The afternoon of the next day, Peter and Michelle were in their apartment across the road from the gym in the basement of which they’d attended the meeting with Lenny and George.
They went into the living room. “Let’s see what’s on the news,” Michelle said, reaching for the remote and sitting next to Peter on the sofa. “After what Lenny said about heightened military presences in South America, I’m a little worried. They might know about the carriers in the military base on the other side of town.”
She turned on the TV and switched it to CNN. President Price was in the middle of another press conference.
“So, the status in Africa has still shown no signs of improvement?” a reporter asked her.
“I wish I could say we have seen such signs, but sadly, no,” Price said. “Our attempts to wipe out the alien menace in Africa have been, to be perfectly blunt, frustrating. We manage to kill so many of them, yet thousands of those little lights rise up to take their places.”
“Making friends with them, of course, is out of the question,” Peter said.
Michelle frowned at him, wishing he’d remain quiet during the press conference.
“What’s worse, there are more and more reports that the aliens are being spotted taking over populations in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Just yesterday afternoon, an administrative clerk in a base in Venezuela suddenly went missing, though he was known to have arrived for work that morning. There was no reason for him to disappear, so already there are suspicions that that base has been compromised. We may have to send troops there to confront the alien menace.”
“Oh, my God,” Michelle said. “Could that be the same base here, the one Lenny was talking about last night?”
“Could be,” Peter said.
“If our suspicions about all these reports are true,” Price said, “I must stress that the international community will not and cannot tolerate this growing threat to our interests.”
“Of course not,” Peter said. “If the Bolshivarians keep on taking control of everything, the ‘international community’ can no longer make money from all the oil it sucks out of Venezuela.”
“Shh!” Michelle said. “We’ve gotta listen.”
“Defeating this menace, I’m afraid, will require more radical, sweeping action than what we’ve used up to this point,” Price said.
“You’ve said ‘radical’ and ‘sweeping’ a number of times over the past year, Madame President,” another reporter said. “But you never elaborate on that. What exactly might these ‘radical’ and ‘sweeping’ measures entail? How much longer are we going to hear that they are classified?”
“Well,” Price began with a sigh and a pause, “I’m not saying we’re going to use nuclear weapons…”
“Oh, my God!” Michelle gasped.
“…but that option is not being ruled out any more,” the president went on. “If, and I do mean if, it is ever considered, I assure the world that it will be only as a last resort…and an extremely last resort at that…”
“It’s extreme, all right,” Peter said with a sneer.
“…one I’d be loathe to have to use,” Price went on, “but one we can no longer dismiss as a possible solution.”
“You bitch,” Peter hissed.
“Could we dismiss you as a possible solution, Madame President?” Michelle said.