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Being a Usaian

I’ve been absent from here and most places online for the last two weeks because my job took me first to Dallas and then to Chattanooga, Tenn., this last for what we consider our “home convention” for science fiction and fantasy.

Yes, we are aware it’s a three-hour flight from where we live to our “home con.” But it was the place they treated us right, the place where my fans from the East could come and see me most easily.  We are contemplating a secondary home con in the West, trying to choose between LTUE in Utah and COSine in Colorado Springs. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that a friend had red/white/blue badge ribbons printed, with the word Usaian imprinted in gold, and he gave them to my husband to distribute. [Editor's note: for those of you not already familiar with Sarah's Darkship books, this Christmas story will give you an introduction to the Usaians.]

My husband, being himself, would ask people “Are you a Usaian?” Even though I know I have a lot of fans there, I was surprised at the number of resounding “Yes” answers and the people who sported that ribbon on their badge.

So, what does being a Usaian have to do with my fans?

In my future history, the one where my Darkship books take place, the U.S. as we know it is so long gone they aren’t even sure – or absolutely sure – where its boundaries once were.

It is implied that the U.S. fell in some great act of internal treachery. I won’t write it. I’ll never write that portion of the future history because it would feel like coming apart from the inside out.

However, in that future world a glimmer of what is us remains. There is this religion that holds that the Almighty, having ordained the rise and destruction of the United States of America, will never let it utterly perish from the world.

Those who hold on to our founding documents and to the memory and hope of a Land of the Free believe that one day it will rise again, and this time it will respect the Constitution.

They are a small – or believed to be small – and reviled sect; their belief that individuals should control their government and not the other way around makes them unwelcome most places. Almost everywhere, their penalty for being found to adhere to the proscribed religion is death.

This odd religion – which allows people to believe in and follow other religions at the same time – has many martyrs.  And though proscribed, and though forbidden, each of them carries a piece of flag, said to have flown over the home of the brave five centuries before.