The Second Black Plague:Anatomy of a Doomsday Pandemic
Adapted from & inspired by material previously published at Othertimelines.com
by Chris Oakley
From the December 5th, 1968 Sydney Morning Herald:
NATIONAL RDS DEATH TOLL AT 15,000 AND RISING
NEW ZEALAND EXPEDITION TO NORTH AMERICA REPORTS
NO SIGNS OF HUMAN LIFE IN SAN DIEGO
From a South African Broadcasting Corporation news report dated December 7th, 1968:There are twelve people known dead in Johannesburg at this hour as the national
casualty toll from RDS threatens to surpass 320...
From Mr. Lís diary entry of December 13th, 1968:Havenít left my apartment in three days. Too depressed. So far the
special expedition to the States has come up empty-handed every time
they look for survivors. Maybe thereís nobody left in America anymore...
From the December 16th, 1968 Johannesburg Times:NATIONWIDE RDS CASUALTIES AT 331;
CITY NOW UNDER MARTIAL LAW
1ST CONFIRMED CASE IN PRETORIA DIAGNOSED BY LOCAL HOSPITAL STAFF
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition To North America, entry dated December 21st, 1968:Morale among my colleagues is rather low at the moment, and I must admit
I occasionally feel a bit gloomy myself. Itís been nearly two months since our
ship arrived at Los Angeles Harbor, and in all that time we havenít run into a
single soul. Granted, thereís still a great deal of California left to search along
with the rest of North America, but the results of our explorations to date have
been rather discouraging...
From the December 24th, 1968 Wellington Telegraph:RDS DEATH COUNT IN SOUTH AFRICA AT 344; AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES NEARING 20,000
WORLDWIDE TOLL EXPECTED TO REACH 3.2 BILLION BY MARCH
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news report dated December 28th, 1968:The New Zealander embassy in Canberra is in lockdown tonight after
demonstrators protesting the governmentís refusal to give asylum to
Australian refugees attempted to storm its gates. It was the fifth such
incident in as many days...
From the January 1st, 1969 Johannesburg Times:NATION MARKS A SOMBER NEW YEARíS DAY AS RDS DEATH COUNT
CLIMBS TO 360
From Mr. Lís diary entry of January 3rd, 1969:
There was some trouble off the coast late last night. The NZ Navy found an
Australian fishing boat sneaking around in their waters and told it to get lost,
only the fishermen wouldnít listen because they said they needed to catch fish
to keep their food supply at home going now that Australiaís number one grocery
chain just collapsed....they didnít seem to know or care that they were breaking
the law which says there isnít supposed to be any travel between Australia and
New Zealand. Papers say the navy boat almost opened fire on the fishing boat--
thank God they didnít. The last thing we need with all the other garbage thatís
happening in the world is for Australia and New Zealand to go to war.
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition To North America, entry dated January 8th, 1969:Having completed our preliminary survey of the area between Los Angeles and
San Diego, we are now preparing to send scout parties to Long Beach and Edwards
Air Force Base. Edwards is of particular interest, given that it was once a primary test
ground for experimental American aircraft and may still possess stocks of fuel that
can be used to augment our own supplies...
From the January 12th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:RDS DEATH COUNT IN SOUTH AFRICA APPROACHING 400;
AUSTRALIAíS TOLL AT 22,500
From Mr. Lís diary entry of January 17th, 1969:One of the scouting parties with the expedition to the States was attacked
by wild animals near Long Beach--two dead and three injured, so the radio says.
Good thing they scrounged up some medical supplies from that abandoned
hospital, or those other three people would have been dead too. The guy in
charge of the expedition thinks it was either a bear or a wildcat that attacked
the scout party...
From the January 20th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:AUSTRALIA RDS DEATH TOLL EXPECTED TO TOP 25,000 IN NEXT 2-4 DAYS
From the January 23rd, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:AUSTRALIAíS 25,000TH RDS FATALITY CONFIRMED EARLY THIS MORNING
From a South African Broadcasting Corporation news report dated January 27th, 1969:The current nationwide death toll in the RDS plague now stands at 428...
