• Failure to Comply

    by  • October 2, 2017 • Fiction • 0 Comments

    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?

    It was enjoyable. It was a game I wanted to play, and I played it to spite those who disallowed it. Eyes that can scan me into buildings, but are still real trouble for the authorities’ Eye-dentification machines. Fingernails long gone; fingerprints sliced off; replaced with magnetic sensors. How else would I evade yet another method of pinpointing my exiled identity? They call us defectives, Alia.

    Alia, they told us all that all of us were sacred, once. They told us all that once upon a time, before we learned just how pure and sacred our temple-bodies were, we would corrupt them. We would drive needles into our flesh, we would open and close ourselves at our leisure. We would feed ourselves poison for a sense of relief. And not anymore, now we know better, now we know that a corrupt body is a corrupt self. Now we know the weight of the soul is distributed equally within each of us: to damage one piece is to corrupt them all. Now we know that a corrupt body is not a sign of power. It is merely a sign of weakness.

    When they beat you over the head with that axe, Alia, I was under no illusions as to what was to be done. I knew we could not tell, and my dear, I tried so very hard to keep it a secret. It’s hard to keep that much blood a secret. It’s impossible, the way we’re all connected. The way they’re all watching, empty gazes trained upon us. Ensuring the collective sanctity of our civilization’s body.

    Generations ago, there used to be wrong beings like us. Corrupt beings. Sometimes their parents would kill them. Sometimes they’d be thrown away. Sometimes they’d be hidden forever, locked away in dark places. Now, we don’t have to worry about those sorts of things. Now, we can erase bad beings before they even begin.

    Forty-eight hours. That’s how long it takes to tell whether a pregnancy is pure or corrupt. That’s the way we learned it in school. You didn’t go to school, did you, Alia? Once, you told me your parents’ parents’ parents’ were Catholics. They didn’t want to erase anybody. They believed none of us were pure. But now, they say, we’re just like gods. Pure body-souls.

    Them, I should say. Not us. We’re all wrong.

    Eat my body and drink my blood, I should tell them. Allow it to corrupt you. It’s okay. It’s imperfect. Not just imperfect, but downright evil. How else could I possibly justify the contempt I hold for it? Is there any other way to explain the things I have done? The pieces I’ve destroyed, the blood and tears I’ve shed, the way I pick at my wounds till they open up, again and again; the hair I rip from my scalp. How else could I justify committing this mortal sin?

    I should return to the axe. I should return to the situation that got you back under their thumb in a way that you can’t be. This is all it took: just one lens unblocked, the lens on my personal assistant. Snap, snap, snap, the moment I heard the flash and saw the blinding white light, I knew we were doomed. I made a stupid mistake, Alia. I said a word that must’ve triggered them to flag my PA in particular. What was it? What was it?

    When I think back to that time, I can’t quite remember what I said. They say the more times you try to recall a memory, the fuzzier it becomes. Maybe I should try recalling it more often, Alia. Maybe then I can forget. Maybe then I can be like you.

    I said the word “cut.” I said the word “injured,” too. Wouldn’t you have? If you had seen the only one you’d ever loved beaten nearly to a pulp?

    I feel as though I am trying to defend myself to you. I think I am. You would tell me, Raya, you should consider your defense to the Purity Commission. Not to me. You know I’m under no illusions as to the state of your body-soul. I know the ways that you have corrupted yourself. I know the ways you have betrayed the glorious perfection of Nature and look, I have done the same.


    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.

    Purity Commission for the Maintenance of Our Perfect Order

    Report 1 OF [2]

    As transcribed by L. D. Summus

    On the afternoon of Season III, Day 34, Year 83 Since Purity Establishment (henceforth SPE), defective #77-xxH (who appears, periodically, to call itself “Alia”) was found by a contingent of six citizens. One citizen, upon the immediate recognition of this creature as defective, drew a weapon and stood on guard, waiting for it to make some violent motion.

    It began to mouth-babble, as recorded. This has effectively confirmed it to be a wayward defective, not yet shut down despite its relatively advanced age of nineteen years.

    The six citizens, communicating as normal through their TeleMinds, surrounded the defectives. One held a multi-bladed axe; the five others were unarmed.

    All six citizens’ Personal Assistants (henceforth “PAs”) recorded the confrontation. Defective #34-dfQ’s PA recorded some fragments of the confrontation, some of which was lost due to its dated hardware. The old model it possessed was further indicative of the length of time it had spent underconnected to the Society. (We are presently reviewing our surveillance mechanisms to ensure that defectives do not remain unmonitored).

