and Leif have substantively different terms of service. So when anyone cites a strip that implies a servant can/can’t refuse an offer, etc, it’s specific to that character, and doesn’t necessarily apply to the other one.

Also, nobody’s linked to this strip yet.

“Elisa and Leif have substantively different terms of service.”

THANK YOU. This is is is the phrasing that has been eluding my brain all day.

Honestly, the particulars don’t matter to me as much to me as the fact that this government enslaves it’s people and if Katya and Elisa’s talk of plans are any indication, they don’t enjoy it. We don’t know how willing it is when we don’t know what the other options were. Making a choice because you have little choice, isn’t much of a choice at all. Real life indentured servants rarely ever made it out and they were treated just as barbarically as any slaves, the parallels here speak volumes.

Oh hey. Just noticed this one pretty strongly implies she had a right to refuse outright:

And the one linked above states that Lief theoretically could, but can’t because of the amount of his debt (although what exactly that means since he’s not expected to pay it off is… interesting).

So it seems they can refuse, but can’t withdraw consent once it’s given. That’s a detail that both she and Thorn find upsetting (and so does Lief when forced to think about it, so he doesn’t), to say the least.

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