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition to North America, entry dated February 2nd, 1969:
I regret to report that yesterday as we were making our way towards San
Francisco, two more of our number perished when a house they were searching
collapsed on top of them. That leaves 61 of our original complement still alive,
and of that number only 58 are still fit to continue discharging their duties. I have,
of course, immediately requested that replacement personnel be dispatched at
the earliest possible moment to our Los Angeles base camp....
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news report dated February 5th, 1969:Reserve personnel have begun preparations to depart in three daysí time for the Los
Angeles Harbor base camp of the Special Scientific Expedition to North America, which
is currently searching for human survivors in the western parts of what were once the
United States and Canada...
From the February 8th, 1969 Johannesburg Times:NATIONWIDE RDS CASUALTIES NOW UP TO 448; MAIN SABC
BROADCAST FACILITY SHUT DOWN AFTER TECHNICIAN DIAGNOSED
WITH FATAL VIRUS
From Mr. Lís diary entry of February 10th, 1969:There was another riot in Brisbane today, so the radio says. Sometimes I
wonder if Australians do anything but riot these days...Half that countryís
trying to kill the prime minister and the other halfís in the hospital....God help
me if the RDS bug makes it over here...
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated February 14th, 1969:Three people were killed this morning and four injured when a bomb went
off in Canberra in what appears to have been an assassination attempt on the
federal health minister. The attack is believed by authorities to have been
motivated by rage over the ministerís perceived failure to avert last yearís
Broome quarantine disaster...
From an editorial in the February 20th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:As we approach the fifth anniversary of the first outbreak of many now call the
Second Black Plague, it is admittedly very difficult to maintain even a faint glimmer
of hope for humanityís future, but maintain it we must, for to surrender to despair would
accelerate our slide down the slippery slope towards final extinction...
From a Channel 9(Australia) news report dated February 23rd, 1964:The prime minister has decreed that February 25th is to be a Day of Remembrance in honor of the
3.17 people who have died over the last five years in the worldwide respiratory disintegration
syndrome plague. All flags are to be lowered to half-mast at government institutions throughout
the country, and a one-minute moment of silence will be observed in memory of those who have
perished from this lethal plague...
From Mr. Lís diary entry of the next day:The RDS bug turns five years old tomorrow, but somehow I doubt anybodyís
going to celebrate that birthday. The docs on the radio say that weíll probably
be up to 3.2 billion dead in a week, ten days at the outside. Itís all I can do not
to throw myself off a ledge at this point...
From a South Africa Broadcasting Corporation news report dated February 27th, 1969:We are saddened to have to inform our listeners that effective from 11:00 PM
tonight we must suspend broadcast operations until further notice. The loss of
vital employees in recent months and the mounting financial burden our country
is still straining under have thrust this terrible but avoidable decision on usÖIt is
our fervent hope that this situation is only temporary and the SABC will, in the not-
too-distant future, be able to resume its functions as a radio networkÖ
From the March 3rd, 1969 Johannesburg Times:GLOBAL RDS CASUALTY TOLL REACHES 3.2 BILLION
SA HEALTH MINISTER COMMITS SUICIDE
AUSTRALIAN RDS DEATH COUNT NEARING 30,000
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news report dated March 7th, 1969:In a telegraph message sent early this afternoon, the leader of the Special Scientific
Expedition to North America reported that scout parties will commence surveying the
eastern part of Oregon sometime tomorrowÖ
From the March 10th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:FOUR NEW RDS CASES IN PERTH
Federal Health Officials Fear Repeat Of Broome Quarantine Disaster
From Mr. Lís diary entry for March 12th, 1969:Read in the paper that Australiaís defaulted on its old age pensions...The RDS
bug sure is a piece of work-- it manages to kill people even when theyíre never
infected by it....
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition to North America, entry dated March 17th, 1969:
Three of our men with the scouting parties in Oregon have disappeared....I
fear they may have been killed...
From the March 20th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:NZ FINANCE MINISTRY WARNS GOVERNMENT ONLY 6-8 MONTHS
AWAY FROM BANKRUPTCY
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA FORCED TO SUSPEND CLASSES
DUE TO SHORTAGE OF FACULTY PERSONNEL
SOUTH AFRICA RDS CASUALTIES BELIEVED TO EXCEED 500
From the March 24th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:RAAF RECON FLIGHTS OVER INDONESIA CONFIRM JAKARTA ABANDONED
From Mr. Lís diary entry for March 28th, 1969:Everybody in this cityís in a total panic-- with the government about to lose
their shirts, people are acting like the Martians are invading. Not that weíll
ever know for sure if there really are any Martians, seeing how the space
program went down the tubes...