    If you would like to review the captured PA recording of the confrontation, navigate here. These recordings are protected by EyeScan technology, ensuring the safety, purity, and protection of our beloved citizens.


    From the Personal Diary of Raya Fallere


    I felt so proud, using their tech for my own benefit. Perhaps my proudest day, when I was just twelve, was securing counterfeit Hormone Regulators to use by myself. Remember looking through the eText all the citizens were required to read at that age? The one that dictated who was Pure and who was Not?

    I do. I remember the way certain citizens shifted their eyes carefully away from a teacher’s scrutiny, when she said with a chuckle, “These regulators are for those who veer dangerously close to Defectiveness. But of course, none of us, no respectable citizen, needs to use these. I am explaining this to you for academic reasons, but I trust none of you had the misfortune to be born deviant.”

    I know you have never been to an education center, Alia, because they could spot you as defective from the start. You were unable to hide it the way I did. But I remember, Alia, that there were averted eyes and blushes and anxious looks and furrowed brows across the many monitors connected to the CyberClass.

    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.

    If purity was inherent, they wouldn’t need to teach it.

    They brainwashed you. Ever heard of that word? I read it in some old, antique book, yeah, a real one. One you can’t upload to your PA, one that will burn if the temperature’s high enough. Brainwashing. But washing is what makes something pure, isn’t it? Does that make it right?

    I can’t conceive of its rightness, not as I stare into your dead eyes. Not as I watch them dismantle you, recording you, distributing photos of you across all those official databases. Under those photos read a freakshow slogan:

    Construction of A Deviant–Taken apart piece by piece.

    Do you know a creature with this anatomy? Bring it to us for experimentation. Without your generous support and donation, we could never hope to correct these unfortunate beings.

    Sign into our official data channel via your PA to learn more!


    Purity Commission for the Maintenance of Our Perfect Order

    Report 2 OF [2]

    As transcribed by L. D. Summus

    On Self-Hacking: Know the Signs

    Although all deviating in different ways, all of the deviants that we have dealt with have several attributes in common. The foremost of these, Impurification via the destruction of the holy vessel, is colloquially referred to as Self-Hacking.

    Self-Hacking can be simply defined as the interference with the will of nature–the abuse of the tech with which we have been blessed via the collective innovation of our species. As we have further refined our existence to achieve maximum purity, unfortunately these deviants have responded with the use of this tech to destroy what nature has generously bestowed upon them.

    The most common of these methods are as follows:

    1. Self-mutilation of sexed appendages;
    2. Illegal injection of Hormone Regulators (a practice that should be limited to only our most unfortunate citizens, who need assistance on the path to gaining and maintaining bodily correctness and purity); or
    3. Pursuit of illicit relations with those of the same sex, particularly those who wish to contaminate their bodies as in points 1) and 2).

    The defectives #34-dfQ and #77-xxH are guilty of these three counts of deviation. They also appear to have assisted each other in self-hacking efforts, including but not limited to appendage mutilation and illicit injection, as well as delusional self-removal of hair and damage to skin.


    From the Personal Diary of Raya Fallere


    I believe this will be my last message to you–not that you’ll be reading these anyway–and I need you to know how much I love you. How intensely I fell for you that first time our eyes met, when you found me nearly damaged beyond repair. But together we learned. We learned that we were born damaged anyway, at least according to the people that matter. But we also learned how right we could be for each other.

    Alia, I know I will never return to the love we had, because now you are no longer yourself. You are as dead as they always believed us to be. You may never come back, and I’d have shed tears. But I removed my tear ducts long ago, Alia. They can never make me cry again.

    Alia, they think they stole you from me, but remember when we were young, when we self-hacked for fun and not simply out of desperation? Swearing to love me forever, you said:

    Let‘s hack an Us inside ourselves.

    The scars on our hips match near perfectly. Worn on the left, like a wedding band.

    And this way, no matter what, we will never truly be apart.

    A clichéd refrain that we so need. Never allowed to become a real love story; never allowed to be real people.

    Alia, with your marrow inside me, I am going to run away. And with mine in you, a little part of you will be here, a phantom limb that should be attached to me. I ache for you every day, Alia.

    They may have your body, and a little piece of your mind. Let them. Let them because I will carry myself and a bit of you and all of Us inside of me, inside this body that feels like Hell, inside this body wracked with sin and this body which absorbs their hate.

    I run, the metal in the tips of my fingers pulling coins from the earth. My black eyes turning me into the devil they fear. Perhaps I am. But more than that, I am yours. I am mine.

    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 errowcollins.wix.com/portfolio.

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

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