Sebastian woke up at 6am, drank two cups of coffee and ate a bowl of white broth. A nutrient soup the government was issuing since rationing measures began. He had a five-minute shower then left the house. Not for work as you would expect, but to walk two blocks to Hampstead Police station, naked. How he made it to the station without being arrested is anyone’s guess.
‘I wish to report a theft please.’
‘Sir, you are naked-’
‘I think you’ll find that isn’t accurate…to be naked you need to be showing genitalia and as you can see, I am not.’
‘I’d prefer not to look sir, can you tell me exactly what’s been stolen.’
‘One cock, an arsehole and a pair of bollocks.’
‘I see, please wait here sir.’ The officer disappeared into a door at the back of the station and returned next to a tall man with black greasy hair. He impatiently swept his fringe out his eyes so he could look down at a clipboard he was holding. The action exposed an animated tick just below his right eyebrow. He looked over Sebastian into the distance as he spoke.
‘I’m chief inspector Mosley, I run the Missing Persons Department-’
‘But I’m not a missing-’
‘Come this way please sir.’
Sebastian was led up a spiral staircase to a small room at the top of the building. He noticed the initials M.P.D. in brass lettering on the door as he entered. The room was empty except for a chair and rusty filing cabinet. Inspector Mosley lent against the wall and looked out of the window.
‘Please make yourself comfortable sir, Can you tell me how this happened?’
Sebastian drew in a deep breath,
‘Here’s the thing, I was using a pleasure site last night…I was plugged in…it said it was government approved but-’
‘There are a lot of hoax sites springing up, sir.’
‘There’s no way I can stay like this, you must help me.’ Sebastian looked down into his lap, his head dangling like a rag doll.
‘This is a very serious and complicated business sir, over the last six months we have had a sharp spike in reports of online genitalia theft. Too many to keep up with. We think it’s the work of a radical gender anarchy group called “Generation Sex”. They have worked out a way to turn matter into virtual energy. We think their aim is to create an invisible class of people.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘In the eyes of the law, you no longer exist.’
‘And yet, I’m sitting in front of you…’
‘As I say, it’s complicated sir. You are no longer male or female. That means your identity is now fraudulent, at least your legal identity is. Your passport, birth certificate, insurance, mortgage, everything will need to change before to can continue to operate in society. However, recent government policy has removed our population codes for gender neutrals. This leaves us at a bit of an impasse.’
Sebastian threw his arms in the air. ‘Why the hell have they done that?’
‘Please calm down sir. We do have a way to help you. The government are close to stabilising reanimation techniques which will enable us to reclaim your identity. We will be sending you to a rehabilitation unit on the Isle Of White tomorrow. I will need to stay here in a holding cell for processing until you leave.’ Inspector Mosley made eye contact with Sebastian for the first time. ‘You won’t be there long, I assure you.’
‘How many of us are there?’
‘Around 2 million…growing rapidly by the day.’ Inspector Mosley walked over to the door and signalled for Sebastian to follow him. He was taken downstairs and into a holding cell at the back of the station. The inspector handed him some brown overalls and slammed the iron grid door behind him. Sebastian could just make out a silhouette of someone in the corner of the cell as he slumped onto the concrete bed and sank his head into his hands.
A brittle voice reached out of the darkness ‘Another missing citizen hey?’
Sebastian squinted in the half-light, ‘So I’m told.’
‘You’ll be going to the island then?
‘Yeah, I’m hoping it won’t be for long. I’m just gonna see it as a holiday. I’ll be home as soon as the government sort out this reanimation business.’
‘You believe that I suppose?’
‘yeah… why wouldn’t I?’
‘And you believe it was some sort of radical group that did this to us?’ The figure got up and started shuffling towards Sebastian.
‘Sure, what are you getting at?’
‘I hate to break it to you, but you’re never coming back, ever.’ The man appeared from the shadows. Half of his body and face were missing, rubbed out, a pixelated blur. He opened a bloodshot eye and looked down at Sebastian.
‘This is no theft, it’s a disease, it spreads like a virus.’
Sebastian rocked backwards hitting the wall hard. ‘This is bullshit, I don’t know what you’ve got mate, but I’m gonna be fine.’
‘That’s what they all say. I’ve seen hundreds come through this cell and it’s always the same. No one wants to hear the truth. They kept me here as a test case to see what would happen. I’m slowly dissolving into a virtual abyss. I’m no good to anyone now, not like you and the others.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘At least you have one last function…I call it population control…the government call it something quite different.’