From an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news report dated April 2nd, 1969:Australian National University health experts warn that at current infection rates, the global
death toll from the five-year-old RDS plague will have reached 3.5 billion by the end of August
if not sooner. Here at home, the virus claimed its 40,000th victim late this morning...
From the April 6th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:NZíS LARGEST PRIVATE BANK COLLAPSES
GLOBAL RDS DEATHS POISED TO REACH 3.3 BILLION BY LATE MAY
SOUTH AFRICA RDS CASUALTIES ESTIMATED AT 525
RDS REFUGEE SHIP SIGHTED OFF MADAGASCAR
May Have Been The Last Of Its Kind
From an editorial in the April 12th, 1969 Johannesburg Times:Due to financial difficulties and a shortage of critical materials, we must
regretfully suspend publication of this newspaper until further notice....
From the April 14th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:MADAGASCAR STRICKEN WITH ITS FIRST RDS CASE
GLOBAL RDS CASUALTIES STAND AT 3.25 BILLION
From Mr. Lís diary entry for April 20th, 1969:There was a food riot in Wellington yesterday. Radio says at least 60
people were killed....I donít know how much longer I can last here, or where
I can escape to when everything in this country goes haywire. The walls are
From the April 25th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:METROPOLITAN WELLINGTON AND SURROUNDING TOWNS UNDER MARTIAL LAW
From the April 28th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:TELEVISIONíS CHANNEL 7 TO CEASE BROADCASTING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated May 1st, 1969:Surviving residents of the former Soviet embassy in Canberra, who have been
stranded there since the collapse of the Soviet Union almost two and a half years
ago, have petitioned the Australian foreign ministry for political asylum...
From the May 4th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:WORLDWIDE RDS BODY COUNT PROJECTED TO REACH 3.4 BILLION IN
From the May 7th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:QUEENSLAND PREMIER ASSASSINATED;
ANTI-GOVERNMENT MOBS SUSPECTED
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition To North America, entry dated May 14th, 1969:Have just finished reading the summary of our scout partiesí investigation of
eastern Oregon-- once again, no noticeable sign of human survivors has been
detected. Though I do not wish to sound unduly pessimistic, it is becoming more
apparent by the day that we shall most likely discover the entire western coast
of North America to be completely uninhabited...
From the May 17th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:5000 DEAD IN AUSTRALIA MASS SUICIDE
From Mr. Lís diary entry for May 21st, 1969:My God, can things possibly get any worse in Australia? I just heard on
the radio that another one of their major banks has crashedÖ
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news report dated May 27th, 1969:The situation in Brisbane, Australia continues to deteriorate as whatís left
of the cityís police force are trapped inside their station houses surrounded by
violent anti-government mobs. The Australian army is at this hour attempting to
In Madagascar, the casualty toll from that countryís RDS outbreak has risen to
28 as doctors there struggle to contain the virus. At least one merchant ship has
been scuttled to keep it from being commandeered by refugees seeking to flee the
Listeners are reminded that the martial law decree for Wellington and nearby
communities is still in effect...
From the June 2nd, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:WORLDWIDE RDS DEATH TOLL PREDICTED TO REACH 3.6 BILLION WITHIN 3-4 MONTHS
CASUALTIES IN AUSTRALIA EXCEEDING 55,000
MADAGASCAR TOLL UP TO 33
From the June 4th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA TO CLOSE PERMANENTLY EFFECTIVE
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news reported dated June 10th, 1969:The Finance Ministry warned today that the national government will most likely become
bankrupt by mid-September unless the economic crisis caused by the five-year-old global
RDS epidemic can be resolved in a timely fashion. Several key government services have
already been shut down, and there are rumors that the Special Scientific Expedition to North
America may be recalled for lack of funds to keep it goingÖ
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition to North America, entry dated June 13th, 1969:Down to 40 men now. Still no word from the survey team we dispatched to
Salem 36 hours agoÖ.
