After the meeting that day, an official secret partnership was established between AUER Club and the Seekers of Nephiliham. In just a matter of days, a new entity called Promised Horizons Agency opened, thanks to the exploitation of legal loopholes, off-record dealings, and a number of their members being business owners. Publicly, it was a privately owned firm that assigned applicants to temporary job positions. In actuality, it was a recruiting tool that actively sought out certain criteria in the most vulnerable and desperate people, who they could convince to repair the Minare ship in total secrecy without financial compensation. In exchange, they would let them join the Seekers when they and the minare left for Irrdnis.
As a child of one of these volunteers, Sank gave some insight into the experience in the speech to his followers:
What does it take for one to stop feeding the machine? What does it take for one to stand and say, “I will not allow myself to be part of this cycle anymore?”
It was set in motion for my mother by a flyer, stuck under the windshield wiper of the car we lived in since being evicted. It said, ‘Take home living wages guaranteed!’ ‘Living accommodations guaranteed!’ ‘Easy interviews!’ ‘Start your new future today!’ and it had the website to apply. When the public library opened first thing in the morning, she applied and waited for a response. Two days later she received a robocall, which gave her an interview time, an access code, a unit number, and told her to go almost 200 miles to an address in a town we’ve never been to before. In the face of such a caveat for something that seemed too good to be true, we had nothing else to lose so she chose to pursue it.
Other than bathroom breaks, changing out our flat tire with a spare, and buying gas with what little money we had left, she didn’t stop until we reached our destination; a large migrant community, with nice simple homes made from shipping containers, and each lot having two or three units stacked on top of one another. She tried the access code on the unit she was assigned, and it worked. The next day, she went to her interview for a position at a local warehouse and came back, not only with a new job, but with a full-day’s pay in her purse just from getting hired. I remembered she shed tears of joy that day. The car broke down for good when we were going to eat out that night, but we were so filled with joy we walked to an eatery, and we ate well that night.
The night after, my mother came home, we ate dinner, and relaxed until she received a robocall to come to the community center. She sent me to bed before she left. When I woke up in the morning, she was sitting beside me on my bed, still dressed in clothing from yesterday. My mother didn’t seem too sure of herself at first but seemed to gain comfort and confidence as she proceeded to tell me about what happened last night. About how she was asked to become a volunteer for a secret project that we had to keep to ourselves. How she and many others were loaded onto buses and driven to a factory in a neighboring town. It was there, after being led down through underground passageways beneath the factory, they were brought into a grand spaceship. Why? To aid greater beings not of our world, who needed help getting out of a bad situation. I remembered what she said to me, she said, “We were drowning, and we were saved. Now it is our turn to save others, no matter how big or small. In the end, we will all be there for each other in salvation.”
Salvation. Deliverance. Be it from destruction or failure, difficulty or danger.
My mother and I weren’t the only ones in the community feeling the effects of salvation. The abused, unappreciated, displaced, misfits, burnouts, those hiding from their past, those seeking new fortunes, and those seeking new futures for themselves or for their loved ones. Everyone worked during the day, and at night either volunteered their time at the factory or enjoyed time off. When time off was taken, not many chose to be off for more than two nights in a row, without feeling coerced to do so no less. That tells you something. After being long absent from our lives, we finally felt happiness.
It would continue like that for a few weeks after the two of us arrived at the community, until that night when we were raided by a group of locals. That night, eight of our people lost their lives from that single sad instance of senseless violence. The next morning, eleven units were left abandoned by those who fled out of fear. It was the worst attack on our community at that point.
What drove the hatred against us migrants? Jealousy? Superstition? Bigotry? Plain sadism? It wasn’t the first attack that we all endured, but it would be one of the last.