-I don’t like this.
-There’s nothing to like.
-You just need to do what I tell you, Tommy.
-But this can’t possibly be real. It’s got to be something else. Some drill.
-Honey, there’s not a lot of time. You need to pick up Connie at school and keep driving north. If you leave right now, and I mean right now, you two should get to the cabin in five hours, four and a half if you push it. You’ll be well ahead of everyone. If we’re lucky, really lucky, the story won’t break ‘til you’re nearly halfway there.
-I mean, how can this happen? Everything just…it can’t.
-It’s real, Tommy.
-Yeah, but stuff like this only happens—
-In movies, I know. Listen, take the cash from the safe in the bedroom closet. There should be a little over two thousand in there and take the coins your Dad left you. Take all of our papers, yours and Connie’s passports too. There are two box stores just over the Pennsylvania border. Grab what you can, but be quick. Think durable and long term. Cans. Powders. Proteins. Stuff for Connie. Medicine. Don’t get distracted. If something happens, and they’re not taking credit just go. Get out of there.
-And stay focused.
-I am focused.
-I mean it, Tommy. Don’t get rattled and end up in an accident in the parking lot with some jerk.
-What do I tell Connie?
-Say we’re going camping.
-Jesus, Tommy, she’s six. The fuck else do you want me to tell you to say?
-But what about your folks? Have you called them?
-Nothing can be done for my parents at this point.
-What do you mean, nothing?
-Baby, we’re trying, but it’s…complicated. Not only that, but it’s about to get out of control. Thirty minutes ago the Joint Chiefs were walking around the White House with sidearms for fucksake. Where Mom and Dad are, even if they could get out, the scope assessments aren’t like anything we’ve seen. My God, the prevailing weather patterns….
-So then I guess there’s nothing to be done about my sister either, huh?
-It’s three in the morning over there, Tommy. Jesus Christ, when the media gets ahold of this we’re going to commence full blackout protocols, just think about that for a second. Do you want your sister’s last moments alive to be of blind terror? Confusion?
-Jen, God. No.
-I’m sorry, but—hang on a sec. What’s that? Now? Fuck. Okay, I’ll be right there. Tommy, baby, I’ve got to go.
-After you get to Pennsylvania, use back roads as much as you can. When the satellites go, when there’s no cell service or Internet, people will start sensing the confusion is top down, and panic. National Guard, the state cops, they’ll do what they can, but fully coordinated EAP mobilization will be haphazard at best. Just get to the cabin.
-Who else knows?
-Right now? We’re trying to contain, but the big three. A third of NATO. The fucking Brazilians for some reason, if you can believe that shit.
-What about water?
-Taken care of. I doubled up the stores down in the cabin’s shelter back in July. You took Connie to the fair and went canoeing, remember?
-There’s a shelter?
-Pull out the fridge. The combination is our anniversary. The door will pop. You go down there and you’ll see everything. Two months worth of everything we need. Airlock is the same combo. Remember when I showed you how to load a shotgun?
-Tommy? Tommy, you still there?
-We’re already at Andrews. I’ve a spot on Hercules heading to an airbase outside of Harrisburg, and they’re taking off in five mikes. At Harrisburg, I’ve been promised a car. I’ll see you as soon as I can.
-Baby, listen to me. You did the program when I was at State and ONI. You’ve got this. A level head prevails. Keep Connie close.
-I love you, Jen.
-I love you too.