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated June 17th, 1969:RAA officers have confirmed the arrest of the men behind the recent assassination of
Queenslandís premier. The killers are being held in a military detention camp pending
a special tribunalÖ.
From the June 21st, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:
RAAF WARRANT OFFICER CHARGED WITH MUTINY
From the June 23rd, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:MADGASCAR RDS DEATH TOLL NOW AT 51
ALL-BLACKS ON HIATUS
From Mr. Lís diary entry for June 30th, 1969:Just talked to a neighbor of mine who works for the government. Word is
theyíre set to impose martial law here in Christchurch either tomorrow or the
day after-- which means that if I ever want to get out of here with my skin
intact, I have to leave tonight....
From the July 1st, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:CHRISTCHURCH UNDER MARTIAL LAW
AUSTRALIA RDS BODY COUNT 60,000 AND RISING
MADAGASCAR RDS DEATH TOLL CLOSE TO 70
From a New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation news report dated July 5th, 1969:The Foreign Ministry today ordered the immediate evacuation of all remaining non-
essential personnel from its embassy in Madagascar and its diplomatic outposts in
From the logbook of the New Zealand Special Scientific Expedition to North America, entry dated July 8th, 1969:
Well, thatís finished it then. Just got word from our Los Angeles base camp
that weíre to pack up and start making our way back home within 72 hours,
which means weíll have to cancel the reconnoiter of Seattle I had hoped to
undertake in two weeksí timeÖ.
From the July 13th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:NZ BROADCASTING CORPORATION SUSPENDS RADIO OPERATIONS;
FUTURE OF TELEVISION BRANCH IN DOUBT
SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO NORTH AMERICA EN ROUTE HOME
MADAGASCAR RDS CASUALTY COUNT STANDS AT 101
From the July 16th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:THREE RDS CASES REPORTED IN COOLGARDIE
FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTRY PROJECTS WORLDWIDE DEATH TOLL TO PASS 3.5 BILLION IN LESS THAN
RIOTS TEAR MADAGASCAR CAPITAL FOR 4TH CONSECUTIVE DAY
From Mr. Lís diary entry for July 22nd, 1969:Just arrived in Auckland. Sorry I missed the Special Expeditionís homecoming, but
Iíve got other things to think about, like finding a place to stay. Except for this
diary and a couple of small suitcases, I couldnít take a whole lot with me when I left
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated July 27th, 1969:The casualty toll in the current nationwide RDS epidemic has now reached 67,820 and
is expected to attain the 70,000 mark within 8-10 daysÖ
From the August 3rd, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:30 DIE IN ANTI-MARTIAL LAW VIOLENCE IN CHRISTCHURCH
GLOBAL RDS DEATH TOLL EXPECTED TO PASS 3.5 BILLION IN 7-10 DAYS; AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES EXCEEDING 68,000
MADAGASCAR GOVERNMENT RADIO STATION FIREBOMBED
From the Special Scientific Expedition To North Americaís final report, submitted to the Prime Minister of New Zealand on August 7th, 1969:While we cannot predict with total confidence what we might have found
had we been able to continue our explorations, it must be said that the surveys
we were able to undertake turned up no appreciable signs of human survivors
in North Americaís western regions. Extrapolating from this point, we must
regretfully conclude that there are probably no human beings left alive anywhere
on the continentÖ.
From the August 11th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:WORLDWIDE RDS DEATH COUNT ATTAINS 3.5 BILLION MARK; EXPECTED TO REACH 3.6 MILLION
WITHIN 30-45 DAYS
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated August 15th, 1969:The already besieged federal government finds itself confronted with a new crisis today
as authorities struggle to contain a brush fire that erupted late this morning at the Kosciusko
National Park near Canberra....
From an editorial in the August 21st, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:While we do not intend to halt publication altogether, present circumstances make
it necessary for us to curtail the frequency of our editions, thus starting today we will
only be printing three days a week...
