Penny's Final Thoughts

I’m not gonna ask jenna to help me write this, not when she’s dealing with losing emily, but carrie insists I should write something about what happened to the martians in case anyone is still reading this. so I’m going to.

everyone is saying that bacteria killed them, that they didn’t come here prepared for illness. that’s not entirely true. we found traces of an artificial antibacterial compound in many of the martian remains which suggests they did have some level of disease prevention in mind when they came. the more compelling theory, which fits with our preliminary dna analysis of the remains, is that they suffered something like total immune collapse due to accelerated aging. and I mean accelerated aging.

the dna we’ve found in the martian remains looks universally like shit. not to get too scientific but it looks like someone took a fucking hacksaw and just threw a bunch of shit together and called it an organism. the martians were less than a year old, but their nucleotides were not only put together like a child’s attempt at a complex model kit, they looked like they’d been forced to age. basically no telomeres, which are the caps that protect the ends of dna when cells split. all of their cells exhausted themselves to death.

our best working theory so far is that the martians didn’t put themselves together very well. these individuals seem to have been engineered specifically for this invasion, a little more than a year ago, with the express purpose of getting them here and carrying out some kind of agenda. the martians didn’t seem to think beyond that.

so while they weren’t so stupid as to send invading forces with zero protection from illness, they were dumb enough to make soldiers with ugly patchwork dna who, on exposure to our world, aged like overripe tomatoes and left themselves vulnerable to some of the nastiest pathogens we’ve built up resistance to. in fact one of the biggest issues we’ve come across in analyzing martian remains is the fact that they’re really fuckin disgusting. loaded with pus and cancerous growths and every disease under the sun. it makes getting a proper picture of what happened kind of difficult.

something similar, but way less dramatic, happened with the red weed. it started to die before they did, as far as we can tell. we’re lucky that it did tbh because the red weed emissions have fucked up our climate enough. if it’d continued to spew gases and heat up the atmosphere for even one more day the planet might be uninhabitable. who knows.

that’s enough science shit for now. time to go hug my wife. it’s been a few hours, don’t want to delay any more


jenna opened up to me about emily, said that technology on those thunder child planes was an innovation of hers. in part anyway. she still hasn’t heard from emily, which is unusual, because no one can ever get emily to stop talking. that’s not a good fucking sign.

jenna said that according to emily this was the highest weapons tech the military has. full stop. no other country pours as much into spending as we do. or did I guess. this is a weapon that fires three consecutive beams. the first literally loosens all the particles in its path, the second superheats them, the third was born from a lab accident and does something devastating with gravitons. and it can break through their shields. and that still wasn’t enough.

guess that’s it then. if they have flying machines of their own then they’ll have no problem wiping the rest of us out whenever they want. what other kinds of vehicles do they have? something that digs underground? I’m sure they fucking do. there goes that.

we had a good run. I guess the only thing left to do is try to stick it out for as long as we can and maybe take a few of them down with us.

An Examination of the Martian Physiology, by Penny Lowell and Jennifer Tiptree

This paper is a thorough examination of the physiology of the presumed adult Martian being, as well as a speculative document on the origins, behaviors, and motivations of said beings.

Before we begin, we must establish a few conventions:

  • “Martian,” throughout this paper, refers to the beings that arrived on Earth on November 8th, 2017 from Mars, and does not refer to their probable or speculative planetary origin.

  • “Bloodbag,” a term borrowed from multiple reports of sightings of the same or similar creatures, refers to the bloated, apparently juvenile Martian variants carried with the main thrust of the Martian work force to this planet.

  • “Red Weed,” throughout this paper, refers to the purple-red biomechanical growths brought by the Martians to Earth, intentionally or unintentionally.

  • An informal style may be used at times, due to the nature and constraints of the dissection, which was performed as professionally and scientifically as possible given the circumstances.

  • We’re doing our best.

Basic Measurements

The Martian we examined, presumed adult, is about 6.5′ from the tip of the beak to the end of the tail. It is 4′7″ tall at its highest point, and 4′4″ wide at its widest point.

The Martian Exterior

The Martian is a large, slimy creature made mostly of water. Its biology mirrors Earth standards in some ways, and deviates spectacularly in others. It has two eyes on the round end of its teardrop-shaped body that mirror those of the nautilus - thin plates with a fairly simple retina. If I had to guess I’d say the eye isn’t far divorced from the eye of an aquatic ancestor. Its mouth is concealed by a cartilaginous flap of skin, referred to hereafter as the “beak.” On either side of its mouth are three whiplike tentacles, six in total, about an inch thick and four feet long, which appear to be able to extend and retract as the Martian sees fit. These have a strong grip and are used to manipulate objects with a precision and strength the human hand cannot approach. On either side of those is a single flipper, continuous with the rest of the body and similar in structure to the tail. Though this is technically bilateral symmetry, it’s easy to see why, looking at a Martian, they chose to design their machines with three legs rather than any other amount.

Martian skin is about three inches thick, made almost entirely of fatty tissue engorged with moisture. The skin is porous and excretes mucus or a similarly-functioning substance.

