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Cold War

Ike Lang stays awake at night wondering where all the aliens are. He graduated from the University of Iowa and lives in New York. This is his first published story.
The broadcast was painfully brief considering the weight of it all.
"Citizens of earth," the address began, crackling into existence unprompted across all of your screens.
The nature of the interruption was clarified further as the archaic footage fizzled down into recognizable shapes. The speaker was an elderly man with white hair and grizzled features. He was dressed in full military attire, with a block of medals and insignias adorning his chest that were shifting slightly as he did. He was flanked by four other men in similar dress, two on either side, though the colors and patterns of their uniforms varied. They stared blankly ahead as the man spoke.
"In early February, 1945, our scientists picked up an incredibly dense object traveling at near light speed on a trajectory that would take it through our solar system."
The man spoke with a regional accent common within the southern United States. There was little emotion in his cadence. Yet a self-assured confidence seemed to seep through.
"Our boys determined this to be a micro black hole, and further determined that there was a high likelihood that this object would perturb the orbit of the earth in such a way as to send it into the outer reaches of the solar system. In some scenarios our planet might even reach escape velocity, though the possibility is remote."
The man shifted slightly.
"Now, I'm gonna be frank here," the man said, breaking from his earlier rehearsed formality. "If you're seeing this broadcast, the situation isn't good."
Through the grainy footage, the ghost of a smile seemed to appear on his lips, yet it was indistinguishable upon closer inspection.
"That being said, we haven't just been sitting on our hands this whole time. The United States and the USSR have been working tirelessly since the moment of discovery to make sure that the end of Earth won't mean the end of the human race. To this end, certain ideological differences may have been... exaggerated to provide the appropriate pretext for the massive spending such an undertaking entails."
The man stiffened.
"Through the cooperation of our great nations we managed to pull off the greatest escape of human history. By the time you see this we will be well out of harm's way, with enough healthy humans aboard to survive the journey to our new home. There we will begin again, building a new promised land free from war and want."
The light coming in through your window weakened. The sun which had been streaming through eight minutes ago seemed to grow smaller and smaller.
"We apologize for concealing this from you; we wanted your remaining years to be spent in optimistic prosperity rather than in fruitless fear. We want you to know your efforts have never been futile, your struggles have never been in vain, your sacrifices have never been for nothing, and your lives will never be forgotten."
The man paused, a hint of emotion having crept into his speech. When he spoke again his voice had regained its strength and composure.
"The war was never lost. We have all emerged victorious. God bless you, and God bless humanity."
The men all saluted in unison as Nearer My God to Thee swelled softly in the background.
It was nice of them to let us know, you think as you watch the sun rise and set and rise again, each time providing less and less illumination.
You feel cold.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, December 7th, 2020
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