From the August 27th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:WORLDWIDE RDS CASUALTIES AT 3.53 BILLION;
DEATH TOLL IN AUSTRALIA SURPASSES 80,000
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation news report dated September 6th, 1969:Australiaís federal health minister has resigned amid
anonymous death threats and nearly universal
criticism of his handling of the respiratory disintegration
syndrome epidemic that has been plaguing
much of this country for nearly two yearsÖ
From the September 10th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:FORMER OFFICIAL FROM NZ EMBASSY IN MADAGASCAR HOSPITALIZED
WITH RESPIRATORY ILLNESS
Health Ministry Fears Ex-Attachť May Have Contracted RDS Prior To His Evacuation
From the September 12th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:NZ Diplomat Dead, Three People Infected In New Zealandís First
Recorded RDS Outbreak
From Mr. Lís diary entry entry of September 16th, 1969:Iím dead. I know it. Iím not sure when or where it will happen, but now that
the RDS bugís made it to New Zealand itís a lead-pipe cinch I wonít live to see
1970....The only thing that keeps me from hanging myself is knowing that when
Iím dead it means Americaís extinct, and I donít want to rush that day....
From the September 18th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:NINE DEAD IN N.Z. ROME VIRUS OUTBREAK; DEATH COUNT IN
AUSTRALIA PROJECTED TO SURPASS 100,000 AT END OF MONTH
PROMINENT SCIENTIST ESTIMATES HUMAN RACE WILL BE EXTINCT
BY NEXT SPRING
From an Australian Broadcasting Corporation news report dated September 23rd, 1969:As from 1 oíclock this afternoon, the current worldwide death toll from the RDS pandemic which
has been devastating humanity for over five and a half years now stands at 3.62 billion, and leading
biology and immunology experts believe it will increase to 3.7 billion over the next two months. So
far, all attempts to find a cure or even a vaccine for the lethal respiratory disease have failed, and yet
doctors at the countryís remaining medical schools are continuing to work in hopes of finding a cure
or vaccine for the contagion....
From the September 29th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:NATIONWIDE RDS DEATH TOLL UP TO 100,000
TASMANIA PREMIER APPEALS TO CANBERRA FOR
HELP IN ENDING FOOD RIOTS
NEW ZEALAND EPIDEMIC BODY COUNT NOW UP TO 14
From Mr. Lís diary entry of October 2nd, 1969:If the Apocalypse wasnít already on us before, it sure as hell is now....there was a huge
riot in Christchurch yesterday and they burned down half the city. The picture on the
front page of todayís paper showed the mayor of Christchurch hanging from a noose;
the story didnít mention whether he was lynched or committed suicide, but either way,
itís not a good time to be a politician...
From the October 6th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:NATIONAL DEATH TOLL FROM RDS CLIMBS TO 26;
AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES AT 105,000
WORLDWIDE BODY COUNT EXPECTED TO REACH 3.8 BILLION
BEFORE NEW YEARíS DAY
MADAGASCARíS LAST SURVIVING REGULAR DAILY NEWSPAPER
CLOSES AS GOVERNMENT DISSOLVES
From an Australia Broadcasting Corporation editorial dated October 11th, 1969:With heavy hearts, we must inform our listening audience, and those who watch our
television broadcasts, that due to insurmountable financial and technical problems the
Australia Broadcasting Corporation will be forced to suspend all broadcast activities until
further notice effective from midnight October 13th. We hope that this measure shall
prove to be only temporarily necessary and that in the near-future we will be able to
resume our task of providing quality news and entertainment broadcasts to the people
From the October 14th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:ENTIRE POPULATION OF ESPERANCE DEAD IN LARGEST MASS SUICIDE IN
From the October 18th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:41 DEAD IN NZ, 115,000 IN AUSTRALIA AS GLOBAL RDS PANDEMIC RAGES ON
From the October 26th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:FINANCIAL TROUBLES FORCE CLOSURE OF CAIRNS AIRPORT
From Mr. Lís diary entry of November 1st, 1969:Got myself two pistols and a shotgun this morning, and it looks like Iím going to
need them...Thereís a rumor going around that somebody tried to firebomb the
prime ministerís office two days ago, and with all the radio and TV stations in this
country shut down itís getting harder and harder to know whatís true and whatís
not. Even Hitchcock couldnít have dreamed up a scary situation like this....then again,
maybe he could. But no oneís ever going to know that for sure, are they?
