Press the red button!

“Sir, I think you should look outside.”

Jeffrey Marcussen looked up from his computer screen, eyes shifting towards the speakerphone on his desk. A finger was raised to tap a button on the slim machine, sending his voice into the foyer outside his door, where a young Russian-American woman sat as his secretary.

“What now, Anna?” he asked, using the short form of her full name, Anastasia; she preferred it that way.

“Just spin your chair and take a look,” she replied.

With a soft sigh he complied, heaving himself upwards out of his plush desk chair. He groaned a little: obviously he had been sitting for far longer than he remembered. As he turned to make towards the window, his eyes crossed over the largest unbroken wall in the office where two flags hung: the reds, whites, and blues of Russian and the United States of America.

Jeffrey allowed himself a brief smile, happy with the peace that had fallen between the two superpowers. It had made his job easier by a noticeable mark, with only the occasional protest outside the Embassy to cause minor concern.

His brow furrowed, though, as he looked out the window of his office.

The scene was still, serene. White clouds floated in a blue sky behind the skyscrapers of Moscow’s core. In fact, those crawling clouds were the only thing moving outside the window.

The ambassador took a few more slow steps towards the window, unsure of what to think. No traffic flowed down below on the Sadovoye Ring, which encircled the very middle of Moscow. A prolonged glance up and down the massive eight lane highway revealed no vehicles, not even stopped ones.

“Sir, you have a call from Washington,” Anna’s voice said from the speaker at the desk behind Jeffrey.

“Washington?” the man whispered under his breath, turning slowly to answer the phone. His hand reached for the receiver, but stopped directly above it. Instead, his finger tapped another button, directing the call into the speakerphone instead.

“Jeffrey Marcussen speaking,” he stated, the phrase rehearsed.

There was a pause, a moment of silence while Jeffrey moved back to the window.

“Ambassador Marcussen, I have some dire news,” the voice from Washington called. It was the President.

“Mr President, I–” Jeffrey stumbled for words as movements on the Sadovoye Ring caught his attention.

“We’re at war with Russia, and I fear you will be shortly losing your life.”

The proclamation went unheard, as Jeffrey had his senses fixed on the lines of soldiers streaming down the street, their destination the American Embassy.

The End

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