Dear Planet Earth,
We lost power for three days. Maybe you all did too. We behaved as calmly and civil as we could. We’ve gone without power before, but this sudden change in our living arrangements inspired some fear in all of us nonetheless. Whatever. It’s over now.
The first thing we saw when we checked the Internet was this message from the mole people. It’s been seven months since they left a message on the entirety (with few exceptions) of cyberspace. I’m tempted to delete it from the blog, but I also see it as a possible turning point. The fact that they sent this now after such a long silence has to mean they’re surprised, maybe even scared, of the resistance we’ve put up. At least that’s what we’re all telling ourselves.
It talks a lot about what the first message said. Your demise is inevitable. You ruined the planet. Join us or die. Blah blah blah blah. But now that I’ve read their sacred manifesto, a lot of this message makes a little more sense. A little more.
General Talpa asked to talk to me personally tonight, presumably to get my take on the message since I spent the most time with them. I honestly don’t know what I can tell him that he couldn’t figure out on his own.
Dear Planet Earth,
Our escape from LA drags on. Lieutenant Halston tells me it’s barren out there. The entire city seemed to just pick up and leave. They’re going to continue searching for at least a couple days more. Our group came to the consensus that we’d stay in places for no more than a week — any longer than that, and we’ll get lazy and vulnerable.
Mrs. Bing’s slowly improving, or so Maria tells me. They were in one of the suites for six hours together this afternoon. I sat outside the door with my laptop, trying to find any useful news online. Apparently, China tried to bomb one of mole people’s drills in Beijing back when they still had bombs and a military. It didn’t work.
The door opened suddenly and Maria emerged with her usual stoic face. She took a long, deep breath and didn’t seem to notice me sitting on the floor nearby.
“She needs rest.”
“She needs a straitjacket,” I said.
That got her to look at me. She gave me a hard stare, a glare really, filled with an intensity that usually only comes from a mother, not a potential girlfriend (as I’ve been laboriously working on).
“Maybe you’d need a straitjacket too, if your husband and two daughters had been killed in front of your very eyes. Maybe you’d try to off yourself when you realized that everything you’ve ever accomplished in your life was gone forever. Maybe you’d develop a fucking heart and realize that you’re not the only person in this crumbling mess of a world.”
She let that sink in, and I guess I did too.
I whispered, “Did she really try to kill herself?”
“She needs rest,” she said again. And she walked away.
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,
It was an uneventful couple of days if you don’t count the homeless army slowly amassing outside the base’s perimeter.
I’ve been spending a lot of time catching up on cartoons on YouTube. I’d been surprised that people weren’t uploading their own news reports about what going on, until someone here pointed out to me the now obvious fact that since the media blackout started, no one’s been able to upload any new content to the site. Regardless, YouTube remains an unfathomably large library of our culture to the point of October 23, 2011.
A couple hours ago I heard some screaming going on, and when I poked my head outside, I could see a group of soldiers forcing someone into my former interrogation cell. I caught Lieutenant Christiansen walking past and asked him what was up.
“We caught one,” he said. He let it sit like that, and gave me a smile and a wink before following the others into the tent.
“One.” It echoed in my head and formed a dozen different images I would have considered fiction before October 23, 2011.
It still echoes. I don’t whether to think they grabbed one of the homeless mercenaries or if there’s an actual living, breathing extraterrestrial 20 yards away from me right now.
Judging by how easy it was to get Christiansen to spill some beans, I’m sure I can get the full story from Eimer when I see him next. Until then, I still have plenty of cartoons to keep me busy.
Dear Planet Earth,
The honeymoon stage is over. Diana and I just had our first fight and it wasn’t pretty. The worst part is, she’s completely right. I haven’t taken any of this seriously, even when our very lives were in danger. I’ve been emotionally numb ever since the tremors stopped, and I probably lost all feeling after I lost Mom.
But these are desperate times. And when an unseen force causes global earthquakes and disrupts the entire flow of media — which in turn causes a homeless armed militia to hold you prisoner for days on end — every sob story is nothing but an excuse, a depressing distraction from the problems you need to conquer now.
I woke up today. I realized the only option I have left is bold action. Tomorrow we make our escape.
Dear Planet Earth,
Still no luck trying to escape from our homeless captors who are inconceivably armed like former disgraced government mercenaries. Diana and I’ve spent countless hours screaming, reassembling our phones, and flooding the Internet with pleas for help. The weird thing is, these people don’t seem to care about our sometimes blatant attempts to flee, as if they know all our effort will only make us more tired and hopeless. They’re even feeding us pretty well with, what I suspect to be, a menu straight from Denny’s.
It’s all very odd; it might even be romantic if there wasn’t that whole problem with the unwillingness and AK-47s. I came to the conclusion that these people don’t want to kill us, and I felt more confident about that this morning when one of them, possibly their leader, came into our motel room with a hearty breakfast.
“How are you doing this morning?” he asked.
Diana shot him the disgusted look she’s grown accustomed to here and said, “Does it matter?”
He laughed and took a slice of orange from her plate. “No, I guess it really doesn’t.”
The man unbolted the door and was about to leave when he turned back to look at me. “Hey, kid,” he said. “Your name’s Scott Panus, right?”
I quickly answered, “Yeah.” Now I wish I had said something biting and snotty like Diana did.
He nodded his head as he left and we could hear the rusty outside lock slide back into place.
I’ve been trying to think about what they could have seen in my backpack with my name on it. I’m coming up with zilch.