Failure to Comply

Diary by Raya Fallere and reports by L. D. Summus, as provided by Sarah Cavar
Art by Errow Collins

Purity Commission for the Maintenance of Our Perfect Order

Reports on The Recent Escape of Self-Hacking Defective

As transcribed by L. D. Summus

The following file has been collected from the personal belongings of Defective #34-dfQ, the recently escaped defective who was unlawfully birthed to citizens [name redacted] and [name redacted].


From the Personal Diary of Raya Fallere


I knew when they beat you over the head with an axe. I knew when they laid you down on a hospital bed and your eyes shone. Once they injected you with whatever they did, they shut and you would open them different than you were before. The door wasn’t ajar for long, either–soon they and you shut me out for good.

Alia, I knew when they carted you out of the room and your eyes, open now, still didn’t shine. I knew what they had done, and I knew that you were no longer mine. Perhaps in body, although I had to share you with them. They who believe you embody sin. But Alia, I will always carry you with me. You embody the truth I know.

I had always known that bodies were different from what they told us. That perfect and pure ones didn’t truly exist. It was certainly a sin to say so; they imagine bodies being so holy, so untouchable, so perfect from birth to demise. I had known from childhood that they were wrong, and as I grew older I saw more and more parts of me that did not belong. Remember when you found me, Alia? Remember when you found me, bleeding and bruised of my own doing? Remember when you asked me how exactly I turned soft, fleshy, innocent appendages into angry scars? They hung off my heart. Now, my heart is free.

You were so worried about infection. You cared. You saw me hidden beneath pine branches, buried in a cocoon of sharp verdure. Perhaps I’d have halfheartedly dug a grave, had you not stumbled upon me, curled up there, sap and blood clinging to me, remember? It stung.

You told me to be careful. You told me to be afraid.

I asked you, what do I have to fear? My body is about to die. The body that has never felt like my own, anyway.

Where are we now, Alia? I was never prepared to care for you the way you cared for me. That day when you pried your sap-covered fingers from my bloody flesh back at your house. The way you turned off your electricity, the way you took even the most bizarre and outlandish precautions in the name of some semblance of privacy. We both knew they’re always watching, Alia. They are gods surveying creation. They watch through the cameras we can’t live without. They watch through the holo-screens. The eyes of those who speak, trained on the eyes of those spoken unto.

I asked you with fear and confusion: how will we be real, connected, how will we engage with the universe around us if we are unplugged? And you told me, Alia, you told me that it shouldn’t matter if I’ve really been dead a long time.

Insta-Ice is a numbing agent, the best around. I know because since childhood I’ve used it to make things disappear. When I cut off the tips of my fingers, sewing the baby-nubs of jagged flesh together once more, all I felt was a refreshing cool. When I left my mother behind, sewing my navel shut, an unbirthing. And then again, the same rush, the same chill, when I drove a needle straight into the white of my eye. I cried blood that felt like ice.

Did you know you can corrupt your eye with ink and still scan right into your home?

Art for "Failure to Comply"

It was an open secret, Alia. Purity is a farce. I bet you most of them had to take regulators to keep up the mask of purity. Why else would they make us upload these docs to our PAs, reminding us how to be good double-Xs and XYs? If purity was inherent, they wouldn’t need to teach it.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2017 collection.

Raya is a gender-defiant individual who embraces their deviance wholeheartedly. They are an experienced self-hacker, and thus have spent approximately one-third of their young life evading government capture. When not writing sappy love letters to their late partner, Alia, Raya enjoys subverting the Puritanical surveillance state and metal-detecting with magnetically enhanced fingertips. They are glad that their personal diary entries have been released for the world to see, even though it was the Purity Commission that released them.

Sarah is an 18-year-old undergraduate student living and studying in New England. They are agender and use they/them/theirs pronouns, and are very interested in incorporating gender-nonconforming/trans characters into their work. They study critical social thought, Mandarin Chinese, and journalism. In their spare time, they enjoy reading, writing, astrology, giving great hugs, and consuming more coffee than is medically advisable.

Errow is a comic artist and illustrator with a predilection towards the surreal and the familiar. She pays her time to developing worlds not quite like our own with her artist fiancee and pushing the queer agenda. She probably left a candle burning somewhere. More of her work can be found at

“Failure to Comply” is © 2017 Sarah Cavar
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Errow Collins

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