After about six seconds the welcome screen of my archaic laptop device was gone. The United had stopped giving new ones to the Unaccepted. Apparently their economy wasn't so strong that they could support us forever.
There had even been rumors of a grim final solution for the "religion problem." We hadn't died out fast enough for the United.
Going home from school was very different now. Ephesus, Daddy, and Cea were all still jobless. Paperwork in the United was getting slower, and the commander that had replaced Ambrose was still learning the ropes. We would all get together almost every afternoon for some Bible study, and sometimes a little bit of transmitting. Strains of the virus were still being released every so often, which was why we always kept one copy of the Bible offline.
Cea lately had become too busy to come to those studies, though. I meant to ask her why, but never remembered. Every day I rushed home out of the bus to see if my new job had arrived, always hoping that it wouldn't.
The Nolans had actually come back once, trying to convince me to come with them before I turned eighteen. Once I was eighteen they wouldn't be able to adopt me. They wouldn't be able to work that special deal they said they had with our commander. I had reminded them that Ambrose wasn't around any more, and they had just reminded me that money is money to everyone.
There was no word from Mira or Stanyard either. We didn't even know if they had stayed in our city. Outsiders never came in, anyway, and by now that's what they would be. It only took a few months of "good behavior" for the United to take away your Unaccepted status.
I got off the bus and walked toward the house. Daddy was already waving from the window, and something was in his hand. An envelope!
Daddy had wanted to get a job again. He liked being with us at home, but he didn't think it was right for him to be completely away from work.
The window was open. "What's in it, Daddy?" I cried.
I was through the door before he answered. He replied, "A job. For me and for Ephesus in fact. We'll be working in a space-travel manufacturing plant. I work with safety and testing and Ephesus will be working in design."
I hugged him tightly. So perfect for them both, and in the same place, too! Thank you, Lord.
He kept going, "Now, it's only until they can find a Unionist fit for the job..."
I frowned, "That is so... so..."
I looked down. I knew that complaining about fairness was no use. "Yes."
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you..."
I finished for him, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."