“Friends, brothers, and sisters, thanks for attending tonight’s meeting,” Lenny Van der Meer said to all the carriers and sympathizers sitting in attendance, including Peter, Michelle, Tory, and Karen. They were in the spacious basement of a gym on the opposite side of town from that military base, on the night of the same day as the incident with Miller. “Before I begin our discussion of our recent progress, I’d like to introduce my second-in-command.” Lenny gestured to a large man with short brown hair and a moustache. “This is George Villiers-Joseph, who in the event of my death will be your new leader. Trust him as you would trust me.”
George stood up, and everyone clapped for him. Michelle clapped enthusiastically with the carriers and most of the non-carrying sympathizers in attendance; Peter, Tory, and Karen clapped politely, but not so enthusiastically. George sat down.
“Now, let’s begin,” Lenny said. “As you know, our plan has been to take control of South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia, but far more surreptitiously than had been the case with Africa, which was taken almost in a panic, upon the world learning of our presence as extraterrestrials rather than as a virus. If only we hadn’t taken Africa in such a rushed, clumsy way, we might have avoided the war that’s been going on there for the past year, and prevented so many deaths on our side.”
At one point, Michelle’s eyes drifted over to Karen, who seemed distracted. Instead of listening to Lenny, she was watching his bodyguards. Michelle furrowed her brow, then turned her eyes back to him.
“Much progress has been made,” Lenny continued. “We’ve made inroads in controlling the Exxon-Mobil base on the other side of this city earlier today. We’ve become better able to stop and reverse flooding in many parts of South America. We’re controlling the wildfires at the edges of the rainforest and on the savannahs without arousing suspicion among the UCSA and NATO militaries. But mistakes have been made elsewhere on the continent. A heightened military presence in Quito, in the form of the Chiquita Brands International armed forces, in Santiago’s Codelco military branch, the military division in Buenos Aires’s British American Tobacco, and Tesla’s military in La Paz, have all been provoked by sloppy attempts by our comrades to pass on our Bolshivarian light to those in the city-state governments/corporations, and among some in their corporate militaries.”
Michelle looked over at Karen again. She still seemed to be interested more in Lenny’s bodyguards than in his words.
“This clumsiness, I’m sorry to say, has been the inevitable result of our Bolshivarian consciousness being merged with, no offence to our non-carrying sympathizers, the limitations of the human mind.”
“Oh, no offence taken,” Peter snorted. “Arrogant little glowing bastards. They’re so superior to us.”
“Well, aren’t they?” Michelle whispered. “If it weren’t for their medical superiority, we’d be dead in Luanda, wouldn’t we?”
Peter’s only reply was a scowl that acknowledged her point.
She then took a third look over at Karen, who was still watching the bodyguards while Tory was listening to Lenny with a grin of contentment. “Karen? What is it? Why are you always watching Lenny’s bodyguards?”
“Hmm?” Karen said in confused surprise at Michelle’s question. “Oh, I’m just worried that Lenny’s security might not be tight enough. He needs more men, I’d say.” She let out a little giggle.
“Oh,” Michelle said, then resumed listening to Lenny.
“Still, it would be unfair to blame all our flaws on the human brain; much of the fault of our mistakes is our own,” Lenny said. “We’re not perfect. We’re only Bolshivarian, after all.”
This got a few chuckles from the non-carrier listeners.
“Anyway,” Lenny went on, “we must keep aware of any new developments. Watch the news, as biased against us as the media is, and find online videos showing what we’re doing to help the people, where we’re succeeding and failing. We must be prepared to react to any new problems and challenges as they arise.”
Yes, Michelle thought. We need to know what that bitch Price is planning against us.
I really want to believe the Bolshivarians are sincere when they say they are working to help people here, Peter thought. Over the next few days, I’ll be looking for those online videos on my phone…if they exist.