It's been one hell of an afternoon. Part of me is honestly surprised I'm still alive at this point. Part of me doesn't care 'cause I still haven't been able to get in touch with my wife.
After my last post I got the earthquake emergency packs out of the closet, added every can of nuclear-yellow Campbell's chicken soup I could grab outta the cupboard and anything else that wasn't perishable, cranked the radio to one of the local news stations (the joint I used to work at, as a matter of fact - not surprisingly, all of the useless assholes in middle management have ditched and ran, leaving a handful of too-stupid-to-be-scared rookies and a couple of dedicated veterans to keep 'er on air. Good on ya, Tom!) and hunkered down in front of the net to try to find out what the hell is going on.
You all know it's pretty fuckin' bad out there.
Pitched battles all over the world by this afternoon - and in many cases, not battles so much as butchery. Seems these Martians - yes, I know they're probably not from Mars, but we've gotta call these interstellar assholes something, and Martians have traditionally been the shit-disturbers of SF, so I'm calling them Martians! - aren't invulnerable; the armour on their tripods is very tough stuff, but a couple of well-placed shots of high ordinance seems to be able to penetrate it. Problem is, most armies have only been able to get off a couple of shots from their tanks or artillery before the Martians barbeque them. The heat rays or whatever seem to be able to do a pretty effective job of cutting through armor and blowing crap up in a very short period of time, allowing them to take out multiple targets very quickly. Working in teams of 3 or 4, they're pretty much unstoppable. Missiles, planes and choppers get shot out of the air at great distances too. Some success with high-level carpet bombing, but then the Martians get wise and just blow the bombs out of the sky before they can get close enough. Ambush and quick withdrawal has had some success too. Word has it a couple of nukes were brought into play somewhere in Asia, and while they took out a couple of tripods, the smart bastards outside the initial drop zones that had time to see the missiles incoming just dug themselves in so they wouldn't sustain blast damage - their armour seems to have kept out the radiation (makes sense, seeing as how they have to have something to keep the heavy stuff out when they're crossing space).
But the Martians have got another trick up their sleeves: some kind of black, poison gas. Reports from the front lines have it that this stuff makes mustard gas look like a sunday school picnic. Oddly enough, the radio just now was saying water seems to render the gas harmless. It's raining here today. Must be some advantage to calling this place the Wet Coast after all.
All in all, the military's putting up one hell of a determined fight, but from the numbers coming in from the embedded guys (glad I never followed that career path when I was a reporter) that have actually made it out alive indicate we're losing. Like the man said, this is "the route of humanity."
Locally it's all going to hell too. Big explosions this afternoon nearby. I got antsy after a while and had some notion to try to go looking for my wife. Jumped on my bike and started heading north on the Shell Road Trail - good cover there - it's under a tunnel of trees. Like an idiot, I figured the Martian might have moved off from the field near Garden City so I deliberately went in that direction to try to avoid him. He hadn't. Lucky me, I got there just in time to see his three-legged ass get taken down. A bunch of reservists and vets had snuck into the armory and set up an old artillery piece (didn't know they kept anything in there except old supply trucks). Nailed him from behind and knocked him down. Problem was, he must've got out an SOS before they finally blew him up, 'cause another Martian came skipping over from the direction of Steveston and blew the whole place to hell. Pumped some of that black gas in there too - I was riding as hard as I could back towards home, but when I saw the initial cloud I thought that was it. But the rain had started by then and the gas just fell right down to the ground as black slush. I still got my tubby butt home as quick as I could though.
More time in front of the computer and the radio. The TV guys aren't filing much anymore. Must be in the wrong places at the wrong times. Radio's chance to shine again (like the guys from Queen sang in Radio Gaga - it had yet to have its finest hour - now's that hour).
Reports from around the Lower Mainland are strange - some civilian centres have taken heavy damage, but the Martians don't seem to be spending much time trying to destroy buildings or other local-level infrastructure. That would explain why we've still got power, phones and other utilities. But why? You'd think they'd want to shut it all down to keep us from talking to each other. Unless this is part of the plan - unless they're counting on us to do shit like what I'm doing now and stir up the panic factor so we're more able to manipulate somehow through our fear - like a herd of bison being steered towards a cliff or something.
Instead they've been taking out big transportation infrastructure... a group of 4 Martians spent the afternoon laying waste to the harbour in Vancouver and sinking ships. When they were done, one of them moved off north (to get the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal maybe? Or the Sea-to-Sky to cut off escape to Whistler?), one headed east and the other two started carving up the bridges. The Lions Gate Bridge is gone, as is the Cambie and the Granville. There's a report of another battle in the area: one of the Martians had set his sights on the old Burrard St Bridge and was taking his sweet time about it, leisurely blasting cars off the bridge deck. Another group of reservists and vets raided the old armoury in Kitsilano - same game played out as here in Richmond. They managed to take the sucker by surprise and blew him up. Unfortunately, they took the bridge out too. Anyone trapped Downtown is going to have along walk through the Downtown Eastside to get out and I don't know if that's better than facing the Martians. But the other tripod showed up and took out the armory gang - and the armory, and the Molson Brewery next door. I know I should be grieving the loss of heroes right about now, but for some reason I'm fixated on trying to figure out what we're going to do for beer! I am an awful, awful little man.
Word has it the mountains on the North Shore are filled with people fleeing into the wilderness to get away. On a cold, wet night like this, most of 'em will probably be very uncomfortable, or catch a bug, or suffer some degree of hypothermia. I'm not safe where I am, but you could get me to go there. I'm no outdoorsman, but I'm smart enough to know that it's too early in the season for the wildlife to be hibernating yet - the black bears will all be hunting for anything remotely edible they can get their paws on (especially with this year's poor berry crop) and I think swanky West Van residents will probably find themselves on the menu.
Martians have been spotted eastward, up the valley, blocking the TransCanada through the passes. Others have been destroying the major roads along the border into the US. And there's a pair of them that have been moving methodically down the coast here destroying any boats they see. Vancouver International Airport was wrecked about half an hour ago - I can see the sky glowing from here. When they went after the Massey Tunnel they just fired their heat rays into the tunnel mouths - all the cars and trucks went up at the same time. If the tunnel itself hasn't collapsed, it's full of wreckage and will be hot as an oven for days. They turned their attention to the ferry repair yard nearby at Deas Island and sank everything. That settles the Fast Cat Ferry fiasco once and for all.
You have to wonder why they're taking out the major transportation infrastructure but not anything else. Maybe it's to isolate us. But why? They obviously don't consider us to be that much of a threat, or they would have laid waste to every building in their path. Maybe the bison thing was right... maybe we're being herded. Oh shit.