Category: 03. Aftershock or Invasion or WTF?

On the Road Again

Dear Planet Earth,

And we’re off. Diana and I are heading outside the city to check out the strange object that appeared after the quake. We scored the keys to a decent pickup (it’s no Ferrari, but beggars can’t be choosers in the pre-post-apocalyptic world), and I even found a new netbook with working broadband wireless capabilities so we can access the Internet on the road. Finding power sources to recharge it might be a problem though.

Something weird happened as we left the Strip. There was a big group of homeless people holding those signs that read, “The end is here! All upworlders will die!”

Diana, who apparently has the bigger cajones between the two of us, pulled over and asked one of them what their message meant. He laughed in our faces. He laughed so hard he started coughing violently, and when he was finished, he smiled with the few teeth he had left and said, “You’ll see, kids. You’ll all see very soon.” When she asked if he or any of the others wanted a ride to see the spaceship, his face quickly changed and he gave us a stern warning not to go anywhere near it. Cue The Twilight Zone music.

Diana

Dear Planet Earth,

I think I’m in love. Some say opposites attract, some say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I say full scale invasions of our planet lead to strong, monogamous relationships.

Diana works at the front desk here at the Bellagio. Or at least she’s pretending to. She was a sophomore at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) until the tremors hit and they decided to cancel classes indefinitely. With nothing to do, my ambitious amour decided to fulfill her lifelong dream of working at one of the ritziest hotels in Las Vegas. She hired herself since most of the staff had already abandoned their lives here to flee west. This is pretty much how I and, according to Diana, countless other young vagabonds scored free hotel rooms (though strangely enough, not a single homeless person has tried).

But I’m getting off point here. The point is I’m in love. Diana Sunday is smart, funny, and has tits the size of my id. She’s everything I’ve imagined college girls to be. Even her name sounds cultured, right out of a James Bond film.

We’ve spent the past two days together and tomorrow we’re planning to trek outside the city to investigate that strange object I took a picture of the other day. She’s betting me $500 in spa credit that it’s an alien spaceship, but I’m starting to lean towards something more terroristy. This isn’t exactly how I pictured my first date with a girl would be.

Viva

Dear Planet Earth,

Greetings from my new digs, room 21014 of the luxurious Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Sneaking into one of the Strip’s most high-end resorts is really only one immoral step above looting a supermarket and other petty crimes (or it would be if the words “petty” and “crime” had the same meaning they had one month ago). In our pre-post-apocalyptic world, stealing a hotel room is just as easy as picking up one of the many room cards from the lobby floor, where countless tourists hastily discarded them in their rush to flee whatever it is we’re supposed to be fleeing.

You’d never know that people are freaking out about an invasion while inside this fully-furnished-room-service-included bubble. The electricity, water shows, and spa are all up and running; the front desk even still has a cute girl who doesn’t seem to mind freeloading teenage boys milking global catastrophes for everything they’re worth.

And you can stay this happy and stupid as long as you don’t look out your window.

The dust is still everywhere from the quake and it’s crazy to see not a single car on a stretch of road internationally famous for having bumper to bumper traffic 24 hours a day. The real mystery of this picture is whatever that object is between Planet Hollywood and Paris. It looks to be about two miles away from the strip and it is definitely not any building I’ve seen in the city before. My crummy camera phone doesn’t project the whole alien spaceship vibe I get when looking at the real thing.

Whatever. I’m still giddy, I’m on a high. I feel like I could steal a Ferrari.

I Left My Heart in Aisle Four

Dear Planet Earth,

I took part in my very first looting today. It seemed as good a time as any, what with the whole world under attack from hackers, terrorists, communists, or aliens.

I’ve never stolen anything in my life, and so I figured I might have some reservations about taking part in a massive collective heist. Not so. It turns out, breaking the eighth commandment is incredibly easy to learn, especially when you’re surrounded by hundreds of other rational-minded people focused solely on gathering supplies for their and their loved ones’ basic survival.

