They met in secret. No one is really sure how it started. It was sometime after the fall, sometime after the riots, but before the biolords. The world was a dark place and individual life worth nothing. Or less than that.
We can’t tell you for sure how it was or when, because they didn’t talk. A secretive sect with illogical beliefs, they gathered in twos in threes, they trusted only those closest to them.
It is said they carried – and later on, when recognized as a religion and before the prohibition – they wore, sewn on their clothes, a patch that was supposed to be a piece of a true flag once flown in their lost homeland.
But in the beginning, who knows what they were, and who they were? A persecuted people, with a lost cause, considered dangerous by every land in the world. Not quite a political belief, not quite a religion, and yet a bit of both.
By the time they came to public notice, this much was already established: they believed that the USA, that mythical, perhaps never-existing land was a special place, blessed by G-d, a place where humanity for the first time reached the heights of what it was meant to be, the heights of its potential. Stories were told of freedom and riches, of ships that could reach the moon, of tolerance for all beliefs, all faiths, all skin colors. We’re sure at least half of this must be exaggerated if not fabricated.
They also believed in two “holy books” the Constitution and the declaration of independence. They sang The Star Spangled Banner, and the Battle Hymn of The Republic and inclined their heads, and prayed for strength to go on believing.
The afterlife didn’t interest them. You were allowed to believe in it or not, as you pleased. Some members developed an idea that the deserving hero would be born again in a reconstituted promised land, when the time came.
They named their children with the names of their heroes and omitted the middle name that made it particular: Benjamin (Franklyn); George (Washington); Samuel (Adams) and others, even the generals of a long forgotten war said to be for freedom and equality.
Through the night of centuries, five hundred long years, while principalities, mandates, caliphates and satrapies, while world governments, engineered rulers, rational systems and monarchies succeeded each other, they survived in the dark, in silence. Briefly legal, then punishable with death, yet they carried on.
Through a revolution, through recolonization of their lost land they survived.
Eventually, they took to the stars and there, in their world, which is called USA it is said just outside the spaceport there is a rock engraved with the words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
A statue of a woman holding up a lamp stands beside it. Some think it is a goddess, but they say it is just Liberty, illuminating the worlds.
They have no promises of eternal life. They promise no miracles. Your salvation is between you and your G-d.
But for humanity they hold this promise: Life, Liberty, the pursuit of happiness. They believe only in that way can the blessings of civilization be preserved.
And maybe it is enough.
Maybe it is a faith worth keeping through the dark days. A promise of light for humanity. Worlds everlasting.