The Martian’s mechanism of movement is threefold. A weak muscle along the underside of the creature, similar to a gastropodal belly-foot, helps slowly propel the Martian along. Its flippers seem to allow it greater upward and downward mobility, and its front tentacles may also serve a purpose in locomotion.

The Martian has a single ear atop the crest of its head. This ear is dead center and faces toward the front of the creature. In my opinion the tympanum of this ear is too thin to function in our air.

Much of the Martian’s brain is visible through a layer of thinner skin running along its back. This skin is more elastic than the rest, seemingly to allow for brain growth and movement.

The Martian appears to lack an anus, urethra, or any orifice through which waste might be disposed. As far as we can tell, the Martian does not generate any waste due to its unique interior physiology.

The Martian Interior

Martians have three major interior structures: the lung, the brain, and the circulatory system. All Martian nervous structures other than the brain are thinner than even human nervous structures, despite the obvious implications of our size difference. Martians have no skeleton, but instead deposits of cartilage that help keep the body in one shape while allowing for flexibility.

The Martian has a single lung, taking up most of the lower half of its body. The lung is the only attachment to the mouth; there is no digestive system. Martians seem to breathe solely through their mouth.

Above the lung is the brain, which is significantly more complicated than that of a human. It is asymmetrical, perhaps explaining the flexible membrane cradling it. The left side seems to have at the very least thirty-eight separate lobes, while the right side appears to have forty-two. Although the Bloodbag is an abnormal specimen, its lobe count is much lower, and symmetrical, suggesting tamperment of some kind in the adult Martian - perhaps genetic engineering.

Underneath the lung, cradled by cartilage, is the Martian heart, a seven-chambered monstrosity about six inches all around, the centerpiece of a circulatory system unlike any seen on Earth. The Martian circulatory system looks almost more like an intestine, with myriad nutrient-absorbing constructs coating the walls of veins and arteries a full inch in diameter.

The Bloodbag

What we, and the press, are calling a “Bloodbag” is an either juvenile or stunted variation of the Martian species. It is about three feet around and much more globular than the adult Martian’s teardrop shape. Its brain is significantly smaller, with the main anatomical feature being its complicated, almost seemingly designed circulatory system. It has reduced surface structures - simple, almost fetal eyes, a single sphincter-like hole for a mouth, and nubs where the flippers are on the adult Martian.

The Bloodbag’s body is covered in artificial puncture marks that lead directly into its veins. Certain parts of its exterior seem to be more scab tissue than skin.

It is our opinion, based on both this evidence and certain reports of Martian behavior, that these Bloodbag Martians are a subspecies utilized or maybe even intentionally bred to act as incubators for nutrient-rich blood. Frequent injections of raw nutrients are processed by the Bloodbag’s advanced circulatory system, saving Martian worker tissue from the stress and wear-and-tear of nutrient breakdown and allowing nutrients to mix naturally into warm, rich blood ready for transfusion.

This seems to be the main method, or maybe only method, of feeding the Martians have. Their advanced bloodstream directly assimilates nutrients and distributes them throughout the body, with the bulk of this energy-intensive work being hoisted onto the Bloodbags. Between this and the fact that they have no digestive system, the Martians are almost perfectly efficient, wasting no energy on non-fundamental bodily tasks.

Red Weed

The Red Weed is a definitive biomechanical grouping of cells acting as a single cell with many nuclei. Its genetic material is almost entirely artificial, bearing little resemblance to what we know as DNA or RNA and appearing more like an eventual descendant of our nanotechnology. Tiny silicon fibers are woven together to create something that acts and replicates itself like DNA, but can be manipulated to a degree we have not yet achieved to perform seemingly impossible tasks. Some of this silicon enhancement is prominent in Martian and Bloodbag genetic material as well.

The Red Weed seems to have two functions, the first being to spread itself continuously with little more than water to sustain itself, and the second being to endlessly perpetuate a (simple, yet totally unprecedented in nature or modern chemistry) chemical reaction that creates a huge amount of heated air. Non-lethal amounts of hydrogen cyanide gas are the byproduct of this reaction. The Red Weed, given its synthetic nature, was undoubtedly consciously placed on Earth by the Martians in an attempt to mimic an environment that suits them, the way we might spread a carpet of green over an alien snowball world to try and heat it up to our liking. Martians apparently desire a moist, humid, warm climate, which is consistent with our observations of their physiology.

It is likely that the Martians have been emulating this environment under the Martian surface for a significant amount of time, waiting until what they perceived as the right moment to attack Earth and commandeer its resources. We cannot ignore the possibility, even probability, that humankind is one of those resources. Our blood is just as nutritionally rich as any Bloodbag’s, and some disturbing reports of Martians using sharp tools on human beings would indicate that these kinds of cross-species transfusions are in fact happening.


@realantonwells hey if you’re there please say something

@realantonwells for carrie’s sake you better be fucking okay.