The stock at Alberston’s on Flamingo Road was still surprisingly full when I got there. I was able to make out with a hefty supply of oatmeal, Pop-Tarts, and even a copy of my favorite book. I was surprised at how civil and normal the whole scene seemed to me. My fellow looters and I gave each other understanding glances, even made small talk. I was reminded of how screwed up our situation really is when I left the store with my brimming shopping cart and saw this guy shouting some things that would have sounded crazy one month ago:

This in itself isn’t that unusual. Vegas has a significantly high homeless population. What really started The Twilight Zone theme music in my head was when I passed three other homeless people holding signs with the exact same message, “The end is here! All upworlders will die!” They stared at me and smiled sly smiles through gaps of missing teeth.

Needless to say, I didn’t offer them any money.

WTF

Dear Planet Earth,

Seriously — WTF?! If you’ve been on any website in the past 24 hours, you’ve undoubtedly seen this threatening message floating through cyberspace. Like the last two cryptic messages that posted themselves, this latest one has some characters written on a different keyboard layout. This time, however, the message switches from the foreign alphabet (Arabic) into the English one, and goes to great lengths to deride our civilization for ruining the planet, or “surface world.”

I’m tempted to once again just write these messages off as an elaborate hoax by Anonymous or Lulzsec or some other hacker group hoping to take advantage of our collective lack of communication. But then there’s the smaller, more pragmatic voice inside me that I never listen to, suggesting that this may actually be the real McCoy, our unknown villains with the power to create earthquakes and worldwide media blackouts. Thank God I don’t listen to that voice.

فقشىسةهسسهىخفاقث YOU CANNOT ESCAPE

يثشق حثخحمث خب ثشقفاو

ثىلمهسا نثغلاشخقي حقخلقشة هىسفشممثي لاثللهىل فقشىسةهسسهخىز YOU CANNOT ESCAPE. YOUR ARCHAIC FORMS OF COMMUNICATION ARE UNDER OUR CONTROL. YOUR SEVEN UPPER CONTINENTS ARE UNDER OUR CONTROL. FOR TOO LONG WE HAVE CEDED COMMAND OF THE CRUST TO YOUR KIND. YOU HAVE ABUSED YOUR POWER OF THE SURFACE WORD AND DEPLETED THE PLANET’S RESOURCES TO A POINT BEYOND REPAIR. WE HAVE OBSERVED AND ALLOWED THESE INDISCRETIONS FOR FAR TOO LONG. YOUR CARELESSNESS AND IRRESPONSIBILITY HAS FORCED US TO RECLAIM THE CRUST FOR OURSELVES, ITS ONLY RIGHTEOUS PROTECTORS. SUBMIT TO US, AND YOUR FLAWED LIVES MAY BE GRACIOUSLY SPARED. RESIST, AND PREPARE TO FACE THE FULL WRATH OF THE MIGHTY ةخمث حثخحمث! ثىي فقشىسةخسسهخىز

Liberty

Dear Planet Earth,

I had to get away from the house — every house, really. They’re nothing but constant reminders of normal, domestic lives filled with schools, jobs, and families. They’re a stark realization that I may never again have what I never really wanted.

I walked down to the Strip again to see if there was anything new. It’s strange to think a place that once  symbolized every sinful, unrestrained impulse of America has now become my source for world news. I met a guy who said he was coming from Missouri with his family to escape the earthquakes they were having there. The last words he heard from his radio said that similar quakes were occurring all along the East Coast and that FEMA was starting evacuation measures. I don’t know if I really believe his story — or if I want to believe his story.

I heard other people too, with less reliable information. One girl swore she saw a swarm of UFOs in the sky the night before the tremors started. Another man claimed he saw a news report about the Russians starting a controversial military exercise before every TV channel went off the air.

Before I left, I stopped by the New York-New York again, which undoubtedly got hit the hardest during the shakes. It was still insanely dusty, but I was relieved to see that a little bit of order had been restored. Two weeks ago, I would have been suspicious seeing a cop walking around and asking if everyone was all right, but today it really brought me a sense of peace. For a second, I started to think that everything just might be okay as long as we stick together and help our fellow man. I snapped this:

And it just took a second.