Dear Planet Earth,
I don’t know how to write this. I don’t know how to interpret it. But here goes.
General Talpa asked me to see him after the most recent cyber attack by our mole men invaders. I met him in the laundry room underneath the hotel. It was dark, only a few of the many fluorescent lights were on, giving each industrial sized washing machine a dim glow against its steel exterior.
“Mr. Panus,” Talpa said from the other side of the room. “Come.”
I was able to make out the unsettling scene as I approached. The general stood with four other soldiers flanking him on either side. They partly encircled a young man and woman on their knees. They were both blindfolded and had their hands and feet tied together.
“I need you to write about something, on your blog.” He pulled out a pistol from his holster. “We found these two playing with the fuse box last Wednesday. They cut the power to the hotel, and had a truck packed up with three children along with some rifles and grenades.”
He slowly circled the prisoners as they began to wail and affirm their innocence.
“I need you to write about how our resistance has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to humans selling out their own species. Tell your readers, tell the world, that these ‘homies,’ as you’ve decided to call them, are just as guilty and susceptible to our wrath as the invaders themselves.”
He pointed the pistol toward the man’s sweaty forehead.
He pointed the pistol toward the woman, whose piercing scream will follow me in every future nightmare.
“Write about that.”
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,
Just because practically the entire Internet has been under the control of mole people for the past three months doesn’t give me an excuse to ignore the lost power of social media. On the off chance that humanity does reclaim cyberspace someday, Beneath Average will be there waiting on Facebook and Twitter.
It might not be that far-fetched. A couple of weeks ago, when I was still able-bodied and touring with the boys of Fort Doomsday, one of the computer geeks was telling me that if he wasn’t so busy with other projects, he could put some time into figuring out what exactly’s blocking our access to major websites and how to stop it. He seemed pretty optimistic — all things considered — that we could someday hack our way around their hack and start communicating again in 140 characters.
Dear Planet Earth,
These army boys sure know how to keep a girl waiting. And then totally freak with her mind. A sleepless eighteen hours after our first encounter, General Talpa returned to my cell with another nerdy-looking guy who couldn’t be much older than me.
“Good morning, Mr. Panus.” I haven’t been able to tell morning from night since I got here. He could have already lied to me. “I have good news.”
I watched the younger soldier carefully flip through a stack of papers he brought with him. Talpa took my silence as a sign of acknowledgement.
“I believe you. I believe you actually are just an impulsive kid with bad luck.”
This was a relief, I guess. I still wasn’t sure what I was being accused of, and I was too tired to fire back at his “impulsive” comment.
“Okay,” I said.
“With that said, I have another question for you that might really help us.” He took the stack of papers from the other soldier and dropped it in my lap. “We started to pick up a radio signal two weeks ago. It was a faint message, and spoken in something that took us days to get even a rough idea of what was being broadcast.”
I looked at the top paper in front of me. Ofertt, Marcus. Ortega, Lindsey.
“They were names. Each one buried in a complex code beyond anything geeks like Brandon here could ever understand.” He smiled.
O’Toole, Patrick. O’Toole, Catherine. There were pages and pages of random names.
“My question, Mr. Panus, is if you have any idea what this means.” He put his thick index finger above the next name I read.
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.
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.
Dear Planet Earth,
I’m not sure if anyone can actually read this or not. Every major website is still offline since the cyber attack on Sunday. I was only able to access my blog after one of my friends showed me an easy way to hack in. The coding is apparently a lot more simple than most “real” news sites.
You can imagine my surprise when I found this message on my blog and every other page on the Internet. Like the last mysterious message that dominated cyberspace, this one is written with foreign characters (Korean), but it’s just one long string of nonsense. I assume that this message was likewise meant to be typed on a different keyboard layout.
The biggest news, of course, is the fact that there is no news. Every television and radio station is still broadcasting nothing but static and every GSM cell phone is now just a paperweight. It’s hard to tell if we’re in a state of emergency or not with so many spam messages going around. How/Could the government communicate to people in a situation like this? Are we in real danger or are we just not able to communicate the way we did twenty years ago?