After the Apocalypse
Chapter 62: The Waiting Game

by Mark Bollman--> and Steve Donohue

"Secretary Arkwright?" asked the voice outside her door.

"Yes," she replied groggily, leaning over to see that it was 5:30 am.

"We've managed to make radio contact."

"What?! You have! Just a moment!"

She leapt from her bed and pulled on a terry cloth robe and tied it. She was eager to hear more about this news and didn't want to bother standing on ceremony. She threw open the door and saw Anu'ala'a, Metcalf, and McCormick waiting for her, along with another policeman she didn't recognize.

"Is it that same transmission we picked up before?"

"No, it's not even US based. We were unable to reply, but the transmission was from Australia. It appears that they've had little, if any, collateral damage there." said Metcalf.

"Well that's good news, maybe things aren't as bad as we feared."

"The broadcast was on their emergency band. It related what their government knew about the war."

"The war? When did this get to be a war?"

"Based on what the Aussies are reporting, it certainly sounds like a war. Their intelligence suggests that the US and Russia suffered the most severe damage, but that most other industrialized nations have experienced varying levels of attack. They reported massive damage throughout most of Asia, North America and Europe, with less damage in South America and Africa."

"Not too surprising. Anything else?"

"Not so far, although we aren't quite sure how they gathered information for their report. As you know, our own satellite network appears to have been destroyed as part of the attack, it seems likely there's would have been destroyed as well."

"Maybe there's just interference of some kind and they've managed to get past it."

"It's possible, but unlikely, Dr. Chen has some of the university astronomers looking into it."

"Astronomers," asked Arkwright, not too sure how a bunch of stargazers were going to restore satellite communications.

"Well, they can at least see if they're out there," replied McCormick.

Arkwright sighed. "Have we had any luck picking up any US based transmissions?"

"No ma'am," replied Metcalf, attempting to take control of the situation. He didn't know much about Arkwright, but it was clear her military acumen wasn't up to speed. He didn't like McCormick either - the professor didn't seem to realize the level of the threat they were facing. "I believe we should dispatch some planes to further evaluate our risks and to attempt to identify potential targets."

"Targets?"

"Yes ma'am. I know you don't have a military adviser currently, but I believe we need to secure our future by neutralizing any remaining Russian threats. Until we do that, the United States remains at risk."

"I don't see how anyone, Russian or not, could want to fire another nuclear weapon. We've pretty much destroyed ourselves already."

"That's true," chimed in McCormick. "Maybe we could use one of those 'eye in the sky' planes to gather some intelligence on survivors. If they can't get a signal to us, maybe we need to move our receivers closer."

"Hmm. Let me grab a cup of coffee and a shower while I make a decision. I'll be in the conference room in half an hour. I'd like you two there along with Chen and anyone else you feel might have useful input on this situation."

"Yes ma'am", replied Metcalf.

The acting president went back into her room to shower and dress while McCormick and Metcalf headed down to the conference room. Anu'ala'a and his partner continued their guard duty outside the door, stunned by the revelation that the world as they'd known it was probably over, but determined to keep their new president safe.

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