On May 8th 2125 you were summoned. Not to court like your father had been or to the principality of Syristan to marry a prince like you dreamed of, but to the Department of Psychological Science.
With creeping anticipation crawling itself into your shaking hands you could see the phone trembling. Maybe it was your vision going blurry with fear, but the phone rattled as it fell frantically onto the couch. You had been summoned, like a dog to its master or a prisoner on death row. You wonder if it's possible to crawl under the couch and pretend the world doesn't exist but that's not a possibility. You couldn't even avoid the animal company which called once a month to ensure you were keeping your goldfish alive.
Looking under the couch and deciding it wasn't possible to lie beneath it and pretend to not exist, you pick up the phone again. Maybe you had been so concerned about whether you had enough eggs to cook an omelette you had read it wrong. Some hopes bring too much joy, before they find themselves back at the bottom of a hole with no light. You had been summoned and that wasn't going to change.
The Department of Psychological Science was one of the fastest growing departments in the country. You knew this because they were always sending emails with the facts and figures of their growth, and their ads plastered the television with smiling people and renewed lives. They were the biggest department for self and society preservation. The only way society could prosper was if those that were a little unhinged from the door of stability had the proper care and support. That was how the department operated.
It was a department people didn't talk often about and when they did it was always because of a distant cousin or a friend they had had in primary school. People would mention it casually, always followed by the disapproving cluck that said they knew they weren't going to turn out quite right, and the self-affirmation saying that they should've referred the person themself.
Referral was one of two ways for people to get summoned. The first was by drawing unwanted attention, often through crime or getting one too many parking tickets. The other way, the one that made people look sideways at their neighbours and second-guess their friendships, was through a referral. Anyone could easily refer someone, all it took was a simple email to the department; a name and a short reason. The department sent out emails about it every month; just click the button to change someone's life: help them to notice the change. It seemed all too easy and all too devastating.
Someone, maybe someone you knew well or barely knew at all, had decided that something was wrong with you. Someone had referred you.
With the phone in your hand a burning flame, brazing your fate into your trembling fingers, you click confirm. There was no button for any other option. No one could escape being summoned. Stories told of people ignoring them, or running away to allow their untamed mind to run free. They all ended with their capture, with their assessment as dangerous and the praise of the department for taking an unstable person from society's streets. In everything that could happen when someone was summoned, being deemed unstable was an option worse than any other. You were not going to be one of them, but a taunting feeling inside of you made you wonder if you already were.