I’m no longer sure who I expect to be reading these entries. Clearly, barring some unexpected turn of events, humanity is likely to be gone in hours. Maybe, one supposes, the great silence of the Fermi Paradox was just a local phenomenon and some bold, three-eyed explorer from Alpha Centauri Bb will uncover this journal. I hope my words can be of some use to you, alien brother, if your species is ever beset by a virus like the one that has destroyed my own.
Amazing how much you can write in just a few minutes with the horde at the door. The hangman’s noose really does clear the mind.
I’ve already documented how the zombies out coordinated us, in part because of the simpler coordination problem they faced. But there was something else that doomed us poor bipedal apes:
See, it the zombies were drawn to active people! Those moving about and interacting with others. Their communication drew attack. Those same active people, however, were in the center of our social network! The most densely interlinked nodes! Thus the virus spread most quickly through them,
Once the central nodes fell, the whole network was working against us. The best and most active humans were now zombies, coordinating swarms. The survivors were cut off, distant from each other, lacking the central coordinating nodes we would have needed to solve our communication puzzle and survive.
A few of us are left, we have to build a network again. I have the coordinates of another survivor holed up in an abandoned library. Next time I venture out, I will try to make it to her.
The temptation is to just keep my head down, keep quiet. It seems to be the only way to survive.
But I can’t the cries of my fellow humans call to me! I can’t leave someone to die to save my own skin. I have to venture out.
This is the great human weakness. Our cooperation requires coordination, reciprocity. We must help each other to survive. Each zombie is autonomous. An eating machine of one. They can converge and disperse as they wish. Their swarms are flexible that way.
The only hope is the safezone, but now even that seems to be in peril. The words I pile against the door become fewer as my scans of the ongoing apocalypse for meaning become harder to complete. How many more Tumblrs can I put between me and my inevitable fate?
I found a gun on my last scrounge, but the magazine was empty. Only one bullet remains, the one in the chamber.
I will not become one of them.
This diary is misnamed. There is no war, only massacre.
I have a plan, I will go out to forage in an hour, but I will rig the roomba here to open the door to my safehouse again as soon as I need to return. Hopefully, if I cue everything up just right, I can forage a bit, dodge some Zombies and make it back here alive.
It’s a risky plan. The groans of the undead are converging around me, in uncanny synchronicity. You can make out the call and response of their coordination. So simple and so brutally effective.
And yet, I detect further new mutations in the communications of the horde. It is not all horizontal communication anymore. Some are deferring to others. They have developed hierarchy! I don’t know if this is a moment of doom for us, or an opportunity.
Weirdly, they don’t always strike when they could. I’ve seen whole hordes drive a terrified human into a corner and then shamble away again.
My god. They’re toying with us.
The planet is truly theirs.
I hear occasional scuffles. Signs of some life. We’re still struggling to coordinate. I think many who are still alive have just gone to ground, staying silent, hoping to avoid attention. I can’t really blame them. None of us can afford to be out of the safe zones for long.
We need weapons. Unarmed, we can’t possibly last. There aren’t enough of us left.
The thing that doomed the human race: attention management.
When the zombies arrived, they were smarter, faster than we thought they would be. Able to communicate, organize swarms. They had an advantage in that the communication needed to build a swarm was easy. Pick a target and bite. We did some of the work for them. Our cries for help just brought more unwanted attention.
For the living, coordination was harder. we had to know who could still run on their own, and who needed help. We couldn’t waste help on those who could still fight for themselves. The information burden proved too much for our limited bandwidth. We couldn’t get things together in time.
The dense core of the society fell to Zombies. Then we were really doomed. Out cooperated. Now a few of us are holed up in heavily armed safe zones. Sending these telegrams out to the world. Is anyone else left alive?