From the November 7th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:RIOTERS SACK GOVERNMENT HOUSE IN MELBOURNE
From the November 14th, 1969 Wellington Telegraph:WORLDWIDE RDS DEATH COUNT ESTIMATED TO PASS 3.7 BILLION MARK IN NEXT 48 HOURS
BLACKOUT LEAVES THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER IN ADELAIDE
From Mr. Lís diary entry of November 22nd, 1969:Caught somebody trying to break into my house last night and make off with half my
food. Soon as he saw my gun, however, he left the fridge alone and got out of there as
fast as his feet could carry him-- which was a good thing for both our sakes, because
Iíve already shot one guy and Iím not in any hurry to use my guns a second time. This
RDS bug has turned us all into animals, maybe worse....
From an editorial in the November 25th, 1969 edition of the Wellington Telegraph:Sadly, it appears that the newest casualty of this terrible respiratory disintegration
syndrome pandemic that has caused so much death and suffering throughout the
world over the past five-odd years will be our own newspaper.
You are at this moment holding in your hands the last edition of the Telegraph for
the foreseeable future; due to bankruptcy we have been forced to suspend
publication effective as from today, and in view of the present circumstances in
this country it is unlikely we will be able to resume publication....
From the November 30th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:DARWIN HEALTH OFFICIALS REPORT CITYíS FIRST RDS CASE
From Mr. Lís diary entry of December 3rd, 1969:Not safe to go Christmas shopping in New Zealand right now. Of course, itís not like
I still have anybody to shop for, seeing as how the RDS epidemicís taken out ninety
percent of the human race. As far as I know, Antarcticaís the only place on earth right
now thatís not either crawling with RDS cases or a total graveyard; everywhere else in
the world, itís like something out of a horror movie.
God, to think we had so many high hopes when the Ď60s began. We were fighting the
good fight against Communism. We were working to help the poor. We were tackling
civil rights at last. Some guys even thought we might make it to the moon before the
decade was over....then some poor shmoe in a Rome hotel had to get the sniffles, and
the world went straight to hell. Now I know what Shelley was talking about in that
poem where he said "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Well, brother,
Iíve practically become New Zealandís number one distributor for despair....
From the December 8th, 1969 Sydney Morning Herald:GLOBAL RDS DEATH TOLL ESTIMATED TO REACH 3.8 BILLION BY CHRISTMAS DAY
From a letter by an RAA officer stationed at Alice Springs to the Defense Ministry headquarters in Canberra, dated December 14th, 1969:
I urgently need fresh manpower here to supplement the current
troop garrison assigned to enforce martial law in this city. In
the past five days there have been five desertions, two suicides,
a murder, and an untold number of instances where I have had to
put men in detention because they chose to side with the outlaw
elements stirring up trouble in this city rather than fulfill their
duties as soldiers....
From the Defense Ministry headquartersí reply, dated December 26th, 1969:Unfortunately, we are not at the present time able to comply with your request for additional
troops to be posted to your garrison. However, we have been assured that such troops will
become available after the first of the year; in the meantime, it is recommended that you
deputize trustworthy local civilians to fill out the gaps in your personnel strength....
From Mr. Lís diary entry of December 31st, 1969:Well, itís getting close to midnight-- if I live to see January 1st, 1970 Iíll be pleasantly
surprised. This country is coming apart at the seams and Iíve got nowhere else left to
go....unless I want to have a bunch of penguins as next-door neighbors. And even if I
did have somewhere else to go, how could I get there? All the seaports and most of
the airports in this country are shut down, either because of the RDS epidemic or
because theyíve gone bankrupt....For all I know I might end up being the last survivor
of the human race, like that guy in Richard Mathesonís book I Am Legend. Of course,
I could just as easily drop dead in the next five minutes....
From the January 1st, 1970 entry:How do you like that? Iím still here. I must be the luckiest guy in whatís left of the
world....Iím definitely luckier than those 3.8 billion poor stiffs whoíve bought the farm
since the epidemic began. Weíre getting close to the six-year anniversary of the start
of the epidemic, and Iím hoping that for an anniversary present the world finally gets
a cure for that damn virus....
From the January 3rd, 1970 Sydney Morning Herald:73 DEAD IN NEW ZEALAND, 120,000 IN AUSTRALIA AS RDS PANDEMIC
APPROACHES ITS SIXTH YEAR
WORLDWIDE DEATH COUNT 3.83 BILLION AND RISING
To Be Continued