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Dear LZ-75-53b

Eric Brown has won the British Science Fiction Award twice for his short stories, and his novel Helix Wars was shortlisted for the 2012 Philip K. Dick award. He has published over sixty books, and his latest include the SF novel Binary System, the crime novel Murder Take Three, and the short story collection Microcosms, with Tony Ballantyne. He writes a regular science fiction review column for The Guardian newspaper and lives in Cockburnspath, Scotland. His website can be found at: ericbrown.co.uk.
From:
Department of Social Correction,
Whitehall,
London.
20th May, 2099.
Dear Daniel Marchmont,
To inform you: this is the third and final letter on the subject.
According to government surveys conducted during the course of the last year, you have failed to meet your Minimum Consumer Expenditure Commitment. According to statute 321c of the National Consumer Act of 2085, you are hereby granted a period of one calendar month in which to rectify this. If you fail to do so, your employment entitlement will be correspondingly downgraded and you will be allocated a new designation, with the consequent loss of citizen privileges.
Dear LZ-75-53b,
Failure to respond to this department's last missive, and the flagrant disregard of our MCEC directive, has resulted in your immediate social reassignment. You are now officially designated as LZ-75-53b, and as such your employment role has been rescheduled. You will sign in to the government labor pool at six hundred hours on Monday morning for menial employment rescheduling. Your Minimum Consumer Expenditure Commitment has also been amended, and it is hoped that you will be able to meet this increased commitment. Failure to do so will result in further punitive action.
Dear LZ-75-53b,
You are in violation of social codes 75a (sub-section 21) and 95d (sub-section 44)--to wit, you failed to present yourself for labor registration and blatantly flouted your reduced Minimum Consumer Expenditure Commitment. Punitive action will follow. In accordance with Social Corrective policy directive 42b, you are hereby requested to present yourself to the Lambeth Organ Bank for immediate somatic forfeiture.
Dear LZ-75-53b,
Further to your arrest on Thursday 2nd July, for failure to comply with somatic forfeiture request: the tribunal has found you in violation of directive 42b, and you are hereby fined five thousand three hundred credits. As you are without current funds, you will pay the equivalent in somatic donations. You will be taken immediately to the Lambeth Organ Bank where one kidney, one eye, one lung, and your spleen will be removed and offered on the open market.
Dear LZ-75-53b,
Your recalcitrant behavior in response to the previous missive--the wanton self destruction of your eyes--has left the tribunal with no choice but to issue the ultimate directive. You will be taken at six hundred hours, 23rd July, 2099, to the Lambeth Euthanasia Clinic where your existence will be terminated.
You will be permitted a written response to this directive of no more than two hundred words.
To Whom It May Concern,
I go to my death in full recognizance of the consequence of my actions, and give notice that those actions constituted the only form of protest available to me against the draconian materialism and soulless commercialization of our age. Everything that we as human beings once held sacred--art, literature, intellectual discourse--has been sacrificed at the altar of greed, and I no longer wish to be a part of what our once great race has become.
I go to my death unrepentant.
Yours, LZ-75-53b--formerly known as Daniel Marchmont.
PS: I hope that my meat, when reconstituted, will choke an eminent government minister.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 30th, 2017

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