@realantonwells god I can’t believe I’m about to say this but

you get on my nerves. to say the least. but at the end of the day I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.

there are bad people in the world who deserve horrible things. people who make it their business to destroy people who don’t deserve it. and you, you’re callous and selfish and really fucking annoying. you think stephen colbert is the height of satire and you think hillary clinton is genuinely progressive. was progressive? was the height of satire? who fucking survived this shit? I hadn’t really thought about that until now but like. look.

all those things, they are repulsive to me. politically disgusting. you’re not doing enough, is what I would say, you’re settling for mediocrity and simplicity and neutrality over getting out there and doing something. and on top of that? you’re a smug ass conspiracy theorist. and when one of your shitty conspiracy community people managed to accidentally tap the right vein, you rubbed it in the faces of people who just didn’t want to die.

(you were right about that “goblin” though, weren’t you? that’s a dead alien. shit.)

but despite all of this you care. you’re not evil. I don’t like you but I don’t want you to get hurt. a long time ago I used to think everyone I didn’t like should die, even the ones who weren’t evil, and then those thoughts came true and I’ve felt like the lowest fucking garbage on earth ever since. I don’t want those thoughts to come true again.

I think maybe right now we don’t need to be petty like you’ve been… fuck, like I’ve been. I think we need to be one thing, human beings, decent human beings, united against these shitty awful beings - people? - who just want to destroy us because we’re here. who won’t even bother hearing us out, won’t even give us a second to beg for our lives, because they think we’re not worth it. once those pieces of shit are gone for fucking good, then maybe we can argue about conspiracy theories and stephen colbert if he’s alive. then we can afford to be disgusted.

idk why I’m even telling you all this. let alone where carrie can see it. it’s not like this will bring you back online. or bring you back. god fucking forbid.

but like… really. get back to me. your sister is losing her shit over this.

day four of penny tries and fails to figure out what the fuck is going on

okay. okay.


three out of the seven remaining regularly-posting news outlets on the US mainland are talking about this stuff now. they’re calling it “red weed” or “red snow.” I like the first one better because get it? like pot? like the good dank kush?

anyway. in my Very Professional Opinion.

there’s a few things this shit could be. one, it’s an invasive species from wherever the fuck the invaders are from. NOT mars, by the way. mars is not capable of supporting life like this. these things lived under the martian surface but there’s no way they’ve been living on the martian surface anytime in the past billion years or so. we’d have seen some kind of evidence. I personally think they set up camp there back when there was more liquid water and were pushed underground to wait once the planet entered the extended ice age it’s in. maybe that’s when they saw earth and went hey, shit, let’s go fuck that.

so maybe this stuff is some kind of plant or some lichen they kept around from those days. these fuckers have got to be pretty tough in that case, because apparently the stuff leaks cyanide gas, or something like cyanide gas. maybe. if it’s even the same fuckin biology as what we’re used to. I have no fucking idea.

the alternative is that they like their air to have cyanide gas in it, and are purposefully planting this stuff, which is stupid and I can’t let myself think about it right now because fuck that.

whatever it is, it’s spreading FAST. all I can hope is that the concentration remains low enough that it doesn’t kill my fucking wife.

the thing that keeps getting me about carrie’s description though is the helmet she described. my sci fi mind is telling me it’s some sort of neural interface. would make sense with how seamlessly they can pilot those tripods.

that’s all I’ve got. I’ve seen a few blurry pictures of the things but not nearly detailed enough to speculate on them.

Penny & Anton


everyone expects me to know what’s going on here. not many people from my department made it down to this part of the tunnels, just professor ogilvy really. there’s a lot more dormside, but the dorm tunnels aren’t connected to the academic tunnels. jenna suggested digging through, and I know she means well but that. is some bullshit. we don’t have that kind of equipment down here. just a bunch of half broken science shit we’re never gonna use. oh, that and enough canned black beans to carry us through a very tasteless and unhealthy five months. incredible.

carrie is too close to rochester for comfort. I mean douglass is pretty big but I think if whatever doing this is targeting big cities & major population centers they’d go for rochester over douglass. not that I know what I’m talking about. idk if there’s even gonna be another cylinder.

I hope we get out of here as soon as possible. I hope I see carrie again soon, once all of this has passed over.


You’re on here venting, too?


anton I mean this in the nicest way possible but please mind your own goddam motherfucking business.

you’re my brother in law basically, and I will always try to be on good terms with you bc carrie loves you. but I can’t sit here and have a nice chat with someone who hears that 7000 people are dead, dismisses it as a misunderstanding, and uses it as an excuse to rant about conspiracy bullshit.


Why is what I believe in such a big deal to you? What made you so bitter, Penny Lowell?


I could care less what you believe. what hurts is the fact that you don’t seem to care about anyone else’s suffering. it’s like this is a joke to you.

that post on your blog, like, you REALLY can’t understand why people aren’t EXCITED about this? really? you must have no fucking empathy at all.

carrie insists you’re a loving person, that you have always taken care of her. that you’re a goofball and you have a heart of gold even if you come off as annoying. but I just don’t see it.

for my sake and yours, let’s just agree not to talk.