Every day she sat on the bench by the courthouse muttering to herself, at least that’s what most people thought she was doing. Her clothes were always in tatters and she had that crazy-eyed look that caused most people to give her a wide berth. Every now and then, someone else who “knew” would stop and join her for a while. No matter what day it was, no matter how hot or cold, she would sit all day long, clutching a brown paper bag.
About once an hour, she would reach into the bag and grab some morsel of food out of it, reach under the bench and push it into the soft soil with her fingers. “Overlord, please give them a little more time before you start to take over”. This was her daily plea. What most weren’t aware of was that underneath the feet of every person on earth was a network of worms, controlled by the Overlord. He had been watching for longer than any human in existence had been alive, and he was very displeased with what he saw.
Thankfully for the rest of us, there have always been a few people in the know who have intervened on our behalf, because the Overlord was always poised and ready to call his troops into action. His armies reported to him several times a day through their extensive network, filling him in on what the humans were doing. Chemical spills and run-off polluting the water, chemtrails raining down from the skies, coal ash being dumped anywhere they could get away with it…the list goes on and on.
The Overlord had been telling the awakened humans that he was getting ready to take action, because the humans weren’t just oblivious, most didn’t care. They had bought into the whole notion that progress equals trade-offs, which is often true, but it isn’t acceptable that planetary destruction is one of those trades. No matter how much his small band of human helpers tried to educate the masses, they continued to be led like cattle to their own slaughter.
This morning, when the lady in the park gave her first offering and pleaded with the Overlord to give them more time, he whispered up to her from his tunnel, “I’ll give it six more months and that’s all. The ground is becoming too toxic to sustain life for much longer. If something doesn’t happen to change this, we’re going to collapse the tunnels”.
She was horrified, because he had explained to her that when that happened, every city on earth as we know it would be swallowed and very few would survive. As scary as it was, she knew that he was right. The planet would need a reset soon if there was to be any hope. Not many had seen him, but he had revealed himself to her once when she had stayed at the park until late in the night. The moon was full and he pushed himself up out of his tunnel. While all the other worms looked like ordinary worms, which gave no one a second though, he was different. Very, very different.
The hole under the bench expanded until it was almost three feet in diameter, and his giant head poked out. He was gun-metal grey with large almond shaped eyes and two spiky antennae. As his body slithered onto the surface, she saw that it was covered with large spikes, with one large eye behind every one of them. When he had stretched out, he was around four feet long and his skin had a metallic sheen under the full moon. She was shocked at his appearance. “What are you?”, she asked.
He explained to her that his people had populated the earth for thousands of years. “We come from out in the stars. For ages, it was sufficient to leave a small army here to keep an eye on things, but in recent years, you people have gotten so out of hand that you’re putting all of us in danger with your destructive ways”.
She had always believed in alien life, but never expected the worm Overlord to be one of them. This gave her even more respect for him. To think that an alien being of his stature cared enough about the planet, while frightening, made her feel oddly happy. His revelation to her had happened about five years ago. Each day, she came to the park and tried to warn people…to educate them about the consequences of our ways. It was disheartening because it was usually only around five people a year who paid any attention to her, let alone heeded her.
After his warning of the six month deadline, the humans who were working with the Overlord stepped up their efforts to enlist enough people, before it was too late. After months of heavy effort, nothing had changed, despite all of the pressure they had put on the big corporations and governments around the world. The worms had created a few natural disasters in an attempt to wake more people up, to no avail.
On the day before the six month deadline, she went to the park before dawn, to make one final offering and plea. The Overlord once more poked his head up into the dark morning. “I’m sorry. We’ve run out of time. I thank you for your service and effort. You have been one of the hardest workers in our effort to save earth. To show my gratitude, I’m offering you the opportunity to join us down here and help in the rebuilding efforts after the event is over. Several of your cohorts have already joined us and are prepared to assist”.
She crawled under the bench and followed him down into their colony. She was shocked at how developed it was down there. It was like an underground city. There were shelters, store rooms filled with food, water, and medical supplies. The place even had lighting which looked and felt just like the sun. The Overlord explained to her that they had brought special lights with them so that they could grow food if necessary. It was strangely beautiful. He introduced her to several of his troops and some of the other humans.
They spent the entire day preparing for the following morning, ready to spring into action if the news didn’t change overnight. After the sun had fallen on the earth above, the humans went into their shelters for sleep. The worms kept working. They had no need for sleep. After several hours, loud chimes sounded, bringing all of the humans out into the passageways. Over a loudspeaker system the Overlord spoke. “The time has come for us to take action. While we are sorry for all of you…for your losses, for the loss of life as you know it, this must be done”.
They knew that he was right, yet they couldn’t help but weep in sorrow for those too blind to have seen the truth. The Overlord gave the signal to start, and all around the world, the giant termites chewed through the wooden supports the insects had put up to keep the soil from collapsing. The awakened humans were way below the surface of the earth and watched on giant screens as the world above was swallowed. All of the major cities and industrial centers collapsed into destruction, taking with them the things d people which had led to this moment.
It was terrible and awe inspiring to see the level of planning and work they had put into preserving just enough up above to get the planet started again. Life would never be the same, and while that was scary, it was an odd relief for those left standing. There would be no more big corruption…at least not for another thousand years or so…but hopefully never. While things were being rebuilt, the Overlord would remain and lead the work. After the humans got re-established, he would go down into the lower chamber and board his ship to return to his home planet. He knew that there was a chance that they’d do it all again and he may have to come back. This was their last chance though. If they messed up this time, it would be curtains…forever.