Dear Planet Earth,
It’s been a seemingly unending series of ups and downs, battles that would determine the outcome of the entire world, and the ever-present threat of dying, unremembered and unmourned at any second. Yet this small, precious achievement is clear — we are free.
I awoke last week to the sound of distant explosions that became louder and louder with each successive blast. The ground shook and instantly made me think of earthquakes as I fell from my bed. I rubbed the newest bump on my head and corrected myself. Mortars.
I ran to the window of my cell door, desperate for any clue of what was going on. It was a long wait, repeatedly looking up and down the musty hallway populated only by rats and my own echoing pleas. An answer finally came half an hour later with the drumming of footsteps and someone shouting, “Hello? Anyone here?”
“Here!” I screamed. “I’m in here!”
I could feel tears and a smile starting to form; I tried my best to stop them in case this was all some cruel joke the mole people had orchestrated. The man came closer.
“Just you down here?”
“I think so,” I said, straining my neck to see who my savior was. “Karter?”
He looked starved and dirty. His hallowed cheeks and sunburned skin told me he had been put to work on the labor camp as I feared.
“Scotty-boy? Thought you were dead.”
I was about to ask him about Maria, and Rachel, and a hundred other people who I really didn’t want to know the fates of.
“No key, huh?” he said after quickly examining the door. He reached behind his back for something small. “My last one. Hope you’re worth it.”
He placed the unpinned grenade in front of the door and bounded away. I did the same.
Then I lost my hearing.
Dear Planet Earth,
We’re still playing cat and mouse. We’ve been playing (and losing) for the past five days. The nine of us left.
It started when we felt some tremors from below. Our first thoughts went to the October earthquakes that heralded the entrance of the mole people’s massive drills. They got more and more intense the closer we got to a city named Apple Valley. (I dare you to try to think of a city that sounds safer and more unassuming than “Apple Valley.”)
Just as we reached some decaying factory at the city limits and got out of the trucks to search for supplies, the ground broke apart and the monstrous behemoth drill snake appeared. Women screamed. Soldiers screamed. Shit, I probably screamed. I was face to nightmarish face with a weapon I could never hope to comprehend. My years and years of dutiful study of alien invasion movies hadn’t prepared me in the least for interacting with this very real — and very fast approaching — threat.
We sprinted back to the trucks. I lost my cane somewhere. I didn’t care — I couldn’t care. I could hear the vibrating hum from the drill grow louder and louder as the ground tossed me up and down and backwards. The serene, albeit decrepit, scene I had walked past only minutes earlier was now transformed into a full-fledged war zone. Bricks crumpled like Legos on all sides of me. Cars exploded in swift yellow clouds, the heat and smoke determined to engulf me. And all the while, the unforgiving earth was steadily pulling me back towards the torturous death machine.
I don’t know how I made it onto the truck. I don’t know how we starting camping out in this mall. I don’t know how we keep putting off the inevitable.
Dear Planet Earth,
Here it is — the official timeline of events from October 7 to right now. It’s a little long and chaotic, but I guess that just fits the theme of everything lately. I tried to make it as detailed as possible without focusing too much on me, but there’s still so little we know about the events that have been happening outside of Nevada. Please add any other information you might have in the comments below.
October 7, 2011 — The first major earthquakes occur in Uganda. We know now these quakes were caused by the enormous drills making their long treks up to the surface.
October 16, 2011 — The mole people hack the entirety of cyberspace for the first time with a message that initially looked like gibberish using Cyrillic characters. The loss of communication with Uganda planted the first seeds of worldwide panic.
October 20, 2011 — CNN sends in an army of reporters to document the situation in Uganda. The video stream abruptly ends the next day after images of explosions flood the screens, presumably from the mole men’s first attack on humanity.
October 23, 2011 — Another hack and another message arrive. This message, typed with Korean characters, heralded the beginning of the media blackout that continues to this day.
October 26, 2011 — The earthquakes begin in Las Vegas. It takes a full six days for them to stop and reveal their source — another drill.
November 1, 2011 — Twitter and YouTube come back online with limited functionality. Although the tremors have stopped, they’ve caused irreparable damage to the people and infrastructure of the entire country.
November 5, 2011 — The mole men release their first message with English characters. They demand utter subservience as our future masters, claiming we’ve ruined our chance of ruling the upper crust by destroying the environment.
November 11, 2011 — New York City is swiftly attacked and defeated by the mole people.
November 12, 2011 — I am kidnapped by a group of heavily armed homeless people. It is now thought that the homeless have been secret spies for the mole people for countless generations.
November 15, 2011 — Miami and Washington, D.C. are both attacked and defeated by the mole people.
November 22, 2011 — I am arrested and interrogated by an army battalion under the command of General Talpa. They release me after determining I’m not a threat, though I’m told my name was among thousands being broadcast by the drills.
December 6, 2011 — Atlanta is attacked and defeated by the mole people.
December 7, 2011 — A large group of homeless people begin to gather around the Las Vegas drill. Chicago is attacked and defeated by the mole people.
December 18, 2011 — I make contact with a homeless woman who makes me think I’m more connected to the enemy than I’d like.
December 21, 2011 — The Las Vegas drill begins to vibrate and open. The mole men attack and our battalion is forced to retreat the city. This was the first time we actually had a face and a name for our enemy (which I coined).
December 25, 2011 — General Talpa’s remaining troops regroup with another battalion just outside the Clark County basin.
December 29, 2011 — We continue west, but are ambushed by mole people near a public high school. A number of civilians taking refuge in the high school flee with us toward Creech Air Force Base.
