The Letter

This week’s bit of world-building fluff. From Rough Passages.

This is the letter that R-factor carriers dread. Receiving it means at best your life as you know it is over:  you’re about to become a social outcast who will face harassment, physical harm, and rejection for the rest of your living days. At worst it’s a death sentence couched in bureaucratic double-speak.

Dear <NAME>

Your Ackerman-Chung R-factor activation test result for the year <YEAR> is: POSITIVE.

Your name, status, and Federal identification number have been forwarded to the Department of Public Safety, and you will report to the nearest Adaptation & Placement Facility by <DATE> at the latest. Failure to comply will result in legal action and involuntary internment in accordance with Federal legislation referencing Ackerman-Chung deviation and Public Safety jurisdiction. (ref: FL1834-87/1981, FL 2543/1981)

A list of available facilities is attached. All efforts will be made to accommodate you your preferred choice, but vacancies at the time of your internment and the nature of your transition may require transfer to any DPS-certified facility. (note 1)

Prepare for a stay of one to twelve months. If further training and/or containment is deemed warranted by the personnel in charge of your transition, you may at any point be remanded to the custody of the Department of Defense, USMC Mercury Battalion, for additional training in compliance with appropriate laws . (FL729-87/1943, FL 11/1959) (note 2)

The DPS highly recommends a visit your local Administration office at your earliest convenience. Specialists there can determine how best the Department can meet your and your family’s needs and will assist you with transition paperwork and all necessary travel arrangements. Appeals for hardship exemptions can be filed at that time. Due to the unpredictability of transition outcomes, all active R-factor citizens are encouraged to put personal and financial affairs in order before reporting in.

If no DPS office exists within reasonable distance (refer to FL803-66/1946 for specifics) then you may access the national DPS hotline for assistance with any questions. Under the above circumstances you must also sign and return this letter in the enclosed envelope to any United States Postal Service Facility to confirm its receipt. You remain responsible for reporting to one of the DPS Adaptation facilities on the attached list before the date listed above. Payment vouchers for public transportation will be provided via the USPS. (FL2591-14/1962) (note 3)

All arriving program participants may bring one (1) small suitcase up to 2000 cubic inches for clothing and personal effects. A list of prohibited items is attached. Additional FAQ materials can be found online. Meals, bedding, appropriate training equipment, medicines, (note 4) and personal hygiene supplies will be provided by DPS personnel for the duration of your stay.

If returning this letter as your official registration, please list your preferences below so staff can better accommodate your needs during your time in DPS custody:

Room: smoking/non-smoking

Meals: vegetarian/vegan/ other diet (please specify)


The Department of Public Safety thanks you for your cooperation.



Central Office of Adaptation & Placement

United States Department of Public Safety.


  1. Adaptation Facilities currently open to(continental US)
  2. Prohibited Personal Effects List


  1.  Due to uneven geographic dispersion, there may be no facility vacancies in your immediate vicinity. Facilities have been listed in increasing geographic distance from your address. Transportation will be provided at no cost by all common carriers. Not all facilities are suitable for all types of transitions.
  2.  Military supervision of no less than one (1) year is compulsory for certain power classes. Please check with your local DPS office or the national website for the current listings. These designations cannot be legally appealed.
  3. Postal records indicate you do NOT qualify for assistance from the national hotline. Be aware there are substantial fees associated for unauthorized access of this service. If you believe your case is not being handled well by your local DPS office, please file a complaint online or through the USPS. Forms available on request.
  4. All personal medical records will be forwarded to the appropriate DPS personnel upon receipt of this release.

Not nearly as much fun for the characters as having some wizened old mentor show up on your doorstep to proclaim, “you! You are the Chosen One!”

Loads of fun from the author’s perspective.

Oh, right. BOOKS. Here be a link to buy my books:

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