December 30, 2011 — We arrive at Creech Air Force Base, but it is already in shambles. Our battalion plans a major offensive against an approaching force of mole people.
January 1, 2012 — Our forces are severely beaten in battle and forced to retreat. I am shot in the leg by a strange weapon that seems to have no bullets.
January 4, 2012 — Phoenix is attacked and defeated by the mole people.
January 10, 2012 — We arrive at St. Mark’s Hospital to regroup and treat our wounded, me among them.
January 13, 2012 — General Talpa’s battalion heads out once again to look for survivors and build a resistance.
January 25, 2012 — The troops raid a camp of mole men and secure the first known victory against them.
February 8, 2012 — The hospital is attacked by a small group of mole men shortly after the troops return.
Dear Planet Earth,
The sky’s unusually clear today and the dust from the quakes is finally starting to settle, which gave me the perfect opportunity to examine the mysterious object that people here are calling “the drill.” It’s easy to see why when you’re this close. This is nothing like the alien spaceships Steven Spielberg promised us.
Dr. Eimer says the mountain surrounding it is entirely new and it continues to grow a little more each day. This thing is coming out of the ground, and when it’s done, we’re done. Or at least that’s the theory I’m flying with.
The R&D department is supposedly planning on getting closer to it with all kinds of fancy equipment that your average Joe Taxpayer could never dream of. I’m not regretting my decision to stay here, but I am reaching a whole new level of anxiety that I thought I already passed. This drill is poking its way up to the surface of my psyche, constantly citing my own mortality.
Dear Planet Earth,
If this blogging thing doesn’t work out as a life-long (now estimated to be two more weeks) career, I may look into becoming a professional freeloader.
Today at Fort Doomsday, an old guy with no eyebrows caught me trying to steal some power for my netbook and phone. I tried to pretend I was just another soldier, but he saw right through it and laughed. He invited me back to his tent for drinks.
Now, I’m not stupid. I’ve seen enough Dateline specials about the Neverland Ranch to know you’re not supposed to go to dark secluded places with strangers to get drunk. But there was something in his eyes, something stern but paternal, that told me I could trust this guy. That sounds really stupid and Dateliney now that I see it written down.
Whatever. It turns out, he’s actually a very cool guy. Dr. Eimer is the head of the civilian consultants here. He’s also the only civilian consultant. When I tried to press him further and find out exactly what he does, he laughed.
“I’m a historian,” he said.
He poured me another glass of whiskey and asked what I do. It was strong stuff — my first alcoholic drink that I couldn’t associate a TV commercial with.
“I guess I’m a historian, too.”
That made him laugh again, but the conversation took a much darker turn soon after when he told me about how his wife died during the earthquakes. I told him about Diana, which started our sharing of condolences and philosophies of life, death, and the universe. I think we may have tried to drunk dial the Pentagon at one point.
To make a long story short, I’m keeping him company in exchange for food, showers, and whiskey. Even MJ never offered whiskey.
Dear Planet Earth,
Old habits die hard, and apparently my habit is getting easily kidnapped. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad and terrifying.
I made it to the giant cone late last night, assault rifles in hand and vengeance on the mind. I followed the swarm of other cars heading there, at least three of which had bumper stickers that read, “My other car is the Millennium Falcon.” I could barely make out any of the features of the space ship/time machine/zombie containment device in the moonless night, and the dust from the quake was still out in full force.
Our caravan eventually hit a perimeter of numerous gates topped with barbed wire. We followed these around to a single entrance, where it looked like people were getting turned away by a detachment of military personnel. I waited in the Hummer for a few hours, listening to radio static and trying to think of a clever witticism to say when I finally had my revenge on those I deemed responsible for Diana’s death.
“Give my regards to Hitler, dirtbag!”
“Suck my Glock, motherfucker!”
I stared at the flashlight outside my window — and the heavily armored young soldier behind it — in confused terror. “What?”
“Can we see some ID, sir?”
I came back to reality some moments later and slowly handed him my learner’s permit. He gave me a similar look of confusion after inspecting it.
“How did you get a hold of this vehicle, sir?”
I laughed. “I stole it from a homeless guy.”
Apparently those were the magic words, because two minutes later I found myself thrown face down in the sand surrounded by the cast of Battle: Los Angeles. One of them screamed, “Are you Scott Arthur Panus?” over and over, and when I said yes, they put a bag over my head and brought me to this canvas tent cell.
It would be funny.
Dear Planet Earth,
I said goodbye to Diana today. I propped her up against a tree and said a few words about her out loud. I wept like a baby. I tried to remember everything she ever said to me, what defined her as a human being and how she became an important part of my life in ten short days.
When she was really starting to go yesterday, Diana said she was a fraud. She said her name wasn’t really Diana Sunday and she was never a student at UNLV. Phyllis O’Conner was just another deadbeat post-teen working at Blockbuster when the tremors started and she realized she could make herself whoever she wanted. She was sorry, she said. She said I didn’t have to blame myself for her death because she never really existed.
But things are never that easy.
I’m heading toward the mysterious object outside the city, just like Diana and I planned to do last week. Judging by the number of cars on the road, I’m not the only one.
The dust is starting to clear around it, showing some very weird features. I don’t know if this is a satellite, an alien spaceship, or even a time machine. I only know that whatever it is, it’s inextricably linked to these crazy phenomena all across the globe and those homeless people were willing to kill to keep us from it.
I checked the back of the Hummer today and found it filled with assault rifles, body armor, hand grenades, and plastic explosives. I’m a grieving, hormone-filled teen with murder on the mind. Those bastards better hope I run out of gas.